Blue text is my own commentary.
Violet text is the blog quote of the day.
AFRICA (...once again, the first news about Africa comes late in the week. This is the most under-reported genocide story since the Biafran holocaust...)
The International Criminal Court on Wednesday issued its first arrest warrants in Sudan's Darfur conflict, for a government minister and a former militia leader accused of war crimes. Sudanese officials, however, said they would not hand over the pair, who are charged with dozens of counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The court alleges that the Sudanese government joined with militia groups in systematic attacks against civilians in Darfur as part of an effort to combat rebel movements. More than 200,000 people have been killed and 2 million displaced in the four-year conflict. (...those are "conservative" estimates...) The Sudanese government denies backing the militias, commonly known as janjaweed. The move by the Hague-based court is a strong indicator that it believes the Khartoum government is unlikely to fulfill its promise to prosecute the pair under its own judicial system. The court can step in only when a country fails to put suspects on trial.
Republicans, fearing massive 2008 election losses, begin to turn on Bush
Distressed by the violence in Iraq and worried about tying their political fate to an unpopular president, some Republicans on Capitol Hill are beginning to move away from the White House to stake out a more critical position on the U.S. role in the war. These lawmakers are advocating proposals that would tie the U.S. commitment in the war to the Iraqi government's ability to demonstrate that it is working to quell the sectarian conflict. As Democrats start work on a new war spending bill to replace the one President Bush vetoed, at least three Republican senators who opposed the Democratic withdrawal plan said Wednesday that the new bill should include so-called benchmarks for the Iraqi government to meet.
Which brings us to the blog quote of the day, thanx to Larry Johnson's "No Quarter" regular contributor "Leslie," posted by "Susan UNPC"
"Days after Bush acknowledged that Congress had a legitimate authority to include timetables in its Iraq supplemental bill, King George has since vetoed the bill arguing that Congress has infringed on his Constitutional role. By vetoing the bill, Bush can blame Congress simultaneously for denying the troops support, which his veto denies them, and for violating the prerogatives of the Commander-in-Chief. But we won't hear Bush say this publicly, however. It's attached to his veto statement. Check out "The Veto Statement -- Not Surprisingly, the President Claims a Constitutional Prerogative." (..how about "Constitutional Crisis"???) The House attempted to override the veto today and failed. The vote was 222-203, short of the two-thirds necessary to override."
Iraqi Oil at the center of Bush's failure-mode
Kurdish and Sunni Arab officials expressed deep reservations on Wednesday about the draft version of a national oil law and related legislation, misgivings that could derail one of the benchmark measures of progress in Iraq laid down by President Bush. The draft law, which establishes a framework for the distribution of oil revenues, was approved by the (Shi'ite dominated)Iraqi cabinet in late February after months of negotiations. The White House was hoping for quick passage to lay the groundwork for a political settlement among the country’s ethnic and sectarian factions. But the new Kurdish concerns have created doubts about the bill even before Parliament is to pick it up for debate. The issue comes at a delicate moment for Mr. Bush, who on Wednesday began negotiations ("began negotiations" ...is that the new term for "veto"?) with Congressional Democrats over a new war-spending measure. (... is Malaki trying to give all the oil to the Shi'ites?)
White House Investigates ("warns") top Iraq Contract Inspector The inspector general who uncovered cases of waste, fraud and abuse in the U.S.-led reconstruction effort in Iraq is under investigation by a presidential panel, according to the White House. Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, is under investigation after complaints were made by former employees about his work habits and work he required employees to perform. The investigation is headed by the integrity committee of the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency, (...now there's a joke of a committee, lots of pots calling all the kettles black...) which is made up of inspectors general appointed by the president. (...with all the other whistleblowers coming out of the woodwork, is it any wonder they want this very strategically positioned appointee to remain very, very silent???) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/02/AR2007050202714.html?referrer=email
Canada collaborating with U.S. to track down American soldiers who have fled (and the apologists say this isn't Bush's Viet Nam!) The incidents have sparked allegations that Canadian law enforcement has been collaborating with U.S. officials to help track down American soldiers who have fled to Canada. Some critics, including a left-leaning member of Parliament who represents Nelson, say they believe it is a campaign of intimidation. "Our concern is that there could be other Kyle Snyders in Canada," Alex Atamanenko, the parliamentarian, said following Snyder's arrest on Feb. 23. "Are there those that are being apprehended now?" In a formal letter of complaint to the Conservative Party Cabinet ministers responsible for public safety and immigration, Atamanenko noted that Snyder was apprehended without a search warrant or permission to enter the residence. "Has Canada ever raised official objection to the U.S. about the operation of U.S. police, security, intelligence or military officials in Canada?" Atamanenko asked, adding, "It is important for Canadian citizens and visitors to our country to know that our Canadian sovereignty is respected." (Oh, Canada! When will you learn, BushCo has respect only for outsourcers, off-shoreres, no-bidders and book cookers) http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/05/03/awol_in_canada/?source=newsletter
TESTER CALLS FOR MERCER TO RESIGN (thanx to TPM for this link to the WaPo) Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) called yesterday on a top Justice Department official to resign his U.S. attorney's post after revelations that he worked to alter federal law so that he and a handful of other senior aides could escape residency requirements that governed their assignments as federal prosecutors. Since 2005, William W. Mercer has served as acting associate attorney general at Justice Department headquarters in Washington as well as being the U.S. attorney in Montana, where he spends just three days a month. That has drawn the anger of a Montana federal judge who contends that Mercer is violating a federal law that requires him to live in Montana. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/02/AR2007050202353.html?nav=rss_politics
On Nov. 10, 2005, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales sent a letter to a federal judge in Montana, assuring him that the U.S. attorney there, William W. Mercer, was not violating federal law by spending most of his time in Washington as a senior Justice Department official. That same day, Mercer had a GOP Senate staffer insert into a bill a provision that would change the rules so that federal prosecutors could live outside their districts to serve in other jobs, according to documents and interviews. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/01/AR2007050101961.html
IF MERCER AND GONZALES CONSPIRED TO CREATE THIS LIE, IT WOULD CONSTITUTE HIGH CRIMES, NOT MISDEMEANORS!
