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"Bush's Torture Rationale Debunked." ... "Abu Zubaida was the alpha and omega of the [Republican President] Bush administration's argument for torture." ... "That's why Sunday's front-page Washington Post story by Peter Finn and Joby Warrick is such a blow to the last remaining torture apologists." ... "Finn and Warrick reported that "not a single significant plot was foiled" as a result of Zubaida's brutal treatment -- and that, quite to the contrary, his false confessions "triggered a series of alerts and sent hundreds of CIA [Central Intelligence Agency] and FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation] investigators scurrying in pursuit of phantoms."" ... "Zubaida was the first detainee to be tortured at the direct instruction of the [Republican President Bush] White House. Then he was President George W. Bush's Exhibit A in defense of the "enhanced interrogation" procedures that constituted torture. And he continues to be held up as a justification for torture by its most ardent defenders." ... "But as author Ron Suskind reported almost three years ago -- and as The Post now confirms -- almost all the key assertions the Bush administration made about Zubaida were wrong." ... "Zubaida wasn't a major al Qaeda figure. He wasn't holding back critical information. His torture didn't produce valuable intelligence -- and it certainly didn't save lives." ... "All the calculations the Bush White House claims to have made in its decision to abandon long-held moral and legal strictures against abusive interrogation turn out to have been profoundly flawed, not just on a moral basis but on a coldly practical one as well." ... "Indeed, the Post article raises the even further disquieting possibility that intentional cruelty was part of the White House's motive." ... "There's no doubt that Zubaida's capture in spring 2002 was what sent the administration down the path to state-sanctioned torture. Last April, ABC News reported that starting right after his capture, top Bush aides including [Republican] Vice President Dick Cheney micromanaged his interrogation from the White House basement. "The high-level discussions about these 'enhanced interrogation techniques' were so detailed," ABC's sources said, "some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed -- down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic." Bush has acknowledged he was aware of those meetings at the time." ... "Techniques that created damage short of "the level of death, organ failure, or the permanent impairment of a significant body function" were later authorized in an August 2002 Justice Department memo, known as the Torture Memo." ... "Just two weeks ago, in a New York Review of Books article based on a confidential report from the International Committee of the Red Cross, Mark Danner described the techniques used on Zubaida in harrowing detail." ... "I've [Dan Froomkin] written extensively about Zubaida before, and about how the facts of his case as unearthed by [author of the book "The One Percent Doctrine" Ron] Suskind thoroughly undermine the Bush administration's arguments. See, for instance, my Dec. 18, 2007 column, Exhibit A for Torture, in which I suggested that "Bush's Exhibit A in defense of torture may in fact be an exhibit for the prosecution." We learned in December 2007 that the CIA had destroyed videotapes of its secret interrogations -- 92 in all, it turns out, 90 of them of Zubaida. In February 2008, I wrote about how the White House's torture argument had now officially become that the ends justify the means." ... "Over the years, I've made something of a point of debunking the Bush White House's unsupported assertions that any really useful information was gleaned from torture." -By Dan Froomkin -WashingtonPost
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"Rev. Moon Exemplifies Right Wing GOP Subsidy of Big Media to Frame Message." ... "[Reverend] Rev. Moon has adopted a relatively low-profile in recent years (if you don't count his bizarre "coronation" by elected officials in a Capitol Hill House of Representatives meeting room a couple years back), but that hasn't prevented the weird religious leader (and close ally of the Bush family) from pouring an estimated 1 - 2.5 billion dollars into subsidizing the Washington Times since 1982." ... "In 2002, Rev. Moon pronounced "The Washington Times will become the instrument in spreading the truth about God to the world." But the reality is that the Washington Times -- like the New York Post and Weekly Standard for Rupert Murdoch -- are investments in obtaining financial regulatory and other favors from Republican administrations in return for helping frame and market the GOP [GOP=Grand Old Party=Republican] talking points of tax cuts, cultural wars, and Wall Street gambling." ... "The Washington Times has only about 100,000 subscribers, but its newsboxes are next to the Washington Post throughout D.C. [America's capital], allowing it to appear as an equal -- and to have its banner headlines seen by tens of thousands of D.C. "influencers" every day.  Then, it also gives a byline and title for its writers to appear as D.C. pundits on television (just as Bill Kristol is identified as editor of the chronically money losing "Weekly Standard" during his ubiquitous "pundit" appearances on the tube) -- as well as all television reporters need to quote it to provide "balance."" ... "In short, Moon, in essence, shells out hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to use the Washington Times as a public relations vehicle for "framing" the GOP perspective." ... "Meanwhile, wealthy liberal Democrats don't buy up or create large media outlets; they just support efforts to criticize the corporate press and the likes of Rev. Moon." ... "You can win elections, but you can't make dramatic change unless you own part of the major media." ... "Rev. Moon understands that.  Why can't wealthy Democrats?" -By Mark Karlin
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"Republican Budget Plan: �Undo� The Stimulus, Cut Taxes For The Rich." ... "Today, House Republicans released their budget plan, entitled �The Republican Road To Recovery.� They claim the plan �curbs spending, creates jobs and lowers taxes, and controls the debt; and it will soon have our economy growing again.�" ... "For an �alternative budget,� however, it is very short on numbers, including no mention of deficit implications. And the plan for creating jobs and sparking economic growth is actually undoing the stimulus and then cutting additional spending[.]" ... "Of course, stimulus dollars are already on their way out the door, so it�s difficult to envision how one would �undo� the bill. But even if it could be done, it would be an act of neo-Hooverism that would make [Iowa Republican Senator] Sen. Chuck Grassley�s (R-IA [Republican-Iowa]) insane three-year spending freeze look wise and prudent." ... "As Matthew Yglesias noted, �It�s strange that the Republicans railing about long-term deficits seem to love long-term deficits when the point of the deficits is to further enrich the rich.�" -By Pat Garofalo Room
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"Bayh: My Group Of Blue Dogs �Literally Has No Agenda� Other Than Blocking Obama�s." ... "Yesterday,, Americans United for Change, and several other progressive groups began running ads urging �moderate� Democratic members of Congress to �get on board with the president�s budget.� The ads are, in part, a response to [Indiana Democratic Senator] Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN [Democratic-Indiana]) and 14 of his Democratic colleagues who are creating what they call a �moderate coalition that will meet regularly to shape public policy.� Bayh responded to the new ads late yesterday, telling Politico that his group of �moderates� should not be targeted because they have �no agenda�:"
"Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind. [Indiana]) is also unhappy with the friendly fire. Bayh�found himself targeted by an ad accusing him of �standing in the way of President Obama�s reforms.� �We literally have no agenda,� Bayh shot back. �How can they be threatened by a group that has taken no policy positions?�"
"Bayh�s claim that his group has no agenda is hard to believe. Indeed, as the Wall Street Journal explained yesterday, the group�s �stated goal is to�protect business interests.� Even before the group was officially formed, their efforts dampened a number of progressive policy proposals and they clearly have aspirations to expand their portfolio:"
"� Shrinking Economic Recovery: The group�s first significant �success� was �paring down the more than $900 billion economic stimulus bill to $787 billion,� reducing the government�s ability to spur economic recovery quickly. [Roll Call, 3/12/2009]"

"� Preserving The [former Republican President] Bush Tax Cuts: Regarding [Democratic President] Obama�s plan to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire, Bayh said, �I do think that before we raise revenue, we first should look to see if there are ways we can cut back on spending.� [Politico, 3/3/2009]"

"� Delaying Cap-and-Trade: Bayh coaltion member, [Missouri Democratic Senator] Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO [Democratic-Missouri]), explained that the group might �push for a more lenient phase-in period for a cap-and-trade system and revenue-raising offsets to pay for expensive mandates.� [CQ Politics, 3/9/2009]"

"� Weakening Bankruptcy Protection: Centrist Democrats �forced changes to a House bill that would allow bankruptcy judges to modify [home] mortgages, ensuring that the legislation better reflected the concerns of the financial-services industry.� [WSJ, 3/25/09]"

