Friday, September 28, 2007

Thank you, Rep. John Hall!

U.S. Representative John Hall (D-NY19) introduced legislation today that would prevent increases in the number of private security contractors operating in Iraq.

Hall's bill, The Freeze Private Contractors in Iraq Act, would prohibit federal agencies from entering into contracts that would increase the number of private security contractors in Iraq above the number present in Iraq on September 1, 2007.

"It is past the time for us to reduce our involvement in Iraq," said Hall. "As the President is forced to reduce troop levels in Iraq due to a lack of replacement troops, our presence must actually decrease, not be supplemented by an increase in security contractors who operate with little to zero accountability."

Since the beginning of the Iraq War, the use of private security contractors has multiplied exponentially. The number of armed contractors operating in the battle zone is unprecedented in the history of U.S. military engagements. News reports estimate that the number ranges from 20,000 to 50,000 or higher. According to federal spending data, since 2004 federal agencies have paid almost $1 billion to the contractor agency Blackwater USA alone.

Security contractors in Iraq operate outside both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and Iraqi law. During the first year of the American occupation, the American Administrator issued a decree that exempted security companies and their employees from accountability under Iraqi law for deaths and injuries caused in the execution of their duties.

"These private security contractors operate in a virtual no-man's-land when it comes to the law," said Hall. "These guys are running around Iraq accountable to no one, using lethal force against civilians and increasing the animosity Iraqis feel towards Americans, thereby making the situation less safe for American troops in the field."

Hall is a co-sponsor of two bills, H.R. 2740 and H.R. 369, that would establish legal accountability for private security contractors operating in a war zone. H.R. 369, The Transparency and Accountability in Security Contracting Act, would clarify that all private security workers operating under contract (or subcontract) by a government agency in the war zone are subject to the Military Extraterritorial Justice Act (MEJA), which is to be enforced by the Department of Justice. H.R. 2740, would ensure that all contractors working for a U.S. government agency would be covered by federal criminal codes. H.R. 2740 would also establish F.B.I. investigative units in the war zone charged with investigating allegations of misconduct.

H/T to Phillip Anderson of the The Albany Project

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Jena 6

Mychal Bell, the black teenager whose prosecution in the beating of a white classmate prompted a massive civil rights protest walked out of a courthouse Thursday after a judge ordered him freed.

"We still have mountains to climb, but at least this is closer to an even playing field," said the Rev. Al Sharpton, who helped organize last week's protest.

"He goes home because a lot of people left their home and stood up for him," Sharpton said as Bell stood smiling next to him.

AP has the full article.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Shameless Parental Promotion


Gypsy Website

Sunday, September 16, 2007

How about the condition of the Soldiers?

Digby has a post on Gates' recommendation of a veto to a Senate proposal. Gates states the proposal of giving troops more rest between deployments in Iraq is a dangerous "backdoor way" to draw down forces.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tours Ending?

AP saying:

Bush said 5,700 U.S. forces would be home by Christmas and that four brigades — at least 21,500 troops — would return by July, along with an undetermined number of support forces. Now at its highest level of the war, the U.S. troop strength stands at 168,000.

I am just curious, of the 5,700 soldiers, how many are due to come home because they have done numerous tours?

Of the 21,500 soldiers, how many are due home after a 15 month tour?

Cat got their tongue

The Carpetbagger Report makes a good point:

* John Kerry ripped House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) for dismissing the sacrifices of the troops in Iraq as “a small price.” Kerry implored Boehner to apologize.

* The DNC condemned Boehner’s callousness, as well.

* For reasons that I don’t understand, Kerry and the DNC were pretty much the only Democratic leaders to take Boehner to task. Where was everybody else?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

L'shanah tovah

Monday, September 10, 2007

Presidential Debate on Univision

Democratic White House candidates embraced Hispanic concerns in the first ever Spanish-language presidential debate, unanimously promising to bring troops home from Iraq and to begin working on immigration in their first year in office.

Richardson, one of two candidates who speak fluent Spanish, objected to the debate rules that required all candidates to answer in English. The rule was designed to make sure that no candidate had an advantage in appealing to the Spanish-speaking audience.

"I'm disappointed today that 43 million Latinos in this country, for them not to hear one of their own speak Spanish, is unfortunate," Richardson said.

Truly unfortunate!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

On Betrayal

John Nichols has an excellent article about Gen. Patraeus betraying the truth and the troops.

And speaking of betraying...Truthout writer Matt Renner pens an article that will open your eyes about the DCCC during the 06 races.

As for Hagel not running for re-election, maybe all the corruption in his party just got to him.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Yacketty Yak vs. True Blue Jim Himes

Listen to what Jim Himes has to say about Chris Shays "yacking" about the surge in Iraq.

Not heard about Jim Himes yet, get ready, the Nutmeggers are campaigning hard for Jim and they will succeed.

Blue America has a donor page. Can you spare $5.00?


Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day

Did you hug a union member today???

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Follow the links...

Ev'rybody's talking about
Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, Tagism
This-ism, that-ism, is-m, is-m, is-m.

All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Another one bites the dust...

Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig's decision to quit spares his party the embarrassment of an indefinitely prolonged scandal following his arrest during a sex sting in a Minneapolis airport bathroom.

Craig will announce his resign effective Sept. 30, at a news conference in Boise Saturday morning, GOP officials in Idaho and Washington told The Associated Press.

Still, opting to wait a month before officially bowing out raises questions of what Craig hopes to accomplish in Washington once the post-Labor Day session begins.

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