Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bush White House Embraces A "Middle Finger" Policy

They're saying F-U to Congress, essentially

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YouTube has republicans on the run

GOP claims that YouTube is biased show how out of touch with the people Republicans are.

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In Violation of Federal Law, Ohio's 2004 Presidential Election Records A

Somehow the original ballot records in Ohio from the 2004 "election" have been destroyed after a court ordered them preserved. Your ballots are becoming worthless in the New World Order.

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Iraq: One in seven joins human tide spilling into neighbouring countries


By Patrick Cockburn in Sulaymaniyah

07/30/07 "
The Independent" -- -- Two thousand Iraqis are fleeing their homes every day. It is the greatest mass exodus of people ever in the Middle East and dwarfs anything seen in Europe since the Second World War. Four million people, one in seven Iraqis, have run away, because if they do not they will be killed. Two million have left Iraq, mainly for Syria and Jordan, and the same number have fled within the country.

Yet, while the US and Britain express sympathy for the plight of refugees in Africa, they are ignoring - or playing down- a far greater tragedy which is largely of their own making.

The US and Britain may not want to dwell on the disasters that have befallen Iraq during their occupation but the shanty towns crammed with refugees springing up in Iraq and neighbouring countries are becoming impossible to ignore.

Even so the UNHCR is having difficulty raising $100m (£50m) for relief. The organisation says the two countries caring for the biggest proportion of Iraqi refugees - Syria and Jordan - have still received "next to nothing from the world community". Some 1.4 million Iraqis have fled to Syria according to the UN High Commission for Refugees, Jordan has taken in 750 000 while Egypt and Lebanon have seen 200 000 Iraqis cross into their territories.

Potential donors are reluctant to spent money inside Iraq arguing the country has large oil revenues. They are either unaware, or are ignoring the fact that the Iraqi administration has all but collapsed outside the Baghdad Green Zone. The US is spending $2bn a week on military operations in Iraq according to the Congressional Research Service but many Iraqis are dying because they lack drinking water costing a few cents.

Kalawar refugee camp in Sulaymaniyah is a microcosm of the misery to which millions of Iraqis have been reduced.

"At least it is safe here," says Walid Sha'ad Nayef, 38, as he stands amid the stink of rotting garbage and raw sewage. He fled from the lethally dangerous Sa'adiyah district in Baghdad 11 months ago. As we speak to him, a man silently presents us with the death certificate of his son, Farez Maher Zedan, who was killed in Baghdad on 20 May 2006.

Kalawar is a horrible place. Situated behind a petrol station down a dusty track, the first sight of the camp is of rough shelters made out of rags, torn pieces of cardboard and old blankets. The stench is explained by the fact the Kurdish municipal authorities will not allow the 470 people in the camp to dig latrines. They say this might encourage them to stay.

"Sometimes I go to beg," says Talib Hamid al-Auda, a voluble man with a thick white beard looking older than his fifty years. As he speaks, his body shakes, as if he was trembling at the thought of the demeaning means by which he feeds his family. Even begging is difficult because the people in the camp are forbidden to leave it on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Suspected by Kurds of being behind a string of house robberies, though there is no evidence for this, they are natural scapegoats for any wrong-doing in their vicinity.

Refugees are getting an increasingly cool reception wherever they flee, because there are so many of them and because of the burden they put on resources. "People here blame us for forcing up rents and the price of food," said Omar, who had taken his family to Damascus after his sister's leg was fractured by a car bomb.

The refugees in Kalawar had no option but to flee. Of the 97 families here, all but two are Sunni Arabs. Many are from Sa'adiyah in west Baghdad where 84 bodies were found by police between 18 June and 18 July. Many are young men whose hands had been bound and who had been tortured.

"The majority left Baghdad because somebody knocked on the door of their house and told them to get out in an hour," says Rosina Ynzenga, who runs the Spanish charity Solidarity International (SIA) which pays for a mobile clinic to visit the camp.

Sulaymaniyah municipality is antagonistic to her doing more. One Kurdish official suggested that the Arabs of Kalawar were there simply for economic reasons and should be given $200 each and sent back to Baghdad.

Mr Nayef, the mukhtar (mayor) of the camp who used to be a bulldozer driver in Baghdad, at first said nobody could speak to journalists unless we had permission from the authorities. But after we had ceremoniously written our names in a large book he relented and would, in any case, have had difficulty in stopping other refugees explaining their grievences.

Asked to list their worst problems Mr Nayef said they were the lack of school for the children, shortage of food, no kerosene to cook with, no money, no jobs and no electricity. The real answer to the question is that the Arabs of Kalawar have nothing. They have only received two cartons of food each from the International Committee of the Red Cross and a tank of clean water.

Even so they are adamant that they dare not return to Baghdad. They did not even know if their houses had been taken over by others.

Abla Abbas, a mournful looking woman in black robes, said her son had been killed because he went to sell plastic bags in the Shia district of Khadamiyah in west Baghdad. The poor in Iraq take potentially fatal risks to earn a little money.

The uncertainty of the refugees' lives in Kalawar is mirrored in their drawn faces. While we spoke to them there were several shouting matches. One woman kept showing us a piece of paper from the local authority in Sulaymaniyah giving her the right to stay there. She regarded us nervously as if we were officials about to evict her.

There are in fact three camps at Kalawar. Although almost all the refugees are Sunni they come from different places and until a month ago they lived together. But there were continual arguments. The refugees decided that they must split into three encampments: one from Baghdad, a second from Hillah, south of Baghdad, and a third from Diyala, the mixed Sunni-Shia province that has been the scene of ferocious sectarian pogroms.

Governments and the media crudely evaluate human suffering in Iraq in terms of the number killed. A broader and better barometer would include those who have escaped death only by fleeing their homes, their jobs and their country to go and live, destitute and unwanted, in places like Kalawar. The US administration has 18 benchmarks to measure progress in Iraq but the return of four million people to their homes is not among them.

© 2007 Independent News and Media Limited

A Letter to Senator Murray: It's Time to Ban Cluster Bombs

Senator Murray, I think the time has come for We the People of the United States of America to look deep into the cesspool that Washington DC has become and look for another way to solve our problems. The Democrats and the Republicans are definitely not the way to go.

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No Proof? No Fraud!- Ohio 2004 Presidential Election Records Destroyed In V

So much for verifiable election results in Ohio...

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Iraqi President Tries to Save Government

President Jalal Talabani also warned of ``negative consequences'' if the six Cabinet ministers from the Iraqi Accordance Front leave Nouri al-Maliki's 14-month-old government.

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White House Misses Noon Deadline For Gonzales Testimony

Yesterday Sen Spector demanded a letter from the Administration clarifying Gonzales's inaccurate and misleading testimony about the the NSA's domestic spying program. Today the White House ignored that deadline saying. Tony Snow said "it will be a little bit later. It's not quite meeting the noon deadline."

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The U.S. is funding both sides of the war in Iraq.

The recent arms deal with Saudi Arabia comes only a few days after a report was released detailing how the Saudis were supply troops and funds to Sunni insurgent groups in Iraq.

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Iraq’s Medical Meltdown (The difference between now and the Vietnam War)

“The Bush Administration violated every single tenet that has been known in humanitarian circles for decades,” says Dr. Frederick Burkle. Traditionally, responsibility for humanitarian efforts has fallen to USAID, as in Vietnam. But in a move Burkle calls “unprecedented,” Bush transferred that authority to the DoD, the guys who blow people up!

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Home Depot dumps O'Reilly

Home Depot seems to have had a change of heart. They're now unequivocally telling their customers that they will not advertise on Bill O'Reilly's show. Oddly, however, they're now also claiming that they never advertised on O'Reilly's show. Uhhh... OK. Sure. Just don't start in the future, schmucks

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Mullen Calls For Eventual Drawdown Of U.S. Forces In Iraq

During his Senate confirmation hearing today, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs nominee Navy Adm. Michael Mullen argued that without political and economic progress, “no amount of troops and no amount of time will make much of a difference” in the war in Iraq.

