Cut off the gravy train now.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush is preparing to ask Congress for as much as $50 billion in additional funding for the war in Iraq, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing a White House official.
The request signals increasing White House confidence that it can fend off mounting congressional pressure to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, the Post reported.
The additional funds would come on top of about $460 billion in the fiscal 2008 defense budget and $147 billion in a pending supplemental bill to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Post said.
The request is expected to be announced next month after the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker report to Congress on the state of the war, the newspaper said.
Like most contractors, Custer Battles was on a cost-plus arrangement, which means its profits were guaranteed to rise with its spending. But according to testimony by officials and former employees, the partners also charged the government millions by making out phony invoices to shell companies they controlled. In another stroke of genius, they found a bunch of abandoned Iraqi Airways forklifts on airport property, repainted them to disguise the company markings and billed them to U.S. taxpayers as new equipment. Every time they scratched their asses, they earned; there was so much money around for contractors, officials literally used $100,000 wads of cash as toys. "Yes - $100 bills in plastic wrap," Frank Willis, a former CPA official, acknowledged in Senate testimony about Custer Battles. "We played football with the plastic-wrapped bricks for a little while."
Bechtel was given $50 million to build the hospital - but a year later, with the price tag soaring to $169 million, the company was pulled off the project without a single bed being ready for use. The government was unfazed: Bechtel, explained USAID spokesman David Snider, was "under a 'term contract,' which means their job is over when their money ends."
The Bush administration's lack of interest in recovering stolen funds is one of the great scandals of the war. The White House has failed to litigate a single case against a contractor under the False Claims Act and has not sued anybody for breach of contract. It even declined to join in a lawsuit filed by whistle-blowers who are accusing KBR of improper invoicing in Fallujah. "For all the Bush administration claims to do in the war against terrorism," Grayson said in congressional testimony, "it is a no-show in the war against war profiteers." In nearly five years of some of the worst graft and looting in American history, the administration has recovered less than $6 million.
Get em a doorknob so they can exit.
George at his most wilfully oblivious.
Al Gonzales is a man of integrity, decency and principle. And I have reluctantly accepted his resignation, with great appreciation for the service that he has provided for our country.
As Attorney General he played an important role in helping to confirm two fine jurists in Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. He did an outstanding job as White House Counsel, identifying and recommending the best nominees to fill critically important federal court vacancies.
After months of unfair treatment that has created a harmful distraction at the Justice Department, Judge Gonzales decided to resign his position, and I accept his decision. It's sad that we live in a time when a talented and honorable person like Alberto Gonzales is impeded from doing important work because his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons.
* When you invade a sovereign nation, topple its government then declare it to be "not your puppet"... try and maintain continuity by shutting the fuck up on how its run... especially if you want so badly to refer to it as a democracy.
* Failure, apparently can be an option... it's just that most people don't seek it out with the same verocity as others do.
* Paramount goal; above all, to thine commodity be true. Afghanistan, still harboring terrorists and exporting more heroin than ever.
* Turkeys cannot fly and Allah has no f'ing sense of humor.
* Sssssh, be vewwy vewwy quiet. We'a stiww huntin' wabbits.
* Iraq, through selectively distributed deliveries, now has a second amendment and a well armed militia.
The *real* Fredo, got a boat ride
awwww, c'mon. take an apple, what'll it hurt?
...and the angels in heaven rejoiced.
(AHN) - Multiple sources have now confirmed that U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez has submitted his resignation to President George W. Bush.
The New York Times noted that Gonzalez was submitting his resignation and CNN confirmed that President Bush accepted his resignation. A press conference is to be scheduled later today.
Even if the next year is spent without leadership in the justice department while a replacement is vetted, the nation will be better off.
... CNN reported that senior administration officials said the name of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, a former federal judge and assistant attorney general, was at the top of the list of potential replacements for Gonzales.
bad, to worse?
Current and former administration officials had said the department's integrity had been damaged under Gonzales with controversy over the firing of the prosecutors, his support for Bush's warrantless domestic spying program adopted after the September 11 attacks and other issues.
