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White House projects record deficit for 2009

White House projects record deficit for 2009
Brianna Keilar | CNN

The White House on Monday predicted a record deficit of $490 billion for the 2009 budget year, a senior government official told CNN.
The White House blames a faltering economy and the stimulus package for the increased budget deficit.

The White House blames a faltering economy and the stimulus package for the increased budget deficit.

The deficit would amount to roughly 3.5 percent of the nation's $14 trillion economy.

The official pointed to a faltering economy and the bipartisan $170 billion stimulus package that passed earlier this year for the record deficit.

The fiscal year begins October 1, 2008.

Venn Diagram of Bush Administration's Crimes and Misdemeanors

Crimes and Misdemeanors

By Emily Bazelon, Kara Hadge, Dahlia Lithwick, and Chris Wilson | Slate

Each scandal is represented by a colored circle that encompasses the people who are implicated. As it's easy to see, many of the players here are mixed up in two, three, or more of the alleged crimes. Hence all the overlapping circles (Venn-diagram heaven!).

The best way to make sense of this legal tangle is to mouse over the title of an individual scandal, which will highlight everyone implicated. For example, the wiretapping bubble ensnares George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, David Addington, John Ashcroft, John Yoo, and Alberto Gonzales. At the same time, Ashcroft and Gonzales fall into the overlapping circle for monkey business related to DoJ hiring. Mouse over a person's name for information on how each person is involved. Mouse over the title of each circle for specifics about the particular scandal.

And if all else fails, fall back on this golden rule of wrongdoing in the White House: All roads lead to Gonzales.

There's a text only version, too.

Report: Empty prison in Iraq a $40M 'failure'

Report: Empty prison in Iraq a $40M 'failure'
By BRIAN MURPHY and PAULINE JELINEK | Yahoo! News

BAGHDAD - In the flatlands north of Baghdad sits a prison with no prisoners. It holds something else: a chronicle of U.S. government waste, misguided planning and construction shortcuts costing $40 million and stretching back to the American overseers who replaced Saddam Hussein.

"It's a bit of a monument in the desert right now because it's not going to be used as a prison," said Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, whose office plans to release a report Monday detailing the litany of problems at the vacant detention center in Khan Bani Saad.

CNN Anchor Slams Impeachment As Kabuki Theatre. FIRE HER!!

by Linda Milazzo

Those familiar with cable news television understand that several programs - even entire networks - broadcast from a particular bias. Keith Olbermann's COUNTDOWN on MSNBC is left leaning, as is Dan Abrams' VERDICT. Olbermann has become famous for his highly crafted "Special Comments" which take aim at conservatives from George W. Bush to Rudolf Giuliani. CNN has Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs - both of whom use vitriol to attack various factions of the political world. Beck goes after so-called liberals. Dobbs is an equal opportunity attacker who assaults the Bush administration, members of Congress and ethnic groups from his prejudiced perspective. FOX has an entire network, with anchors like Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, who routinely lambaste the left. Each of these pundits, or performers, are known for their ideological leanings. Those who watch their programs do so presupposing the bias they will see.

Until recently, it had seemed that most of the clearly biased shows on cable news television had been publicly outed as leaning left or leaning right. But on Friday, viewers learned there was yet another conservative Republican show, as vitriolic as FOX, airing nightly on CNN. That show is Election Center, hosted by former NBC performer, Campbell Brown. Election Center, which began airing last January with original anchor John Roberts, is billed as "the network's daily examination of news from the campaign trail that combines CNN's unrivaled field reporting and analysis with state-of-the-art broadcasting technology." It might be that providing "unrivaled reporting and analysis" on a daily basis was the original intent of CNN when Election Center first aired with John Roberts. Roberts doesn't conflate reporting with agenda. However, CNN chose a less balanced and more ideological path for the show when it brought on conservative Bush supporter, Campbell Brown, as Election Center's new anchor. If Brown's conservative leanings weren't all that obvious in the beginning, that all changed on Friday when Brown and CNN Headline News anchor, Erica Hill, virulently mocked the House Judiciary Committee for holding a hearing on impeachment. After Brown and Hill's searing attack on the Democrats, any sense of legitimacy Brown had tried to muster instantly fell away. Because of Brown and Hill's over-the-top trashing of the Congressional impeachment hearing, CNN's Election Center has devolved into the lowest form of "spin." It's lost all credibility. Witness for yourselves (in video and text) the slanted performance by CNN anchors, Brown and Hill, on a show that advertises its "unrivaled field reporting and analysis."

Hear This Barack - NO Bush, NO Baker, NO Corporate War Maker. We've Had Enough!

Some men sacrificed their sons for their nation. George Herbert Walker Bush sacrificed his nation for his son.