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Petraeus denies militants cross Saudi/Iraq border

The top US commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, told Diane Sawyer of ABC's Good Morning America on Monday that jihadis are not crossing the Saudi border into Iraq. However, other sources indicate that the border is far more porous than Petraeus was willing to acknowledge.

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Couple Terrorized, Assaulted and Arrested For Flying an Upside Down U.S. Fl

A North Carolina couple who were terrorized by a police officer who had recently returned from Iraq are now fighting back, after sheriffs deputy Brian Scarborough broke into their house, assaulted them and then arrested the Kuhns for the crime of flying an upside down U.S. flag.

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Iraq: The Lessons of History Are Being Ignored.

What will be the unintended and unanticipated consequences of today's war with Iraq?

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America's $20 Billion Mistake

It’s no secret that Saudi Arabia is encouraging and financing Sunni terror against Shiite targets in Iraq, undermining everything that the U.S. is trying to acheive there. So why, asks PJM Mideast analyst Meir Javedanfar, is the U.S. rewarding them with $20 billion worth of advanced weaponry?

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Farm Bill 2007: House Thumbs Its Nose at Poorest Trading Partners

The US House of Representatives has passed the Farm Bill 2007 - increasing subsidies on cotton and sugar. This article does a great job of explaining why these subsidies are unfair for family farmers in the US and developing countries, and how the passage of the bill affects the current round of trade negotiations.

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Stopping the Downward Spiral at the Department of Justice

2007 has not exactly been a great year for the U.S. Department of Justice or for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. These and other developments have conspired to erode professionalism, morale and effectiveness at the DOJ. If remedial actions are not instituted soon, the spiral will continue and adversely affect DOJ, the justice system, and police.

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Stopping the Downward Spiral at the Department of Justice

2007 has not exactly been a great year for the U.S. Department of Justice or for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. These and other developments have conspired to erode professionalism, morale and effectiveness at the DOJ. If remedial actions are not instituted soon, the spiral will continue and adversely affect DOJ, the justice system, and police.

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Cheney refuses invite to House environmental hearing

Members of the Bush administration will be called upon Tuesday to explain decisions on environmental policy that were apparently guided by politics -- not science -- during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing. Dick Cheney won't be there.

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‘Fourth Branch’ Cheney strikes again

Cheney apparently STILL unsure his office is in the executive branch. Says it's because he has legislative duties. Nevermind that the President has legislative duties too - the Prez signs the bills, so by Cheney's logic the President can't be considered to be in the executive branch either.

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Who owns you?

Exclusive: ‘Possible Attack on the U.S. Within Ninety Days

Veteran Israeli Intelligence expert, Juval Aviv, said in recent media interviews that his sources on terror plots directed at the United States indicate that multiple attacks on our homeland are in the final stages of preparation. Read the details.

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California voting machine security tests uncover serious vulnerabilities

California put voting machines from three vendors to the test and found significant vulnerabilities on all three systems. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is preparing to evaluate significant voting reform legislation that aims to mandate paper trails.

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Bush had no intention of hunting down Osama Bin laden

Those of you holding your breath, thinking that Osama Bin Laden may be captured at some point this year or next, I’d recommend you let it go. Unless General Wesley Clark is a liar, toppling seven nations in five years leaves little time to seek out the mastermind behind the September 11 terrorist attacks.

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Exclusive: Mainstream Media Continues to Cover-Up for Alberto Gonzales

One scandal that was not noted by this article, and has routinely been ignored by the mainstream media in general, was the sex scandal cover-up Attorney General Goznales was involved in during his days as Attorney General in Texas under George W. Bush.

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The Fear Factor - Ron Paul

July 30, 2007While fear itself is not always the product of irrationality, once experienced it tends to lead away from reason, especially if the experience is extreme in duration or intensity. When people are fearful they tend to be willing to irrationally surrender their rights.Thus, fear is a threat to rational liberty. The psychol

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Cheney aide briefing lawmakers on plans for Turkey military action

A former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney is briefing lawmakers on Pentagon plans for secret military intervention in Turkey. The same undersecretary of defense who smeared Hillary Clinton recently by accusing her of boosting enemy propaganda, Eric Edleman, informed members of Congress about the secret plans last week.

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Impeach Bush and Cheney Now, Before They Declare Martial Law

There is presently a serious possibility that America will come under martial law before the 2008 presidential election and be irretrievably turned into a totalitarian state. If this happens there won't even be a free election in 2008. We can and should eliminate this ominous threat to national security by impeaching Bush and Cheney now. But the man in charge, John Conyers, is afraid of what Fox News might say about him.

In my recent article, This Summer, will America Officially Become a Totalitarian State?" I presented the following facts:

    In May 2007, Bush posted a national continuity policy to the White House Web site that bypasses Congress and puts him in charge of all three branches of the federal government if there is a "catastrophic emergency" -- vaguely defined to include anything from a destructive hurricane to a terrorist attack. This leaves democracy in America dangling on a thin thread of chance that such a "catastrophe" doesn't happen.

    On Wednesday [July 11], Michael Chertoff, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said he has a "gut" feeling that Al Qaeda will launch another terrorist attack on the U.S. mainland sometime this summer. Chertoff's "gut feeling" comes on the heels of the latest National Intelligence Estimate [NIE], which maintains that in the past year, Al Qaeda has reconstituted its core structure and has grown stronger along the Pakistan/Afghanistan border.

Curiously, the story about Bush's national continuity policy received (virtually) no mainstream media coverage, and its significance in light of the recent NIE report was not broached. Yet, these facts point to a serious and disturbing possibility that a "catastrophic emergency" in the form of a terrorist attack on the homeland will occur before the next presidential election, giving the Bush administration the green light to turn the United States into a totalitarian state. Notice that this is not based on speculation or groundless conspiracy theory. It is based only on the facts: With the posting of the current national continuity policy, Bush has ipso facto announced his intention to take over all three branches of the federal government in the event of another serious terrorist attack. And the NIE does "judge that the United States is currently in a heightened threat environment."

Never mind that this is "only a possibility" and not a certainty. The NIE itself is very clear that it is not saying a terrorist attack is "certain." But, it is irrational to demand certainty in matters of national security before taking action. Imagine you had a suspicious growth, which was steadily enlarging, and your physician told you there was a serious possibility that it would become malignant. Would you ignore it because you could never be sure, or would you remove it? The advice you would hear from any competent physician would be to get rid of it. This is not unlike the present state of our democracy. The stakes are its very survival. The only reasonable response to this national security risk is to eliminate it, and this can be done by starting impeachment proceedings now. Unfortunately, Congress (Democrats and Republicans alike) have fallen asleep at the wheel.

The Bush administration has shown an ever-increasing and blatant disregard for the rule of law. This is a White House that has recently used "executive privilege" to thwart investigations into impeachable offenses (from the firing of federal prosecutors for political reasons to the illegal spying on American citizens). It has turned the Department of Justice, under the direction of Alberto Gonzales, into a rubber stamp for its own illegal activities. It has canceled habeas corpus and engaged in serious breaches of the Geneva Conventions (in the torturing of prisoners of war). It has engaged in fraudulent "caging" of minority votes in order to install itself in the White House. To expect that this regime will voluntarily follow the rule of law in relinquishing the power it has steadfastly amassed by ransacking the United States Constitution is wishful thinking. This flies in the face of the evidence of the last seven years.

