Daily Archives: June 19, 2007

Here are the benchmarks in the Iraq supplemental bill

link
HR 2206. Section 1314b; see what the Congress said about benchmarks. The oil law benchmark is interesting. According to TPM muckraker, this revenue sharing benchmark will not be met. And there is no benchmark for a law which mandates production sharing agreements.

(b) Conditioning of Future United States Strategy in Iraq on the Iraqi Government’s Record of Performance on Its Benchmarks-
(1) IN GENERAL-
(A) The United States strategy in Iraq, hereafter, shall be conditioned on the Iraqi government meeting benchmarks, as told to members of Congress by the President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and reflected in the Iraqi Government’s commitments to the United States, and to the international community, including:
(i) Forming a Constitutional Review Committee and then completing the constitutional review.
(ii) Enacting and implementing legislation on de-Baathification.
(iii) Enacting and implementing legislation to ensure the equitable distribution of hydrocarbon resources of the people of Iraq without regard to the sect or ethnicity of recipients, and enacting and implementing legislation to ensure that the energy resources of Iraq benefit Sunni Arabs, Shia Arabs, Kurds, and other Iraqi citizens in an equitable manner.
(iv) Enacting and implementing legislation on procedures to form semi-autonomous regions.
(v) Enacting and implementing legislation establishing an Independent High Electoral Commission, provincial elections law, provincial council authorities, and a date for provincial elections.
(vi) Enacting and implementing legislation addressing amnesty.
(vii) Enacting and implementing legislation establishing a strong militia disarmament program to ensure that such security forces are accountable only to the central government and loyal to the Constitution of Iraq.
(viii) Establishing supporting political, media, economic, and services committees in support of the Baghdad Security Plan.
(ix) Providing three trained and ready Iraqi brigades to support Baghdad operations.
(x) Providing Iraqi commanders with all authorities to execute this plan and to make tactical and operational decisions, in consultation with U.S commanders, without political intervention, to include the authority to pursue all extremists, including Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias.
(xi) Ensuring that the Iraqi Security Forces are providing even handed enforcement of the law.
(xii) Ensuring that, according to President Bush, Prime Minister Maliki said `the Baghdad security plan will not provide a safe haven for any outlaws, regardless of [their] sectarian or political affiliation’.
(xiii) Reducing the level of sectarian violence in Iraq and eliminating militia control of local security.
(xiv) Establishing all of the planned joint security stations in neighborhoods across Baghdad.
(xv) Increasing the number of Iraqi security forces units capable of operating independently.
(xvi) Ensuring that the rights of minority political parties in the Iraqi legislature are protected.
(xvii) Allocating and spending $10 billion in Iraqi revenues for reconstruction projects, including delivery of essential services, on an equitable basis.
(xviii) Ensuring that Iraq’s political authorities are not undermining or making false accusations against members of the Iraqi Security Forces.
(B) The President shall submit reports to Congress on how the sovereign Government of Iraq is, or is not, achieving progress towards accomplishing the aforementioned benchmarks, and shall advise the Congress on how that assessment requires, or does not require, changes to the strategy announced on January 10, 2007.
(2) REPORTS REQUIRED-
(A) The President shall submit an initial report, in classified and unclassified format, to the Congress, not later than July 15, 2007, assessing the status of each of the specific benchmarks established above, and declaring, in his judgment, whether satisfactory progress toward meeting these benchmarks is, or is not, being achieved.
(B) The President, having consulted with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Commander, Multi-National Forces-Iraq, the United States Ambassador to Iraq, and the Commander of U.S. Central Command, will prepare the report and submit the report to Congress.
