Just read between the lines...

Red Text is the real story hiding between the lines.
Violet Text is a notable quote from a specific blogger.
Blue Text is my own personal commentary.
Gold Text is a link to the original sources.

One word of advice I would offer to everyone who reads this blog;

....Each and every day, take just a moment of your precious time to pray for Peace and Justice.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Wednesday's Morning News

Red text is the"real" headline buried in the headlines.
Blue text is my own commentary.
Violet text is the blog quote of the day.

Dennis Kucinich's bill calling for Congress to impeach Cheney is listed as "HR 333." And on the same day, there were 3,333 Americans listed as casualties in this Bush War.

In Darfur's Krinding Camp, home to more than 30,000 displaced people, Jomaa Zakaria says hopes for a decent life without fear for his children's lives from Arab militiamen are diminishing daily. "The world does not look at us as human beings," the 38-year-old father of seven said. He said a recent agreement between Sudan and the United Nations to deploy some 3,500 U.N. military personnel to support the overstretched African Union force in Darfur has failed to lift the gloom at the camp. "Those 3,000 cannot secure Darfur. We need 20,000 or 25,000 people," (redeploy to Darfur!!) he said. Sudan has rejected such a force and says it will not bow to "Western blackmail." The United Nations say around 200,000 people have been killed in the vast Western region of Darfur since 2003 when rebel groups took up arms against the government, accusing it of neglect. Sudan says only 9,000 have perished. (Sounds like the same people who are counting the Iraqi civilian casualties)(http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/25/AR2007042500198.html

A whole class of opportunists — from squatter landlords to teenage gunmen for hire to vendors of out-of-date baby formula — have been feeding off the anarchy in Somalia for so long that they refuse to let go. They do not pay taxes, their businesses are totally unregulated, and they have skills that are not necessarily geared toward a peaceful society. (sounds like the neocon's corporate membership list!) In the past few weeks, some Western security officials say, these profiteers have been teaming up with clan fighters and radical Islamists to bring down Somalia’s transitional government, which is the country’s 14th attempt at organizing a central authority and ending the free-for-all of the past 16 years.

Separatist rebels stormed a Chinese-run oil field in eastern Ethiopia on Tuesday, killing more than 70 people, including nine Chinese workers, in one of Ethiopia’s worst rebel attacks in years. Dozens of gunmen crept up to the oil field at dawn and unleashed a barrage of machine-gun fire at Ethiopian soldiers posted outside, Chinese and Ethiopian officials said. After a fierce hour long battle, the rebels rushed away, taking at least six Chinese hostages with them. Ethiopia, a close ally of the United States, has been racked by separatist movements for years. But the severity of this attack seemed to unnerve Ethiopian officials, who usually minimize any threats to their control. “It was a massacre,” Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said in a televised address on Tuesday night. “It was cold-blooded murder.”

U.S. forces are increasingly exposed to danger and death as they step up their presence in Baghdad and volatile areas such as Anbar and Diyala provinces. Once housed in vast, highly secured bases, many now live in hostile neighborhoods inside isolated combat outposts, the linchpin of a counterinsurgency plan designed to wrest control of the capital and other hot spots from Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias. Military tactical experts say such combat outposts, where soldiers are expected to interact with area residents and gather intelligence about potential enemies, are the most effective way of preventing car bombings and other attacks in the long term. Paradoxically, this approach is making U.S. soldiers more vulnerable as they rely more than ever on the Iraqi police and army -- and the support of the local population -- for their safety. Insurgents are starting to take advantage of this exposed presence, staging daring frontal attacks designed to cause heavy casualties, a departure from their trademark hit-and-run and roadside bomb attacks. In a similar coordinated assault Feb. 19, insurgents attacked a U.S. outpost in Tarmiyah about 30 miles north of Baghdad, killing two American soldiers and wounding 17.

A roadside bomb attack on an Afghan military convoy in eastern Afghanistan left seven soldiers dead Wednesday, a day after militants ambushed a police car in the west, killing four officers, officials said. The soldiers were part of a 10-vehicle convoy traveling in the Wazekha area, in Paktika province, near the border with Pakistan, when a remotely controlled bomb exploded under one of their vehicles, said Gen. Murad Ali, Afghan National Army's deputy commander for the southern regions. The blast left seven soldiers dead and one wounded, Ali said. The blast occurred a day after a police vehicle was ambushed in Guzara district in Herat province on Tuesday evening, said Noor Khan Nekzad, a spokesman for the provincial police chief. Four officers were killed and two others wounded in that attack. Afghan security forces are taking a more prominent role in battling resurgent Taliban guerrillas. But unlike the heavily armed NATO and U.S. troops in Afghanistan they often fight beside, local forces have few armored vehicles to protect them from roadside bombs and suicide attacks.