"If Bayh is to be believed and his new group of moderates �literally have no agenda,� then what exactly are they doing? As MSNBC�s Rachel Maddow explained last night, it appears that Bayh and his colleagues have found at least one niche to fill by helping Republicans obstruct the President�s agenda and deny voters the policies they endorsed last November:"
"Anyone voting against a Democratic agenda voted Republican. Those votes produced a very small Republican minority in Congress. A small minority that now has way more power than they otherwise would because of conservative Democrats deciding to give Republicans as much power as they can."
WATCH, Requires Macromedia FlashWATCH: "'Conservadems' strike back" On Maddow show.
" -By Ryan Powers
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"Despair over financial policy." ... "The [Democratic President Obama's Treasury Secretary Tim] Geithner plan has now been leaked in detail. It�s exactly the plan that was widely analyzed � and found wanting � a couple of weeks ago. The zombie ideas have won." ... "In effect, Treasury will be creating � deliberately! � the functional equivalent of Texas S&Ls in the 1980s: financial operations with very little capital but lots of government-guaranteed liabilities. For the private investors, this is an open invitation to play heads I win, tails the taxpayers lose. So sure, these investors will be ready to pay high prices for toxic waste. After all, the stuff might be worth something; and if it isn�t, that�s someone else�s problem." ... "Or to put it another way, Treasury has decided that what we have is nothing but a confidence problem, which it proposes to cure by creating massive moral hazard." -By Paul Krugman/Blog -NYTimes
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"The New Deal and right-wing revisionism." ... "The best regarded data excluding public-works employees traces a steady decline in joblessness through the first five years of the New Deal, from 25 percent when [Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt] FDR took office to 14.3 percent in 1937. Then, however, joblessness rose, hitting 19.1 percent in 1938 before dropping back to 14.6 percent in 1940 and 9.9 percent in 1941." ... "Include work-relief employees, and unemployment declined more steeply, falling to 9.2 percent in 1937. It then rose to 12.5 percent in 1938 before dropping back to 6 percent in 1941." ... "Why did Roosevelt's recovery falter?" ... "Unfortunately for conservatives, the evidence cuts against their conclusions. The rise in unemployment followed FDR's cutback in government spending in 1937. The resulting spike in unemployment prompted him to shift courses and expand spending again, whereupon unemployment again fell." ... "Gross Domestic Product tracks the same way, notes economist Dean Baker, who has matched the increase in federal spending during each Depression year with the following year's growth in GDP. A 23.7 percent increase in federal spending in 1933 was followed by a 10.8 percent increase in GDP in 1934, for example, while a 34.2 percent increase in 1934 was followed by an 8.9 percent GDP increase in 1935. But when FDR retrenched and spending fell by 10 percent in 1937, the next year's GDP shrank by 3.4 percent." ... "There's virtually no disagreement that World War II gave the country the strong final tug out of the Depression. Yet that reality also argues for the efficacy of Keynesian remedies; economically, the war constituted a huge government stimulus, financed by massive deficit spending." -By Scott Lehigh -BostonGlobe
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"Former Gitmo Guard Tells All." ... "Army Private Brandon Neely served as a prison guard at Guantánamo [US military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba] in the first years the facility was in operation. With the [Republican President] Bush Administration, and thus the threat of retaliation against him, now gone, Neely decided to step forward and tell his story. �The stuff I did and the stuff I saw was just wrong,� he told the Associated Press. Neely describes the arrival of detainees in full sensory-deprivation garb, he details their sexual abuse by medical personnel, torture by other medical personnel, brutal beatings out of frustration, fear, and retribution, the first hunger strike and its causes, torturous shackling, positional torture, interference with religious practices and beliefs, verbal abuse, restriction of recreation, the behavior of mentally ill detainees, an isolation regime that was put in place for child-detainees, and his conversations with prisoners David Hicks and Rhuhel Ahmed. It makes for fascinating reading." ... "Neely�s comprehensive account runs to roughly 15,000 words. It was compiled by law students at the University of California at Davis and can be accessed here." ... "... Neely and other guards had been trained to the U.S. military�s traditional application of the Geneva Convention rules. They were put under great pressure to get rough with the prisoners and to violate the standards they learned. This placed the prison guards under unjustifiable mental stress and anxiety, and, as any person familiar with the vast psychological literature in the area (think of the Stanford Prison Experiment, for instance) would have anticipated produced abuses. Neely discusses at some length the notion of IRF (initial reaction force), a technique devised to brutalize or physically beat a detainee under the pretense that he required being physically subdued. The IRF approach was devised to use a perceived legal loophole in the prohibition on torture. Neely�s testimony makes clear that IRF was understood by everyone, including the prison guards who applied it, as a subterfuge for beating and mistreating prisoners�and that it had nothing to do with the need to preserve discipline and order in the prison." ... "[Neely] describes body searches undertaken for no legitimate security purpose, simply to sexually invade and humiliate the prisoners. This was a standardized [Republican President] Bush Administration tactic�the importance of which became apparent to me when I participated in some Capitol Hill negotiations with White House representatives relating to legislation creating criminal law accountability for contractors. The Bush White House vehemently objected to provisions of the law dealing with rape by instrumentality. When House negotiators pressed to know why, they were met first with silence and then an embarrassed acknowledgement that a key part of the Bush program included invasion of the bodies of prisoners in a way that might be deemed rape by instrumentality under existing federal and state criminal statutes. While these techniques have long been known, the role of health care professionals in implementing them is shocking." ... "Neely�s account demonstrates once more how much the Bush team kept secret and how little we still know about their comprehensive program of official cruelty and torture." -By Scott Horton
"Testimony of Spc. Brandon Neely." via "The Guantánamo Testimonials Project." ... "Testimonies of Military Guards." via
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"Revisionists' blind view of New Deal." ... "[N]early eight decades after [Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt] FDR launched the New Deal, amid possibly the greatest economic emergency since the 1930s, it�s important to understand that the most sophisticated arguments seeking to demolish the New Deal are based on a misreading of the bulk of the historical evidence. University of California, Davis historian Eric Rauchway, the author of �The Great Depression & The New Deal: A Very Short Introduction,� dismantled Shlaes� argument in a 2007 review in Slate. He showed how [right wing writer Amity] Shlaes had tried to diminish the nation�s economic growth during the 1930s using the narrow gauge of the Dow Jones Industrial Average as opposed to the gross domestic product." ... "Shlaes cited unemployment figures that excluded Americans who had New Deal-generated jobs, and she virtually ignored what Rauchway calls �the authoritative reference work Historical Statistics of the United States.� That reference book shows that during FDR�s first term, the real GDP grew by some 9 percent annually; and after the 1937-38 recession, the economy grew at an annual clip of 11 percent. By the fall of 1934, another New Deal historian, William E. Leuchtenburg, explains, �the ranks of the unemployed had been reduced by over 2 million and national income stood almost a quarter higher than in 1933.�" ... "The Shlaes-[ Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch] McConnell anti-New Deal critics tend to minimize the enduring contribution of laws such as the Wagner Act, which established workers� rights to organize and bargain collectively, and the Social Security Act of 1935 that provided for unemployment as well as old-age insurance. They highlight, instead, the failure of the National Industrial Recovery Act to fuel economic growth, overlook the ways in which the New Deal alleviated people�s misery and rarely acknowledge that World War II lifted the economy and ultimately ended the Depression because the national government joined closely with the private sector to provide a massive stimulus in the form of federal wartime spending." ... "FDR�s New Deal had its share of failures, setbacks and problems. But to argue that it harmed the American people, �failed abysmally� (Shlaes� words) to reduce unemployment, and retarded economic growth is to twist the historical evidence beyond all reasonable recognition. Such arguments are forms of revisionism that are misleading, polemical and riddled with distortions of the overwhelming facts at hand about the New Deal�s achievements as well as its real shortcomings. " -By Matthew Dallek
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"BIGGEST. TAX CUT. EVER." ... "A few weeks ago, when the House approved the economic stimulus bill without any Republican votes, David Weigel noted that he literally couldn't remember "a time when the entire Republican conference in either house voted against tax cuts."" ... "That's true, but let's go a little further. The compromise plan announced last night includes $282 billion in tax cuts over two years. With that in mind, Steven Waldman argues, persuasively, that when the vast majority of congressional Republicans oppose the package, they'll be voting against the biggest tax cut "in history.""
"According to the Wall Street Journal, [Republican President] Bush's first two years of tax cuts amounted to $174 billion. A second batch in 2004 and 2005 cost $231. And those were thought to be bigger than the tax cuts offered by Reagan, Kennedy or others."

"Now, perhaps some new analysis will show that the tax cuts end up not quite being the largest in history by this measure or that. But it's clear they're massive."

"I'm ducking the debate on whether this is economically a good or bad -- but surely it ought to be a big story."

"True. Waldman also notes that this is also an example of a liberal Democrat delivering early on a tax cut he promised during the campaign, a pledge "few Republican thought he'd keep."" ... "[Democratic President] Obama's tax cuts, meanwhile, are short-term refunds paid directly to working and middle class families (some of which Republicans have denounced as "welfare")." ... "As such, GOP [GOP=Grand Old Party=Republican] lawmakers are going to reject one of the largest, if not the largest, tax cut ever proposed by a president -- which just so happens to be targeted at the working and middle class families Obama vowed to look out for." -By Steve Benen
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"Source: Collins Strips Stim Bill Of Whistleblower Protections." ... "The House stimulus bill contained a provision designed to protect federal whistleblowers. Currently, those protections are shockingly weak. According to the Project On Government Oversight, whistleblowers who are fired or demoted can file a complaint with a government board -- but over the last eight years, that board has ruled in favor of whistleblowers only twice in 55 cases." ... "More to the point, the protections were designed to encourage federal workers to point out cases where taxpayer money is subject to waste, fraud, or abuse -- a legitimate concern when Congress spends $800 billion, and one that centrists and Republicans have been particularly exercised about." ... "Yesterday, 20 members of the House, from both parties, sent a letter to House negotiators urging them to ensure that the protections remained." ... "But, according to a person following the bill closely, Collins used today's conference committee to drastically water down the measure, citing national security concerns as the reason for her opposition. In the end, the protections were so weakened that House negotiators balked, and the result was that the entire amendment was removed." ... "According to the person following the bill, [Maine Republican Senator Susan] Collins was the "central roadblock" to passing the protections." ... "So when, in the coming months, conservatives start jumping up and down over the fact that money from the stimulus bill is being wasted, as they surely will, it's worth remember that a key measure designed to help expose that waste was removed from the bill -- and by a senator said to be a champion of fiscal discipline." -By Zachary Roth -TPMMuckracker .TalkingPointsMemo

DEM 2010 TV
Barack Obama.OBAMA TV
WATCH - if you have the Macromedia Flash media player installed.WHITE HOUSE TV
'News' Media Politics
Media politics discussed by Jay Rosen and Glenn Greenwald on Bill Moyers Journal.
Jay Rosen and Glenn Greenwald discuss journalism and media politics on Bill Moyers Journal. Transcript. Also: Rosen, Greenwald, Moyers.
#News Media Politics: Jay Rosen and Glenn Greenwald
Right-Wing TV Bias
More Republicans than Democrats on Cable TV. Political ''news'' media bias research bar graph by
MEDIA BIAS: 2 to 1 in favor of Republicans (red) to Democrats (blue) on Cable Television.
[Updated report shows continued cable tv "news' right wing media bias]
#Right Wing TV Bias
Economic Recovery

Democratic President Obama on America's Economic Recovery.
#Barack Obama Economic Recovery
Inauguration Speech
Obama's Inauguration and Speech.
Democratic President Obama's Inauguration and Speech.
#Barack Obama Politics News TV
Barack Obama News. Democratic Presidential Candidate.Obama News
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"If it�s Sunday, it�s still conservative." ... "In 2006, Media Matters conducted a study on Sunday political talk shows, finding that �Republicans and conservatives have been offered more opportunities to appear on the Sunday shows � in some cases, dramatically so.� From 2001 to 2005, conservative guests outnumbered progressives �by 58 percent to 42 percent.� Atrios notes that tomorrow�s shows will also be dominated by conservative guests:"
"7 Appearances by Republican current elected officeholders"
"3 Appearances by Democratic current elected officeholders."
"2 Appearances by Republican former elected officeholders."
"1 Appearance by a [Republican President] Bush Cabinet Secretary."
"T. Boone Pickens [former Republican swift boat contributor]"
"Ted Turner. "
BARACK OBAMA News.Barack ObamaJOHN BOEHNER News. Ohio Republican Politician John Andrew Boehner News.John BoehnerKARL ROVE News. Republican Politician Karl Rove News.Karl Rove2008 ELECTION News2008 ElectionMEDIA News.Media -POLITICS News. POLITICIAN News.PoliticsCORPORATE News.CorporateHEALTHCARE News.HealthcareOHIO News.OhioUS AMERICAN News.USIRAQ News.IraqGLOBAL News.GlobalCLIMATE News.Climate
"Sunday Roundup." ... "In the wake of [2008 Election Democratic President-Elect Barack] Obama's overwhelming victory, and Democratic gains in the House and Senate, conservatives are desperately trying to convince the world that these results are meaningless. "Democrats should not make the mistake of viewing Tuesday's results as a repudiation of conservatism," insisted [Ohio Republican Representative] John Boehner. "Barack Obama understands this is a center-right country," claimed Karl Rove. "This country remains every bit as center-right as it has for a generation," parroted Brent Bozell. And David Brooks dreamed of an Obama administration that understands "this was an election where the middle asserted itself." Drunk on self-delusion, a staggering GOP whistles past the electoral graveyard, missing the whole point of this election: the center has shifted, and positions that used to be considered "left-wing" -- on healthcare, on global warming, on corporate responsibility, on Iraq -- are now solidly mainstream." -By Arianna Huffington
JOHN MCCAIN News.John McCain -CORPORATE News. MONEY News.CorporateGOVERNMENT News.GovernmentDISASTER NewsDisasterPOLITICS News. POLITICIAN News.PoliticsUS DEBT News.US_DebtHEALTHCARE News.HealthcareSOCIAL SECURTIY News. RETIREMENT News. SENIORS News.Social SecurityRIGHTS News.RightsBOOK News.Book -2008 ELECTION News2008 Election
"Naomi Klein: Financial crisis part of Bush 'shock doctrine'." ... "The bailout of Wall Street�s largest players by the federal government is another example of the [Republican President] Bush administration pursuing a corporate agenda at the expense of average Americans, a prominent author argued on Friday." ... "In a Friday night interview on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, Naomi Klein said President Bush�s $700 billion proposal to rescue the financial sector stems from a profiteering streak that has dominated the last eight years." ... ""The disaster is far from over," Klein said. "The disaster was on Wall Street and they have moved the disaster to Main Street."" ... "Referring to the bailout, Klein said the "bomb has yet to detonate" and that the real crisis will strike when tax payers are overwhelmed when faced with the debt from the bailouts." ... "According to Klein, the bomb will detonate if Sen. John McCain becomes president and "rationalizes" that it is necessary to privatize government programs like social security and healthcare because neither the government nor Americans can afford them." ... ""The real disaster has yet to come; the real disaster is the debt that is going to explode on American tax payers," Klein said." ... "Klein�s book, "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism," outlines how crises, real or perceived, have been used by governments, especially the United States under George W. Bush, to strong-arm a disoriented citizenry into accepting changes to its rights, and its government, that it wouldn't otherwise accept." -By David Edwards and Andrew McLemore
WATCH - if you have the Macromedia Flash media player installed.
WATCH: Naomi Klein on Republican Bush's "Shock Doctrine"
"Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon�s Hidden Hand." ... "To the public, these men [retired military officers] are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as �military analysts� whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post- [September] Sept. 11 world." ... "Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration�s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found." (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, DOCUMENTS) -By David Barstow -NYTimes
WATCH - if you have the Macromedia Flash media player installed.WATCH - "How the Pentagon Spread Its Message." -By David Barstow -NYTimes
A-Z News Subjects
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JOHN MCCAIN News.John McCainGOVERNMENT News.GovernmentMONEY News.MoneyACCOUNTING News.AccountingARIZONA News.Arizona
"Despite McCain's Comments, Senate GOP Not Offering Detailed Budget." ... "On Thursday, House Republicans did wind up offering the frame of an alternative budget -- but then they were widely panned for not releasing a more detailed alternative to the Democratic proposals." ... "That�s what made an exchange Sunday with [Arizona Republican Senator] Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on NBC�s �Meet the Press,� intriguing."
"DAVID GREGORY: �Do you think that Republicans should provide a detailed budget alternative?�"

