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26 Vote in Favor, Including First Time Supporters Clinton, Obama
Feingold on the Floor: Points Out 76 Senators Who Voted to Cut Off Funding for Somalia Conflict in 1993...
By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2007 1:56pm PT  

As we broke early last week, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) brought his Reid-Feingold amendment, calling for defunding and an effective end to the Iraq War by a date certain (March of 2008), to the floor today. The measure failed to pass, but received 26 votes in favor, including all of those we named last week plus 16 or so more, all Democrats, including Presidential hopefuls Clinton and Obama, who supported such a measure for the first first time.

Greg Sargent has the list of Dems who voted for and against. David Swanson has more thoughts on the vote.

And we have Feingold's complete floor statement today posted below, in which he noted that in October of 1993, 76 Senators voted in favor of cutting off funding for the conflict in Somalia by March of 1994. "Many of them are still in this body," Feingold pointed out, "including Senators Levin, Cochran, Domenici, Hutchison, Lugar, McConnell, Specter, Stevens and Warner."

"Did those Senators jeopardize the safety and security of U.S. troops in Somalia?" he asked. "By cutting off funds for a military mission, were they indifferent to the well-being of our brave men and women in uniform?"

Not a single Republican, even those who voted to cut off funding for U.S. troops in Somalia, voted in favor of Feingold's amendment today.

Feingold's full prepared statement for today's Senate debate on the Feingold-Reid Amendment follows below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Jim Hightower Explains 'Why We're In Iraq'...
By Brad Friedman on 5/13/2007 2:05pm PT  

(Hat-tip David Swanson who has more thoughts at AfterDowningStreet.org)

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Bill Supported by Majority Leader Reid, 8 Other Senate Co-Sponsors, to be Offered as Amendment to New Iraq War Supplemental
Exceptions for Funds Cutoff to Be Made for Fighting Terrorists, Security for U.S. Troops and Infrastructure, Training of Iraqi Security Services...
By Brad Friedman on 5/8/2007 3:08pm PT  

In a statement just sent to The BRAD BLOG, Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) says he is prepared to up the ante in the fight with the White House in light of Bush's spending bill veto, and will be proposing that war funding be cut off by a date certain as part of the next spending bill sent to the White House.

Feingold adds that his previously proposed legislation, known as the Feingold-Reid Bill (S. 1077), had a number of co-sponsors already on board in the Senate, and that the same language would be used for his proposed amendment to the Senate's new supplemental spending bill.

His statement just in to The BRAD BLOG:

“With brave Americans fighting and dying for a failed policy in Iraq, members of Congress shouldn’t delay action to end this misguided war for weeks or even months just for the sake of political comfort. That is why, when the Senate takes up the Iraq supplemental, I plan to offer the Feingold-Reid bill as an amendment to force the President to safely redeploy our troops by March 31, 2008 at which point funding for the war would be cut off.”

In addition to Reid's support of the original bill, the co-sponsors already on board as listed at Feingold's website include Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chris Dodd (D-CT), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), John Kerry (D-MA), Pat Leahy (D-VT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

It's not yet known if the same Senators will support the bill as an amendment to the next supplemental spending bill or not, according to a Feingold spokesman tonight.

The legislation includes a few caveats sure to be ignored by the wingnuts when they begin to attack it, so we'll point them out here. Namely, that Feingold's bill will not cut off funding for the purpose of:

  • "conduct[ing] targeted operations...against members of al Qaeda and other international terrorist organizations";
  • "security for United States infrastructure and personnel"; or
  • "to train and equip Iraqi security services"

CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this story was unclear about the differences between the two versions of Feingold's legislation. Feingold's original legislation, supported by 10 Senators in all, and quoted in full below, will be used as the basis --- "likely with identical language," according to a Feingold spokesperson --- as an amendment to the new supplemental spending bill in the Senate. At the moment, it's unclear what that new supplemental will look like. We thank the Feingold staffer who contacted us late tonight with the clarification.

The full text of Feingold's straight forward proposed legislation follows below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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And What His Press Spokesperson May Do in Her Free Time...
By Brad Friedman on 5/7/2007 8:56pm PT  

If anyone knows how to hit just the wrong note, time and again, it's our favorite corrupt Congressman from Florida's 24th district, who's still on the run from charges of Abramoff-related improprieties.

We're running the following item mostly for the Orlando Sentinel's hysterical comment on Tom Feeney's press spokeperson's name. But Feeney's choice of showing off multiple photos of his hot, sweaty bod on a press release concerning U.S. troops being killed in Iraq certainly caught our notice as well...

Feeney's on the run

If it smells fishy, it either has something to do with politics, or fish.

Or in this case, both.

