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ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf reports from Capitol Hill: The high price of oil has created a budget surplus in Iraq, positioning the war-torn nation, already in the black for the past two years, to post up to a $50 billion surplus this year, according to an audit released today by the U.S. Government Accountability office.
Sen. Carl Levin, who chairs the Armed Services Committee and Sen. John Warner, who has been acting as ranking Republican on the committee in the absence of Sen. McCain, had asked for the GAO audit of the Iraqi books back in March amid growing discontent on Capitol Hill with the financing of Iraq's reconstruction.
By Dave Lindorff
Some people are expressing consternation and disbelief at a report by journalist Seymour Hersh that Vice President Dick Cheney had discussed the idea in his office of having some Navy Seals dress up as Iranians, and then putting them in faked Iranian speedboats to make a fake attack on US ships in the Persian Gulf. The ensuing faked battle, with fake Iranians shooting at US ships and US ships firing back, he suggested, could be used to spark a war between the US and Iran.
` I don’t know why people would find it hard to believe that this vice president would think up an idea like having Americans shoot at other Americans in the interest of his own warped view of national security.
After all, this is a guy who shoots his own friends.
Oil Companies Escape Billions in Royalty Payments to Americans; Drilling Expansion Will Enrich U.S. & Foreign Corp Freeloaders
Oil Companies Escape Billions in Royalty Payments to Americans; Drilling Expansion Will Enrich U.S. and Foreign Corporate Freeloaders
Statement of Tyson Slocum, Director, Public Citizen’s Energy Program
A bureaucratic oversight has allowed 24 oil companies to avoid more than $1.3 billion in royalties for the privilege of extracting oil and natural gas from U.S. territory in the Gulf of Mexico - with foreign companies responsible for 55 percent of that total. But this $1.3 billion in forgone royalties pales in comparison to the $60 billion that Americans stand to lose in royalty revenue over the life of these leases. And if Congress repeals the moratorium on Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) drilling that has existed since 1982, these freeloading oil companies will be eligible to bid on new leases, providing them with more record profits while American families are left holding the bag. These 24 companies have posted a combined $365 billion in profits since 2006.
The list of the specific companies comes from a February 2008 U.S. Department of Interior memo recently obtained by Public Citizen. Four of the 24 companies (BP, Marathon, Shell and Walter Oil & Gas) signed voluntary agreements to pay royalties going forward, but they will not be required to pay the more than $200 million taxpayers have been denied on production that already has occurred.
Bush Budget Spends 100 Times More to Regulate Unions
By Ross Eisenbrey | Economic Policy Institute.org
President Bush’s Fiscal Year 2009 budget request for the Department of Labor is dramatically out of balance. President Bush requested $58 million for Office of Labor Management Standards (OLMS), which oversees 23,000 unions and union locals with 13 million members. He requested only $193 million for the Wage and Hour Division, which oversees 7.4 million employers and protects 150 million employees by enforcing a host of labor standards, including child labor laws, overtime rules, and the Family and Medical Leave Act, among others. In terms of dollars per regulated entity, the OLMS budget is $2,500 per union and union local. The Wage and Hour Division budget is only $26.08 per employer (see Chart). President Bush wants to spend almost 100 times more per union to make sure they comply with the law than to make sure employers comply with the law.
Preamble: Many remember Grover Norquist's 2001 infamous goal: "My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years," he says, "to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."
Bear it mind as you read on. ~Chip :)
This is the text of a talk given at the sixth annual Pigstock, held at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, Wisconsin and sponsored by Veterans For Peace, Chapter 115 in Red Wing, Minnesota on July 12, 2008.
I want to start out today with something written by an early American revolutionary. This man was key to the armed revolution we fought against the King of England beginning in 1776, and more than that, was key to the revolution of ideas that had begun to grip the American colonies for several generations. This man was born poor, remained poor throughout his life, and he died in a tenement house. Yet, he was also a key American statesmen, publisher, orator, and held a number of government positions. He was a friend of Thomas Jefferson, and he was throughout his life, a self-educated person who valued liberty and justice. He opposed the concentrated power of the hereditary elites, and he believed that imperial wars were immoral.