(C) If the President’s assessment of any of the specific benchmarks established above is unsatisfactory, the President shall include in that report a description of such revisions to the political, economic, regional, and military components of the strategy, as announced by the President on January 10, 2007. In addition, the President shall include in the report, the advisability of implementing such aspects of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, as he deems appropriate.
(D) The President shall submit a second report to the Congress, not later than September 15, 2007, following the same procedures and criteria outlined above.
(E) The reporting requirement detailed in section 1227 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 is waived from the date of the enactment of this Act through the period ending September 15, 2007.
(3) TESTIMONY BEFORE CONGRESS- Prior to the submission of the President’s second report on September 15, 2007, and at a time to be agreed upon by the leadership of the Congress and the Administration, the United States Ambassador to Iraq and the Commander, Multi-National Forces Iraq will be made available to testify in open and closed sessions before the relevant committees of the Congress.
(c) Limitations on Availability of Funds-
(1) LIMITATION- No funds appropriated or otherwise made available for the `Economic Support Fund’ and available for Iraq may be obligated or expended unless and until the President of the United States certifies in the report outlined in subsection (b)(2)(A) and makes a further certification in the report outlined in subsection (b)(2)(D) that Iraq is making progress on each of the benchmarks set forth in subsection (b)(1)(A).
(2) WAIVER AUTHORITY- The President may waive the requirements of this section if he submits to Congress a written certification setting forth a detailed justification for the waiver, which shall include a detailed report describing the actions being taken by the United States to bring the Iraqi government into compliance with the benchmarks set forth in subsection (b)(1)(A). The certification shall be submitted in unclassified form, but may include a classified annex.
(d) Redeployment of U.S. Forces From Iraq- The President of the United States, in respecting the sovereign rights of the nation of Iraq, shall direct the orderly redeployment of elements of U.S. forces from Iraq, if the components of the Iraqi government, acting in strict accordance with their respective powers given by the Iraqi Constitution, reach a consensus as recited in a resolution, directing a redeployment of U.S. forces.
(e) Independent Assessments-
(1) ASSESSMENT BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL-
(A) Not later than September 1, 2007, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to Congress an independent report setting forth–
(i) the status of the achievement of the benchmarks specified in subsection (b)(1)(A); and
(ii) the Comptroller General’s assessment of whether or not each such benchmark has been met.
(2) ASSESSMENT OF THE CAPABILITIES OF IRAQI SECURITY FORCES-
(A) IN GENERAL- There is hereby authorized to be appropriated for the Department of Defense, $750,000, that the Department, in turn, will commission an independent, private sector entity, which operates as a 501(c)(3), with recognized credentials and expertise in military affairs, to prepare an independent report assessing the following:
(i) The readiness of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) to assume responsibility for maintaining the territorial integrity of Iraq, denying international terrorists a safe haven, and bringing greater security to Iraq’s 18 provinces in the next 12 to 18 months, and bringing an end to sectarian violence to achieve national reconciliation.
(ii) The training, equipping, command, control and intelligence capabilities, and logistics capacity of the ISF.
(iii) The likelihood that, given the ISF’s record of preparedness to date, following years of training and equipping by U.S. forces, the continued support of U.S. troops will contribute to the readiness of the ISF to fulfill the missions outlined in clause (i).
(B) REPORT- Not later than 120 days after the enactment of this Act, the designated private sector entity shall provide an unclassified report, with a classified annex, containing its findings, to the House and Senate Committees on Armed Services, Appropriations, Foreign Relations/International Relations, and Intelligence.