"McCAIN: �Yes.�"

"GREGORY: �With numbers?�"

"McCAIN: �Yes.�"

"GREGORY: �Will that happen in the Senate?�"

"McCAIN: �We're working on it, working very hard on it.�"

"So -- are they?" ... "Actually, no." -By Rick Klein
BARACK OBAMA News. Democratic President Barack Hussein Obama News.Barack ObamaGOVERNMENT News.GovernmentPOLITICIAN News. POLITICS News.PoliticsAUTO News.AutoMAKERS News.MakersWORKERS News.WorkersRETIREMENT News.RetirementMONEY News.Money
"Wagoner's pension secure as GM's workers could be hit." ... "As the [Democratic President] Obama administration tries to rein in sky-high executive compensation at firms that are getting billions in taxpayer funds, ousted General Motors Chief Executive Rick Wagoner is due to walk away with a pension and benefits that total $23 million." ... "Wagoner, whose company is on tap to get a nearly $30 billion bailout to help it restructure, is unaffected by the cap on compensation that's now levied on banks other financial firms and is expected to be extended to the automakers." ... "Wagoner's pension payments are being preserved even as those of rank-and-file GM [General Motors] workers are more at risk after President Barack Obama suggested that bankruptcy is a way to save the company." ... "According to GM's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, he [Wagoner] earned $14.4 million in total compensation in 2007 and $5.4 million in 2008, even though most of his income was tied to the company's performance, which was dismal." -By Greg Gordon with contributions by Kevin G. Hall
CORPORATE News.CorporateSECRET News.SecretsPEOPLE News.People'sHEALTH News.HealthHISTORY News.HistoryCOMPUTER News.ComputerizedDATA News.Data-MiningWEB News.WebPSYCHOLOGY News.PsychologyDRUG News.DrugFEDERAL News.FederalCONSUMER News.ConsumerPRIVACY News.PrivacyLAW News.LawPOLITICS News.Politics
"Insurers shun those taking certain meds: How health insurers secretly blacklist those with certain ailments." ... "Trying to buy health insurance on your own and have gallstones? You'll automatically be denied coverage. Rheumatoid arthritis? Automatic denial. Severe acne? Probably denied. Do you take metformin, a popular drug for diabetes? Denied. Use the anti-clotting drug Plavix or Seroquel, prescribed for anti-psychotic or sleep problems? Forget about it." ... "This confidential information on some insurers' practices is available on the Web -- if you know where to look." ... "What's more, you can discover that if you lie to an insurer about your medical history and drug use, you will be rejected because data-mining companies sell information to insurers about your health, including detailed usage of prescription drugs." ... "To make sure that applicants are not lying, insurers hire a data-gathering service -- Medical Information Bureau, Milliman's Intelliscript or Ingenix Medpoint." ... "Intelliscript and Medpoint do computerized searches of a person's drug use, gleaned from pharmacy benefits managers and other databases." ... "Last year, the Federal Trade Commission accused both companies of violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act by not offering to provide consumers with information about them. The companies agreed to settlements in which they promised to let people see their personal information." (1, 2) -By John Dorschner -MiamiHerald
JOHN ROBERTS News.John RobertsSUPREME COURT News.Supreme CourtNEVADA News.Nevada
"Reid: Chief Justice Roberts "didn't tell us the truth"." ... "[United States] U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts "didn't tell us the truth" before his 2005 confirmation, Senate Majority Leader [and Nevada Democratic Senator] Harry Reid said Friday." -By David Lightman via -Yahoo
IOWA News.IowaNORTH DAKOTA News.North Dakota
"Senators Get Nasty: "You're Good" ... "Your Wife Said The Same Thing" (VIDEO)." ... "Budget Committee Chairman [and North Dakota Democratic Senator] Kent Conrad (D-N.D. [Democratic-North Dakota]) was on the receiving end of this one, after telling [Iowa Republican Senator] Sen. Charles Grassley (R [Republican]-Iowa), "Oh, you are good."... [Chuck Grassley responded:] "Well, your wife said the same thing," Grassley responded. " -By Ryan Grim
WATCH: Iowa Republican Senator Grassley say "Well, your wife said the same thing," in response to North Dakota Democratic Senator Conrad saying "Oh, you are good."
ECONOMY News.EconomicHISTORY News.HistoryJOB News.JobsCONSUMER News.ConsumerGOVERNMENT News.Government
"GDP revision shows 6.3% decline in fourth quarter: Worst quarter in 26 years led by weak spending, investment, exports." ... "The U.S. economy experienced its most violent contraction in a generation during the fourth quarter, with real gross domestic product plunging at a 6.3% annualized seasonally adjusted rate, the Commerce Department reported Thursday in its third estimate of quarterly growth." ... " GDP hadn't fallen so much since the first quarter of 1982. It was the third largest decline in GDP in 50 years." ... "Economists believe the current quarter, which ends March 31, was nearly as bad. Current projections look for GDP to fall at a 5.1% annual pace. Since 1947, GDP has never fallen by more than 4% for two quarters in a row." ... "Some have a more extreme view: "The economy will contract by a staggering 7% to 8% in the first quarter, before the economy begins to stabilize,"wrote Nariman Behravesh, chief economist for IHS Global Insight." ... "The recession that began in December 2007 intensified in the fourth quarter following the government's rescue of several large financial institutions and the collapse of Lehman Bros. The ensuing credit squeeze has driven consumer and business confidence to generational lows, and cost 3 million Americans their jobs." ... "The slump in the economy in the fourth quarter was broad based, with declines in every major sector except the federal government. Corporate profits fell at the fastest pace since 1953." ... "Final sales to domestic purchasers -- domestic demand -- fell at a 5.8% annual rate, the biggest drop since the second quarter of 1980." -By Rex Nutting -MarketWatch
LABOR News.LaborMARKET News. MONEY News.Market
"U.S. ongoing jobless claims rise to record 5.56 million: First-time claims hit 652,000 for last week, underscoring lack of jobs." ... "Showing the labor market's considerable strain, the number of people collecting state unemployment benefits reached yet another new record, jumping 122,000 to a seasonally adjusted 5.56 million, the Labor Department reported Thursday." ... "The four-week average of these claims rose 123,750 to stand at 5.33 million -- in itself a record high since the U.S. began compiling these statistics -- also as of the week ended March 14." ... "And for the week ended March 21, first-time claims for benefits rose 8,000 to 652,000, a level that's fully 78% higher than the same period in the prior year." ... "The insured unemployment rate, representing the proportion of covered workers who are receiving benefits, rose to 4.2% from 4.1%, reaching the highest level since May 1983." -By Ruth Mantell -MarketWatch
REAL ESTATE News.Real EstateHISTORY News.History
"Commercial Property Faces Crisis: Delinquency Rate at 1.8%, Near Peak of Last Recession; Parallels to S&L Debacle." ... "Commercial real-estate loans are going sour at an accelerating pace, threatening to cause tens of billions of dollars in losses to banks already hurt by the housing downturn." ... "The delinquency rate on about $700 billion in securitized loans backed by office buildings, hotels, stores and other investment property has more than doubled since September to 1.8% this month, according to data provided to The Wall Street Journal by Deutsche Bank AG. While that's low compared with the home-mortgage delinquency rate, it's just short of the highest rate during the last downturn early this decade." ... "Some experts say it now looks as if the current commercial real-estate slump will rival or even exceed the one in the early 1990s, when bad commercial-property debt played a big role in dragging the economy into a recession. Then, close to 1,000 U.S. banks and savings institutions failed. Lenders took about $48.5 billion in charges on commercial real-estate debt between 1990 and 1995, representing 7.9% of such debt outstanding." ... "Since late 2007, a total of 47 banks and savings institutions have failed, of which a dozen or so had unusually high commercial-mortgage exposure. Foresight Analytics in Oakland, Calif., estimates the U.S. banking sector could suffer as much as $250 billion in commercial real-estate losses in this downturn. The research firm projects that more than 700 banks could fail as a result of their exposure to commercial real estate." ... "The Real Estate Roundtable, a trade group, estimates that commercial real estate in the [United States] U.S. is worth $6.5 trillion and financed by about $3.1 trillion in debt." -By Lingling Wei with contributions by Maurice Tamman and Jon Hilsenrath
BARACK OBAMA News. Democratic President Barack Hussein Obama News.Barack ObamaHOMELESS News.HomelessPEOPLE News.PeoplePOVERTY News.PovertyFAMILIES News.FamiliesJOB News.JobsILLEGAL News.LawPOLITICIAN News. POLITICS News.PoliticsLOS ANGELES News.Los AngelesCALIFORNIA News.CaliforniaTENNESSEE News.TennesseeWASH News: WASHINGTON News.WashFla News: FLORIDA News.Fla
"U.S. cities deal with a surge in shanty towns." ... "Like a dozen or so other cities across the nation, Fresno [California] is dealing with an unhappy déjà vu: the arrival of modern-day Hoovervilles, illegal encampments of homeless people that are reminiscent, on a far smaller scale, of Depression-era shantytowns. At his news conference on Tuesday night, [Democratic] President Obama was asked directly about the tent cities and responded by saying that it was "not acceptable for children and families to be without a roof over their heads in a country as wealthy as ours."" ... "While encampments and street living have always been a part of the landscape in big cities like Los Angeles [California] and New York, these new tent cities have taken root � or grown from smaller enclaves of the homeless as more people lose jobs and housing � in such disparate places as Nashville [Tennessee's capital], Olympia, Wash. [Washington's capital], and St. Petersburg, Fla. [Florida.]" ... "The problem in Fresno is different in that it is both chronic and largely outside the national limelight. Homelessness here has long been fed by the ups and downs in seasonal and subsistence jobs in agriculture, but now the recession has cast a wider net and drawn in hundreds of the newly homeless � from hitchhikers to truck drivers to electricians." ... ""These are able-bodied folks that did day labor, at minimum wage or better, who were previously able to house themselves based on their income," said Michael Stoops, the executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, an advocacy group based in Washington." (1, 2) -By Jesse Mckinley
"GOP [Republican] Budget Proposal: Massive Tax Cut For Wealthy." ... "House Republican leaders called a press conference Thursday to unveil their "alternative budget." While it was thin on specifics, it does include one major policy proposal: a huge tax cut for the wealthy." -By Ryan Grim
GOVERNMENT News.GovernmentMONEY News.MoneyPOLITICIAN News. POLITICS News.PoliticsUS DEBT News.DeficitSOCIAL SECURTIY News.Social Security
"A GOP [Republican] budget with no hard numbers." ... ""House Republicans release a 19-page document [PDF] that contains no hard spending numbers or deficit projections. Per the AP, "One of the few hard bits of information is a promise to simplify the tax code and cut income tax rates to 10 percent for people making $100,000 or less down. They also promise to cut domestic spending below current levels but don't say whether they are exempting Social Security. It's impossible to determine the projected deficit based on their offering."" ... "Not surprisingly, the Democratic National Committee pounced on the GOP's [GOP's=Grand Old Party's=Republican's] budget -- or lack thereof. "After 27 days, the best House Republicans could come up with is a 19-page pamphlet that does not include a single real budget proposal or estimate," said DNC [Democratic National Committee] spokesman Hari Sevugan. "While there had been talk that House Republicans were overriding their Senate counterparts to offer a budget alternative, it's clear after this announcement that neither of them have anything to offer but criticism."" -By Mark Murray -AP -MSNBC
LAW News.
PENNSYLVANIA News.PennsylvaniaSECRET News.SecretCORPORATE News.CorporateGOVERNMENT News.GovernmentCRIME News.CrimePRISON News.PrisonCHILDREN News.Children'sCIVIL RIGHTS News.RightsPOLITICIAN News. POLITICS News.Politics
"Court overturns hundreds of cases in court scandal." ... "The Pennsylvania State Supreme Court said it would overturn the convictions of hundreds of juveniles sentenced in the midst of the Luzerne County kickback scheme." ... "Calling it a "first step," the court wielded a little- used proceeding to throw out and expunge the case records of first-time offenders convicted of minor crimes who appeared before Luzerne County Juvenile Court Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. between 2003 and 2008." ... "In a report to the Court, a specially appointed judge, Arthur E. Grim, said his investigation uncovered "routine deprivation of children's constitutional rights to appear before an impartial tribunal and have an opportunity to be heard."" ... "Today's ruling, which authorizes Grim to overturn the cases, affects as many as 1,200 juveniles, he said. Their cases will be reviewed individually to determine if they meet the court's conditions." ... "Ciavarella and another former Luzerne County judge, Michael T. Conahan, have pleaded guilty earlier this year to taking $2.6 million in secret payments from the former owner of two juvenile detention centers." ... "The judges admitted that they helped the centers secure a county contract worth millions of dollars. Ciavarella routinely sentenced children to them." -By John Sullivan
LAW News.
BARACK OBAMA News. Democratic President Barack Hussein Obama News.Barack ObamaFEDERAL News.FederalLAW ENFORCEMENT News.EnforcementFINANCIAL News. MONEY News.FinancialACCOUNTING News.AccountingPOLITICIAN News. POLITICS News.PoliticsAMERICAN INTERNATIONAL GROUP News. AIG News:American International GroupCONSUMER News.ConsumerCRISIS News.CrisesHISTORY News.HistoryUS AMERICAN News.USINTERNATIONAL News.International
"Geithner to Propose Vast Expansion Of U.S. Oversight of Financial System." ... "Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner plans to propose today a sweeping expansion of federal authority over the financial system, breaking from an era in which the government stood back from financial markets and allowed participants to decide how much risk to take in the pursuit of profit." ... "The [Democratic President] Obama administration's plan, described by several sources, would extend federal regulation for the first time to all trading in financial derivatives and to companies including large hedge funds and major insurers such as American International Group. The administration also will seek to impose uniform standards on all large financial firms, including banks, an unprecedented step that would place significant limits on the scope and risk of their activities." ... "Most of these initiatives would require legislation." ... "In coming months, the administration plans to detail its strategy in three other areas: protecting consumers, eliminating flaws in existing regulations and enhancing international coordination." ... "The nation's financial regulations are largely an accumulation of responses to financial crises. Federal bank regulation was a product of the Civil War. The Federal Reserve was created early in the 20th century to mitigate a long series of monetary crises. The Great Depression delivered deposit insurance and a federally sponsored mortgage market. In the midst of a modern economic upheaval, the Obama administration is pitching the most significant regulatory expansion since that time." ... "The administration's signature proposal is to vest a single federal agency with the power to police risk across the entire financial system." (1, 2, 3) -By Binyamin Appelbaum and David Cho with contributions by Zachary A. Goldfarb -WashingtonPost
BARACK OBAMA News. Democratic President Barack Hussein Obama News.Barack ObamaGOVERNMENT News.GovernmentFINANCIAL News. MONEY News.FinancialLAW News.LawPOLITICIAN News. POLITICS News.PoliticsAMERICAN INTERNATIONAL GROUP News. AIG News:American International GroupUS AMERICAN News.USGLOBAL News.Global
"Geithner to Outline Major Overhaul of Finance Rules." ... "The [Democratic President] Obama administration will detail on Thursday a wide-ranging plan to overhaul financial regulation by subjecting hedge funds and traders of exotic financial instruments, now among the biggest and most freewheeling players on Wall Street, to potentially strict new government supervision, officials said." ... "The Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, will outline the broad revamping of the regulatory system, which goes further than expected, in a hearing on Thursday. He is expected to say that the new rules are necessary to prevent a repeat of the excesses that nearly wrecked the global financial system and plunged the economy into a recession." ... "The plan, which would require Congressional approval, would give the government vast new powers over �systemically important� banks and other financial institutions that are so big that their collapse would jeopardize the economy as a whole." ... "The government would have the power to peer into the inner workings of companies that currently escape most federal supervision � insurance companies like the American International Group, multibillion-dollar hedge funds like the Citadel Group and private equity firms like the Carlyle Group or Kohlberg, Kravis & Roberts." ... "But the most striking new proposals, and the ones that may provoke the most heated opposition from the industry, would regulate so-called private pools of capital � hedge funds, private equity funds and venture capital funds � and the gigantic market in financial derivatives, including instruments like credit-default swaps, the insurancelike instruments that allow investors to hedge against bond defaults. " -By Edmund L. Andrews and Louise Story -NYTimes
BARACK OBAMA News. Democratic President Barack Hussein Obama News.Barack ObamaDON YOUNG News.Don YoungGOVERNMENT News.GovernmentMONEY News.MoneyEDUCATION News.EducationMISSOURI News.MissouriALASKA News.Alaska
"GOP [Republicans] Fighting For Money From Stimulus They Opposed." ... "House Republicans, as a group, may take great pride in the goose egg [zero votes] they offered [Democratic] President Obama's stimulus package. But now the unanimous opposition is struggling to bring that money home." ... "Republicans will be working hard to make sure the money they opposed ends up benefiting their home districts, highlighting the political tightrope they walk in this economic crisis." ... "Back in his home district, [Missouri Republican Representative] Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO [Republican-Missouri]) [who voted against the stimulus plane] found some nice things to say about the plan." ... ""Within the stimulus package there is some Pell Grant money, which is a good thing. It helps students be able to pay for their education and that's kind of a long term stimulus effect there. I mean obviously that's not gonna provide a job in the next 120, 180 days, but the ability of someone to get an education is an economic development tool," Luetkemeyer said at a local college. He was there, in another inside-outside Washington twist, to celebrate an earmark for a college building." ... "[Alaska Republican Representative] Rep. Don Young (R-AK [Republican-Alaska]) [who voted against the stimulus plane] put out a press release saying that he "won a victory for the Alaska Native contracting program and other Alaska small business owners last night in H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act."" -By Ryan Grim
BARACK OBAMA News. Democratic President Barack Hussein Obama News.Barack ObamaMICHAEL STEELE News. Maryland Republican Michael Stephen Steele News.Michael SteelePETE HOEKSTRA News.Pete HoekstraDON YOUNG News.Don YoungLINDSEY GRAHAM News.Lindsey GrahamKEN CALVERT News.Ken CalvertEMERGENCY News.EmergencyECONOMIC News. MONEY News.EconomicsPOLITICIAN News. POLITICS News.PoliticsFAMILIES News.FamiliesJOB News.JobsHOUSING News. APARTMENT RENTAL News.HousingCONSTRUCTION News.ConstructionEDUCATION News.EducationGOVERNMENT News.GovernmentUS DEBT News.US_DebtMISSOURI News.MissouriMN News: MINNESOTA News.MNSC News: SOUTH CAROLINA News.SCFL News: FLORIDA News.FLCA News: CALIFORNIA News.CAMI News: MICHIGAN News.MINJ News: NEW JERSEY News.NJAK News: ALASKA News.AK
"Kit Bond Touts Effects Of Stimulus Bill He Voted Against." ... "[Missouri Republican Senator Kit Bond voted against the stimulus bill asserting:} �Unfortunately, this bill stimulates the debt, it stimulates the growth of government, but it doesn�t stimulate jobs,� Bond insisted." ... "However, today Bond is touring Missouri to tout the very stimulus plan he railed against. In a press release, Bond boasted about an amendment he included in the bill to provide more funding for affordable housing � and that will create jobs:"
"Last week, Bond led a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing an amendment to help provide needy families affordable housing. Bond�s amendment provides $2 billion to fund low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) projects that have been stalled by the financial credit crisis. As part of the Democrats� spending bill now signed into law, the Senate unanimously accepted Bond�s provision. [�]"

