“A war crime of the first magnitude”
Contributors (otherwise known as "The Aerheads"):
Walldon in New Jersey ----
Marketingace in Pennsylvania ---- Simoneyezd in Ontario
ChiTom in Illinois -- KISSweb in Illinois -- HoundDog in Kansas City -- The Binger in Ohio
Biden noted Delaware was a border state and "a slave state that fought beside the North. That's only because we couldn't figure out how to get to the South - there were a couple of other states in the way."I guess he doesn't think he's going to be able to appeal to the netroots crowd. He's right.
The United States has the highest prison population rate in the world, some 701 per 100,000 of the national population, followed by Russia (606), Belarus (554), Kazakhstan and the U.S. Virgin Islands (both 522), the Cayman Islands (501), Turkmenistan (489), Belize (459), Bermuda (447), Suriname (437), Dominica (420) and Ukraine (415). However, more than three fifths of countries (60.5%) have rates below 150 per 100,000. (The United Kingdom’s rate of 141 per 100,000 of the national population places it above the midpoint in the World List; it is the highest among countries of the European Union.)
Upon his release from prison, Kosciuszko came back to the United States and began a lasting friendship with Jefferson, who called him his “most intimate and beloved friend.” In 1798, he wrote a will leaving his American estate to Jefferson, urging him to use it to purchase the freedom and education of his [Jefferson’s] own slaves, or, as Jefferson interpreted it, of “as many of the children as bondage in this country as it should be adequate to.” For this émigré, as for so many who would come later, the meaning of freedom included a passion for universal justice. In his Act of Insurrection at the outset of the 1794 uprising, Kosciuszko wrote of the people’s “sacred rights to liberty, personal security and property.” Note the term property here. For Jefferson’s “pursuit of happiness” Kosciuszko substituted Locke’s notion of property rights. But it’s not what you think: The goal was not simply to protect “private property” from public interference (as it is taught today), but rather to secure productive property for all as a right to citizenship. It’s easy to forget the difference when huge agglomerations of personal wealth are defended as a sacred right of liberty, as they are today with the gap between the rich and poor in America greater than it’s been in almost one hundred years. Kosciuszko—General Kosciuszko, from tip to toe a military man—was talking about investing the people with productive resources. Yes, freedom had to be won on the battlefield, but if freedom did not lead to political, social and economic opportunity for all citizens, freedom’s meaning could not be truly realized.
Think about it: A Polish general from the old world, infusing the new nation with what would become the marrow of the American Dream. Small wonder that Kosciuszko was often called a “hero of two worlds” or that just 25 years ago, in 1981, when Polish farmers, supported by the Roman Catholic Church, won the right to form an independent union, sending shockwaves across the Communist empire, Kosciuszko’s name was heard in the victory speeches—his egalitarian soul present at yet another revolution for human freedom and equal rights.
AMMAN, Jordan - President Bush said Thursday the United States will speed a turnover of security responsibility to Iraqi forces but assured Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that Washington is not looking for a "graceful exit" from a war well into its fourth violent year.
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) -- President Bush's high-stakes summit with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was put off Wednesday after public disclosure of U.S. doubts about his capacity to control sectarian warfare.
The White House said the two leaders would meet Thursday.
The postponement was announced shortly after Bush arrived here for talks with Jordan's King Abdullah II and al-Maliki. Bush's meeting with the king was to proceed on schedule.
The Canadian parliament has recognised Quebecers as a nation within a united Canada after backing a proposal that had already led to the resignation of one minister in the minority Conservative.
The House of Commons, voted 266-16 on Monday in favour of the motion which the government sees as a way of placating French-speaking separatists.
But critics said the proposal could actually bolster the pro-independence opposition.
Friedman: …To have a proper civil war you need to have two sides —-you have about thirty sides—It's beyond a civil war there.
Vieira: So what does that mean in terms of our role there then, Thom?
Friedman: Um, Obviously when you're dealing now with something broken up into so many little pieces–it's hard to believe that anything other than re-occupying the country–um, and establishing the very coherent order we failed to do from the beginning is really the only serious option left.
Vieira (stunned) But, is that really a serious option—to reoccupy the country?