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, Fred Kagan:an idiot running a war, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Hillary Clinton:what does she stand for?, Iraq, Middle East, Politics

US Atty NJ Chris Christie: Bush pioneer got on and off ‘the list’

This may be a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand was doing. In this case, the GOP money-grabbing hand didn’t know what the MoniKyle listmaking hand was doing…Chris Christie, NJ USA, was a Bush Pioneer, who got put on the list after the 2006 elections, apparently for ignoring a “voter fraud” case handed to him by local Republicans, with a great deal of fanfare.
From the Atlantic Highlands Herald.

Republican Assembly candidates Jennifer Beck and Declan O’Scanlon called today for United States Attorney Chris Christie to look into voter fraud in Monmouth County …an investigation by the Republican State Committee turned up rampant voter fraud, including voters who voted in two states, voters who voted in two separate counties in New Jersey, and votes being cast by people listed as deceased.
It’s obvious that we need the United States Attorney’s office to get involved because once again, the Attorney General just doesn’t seem to be up to the task”, said Beck. …It’s the middle of September already. If he doesn’t want to do it, the let Chris Christie handle it.”

… “Obviously, we need better oversight of these local election boards, and better cooperation so we can constantly crosscheck the voter rolls.

How did Christie get off the list?
By a lot of partisan prosecutions and hollering,

in 15 months, that’s one conviction, two subpoenas to [GOP] party organizations during an investigation of the Democratic leadership, and a letter clearing a Republican Mayor.

During the same time period, there have been 63 investigations, subpoenas, indictments or convictions of Democrats.
[view in Google Docs] That sounds bad, but there are all of 12 convictions with well over half of those involving John Lynch and Charles Kushner.

Of course this is necessarily unscientific, in part because the US Attorney’s office has not returned repeated calls from a Blue Jersey representative seeking the list of convictions Christie regularly speaks about, or for the list of public places he’s spoken at. We cannot know – nor should we know – about all of the US Attorney’s investigations, but we do know the ones that made the papers.

And 94 percent of those are of or related to Democrats in the past 15 months.

So the US Attorney’s actions in the newspapers are 94 percent against one party, and then goes on a speaking tour urging voters to get engaged and kick the corrupt politicians out of office. People hearing him speak – at swearings-in, on 101.5 with The Jersey Guys, at colleges, and elsewhere – can’t help but think he means the party he is investigating 94 percent of the time.

Perhaps 94 percent of the time is reasonable for the US Attorney, but the speaking tour is not, and improperly influences the electorate toward the Republican Party. Note that Christe has raised and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Republicans, and is the front-runner to serve as its 2009 standard bearer for New Jersey Governor.

Seems like a pretty good Bushie, yes? Am I wrong? So it would appear that Christie’s sojourn on the list was not atypical; like USAs in other states, he got put on for ignoring local calls for election fraud prosecutions; in Christie’s case, he seems to have gotten off the list not by finally doing something about “voter fraud,” but by rabidly partisan behavior.

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Giuliani didn’t bother to show up for Iraq Study Group meetings

Too busy fundraising so he could become president and not know what to do about Iraq. Big Tent Democrat has the story.

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Filed under Politics, Rudy Giuliani: NYC doesn't even like him

America’s cat’s paw in Africa: Ethiopians charged with atrocities

Bush’s war in Africa/Somalia gets little publicity, but it’s adding to world instability, and making us look like we’re in a war against Islam. NY Times:

, the European Parliament and many human rights groups, mostly outside Ethiopia, have cited thousands of cases of torture, arbitrary detention and extrajudicial killings — enough to raise questions in Congress about American support of the Ethiopian government.

“This is a country that is abusing its own people and has no respect for democracy,” said Representative Donald M. Payne, Democrat of New Jersey and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Africa and global health.

“We’ve not only looked the other way but we’ve pushed them to intrude in other sovereign nations,” he added, referring to the satellite images and other strategic help the American military gave Ethiopia in December, when thousands of Ethiopian troops poured into Somalia and overthrew the Islamist leadership.

According to Georgette Gagnon, deputy director for the Africa division of Human Rights Watch, Ethiopia is one of the most repressive countries in Africa.

“What the Ethiopian security forces are doing,” she said, “may amount to crimes against humanity.”

Bush and Cheney still have another year and a half to commit mayhem on the Muslim world. They should be impeached.

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Politics, Somalia

US ambassador to Iraq wants “embassy Czar?” or is it “diplomatic surge?”

Get ready for the next Iraq stall tactic, designed to win another Friedman Unit (6 months) or two: a diplomatic “surge.”