In a July 15th appearance on CNN's Larry King Live, Barack Obama announced that as President he would seek the foreign policy counsel of former President Bill Clinton, former President George Herbert Walker Bush, former Bush Sr. Secretary of State, James Baker, former Bush Sr. National Security Advisor, Brent Scowcroft, and former George W. Bush Secretary of State, Colin Powell. Below are the video and text of Obama's pronouncement:

King: "How will you utilize the talents of President Clinton?"

Obama: "As you know, Bill Clinton's one of the smartest people out here and certainly one of the most brilliant political minds we have. He's got extraordinary relationships all across the globe and so I want him as a advisor and I would want him to be involved in implementing strategies on a range of issues -- so he's an enormous resource as all former presidents are. I mean I've said this before. I think on the foreign policy front George Bush, Sr. has a lot of wisdom to impart and his foreign policy team -- people like Jim Baker and Brent Scowcroft and Colin Powell are extraordinary thinkers. So I think you want to utilize all the talents out here and part of what I'm interested in is bringing that tradition of bipartisanship to our foreign policy back to Washington."

We're a Nation of Lemmings

By Dave Lindorff

Listening to the endless stream of cars passing my house every day, and knowing, from watching them from my mailbox, that they are almost all carrying just one person, either commuting to work or running some kind of errand, I know we are headed for disaster.

Two days ago, there was a report by Agence France Presse about the ongoing destruction of the world’s remaining wetlands (60 percent have already been destroyed by man over the past century), and how they contain within them an amount of stored carbon equal to all the carbon currently in the atmosphere. Global warming and property development are drying out those remaining wetlands, causing the release of that carbon, which will more than negate even the most radical efforts at reducing carbon emissions from power plants, factories and automobiles.

George W. Bush's Overall Job Approval Drops to 21%

George W. Bush's Overall Job Approval Drops to 21%

George W. Bush's overall job approval has dropped to 21% as 76% of American say the national economy is getting worse according to the latest survey from the American Research Group.

Among all Americans, 21% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 72% disapprove. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 17% approve and 77% disapprove.

Among Americans registered to vote, 22% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 71% disapprove. When it comes to the way Bush is handling the economy, 18% of registered voters approve of the way Bush is handling the economy and 77% disapprove.

A total of 76% say the national economy is getting worse, 61% say their household financial situations are getting worse, and 68% say the national economy is in a recession. Of those disapproving of the way Bush is handling his job, 84% say the national economy is getting worse, 73% say their household financial situations are getting worse, and 79% say the national economy is in a recession.

Attorney General Mukasey Urges Congress To Create Detainee Rules

Mukasey Urges Congress To Create Detainee Rules
by Ari Shapiro | NPR

Listen Now

Attorney General Michael Mukasey on Monday called on Congress to set the rules by which Guantanamo detainees will challenge their detention in civilian courts.

In a speech to the American Enterprise Institute, Mukasey said the recent Supreme Court ruling granting detainees court access, "left many significant questions open." He argued that those questions are best answered by lawmakers, not judges.

Judge Bars Evidence Against Terrorism Suspect at Guantanamo Trial

Evidence against terrorism suspect barred at Guantanamo trial
By Carol J. Williams | Los Angeles Times
A military judge says some statements by Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a driver for Osama bin Laden, were made in 'highly coercive' settings. It could set a standard for other cases.

WASHINGTON -- The military judge overseeing the first war crimes trial against a terrorism suspect at Guantanamo Bay agreed Monday to bar some evidence against Osama bin Laden's former driver because it was obtained in "highly coercive environments and conditions."

Mukasey's Excellent Idea: War All the Time, Enemy Combatants Everywhere

By Dave Lindorff

Attorney General Michael Mukasey has caught some flak for proposing, in an address to the American Enterprise Institute, that Congress should declare war on Al Qaeda.

Instead, he should be applauded for his brilliant idea.

First of all, Mukasey is admitting, whether he wants to admit it or not, that the Bush/Cheney program of capturing alleged terrorists and holding them for years as enemy combatants without charge in detention centers in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and various undisclosed locations around the globe, and of torturing many of them, are illegal actions that violate US law and International Law. So let’s give him credit for that.

Beyond the Torture Debate

On May 6th the American Strategy Program hosted an event with Philippe Sands, Professor of International Law at University College London and Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff for Colon Powell. Mr. Sands was in DC to testify to the House Judiciary Committee about the findings in his new book, Torture Team, which examines the legal implications of the Bush administration's policy of torture. Col. Wilkerson was on hand for commentary on the subject. The event was moderated by Patrick Doherty, deputy director of the American Strategy program.

TSA to Use Full-Body Imaging This Fall at Chicago O'Hare

New airport security devices "see" through clothing
By Jon Hilkevitch | Chicago Tribune
Potentially embarrassing "graphic" full-body scans to begin in the fall at O'Hare

Air travelers in Chicago will soon be literally exposed to a revealing full-body scan before boarding planes.