Friedman: Well, I'm simply saying if you actually want to actually bring order there—the idea that you're going to train the Iraqi army and police to this kind of fragmented society is ludicrous. Who's training the insurgents? Nobody is training them and they seem to be doing just fine. This is not about the way–it's about the will. Do you have a will to be a country? If you don't have that then there's not much training is going to do..
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A federal judge in Los Angeles, who previously struck down sections of the Patriot Act, has ruled that provisions of an anti-terrorism order issued by President George W. Bush after September 11 are unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins found that part of the law, signed by Bush on September 23, 2001 and used to freeze the assets of terrorist organizations, violated the Constitution because it put no apparent limit on the president's powers to place groups on that list.
Ruling in a lawsuit brought against the Treasury Department in 2005 by the Center for Constitutional Rights, Collins also threw out a portion of Bush's order which applied the law to those who associate with the designated organizations.
"This law gave the president unfettered authority to create blacklists, an authority president Bush then used to empower the Secretary of the Treasury to impose guilt by association," said David Cole of the Washington-based Center for Constitutional Rights.
"The court's decision confirms that even in fighting terror, unchecked executive authority and trampling on fundamental freedoms is not a permissible option," he said in a statement
Senior Pakistani officials are urging Nato countries to accept the Taliban and work towards a new coalition government in Kabul that might exclude the Afghan president Hamid Karzai.
Pakistan's foreign minister, Khurshid Kasuri, has said in private briefings to foreign ministers of some Nato member states that the Taliban are winning the war in Afghanistan and Nato is bound to fail. He has advised against sending more troops.
Western ministers have been stunned. "Kasuri is basically asking Nato to surrender and to negotiate with the Taliban," said one Western official who met the minister recently.
A Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives
November 14th, 2006
To My Conservative Brothers and Sisters,
I know you are dismayed and disheartened at the results of last week's election. You're worried that the country is heading toward a very bad place you don't want it to go. Your 12-year Republican Revolution has ended with so much yet to do, so many promises left unfulfilled. You are in a funk, and I understand.
Well, cheer up, my friends! Do not despair. I have good news for you. I, and the millions of others who are now in charge with our Democratic Congress, have a pledge we would like to make to you, a list of promises that we offer you because we value you as our fellow Americans. You deserve to know what we plan to do with our newfound power -- and, to be specific, what we will do to you and for you.
Thus, here is our Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives:
Dear Conservatives and Republicans,
I, and my fellow signatories, hereby make these promises to you:
1. We will always respect you for your conservative beliefs. We will never, ever, call you "unpatriotic" simply because you disagree with us. In fact, we encourage you to dissent and disagree with us.
2. We will let you marry whomever you want, even when some of us consider your behavior to be "different" or "immoral." Who you marry is none of our business. Love and be in love -- it's a wonderful gift.
3. We will not spend your grandchildren's money on our personal whims or to enrich our friends. It's your checkbook, too, and we will balance it for you.
4. When we soon bring our sons and daughters home from Iraq, we will bring your sons and daughters home, too. They deserve to live. We promise never to send your kids off to war based on either a mistake or a lie.
5. When we make America the last Western democracy to have universal health coverage, and all Americans are able to get help when they fall ill, we promise that you, too, will be able to see a doctor, regardless of your ability to pay. And when stem cell research delivers treatments and cures for diseases that affect you and your loved ones, we'll make sure those advances are available to you and your family, too.
6. Even though you have opposed environmental regulation, when we clean up our air and water, we, the Democratic majority, will let you, too, breathe the cleaner air and drink the purer water.
7. Should a mass murderer ever kill 3,000 people on our soil, we will devote every single resource to tracking him down and bringing him to justice. Immediately. We will protect you.
8. We will never stick our nose in your bedroom or your womb. What you do there as consenting adults is your business. We will continue to count your age from the moment you were born, not the moment you were conceived.
9. We will not take away your hunting guns. If you need an automatic weapon or a handgun to kill a bird or a deer, then you really aren't much of a hunter and you should, perhaps, pick up another sport. We will make our streets and schools as free as we can from these weapons and we will protect your children just as we would protect ours.