"This provision will have a real impact in Missouri, especially for low-income, working families in need of safe and affordable housing. � Bond�s amendment will save more than 700 housing units and create 3,000 new jobs in Missouri."

"�This is the type of emergency stimulus spending we should be supporting � programs that will create jobs now and help families,� Bond said." ... "Bond�s �I was against it before I was for it� maneuver at least has local media fooled. Just 24 hours after noting his opposition to the stimulus bill, local news this morning reported that Bond would be touring the state �pushing his plan to create 3,000 jobs in the state and build more than 700 affordable housing units.� Watch the local CBS channel try to keep up with Bond�s flip-flops:"
WATCH, Requires Macromedia FlashWATCH: "Kit Bond Touts Stimulus Plan He Voted Against."
"Bond is not alone in trying to reap the political benefits both from voting against the bill and from bringing much needed funding to his district:"
"� [Minnesota Republican Governor] Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), who complained that the �federal government is spending money they don�t have,� told Rachel Maddow he would nevertheless accept funds for Minnesota: �Our view is, if you buy the pizza, it�s OK if you have a slice.�"

"� [South Carolina Republican Senator] Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who also campaigned ardently against the bill, said he would nevertheless gladly accept its funds for his state. �You don�t want to be crazy here,� he said."

"� [Florida Republican Representative] Rep. John Mica (R-FL) gushed over the bill, which he, too, voted against. �I applaud [Democratic] President Obama�s recognition that high-speed rail should be part of America�s future,� he said in a press release."

"� [Alaska Republican Representative] Rep. Don Young (R-AK) boasted that he �won a victory for�Alaska small business owners� in the recovery bill he refused to vote for."