His name was Thomas Paine. During the winter of the first year of revolution, in what would be the second of a series of pamphlets called The American Crisis, he described what we were fighting. It’s a long quote, but I want you to hear what he had to say:
If ever a nation was mad and foolish, blind to its own interest and bent on its own destruction, it is Britain. There are such things as national sins, and though the punishment of individuals may be reserved to another world, national punishment can only be inflicted in this world. Britain, as a nation, is, in my inmost belief, the greatest and most ungrateful offender against God on the face of the whole earth. Blessed with all the commerce she could wish for, and furnished, by a vast extension of dominion, with the means of civilizing both the eastern and western world, she has made no other use of both than proudly to idolize her own "thunder," and rip up the bowels of whole countries for what she could get. Like Alexander, she has made war her sport, and inflicted misery for prodigality's sake. The blood of India is not yet repaid, nor the wretchedness of Africa yet requited. Of late she has enlarged her list of national cruelties by her butcherly destruction of the Caribbs of St. Vincent's, and returning an answer by the sword to the meek prayer for "Peace, liberty and safety." These are serious things, and whatever a foolish tyrant, a debauched court, a trafficking legislature, or a blinded people may think, the national account with heaven must some day or other be settled: all countries have sooner or later been called to their reckoning; the proudest empires have sunk when the balance was struck; and Britain, like an individual penitent, must undergo her day of sorrow, and the sooner it happens to her the better.
Pelosi offers Veep support for House darkhorse
Steve Brusk | CNN
Plenty of high profile names are getting bounced around as Barack Obama’s potential running mate. But Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi may have a lesser-known candidate in mind.
Newsweek and other publications say Pelosi has been lobbying for Rep. Chet Edwards (D – Texas). The 56-year-old Edwards is a 9-term congressman representing a district in central Texas that includes President Bush’s ranch in Crawford.
In an interview Sunday, Pelosi said, I didn't want to see a discussion of candidates for vice president without showing the House of Representatives...I just wanted people to be aware of the extraordinary credentials of Chet Edwards. And I hope he will be the nominee."
Justice Robert Jackson Conference On The Planning For Prosecution Of High Level American War Criminals, Sept. 13-14, Andover MA
Larry Velvel, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law and sponsor of the upcoming Justice Robert Jackson Conference On The Planning For Prosecution Of High Level American War Criminals, featuring Francis Boyle, Vincent Bugliosi, David Swanson, Philippe Sands, Ann Wright and others, discusses the many crimes of the Bush administration, the history of unaccountability of our leaders, the legal gymnastics perpetrated by the Bush regime lawyers, the immunity clauses of the Military Commission Act and how they might effect potential foreign prosecutions of American war criminals.
MP3 here. (34:20)
Former Rep. John F. Seiberling, who served on the committee that led impeachment hearings against President Richard Nixon and laid the groundwork for Ohio's only national park, died Saturday. He was 89.
Seiberling died of respiratory failure at his home near Akron after a long illness, said his wife, Betty Seiberling.
Seiberling, a Democrat, had been a corporate attorney for Akron-based Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. for 17 years when he decided to run for Congress in 1970 because of his opposition to the Vietnam War. He unseated longtime Republican Rep. William Ayres.
Seiberling led a House subcommittee on public lands and national parks that preserved 129 million acres, including areas in Alaska and the area in northeastern Ohio that eventually became Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
ND towns unfazed by ICBM rocket booster in ditch
JAMES MacPHERSON | Yahoo! News
There's plenty to talk about at the weekly women's coffee klatch in the small town of Parshall, and no one bothered to mention the unarmed booster rocket for an intercontinental ballistic missile lying in a ditch where an Air Force truck overturned.