10. When we raise the minimum wage, we will pay you -- and your employees -- that new wage, too. When women are finally paid what men make, we will pay conservative women that wage, too.
11. We will respect your religious beliefs, even when you don't put those beliefs into practice. In fact, we will actively seek to promote your most radical religious beliefs ("Blessed are the poor," "Blessed are the peacemakers," "Love your enemies," "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God," and "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."). We will let people in other countries know that God doesn't just bless America, he blesses everyone. We will discourage religious intolerance and fanaticism -- starting with the fanaticism here at home, thus setting a good example for the rest of the world.
12. We will not tolerate politicians who are corrupt and who are bought and paid for by the rich. We will go after any elected leader who puts him or herself ahead of the people. And we promise you we will go after the corrupt politicians on our side FIRST. If we fail to do this, we need you to call us on it. Simply because we are in power does not give us the right to turn our heads the other way when our party goes astray. Please perform this important duty as the loyal opposition.
I promise all of the above to you because this is your country, too. You are every bit as American as we are. We are all in this together. We sink or swim as one. Thank you for your years of service to this country and for giving us the opportunity to see if we can make things a bit better for our 300 million fellow Americans -- and for the rest of the world.
A surprise for Americans: The most urgent and destabilizing crisis in the Middle East is not Iraq. It is, according to King Abdullah II of Jordan (who will meet Bush today), the Israel-Palestine conflict, which is a major engine driving the radicalization of Muslims in the Middle East and in Europe. It seldom makes the front page any more, but the Israelis are keeping the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank in Bantustan penitentiaries and bombing the ones in Gaza relentlessly, often killing signficant numbers of innocent civilians. Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Michael Rubin, David Wurmser and other Likudniks who had managed to get influential perches in the US government once argued that the road to peace in Jerusalem lay through Baghdad. It never did, and they were wrong about that the way they were wrong about everything else.
In fact, September 11 was significantly about the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem, and as long as the Israelis continue their actual creeping colonialization of Palestinian land while they pretend to engage in a (non-existent) "peace process," radicalism in the region will only grow. Polls taken in the last few years have shown that 64 percent of Egyptians expressed satisfaction with the Mubarak government, but only 2 percent had a favorable view of US foreign policy (i.e. knee-jerk pro-Likud policy) in the Middle East. That is, the argument that authoritarian government breeds radicalism is either untrue or only partial. It is the daily perception of a great historical wrong done to a Middle Eastern people, the Palestinians, that radicalizes people in the region (and not just Muslims).
WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 — A federal judge here ruled on Tuesday that the government illegally discriminated against blind people by printing its paper currency on bills of the same size that could not be distinguished by touch.
The patent in dispute is for an adjustable gas pedal, designed to work in vehicles equipped with electronic engine controls. In the past, gas pedals that could be adjusted for the driver’s comfort worked mechanically. The new version, produced by a Canadian company, the KSR International Company, under contract to General Motors, combined an adjustable pedal with an electronic sensor.
Claiming that it had already patented such a product, a rival company, Teleflex Inc., sued. KSR argued that Teleflex’s patent was invalid because the combination of the two elements was obvious. A federal district judge in Detroit agreed, and dismissed the infringement suit.
But the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which has jurisdiction over all patent appeals, overturned that decision. It ordered the district court to reconsider the case under a test that makes obviousness harder to prove — and therefore makes patents easier to obtain and defend. It is the validity of that test that is at issue in the case, KSR International Co. v. Teleflex Inc., No. 04-1350.
The Federal Circuit’s test for obviousness is usually referred to as the teaching-suggestion-motivation test. Under the test, a patent cannot be rejected as obvious unless the party challenging it can show that at the time of the invention, there existed a “teaching, suggestion, or motivation” that would have led a person familiar with the field to put existing products together. Meeting that test often requires a jury trial, making patent litigation prolonged and expensive.
James W. Dabney, the lawyer representing KSR, told the justices that the Federal Circuit had improperly displaced “skill and ingenuity” as the benchmark for obtaining a patent and replaced it with what amounted to an “entitlement” to patent protection. But the Supreme Court itself “has rejected time and time again the notion that someone who was the first simply to take advantage of the known capability of technology was entitled to a patent,” he added.
