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.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Tuesday Morning News

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

The deaths of more than 100 American troops in April made it the deadliest month so far this year for U.S. forces in Iraq, underscoring the growing exposure of Americans as thousands of reinforcements arrive for an 11-week-old offensive to tame sectarian violence.
More than 60 Iraqis also were killed or found dead across Iraq on Monday. Casualties among Iraqi civilians and security forces have outstripped those of Americans throughout the war. In March, a total of 2,762 Iraqi civilians and policemen were killed, down 4 percent from the previous month, when 2,864 were killed. Iraq's government has yet to release any monthly totals for April. (...and they aren't going to release them anymore, it seems, can't imagine why...)

The largest bloc of Sunni Arabs in the Iraqi Parliament threatened to withdraw its ministers from the Shiite-dominated cabinet on Monday in frustration over the government’s failure to deal with Sunni concerns. The bloc, known as the Iraqi Consensus Front and made up of three Sunni Arab parties, “has lost hope in rectifying the situation despite all of its sincere and serious efforts to do so,” the statement said. If the Sunni group followed through on its threat, it would further weaken a government already damaged by the pullout two weeks ago of six cabinet ministers aligned with the renegade Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr and further erode American efforts to promote reconciliation between Sunnis and Shiites. (...1400 years of vendetta, and the U.S. is going to step in and fix it??? RIIIIGHTTT. Try food instead of guns, feed em', don't fight em', maybe they will begin to trust us as an honest broker, not an international oil thief...)

Brushing aside White House opposition, Republican leaders in Congress said yesterday that negotiations on a second war spending bill should begin with benchmarks of success (how about our own contractors accounting for all that wasted reconstruction money) for the Iraqi government, and possible consequences if those benchmarks are not met. Democratic leaders will send a $124 billion war funding bill to President Bush today that would establish such benchmarks and tie them to troop withdrawals, which would begin as early as July 1 if they are not met. The bill will arrive at the White House on the fourth anniversary of Bush's speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, when he declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq before a banner that proclaimed "Mission Accomplished."
(..how ironically appropriate...)

"A new study ordered by the Pentagon warns that the rising cost and dwindling supply of oil -- the lifeblood of fighter jets, warships, and tanks -- will make the US military's ability to respond to hot spots around the world "unsustainable in the long term." The study, produced by a defense consulting firm, concludes that all four branches of the military must "fundamentally transform" their assumptions about energy, including taking immediate steps toward fielding weapons systems and aircraft that run on alternative and renewable fuels."

A GOP-majority committee split along party lines to send the Senate a substitute version of the House-approved measure requiring voters to prove their identity before casting ballots. Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, tweaked the House-approved proposal by not exempting any voters from the identification requirement. ...Proponents, including the Republican Party of Texas, say it’s necessary to reduce chances of voter fraud....Opponents, including the Texas Democratic Party, say the changes attack a problem (voter impersonation) that doesn’t exist. They also say the mandate will serve mainly to drive down turnout of minorities, the elderly and the young.
(...Kansas' Republican controlled legislature is doing the same thing, the Red States are getting more desperate every day trying to prevent their "redness" from turning purple or blue...)

Don't miss this editorial, it really goes to the core of the DOJ scandal, and why Bush kkeps giving Gone-Zo the vote of confidence...!!!
"NO MATTER how many members of Congress lose confidence in Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales, President Bush is unlikely to let him go. If Gonzales resigns, the vacancy must be filled by a new presidential nominee, and the last thing the White House wants is a confirmation hearing. All this is reminiscent of the Watergate scandal. In 1973, as the coverup was unraveling, the Senate imposed a condition on the confirmation of President Nixon's nominee for attorney general, Elliot Richardson. Richardson's predecessor had resigned because of Watergate troubles. Concerned that the Justice Department would not get at the truth, the Senate insisted that Richardson would name a special prosecutor to investigate Watergate. Richardson duly appointed Archibald Cox. The rest is history. Cox's aggressive investigations led to the prosecution of top administration officials and the naming of Nixon as an unindicted co-conspirator in the coverup. When Cox sought White House tapes of Nixon's conversations with his staff, the president had him fired, unleashing a firestorm of protests. Americans demanded that a previously reluctant Congress start impeachment proceedings against Nixon. Congress complied; the House Judiciary Committee, of which I was a member, voted for impeachment, and Nixon resigned. Aspects of this history could easily repeat themselves. The Senate could demand, as it did in 1973, that a new attorney general appoint a special prosecutor, (...sounds like a plan...) and this could again have dire consequences for the White House."