"We talked about the oil boom, weddings — everything under the sun," Arlene Zacher said Saturday. "But nobody ever mentioned that missile. I guess that shows that people aren't worried about it — I'm certainly not."
The Air Force said a truck carrying the booster for a Minuteman III overturned Thursday a few miles east of Parshall in northwest North Dakota, but there was no danger to the public.
The truck and booster rocket, which is 66 feet long and weighs 75,000 pounds, were still sitting along the road Saturday, under armed guard.
Please join us (Aug. 1 - Aug. 7) @ the NY screening of the Exciting New Documentary Film:
STEALING AMERICA: Vote by Vote
If you are passionate about your vote counting in the upcoming November election, as well as your neighbor's vote, and the vote of all U.S. citizens, please do one or more of the following:
- SEE STEALING AMERICA: Vote by Vote in NYC @ the Quad Cinema @ 34 W. 13st St. starting August 1. Go to www.quadcinema.com. Click on "Coming Soon!" [ALSO - GO to: www.stealingamericathemovie.org (Click on "Full List of Screenings") for dates of nationwide openings!]
- Advance tickets for the August 1st to August 7th showings of "Stealing America : Vote by Vote" at the Quad Cinema in New York City can now be purchased online @ MovieTickets.com and MovieFone.com.
Iowa Citizens Arrested for Attempting to Arrest War Criminal Karl Rove; Arraignment Judge Quips "It's About Time!"
The four Iowans arrested last Friday for attempting to make a citizen's arrest of Karl Rove
Retired Methodist minister, Chet Guinn, 80, and Des Moines Catholic Workers, Ed Bloomer, 61, Mona Shaw 57, and Kirk Brown, 25, were arrested at a Des Moines country club where Rove was appearing at a Republican Fundraiser.
Shaw was the first called before Polk County Fifth Judicial District Associate Judge William Price.
After entering her plea, the judge asked Shaw, "Mamn, what were you doing at the Wakonda Country Club?"
Q: Why have you taken impeachment off the table as an option for President George W. Bush? Nancy Shipes WOODSTOWN, N.J.
A: I took it off the table a long time ago. You can't talk about impeachment unless you have the facts, and you can't have the facts unless you have cooperation from the Administration. I think the Republicans would like nothing better than for us to focus on impeachment and take our eye off the ball of a progressive economic agenda.
Q: What plans do you have to help right our economic ship? Nathan Duersch SPANISH FORK, UTAH
Kurt Nimmo | Infowars
In the video here, taped at the Campus Progress journalism conference earlier this month, the Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh reveals how the neocons convened around Dick Cheney and brainstormed ways to kick off World War IV, as they fondly call their pet project to take out the Muslims and foment a contrived “clash of civilizations.”
According to Hersh, this meeting occurred after the neocons failed miserably to stage a rehashed version of the Gulf of Tonkin incident in the Strait of Hormuz, mostly because it is no longer 1964 and such Big Lies — thanks to the internet and bloggers — are far more difficult to float. “For all I know, our Navy was shooting at whales out there,” quipped LBJ about the imaginary act of North Vietnamese boats supposedly attacking U.S. ships, leading to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and undeclared war in Southeast Asia, ultimately resulting in the death of nearly 60,000 Americans and around 3 million Southeast Asians.
U.S. federal agents have been given new powers to seize travelers' laptops and other electronic devices at the border and hold them for unspecified periods the Washington Post reported on Friday.
Under recently disclosed Department of Homeland Security policies, such seizures may be carried out without suspicion of wrongdoing, the newspaper said, quoting policies issued on July 16 by two DHS agencies.
Agents are empowered to share the contents of seized computers with other agencies and private entities for data decryption and other reasons, the newspaper said.
DHS officials said the policies applied to anyone entering the country, including U.S. citizens, and were needed to prevent terrorism.