Before becoming the chief U.S. law enforcement official, Gonzales drew fire from critics of U.S. interrogation policy for writing in January 2002 that parts of the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war were "obsolete" and some provisions "quaint."
"I haven't seen Congress say he's done anything wrong," Bush said at a recent news conference. "As a matter of fact, I believe we're watching ... a political exercise."
The emperor sure loves his clothes, don't he?
* After extinguishing the 1000 points of light, blowing up the bridge to the next century and allowing the high road to become overgrown, as a country... we're no longer the example we believe ourselves to be.
* Bigger government under Republicans is ironic enough... but contracting out the intelligence and spying?
* Speaking of outsourcing, we're not too picky with whom we do business as long as it's under the guise of the GWOT.
* Heck of a job Georgie.
* What's happening in your neighborhood?
Russert: Were you favor of the war in Vietnam?
President Bush: I supported my government. I did. And would have gone had my unit been called up, by the way.
Russert: But you didn't volunteer or enlist to go.
President Bush: No, I didn't. You're right. I served. I flew fighters and enjoyed it, and provided a service to our country. In those days we had what was called "air defense command," and it was a part of the air defense command system.
The thing about the Vietnam War that troubles me as I look back was it was a political war. We had politicians making military decisions, and it is lessons that any president must learn, and that is to the set the goal and the objective and allow the military to come up with the plans to achieve that objective. And those are essential lessons to be learned from the Vietnam War.
Finally, there's Vietnam. This is a complex and painful subject for many Americans. The tragedy of Vietnam is too large to be contained in one speech. So I'm going to limit myself to one argument that has particular significance today. Then as now, people argued the real problem was America's presence and that if we would just withdraw, the killing would end.
Three decades later, there is a legitimate debate about how we got into the Vietnam War and how we left. There's no debate in my mind that the veterans from Vietnam deserve the high praise of the United States of America. (Applause.) Whatever your position is on that debate, one unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like "boat people," "re-education camps," and "killing fields."
Ta Da! If we don't stay in Iraq, it'll be like Vietnam... over.
Just makes you want to weep.
THE PRESIDENT: It does, precisely. It's going to make -- it could make August a tough month, because you see, what they're going to try to do is kill as many innocent people as they can to try to influence the debate here at home. Don't you find that interesting? I do -- that they recognize that the death of innocent people could shake our will, could undermine David Petraeus's attempt to create a more stable government. They will do anything they can to prevent success. And the reason why is al Qaeda fully understands that if we retreat they, then, are able to have another safe haven, in their mind.
Yesterday, in my speech, I quoted quotes from Osama bin Laden. And the reason I did was, is that I want the American people to hear what he has to say -- not what I say, what he says. And in my judgment, we ought to be taking the words of the enemy seriously.
And so, yes, it could be a bloody -- it could be a very difficult August, and I fully understand --
BAGHDAD, Aug. 22 -- A U.S. Army helicopter crashed north of Baghdad early Wednesday morning, killing all 14 soldiers onboard, the military said.
Meanwhile, a suicide truck bomber in the northern city of Baiji killed at least 20 people at a police station Wednesday morning, police said.
A statement from the U.S. military said initial evidence indicates the UH-60 Blackhawk experienced mechanical failure and that it did not come under enemy fire. However, the cause of the crash is under investigation, the military said.
Oh George, if Democracy *could* work like that we'd implement it here too.
"The fundamental question is, will the government respond to the demands of the people," the president said. "And if the government doesn't ... respond to the demands of the people, they will replace the government. That's up to the Iraqis to make that decision, not American politicians."
When does fawning slip over into creepy stalking "look at me, I'm on your side but not as cool as my bro"?
Those decriers of "hate" on the left just can't imbibe enough hatred for Karl Rove to quench their "tolerant" and "compassionate" appetites.
What drives them to this persistent state of unmitigated and unforgiving rage? I'll tell you what it's not. It's not that he's an unfriendly, hateful, uncompassionate, unlikable ogre -- because he is none of those things.
...saying it's so, doesn't make it true Davey.
