By Edward Epstein, San Francisco Chronicle
Washington -- House liberals, led by a Bay Area duo, proposed a $60 billion cut in President Bush's proposed $439 billion military budget on Wednesday, with the savings to go to a variety of domestic programs and for deficit reduction.
The proposal from members of the House Progressive Caucus, which is co-chaired by Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, is a daring venture in an election year when proponents risk being painted as advocating weakened national security while the country is at war in Iraq and Afghanistan and fighting terrorism.
The Nation -- "If we say we need it, the American people can afford it," a high-ranking Pentagon official once told Vice Admiral John Shanahan years ago.
By "it" he meant weapon system after weapon system. Today America can't afford it. But still the Pentagon wants it all and what Shanahan terms the "Military-Industrial Congressional Complex" happily says yes, under the guise of appearing "strong on defense."
By Deborah White
Calls for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and cohort Vice-President Dick Cheney grow louder and stronger with each passing week. This past week, members of the mainstream media and others joined the swelling chorus of voices pushing for Congressional impeachment hearings.
The March 2006 issue of Harpers magazine features an essay entitled The Case of Impeachment, in which author Lewis Lapham concludes, "Before reading the report, I wouldn't have expected to find myself thinking that such a course of action was either likely or possible; after reading the report, I don't know why we would run the risk of not impeaching the man.
Late last year, Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell and Post polling director Richard Morin were involved in a flap over the Post’s refusal to conduct a poll measuring public support for the impeachment of president Bush.
Morin made conflicting and less than convincing arguments for his reluctance to conduct the poll. He said first that such a question was inherently biased, and then that “it is not a serious option or a topic of considered discussion.
By Pete Perry
After my action today here are some of the questions and statements I encountered from the Capitol Hill Police...
"What group are you with? Are you with ANSWER?"
"Have you tried to communicate your message to the elected officials by other means?"
"You know you can get a permit for the park over there, or you don't even need a permit to stand on the sidewalk ont he other side of the street (C Street) and hold a sign if you wish. However, you were disrupting a committee hearing."
By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday urged quick passage of a $91 billion spending bill that includes money to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying that despite a surge in sectarian violence in Iraq, the process of creating a stable government is proceeding satisfactorily.
Appearing with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Rice said most Iraqis are convinced that their hopes for a stable and secure nation will succeed despite the persistent insurgency.
Department of Veterans Affairs Facing Staggering Burden of Providing Health Care to Returning Troops
DONNA, Texas, March 9, 2006 — - Eugene Simpson doesn't like to complain. Paralyzed in a bomb attack in Iraq, his initial care was excellent, but ever since then he has felt adrift.
"There are thousands of soldiers in worse condition than I am and they're okay," he said. "They're making it."
By Sidney Blumenthal, The Guardian UK
A videotape of Bush's briefing before Hurricane Katrina exposes him as out of touch with reality.
On the eve of George Bush's presidential campaign in 2000, the neoconservative Kenneth Adelman cast him as Prince Hal, who "puts the indiscretions of his youth behind him" and "redeems his father's reign." After September 11, Bush was wreathed with regal laurels as Henry V by a clerisy of pundits. From Ground Zero to the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln ("Mission Accomplished") the president struck bold poses, but his choreographed gestures have especially illuminated his hollow crown in the darkened breach of New Orleans.
By Robert Parry, http://www.consortiumnews.com
Despite a dip in his opinion polls, George W. Bush’s transformation of the United States into an authoritarian society continues apace, with new “compromises
By Missy Comley Beattie, http://www.opednews.com
"We invited her to discuss her concerns with a US Mission employee. She chose not to come in but to lay down in front of the building and block the entrance. It was clearly designed to be a media stunt, not aimed at rational discussion."
This is the statement of Richard Grenell, spokesperson for the United States Mission to the UN. And it's a lie. I know because I was arrested with Cindy Sheehan, Medea Benjamin, and Rev. Patti Ackerman as an attempt was made to deliver a petition signed by more than 100,000 women who are calling for peace. (www.womensaynotowar.org ) If you haven't signed, please do this immediately.