Sporting shirts from a New Smyrna Beach favorite, J.B.'s Fish Camp, U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney last week led "The Anglers" in the annual ACLI Capital Challenge. The three-mile race in Washington features members of the media and leaders of our government hitting the pavement in the kind of race that takes physical, not fiscal, fitness.

Press secretary Pepper Pennington --- no, we don't know whether she picks pickled peppers -- tells us Team Feeney came in at just more than 21 minutes.

No word on what he smelled like. But we can show you what he looked like. See Team Feeney at www.house.gov/list/press...4-feeney/iraqveto.shtml.

NOTE: The URL in the Sentinel article was wrong. So for more hot, sweaty photos of Feeney --- who sure knows how to, gosh darn it, have a little fun with war --- you can check out his very tasteful Iraq Veto/Fish Restaurant Sponsored press release/photo spread right here.

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It's Time for America to Institute One...
By Steve Heller on 5/4/2007 10:35am PT  

Guest blogged by Stephen Heller...

"A very small segment of the American population are fighting this war! If the president thinks we should continue the war he ought to call for a draft and spread it out and let everybody serve in this war, not this small segment who are making such a sacrifice!"
-- Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), 4/19/07

America needs a military draft. Admittedly, this idea is anathema to many progressives. Nevertheless, it would be good for this nation. It would boost our national security, but it would also be an invaluable part of preventing our so-called "leaders" from taking us into another unnecessary war.

There's no doubt we need more troops. As recently reported in the Los Angeles Times, Air Force personnel are now being used to fill out the Army ranks in Iraq. Military.com reports that in 2005 recruiters missed their target numbers by the widest margin since 1979. While the Department of Defense has said that it met or exceeded its recruitment goals for 2006, they are still having so much trouble getting warm bodies that recruitment of foreigners is being considered, including a proposal to expedite the citizenship process as an added incentive.

According to The Boston Globe, Bush and Defense Secretary Gates "have acknowledged that the total size of the military must be expanded to help alleviate the strain on ground troops, many of whom have been deployed repeatedly in combat theaters." And the Democratic congress has "promise[d] to make increasing the size of the military one of their top legislative priorities in 2007."

In December of 2006, Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson "told a news conference that society would benefit from a return to the draft." Of course, a few hours later he backpedaled faster than Rush Limbaugh can say "OxyContin" when the White House disavowed the remark. But he was right when he said our society would benefit from the draft, even if, like a good little soldier, he quickly changed his tune to please his boss.

More recently, in an April 18th article from the Marine Corp Times, Lawrence Korb --- a former senior Pentagon official and now a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and a Senior Advisor to the Center for Defense Information --- said, "The current use of ground forces in Iraq represents a complete misuse of the all-volunteer military." He went on to add that in his view the all-volunteer force is not meant to be used for a protracted ground war, yet that is what they are facing.

Korb then went a step further...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Failed 'President' Says 'Deadline for Withdrawal is Date for Failure'...
By Brad Friedman on 5/1/2007 5:52pm PT  

Sen. Russ Feingold's office sent the following statement to The BRAD BLOG a few hours ago...

Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold

On the 4th Anniversary of the President Declaring “Mission Accomplished”

“The four-year anniversary of “mission accomplished” comes on the heels of one of the deadliest months since our invasion of Iraq. The anniversary reminds us that we shouldn’t give credence to an Administration that has made such disastrous mistakes in Iraq. Congress should listen to the American people and not an Administration that has been so wrong, and so dishonest, so many times. The President should acknowledge the will of the American people and sign the Iraq spending bill Congress is sending him today.”

Of course, Bush didn't. He vetoed the spending bill late this afternoon, saying "Setting a deadline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure, and that would be irresponsible."

Of course, nobody knows from failure and irresponsibility more than George W. Bush.

When he gave his infamous "Mission Accomplished" cod-piece speech on board the USS Lincoln on May 1 of 2003, just 139 US troops had been killed.

Since his MSM hailed photo-op, another 3,213 of our US troops have been killed in Iraq.

Happy Anniversary, asshole.

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Former Top-Level CIA Analyst Characterizes Former CIA Director as 'Manipulator in Chief' for Misleading Iraq/WMD 'Evidence'...
By Alan Breslauer on 5/1/2007 12:58pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

Long time CIA analyst Ray McGovern slams George Tenet for his differing account of his now infamous "slam dunk" remark in the run-up to the war in Iraq. McGovern finds Tenet's explanation the "most bizarre thing" he has "witnessed in many years of watching intelligence leaders" because the former director of the CIA is unwittingly admitting to a "more heinous offense". Catch the entire McGovern interview at Democracy Now!