So as the Democrats look to 2008, they neglect the serious possibility that there will not even be a free election. To ensure a constitutionally valid transfer of power in 2008, it is necessary that Bush and Cheney be impeached now. However, John Conyers, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, refuses to pursue impeachment proceedings because "Fox News would go after him and accuse him of being partisan." He is afraid of jeopardizing his legacy. The irony is that his legacy may already be dead in the water. The patriotism and magnanimity of a public servant is not measured in the self-serving sacrifice of the public welfare, but instead in the courage of personal sacrifice for the greater good.

So, how might we, the American people, send Conyers and others in Congress a clear message before it's too late?

There have already been eighty one towns, cities, and counties that have voted to impeach Bush. More local municipalities need to follow this lead. But what is also needed is an organization to go to bat for them in Congress. The National League of Cities (NLC) is such an organization. It is the largest national organization representing municipal governments throughout the United States. Its mission is "to strengthen and promote cities as centers of opportunity, leadership, and governance." According to the NLC website,

    "Working in partnership with the 49 state municipal leagues, the National League of Cities serves as a resource to and an advocate for the more than 18,000 cities, villages, and towns it represents. More than 1,600 municipalities of all sizes pay dues to NLC and actively participate as leaders and voting members in the organization."

Since, the NLC engages in lobbying and grassroots campaigns in Washington, D.C. on behalf of local municipalities, it might well provide the resource we need to give our local governments a voice in Washington.

All Americans have a duty to advocate for impeachment proceedings now. They should join forces at the level of their local municipalities, and the NLC should represent them in Congress.

America is now in grave jeopardy of being besieged and forever lost. Impeaching Bush and Cheney now is not only good preventative medicine; it would be malpractice not to do so.

Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D. is a media ethicist and critic. His most recent book is The Last Days of Democracy: How Big Media and Power-Hungry Government are turning America into a Dictatorship. He is also first prize winner of the 2007 Project Censored Award.

THE DEFENSE WILL NOT REST

William Kuebler, a navy lieutenant with clippered hair and a round face, sat in his crisp summer whites at a heavy wooden table in the courtroom at Guantánamo Bay. To his left, at the other end of the table, was a young Saudi named Ghassan Abdullah al Sharbi, who was reputed to be one of the most dangerous terrorists on the planet. Al Sharbi was about to be tried for war crimes, and Kuebler was supposed to defend him.

The problem was, al Sharbi did not want to be defended. Kuebler knew that, of course: Al Sharbi had refused to even meet with him for the past five months, finally acquiescing only four days earlier and then only long enough to tell Kuebler to go away. And really, who could blame him?

By April 2006, al Sharbi had already been locked up for almost four years at Guantánamo, where the military had declared him an “enemy combatant.” President Bush had claimed the authority to continue holding him—along with hundreds of men already in custody, as well as any other foreign national he might decide was an enemy combatant—until the end of the war on terror, a sentence that worked out to somewhere between indefinite and forever. His cell was eight feet long and not quite seven feet wide, with a bunk and a sink and, on the floor, a hole for a toilet and a painted arrow pointing toward Mecca. The lights were kept on around the clock, and he was allowed out only in shackles to shower and exercise for a half hour a few days a week. Al Sharbi had also almost certainly been subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques,” some of which until recently were considered torture and, according to the State Department, still are when practiced by Iran, Libya, Turkey, or any of a dozen other countries.

The only thing that made al Sharbi exceptional was that he was one of only a few Guantánamo detainees who’d actually been charged with a crime, albeit a novel one in the annals of international-warfare law: conspiracy to commit, among other things, murder by an unprivileged belligerent—which basically means he thought about killing American soldiers he believed he was at war with. (He was never accused of killing, or even trying to kill, anyone.) He would be prosecuted by the men at the table on the other side of the room, an Air Force captain and a Navy Reserve lieutenant, who would be allowed to present their case using evidence the military considered so sensitive that al Sharbi would not be allowed to see it, let alone contest it. The judge, who was known in the proceedings as the presiding officer, was a navy captain. The jurors would also be military officers.

All things considered, al Sharbi preferred not to be defended by an American military officer. He wanted to speak for himself.

Bill Kuebler did not find that to be an unreasonable position.

Gonzales's Truthfulness Long Disputed

Claims of Misstatements to Shield Bush Stretch Back a Decade

Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, July 30, 2007; Page A01

When Alberto R. Gonzales was asked during his January 2005 confirmation hearing whether the Bush administration would ever allow wiretapping of U.S. citizens without warrants, he initially dismissed the query as a "hypothetical situation."

But when Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) pressed him further, Gonzales declared: "It is not the policy or the agenda of this president to authorize actions that would be in contravention of our criminal statutes."

By then, however, the government had been conducting a secret wiretapping program for more than three years without court oversight, possibly in conflict with federal intelligence laws. Gonzales had personally defended the effort in fierce internal debates. Feingold later called his testimony that day "misleading and deeply troubling."

The accusation that Gonzales has been deceptive in his public remarks has erupted this summer into a full-blown political crisis for the Bush administration, as the beleaguered attorney general struggles repeatedly to explain to Congress the removal of a batch of U.S. attorneys, the wiretapping program and other actions.

In each case, Gonzales has appeared to lawmakers to be shielding uncomfortable facts about the Bush administration's conduct on sensitive matters. A series of misstatements and omissions has come to define his tenure at the helm of the Justice Department and is the central reason that lawmakers in both parties have been trying for months to push him out of his job.

Yet controversy over Gonzales's candor about George W. Bush's conduct or policies has actually dogged him for more than a decade, since he worked for Bush in Texas.

Whether Gonzales has deliberately told untruths or is merely hampered by his memory has been the subject of intense debate among members of Congress, legal scholars and others who have watched him over the years. Some regard his verbal difficulties as a strategic ploy on behalf of a president to whom he owes his career; others see a public official overwhelmed by the magnitude of his responsibilities.

Administration officials say Gonzales's enemies are distorting his words for political gain. The Justice Department has portrayed the criticism as unavoidable and a matter of routine misunderstanding, provoked by the attorney general's presence at a "friction point between the executive branch and Congress when it comes to national security policy," as spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said Friday.

Gonzales told senators earlier this year that allegations that he had been untruthful "have been personally very painful to me." But Gonzales's critics on and off Capitol Hill say he has had trouble with the truth for more than a decade, pointing to a controversy over Gonzales's account of why Bush was excused from jury duty in 1996 while serving as the governor of Texas.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), who joined other Democrats last week in calling for an inquiry into possible perjury by Gonzales, said Friday that "most public servants -- Democratic or Republican, conservative, moderate or liberal -- seem to want to try to tell the truth. . . . With Gonzales, whatever answer fits he will tell, whether it's true or not. It almost seems pathological."

Over the past 2 1/2 years, lawmakers have accused Gonzales of dissembling on many topics, including civil liberties abuses under the USA Patriot Act and his role in reviewing aggressive interrogation tactics. After a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in February 2006, Gonzales sent the panel a six-page, single-spaced letter to "clarify" six major points of testimony, including his erroneous claim that the Justice Department had never undertaken a legal analysis of domestic wiretapping.

But scrutiny of Gonzales increased dramatically this year as a result of Democrats' aggressive investigations into the Justice Department's firings of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006. Gonzales has particularly come under fire for his shifting explanations of his role in the dismissals and for his statements that he could not recall a host of details about the firings.

U.S. vehicles rank bottom in world fuel efficiency

By Tom Doggett

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States ranks at the bottom of industrialized countries in vehicle fuel-economy standards, but would jump far up the list if legislation to boost mileage requirements clears Congress and is signed into law, according to a report released on Monday.

The report comes as the House of Representatives will debate energy legislation this week, and some lawmakers want to tack on language to significantly increase the miles American cars and trucks travel on a gallon a gasoline.