"No wonder RNC [Republican National Committee] Chairman Michael Steele declared recently, �You have absolutely no reason � none � to trust our word or our actions at this point.�"
"Update [Missouri Republican Representative] Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) boasted about the educational benefits of the recovery act, while [California Republican Representative] Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) said his office "will do what we can to direct as much money as we can." Neither voted for the bill."
"Update [Michgan Republican Representative] Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) joins in, praising the stimulus' "generous" incentives for home buyers on his Twitter feed:"
"petehoekstra If you know of someone thinking of buying first home, now may be the time.Stimulus incentive is very generous!Up to 8k!Check it out."
"UpdateBlueJersey notes adds [New Jersey Republican Representative] Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) to the growing list. After insisting last Friday that the recovery bill "would have exploded our national debt without providing meaningful job growth," Lance toured construction sites in his district yesterday, touting funds that would come from the stimulus bill. "This is a classic example of a "shovel-ready' project," Lance said after the tour." -By Ali Frick

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"Insurgent Threat Shifts in Pakistan: Assault on Police Academy Indicates Risk Has Moved Beyond Tribal Areas." ... "The brazen occupation of a Pakistani police academy Monday by heavily armed gunmen near the eastern mega-city of Lahore [Pakistan] was the latest indication that Islamist terrorism, once confined to Pakistan's northwest tribal belt, now threatens political stability nationwide." ... "The precisely orchestrated assault by a squad of young men, which left at least 11 people dead and took security forces nearly eight hours to quell, was also a likely sign that Islamist militant groups in Punjab province, once tolerated and even supported by the Pakistani state to fight in India and Afghanistan, have turned openly against the government." ... "Pakistan has been an incubator for Islamist militant groups for the past several decades. Until recently, they were focused on external conflicts, especially the dispute over Indian Kashmir, the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan during the 1980s and the presence of [United States] U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in late 2001." ... "In the past several years, extremist groups along the Afghan border have turned inward, spreading violence and religious fanaticism among the ethnic Pashtun populace in Pakistan's northwest. Pakistan has tried to contain the problem through a combination of military offensives and political negotiations, which are underway in several conflicted border districts." -By Pamela Constable with contributions by Aoun Sahi -WashingtonPost
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"Detainee's Harsh Treatment Foiled No Plots: Waterboarding, Rough Interrogation of Abu Zubaida Produced False Leads, Officials Say." ... "When CIA [Central Intelligence Agency] officials subjected their first high-value captive, Abu Zubaida, to waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods, they were convinced that they had in their custody an al-Qaeda leader who knew details of operations yet to be unleashed, and they were facing increasing pressure from the [Republican President Bush] White House to get those secrets out of him." ... "The methods succeeded in breaking him, and the stories he told of al-Qaeda terrorism plots sent CIA officers around the globe chasing leads." ... "In the end, though, not a single significant plot was foiled as a result of Abu Zubaida's tortured confessions, according to former senior government officials who closely followed the interrogations. Nearly all of the leads attained through the harsh measures quickly evaporated, while most of the useful information from Abu Zubaida -- chiefly names of al-Qaeda members and associates -- was obtained before waterboarding was introduced, they said." ... "Moreover, within weeks of his capture, [United States] U.S. officials had gained evidence that made clear they had misjudged Abu Zubaida. President George W. Bush had publicly described him as "al-Qaeda's chief of operations," and other top officials called him a "trusted associate" of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and a major figure in the planning of the [2001 September] Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. None of that was accurate, the new evidence showed." ... "Abu Zubaida was not even an official member of al-Qaeda, according to a portrait of the man that emerges from court documents and interviews with current and former intelligence, law enforcement and military sources. Rather, he was a "fixer" for radical Muslim ideologues, and he ended up working directly with al-Qaeda only after Sept. 11 -- and that was because the United States stood ready to invade Afghanistan." ... "The application of techniques such as waterboarding -- a form of simulated drowning that U.S. officials had previously deemed a crime -- prompted a sudden torrent of names and facts. Abu Zubaida began unspooling the details of various al-Qaeda plots, including plans to unleash weapons of mass destruction." ... "Abu Zubaida's revelations triggered a series of alerts and sent hundreds of CIA and FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation] investigators scurrying in pursuit of phantoms. The interrogations led directly to the arrest of Jose Padilla, the man Abu Zubaida identified as heading an effort to explode a radiological "dirty bomb" in an American city. Padilla was held in a naval brig for 3 1/2 years on the allegation but was never charged in any such plot. Every other lead ultimately dissolved into smoke and shadow, according to high-ranking former U.S. officials with access to classified reports." ... ""We spent millions of dollars chasing false alarms," one former intelligence official said." (1, 2, 3, 4) -By Peter Finn and Joby Warrick with contributions by Julie Tate -WashingtonPost
CHINA News.ChinaHACKERS News.HackersINTERNATIONAL News.InternationalCOMPUTER News.ComputerSPYING News.SpyingNETWORK News.NetworkINVESTIGATION News.InvestigationNOTEWORTHY News.CAMS News.CamsPOLITICAL News.PoliticalECONOMIC News.EconomicMEDIA News.MediaMILITARY News.MilitaryTECH News.Tech -CANADA News.CanadaUNITED KINGDOM News.United KingdomUS AMERICAN News.US
"UPDATE: Deep computer-spying network touched 103 countries: Analysts find spyware installed on servers belonging to foreign ministries, embassies, and private companies." ... "A 10-month cyberespionage investigation has found that 1,295 computers in 103 countries and belonging to international institutions have been spied on, with some circumstantial evidence suggesting China may be to blame." ... "The 53-page report, released on Sunday, provides some of the most compelling evidence and detail of the efforts of politically motivated hackers while raising questions about their ties with government-sanctioned cyberspying operations." ... "[See also: Roger Grimes' Security Adviser blog]" ... "It describes a network which researchers have called GhostNet, which primarily uses a malicious software program called gh0st RAT (Remote Access Tool) to steal sensitive documents, control Web cams and completely control infected computers." ... ""GhostNet represents a network of compromised computers resident in high-value political, economic and media locations spread across numerous countries worldwide," said the report, written by analysts with the Information Warfare Monitor, a research project of the SecDev Group, a think tank, and the Munk Center for International Studies at the University of Toronto [Canada]. "At the time of writing, these organizations are almost certainly oblivious to the compromised situation in which they find themselves."" ... ""Attributing all Chinese malware to deliberate or targeted intelligence gathering operations by the Chinese state is wrong and misleading," the report said." ... "However, China has made a concerted effort since the 1990s to use cyberspace for military advantage "The Chinese focus on cyber capabilities as part of its strategy of national asymmetric warfare involves deliberately developing capabilities that circumvent [United States] U.S. superiority in command-and-control warfare," it said." ... "A second report [PDF], written by University of Cambridge [United Kingdom] researchers and published in conjunction with the University of Toronto paper, was less circumspect, saying that the attacks against the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama (OHHDL) were launched by "agents of the Chinese government." The Cambridge team titled their report, "The Snooping Dragon."" (1, 2) -By Jeremy Kirk with contributions by Robert McMillan via -InfoWorld
GLOBAL News.GlobalCLIMATE News.ClimateEARTH News.EarthENERGY News.EnergyEMISSIONS News.EmissionsPOLITICS News.PoliticsECONOMIC News. MONEY News.EconomicCRISIS News.CrisisFLOOD News. WATER News.FloodsPLANT News.PlantsANIMAL News.AnimalsHISTORY News.HistoryUN News: United Nations News.
"World switches off to save planet in "Earth Hour"." ... "Lights went out at tourism landmarks and homes across the globe on Saturday for Earth Hour 2009, a global event designed to highlight the threat from climate change." ... "Organizers said the action showed millions of people wanted governments to work out a strong new [United Nations] U.N. deal to fight global warming by the end of 2009, even though the global economic crisis has raised worries about the costs." ... "The U.N. Climate Panel says greenhouse gas emissions are warming the planet and will lead to more floods, droughts, heatwaves, rising sea levels and animal and plant extinctions." ... "World emissions have risen by about 70 percent since the 1970s." -By Jon Boyle -Reuters
ALBERTO GONZALES News.Alberto R GonzalesJOHN YOO News.John C YooDOUGLAS FEITH News.Douglas J FeithWILLIAM J HAYNES II News.William J Haynes IIJAY S BYBEE News.Jay S BybeeDAVID S ADDINGTON News.David S AddingtonDICK CHENEY News.Dick CheneyCRIMINAL News.CriminalTORTURE News.TortureWAR CRIMES News.War CrimesSECRET News.SecretPRISON News.PrisonersPOLITICIAN News. POLITICS News.PoliticsHISTORY News.HistoryINTERNATIONAL News.InternationalLAW News.LawUS AMERICAN News.USGUANTANAMO News.Guantánamo BayCUBA News.CubaCHILE News.ChileSPAIN News.Spain
"Spanish Court Weighs Inquiry on Torture for 6 Bush-Era Officials." ... "A Spanish court has taken the first steps toward opening a criminal investigation into allegations that six former high-level [Republican President] Bush administration officials violated international law by providing the legal framework to justify the torture of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, an official close to the case said." ... "The case, against former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and others, was sent to the prosecutor�s office for review by Baltasar Garzón, the crusading investigative judge who ordered the arrest of the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. The official said that it was �highly probable� that the case would go forward and that it could lead to arrest warrants." ... "The complaint under review also names John C. Yoo, the former Justice Department lawyer who wrote secret legal opinions saying the president had the authority to circumvent the Geneva Conventions, and Douglas J. Feith, the former under secretary of defense for policy." ... "Spain can claim jurisdiction in the case because five citizens or residents of Spain who were prisoners at Guantánamo Bay [Cuba] have said they were tortured there. The five had been indicted in Spain, but their cases were dismissed after the Spanish Supreme Court ruled that evidence obtained under torture was not admissible." ... "The 98-page complaint, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, is based on the Geneva Conventions and the 1984 Convention Against Torture, which is binding on 145 countries, including Spain and the United States. Countries that are party to the torture convention have the authority to investigate torture cases, especially when a citizen has been abused." ... "Gonzalo Boye, the Madrid lawyer who filed the complaint, said that the six Americans cited had had well-documented roles in approving illegal interrogation techniques, redefining torture and abandoning the definition set by the 1984 Torture Convention." ... "Secret memorandums by Mr. Yoo and other top administration lawyers helped clear the way for aggressive policies like waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques, which the [Central Intelligence Agency] C.I.A. director, the attorney general and other American officials have said amount to torture." ... "The other Americans named in the complaint were William J. Haynes II, former general counsel for the Department of Defense; Jay S. Bybee, Mr. Yoo�s former boss at the Justice Department�s Office of Legal Counsel; and David S. Addington, who was the chief of staff and legal adviser to [Republican] Vice President Dick Cheney." -By Marlise Simons with contributions by Scott Shane and Eric Schmitt -NYTimes
BRAZIL News.BrazilPOVERTY News.PovertyHOME News.HomesTOURIST News.TouristENVIRONMENT News.EnvironmentCONSTRUCTION News.ConstructionPOLITICS News.Politics
"Brazil builds walls around Rio de Janeiro slums." ... "The government of Rio de Janeiro is building concrete walls to prevent sprawling slums from spreading farther into the picturesque hills of this world-famous tourist destination, an official said on Saturday." ... "Officials say the wall is to protect the remaining native forest but critics fear the move could be seen as discriminatory and become a blemish symbolizing Brazil's deep divisions between rich and poor." ... "By year-end the Rio de Janeiro state government wants to build almost 7 miles (11 km) of walls to contain 19 communities." -By Raymond Colitt with contributions by Bill Trott -Reuters
BARACK OBAMA News. Democratic President Barack Hussein Obama News.Barack ObamaUS AMERICAN News.USPOLITICIAN News. POLITICS News.PoliticsAFGHANISTAN News.AfghanistanPOLICE News.PolicePAKISTAN News.Pakistan
"Obama's Afghanistan plan calls for 4,000 more U.S. troops." ... "[Democratic] President Obama announced Friday a proposal to stem the worsening insurgency in Afghanistan by sending 4,000 more [United States] U.S. troops and additional civilian aid workers, while also increasing aid to neighboring Pakistan." ... "Obama said his objective is to suppress the spreading insurgency by placing more emphasis on building local governments, wooing the civilian population with aid and providing more help to the Afghan army instead of a deploying a large number of combat troops." ... "Check out Obama's address [PDF]" ... ""The situation is increasingly perilous," Obama said. "It has been more than seven years since the Taliban was removed from power, yet war rages on, and insurgents control parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan."" ... "Key elements of the plan include:" ... "� Sending the 4,000 new troops, who would train Afghan soldiers and police. The plan includes a goal of having 134,000 soldiers in the Afghan army, up from about 65,000 soldiers now. "That is how we will prepare Afghans to take responsibility for their security, and how we will ultimately be able to bring our troops home," Obama said." ... "Pakistan long sponsored the Taliban regime that ruled Afghanistan and harbored al-Qaeda terrorists until overthrown by U.S. forces in 2001. Many Taliban members remain in the mountainous border region between the two countries." -By David Jackson with contributions by Tom Vanden Brook and John Fritze -USATODAY
ITALY News.ItalySWISS News.SwissGLACIER News.GlaciersLAND News.LandATMOSPHERIC News.AtmosphereGLOBAL News.GlobalCLIMATE News.ClimatePOLITICIAN News. POLITICS News.PoliticsHISTORY News.HistoryFRANCE News.FranceAUSTRIA News.Austria
"Melting glaciers force Italy, Swiss to redraw border." ... "Melting glaciers in the Alps may prompt Italy and Switzerland to redraw their borders near the Matterhorn, according to parliamentary draft legislation being readied in Rome [Italy's capital]." ... "The Italian Military Geographic Institute says climate change is responsible for the Alpine glaciers melting." ... ""This draft law is born out the necessity to revise and verify the frontiers given the changes in climate and atmosphere," [Italy's Democratic Party member Franco] Narducci said. "The 1941 convention between Italy and Switzerland established as criteria [for border revisions] the ridge [crest] of the glaciers. Following the withdrawal of the glaciers in the Alps, a new criterion has been proposed so that the new border coincides with the rock."" ... "Narducci said the same negotiation will be proposed to France and Austria[.]" -CNN
AFGHANISTAN News.AfghanPAKISTAN News.PakistanUS AMERICAN News.USMILITARY News.MilitaryINTELLIGENCE News.IntelligencePOLITICS News.PoliticsHISTORY News.History
"Afghan Strikes by Taliban Get Pakistan Help, U.S. Aides Say." ... "The Taliban�s widening campaign in southern Afghanistan is made possible in part by direct support from operatives in Pakistan�s military intelligence agency, despite Pakistani government promises to sever ties to militant groups fighting in Afghanistan, according to American government officials." ... "The support consists of money, military supplies and strategic planning guidance to Taliban commanders who are gearing up to confront the international force in Afghanistan that will soon include some 17,000 American reinforcements." ... "Support for the Taliban, as well as other militant groups, is coordinated by operatives inside the shadowy S Wing of Pakistan�s spy service, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, the officials said. There is even evidence that ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence] operatives meet regularly with Taliban commanders to discuss whether to intensify or scale back violence before the Afghan elections." ... "American officials have complained for more than a year about the ISI�s support to groups like the Taliban. But the new details reveal that the spy agency is aiding a broader array of militant networks with more diverse types of support than was previously known � even months after Pakistani officials said that the days of the ISI�s playing a �double game� had ended." ... "Pakistan�s military and civilian leaders publicly deny any government ties to militant groups, and American officials say it is unlikely that top officials in Islamabad [Pakistan's capital] are directly coordinating the clandestine efforts. American officials have also said that midlevel ISI operatives occasionally cultivate relationships that are not approved by their bosses." ... "The ISI helped create and nurture the Taliban movement in the 1990s to bring stability to a nation that had been devastated by years of civil war between rival warlords, and one Pakistani official explained that Islamabad needed to use groups like the Taliban as �proxy forces to preserve our interests.�" ... "Little is publicly known about the ISI�s S Wing, which officials say directs intelligence operations outside of Pakistan. American officials said that the S Wing provided direct support to three major groups carrying out attacks in Afghanistan: the Taliban based in Quetta, Pakistan, commanded by Mullah Muhammad Omar; the militant network run by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar; and a different group run by the guerrilla leader Jalaluddin Haqqani." -By Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt -NYTimes
HILLARY CLINTON News.Hillary ClintonPOLL News.PollBARACK OBAMA News. Democratic President Barack Hussein Obama News.Barack ObamaUS AMERICAN News.USCHINA News.ChinaHUMAN RIGHTS News.Human Rights
"Poll: Clinton has high job approval." ... "Seventy-one percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Wednesday said they approve of how [Democratic President Obama's Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton is handling her job as America's top diplomat. Fewer than one in four disapprove." ... ""Nine in 10 Democrats approve of Clinton -- that's no surprise," said Keating Holland, CNN's polling director. "But by a 50 percent to 43 percent margin, Republicans also think she is doing a good job at the State Department. That's an interesting result for a polarizing figure like Clinton."" ... "Clinton was met by large crowds and warmly received by world leaders on both trips, although "she met some criticism in Beijing [China's capital], where she was criticized for a lower-key approach that seemed to downplay the importance of human rights in the overall relationship with China," Labott said." ... ""Her aides said she wanted a new approach to dealing with China's human rights record, including less public criticism and more private discussions, which may prove more productive in changing Chinese behavior."" -By Paul Steinhauser -CNN
HILLARY CLINTON News.Hillary ClintonUS AMERICAN News.USMEXICO News.MexicoCRIMINAL News.CriminalDRUG News.DrugLAW News.Law
"Clinton: U.S. drug habits fuel border violence: Secretary of state in Mexico to bolster anti-narcotics cooperation." ... "[United States] U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday pledged to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with Mexico in its violent struggle against drug cartels, and acknowledged the U.S. shares blame because of its demand for drugs and supply of weapons." ... "She said the United States shares responsibility with Mexico for dealing with violence now spilling across the border and promised cooperation to improve security on both sides." ... ""The criminals and kingpins spreading violence are trying to corrode the foundations of law, order, friendship and trust between us that support our continent. They will fail," she told Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Patricia Espinosa. "We will stand shoulder to shoulder with you."" -AP via -MSNBC
HILLARY CLINTON News.Hillary ClintonBARACK OBAMA News. Democratic President Barack Hussein Obama News.Barack ObamaUS AMERICAN News.USMEXICO News.MexicoILLEGAL News.IllegalDRUG News.DrugLAW ENFORCEMENT News.EnforcementMILITARY News.MilitaryHEALTH News.HealthBRAZIL News.BrazilCOLOMBIA News.Colombia
"Clinton: U.S. Drug Policies Failed, Fueled Mexico's Drug War." ... "Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Mexico on Wednesday with a blunt mea culpa, saying that decades of U.S. anti-narcotics policies have been a failure and have contributed to the explosion of drug violence south of the border." ... ""Clearly what we've been doing has not worked," Clinton told reporters on her plane at the start of her two-day trip, saying that [United States] U.S. policies on curbing drug use, narcotics shipments and the flow of guns have been ineffective." ... ""Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade," she added. "Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police, of soldiers and civilians."" ... "More than 7,000 Mexicans have been killed in the bloodletting since January 2008, with the gangs battling authorities and one another for supremacy." ... "The [Democratic President] Obama administration announced Tuesday that it is sending hundreds more agents and extra high-tech gear to the border to intercept weapons and drug proceeds heading south." ... "Last month, former presidents of Brazil, Colombia and Mexico called on the United States in a report to consider legalizing marijuana use and focusing more on treatment for drug users. Obama has emphasized his support for expanded treatment facilities, although not for allowing marijuana use. " (1, 2) -By Mary Beth Sheridan -WashingtonPost
ISRAEL News.IsraelSECRET News.SecretHOUSING News. APARTMENT RENTAL News.HousingCONSTRUCTION News.ConstructionPALESTINE News.PalestineLAND News.Land
"Netanyahu, Lieberman 'struck secret deal for West Bank construction'" ... "Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu has struck a secret deal with Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman for highly contentious construction on West Bank land [Palestine] known as E1, Army Radio reported Wednesday." ... "The plan is for the West Bank settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim to build 3000 new housing units on the territory, which stretches between it and Jerusalem [Israel's capital], the source was quoted as saying." ... "Construction in the area is particularly sensitive because it would create contiguity between the settlement and the capital, which in turn would prevent Palestinian construction between East Jerusalem and Ramallah [administrative capital of Palestine]." ... "This would also make it difficult to reach agreement between Israel and the Palestinians on the question of permanent borders."