Lam claims coersion, attempted cover-up conspiracy...
In a strongly worded defense of her four-year tenure as U.S. attorney in San Diego, Carol C. Lam told congressional investigators that she was constantly given conflicting instructions from Washington and was expected to bring more prosecutions with fewer resources. According to written statements released Wednesday — her first public comments since testifying two months ago about her firing — Lam also said she was given just weeks to clear out of her office and was informed by Justice Department officials that her ouster was "coming from the very highest levels of the government." And, she said, Washington wanted her to pretend (... "lie for us...") as though it was her decision to leave office. When Michael A. Battle, then a Justice Department supervisor for U.S. attorneys, called her in December to tell her she was being terminated, she said, "He advised me to simply say publicly that I had decided to pursue other opportunities." (..doesn't that "advice" constitute the hub of a conspiracy?)
Goodling gets "warned"
The Justice Department said Wednesday that it had launched an internal probe into whether a chief figure in the U.S. attorneys affair had violated policy — and possibly federal law — by injecting party politics into the selection of career prosecutors. The investigation of Monica M. Goodling, once the Justice Department's White House liaison, widens the probe (...is Rove at the end of all these probes???) into allegations of partisan hiring and firing at the agency and complicates the Bush administration's efforts to weather the scandal. (...so how do they weather an F-6 political perfect storm?)
IRS RECORDS HINT AT BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S SYSTEMIC PROTECTION FOR OFFSHORE OUTSOURCERS (how many small business will be audited this year?) The Internal Revenue Service is curtailing audits of many people who use offshore tax havens, even when agents see signs of tax evasion, because agents fear they cannot meet a three-year deadline for finishing an examination, Congressional investigators have found. In a report to be released on Thursday, the Government Accountability Office found that I.R.S. agents are so hobbled by “dilatory tactics” by offshore taxpayers and other problems that it takes almost two and a half years to complete a typical audit. Many I.R.S. agents told the G.A.O., the investigative arm of Congress, that the “safest way” was often to stop an audit prematurely and sometimes to refrain from starting one in the first place. The I.R.S. reported that almost $300 billion in investment and business income was moved out of the United States in 2003. (UNDER COVER OF WAR!!!) Analysts at the Joint Committee on Taxation have estimated that the annual outflow has shot to more than $400 billion since then. (...anyone else interested in how this all relates to "The New World Order"???) http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/03/business/03tax.html?th&emc=th
WOLFOWITZ GAL-PAL SCANDAL COMING TO A HEAD
Members of a World Bank board committee investigating the conduct of Paul D. Wolfowitz, the bank president, are leaning toward finding that he violated the institution’s rules against conflicts of interest when he arranged a pay raise and promotion for his companion, bank officials said Wednesday. A conclusion that Mr. Wolfowitz broke the bank rules and the terms of his own contract, which bars conflicts of interest, would be likely to increase the pressure on him to resign despite his vow not to do so in the face of such charges.
Southern California air regulators cannot require railroads to shut down idling locomotives or obey other local laws designed to clean up deadly diesel pollution, a federal judge ruled this week. The decision invalidates action taken last year by the South Coast Air Quality Management District to reduce a major source of air pollution in the Southland. Locomotives are responsible for more than 32 tons per day of pollutants, an amount equal to that produced by 1.4 million cars, according to figures compiled by state and regional agencies. The state air board estimates that 5,400 premature deaths annually in Southern California can be linked to air pollution, and studies have found that the sooty particulates put out by trains are particularly harmful... Two railroads and a trade group filed suit, saying that under special exemptions passed by Congress more than a century ago, (...time to revisit some of these exemptions?) they do not have to abide by local laws that could interfere with interstate commerce.
At the Habersham Gardens nursery, (in Atlanta) where well-heeled homeowners choose their spring seedlings, a spiky-leafed, sultry coastal oleander has been thriving in a giant urn. “We never expected it to come back every year,” said Cheryl Aldrich, the assistant manager, guiding a visitor on a tour of plants that would once have needed coddling to survive here: eucalyptus, angel trumpets, the Froot Loop-hued Miss Huff lantana. “We’ve been able to overwinter plants you didn’t have a prayer with before.” (you won't see Glenn Beck reporting this news...)
The Food and Drug Administration ordered drug makers yesterday to add warnings to antidepressant medications, saying the drugs increase the risk of suicidal thinking or behavior in some young adults. (..ever wonder if the political climate over the past few years has contributed to this endemic suicidal depression??) The drugs' labels, which have included similar warnings for adolescents and children since 2005, will apply to people under 25. The expanded warnings, which will appear in a black-ruled box displayed prominently on the prescribing information... http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2007/05/03/drug_makers_to_widen_suicide_risk_warning/