GEORGE W. BUSH'S presidency is devolving into an extended holding action. On too many fronts, his top priority now appears to be delaying the inevitable. Donald H. Rumsfeld, the former Defense secretary, once described the Iraqi resistance as a few "dead-enders" who refused to acknowledge that the world around them had changed. Increasingly that phrase applies as a self-portrait for the administration that Rumsfeld served. Forget "the decider." Bush has become the dead-ender.

From Nancy Pelosi's "The Gavel"
(special thanx to ThinkProgress for the link!)
This important legislation sets a new direction for Iraq. It acknowledges that America went to war without mobilizing the nation, that our strategy in Iraq has been tragically flawed since the invasion in March 2003, that our Army and Marine Corps are at the breaking point with little to show for it, and that our military alone will never establish representative government in Iraq. The administration got it terribly wrong and I applaud our Congress for stepping up to their constitutional responsibilities.”
-Maj. Gen. John Batiste, USA, Ret.

This bill gives General Petraeus great leverage for moving the Iraqi government down the more disciplined path laid out by the Iraq Study Group. The real audience for the timeline language is Prime Minister al-Maliki and the elected government of Iraq. The argument that this bill aides the enemy is simply not mature - nobody on the earth underestimates the United States’ capacity for unpredictability. It may further create some sense of urgency in the rest of our government, beginning with the State Department.”
-Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, USA, Ret.

“The bill gives the president a chance to pull back from a disastrous course, re-orient US strategy to achieve regional stability, and win help from many other countries - the only way peace will eventually be achieved.”
-Lt. Gen. Wm. E. Odom, USA, Retired

”Supporting the Iraq Supplemental Bill not only reflects the thinking of the Iraq Study Group but puts teeth to the phrase “Supporting the Troops”. By establishing timelines it returns the responsibility of self preservation and regional sovereignty to the people of Iraq and their government.”
-Maj. Gen. Mel Montano, USANG, Ret

We must commence a coordinated phased withdrawal of U.S. combat troops and condition our continuing support of the Iraqi government on its fulfilling the political commitments it has made to facilitate reconciliation of the contending secular factions. Otherwise, we will continue to be entwined in a hopeless quagmire, with continuing American casualties, which will render our ground forces ineffective.”
- Lt. Gen. Robert Gard, USA Ret.

IT HAS BEEN a long and bloody spring in Iraq and Afghanistan, but on the battlefield of ideas, the news is even less encouraging. A survey released Tuesday by WorldPublic-Opinion.org suggests that the struggle for Muslim hearts and minds may already be lost. Overwhelming majorities of those surveyed in Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan and Indonesia say they believe that the U.S. seeks to "weaken and divide the Islamic world" and to "achieve political and military domination to control Middle East resources." Most say they think that Al Qaeda defends the dignity of Muslims by standing up to the U.S., and most share the terrorist organization's goal of evicting the U.S. military from the Mideast. More alarming is the support among citizens of allied countries for attacking U.S. troops in Iraq. That includes 91% of those polled in Egypt, 68% in Morocco, 35% in Pakistan and 19% in Indonesia. Approval rates for attacks on U.S. troops based in Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf states were almost as high.

Areas of Baghdad that were once home to both Sunnis and Shi'ites are being ethnically cleansed, and militants from each sect have attacked areas populated by the other, maiming and killing by the dozens. When US forces began building a 12-foot-high concrete wall last week around Adhamiya, a largely Sunni neighborhood, the goal was to prevent such incursions. A US military news release heralded such barriers as "one of the centerpieces" of a new strategy to end sectarian violence. American officials took to describing cordoned-off areas as "gated communities" -- as if Adhamiya were a patch of Sun Belt suburbia that somehow found itself in a war zone. In reality, the wall around the neighborhood is a symbol of the incoherence of the Bush administration's current policy toward ethnic violence in Iraq.

Blog quote of the day, from Robert Scheer at Truthdig
"Blame it on the military but make it look like you’re supporting the troops. That’s been the convenient gambit of failed emperors throughout history as they witnessed their empires decline. Not surprisingly then, it’s become the standard rhetorical trick employed by President Bush in shirking responsibility for the Iraq debacle of his making."

Less than two weeks after being sworn in as undersecretary of defense for intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr. is moving to end the controversial Talon electronic data program, which collected and circulated unverified reports about people and organizations that allegedly threaten Defense Department facilities. Talon, launched in 2003 with an eye toward Sept. 11, 2001, came under public scrutiny in December 2005 with the disclosure that it had collected data on anti-military protesters and peaceful demonstrators. More recently, the American Civil Liberties Union released an internal Pentagon report showing that, as of 18 months ago, Talon had about 13,000 entries, of which 2,821 involved reports on U.S. citizens. The Talon system was part of the Defense Department's growing effort under then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Clapper's predecessor, Stephen A. Cambone, to gather intelligence within the United States, which officials at that time argued was imperative as they worked to detect and prevent potentially catastrophic terrorist assaults. (read: PREVENT PEACEFUL WAR PROTESTS) The agency's size and budget are classified, but congressional sources have said that CIFA had spent more than $1 billion through last October. One counterintelligence official at that time estimated that CIFA had 400 full-time employees and 800 to 900 contractors (as in Blackwater??) working for it.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is expanding its investigation of a January video conference, conducted by Karl Rove's deputy for General Services Administration appointees, to look at whether the political dealings of the White House have violated the Hatch Act, its chairman said last night. Not long into its investigation of the presentation, Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch said, his office had collected "a sufficient amount of evidence" that merited a deeper examination of whether the White House was running afoul of the law.