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WAR CRIMES News.War Crimes
LAW News.
CRIMINAL News.CriminalTORTURE News.Torture
"Poll: Most want inquiry into anti-terror tactics." ... "Even as Americans struggle with two wars and an economy in tatters, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds majorities in favor of investigating some of the thorniest unfinished business from the [Republican President] Bush administration: Whether its tactics in the "war on terror" broke the law." ... "Close to two-thirds of those surveyed said there should be investigations into allegations that the Bush team used torture to interrogate terrorism suspects and its program of wiretapping [United States] U.S. citizens without getting warrants. Almost four in 10 favor criminal investigations and about a quarter want investigations without criminal charges. One-third said they want nothing to be done." ... "Even reversed, Bush policies divide" ... "Even more people want action on alleged attempts by the Bush team to use the Justice Department for political purposes. Four in 10 favored a criminal probe, three in 10 an independent panel, and 25% neither." -By Jill Lawrence -USATODAY
DICK CHENEY News.Dick Cheney
CRIMINAL News.CriminalTORTURE News.Torture
"If Bush and Cheney Commit War Crimes and Everyone Knows It, But Does Nothing, Are They Still Crimes?" ... "As Jon Ponder noted here on Tuesday, a bi-partisan U.S. [United States] Senate panel has found [PDF] that [Republican President] George W. Bush was responsible for approving War Crimes (torture and abuse) at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, [Republican Vice President] Dick Cheney admitted in a recent interview to helping to approve War Crimes (torture and abuse) in interrogations, and the corporate media --- with the lone exception of MSNBC --- have been virtually as silent on what may be the most offensive crimes ever committed by an Executive Branch in the U.S. as they were during the lead-up to and follow-through on the War on Iraq, when those same officials sent our nation into war on the basis of demonstrable lies." ... "George Washington University's highly-respected constitutional law professor Jonathon Turley, noting the War Crimes now known and admitted to by Bush and Cheney, asked Keith Olbermann Tuesday night, "If someone commits a crime and everyone's around to see it and does nothing, is it still a crime?"" ... "During the discussion, Turley mentioned --- no less than three different times --- that it'll be up to the citizens whether or not any action is actually taken to prosecute those who committed these crimes." ... ""It will ultimately depend on citizens, and whether they will remain silent in the face of a crime that's been committed in plain view," Turley suggested. "It is equally immoral to stand silent in the face of a war crime and do nothing, and that is what the citizens are doing."" ... "He went on to argue: "There's this gigantic yawn as we hear about a war crime on national television being discussed matter-of-factly by the Vice President."" -By Brad Friedman
WATCH - if you have the Macromedia Flash media player installed.
WATCH  "Countdown: Jonathan Turley and Bush Admin War Crimes." -Keith Olbermann via -FireDogLake'sYouTube
DICK CHENEY News. Republican US Vice President Dick Cheney News.Dick CheneySECRET News.SecretOSAMA BIN LADEN News.Osama bin Laden
"Senate committee: Bush knew Iraq claims weren't true." -By Warren P. Strobel
Article of Impeachment
WAR CRIMES News.War Crimes
"Bipartisan Report: Rumsfeld Responsible for Detainee Abuse: Senate Committee Finds Officials Made Decisions That Led to Offenses Against Prisoners." ... "A bipartisan panel of senators has concluded that [Republican President Bush's] former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other top Bush administration officials bear direct responsibility for the harsh treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay [Cuba], and that their decisions led to more serious abuses in Iraq and elsewhere." ... "In the most comprehensive critique by Congress of the military's interrogation practices, the Senate Armed Services Committee issued a report yesterday that accuses Rumsfeld and his deputies of being the authors and chief promoters of harsh interrogation policies that disgraced the nation and undermined U.S. security." -By Joby Warrick and Karen DeYoung -WashingtonPost
[PDF] "Senate Armed Services Committee Inquiry Into The Treatment of Detainees In U.S. Custody." ... �What sets us apart from our enemies in this fight� is how we behave. In everything we do, we must observe the standards and values that dictate that we treat noncombatants and detainees with dignity and respect. While we are warriors, we are also all human beings� -- General David Petraeus via -WashingtonPost
WAR CRIMES News.War Crimes
"General who probed Abu Ghraib says [Republican President] Bush officials committed war crimes." ... "The Army general who led the investigation into prisoner abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison accused the [Republican President] Bush administration Wednesday of committing "war crimes" and called for those responsible to be held to account." ... "The remarks by [Major General] Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, who's now retired, came in a new report that found that [United States] U.S. personnel tortured and abused detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, using beatings, electrical shocks, sexual humiliation and other cruel practices." ... ""After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes," Taguba wrote. "The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."" ... "Taguba, whose 2004 investigation documented chilling abuses at Abu Ghraib, is thought to be the most senior official to have accused the administration of war crimes. "The commander in chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture," he wrote." -By Warren P. Strobel
Text of Kucinich's Bush Articles Of Impeachment [PDF] - Text of Kucinich's Cheney AOI [PDF]
Article of Impeachment
In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution "to take care that the laws be faithfully executed," deceived Congress with fabricated threats of Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) to fraudulently obtain support for an authorization for the use of force against Iraq and used that fraudulently obtained authorization, then acting in his capacity under Article II, Section II of the Constitution as Commander in Chief, to commit US troops to combat in Iraq.
"Bush Aware of Advisers' Interrogation Talks: [Republican] President [Bush] Says He Knew His Senior Advisers Discussed Tough Interrogation Methods." ... "Critics at home and abroad have harshly criticized the interrogation program, which pushed the limits of international law and, they say, condoned torture." (1, 2, 3, 4) -By Jan Crawford Greenburg, Howard L. Rosenberg and Ariane de Vogue
TORTURE News. Waterboarding News.Torture -WAR CRIMES News.War Crimes
"Top Bush Advisors Approved 'Enhanced Interrogation'." ... "In dozens of top-secret talks and meetings in the [Republican President Bush] White House, the most senior Bush administration officials discussed and approved specific details of how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency, sources tell ABC News." ... "At the time, the Principals Committee included Vice President Cheney, former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as CIA Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft." ... "Critics at home and abroad have harshly criticized the interrogation program, which pushed the limits of international law and, they say, condoned torture. Bush and his top aides have consistently defended the program." ... "The August 2002 memo, signed by then head of the Office of Legal Counsel Jay Bybee, was referred to as the so-called "Golden Shield" for CIA agents, who worried they would be held liable if the harsh interrogations became public." (1, 2, 3, 4) -By Jan Crawford Greenburg, Howard L. Rosenberg and Ariane de Vogue
OSAMA BIN LADEN News.Osama bin Laden
"Exhaustive review finds no link between Saddam and al Qaida." ... "An exhaustive [Pentagon -sponsored] review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents that were captured after the 2003 U.S. invasion has found no evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime had any operational links with Osama bin Laden's al Qaida terrorist network." -By Warren P. Strobel
DICK CHENEY News. US Vice President Dick Cheney News. Republican Politician Dick Cheney News.Dick Cheney
"Study: Bush, aides made 935 false statements in run-up to war." ... "[Republican] President Bush and his top aides publicly made 935 false statements about the security risk posed by Iraq in the two years following September 11, 2001, according to a study released Tuesday by two nonprofit journalism groups." ... "According to the study, Bush and seven top officials -- including [Republicans] Vice President Dick Cheney, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice -- made 935 false statements about Iraq during those two years." ... "The overview of the study also calls the media to task, saying most media outlets didn't do enough to investigate the claims." ... ""Some journalists -- indeed, even some entire news organizations -- have since acknowledged that their coverage during those prewar months was far too deferential and uncritical," the report reads. "These mea culpas notwithstanding, much of the wall-to-wall media coverage provided additional, 'independent' validation of the Bush administration's false statements about Iraq."" -CNN
WAR CRIMES News.War CrimesCRIMINAL News.Criminal
"1 in 4 Americans believe the Bush administration committed war crimes." ... "In a new telephone survey, Rasmussen Reports has found that 25 percent of voters �believe [Republican] President Bush and senior members of his administration are guilty of war crimes.� Forty-four percent of Democrats and 21 percent of unaffiliated voters believe that war crimes were committed while just 4 percent of Republicans believe the same." -By Matt Corley