U.S. fuel-efficiency requirements for passenger cars have been stuck at 27.5 miles per gallon since 1985, while the standard for pickups, minivans and other light trucks will increase from 20.7 mpg in 2004 to 24 mpg in 2011.

That puts the United States behind Canada, South Korea, Australia, China, Europe Union and Japan in vehicle fuel economy, according to the report from the International Council on Clean Transportation. A copy of the report was obtained by Reuters.

The group is made up of transportation and air-quality experts from around the world that promote fuel-efficient vehicles. Cars and trucks that burn less gasoline would also spew fewer carbon dioxide emissions linked to global warming.

"We're weakest in the world, and therefore we use more gas and we emit more carbon dioxide emissions," said Drew Kodjak, the report's co-author and executive director of the group.

The Senate earlier this year passed a bill raising America's car and light truck requirements to 35 mpg by 2020.

If the House of Representatives adopted the Senate's language, the United States would surpass Canada, Australia, South Korea and even California's strong passenger vehicle fuel standards, according to the report.

Kodjak said current technology could increase the fuel efficiency of U.S. vehicles without compromising their size or safety

Cheney Says He Is A ‘Unique Creature,’

Refuses To Say He Is Part Of Executive Branch

cheney030905.jpgIn June, House investigators revealed that Vice President Dick Cheney had exempted his office from an executive order order designed to safeguard classified national security information by claiming that the Office of the Vice President is not an “entity within the executive branch.”

After Congressional Democrats called his bluff by threatening to withhold funding from his office, the White House was forced to roll back their rhetoric, claiming “that the rationale had been the view of the vice president’s lawyers, not Cheney himself.”

But in an interview with CBS News’ Mark Knoller today, Cheney refused to say he was a member of the executive branch:

Mark Knoller: Are you part of the executive branch, sir?

Vice President Cheney: Well, the job of Vice President is an interesting one, because you have a foot in both the executive and the legislative branch. Obviously, I have an office in the West Wing of the White House, I am an adviser to the president, I sit as a member of the National Security Council. At the same time, under the constitution, I have legislative responsibilities. I’m actually paid by the Senate, not by the executive. […]

KNOLLER: But you are principally a part of the executive branch, are you not?

CHENEY: Well, I suppose you could argue it either way. The fact is I do work in both branches.

Cheney conceded that he was part of the executive branch during the two hours and five minutes he served as acting President two weeks ago while Bush was in surgery. Throughout the entire interview, however, he refused to say whether or not the Office of the Vice President itself was classified as part of the executive branch.

Cheney has been happy to treat the Office of the Vice President as part of the executive branch when it suits his political purposes:

- In 2001, the White House argued that a probe into Cheney’s energy task force “would unconstitutionally interfere with the functioning of the executive branch.”

- Cheney himself said that the probe concerned “meetings in the Executive Branch between the Vice President and other individuals.”

- On April 9, 2003, Cheney lauded a recent court ruling, stating, “I think it restored some of the legitimate authority of the executive branch, the president and the vice president, to be able to conduct their business.”

Now that the political tempest over Cheney’s exemption of his office has subsided a bit, the Vice President is back to claiming he is a branch of government all to himself — or as he says it, “a unique creature” in constitutional government.

The full interview can be heard here.

Half of Iraq "In Absolute Poverty"


Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

07/30/07 "
Al Jazeera" -- -- Up to eight million Iraqis require immediate emergency aid, with nearly half of the population living in "absolute poverty", according to a report by Oxfam and a coalition of Iraqi groups.

About four million people are lacking food and "in dire need of different types of humanitarian assistance", said the report, released in Amman on Monday.

"Iraqis are suffering from a growing lack of food, shelter, water and sanitation, health care, education, and employment," said the report, compiled by Oxfam and the NGO Co-ordination Committee in Iraq (NCCI).

The report also says two million people within the country are currently displaced, while more than two million are refugees.

Most of those refugees have fled to Jordan and Syria.

'Grim picture'

Said Arikit, a spokesman for the UN mission in Iraq, told Al Jazeera the report painted a "grim picture".

"Many of the figures and percentages in the report were actually derived from UN sources… so we concur with the findings," he said.

"The government of Iraq is definitely the authority in Iraq and it bears responsibility for the welfare of its people."

Iraqi services have been left in crisis as most of those seeking refuge are professionals, according to the report.

"The 'brain drain' that Iraq is experiencing is further stretching already inadequate public services, as thousands of medical staff, teachers, water engineers, and other professionals are forced to leave the country," it said.

The entry of Iraqi refugees to neighbouring countries has placed a growing strain on health, education and social services in the two countries.

Ration crisis

Only 60 per cent of the four million people who depend on food assistance have access to rations from the government-run public distribution system, down from 96 per cent in 2004, the report said.

The number of Iraqis without access to adequate water supplies has risen from 50 per cent to 70 per cent since 2003.

The lack of effective sanitation was also highlighted by the joint report, which said 80 per cent of people in Iraq did not have safe access.

The report said children were the hardest hit by the fall in living standards, stating child malnutrition rates have risen from 19 per cent before the US-led invasion in 2003 to 28 percent currently.

"Despite the constraints imposed by the government of Iraq, the UN and the international donors can do more to deliver humanitarian assistance to reduce unnecessary suffering," the report said.

One recommendation called for the government of Nuri al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister, to decentralise the distribution of aid to local authorities, and make it easier for civil society organisations to operate.

Deaths fall

Meanwhile in Iraq, officials from the US military say they have seen a drop in US troop deaths in July.

In April, the number of US soldiers who died was 104, increased sharply in May when 126 servicemen died, and decreased slightly with 101 troops dead in June.

For the month of July, at least 69 US soldiers have died, about half the casualties in May.

Iraq's police say the number of civilian deaths also decreased by 36 per cent, from an estimated high of 1,900 in May to 1,342 in June.

General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, said: "The sheikhs and the tribes and the leaders have banded together and made a decision to oppose al-Qaeda and that has resulted in a substantially improved security situation."

Despite what appears to be at least a temporary let-up in both military and civilian deaths, many say there will be no security without a stable Iraqi government.

U.S. drops Baghdad electricity reports


The daily length of time that residents have power has dropped. The figure is considered a key indicator of quality of life.

By Noam N. Levey and Alexandra Zavis
Times Staff Writers

07/30/07 "
LA Times" -- July 27, 2007 --- WASHINGTON — As the Bush administration struggles to convince lawmakers that its Iraq war strategy is working, it has stopped reporting to Congress a key quality-of-life indicator in Baghdad: how long the power stays on.

Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week that Baghdad residents could count on only "an hour or two a day" of electricity. That's down from an average of five to six hours a day earlier this year.

But that piece of data has not been sent to lawmakers for months because the State Department, which prepares a weekly "status report" for Congress on conditions in Iraq, stopped estimating in May how many hours of electricity Baghdad residents typically receive each day.

Instead, the department now reports on the electricity generated nationwide, a measurement that does not indicate how much power Iraqis in Baghdad or elsewhere actually receive.

The change, a State Department spokesman said, reflects a technical decision by reconstruction officials in Baghdad who are scaling back efforts to estimate electricity consumption as they wind down U.S. involvement in rebuilding Iraq's power grid.

Department officials said the new approach was more accurate than the previous estimates, which they said had been very rough and had failed to reflect wide variations across Baghdad and the country.

"Nothing is being hidden. There is no ulterior motive," said David Foley, the department's Middle East spokesman. "We are continuing to provide detailed information and have been completely transparent."

The State Department's new method shows that the national electricity supply is 4% lower than a year ago, according to the July 11 report.

The reporting change has triggered criticism that the administration is disclosing less information at the same time President Bush is facing off against Congress over how much progress is being made in Iraq. Bush has been working for months to show that the troop buildup he announced in January is stabilizing the country.