On Friday evening, with Congress out of town on its summer recess and Americans heading into a mid-August weekend, the Bush administration sent a message to the states: The federal government will make it tougher for a national children's insurance program to cover the offspring of middle-income families.
The State Children's Health Insurance Program was created in 1997 to help children whose families couldn't afford insurance but didn't qualify for Medicaid, and administration officials tell the New York Times that the changes are aimed at returning the program to its low-income focus and assuring it didn't become a replacement for private insurance. Administration point man Dennis Smith wrote to state officials saying there would be new restrictions on the District of Columbia and the 18 states -- including California and New York -- that extend or plan to extend coverage for children whose families make more than 250% of Federal poverty levels. For a family of three that 250% is $42,900, and for a family of four it's $51,625. Under the new limits, a child from a family making more would have to spend one year uninsured before qualifying, and any state that wants to extend coverage would have to assure Washington that at least 95% of children eligible for SCHIP or Medicaid are enrolled in one of the programs. But as the Associated Press reports, no state can currently make such assurances.
The unborn, the odd blastocyst and frozen embryos have more rights and protection under this administration than the families of tax paying citizens.
Michelle Malkin's going to have an aneurysm over this one. The troops are supposed to be supporting, um, themselves and instead, they're injecting too much nuance and not enough black and white.
The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. Yes, we are militarily superior, but our successes are offset by failures elsewhere. What soldiers call the "battle space" remains the same, with changes only at the margins. It is crowded with actors who do not fit neatly into boxes: Sunni extremists, Al Qaeda terrorists, Shiite militiamen, criminals and armed tribes. This situation is made more complex by the questionable loyalties and Janus-faced role of the Iraqi police and Iraqi Army, which have been trained and armed at United States taxpayers' expense.
A few nights ago, for example, we witnessed the death of one American soldier and the critical wounding of two others when a lethal armor-piercing explosive was detonated between an Iraqi Army checkpoint and a police one. Local Iraqis readily testified to American investigators that Iraqi police and Army officers escorted the triggermen and helped plant the bomb. These civilians highlighted their own predicament: had they informed the Americans of the bomb before the incident, the Iraqi Army, the police or the local Shiite militia would have killed their families.
Given the situation, it is important not to assess security from an American-centered perspective. The ability of, say, American observers to safely walk down the streets of formerly violent towns is not a resounding indicator of security. What matters is the experience of the local citizenry and the future of our counterinsurgency. When we take this view, we see that a vast majority of Iraqis feel increasingly insecure and view us as an occupation force that has failed to produce normalcy after four years and is increasingly unlikely to do so as we continue to arm each warring side.
Coupling our military strategy to an insistence that the Iraqis meet political benchmarks for reconciliation is also unhelpful. The morass in the government has fueled impatience and confusion while providing no semblance of security to average Iraqis. Leaders are far from arriving at a lasting political settlement. This should not be surprising, since a lasting political solution will not be possible while the military situation remains in constant flux.
The petri-dish is spilling over and back home, interest has petered out.
Overseeing state & federal executions, political hirings and firings in the judiciary, undermining Habeas Corpus, the Bill of Rights and the Geneva Convention, authorizing the tapping of your phone and invasion of your privacy off and on since 2001 and not RECALLING a fucking bit of it.
Bush Administration: Lowered expectations and diminished returns.
"I don't mind sharing Karl, you know that... I do though, like to have a hand in the game".
When the wax images at Madam Tussauds come to life, they find the hands the most fascinating.
* You never find this level of class and enthusiasm in your average NPR listener. Tis a shame.
* Quite possibly, looking back in 50 years the true solution will be to have banned religion.
* That Bill Kristol, always right on the money... things are better in Iraq. For morticians.
* How in the world is the White House going to spin the increase in troop suicides?
* Not one plan put forth by the White House has worked in Iraq yet. Will alternate solutions or outside council be considered?
* The RNC, newest growth on the privilege limb of the executive branch.
Navel gazing always makes me feel introspectulationalistically superior.
MR. ROVE: Today, I submitted my resignation as Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor effective the end of the month. Mr. President, I'm grateful for the opportunity you gave me to serve our nation and you. I'm grateful for being able to work with the extraordinary men and women that you've drawn into this administration. And I'm grateful to have been a witness to history. It has been the joy and the honor of a lifetime.