New US ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker finds his staff

With a 2007 budget of more than $1 billion and a staff that has expanded to more than 1,000 Americans and 4,000 third-country nationals

to be inadequate and incompetent, and bound by impossible rules. Incredible, yet typical.
Washington Post:

Crocker, in the interview, said the human resources department does not have the capacity to make sure the best people are placed in Baghdad. “They can’t do this,” he said, whereas the Near East bureau, which oversees Baghdad, has the skills to “identify the right people with the right skill sets.” State Department officials acknowledge that hiring has been haphazard, but a team has been set up in the Near East bureau to work with the personnel department.

Secretary Rice should resign. But she won’t. Instead, her incompetence will become the next excuse for another 6 months in Iraq. The military/political effort in Iraq had failed, so Bush gave us the surge and Petraeus, and sqeezed 1.5 more Friedman Units out of that. The September report, we already know, will be Petraeus praising Petraeus, but will otherwise be pretty weak, since absolutely none of the objectives have been accomplished. The diplomatic failures are the clearest, since either a bill is passed or it isn’t.

Of course Iraq is a diplomatic disaster. The College Republicans who were recruited after the invasion were unqualified and incompetent. They viewed Iraq as a virtual sandbox, an experiment in unbridled capitalism. They screwed the pooch. See the film “No End in Sight.” Nowadays an assignment to Iraq is a punishment of the highest order, given as a message to some non-loyal Bushie that he should resign before he finds that his next assigned office has a small white porcelain “chair.”

So now we get Crocker, and now HE needs a “surge.” Everything Bush has said about Petraeus on the military side, he will now say about Crocker on the diplomatic side: “confirmed by Congress…, give him a chance,… you wanted change…I changed…, blah blah blah blah BLAH, I have ordered….recruitment and training will take six months……evaluate progress in September 2008….yadda, yadda…”

Meanwhile, the tragedy will continue.

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Condoleezza Rice: tell me again, what is her job?, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?

Cheney’s mouthpiece Brian Ross/ABC news puts out terror threat story

One of the Bush/Cheney administration’s go-to propaganda guys is Brian Ross of ABC. He’s sort of the Michael Gordon of the TeeVee.
link

Large teams of newly trained suicide bombers are being sent to the United States and Europe, according to evidence contained on a new videotape obtained by the Blotter on ABCNews.com.

Teams assigned to carry out attacks in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Germany were introduced at an al Qaeda/Taliban training camp graduation ceremony held June 9.

A Pakistani journalist was invited to attend and take pictures as some 300 recruits, including boys as young as 12 were supposedly sent off on their suicide missions.

The daily propaganda continues. Cheney and Bush, and the neocon propaganda mill, maximize the “TERROR” threat, to keep us in a state of perpetual war, and subvert our constitutional democracy under the cover of crisis. And of course, the longer the Iraq war goes on, the more likely it is that we will be subjected to terrorist attacks.

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, Fred Kagan:an idiot running a war, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iran, Iraq, Middle East, Politics, Rudy Giuliani: NYC doesn't even like him

Bush is breaking the laws, GAO study finds.

…he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, –US Constitution, Article II, Section 2.

Washington Post
This GAO study shows that Bush is actually breaking laws passed by the Congress. His signing statements provided the rationales, which basically annul the power of the Congress for anything but raising money for him to shovel to his pals. His stance is that the president directs the actions of the government, and that the Congress can’t tell him how to do that. I don’t know what he thinks laws are for, if not to tell the president what to do.

For the first time, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office — Congress’s investigative arm — tried to ascertain whether the administration has made good on such declarations of presidential power. In appropriations acts for fiscal 2006, GAO investigators found 160 separate provisions that Bush had objected to in signing statements. They then chose 19 to follow.

Of those 19 provisions, six — nearly a third — were not carried out according to law. Ten were executed by the executive branch. On three others, conditions did not require an executive branch response.

The instances of noncompliance were not as dramatic as some of the signing statements that have caused the most stir, such as Bush’s suggestion that he was not bound by a ban on torture in U.S. military detention facilities. But congressional aides said they were significant.

Whether you call him a petty tyrant, a dictator, a criminal, or a king, he is disregarding our constitutional safeguards and laws. He should be impeached immediately.

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