"It's unfortunate," said Jason H. Campbell, a senior research assistant at the Brookings Institution who has been tracking quality-of-life measurements in Iraq since 2003. "What makes this metric even worth tracking is you want to see what's happening to the average Iraqi."

Campbell said the new reporting method made it impossible to know what the power situation was in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq.

Col. Mike Moon, who oversees the Army Corps of Engineers' electricity reconstruction efforts in Iraq, said he thought the change was a mistake. The total amount of electricity being generated in Iraq makes no difference to the individual who has no electricity for his air conditioner, Moon said.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who sharply questioned Crocker about electricity during a recent Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, sent a letter to the State Department last week complaining about the new measurement. She said she was concerned the White House was trying to obscure the deteriorating situation in Baghdad, the focus of Bush's "surge" of 30,000 additional troops.

"The president continues to keep information away from the American people and the Congress," said Boxer, who advocates withdrawing troops. "It's obvious that he wants to paint a rosy picture."

State Department officials in Baghdad and Washington said the new method was not an attempt to hide information. They noted that Crocker was candid about the electricity situation when he testified to lawmakers last week.

Iraq's electricity supply has received less attention than other national indicators as debate over the president's surge has intensified in Washington.

The administration's July progress report focused on 18 benchmarks of Iraqi government progress toward political reconciliation among ethnic and religious communities.

However, the reliability of the electricity supply has long been seen by Iraqis as a key indicator of the success of the U.S. enterprise.

Crocker told CBS News this month that electricity was "more important to the average Iraqi than all 18 benchmarks rolled up into one."

In the spring, the State Department reported that Baghdad residents were typically receiving up to six hours of electricity a day. In the rest of the country, Iraqis could count on 10 or 11 hours.

But the situation has deteriorated substantially as stifling heat has set in. Temperatures in Baghdad are now reaching above 110.

U.S. officials say that they have made progress and that the persistent electricity shortages partly reflect growing demand as Iraqis buy more air conditioners, refrigerators and other appliances.

Continuing instability is also a factor, U.S. officials acknowledge.

"The main reasons have to do with continued attacks by insurgents against electrical transmission lines and against fuel pipelines that provide the energy source that you need to generate electricity," Crocker told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Those problems have been compounded by the slow pace of rebuilding a power system that had been deteriorating for years before the U.S. invasion, said Moon of the Army Corps of Engineers.

For many on Capitol Hill, the pace of progress is increasingly frustrating. "Here we are in the fifth year, and we simply have not greatly improved the quality of life," said Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), who has called on the president to draw up a plan for a withdrawal. "It's very troubling."

Monday, July 30, 2007

Prediction -- False Flag operartion this week.

Well it has to happen very soon. The big catastrophe that will give King George the first. This are getting so bad now for the administration that it will have to be very soon. I don't know what it will be, a staged military attack to pull us completely into a war with IRAN, a staged terrorist attack here in the states or something else. But on thing is for sure it will happen very soon.

Is the Next False Flag Attack on US Soil Near?

Andrew Johnson (ad.johnson@ntlworld.com), July 28th 2007

I write this piece having some feelings of guilt, which may seem silly or strange, but that is how I feel.

I was, on July 26th, scheduled to chat with a man called Ambrose Lane on a show called "We Ourselves", which goes out on a channel called “XM Channel 169 - The Power” (http://www.xmradio.com/onxm/channelpage.xmc?ch=169). Ambrose has other unrelated shows on WPFW a Pacifica station covering the Washington D. C. metro area as far north as Bailtimore and as far south as Richmond VA. Ambrrose's shows are archived at http://www.weourselves.org/show/index.html.

However, the call for me to go on the show on July 26th, at 8pm (BST), never came - and I wondered why. The following day, I found out. The Network "XM Channel 169" which hosted the "We Ourselves" show had cancelled it and fired the host (Ambrose Lane). This came as a shock to everyone and, as far as I know at the time of writing, XM have given Ambrose Lane no credible reason for their sudden decision.

In this article, I have tried to put together the main points that I was hoping to have discussed in the interview.

On the show, I was due to be speaking with Dr Judy Wood as well - about the latest evidence she has found which shows that an advanced but unknown type of Directed Energy Weapon was used to destroy most of the WTC complex (http://www.drjudywood.com/articles/DEW/StarWarsBeam1.html). Over the last few months and weeks I have been in regular communication with Dr Judy Wood regarding her ongoing study and presentation of this evidence. There are a number of reasons for counting this as the strongest hypothesis - it explains the most evidence, such as:

You can see all the evidence laid out at http://www.drjudywood.com.

Following a number of stories that have recently appeared in the Press and on the Web, and following discussions with a mutual friend of Dr Wood and myself, Frank Ferguson, we had developed a concern that this weapon (because we accept it exists) could be used again in the next False Flag operation - perhaps to "fake" the "threatened" Al Qaida Nuclear attack - on US soil in, shall we say, a very significant place – such as Washington DC.

Our concerns were amplified in recent days, as we have heard more and more “terror talk” from the likes of Michael Chertoff e.g.

http://www.newsday.com/news/printedition/nation/chi-070710chertoff,0,6464324,print.story

in which he is quoted as saying:

"I believe we are entering a period this summer of increased risk…Summertime seems to be appealing to them," he said of al-Qaeda. "We do worry that they are rebuilding their activities."

Also, Air Force Gen. Victor "Gene" Renuart has said:

(http://infowars.com/articles/terror/dhs_general_attack_could_happen_any_day.htm)

…that while the terrorism threat within the nation's boundaries has increased in the past year. He added, "Am I concerned that this will happen this summer, I have to be concerned that it could happen any day."

Additionally, on 19th July Paul Craig Roberts -- a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan was quoted as saying:

(http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Oldline_Republican_warns_somethings_in_works_0719.html)

"The administration figures themselves and prominent Republican propagandists ... are preparing us for another 9/11 event or series of events," he said. "You have to count on the fact that if al Qaeda is not going to do it, it is going to be orchestrated."

Added to these ominous statements, one of the main items we wished to discuss was an article that appeared in the Washington Post on 10 May 2007, entitled “Bush Changes Continuity Plan” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/09/AR2007050902719.html)

In this article it mentions:

“The prospect of a nuclear bomb being detonated in Washington without warning, whether smuggled in by terrorists or a foreign government, has been cited by many security analysts as a rising concern since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.”

towards the end of the article it says:

“White House's Homeland Security Council staff. [Frances Fargos] Townsend is to produce an implementation plan within 90 days. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff will continue to coordinate operations and activities, the directive said.”

An item of particular interest to me which has received no mainstream and little if any alternative media coverage (such as on Infowars.com), is contained in portions of a discussion that took place at the Vancouver 9/11 Truth Conference on June 24, 2007. This bizarre discussion was between Brigham Young University (BYU) Physics Professor, Steven E Jones and Dr William Deagle. In it, Dr Deagle stated that “22 US cities have been pre-wired with nukes.” They were also discussing the possibility of “another 9/11 type attack” and, Prof Jones was heard to say (about 30 minutes into the discussion):

(http://www.drjudywood.com/articles/transcript/Jones_Deagle_transcript.html)

“One other exercise is that we have learned that with evidence we can learn a great deal so if there is an event and - we won’t even name a city - lets just say an American city - blamed on Iran, certainly there will be 9/11 truthers nearby and I hope they realize the importance of collecting a sample [right] whether that’s dust … [also radiation] right - having a radiation detector handy if you’ve got one – whether it’s Geiger - if you send me a sample I’d be glad to look at it and I’m sure you would too, Bill . So, if there is such an event the point – the reason I’m emphasizing this is because it’s a bit of a warning if there are perpetrators thinking about – such another 9/11 they’d better think twice because 9/11 truthers are out there – we’re watching. We will get samples – we know what to do – evidence-based studies – we can do very quickly and we can put an end to lies - on the next 9/11 if it [inaudible] … which I hope we’ll avoid…

(the page above links to the Google-video of the discussion. An audio-only copy can be heard here http://tinyurl.com/29xtwz). These really are extraordinary statements to come from two supposedly well-qualified scientists.