By David D. Kirkpatrick and Carl Hulse, New York Times
Washington - DP World, the United Arab Emirates state-owned company that had agreed to buy several port terminals in the United States, said today that it will transfer those properties to an American-owned company, bowing to a political groundswell against the acquisition.
The decision came just hours after a delegation of Republican leaders in Congress told President Bush in an Oval Office meeting that Congress would act within days to block the company's acquisition of the United States port terminals in the name of national security, lawmakers present said.
By Tom Hayden
The strong possibility that Pentagon commanders might recommend the beginning of American troop withdrawals this week is vanishing, derailed by the Feb. 22 bombing of the Shiite shrine in Samarra as well as the Democratic Party’s default on the war.
The British press has been more forthright in reporting troop withdrawal plans since last September’s peace rallies. Just a month ago [Feb. 2] the London Times announced an “acceleration
By DAVID STOUT, New York Times
WASHINGTON, March 9 — Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told senators today that the United States would count on Iraqi security forces to quell an all-out civil war in their country, but that America's paramount goal is to prevent such a conflict in the first place.
Mr. Rumsfeld testified at a sometimes tense hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee, whose ranking Democrat, Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, questioned him closely about the administration's request for more money.
By Akron Beacon Journal
Summit County Progressive Democrats will present a summit from 1 to 5 p.m. March 26 at the Akron-Summit County Public Library, 60 S. High St.
The summit will include a presentation by John Green of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron, plus breakout sessions on grass-roots organizing, minority outreach and issues.
A panel discussion will feature Tim Carpenter, national director of the Progressive Democrats of America; Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, and others.
By John Nichols, The Nation
The most powerful antiwar actions of the spring are not likely to occur in Washington. National antiwar groups will mount marches, lobbying days and other traditional initiatives. But it would take a monumental push to change the thinking of Republican majorities in the House and Senate, which are not yet ready to break with the Bush Administration on Iraq issues, or to convince an overly cautious Democratic opposition to press for withdrawal. And divisions over strategy and focus will continue to make it hard for a national antiwar movement that has struggled to communicate the depth and breadth of frustration with the war to do so in the brief period before the capital city becomes fully obsessed with this fall's Congressional elections.
By Ervin Dyer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Local anti-war activists, saying three years of war in Iraq are too many, yesterday kicked off three weeks of peace protests with a noon rally at the William S. Moorhead Federal Building, Downtown.
The protests, supported by groups such as the Thomas Merton Center, Black Voices for Peace and Code Pink, will also include a three-mile march through three neighborhoods as the United States approaches the third anniversary of the war.
By TOM ROEDER, THE GAZETTE, CO
Peace activists in Colorado Springs on Wednesday called for stiffer sentences for soldiers who abuse prisoners and said blame for abuse should be pinned on the Bush administration.
The activists who represented anti-war groups from around the state also called for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq and accused top administration officials of war crimes. The activists gathered in Colorado Springs to protest the sentence handed down in January to a Fort Carson soldier convicted of negligent homicide in the interrogation death of an Iraqi major general.
From Tomdispatch today: Michael Schwartz, "A Government with No Military and No Territory, Iraq's Sovereignty Vacuum (Part 1)" http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=66969
In one of the understatements of our moment, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad offered the following summary of the situation in Iraq in an LA Times interview, "Right now there's a vacuum of authority, and there's a lot of distrust." He should know. He's the one in Baghdad's Green Zone scuttling between near-warring parties in the vague hope that "once a national unity government is formed, the effort to provoke a civil war will face a huge obstacle."
Zangana, a former prisoner under the Baathist regime in Iraq, speaks out against the occupation and increasing violence in Iraq. She also warns that hundreds of Iraqi academics have been assassinated since the war began.
By William E. Odom, Nieman Watchdog
Those who say Iraq is nothing like Vietnam have another guess coming, says retired Gen. William Odom. He lists striking similarities and asserts that only after it pulls out of Iraq can the U.S. hope for international support to deal with anti-Western forces.
The Vietnam War experience can't tell us anything about the war in Iraq - or so it is said. If you believe that, trying looking through this lens, and you may change your mind.