The federal Patent and Trademark Office agrees with the critique and entered the case on the side of KSR. Thomas G. Hungar, a deputy solicitor general, told the justices that “as the sole means of proving obviousness, the teaching-suggestion-motivation test is contrary to the Patent Act, irreconcilable with this court’s precedents, and bad policy.”
Mr. Hungar added, “It asks the wrong question and, in cases like this one, it produces the wrong answer.”
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration wants North Korea's attention, so like a scolding parent it's trying to make it tougher for that country's eccentric leader to buy iPods, plasma televisions and Segway electric scooters.
The U.S. government's first-ever effort to use trade sanctions to personally aggravate a foreign president expressly targets items believed to be favored by Kim Jong Il or presented by him as gifts to the roughly 600 loyalist families who run the communist government.
I'd argue, for example, that good analysis supports a fairly extreme view on Social Security (just leave it alone for now)... (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2006_11/010288.php)
Original members of the bands Sha Na Na and The Drifters urged New Jersey legislators Monday to support a measure that would penalize impostors who perform while posing as members of famous oldies bands.
“In a sophisticated form of identity theft, impostor groups are duping consumers and stealing the names, the remuneration and the legacy of the pioneers of rock ‘n' roll,” Jon Bauman, formerly “Bowzer” of Sha Na Na, told legislators.
The New Jersey measure would make it a violation of the Consumer Fraud Act for any person to advertise or perform using the name of a famous band without having at least one original member. Fines would range from $10,000 to $20,000 under a bill that cleared the Senate Commerce Committee on Monday and is scheduled for a hearing Dec. 7 in the Assembly.
By a single vote, Democrats will enjoy majority control of the Pennsylvania House for the first time in a dozen years when the Legislature convenes early next year.
That's because a House seat in Chester County flipped from GOP to Democratic hands when absentee ballots were counted this afternoon. The House will be 102 Democrats and 101 Republicans, pending the outcome of expected court challenges.
In an electoral ordeal that sometimes threatened to mirror the 2000 presidential debacle in Florida, elections officials in suburban Chester County handed the Democrats the keys to the House when unofficial tallies showed Democrat Barbara McIlvaine Smith winning the closely watched 156th District. The seat was in GOP hands.
Officials said Smith defeated Republican Shannon Royer by 23 votes. Going into Tuesday's vote count, Smith trailed Royer by 12 votes, down from an Election Day margin of 19 votes.
Directly seeking help from Iran and Syria with Iraq, as part of new, aggressive diplomacy throughout the region, is expected to be among the recommendations of the Baker-Hamilton group.
But Bush continued to express his administration’s reluctance to talk with two nations it regards as pariah states working to destabilize the Middle East.
Iran, the top U.S. rival in the region, has reached out to Iraq and Syria in recent days — an attempt viewed as a bid to assert its role as a powerbroker in Iraq.
Bush said Iraq is a sovereign nation, free to meet with its neighbors. “If that’s what they think they ought to do, that’s fine,” he said. “One thing Iraq would like to see is for the Iranians to leave them alone.”
The president added that the U.S. will only deal with Iran when they suspend their program of enriching uranium, which could be used in a nuclear weapon arsenal.
A former Republican speaker of the house mulling a possible presidential run has said that America may need to reexamine freedom of speech in order to prevent future terrorist attacks.The Constitution is just an out-of-date piece of paper, you know. They'll make America really great by being like ... hmmm ... the Soviet Union.
Saudi Arabia is so concerned about the damage that the conflict in Iraq is doing across the region that it basically summoned Vice President Cheney for talks over the weekend, according to U.S. officials and foreign diplomats. The visit was originally portrayed as U.S. outreach to its oil-rich Arab ally.
WASHINGTON - Sales of existing homes posted a tiny increase in October but the median home price fell by a record amount. Analysts forecast more price declines in coming months as the once-booming housing market undergoes a painful correction.There are now 7.4 months of inventory on the market, so don't count on a quick sale if you're planning to jump ship.
The U.S. military is no longer able to defeat a bloody insurgency in western Iraq or counter al-Qaeda's rising popularity there, according to newly disclosed details from a classified Marine Corps intelligence report that set off debate in recent months about the military's mission in Anbar province.