There seems to have been a concerted and probably co-ordinated effort on the Internet to either attack Dr Wood herself, or divert attention from the data she presents. For example, the new association called Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth (http://www.ae911truth.org/) has not discussed or mentioned in any detail Prof Wood’s extensive study – even though Prof Wood herself has degrees in engineering subjects.

Ancillary to the study of the WTC photographic evidence that Dr Wood has studied, it has been found that a number of companies that NIST contracted to contribute to the NCSTAR 1 report have links to Directed Energy research or products. One example is ARA (Applied Research Associates – www.ara.com) who produced the plane crash animations. They also are a defence contractor and Silver Level Founding Sponsors of the Directed Energy Professional Society (DEPS) - see http://www.deps.org/DEPSpages/sponsors.html)

As a note to this area of study, former transport secretary, Norman Mineta, is frequently quoted as someone who tried to highlight anomalies in the story of VP Cheney’s account of what happened with the supposed plane which hit the Pentagon. (Mineta stated to Lee Hamilton, of the 9/11 Commission, that Mineta was in a bunker when Cheney apparently declined to give a shoot down order for a plane that was about to crash into the Pentagon – see http://911research.wtc7.net/disinfo/alibis/cheney.html) Note that if the events went as Mineta described, the fellow coming and going from the room wouldn't have had time to leave the room and return. If the "plane" were actually travelling at 550 mph, 10 miles is covered in about 1 minute. Part of that time would be spent in the dialog, "do the orders still stand?" So, it would seem unlikely that this fellow would have time to even leave the room and return for the next dialog. It turns out that Mineta himself was former Vice President of Lockheed Martin (see http://www.whitehouse.gov/government/mineta-bio.html) – one of the world’s biggest defence contractors and also one the primary contractors in the Airborne Laser Project which is described as “America's first directed energy weapon system”

(see http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/2000/news_release_000408a.html )

We therefore seem to have a range of evidence that a directed energy weapon was used as the primary method of destruction a number of the WTC buildings. We have also seen the links between certain people who would seem to support “9/11 truth” and directed energy contracts or projects.

We have seen a number of statements suggesting that a large-scale or nuclear attack on the USA by Al Qaida is imminent. Within certain quarters of the 9/11 truth movement, we have seen the suggestion that “mini-nukes” were used in the destruction on the WTC and that US cities already have them “pre-wired”.

If we posit that the mini-nuke idea is another “cover story” for what happened on 9/11, and we consider that the Directed Energy Weapon might be orbital, it would potentially allow the 9/11 perpetrators to fake a nuke attack on a target of their choice. The main point here is that any real nukes being moved by land, air or sea would probably be, at some point, detected if any of the current security systems actually function in any useful way. However, the Directed Energy Weapon cannot be detected by any of the usual land-based systems (and who would be looking for it anyway).

If the 9/11 perps have a plan similar to what I have suggested above, then it makes sense that they would try to shut down any discussion of ideas which may uncover it, and they would try to attack or discredit those involved in such discussion. I am therefore given to wonder, was this the motive behind Ambrose Lane’s show being cancelled on the very day on which these issues were due to be discussed?

There is, of course, the possibility that part or parts of this conjecture could be entirely wrong – I hope all of it is wrong actually. Weighed against the possibility that a false flag attack on US soil equalling or exceeding the scale of 9/11 will happen soon, am I, as the author of this article, prepared to be criticised for being unrealistically rash, extremist or plain silly in my conclusions? You bet your top, middle and bottom dollar I am.

Please forward this article to everyone who may take it seriously – as soon as possible.

The Iraq War is Illegal...Isn't it?

“Is the war in Iraq legal or not?”

Believe it or not, that seems to be a question that has lingered in the minds of many Americans over the last four and a half years. The answer is fairly easy to come across if one has the time to actually find, read, and comprehend public law. For the people who do not want to take the time to discover for themselves the answer about legality and also why we are in Iraq, pay close attention to the information that will follow. The details used in this article are not open to interpretation. They are facts. These facts do not represent right or left, Republican or Democrat, or conjecture and rhetoric.

Before we can investigate the legal justification for war with Iraq, we must first discover why Iraq became a focal point during our current president’s administration. After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 befell us, the reality of the threat we face and are vulnerable to in our modern world was heeded by many of our leaders and citizens. Action was promptly taken to try to eliminate any future possibilities of similar attacks. We invaded Afghanistan to remove the oppressive and terrorist-supporting regime – the Taliban - from power. This was an obvious move, considering their dealings with Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda.

At the same time, former United States policies were being re-examined.

The Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (H.R.4655) was one of the policies of the Clinton Administration and the 105th Congress that received special attention. This bill contained several explicit condemnations of the practices of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq and established “a program to support a transition to democracy in Iraq.” Section 3 of H.R.4655 states the following:

“It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.”

Supporting regime change in Iraq was the main purpose of this bill, but in Section 6 it goes on to say:

“…the Congress urges the President to call upon the United Nations to establish an international criminal tribunal for the purpose of indicting, prosecuting, and imprisoning Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi officials who are responsible for crimes against humanity, genocide, and other criminal violations of international law.”

This bill was passed by both Houses of Congress and signed into Public Law by President Clinton on October 31, 1998. On that very same day, Saddam Hussein ended all cooperation with the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), which was responsible for ensuring the Iraqi elimination of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile materials and programs. Just over two months prior to signing H.R.4655, President Clinton signed S.J.Res.54, which found the Iraqi Government “in unacceptable and material breach of its international obligations.” With these two bills – H.R.4655 and S.J.Res.54 – along with United Nations Security Council resolutions 678, 687, and 1441, the stage was set for action to be taken by the Bush Administration.

On November 29, 1990, the United Nations adopted Security Council Resolution 678 which (among other things) stated the following:

“The Security Council,

2. Authorizes Member States co-operating with the Government of Kuwait, unless Iraq on or before 15 January 1991 fully implements, as set forth in paragraph 1 above, the above-mentioned resolutions, to use all necessary means to uphold and implement resolution 660 (1990) and all subsequent relevant resolutions and to restore international peace and security in the area…” (emphasis added)

The deadline was not met by the Iraqi government and coalition forces were used to enforce the requests of the United Nations. On April 3, 1991, the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 687 which outlined a long list of measures the Iraqi government was required to comply with according to their registered membership in the United Nations. Resolution 687 also called for the cease-fire of all coalition members. The Security Council, on November 2, 2002, adopted Resolution 1441 which found Iraq to be “in material breach of its obligations under relevant resolutions, including resolution 687…” (emphasis added), thus nullifying the previous cease-fire by member nations of the coalition. This was specifically noted in Resolution 1441:

Recalling that in its resolution 687 (1991) the Council declared that a ceasefire would be based on acceptance by Iraq of the provisions of that resolution, including the obligations on Iraq contained therein,”

As a result of these three resolutions, the actions by the United States (our current war in Iraq) were legitimate according to the language adopted by the U.N. Security Council. Resolution 678 gave authorization “to use all necessary means” to ensure that all relevant resolutions subsequent to 660 were upheld by the Iraqi government. Resolution 1441 found Iraq to be in violation of 687, which means the member nations of the previous coalition had authority to uphold 687 by using “all necessary means”. When this resolution was breached, the cease-fire also became null and void.