I've seen a man of far-sighted courage put America on a war footing and protect us against a brutal enemy in a dangerous conflict that will shape this new century. I've seen a leader respond to an economy weakened by recession, corporate scandal and terrorist attacks, by taking decisive action to strengthen the economy and create jobs. I've seen a reformer who challenged his administration, the Congress, and the country to make bold changes to important institutions in great need of repair.
It is a weariness that has created its own culture of superstition. There are vehicle commanders who will not let the infantrymen in the back fall asleep on long operations - not because they want the men alert, but because, they say, bad things happen when people fall asleep. So the soldiers drink multiple cans of Rip It and Red Bull to stay alert and wired.
But the exhaustion of the US army emerges most powerfully in the details of these soldiers' frayed and worn-out lives. Everywhere you go you hear the same complaints: soldiers talk about divorces, or problems with the girlfriends that they don't see, or about the children who have been born and who are growing up largely without them.
'I counted it the other day,' says a major whose partner is also a soldier. 'We have been married for five years. We added up the days. Because of Iraq and Afghanistan we have been together for just seven months. Seven months ... We are in a bad place. I don't know whether this marriage can survive it.'
* Iraq, has absolutely nothing to do with our national security and arguing that fact doesn't make it so... just makes one looker dumber than Bush.
* Bush spends his 400+ days on vacation in Texas for the monthly entertainment highlights.
* Blue Dog Democrats = Republican-lite.
* Trouble with excavating an outhouse, you get precisely what you expect but not in the quantity you prefer.
* What good is power if you can't exploit the position?
* I reserve the right to reject your science when it contradicts my myth. Have a nice day.
* Patrick Henry gently weeps.
AUSTIN - Saying "there ought to be limits to freedom," Gov. George W. Bush has filed a legal complaint against the owners of a Web site that lampoons his White House bid.
"There's a lot of garbage in politics, and, obviously, this is a garbage man," said Mr. Bush.
“Freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.”
Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose
Nothin' don't mean nothin' hon' if it ain't free, no no
Birds of a feather...
Karl Rove, President Bush's longtime political adviser, is resigning as White House deputy chief of staff effective Aug. 31, and returning to Texas, marking a turning point for the Bush presidency.
Mr. Rove's departure removes one of the White House's most polarizing figures, and perhaps signals the effective end of the lame duck administration's role in shaping major domestic policy decisions, where the former Texas political consultant was a driving force. Mr. Rove revealed his plans in an interview with Paul Gigot, editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page
President Bush made a formal announcement Monday morning. "Karl Rove is moving on down the road," Mr. Bush said, appearing grim-faced on the White House's South Lawn with Mr. Rove at his side. "We've been friends for a long time and we're still going to be friends... I'll be on the road behind you here in a bit," he said.
People like this don't quit. Which of the GOP candidates is he going to work for, Rudy, Mitt, or Fred?
In case any or all the Democratic candidates are paying any attention at whatsoever, here are a few eye-catching slogans.
The benefits of gun barrel democracy
or not... (h/t Todd)
Nice petard, Rudy.
Speaking to reporters in Cincinnati, Giuliani said: "I was at ground zero as often, if not more, than most of the workers. ... I was there working with them. I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to. So in that sense, I'm one of them."
Using that logic... he played a key role in Kerik's shady deals too, right?
* Onward ye christian soldiers... march off to your crusade.
* Apologists apologize with non-apology apologies. Realists skewer.
* From simply being OK to Indian Nation to the GWOT supporters, Oklahoma's on the bleeding edge of ludicrious.
* Supporting the troops has such nuance.
* 44% of our national debt in the hands of China could be our tipping point of failure. Yay us.
* See, *this* is why timetables are bad... they simply wind up pointing out our failures.
* The fine line between saying and doing, blurs more.
* See what happens when you continue to approach a political situation with military means?
* Annie C., lowering the bar on social discourse one ad hominem attack at a time.
* Trouble with goals, failing to reach them just lowers the overall morale.