Denver Librarian Faces Tresspassing Charges for Sign Reading "McCain = Bush"; Asks: "Why is that offensive to Republicans?"
By Felisa Cardona | The Denver Post
Carol Kreck, who was cited for trespassing while holding a sign outside Sen. John McCain's town-hall meeting in Denver on July 7, pleaded not guilty today in Denver County Court.
The librarian and former Denver Post reporter was removed from the galleria at the Denver Performing Arts Complex while holding a sign handed to her by a protest group that read "McCain = Bush."
The area that Kreck was standing in is not a public space and that is why she was cited for trespassing.
A videotape of the incident shows a security guard telling Kreck to leave and saying that the U.S. Secret Service had asked him to remove her.
Later, a spokeswoman for the complex said the security guard was mistaken, that the Secret Service had nothing to do with it; McCain's campaign staff had asked that people holding signs be removed from the galleria.
McCain's campaign spokesman, Tom Kise, has said that is not true, that the senator has a track record of allowing opposing views at his public events and that the campaign only asked people inside the town-hall meeting not to hold signs of any kind.
Kise said the campaign never asked that people not be allowed to hold signs outside the venue and said it was the complex's own policy that was being enforced.
Kreck said she is surprised by the attention her case has received, but she wants her day in court to find out who wanted her removed.
By Dave Lindorff
A federal district judge appointed by President George W. Bush to the bench has done the right thing, ruling definitively this morning that the President’s claim of absolute immunity for his advisors from Congressional oversight and subpoena is “entirely unsupported by existing case law.”
The ruling, by Judge John Bates, is as important as much because of who issued it as it is for its impact upon Congressional investigations into presidential wrongdoing.
Certainly the ruling will open the way for Democrats in Congress to move harder to investigate the abuses of the current administration, which have been stymied by administration refusal to provide witnesses, even to come in and plead the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.
TSA ramps up program to psychologically screen airline passengers
Nick Langewis and David Edwards | Raw Story
In addition to having your bags scanned, taking off your shoes and emptying your pockets on the way to your plane, prepare to have an on-the-spot psychoanalysis as well.
The TSA is in the process of training "behavior detection officers" to seek out involuntary physical and physiological signs of "stress, fear or deception" among air passengers to help determine who to subject to additional screening at airport security checkpoints.
A House panel Wednesday voted to cite former top White House aide Karl Rove for contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena to answer questions about the dismissals of several federal prosecutors as its Senate counterpart explored punishments for an array of alleged Bush administration misdeeds.
Voting 20-14 along party lines, the House Judiciary Committee said that Rove had broke the law by failing to appear at a July 10 hearing on allegations of White House influence over the Justice Department, including whether Rove encouraged prosecutions against Democrats such as former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.
Former Democratic candidate Mike Gravel says President George W. Bush should be taken to The Hague for war crimes rather than being impeached.
In a Monday video conference with Press TV, the former Alaska senator said President Bush does not 'deserve' to be impeached for invading Afghanistan and Iraq, which has resulted in the loss of 'millions of lives'.
"An Impeachment just means you would only take away his (Bush's) presidency. Well, he is almost done (with) his presidency. What really needs to happen is that these people have to be held accountable for the crimes they have committed," the 78-year-old Libertarian said referring to the US president and Vice President Dick Cheney.
"If you impeach the president and vice president, Nancy Pelosi is going to become president; that is not going to happen," Gravel added.
By Dave Lindorff
The dramatic hearing on presidential crimes and abuses of power held on Friday by the House Judiciary Committee was both a staged farce, and at the same time, a powerful demonstration of the power of a grassroots movement in defense of the Constitution. It was at once both testimony to the cowardice and self-inflicted impotence of Congress and of the Democratic Party that technically controls that body, and to the enormity of the damage that has been wrought to the nation’s democracy by two aspiring tyrants in the White House.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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."
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 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.