Since we now had the authority to ensure Iraqi cooperation with United Nations’ demands and it was United States Public Law that regime change in Iraq was a stated national policy, and in light of the fact that our national security had just been egregiously violated in the previous year, President Bush and the 107th Congress took steps to enforce international law and implement United States policies against an oppressive dictator who repeatedly flaunted his irreverence to the rest of the international community.

International laws aside, let’s now explore the legality according to the Constitution of the United States of America.

“Article I, Section 8

The Congress shall have Power

11. To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water.

18. To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or officer thereof.”

These two clauses grant Congress the power to authorize the use of our Armed Forces and to create any necessary laws that describe how this authorization is to be implemented. When the 93rd Congress passed the War Powers Resolution (H.J.Res.542) on November 7, 1973, it was a constitutional act that was entirely acceptable under Article I, Section 8 - Clause 18 of our Constitution. The resolution outlined the authority the Congress is constitutionally obligated to uphold and defined specific circumstances in which our Armed Forces could be used, including an official declaration of war. Among the provisions, the following was stated:

SEC. 8. (a) Authority to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations wherein involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances shall not be inferred—
(1) from any provision of law (whether or not in effect before the date of the enactment of this joint resolution), including any provision contained in any appropriation Act, unless such provision specifically authorizes the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into such situations and stating that it is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of this joint resolution…” (emphasis added)

This authority absolutely does not circumvent constitutional law. It is in fact a power that the Congress is granted under the previously mentioned Clause 18. And just in case one was to misconstrue the meaning of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress clarified their purpose of this bill in the same section as above:

SEC. 8. (d) Nothing in this joint resolution--
(1) is intended to alter the constitutional authority of the Congress or of the President, or the provision of existing treaties; or
(2) shall be construed as granting any authority to the President with respect to the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations wherein involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances which authority he would not have had in the absence of this joint resolution.”

The president still does not have the authority to declare war. Our Congress retains the power to introduce our Armed Forces into conflict and any use of the Armed Forces without their expressed, written authorization (unless the United States is under armed attack) for a period of more than 60 days would violate the conditions of this resolution.

So, what does this have to do with the “illegal war” in Iraq?

On October 11, 2002, the 107th Congress of the United States passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (H.J.Res.114). In the introduction to this bill, the Congress gave twenty-three specific reasons for authorizing the use of our Armed Forces against Iraq. These reasons included - but were not limited to – the desire to enforce all relevant U.N. resolutions (in which some involved allowing weapons inspectors account for WMD materials and programs), Iraq’s continued aggression towards coalition forces (firing on them “thousands” of times), the Iraqi regime’s “brutal repression of its civilian population”, the assassination attempt on a former United States President, ties to terrorist organizations, and because it is in the best interest of our own national security to ensure “peace and security to the Persian Gulf region”.

The Congress also cited S.J.Res.54 and H.R.4655 – the two aforementioned Public Law bills from the Clinton Administration.

In section 3 of H.J.Res.114, the Congress specifically stated the following:

“(a) AUTHORIZATION- The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to--
(1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and
(2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.”

And in addition (also in section 3):

“(c) War Powers Resolution Requirements-
(1) SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION- Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.” (emphasis added)

Acting within the scope of the War Powers Resolution of 1973 and under consent of previously enforced United Nations Security Council resolutions, the Congress gave their constitutional authority to use the Armed Forces of the United States against Iraq. On October 16, 2002, the President signed what then became Public Law 107-243, which authorized the use of military force to ensure Iraqi compliance of international laws and treaties, and to enforce United States public laws and policies.

The rest, as they say, is history.

As stated at the beginning of this article, there is no basis for disputing this information. It is factual from top to bottom. There are no misinterpretations or fabrications, and there is no trickery or pretense. The texts of these resolutions and bills are an appropriate utilization of constitutional and international law. A failure to recognize the legality of our involvement in Iraq means one does not have the capacity to comprehend United States laws or international treaties. Being mired in ignorance and misinformation can no longer be an excuse if truth is what one seeks.

The Iraq war was legal, it is legal, and it will continue to be legal unless the Congress changes the law to stop it. When people use rhetoric such as, “Bush’s war”, “the illegal war of aggression”, or “Bush lied, people died”, one will now know that they are either ignorant, stupid, or both, or that it is a disgraceful attempt to gain or regain power or relevance in the political sphere. Most of the condemnation of our President concerning going to war with Iraq - including calls for impeachment, accusations of war crimes, calling his actions unconstitutional and unjustified, and the outright fabrication and leaking of information by congressmen, journalists, and intelligence officials – is based on deliberate lies and propaganda and in some cases may be borderline, or actual treason.

This would be the perfect time – a time when we are at war - to end the senseless ridicule of the Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces.


Service to Bush Now Trumps Service to Country

Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Kim Jong Il and now Supreme Allied Commander of the World, George W. Bush, all proud propagators of personality cults. Can it be true in 21st century America that our society has slipped into the depths of the type of almost comical dictatorship that we once reviled? Before we see the latest news lets just run down the dictator checklist to see how “The Decider” measures up:

  1. Myth of the rustic manly background? Check! All dictators must fabricate a background that screams manliness and hardship that serves as a cover for cowardice and privilege. For Bush it is the myth of the cowboy. When not wearing boots, jeans and a cowboy hat he is seen tottering around bowlegged with a case of ILS (Inflated Lat Syndrome: characterized by puffing the chest out and bowing the arms out to appear muscular but instead looking ridiculous). Although his Waco “ranch” boasts no horses, due to his fear of large animals, it is still supports the cowboy myth and helps to deflect questions about dodging the draft and being an elitist from Maine.
  2. Military Uniform? Got it! Who can forget the “Mission Accomplished Moment” aboard the Aircraft carrier! I remember it like it was yesterday, the brave chicken hawk strutting around the deck of a massive warship as if he himself had single handedly whooped the Taliban! However, to give him some credit it was the closest he ever got to a war… a few miles off the US east coast is closer than Texas!
  3. Supporters with cool names? Got those too! However, I think he could have been a little more creative here: Bush calls his supporters “Pioneers” while Mao called his “Young Pioneers”, but since the Mao group was exclusively for children and Bush’s group is for adults with the minds of children we’ll let it slide.
  4. Mood swings and mania? Cha-ching! Oh yeah! Freaking out in front of friends while wildly thumping your chest and screaming “I’m the President, I’m the President” is about as wild-eyed crazy as an aspiring dictator can be!
  5. Creating false threats and concocting new enemies to scare the masses? You bet your WMD’s Junior has this one nailed! And, in true dictatorial fashion, he has even managed to swap and switch enemies so fast that if they were women he’d be the envy of Hugh Hefner!
  6. Systematically destroying all rights in the name of security? Duh! Do we even have to get into this one?

Justice Dept. Lawyers Join Chorus Criticizing Gonzales

WASHINGTON, July 27 — Daniel J. Metcalfe, a lawyer who began his government career in the Nixon administration and retired from the Justice Department last winter, said morale at the department was worse under Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales than during Watergate.

John S. Koppel, who continues to work at the department as a civil appellate lawyer in Washington, wrote this month that he was “ashamed” of the department and that if Mr. Gonzales told the truth in recent Congressional testimony, “he has been derelict in the performance of his duties and is not up to the job.”

Even though they worry that it may hinder their career prospects, a few current and former Justice Department lawyers have begun to add to the chorus of Mr. Gonzales’s critics who say that the furor over his performance as attorney general, and questions about his truthfulness under oath, could do lasting damage to the department’s work.

It is a view that is widely shared on Capitol Hill, even more so after the grueling questioning of Mr. Gonzales on Tuesday at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at which his credibility was repeatedly challenged. After the hearing, several Democratic senators called for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate whether he committed perjury on Tuesday.