...don't miss Scarecrow's post at Firedog Lake today, with Gonzales slow-roasting on the "stall-'em" spit, and Rove waiting in the hot-wings...(and we ain't talkin' quail here, we're talkin' crow)
"Karl Rove is becoming everyone’s favorite target again, and it’s not because everyone wants to reach out and touch him. This time he’s the investigative target of one of his own targets."

Despite vocal backing from President Bush, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales faced new doubts yesterday within his own party about whether he should stay on the job amid strong criticism about his handling of the dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys. Several Senate Republicans spoke out against Gonzales for the first time, voicing deep concerns about his performance before the Judiciary Committee last week. "I think there's a huge credibility issue at the Justice Department," said Sen. Norm Coleman (Minn.). "I continue, even after his testimony, to have grave doubts." Gonzales's testimony last week was meant to quell the furor surrounding the firings of the prosecutors last year. After a series of changing explanations (aka "Shifty") that conflicted with information in thousands of pages of internal Justice Department documents, Republicans had hoped a strong performance by Gonzales would mute calls for his resignation. Instead, Republican criticism has grown.

Another scandal is brewing inside Alberto Gonzales's Justice Department. Former Justice Department attorneys have publicly accused the Bush administration of politicizing the department's Civil Rights Division which was formed 50 years ago to protect the voting rights of African-Americans. The administration did this in part by alleging widespread election fraud in largely Democratic areas and to push new voter ID rules. Civil rights advocates contend that the administration's policies were intended to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of poor and minority voters who tend to support Democrats. At least two U.S. attorneys were fired after failing to bring voter fraud cases. Last year the Boston Globe reported the Bush administration is filling the permanent ranks of the Civil Rights Division with lawyers who have strong conservative credentials but little experience in civil rights. This has led to the Civil Rights Division focusing more on cases alleging reverse discrimination against whites and religious discrimination against Christians. (Hypocrites!!!)http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/04/24/1446251

From Marci Wheeler,
author of "Anatomy of Deceit" at "The Next Hurrah"
The Wolfowitz Gal Pal scandal is turning more and more into the mirror image of the Plame scandal every day. We've got Victoria Toensing, who has been harping (and I do mean harping) on the danger off boondoggles for four years, now embracing personnel-decisions-as-dating-service. We've got Neocons subverting security guidelines to political (and apparently, sexual) gain. And now, after having done such a good job for the NYT by helping Judy hide her sources, Bob Bennett's returning to the world of sexcapade defense lawyering. Robert S. Bennett, the lawyer selected by Mr. Wolfowitz, said in an interview that before the bank’s board acted on charges of ethical lapses, he and Mr. Wolfowitz wanted more time to prepare a case showing that the bank president had acted properly on all matters that the board is investigating. ...Mr. Bennett said. “We just had a wonderful example of that in the Duke lacrosse case. (cry "Duke" for Wolfie!) ...I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that Mr. Wolfowitz exercised good faith ...” (yeah, and you're his LAWYER, you have to say that.) It was unclear whether Mr. Wolfowitz intended to pay his legal fees himself or whether he would seek reimbursement from the bank. Hmm. That last bit is a good question. Are the same people who paid for Bennett to represent Judy going to pay for him to represent Wolfowitz?

Over the course of only 15 minutes today, three congressional committees will consider subpoenas for half a dozen officials from the White House and the departments of Justice and State. On the list is former presidential chief of staff Andrew H. Card Jr., Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Justice Department liaison to the White House Monica M. Goodling, a key figure in the controversial firing of eight U.S. attorneys. Republican leaders call it a "partisan witch hunt." (watta bunch of crybabies!) But Democratic lawmakers, and even some Republicans, say it is an overdue return to their constitutional role of executive-branch oversight. Since Democrats assumed control of Congress in January, they have hired more than 200 investigative staffers for key watchdog committees. They include lawyers, former reporters and congressional staffers who left oversight committees that had all but atrophied during the six years that the GOP controlled Congress and the White House. They have already begun a series of inquiries on subjects ranging from allegations of administration meddling in federal scientists' work on global warming and the General Services Administration's alleged work for Republican campaigns to how disproved claims that Iraq had purchased nuclear material from Niger evolved into a case for war. (OVP, start your shredders!)

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