* ~200 candidates, 1,000 positions and each of those moving with the flipflopping grace of a fish out of water. Charted for your convenience.
* Bush and Karzai, each has their own Bernard Kerik.
* Please no. One Nixonian-esque infused White House per generation si vous plait.
* Would it be improper to send packages of Depends Undergarments to the Democrats who rolled and pissed on themselves over wiretapping?
Q: What does the United States President have in common with Zimbabwe's President?
A: An unnatural fear of the populace.
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has signed into law an act enabling state security agents to monitor phone lines, mail and the Internet, a government notice published on Friday said.
Officials have said the new law is designed to protect national security and prevent crime, but human rights groups fear it will muzzle free speech under a crackdown on dissent.
In the government notice, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda said Mugabe had agreed to the Interception of Communications Act, which was approved by both houses of Zimbabwe's parliament in June.
The law gives police and the departments of national security, defence intelligence and revenue powers to order the interception of communications and provides for the creation of a monitoring centre.
In a strange twist of fate, using the logic that the friend of our enemy is also our enemy and the same justification for the sabre rattling used against Iran after finding Iranian explosives in Iraq, this week the United States was forced to invade and occupy itself.
(via) The United States has spent $19.2 billion trying to develop Iraqi security forces since 2003, the GAO said, including at least $2.8 billion to buy and deliver equipment. But the GAO said weapons distribution was haphazard and rushed and failed to follow established procedures, particularly from 2004 to 2005, when security training was led by Gen. David H. Petraeus, who now commands all U.S. forces in Iraq.
The Pentagon did not dispute the GAO findings, saying it has launched its own investigation and indicating it is working to improve tracking. Although controls have been tightened since 2005, the inability of the United States to track weapons with tools such as serial numbers makes it nearly impossible for the U.S. military to know whether it is battling an enemy equipped by American taxpayers.
"They really have no idea where they are," said Rachel Stohl, a senior analyst at the Center for Defense Information who has studied small-arms trade and received Pentagon briefings on the issue. "It likely means that the United States is unintentionally providing weapons to bad actors."
The GAO reached the estimate of 190,000 missing arms - 110,000 AK-47s and 80,000 pistols - by comparing the property records of the Multi-National Security Transition Command for Iraq against records Petraeus maintained of the arms and equipment he had ordered. Petraeus's figures were compared with classified data and other records to ensure that they were accurate enough to compare against the property books.
In all cases, the gaps between the two records were enormous. Petraeus reported that about 185,000 AK-47 rifles, 170,000 pistols, 215,000 pieces of body armor and 140,000 helmets were issued to Iraqi security forces from June 2004 through September 2005. But the property books contained records for 75,000 AK-47 rifles, 90,000 pistols, 80,000 pieces of body armor and 25,000 helmets.
THE PRESIDENT: David Petraeus, the commander -- look, you want politicians making those decisions, or do you want commanders on the ground making the decisions? My point is, is that I would trust David Petraeus to make an assessment and a recommendation a lot better than people in the United States Congress. And that's precisely the difference.
...and the saga, continues.
Six years ago today I celebrated my birthday in a pre-9/11 world.
Today we celebrate, not just my 40th birthday, but the anniversary of the Bush administration's deliberate rejection of obvious intelligence in his PDB that allowed us to become mired in this murky, vague and opaque War on Terra. Not only did we give Bush et al, a pass for their rejection of reality, we've subsequently also given them passes to; spy on us, abuse our citizen, erode our rights, drain our coffers and subvert the basic tenents of the Constitution.
Now, six years later, the White House is still unwilling to comprehend our enemy, the information gathering's become a boil the ocean approach rather than laser focused and the intelligence community's outsourcing.
Isn't it time we collectively said, enough? It's time to impeach the Dick and the Bush and restore some honor and dignity to both the White House and the nation.
* National healthcare... only people who qualify for it are those who want to ensure no one else has access to it.
* An Army of one... tough gang.
* When did Dick take over the role of deciderer?
* Ethics reform passes in Congress? Time to explore opening that snowblower shop in hell?
* Ah, to have a president with like vision.