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And as Cal Thomas Once Said: 'Let the Tribunal Begin'
First to Be Charged: Cal Thomas [ARTICLE UPDATED]
By Brad Friedman on 4/30/2007 1:44pm PT  

The emailer who forwarded us the following toon, marking the 4th Anniversary of Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech, aptly commented: "The amazing thing about this is that all of these people still have their jobs and appear as expert pundits in the media, while the people who were right all along are often portrayed as left-wing out-of-touch-with-reality naive nutty fools, and they don't get on the talk shows very much."

No kidding. The failure of our current corporate mainstream media in a nutshell.

But be sure to read through to the bottom of this post, for an additional stunning quote from Cal Thomas' April 15, 2003 column which Tom Tomorrow, the creator of this toon, mentioned he wasn't able to fit into this strip...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Happy Springtime (Bush is Over)
By Brad Friedman on 4/29/2007 6:35am PT  

Bush is over. If we want it. Give this one a listen/viewing. Not just for John Lennon fans, either. Be inspired...


A job very well done by my fellow VelvetRevolution.us co-founders, Justice Through Music. More details on the video at RAW STORY.

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Call on Former CIA Director to Return Medal of Freedom, Refer to Him as 'the Alberto Gonzales of the Intelligence Community'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/29/2007 1:50am PT  

In an open letter calling on former CIA Director, George Tenet to return his Medal of Freedom and donate royalties from his new book, six former intelligence officers excoriate the former Director of Central Intelligence for his complicity in overseeing the Bush Administration's misuse of intelligence to send America into an unnecessary war where more than 3,300 troops have so far been killed.

The complete letter, which pulls no punches is posted at Larry Johnson's website. Johnson is a former CIA agent and one of the letter's signatories. A PDF version of the 4-page letter is here.

Just a very few excerpts follow...

28 April 2007
Mr. George Tenet
c/o Harper Collins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street
8th Floor
New York City, New York 10022
ATTN: Ms. Tina Andredis

Dear Mr. Tenet:

We write to you on the occasion of the release of your book, At the Center of the Storm. You are on the record complaining about the “damage to your reputation”. In our view the damage to your reputation is inconsequential compared to the harm your actions have caused for the U.S. soldiers engaged in combat in Iraq and the national security of the United States. We believe you have a moral obligation to return the Medal of Freedom you received from President George Bush. We also call for you to dedicate a significant percentage of the royalties from your book to the U.S. soldiers and their families who have been killed and wounded in Iraq.
...
[Y]our lament that you are a victim in a process you helped direct is self-serving, misleading and, as head of the intelligence community, an admission of failed leadership. You were not a victim. You were a willing participant in a poorly considered policy to start an unnecessary war and you share culpability with Dick Cheney and George Bush for the debacle in Iraq.
...
It now turns out that you were the Alberto Gonzales of the intelligence community--a grotesque mixture of incompetence and sycophancy shielded by a genial personality. Decisions were made, you were in charge, but you have no idea how decisions were made even though you were in charge.
...
Most importantly and tragically, you failed to meet your obligations to the people of the United States. Instead of resigning in protest, when it could have made a difference in the public debate, you remained silent and allowed the Bush Administration to cite your participation in these deliberations to justify their decision to go to war. Your silence contributed to the willingness of the public to support the disastrous war in Iraq, which has killed more than 3300 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.
...
Mr. Tenet, you cannot undo what has been done. It is doubly sad that you seem still to lack an adequate appreciation of the enormous amount of death and carnage you have facilitated. If reflection on these matters serves to prick your conscience we encourage you to donate at least half of the royalties from your book sales to the veterans and their families, who have paid and are paying the price for your failure to speak up when you could have made a difference. That would be the decent and honorable thing to do.

Sincerely yours,

Phil Giraldi

Ray McGovern

Larry Johnson

Jim Marcinkowski

Vince Cannistraro

David MacMichael

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From the 'Heads I Win, Tails You Lose' School of Journalism...
By Brad Friedman on 4/29/2007 12:28am PT  

One of the newspapers often attacked by Bill O'Reilly as an example of the "liberal" media is the Los Angeles Times, currently owned by the Rightwing Chicago Tribune.

On Saturday, LA Times ran a story by Chris Kraul on the reaction of Iraqi citizens to the Iraq War spending bill battle. But no need to click on the link. Here's the summary of the "fair and balanced" story as kindly provided on the inside page of the paper edition:

Iraqis uneasy over funding battle

With Congress passing spending bills with timelines for U.S. troop withdrawal, some Iraqis fear further chaos if American soldiers leave Iraq. Others hope President Bush, who has threatened a veto, will prevail and the U.S. will stay, if only for its own strategic interests. Page A5

So...if the bill is signed into law, some Iraqis fear it will make things worse. While on the other hand, some of them hope Bush vetoes it so US troops will stay.

That would be the "Heads I Win, Tails You Lose" school of journalism, I guess.

Those quoted in the story were among the "20 Iraqis interviewed Friday in several cities after both houses of Congress passed measures that set timelines for a withdrawal of U.S. troops as a condition of funding for the war effort."