Have I mentioned lately that the National debt will be around $10 trillion by the time Bush leaves the White House? EIGHT trillion of which will have been racked up under just 3 of our 43 presidents – Reagan, Bush, and Bush? Have I mentioned that annual interest on the debt already amounts to 40% of all the personal income taxes we pay?Obviously, we can't make Reagan pay off his share, but maybe we could send the bill for the rest to Bush I and II. How 'bout that?
Detectives have found traces of polonium 210 at the London offices of the exiled Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, it was revealed last night. Officers were searching 7 Down Street, Mayfair, after the discovery of the radioactive substance that killed Mr Berezovsky's friend and former employee, Alexander Litvinenko…
Sources confirmed that traces of polonium 210 had been found at the address. Mr Berezovsky, an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, refused to comment yesterday on the revelations. "I don't want to comment anything about it," he told the Guardian. "I don't know anything about police at my office."
…Detectives were also searching the offices of a security and risk management company in Grosvenor Street, in the West End of London, where traces of polonium 210 have been found. A spokesman for the company, Erinys, said it had alerted police because Mr Litvinenko had visited its offices on a "totally unrelated" matter some time before he was admitted to hospital. He added: "None of our staff with whom he had contact have suffered any ill effects."
The development came as the Health Protection Agency (HPA) said three people had been referred for further radiation tests at a special clinic after contacting NHS Direct in the past few days. They were among 18 people referred to the HPA for possible further examination since the radiation alert was issued on Friday.
In the past four days around 500 people have contacted NHS Direct saying they were concerned they may have been contaminated after visiting the Piccadilly restaurant Itsu or the Millennium Hotel in Grosvenor Square on November 1, the day Mr Litvinenko first became ill.
The truth or falsity of this new intel from the same sources of the reliably bogus intel of recent years, though, seems of secondary interest to the debate that's getting set up. It's a recipe and the argument for staying in Iraq permanently. We can't get out because getting out means coming to an accomodation with Iran and Syria who've already been meddling in Iraq.
ALLINN, Estonia -President Bush said Tuesday an al-Qaida plot to stoke cycles of sectarian revenge in Iraq is to blame for escalating bloodshed, and refused to debate whether the country has fallen into civil war.
"No question it's tough, no question about it," Bush said at a news conference with Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves. "There's a lot of sectarian violence taking place, fomented in my opinion because of the attacks by al-Qaida causing people to seek reprisal."
Column 1 is Year of Trustees Report, Column 2 shows how many years into future Baby Boom Surplus stops growing, and Column 3 shows years into future Baby Boom Surplus is exhausted.1994 19 35
1995 18 35
1996 16 33
1997 16 32
1998 15 34
1999 15 35
2000 15 37
2001 15 37
2002 15 39
2003 15 39
2004 14 38
2005 12 36
2006 11 34
Former Democratic President Jimmy Carter called Israeli "domination" over Palestinians "atrocious" during an interview Monday on ABC's Good Morning America, RAW STORY has learned...Unfortunately, the Democrats are no better than the Republicans on this issue. For most Democrats if Israel did it, then by definition it's good. In that view, I'm afraid the politicians reflect the view of the general public. Israel can do no wrong.
"Well, Robin, I have spent the last 30 years trying to find peace for Israel and Israel's neighbors, and the purpose of this book is to do that," Carter responded. "But you can't find peace unless you address the existing issues honestly and frankly."
Carter said that there was "no doubt now that a minority of Israelis are perpetuating apartheid on the people in Palestine, the Palestinian people."
Many Democrats are uncomfortable with Carter's use of the term "apartheid" to describe Israeli policies. Even Congressman John Conyers, the incoming House Judiciary Committee chairman known for his more liberal ideology, has criticized the term's usage.
But with all due respect to AIDS activist China has now disappeared, this doesn't appear any different than what the US government now does to those it suspects of being a threat to our way of life, so what's the difference? I can't stand the Chinese government - they're one of the most vile regimes on the planet - but how do we criticize their actions when the Bush administration does the same thing? Gonna complain that China is ignoring international law? Domestic law? Any Chinese version of habeas corpus? That they're refusing to let the disappeared see a lawyer? That they're refusing to make the charges public, to hold a public trial? These are all things the Bush administration and the Republican Congress have now dispensed with in America - and the American people didn't give a damn. So what right do we have to demand more of China than ourselves?