Lawmakers and senior Congressional aides from both parties said Mr. Gonzales had lost almost all ability to influence the administration’s agenda in Congress, denying the president what should be an important voice on issues including terrorism, immigration and civil rights.

“The attorney general’s loss of credibility not only harms him personally, it diminishes the Justice Department and undermines the president’s ability to move some of his most sensitive legal issues through the Hill because the trust factor doesn’t exist with his attorney general,” said Representative Adam H. Putnam of Florida, a Gonzales critic who is chairman of the House Republican Conference.

“It is more than a distraction,” Mr. Putnam said, “and the consequences to the president are far greater than any one person.”

Mr. Gonzales is expected to be sidelined from any significant part in the debate on Capitol Hill this summer over legislation eagerly sought by the administration to update terrorist surveillance laws.

The Justice Department has insisted that its work goes on largely undisturbed. At this week’s Senate hearing, Mr. Gonzales said, “Morale in the department, I think, is good if you look at the output.” He said that “the wonderful career people at the department continue doing their job day in and day out, and justice is being served in this country.”

While administration officials and close allies acknowledge that some of President Bush’s aides may be eager to see Mr. Gonzales go, they say the attorney general continues to have the confidence of Mr. Bush, who has repeatedly shown that he resists making personnel decisions under political pressure.

In separate interviews, White House officials used virtually the same words in describing why Mr. Gonzales might remain at the department indefinitely: “Only one person matters” — the president.

Still, Mr. Gonzales’s policy opponents within the White House have used his perceived weakness as an opening to push proposals that he might otherwise have gone to the president to block. One person close to the administration recently attributed a new push to close the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in part to the bureaucratic weakness of Mr. Gonzales, who has opposed the move.

Notwithstanding Mr. Gonzales’s assurances, other department officials said that, by several measurements, the work of the department has been severely disrupted by his troubles, especially in recent months. There are vacancies through the senior ranks.

The department’s No. 2 official, Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty, has resigned and is expected to leave next week; his departure is widely assumed to have resulted from the outcry over his role in the dismissal of nine United States attorneys last year. A permanent successor has not been named.

William W. Mercer, the nominee for the department’s third-highest job, associate attorney general, withdrew his name from consideration for the job last month after determining that his nomination would almost certainly be rejected by the Senate, and also because of his role in the firing of the prosecutors. There is no indication that the administration is close to finding another candidate.

Among the 93 United States attorneys, who serve as the chief federal prosecutors for their regions, there are 24 vacancies. The White House has announced nominations for only six of those offices, which means that several of the jobs may remain unfilled for the rest of the Bush administration.

Mr. Metcalfe, the retired lawyer who was the founding director of the department’s Office of Information and Privacy, said in an interview that the questions over Mr. Gonzales’s competence and credibility had shattered morale at the department, especially after the attorney general’s testimony this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“When you have an attorney general with his personal integrity and credibility so repeatedly reduced to shreds, not to mention in so public a forum, that’s just antithetical to the very nature of the Justice Department and its role in upholding the rule of law,” Mr. Metcalfe said. “This is the Department of Justice and the attorney general, where absolute integrity is Job 1.”

In an opinion article that was first published this month in The Denver Post and has since been circulated in the department, Mr. Koppel, the civil appellate lawyer, said that under the Bush administration the department had been “thoroughly politicized in a manner that is inappropriate, unethical and indeed unlawful.”

Mr. Koppel, who has been with the department since 1981, wrote that his decision to issue such a public criticism of Mr. Gonzales and the department “subjects me to a substantial risk of unlawful reprisal from extremely ruthless people who have repeatedly taken such action in the past.”

“But I am confident,” Mr. Koppel continued, “that I am speaking on behalf of countless thousands of honorable public servants, at Justice and elsewhere.”

Council on Foreign Relations Pushes for Three Regional Currencies in the World

Create a global lending institution that weakens the economy of wealthy nations, enslaves Third World countries, and prevents those nations from rising out of their impoverished conditions. Blame that institution for creating a plethora of global financial crises over the past fifty years. Then offer a solution of consolidating all of the economies of the world into three different regions, each of which will use one type of currency.

Were that scenario to be played out in the latest issue of Mad Magazine, it might be good for a laugh or two. But when it is published by the most influential foreign policy journal in the world, it is cause for more than a little concern. Foreign Affairs is considered by many to be the "playbook" that our nation's leaders use in creating foreign policy. It unabashedly promotes the concept of "globalism," which is a softball term used to describe a utopian one world government. Regardless of the political party in power, our government has worked to implement the journal's agenda for many years.

There we have it. Since those governments have become more socialist in nature, they must be emancipated from the restraints a hard metal currency would place on them from spending us all into paradise.

What does Steil propose as an alternative solution? He writes: "Since economic development outside the process of globalization is no longer possible, countries should abandon monetary nationalism. Governments should replace national currencies with the dollar or the euro or, in the case of Asia, collaborate to produce a new multinational currency over a comparably large and economically diversified area."

But didn't he just called the dollar an absurdity that is supported only by faith? Why the supposed turnaround? Who will control the dollar in this scenario, the IMF or the United States government? Were Steil and his cohorts honest, they could simply say, "we created the problem, now we're offering the solution ... and the American taxpayers have and will pay for both.”

Most readers of Foreign Affairs believe they are getting the "cream of the crop" when it comes to global developments. What they don't realize is that the problem to which Steil presents this preposterous solution was caused exclusively by members of the CFR. Their members have run the Federal Reserve System for decades. And it was CFR member Harry Dexter White who served as the first Executive Director for the United States at the IMF. British Fabian Socialist John Maynard Keynes was the mastermind behind the conference at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, where the IMF and World Bank came into existence in 1944.

The stated goal of the two newly created institutions was to lend money to nations who were torn apart by war or other calamities. That is exactly what they did and have done. After CFR member Richard Nixon signed an executive order abolishing the gold standard in America's currency in 1971, it gave the Fed a virtually unlimited supply of money to lend and an unlimited amount of power over the hapless nations who are suckered into borrowing.

Always remember the golden rule: "Whoever has the gold makes the rules." This solution is nothing more than a piecemeal approach to a global economy operated by the United Nations.

History shows that only when an economy uses a commodity, such as gold, to back up its currency, is it ever successful. Americans are not rich; they are incredibly broke and they don't even realize it. It is not the wisdom of men that made America great; it was the application of wisdom gleaned from thousands of years of history that made it prosperous and free.

America's role as the world's policeman and the world's welfare provider has come at a great expense to her citizens. Let's try non-intervention and sound economics and see how that works for a change.

Benn Steil, the CFR's Director of International Economics, argues that the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) practice of "lending" money to poor countries causes them to give up a portion of their sovereignty. The IMF is funded by the wealthy nations of the world, the U.S., Britain and Japan, to name a few.

However, since the dollar is the currency of choice for much of the world, the lion's share of funds in the IMF and World Bank are made up of U.S. dollars. The United States, having the fortunate position of possessing the money that the rest of the world has faith in, will then sell government bonds to foreign governments that have just borrowed from the IMF to offset the deficit spending (such as funding the IMF) that Congress approves. To use an analogy, it is like buying a suit from a tailor and then receiving that same money back the next day in the form of a loan. Because of this process, he rightly calls the dollar an absurdity supported only by blind (or stupid) faith in man's wisdom.

The logical answer from the perspective of a free marketer is for the U.S. to return to the gold standard, which is what gave the dollar a worldwide prominence in the first place. Not according to Steil, who says: "A revived gold standard is out of the question. In the nineteenth century, governments spent less than ten percent of national income in a given year. Today, they routinely spend half or more, and so they would never subordinate spending to the stringent requirements of sustaining a commodity-based monetary system."