'They Tried to Attach Themselves to His Virtue; Then They Wiped Their Feet With Him.' - Mary Tillman
By Robert Scheer, Truthdig
Mary Tillman has been a model of patience and fortitude as she doggedly pursues the facts concerning her son Pat's death in Afghanistan two years ago. In that spirit, she welcomed as positive the news that the Pentagonís inspector general has asked the Army to launch an investigation into whether criminal negligence was involved in the "friendly fire" incident that resulted in the death of her football-star son who turned soldier.
By Rupert Cornwell, The Independent UK
It has taken more than three years, tens of thousands of Iraqi and American lives, and $200bn (£115bn) of treasure - all to achieve a chaos verging on open civil war. But, finally, the neo-conservatives who sold the United States on this disastrous war are starting to utter three small words. We were wrong.
The second thoughts have spread across the conservative spectrum, from William Buckley, venerable editor of The National Review to Andrew Sullivan, once editor of the New Republic, now an influential commentator and blogmeister. The patrician conservative columnist George Will was gently sceptical from the outset. He now glumly concludes that all three members of the original "axis of evil" - not only Iran and North Korea but also Iraq - "are more dangerous than when that term was coined in 2002".
By Associated Press
Seattle - Former President Jimmy Carter criticized the war in Iraq on Wednesday, urging a troop drawdown as the United States enters its fourth year of conflict in Iraq.
"It was a completely unnecessary war. It was an unjust war," said Carter, the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize winner. "It was initiated on the basis of false pretenses. All of those are true, but we can't just pre-emptively withdraw."
By TERI FIGUEROA, http://www.nctimes.com
VISTA ---- A San Diego County woman is suing her former employer, accusing her manager of firing her on the spot when she saw the woman's car had a bumper sticker advertising a progressive talk radio station.
The suit also alleges that, after seeing the sticker, the employer commented that the woman could be a member of al-Qaida.
In a civil suit filed at the county courthouse in Vista, Linda Laroca is targeting both her former manager, Beverly Fath, and the company she briefly worked for last year, Advantage Sales and Marketing, Inc.
Rally for Impeachment wrapup
By Jake Thorn, http://www.studentsforimpeachment.blogspot.com
Thursday’s Rally for Impeachment went great! We had over 200 people show up for speeches, music, and activism. We also got media coverage in the Nexus (who also printed pro-impeachment opinion articles on Thursday and Monday) and the Santa Barbara News-Press. The band was great, it didn’t rain, and we distributed a lot of information. We gathered around 80 signatures for our petition to Senator Feinstein. We also took pictures of people holding signs that said things like “Get a warrant, Mr. President. Warrantless wiretaps are illegal
WASHINGTON, DC - Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the Energy and Commerce and Homeland Security Committees and Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), a member of the Government Reform Committee, today introduced the "Paul Revere Freedom to Warn Act," a comprehensive bill to provide protections to government and private sector employees who are retaliated against for reporting flaws in national or homeland security, public health and safety, or waste, fraud and mismanagement of public funds. The protections offered in the legislation are modeled upon those provided by Congress in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to employees of companies who report accounting fraud.
By Niranjan Ramakrishnan, www.Countercurrents.org
Consider these news items from the past month:
Thousands of people took part in huge and emotional demonstrations in various Arab countries, and others with large Muslim populations, from Morocco to Indonesia, to protest the cartoons in a Danish paper, Jyllands-Posten, and sundry European publications.
Huge protests greeted President George W. Bush during his visit to India, People marched in New Delhi and Hyderabad, cities he visited, but also in other major cities including Madras, Calcutta, Bombay and Bangalore.
By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - Facing a Republican mutiny in Congress, the White House said Thursday that President Bush is open to compromise but would not retreat from a threatened veto of legislation that would block a Dubai-owned company from taking control of some U.S. port operations.
By a 62-2 margin, the GOP-dominated House Appropriations Committee voted to bar DP World, which is run by the government of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, from holding leases or contracts at U.S. ports. In the Senate, Democrats demanded a vote to stop the transaction.