Eager to begin refurbishing his tattered legacy, the President hopes to raise $500 million to build his library and a think tank at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Bush lived in Dallas until he was elected governor of Texas in 1995.
Bush sources with direct knowledge of library plans told the Daily News that SMU and Bush fund-raisers hope to get half of the half billion from what they call "megadonations" of $10 million to $20 million a pop.
Bush loyalists have already identified wealthy heiresses, Arab nations and captains of industry as potential "mega" donors and are pressing for a formal site announcement - now expected early in the new year.
For the Arab moderates and for the Europeans, some sense of progress and momentum on the Arab-Israeli dispute is just a sine qua non for their ability to cooperate actively with the United States on a lot of other things that we care about.
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department's internal watchdog said Monday it has opened an investigation into the agency's use of information gathered in the government's warrantless surveillance program.
There is nothing "credible" about Harman. Yes, she is smart and knowledgeable, but she has been wrong about everything that matters, particularly in the intelligence area. But she was wrong in exactly the same way that the Beltway geniuses and The New Republic and David Broder and Fred Hiatt were wrong. For that reason, they don't want her to be repudiated and rejected because that would constitute a repudiation and rejection of them. So they build up and glorify the "credible," responsible Harman because she represents them, and they hate Pelosi in advance for rejecting Harman for being wrong about everything because they feel rejected by that choice.
As a result, Pelosi and her opposition to Harman have to be belittled and removed from the substantive arena. Harman supported the most disastrous strategic decision in our nation's history and repeatedly defended the administration's worst excesses. That ought to be disqualifying on its face. But the Beltway media are guilty of the same crimes, so they want to pretend that Harman -- just like Steny Hoyer -- did nothing wrong and the only reason not to anoint her to her Rightful Place is because of petty, womanly personality disputes that have no place in the public arena.
For the same reason, they decree that Pelosi must prove that she's a "responsible" and serious leader. How does she do that? By embracing the Beltway establishment types, including those -- especially those -- who have been so wrong about so many things.
Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, has said Israel is ready to "withdraw from considerable territory", free Palestinian prisoners and release funds to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for the return of a soldier seized in June.
He also said a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip was possibile if peace talks were begun.
It is the first time Olmert has offered to exchange prisoners for Gilad Shalit, whose capture in a cross-border raid by Palestinian militants triggered an Israeli offensive into the Gaza Strip.
Olmert's speech came after a ceasefire agreement took effect in Gaza on Sunday morning.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The motorcade of Iraq's prime minister was pelted with stones on Sunday by fellow Shi'ites in a Baghdad slum when he paid respects to some of the 200 who died there last week in the deadliest attack since the U.S. invasion.
The anger in Sadr City, stronghold of the Medhi Army Shi'ite militia, boiled over on the third day of a curfew imposed on the capital by Nuri al-Maliki's U.S.-backed national unity coalition as it scrambled desperately to stop popular passions exploding into all-out civil war between Shi'ites and the Sunni minority.
"It's all your fault!" one man shouted as, in unprecedented scenes, a crowd began to surge around Maliki. Men and youths then jeered and jostled as his armored convoy edged through the throng away from a mourning ceremony for one of the 202 victims of Thursday's multiple car bomb attack in Sadr City.
Yet another Senate Democratic communications director, one whose boss looks a lot like a presidential candidate, said, “What’s more dangerous than a Republican-turned-Democrat-turned-Independent sitting in our strategy sessions? One who is a prodigious leaker. ... I think our ability to speak our minds and get something done in our meetings just plummeted.”
A close look at key moments in Cheney's career -- from his political apprenticeship in the Nixon and Ford administrations to his decade in Congress and his tenure as secretary of defense under the first President Bush -- suggests that the newly empowered Democrats in Congress should not expect the White House to cooperate when they demand classified information or attempt to exert oversight in areas such as domestic surveillance or the treatment of terrorism suspects.