The new procedure, which is sure to make some passengers blush and others burn in anger over what critics call a virtual reality strip-search, is part of a "security evolution" at airport passenger checkpoints around the country.

It comes amid continuing concerns that Al Qaeda-trained suicide bombers are potentially only one plane ticket away from a U.S. attack, according to the nation's top transportation security official.

US Soldier Winds Up on "Do Not Fly" List

A US soldier wound up on the "Do Not Fly" list and the TSA refused to call the Army to clear him. Instead, his mom got him cleared for future flights. Video link doesn't seem to work.

Proposed George W. Bush Sewage Plant Makes Ballot

Proposed George W. Bush Sewage Plant makes ballot

A measure seeking to commemorate President Bush's years in office by slapping his name on a San Francisco sewage plant has qualified for the November ballot.

The measure certified Thursday would rename the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant the George W. Bush Sewage Plant.

Supporters say the idea is to commemorate the mess they claim Bush has left behind by actions such as the war in Iraq.

Local Republicans say the plan stinks and they will oppose it.

Iraq, U.S. Agree on 'General Time Horizon' (But Unspecified) for Troop Withdrawal

Iraq, U.S. agree on 'general time horizon'
USAToday

The United States and Iraq have agreed to seek "a general time horizon" for deeper reductions in American combat troops in Iraq despite President George W. Bush's once-inflexible opposition to talking about deadlines and timetables.

Iraqi officials, in a sign of growing confidence as violence decreases, have been pressuring the United States to agree to a specific timeline to withdraw U.S. forces. The White House said Friday that the timeframe being discussed would not be "an arbitrary date for withdrawal."

Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki talked about the timing issue as part of discussions over a broader security agreement to keep American troops in Iraq after a U.N. mandate expires on Dec. 31.

Katherine Tiedeman: Could a Truth Commission Pull Us Back from "The Dark Side?"

Katherine Tiedemann is a Program Associate with the New America Foundation's Nuclear Strategy & Nonproliferation Initiative.

I Was a Victim of the Government’s Absurd and Over-Hyped War on Terror

By Dave Lindorff

I was injured thanks to the government’s ridiculous airport security program last week on a US Air flight from Chicago to Philadelphia. I also saw how pointless the whole thing is, if the supposed goal is really to prevent airline hijackings.

First, my injury. Because of a silly fear that I might blow up a plane with explosives tucked into my running shoes, I, along with everyone else in the security checkpoint line at O’Hare, including two-month-old babies wearing little booties, had to doff my footwear. Clad in just socks, I tried to maneuver my way around a metal counter that held those plastic trays carrying my laptop, my shoes, my belt and change and keys, and my carry-on bag, and in the process my unprotected big toe hit a sharp piece of metal protruding from the table.

Pelosi Secures Her "BUT"

by Linda Milazzo

Today on CNN's Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, Democratic Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, responded to a viewer who asked why she took the impeachment of George W. Bush off the table. Pelosi's response (below in video and text), is categoric proof of her incompetence, dereliction of duty, disdain for the Constitution and disregard for the people of this nation. It underscores why she should NOT continue as Speaker of the House and why she should NOT be reelected in November.

By not going forward with her Constitutionally mandated requirement to impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for their high crimes and misdemeanors, Mrs. Pelosi has cemented her legacy and secured her "BUT" forever. Let me be clear - I don't mean the double "TT" derriere kind of "BUTT." I mean the single "T" conjunction kind of "BUT." The proviso. The disclaimer. The tiny word that will ever be the prefix to her legacy. The "BUT" her grandchildren will hear from those who know history and politics - and who care about humanity - when they mention that Pelosi is their grandmother. The "BUT" like:

"BUT" wasn't your grandmother the one who wouldn't impeach George W. Bush?

"BUT" wasn't your grandmother the one who let Bush get away with murder?

"BUT" why did your grandmother do that?"

Pelosi Spars with Bush, Calls Him "A Total Failure"

Pelosi: Bush 'a total failure'
CNN

Note: Wolf Blitzer's complete, exclusive interview with Speaker Pelosi will air this Sunday evening; check your local listings for time and channel.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called President Bush "a total failure" on Thursday, among the California Democrat's harshest assessments to date of the president.

"God bless him, bless his heart, president of the United States -- a total failure, losing all credibility with the American people on the economy, on the war, on energy, you name the subject," Pelosi told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in an exclusive interview.

Contaminated US Site Faces 'Catastrophic' Nuclear Leak

Contaminated US Site Faces 'Catastrophic' Nuclear Leak
New Scientist

ONE of "the most contaminated places on Earth" will only get dirtier if the US government doesn't get its act together - clean-up plans are already 19 years behind schedule and not due for completion until 2050.