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"Media Matters: Media pick up where they left off 8 years ago." ... "To anyone who lived through the media feeding frenzy of the 1990s, during which the nation's leading news organizations spent the better part of a decade destroying their own credibility by relentlessly hyping a series of non-scandals, the past few days, in which the media have tried to shoehorn [Democratic President Elect] Barack Obama into the [Illinois Democratic Governor] Rod Blagojevich scandal, have been sickeningly familiar." ... "Whenever reporters think -- or want you to think -- they've uncovered a presidential scandal, they waste little time in comparing it to previous controversies." ... "Perhaps the most striking aspect of the media's attempts to link Obama to the Blagojevich scandal has been the volume of news reports that are purely speculative -- and not only speculative, but vaguely speculative. That is, they don't even consist of conjecture about specific potential wrong doing. They simply consist of completely baseless speculation that Obama might in some way become caught up in the investigation at some point in the future, for some reason. It's little more than, "Maybe Obama will be involved." Well, sure. And maybe he'll play shortstop for the Washington Nationals [baseball team] next year." ... "If you want to make a "scandal" stick to someone despite the inconvenient truth that they aren't actually guilty of the purported wrongdoing in question, one thing you do -- if you're the media covering a Democratic president, or an overzealous conservative -- is continually expand the scandal's definition. So the "scandal" grows and evolves into an amorphous mass of innuendo as political opponents and journalists begin throwing everything against the wall, hoping something will stick." ... "If the news media regains a bit of the skepticism so many of them set aside for the past eight years, that would be an unequivocally good thing, and it should be applauded." ... "But this week brought signs that much of the media is set to resume the absurd and shameful behavior that defined the 1990s -- guilt by association, circular analysis whereby they ask baseless questions about non-scandals, then claim they have to report on the "scandal" because the White House is "besieged by questions," grotesque leaps of logic, downplaying exculpatory information, and too many other failings to list." ... "If that happens -- if the media continue to behave as they did in covering Whitewater -- they will damage the country. It's really that simple. We cannot afford to be distracted from serious problems by overheated conjecture and baseless insinuation masquerading as journalism." ... "That's how the media behaved the last time we had a Democratic president. They devoted wall-to-wall coverage to invented "scandals," ignored exculpatory evidence, saw evidence of guilt everywhere, took people out of context in order to accuse them of lying, and generally behaved like a pack of wild animals who couldn't tell right from wrong or truth from fiction -- or who simply didn't care. As a group, they behaved without ethical standards and without regard for the truth." ... "It's our responsibility -- all of us -- to make sure it doesn't happen again." -By Jamison Foser
GOVERNMENT News.GovernmentECONOMIC News. BUSINESS News.EconomicPOLITICIAN News. POLITICS News.PoliticsEMPLOYMENT News.Employment
"What the centrists have wrought." ... "[T]o appease the centrists, a plan that was already too small and too focused on ineffective tax cuts has been made significantly smaller, and even more focused on tax cuts." ... "According to the [Congressional Budget Office] CBO�s estimates, we�re facing an output shortfall of almost 14% of GDP [Gross Domestic Product] over the next two years, or around $2 trillion. Others, such as Goldman Sachs, are even more pessimistic. So the original $800 billion plan was too small, especially because a substantial share consisted of tax cuts that probably would have added little to demand. The plan should have been at least 50% larger." ... "Now the centrists have shaved off $86 billion in spending � much of it among the most effective and most needed parts of the plan." ... "My first cut says that the changes to the Senate bill will ensure that we have at least 600,000 fewer Americans employed over the next two years." -By Paul Krugman/Blog -NYTimes
"Bailouts for Bunglers." ... "�We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we�d like to do our best to preserve that system,� says Timothy Geithner, the Treasury secretary [appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama] � as he prepares to put taxpayers on the hook for that system�s immense losses." ... "Meanwhile, a Washington Post report based on administration sources says that Mr. Geithner and Lawrence Summers, President Obama�s top economic adviser, �think governments make poor bank managers� � as opposed, presumably, to the private-sector geniuses who managed to lose more than a trillion dollars in the space of a few years." ... "And this prejudice in favor of private control, even when the government is putting up all the money, seems to be warping the administration�s response to the financial crisis." ... "In normal times, banks raise capital by selling stock to private investors, who receive a share in the bank�s ownership in return. You might think, then, that if banks currently can�t or won�t raise enough capital from private investors, the government should do what a private investor would: provide capital in return for partial ownership." ... "But bank stocks are worth so little these days � Citigroup and Bank of America have a combined market value of only $52 billion � that the ownership wouldn�t be partial: pumping in enough taxpayer money to make the banks sound would, in effect, turn them into publicly owned enterprises." ... "My response to this prospect is: so? If taxpayers are footing the bill for rescuing the banks, why shouldn�t they get ownership, at least until private buyers can be found? But the Obama administration appears to be tying itself in knots to avoid this outcome." ... "If news reports are right, the bank rescue plan will contain two main elements: government purchases of some troubled bank assets and guarantees against losses on other assets. The guarantees would represent a big gift to bank stockholders; the purchases might not, if the price was fair � but prices would, The Financial Times reports, probably be based on �valuation models� rather than market prices, suggesting that the government would be making a big gift here, too." ... "And in return for what is likely to be a huge subsidy to stockholders, taxpayers will get, well, nothing." -By Paul Krugman -NYTimes
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"Republicans Vote Against the American People." ... "The House of Representatives passedan $819-million economic stimulus package this evening. The vote was 244-188. Only Democrats voted for it. 177 Republicans voted against it." ... "The package includes both spending measures and tax cuts. The American people would get some tax relief, money to save or to spend, perhaps to pay the bills and put food on the table, and money would go to infrastructure projects, for energy and education and health care, to support those who need it, those who have lost their jobs at a time when the economy is bleeding jobs, and down to states and municipalities, to levels of government on the front lines of service provision." ... "You know what? It�s not just about stimulating the economy, it�s about helping people. It�s responsive, responsible government action at a time when government action is desperately needed." ... "And, in the House, every single Republican voted against it." ... "Read that again: EVERY SINGLE REPUBLICAN VOTED AGAINST IT." ... "So much for bipartisan outreach. So much for [Democratic President] Obama�s efforts to be inclusive and to seek compromise with the other side. All the Republicans could offer was the same old tired formula of tax cuts, tax cuts, and more tax cuts, and, when it came right down to it, when it came time to pick a side, the Republicans sided, in unison, against the American people and the American economy." -By Michael Stickings
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"Eight Years of Madoffs." ... "Three days after the world learned that $50 billion may have disappeared in Bernie Madoff�s Ponzi scheme, The Times led its front page of [2008 December] Dec. 14 with the revelation of another $50 billion rip-off. This time the vanished loot belonged to American taxpayers. That was our collective contribution to the $117 billion spent (as of mid-2008) on Iraq reconstruction � a sinkhole of corruption, cronyism, incompetence and outright theft that epitomized [Republican President] Bush management at home and abroad." ... "The source for this news was a near-final draft of an as-yet-unpublished 513-page federal history of this nation-building fiasco. The document was assembled by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction � led by a Bush appointee, no less. It pinpoints, among other transgressions, a governmental Ponzi scheme concocted to bamboozle Americans into believing they were accruing steady dividends on their investment in a �new� Iraq." ... "The report quotes no less an authority than Colin Powell on how the scam worked. Back in 2003, Powell said, the Defense Department just �kept inventing numbers of Iraqi security forces � the number would jump 20,000 a week! �We now have 80,000, we now have 100,000, we now have 120,000.� � Those of us who questioned these astonishing numbers were dismissed as fools, much like those who begged in vain to get the Securities and Exchange Commission to challenge Madoff�s math." ... "What�s most remarkable about the Times article, however, is how little stir it caused. When, in 1971, The Times got its hands on the Pentagon Papers, the internal federal history of the Vietnam disaster, the revelations caused a national uproar. But after eight years of battering by Bush, the nation has been rendered half-catatonic. The Iraq Pentagon Papers sank with barely a trace." ... "After all, next to big-ticket administration horrors like Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo and the politicized hiring and firing at Alberto Gonzales�s Justice Department, the wreckage of Iraq reconstruction is what Ralph Kramden of �The Honeymooners� would dismiss as �a mere bag of shells.� The $50 billion also pales next to other sums that remain unaccounted for in the Bush era, from the $345 billion in lost tax revenue due to unpoliced offshore corporate tax havens to the far-from-transparent disposition of some $350 billion in Wall Street bailout money. In the old Pat Moynihan phrase, the Bush years have �defined deviancy down� in terms of how low a standard of ethical behavior we now tolerate as the norm from public officials." ... "Not even a good old-fashioned sex scandal could get our outrage going again. Indeed, a juicy one erupted last year in the Interior Department, where the inspector general found that officials �had used cocaine and marijuana, and had sexual relationships with oil and gas company representatives." ... "Back in the day, an oil-fueled scandal in that one department alone could mesmerize a nation and earn [Republican President] Warren Harding a permanent ranking among our all-time worst presidents. But while the scandals at Bush�s Interior resemble Teapot Dome � and also encompass millions of dollars in lost federal oil and gas royalties � they barely registered beyond the Beltway. Even late-night comics yawned when The Washington Post administered a coup de grâce last week, reporting that Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne spent $235,000 from taxpayers to redo his office bathroom (monogrammed towels included)." ... "It took 110 pages for the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan research organization, to compile the CliffsNotes inventory of the Bush wreckage last month. It found �125 systematic failures across the breadth of the federal government.� That accounting is conservative. There are still too many unanswered questions. " ... "Just a short list is staggering. Who put that bogus �uranium from Africa� into the crucial prewar State of the Union address after the C.I.A. [Central Intelligence Agency] removed it from previous Bush speeches? How high up were the authorities who ordered and condoned torture and then let the �rotten apples� at the bottom of the military heap take the fall? Who orchestrated the Pentagon�s elaborate P.R. [Public Relations] efforts to cover up Pat Tillman�s death by �friendly fire� in Afghanistan? " -By Frank Rich -NYTimes
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"Meet the GOP's [Republican's] wrecking crew: Why did a small group of Southern Republicans turn the auto bailout into a demolition derby? Introducing the senators who hate unions and love foreign cars." ... "On July 15, [Tennessee Republican Senator] Bob Corker was a happy man." ... ""I cannot think of a more exciting day, even more so than Election Night, for me," the Republican senator from Tennessee said in a conference call that day. The reason for his elation was the announcement that [German automaker] Volkswagen, lured by up to $500 million worth of incentives from the state government, had agreed to build a $1 billion plant near Chattanooga, Tenn. [Tennessee.] That is, not just in his home state, but in the suburbs of the city he once served as mayor." ... "Add VW [Volkwagen] to [Japan automaker] Nissan, which already has two plants and its North American headquarters in Tennessee, and you begin to see why Corker was so aggressive this month about trying to block -- or at least dramatically rewrite -- a proposal to float billions of dollars in emergency loans to domestic automakers. Most of the focus during this debate has been on lawmakers who represent Michigan, the home of the Big Three -- Ford, General Motors and Chrysler. But Corker represents the other side of the coin: Tennessee and other Southern states have recently come to depend on foreign automakers and their non-union factories. If you're from those parts, what's good for American car companies may no longer be what's good for the country -- because your economy now depends on their foreign competitors instead." ... "Expect to hear more not just from the very vocal Bob Corker, but from the rest of a core group of Southern senators whose bread is buttered by the Japanese, Germans and Koreans. Here's a guide to the major players."