Peter Shane, an Ohio State University law professor, predicted that Cheney's long career of consistently pushing against restrictions on presidential power is likely to culminate in a series of uncompromising battles with Congress.
"Cheney has made this a matter of principle," Shane said. "For that reason, you are likely to hear the words 'executive privilege' over and over again during the next two years."
WASHINGTON - President Bush reaches out to allies this week for help in quelling violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, in a burst of diplomacy from a Baltic summit of NATO partners to Mideast talks with Iraq's prime minister.
Just back from an eight-day trip to Asia, Bush was leaving on Monday on another overseas trip as pressure builds at home for a change in his administration's Iraq strategy amid deepening tensions and violence in that country.
WASHINGTON, Nov. 26 — A draft report on strategies for Iraq, which will be debated here by a bipartisan commission beginning Monday, urges an aggressive regional diplomatic initiative that includes direct talks with Iran and Syria but sets no timetables for a military withdrawal, according to officials who have seen all or parts of the document.
Syria and Iran are not responsible for the resistance in Ramadi or Baquba and probably can't do anything about it. Therefore negotiating with them is not a silver bullet, though it might be useful in its own right.
What is the military mission? I can't see a practical one. And if there is not a military mission that can reasonably be accomplished in a specified period of time, then keeping US troops in al-Anbar is a sort of murder. Because you know when they go out on patrol, a few of them each week are going to get blown up or shot down. Reliably. Each week. Steadily. It is monstrous to force them to play Russian roulette every day unless there is a clear mission that could thereby be accomplished. There is not.
Senator Chuck Hagel's argument for withdrawal is powerful, but it focuses on the botched character of the American enterprise in Iraq and the monetary expense and cost to our military force structure. Those are important arguments, but could be countered by the White House as insufficiently urgent to require a withdrawal.
That is why I think it is important to keep the focus on the question of the US purpose in occupying the Sunni Arab regions of Iraq. Every time you hear someone say that we have to keep the troops in Iraq, press that person to explain what the mission is exactly and how and when it will be accomplished.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Two mortar rounds hit a U.S. military post in eastern Baghdad on Sunday, setting it on fire, police and witnesses said. A large cloud of black smoke was seen rising above Baladiyat, a predominantly Shiite area of capital, at about 3 p.m.
Yet the AP analysis found evidence of at least an underwhelming industry performance in supplying the domestic market, when profits should have made investment capital plentiful:
—During the 1999-2006 price boom, the industry drilled an average of 7 percent fewer new wells monthly than in the seven preceding years of low, stable prices.
—The national supply of unrefined oil, including imports, grew an average of only 6 percent during the high-priced years, down from 14 percent during the previous span.
—The gasoline supply expanded by only 10 percent from 1999 to 2006, down from 15 percent in the earlier period.
The findings support a conclusion already reached by many motorists. Fifty-five percent of Americans believe gas prices are high because oil companies manipulate them, a Pew Research Center poll found in October.
The overwhelming impression I'm left with from the piece is that more than three and half years after ostensibly seizing control of Iraq, the U.S. government is still largely ignorant of the armed groups arrayed against its efforts there.
I've looked around this morning, and I can't find anything about this in any of the usual places. Was it just plain wrong? Has the station been retaken? Or, is the press asleep at the switch?
Followers of the militant Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr took over state-run television Saturday to denounce the Iraqi government, label Sunnis "terrorists" and issue what appeared to many viewers as a call to arms.
The two-hour broadcast from a community gathering in the heart of the Shiite militia stronghold of Sadr City included three members of al-Sadr's parliamentary bloc, who took questions from outraged residents demanding revenge for a series of car bombings that killed some 200 people Thursday.
BAGHDAD — Iraq's civil war worsened Friday as Shiite and Sunni Arabs engaged in retaliatory attacks after coordinated car bombings that killed more than 200 people in a Shiite neighborhood the day before.
A team of suspected terrorists involved in an alleged UK plot to blow up trans-atlantic airliners escaped capture because of interference by the United States, The Independent has been told by counter-terrorism sources.
An investigation by MI5 and Scotland Yard into an alleged plan to smuggle explosive devices on up to 10 passenger jets was jeopardised in August, when the US put pressure on authorities in Pakistan to arrest a suspect allegedly linked to the airliner plot.