More than 210 million litres of radioactive and chemical waste are stored in 177 underground tanks at Hanford in Washington State. Most are over 50 years old. Already 67 of the tanks have failed, leaking almost 4 million litres of waste into the ground.

Fitzgerald Says Rove Was Trying to Fire Him During CIA Leak Probe

Fitzgerald says Rove was trying to fire him during CIA leak probe
Marcy Wheeler | RawStory

In a supplement to his responses to the House Judiciary Committee, Patrick Fitzgerald confirms what we've always suspected: Karl Rove was trying to have Patrick Fitzgerald fired while Fitzgerald was still investigating Rove for his role in leaking Valerie Wilson's identity--and the timing lines up perfectly with the Administration's efforts to fire a bunch of US Attorneys.

Remember back in June, when Fitzgerald publicly suggested he had more details to share with Congress about Rove's efforts to get him fired?

"If I owe a response [about the putsch to remove him from his job], I owe it to Congress, first," Fitzgerald said when asked about all this after the verdict.

Well, it turns out Fitzgerald did share those details with Congress. And those details make it clear that Fitzgerald learned Rove was trying to fire him while Fitzgerald was still actively investigating Rove's role in the leak of Valerie Wilson's identity.

Ashcroft Tells House Judiciary Committee Waterboarding Isn't Torture

Ashcroft defends waterboarding before House panel
CNN

The controversial interrogation technique of waterboarding has served a "valuable" purpose and does not constitute torture, former Attorney General John Ashcroft told a House committee Thursday.

Testifying on the Bush administration's interrogation rules before the House Judiciary Committee, Ashcroft defended the technique while answering a question from Rep. Howard Coble, R-North Carolina.

"Waterboarding, as we all know, is a controversial issue. Do you think it served a beneficial purpose?" the congressman asked.

Gore: Survival of US Is At Risk

Gore: Make U.S. electrical energy carbon-free
CNN

The United States should be making all of its electricity with renewable and carbon-free energy in 10 years, former Vice President Al Gore said Thursday.

"The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk," Gore said.

In a speech at Washington's Constitution Hall, Gore touched on an array of the nation's current woes, saying the economic, environmental and national security crises are all related.

"I don't remember a time in our country when so many things seemed to be going so wrong simultaneously," Gore said.

To begin to fix all the problems, Gore said, "the answer is to end our reliance on carbon-based fuels."

Corporate Media Blackouts Continue as Iran War Looms and Impeachment Moves Ahead

By Dave Lindorff

The sorry performance of the US corporate media, which blacked out stories questioning the official line on the so-called “Iraq Threat” until the nation was deeply mired in to pointless, bloody war in that country, and which has almost completely ignored a three-year, nation-wide movement calling for the impeachment of the president and vice president, has continued.

Bellingham WA Premiers as First Washington City to Oppose US Military Intervention in Iran

Late Monday night, the City of Bellingham became the first city in Washington to take an official stance against US military intervention in Iran. The council’s unanimous 7-0 vote received a standing ovation from a crowd of supporters.

Bellingham is now the thirteenth city in the nation to have approved a resolution regarding opposition to war with Iran.

“We are thrilled tonight,” stated Marie Marchand, executive director of the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center. “It is not often that my elected officials represent my viewpoint, especially given the abdication of power on the part of our national leaders. However, it’s different at the local level. The Bellingham City Council has, once again, stepped up to do their job and represent the people.”

Impeachment Hearings: A Win is a Win

By Dave Lindorff

There are two ways to view the news that the House Judiciary Committee will be holding a hearing on impeachable crimes by President George W. Bush.

One view would be that this is all a charade and that after all, it will not be a real impeachment hearing, but rather, simply a hearing into the impeachable crimes of the Bush administration. As committee Chair Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) put it, “We’re not doing impeachment, but he [Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who introduced 36 articles of impeachment] can talk about it.” Viewed that way, this is not such a big deal. Rep. Kucinich gets to make his case that the president is committing high crimes and misdemeanors and abuses of power and war crimes, but then Congressional Democrats will continue to ignore all the crimes as it has done since taking control of Congress in November 2006.

Torture for the Torturers

By Dave Lindorff

I don’t believe in torture, but right now, I’d like to see a few people subjected to some of the torture techniques that they approved for use against US captives in the so-called War on Terror.

I’d be satisfied if they just stuck to the ones used against 15-year-old Omar Khadr—techniques that a US federal judge established constituted torture under the Geneva Conventions.

I have a 15-year old son, so I’m particularly aware of what an atrocity it has been the way the US has treated Khadr, and some 2500 other young boys and teenagers that it admits to having captured and labeled as “enemy combatants” in its so-called “war on terror.”

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