Kraul failed to quote any Iraqis who are in favor of withdrawal of U.S. troops, despite polls of Iraqis in 2004, 2005 and 2006 all showing a majority of Iraqis want the U.S. to leave. That last one found "70% of Iraqis favor setting a timeline for the withdrawal of US forces."

On the other hand, a story on George Tenet's new criticism of the Administration for ignoring pre-9/11 terrorism warnings and failing to plan for postwar Iraq is featured...on Page 18.

Darn those America/Bush hating "liberals" at the Los Angeles Times!

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Newest Lie in Effort to Tout 'Success' of 'Surge'
RELATED: 100 Civilians Hanged by Iraqi Government Since Re-Instating Death Penalty as American Values are on the March!
By Brad Friedman on 4/26/2007 4:03pm PT  

RAW STORY reports that for the first time, the Iraqi government has withheld data on civilian deaths from a UN Human Rights program which has been tracking such information. The UN is suggesting that it's been done at the behest of the Bush Administration hoping to sell the idea that the "surge" is working.

But what caught my eye was this part of RAW's report, referring to a McClatchy news service article out yesterday revealing that the Bush Administration is now excluding deaths from car bombs in their figures to tout a drop of violence in Iraq since the surge.

Yes, you read that correctly. More mind-blowing, however, was this response from Bush when asked about the issue yesterday on PBS' Charlie Rose:

"Car bombs and other explosive devices have killed thousands of Iraqis in the past three years, but the administration doesn't include them in the casualty counts it has been citing as evidence that the surge of additional U.S. forces is beginning to defuse tensions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims," wrote the news service's Nancy Youssef. "President Bush explained why in a television interview on Tuesday. 'If the standard of success is no car bombings or suicide bombings, we have just handed those who commit suicide bombings a huge victory,' he told TV interviewer Charlie Rose."

I've read those quotes now about six times, and still can't figure out what the hell he is saying. So I'll just say, I don't even know what to say.

In related news... The LA Times reported on Saturday that nearly 100 Iraqis have been hanged since the government re-instituted their death penalty. In one reported case, a trial for an Iraqi-born U.S. citizen accused of kidnapping three journalists lasted "about an hour," with no witnesses testifying, before the man was sentenced to hang.

Great news! George W. Bush's American Values are on the march around the world!

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By Brad Friedman on 4/21/2007 1:48pm PT  

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Has the Former DoD War Architect Ever Met Condi Rice or Colin Powell?
Just Asking...
By Brad Friedman on 4/19/2007 11:42pm PT  

NPR's Morning Edition reported yesterday that Douglas Feith, the Bush Administration's former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, has a new job since leaving the Pentagon. Apparently he's busy rewriting history as a professor at Georgetown University.

In apparent and extreme denial, one of the main Neocon architects for Bush's failed war had the following extraordinary exchange with host Steve Inskeep (who, unfortunately, didn't correct the record, so we guess we'll have to) concerning the rationale for going to War in Iraq. Feith turned downright indignant when Inskeep suggested that there were analysts who didn't see Saddam Hussein as a threat before the war...

NPR: Feith insists that many accounts misstate the reasons the U.S. chose war against Saddam Hussein.

DOUGLAS FEITH: He had demonstrated that he was interested in WMD and the danger was that he could take action in the future that would get him in a major fight with us. At which point he might use the WMD capabilities and connections to terrorists to hurt us.

NPR: Is there any point in that that you ended up assuming too much?

FEITH: I think that...I think that was a reasonable assumption under the circumstances...

NPR: Still...

FEITH: ...Do you not?

NPR: It sounds reasonable the way that you put it.

FEITH: Well that's what we were worried about (laughs)...I don't think that there's anything unreasonable in in...

NPR: ...But of course there were analysts making an entirely different...

FEITH: No, there weren't. No, there weren't....I mean that's just false. I, I, I hope you can do something to clarify this point. I mean, this notion that there were analysts who were saying that Saddam Hussein was not a threat?! There was nobody saying that.

"Nobody saying that"?! Really? Here's just two of them for a start. Names that Mr. Feith might be familiar with:

"[F]rankly, [the sanctions on Iraq] have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors."
- Colin Powell, February 24, 2001

"But in terms of Saddam Hussein being there, let's remember that his country is divided, in effect. He does not control the northern part of his country. We are able to keep arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt."
- Condoleeza Rice, July 29, 2001

What planet do these Bush dead-enders live on, anyway?! Amazing.

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'Don't tell me WE are fighting in this air-conditioned office! WE are not fighting this war! Our TROOPS are fighting this war!' Shouts Engraged Congressman...
By Alan Breslauer on 4/19/2007 5:11pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer


Note from Brad: Holy cow...

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