As a direct result of the surprise detention of the suspect, British police and MI5 were forced to rush forward plans to arrest an alleged UK gang accused of plotting to destroy the airliners. But a second group of suspected terrorists allegedly linked to the first evaded capture and is still at large, according to security sources.
The escape of the second group is said to be the reason why the UK was kept at its highest level - "critical" - for three days before it was decided that the plotters no longer posed an imminent threat.
MADRID (Reuters) - Outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorized the mistreatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the prison's former U.S. commander said in an interview on Saturday.
Former U.S. Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski told Spain's El Pais newspaper she had seen a letter apparently signed by Rumsfeld which allowed civilian contractors to use techniques such as sleep deprivation during interrogation.
Asha Katiya was 15 years old. When she was raped she did not, like many Indian women, try to hide it for shame. She went to the police and registered a case against her attacker. She later said he had threatened to kill her unless she dropped the case. This week she was burned to death. A man broke into her house while she was sleeping and poured kerosene over her. The man she accused of raping her has been detained in connection with her death.
But there has been no outcry in India. The case has been barely reported. Because Asha Katiya was a Dalit, a member of the former Untouchable caste, and India has become used to outrages like this being carried out against Dalits.
JEBALIYA, Gaza Strip (AP) - The Palestinian prime minister said Friday that militants were prepared to stop firing rockets at Israel if it would halt all military action in Palestinian territories. Israel rejected the offer, saying it would respond positively only to a total truce.
If you ask me, the problems with the training programs for the Iraqi security forces has essentially nothing to do with the number or quality of American trainers assigned to the task. Rather, it's a mistake to see the problem as primarily one of organizational competence on the part of the security forces. After all, however bad the US-run training program may be, it's hardly as if Sunni insurgents or Shiite militias have access to some radically better training program. The problems are problems of politics, morale, and motivation. "Iraq’s government has yet to confront the country’s militias," because the government is dependent on the same political forces and actors who sponsor the militias, not because the police need a better training program.
I mean, come on. Just who's been in power? And, who's still in power during the rest of the lame-duck Congress?
WASHINGTON, Nov. 24 — When President Bush went on national television one Saturday morning last December to acknowledge the existence of a secret wiretapping program outside the courts, the fallout was fierce and immediate.
Mr. Bush’s opponents accused him of breaking the law, with a few even calling for his impeachment. His backers demanded that he be given express legal authority to do what he had done. Law professors talked, civil rights groups sued and a federal judge in Detroit declared the wiretapping program unconstitutional.
But as Democrats prepare to take over on Capitol Hill, not much has really changed. For all the sound and fury in the last year, the National Security Agency’s wiretapping program continues uninterrupted, with no definitive action by either Congress or the courts on what, if anything, to do about it, and little chance of a breakthrough in the lame-duck Congress.
Can the Democratic Party become fully competitive? Is American liberalism dead, the 2006 election a last twitch of life before rigor mortis sets in? The answer to both questions is yes...
For the Democratic Party to revive, major tenets of American liberalism, economic and sociocultural, will have to be discarded. The party can join Studebaker and the Glass Bottle Blowers union, it can trudge along as No. 2, or it can undergo a painful transformation — without guarantee of success.
To stay in the fight, Democratic leaders will have to acknowledge political realities affirmed by the electorate in 1994 and 2006. Many Democratic constituencies — organized labor, minority advocacy organizations, reproductive- and sexual-rights proponents — are reliving battles of a decade or more ago, not the more subtle disputes of today. Public sector unions, for example, at a time of wide distrust of government, are consistently pressing to enlarge the state. For these players, adapting to a re-emergent center will be costly.
As Neil Sheehan, a former Times reporter in Vietnam who wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning “A Bright Shining Lie,” told me: “In Vietnam, there were just two sides to the civil war. You had a government in Hanoi with a structure of command and an army and a guerrilla movement that would obey what they were told to do. So you had law and order in Saigon immediately after the war ended. In Iraq, there’s no one like that for us to lose to and then do business with.”
The questions are no longer whether there’s a civil war or whether we can achieve a military victory. The only question is, who can we turn the country over to?
At the moment, that would be no one.