RICHARD SHELBY News."[Alabama Republican Senator] Richard Shelby, R-Ala. [Republican-Alabama]"
"Foreign auto plants: [German automaker] Mercedes-Benz, [South Korean automaker] Hyundai, [Japanese automaker] Honda"

JIM DeMINT News. South Carolina Republican James Warren ''Jim'' DeMint News."[South Carolina Republican Senator] Jim DeMint, R-S.C. [Republican-South Carolina]"
"Foreign auto plants: [German automaker] BMW [Bayerische Motoren Werke]"

MITCH McCONNELL News."[Kentucky Republican Senator] Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. [Republican-Kentucky]"
"Foreign auto plants: [Japanese automaker] Toyota"

BOB CORKER News."[Tennessee Republican Senator] Bob Corker, R-Tenn. [Republican-Tennessee]"
"Foreign auto plants: Two [Japanese automaker] Nissan plants, as well as the company's U.S. [United States] headquarters; [German automaker] Volkswagen will open near Chattanooga [Tennessee] in 2011"

"As mayor of Chattanooga, he [Corker] reportedly conceived the idea for the site that will soon become home to the [German automaker] Volkswagen plant, and was instrumental in its development. He organized efforts to lure [Japanese automaker] Toyota to the area, and when that failed, he had VW execs [executives] and other top state politicians over to his house for dinner." ... "Georgia's two Republican senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isaakson, both voted against the plan as well. Their state has a big [South Korean automaker] Kia factory coming in soon." (1, 2) -By Alex Koppelman and Mike Madden with contributions by Vincent Rossmeier and Gabriel Winant -Salon

DAVID VITTER News. Louisiana Republican Senator David Bruce Vitter News.David VitterMITCH McCONNELL News.Mitch McConnell -BOB CORKER News.Bob CorkerFOREIGN News.ForeignMONEY News. INVESTMENT News. BUSINESS News. CORPORATE News.MoneyPOLITICIAN News. POLITICS News.PoliticiansAUTO News. Automobile Plant News.AutoMANUFACTURING PLANT News. FACTORY News.ManufacturingWORK News.WorkLOUISIANA News.LouisianaKENTUCKY News.KentuckyTENNESSEE News.TennesseePENNSYLVANIA News.PennsylvaniaUS AMERICAN NewsUSJAPAN News. JAPANESE News.JapanGERMANY News. GERMAN News.Germany
"My Foreign Investor, Right Or Wrong." ... "A bunch of Southern-state Republicans (including, amazingly, ... [Louisiana Republican Senator] David Vitter), from right-to-work states, want to push GM [General Motors] and Chrysler into bankruptcy to bolster the foreign auto presence in their home states. Kentucky has a Ford factory but they also have a [Japanese] Toyota plant in Georgetown [Kentucky], so [Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch] McConnell's on board." ... "Last week, Jane Hamsher explained the conflict of interest for [Tennessee Republican Senator] Bob Corker in Tennessee:"
"He hasn't mentioned the subsidies his own state of Tennessee has given to
, making it harder for the Big 2 1/2 to compete:"

"Tennessee offered its richest incentive package � and perhaps the most government assistance and tax breaks ever for an American automobile plant � to lure [German auto manufacturer] Volkswagen to Chattanooga [Tennessee]."

"But the state�s chief business recruiter said Wednesday that the benefits from VW�s $1 billion assembly plant far will exceed what could top $500 million in government assistance and tax breaks for the project."

"�The Volkswagen investment in this community is going to have a tremendous economic gain for the entire region,� said Matt Kisber, Tennessee�s commissioner for economic and community development. �I�m confident we�re going to have a very reasonable incentive package when you look at the initial costs of what is being offered compared with a much bigger long-term return.�"

"Yes, that's the logic -- these incentives will bring more money to the region than they cost. But it doesn't always work out that way. As David Cay Johnston noted in Free Lunch, these kinds of subsidies frequently wind up costing communities much more than they ever make back:"

"Johnson writes: "The tribute Cabela's demanded from Hamburg [Pennsylvania] amounted to roughly $8,000 for each man, woman, and child in town." Johnson points out that between 2004 and 2006, Cabela's earned $223.4 million. During those years, it collected at least $293.7 million in subsidies, more than its reported profits. Meanwhile a family business selling fishing and hunting gear was driven out of business in Hamburg."

"Funny nobody is mentioning this."

The GOP [GOP=Grand Old Party=Republican] does a lot of chest-thumping about "Country First" and patriotism. It's fun to watch them destroy American manufacturing so they can keep Japanese and German corporate executives happy. OK, maybe not so fun." -By D-Day via Hullabaloo
HEALTH CARE News.Health CarePOLITICAL News. POLITICIANS News.PoliticsECONOMIC News. MONEY News.EconomicsSENIORS News.  Social Security News.Seniors -LABOR UNIONS News.Labor UnionsTRIAL LAWYER News. LAW News.LawyersGOVERNMENT News.Government
"Health-Care Reform Could Kill the GOP." ... "Can policy be both wise and aggressively partisan? Ask any Republican worth his salt and the answer will be an unequivocal yes. Ask a Democrat of the respectable Beltway variety and he will twist himself into a pretzel denying it." ... "For decades Republicans have made policy with a higher purpose in mind: to solidify the GOP [GOP=Grand Old Party= Republican] base or to damage the institutions and movements aligned with the other side. One of their fondest slogans is "Defund the Left," and under that banner they have attacked labor unions and trial lawyers and tried to sever the links between the lobbying industry and the Democratic Party. Consider as well their long-cherished dreams of privatizing Social Security, which would make Wall Street, instead of Washington, the protector of our beloved seniors. Or their larger effort to demonstrate, by means of egregious misrule, that government is incapable of delivering the most basic services." ... "That these were all disastrous policies made no difference: The goal was to use state power to achieve lasting victory for the ideas of the right." ... "On the other side of the political fence, strategic moves of this kind are fairly rare. Instead, for most of my lifetime, prominent Democratic leaders have been chucking liberalism itself for the sake of immediate tactical gain." ... "Former [Democratic] President Bill Clinton, who is widely regarded as a political mastermind, may have sounded like a traditional liberal at the beginning of his term in office. But what ultimately defined his presidency was his amazing pliability on matters of principle. His most memorable innovation was "triangulating" between his own party and the right, his most famous speech declared and end to "the era of big government," his most consequential policy move was to cement the consensus on deregulation and free trade, and many of his boldest stands were taken against his own party." ... "The results were not pretty, either for the Democrats or for the nation." ... "Still, conservatives have always dreaded the day that Democrats discover (or rediscover) that there is a happy political synergy between delivering liberal economic reforms and building the liberal movement. The classic statement of this fear is a famous memo that [Republican] Bill Kristol wrote in 1993, when he had just started out as a political strategist and the Clinton administration was preparing to propose some version of national health care." ... ""The plan should not be amended; it should be erased," Mr. Kristol advised the GOP. And not merely because Mr. Clinton's scheme was (in Mr. Kristol's view) bad policy, but because "it will revive the reputation of the party that spends and regulates, the Democrats, as the generous protector of middle-class interests."" -By Thomas Frank
ECONOMIC News. MONEY News.EconomicsHISTORY News.HistoryPOLITICIAN News. POLITICS News.Politics
"Amity Shlaes strikes again." ... "When you hear claims that the New Deal made the depression worse, they often come directly or indirectly from the work of Amity Shlaes, whose misleading statistics have been widely disseminated on the right." ... "Now, Ms. Shlaes has found a new target: John Maynard Keynes. There�s a lot to critique in this piece, but this one takes the cake:"
[Shlaes:] "But the most telling fact about the new rush to spend is that its advocates have insisted on invoking the New Deal. They tend to gloss over the period when the phrase, �We are all Keynesians now,� was actually first uttered: the mid-1960s. (Uttered by Friedman, in fact, though he meant only that we all work in the terms of the Keynesian lexicon.)"

[Shlaes:] "The Great Society of that period was the ultimate Keynesian experiment, and it didn�t work very well."

"Grr. Keynesianism says that deficit spending can help create jobs when the economy is depressed. The Great Society wasn�t deficit spending, it wasn�t intended to create jobs, and the economy of the 1960s wasn�t depressed. It was social engineering; we can talk about how well or badly it worked, but it had nothing whatsoever to do with Keynesian economics. " -By Paul Krugman/Blog -NYTimes
American News.
''A VETERANS PRAYER FOR ETERNAL PEACE'' - Veterans Memorial Auditorium sculpture park, Des Moines, Iowa. American News:
KARL ROVE News. Republican Politician Karl Rove News.
WATCH.Karl Rove's Record of Criminality
Attacks Siegelman. Hatch Act Violations. US Attorney Scandal. Abramoff Involvement.
Republican FOX: Not S afe For Work
FOX: "carnivorous mammals" ... "a clever crafty person" - Obama's wife