A true US Attorneys/Abramoff link uncovered...
(Thanx to emptywheel at "The Next Hurrah" for this link to MPW at "Wampum")
...And boy, is it a doozy!
"The discussion has continued over at Marcy's place, spurred on by this excellent post documenting recent changes in the make-up of the Native American Issues Subcommittee at the DoJ. Of particularly interesting note, the 2006 appointment of Colorado USA, Troy Eid. Seems that Eid was a 2003 hire of Greenberg Traurig in their Denver office. While Eid tried to whitewash his involvement in the firm at the same time as Abramoff's tenure, such claims turn out to be patently false. First, from the Denver Post upon Eid's appointment: Eid, a shareholder at the law firm of Greenberg Traurig, practices land use and environmental law, federal Indian law, American Indian tribal law, business negotiations and public law. Jack Abramoff, the Washington lobbyist who recently pleaded guilty to bribery, mail fraud and other charges, previously worked at Greenberg Traurig. Eid and Abramoff both worked in divisions that represented American Indian tribes. But Eid has said he joined Greenberg Traurig in 2003, about the time Abramoff was being fired. However, not only did Eid and Abramoff overlap in 2003-2004 (Abramoff wasn't fired until March, 2004), Eid was directly involved in at least two clients handled by "Team Abramoff". (...triple snark; Bush doesn't remember knowing Jack, either...)

So, is Bloch the next Archie Cox,
At first glance, Scott J. Bloch seems to fit the profile of the "loyal Bushie," the kind of person the White House salted through the Washington bureaucracy to make sure federal agencies heeded administration priorities. But Bloch, 48, is a man who defies expectations. The lifelong Republican runs an agency — the Office of Special Counsel — that is turning its investigative spotlight on the White House, in particular the political operation headed by Karl Rove. His office is investigating whether Bush administration personnel violated civil statutes by inserting GOP electoral politics into Cabinet agency meetings, firing at least one U.S. attorney, and discussing some of the activities in private e-mails that are missing...Bloch says he felt compelled to initiate the broad investigation after reviewing results from two seemingly separate inquiries. The first was a preliminary interview with the fired U.S. attorney from New Mexico, David C. Iglesias, who said, among other things, that his termination might have resulted from his failure to swiftly pursue a corruption case against Democrats.The second involved a PowerPoint presentation highlighting upcoming battleground election races that a Rove aide, J. Scott Jennings, made at the General Services Administration this year.

And this from Murray Wass at The National Journal,
Waas is really covering this DOJ scandal from the roots up, he broke the story yesterday about Gone-Zo's secret deal giving sweeping hire-and-fire powers to young, inexperienced, and hostile partisan politicos at the DOJ...
"Shortly before Attorney General Alberto Gonzales advised President Bush last year on whether to shut down a Justice Department inquiry regarding the administration's warrantless domestic eavesdropping program, Gonzales learned that his own conduct would likely be a focus of the investigation, according to government records and interviews. Bush personally intervened to sideline the Justice Department probe in April 2006 by taking the unusual step of denying investigators the security clearances necessary for their work."

Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty told congressional investigators that he had limited involvement in the firing last year of eight U.S. attorneys and that he did not choose any to be removed, congressional aides familiar with his statements said yesterday. McNulty said he provided erroneous testimony to Congress in February because he had not been informed that Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and his aides had been working with the White House on the firings for nearly two years, the congressional aides said.

In a previously undisclosed move, Gonzales approved an order in March 2006 that delegated to his chief of staff and the department's White House liaison broad authority over 135 department positions designated for political appointees, a copy of the order obtained by The Times shows. Their authority did not cover high-level positions that required Senate confirmation, such as the 93 U.S. attorneys. (that might be somewhat inaccurate, it seems as if these two had quite a hand even in that highest-level hiring process, especially Griffin's appointment in Arkansas) Gonzales' chief of staff at the time was D. Kyle Sampson, who resigned in March after it became known that he was the point man on the controversial firing of eight U.S. attorneys last year. Not long after the order was signed, the position of White House liaison was filled by Monica M. Goodling, a former Justice Department public affairs officer. She recently resigned because of disclosures about her role in the firings. Some Democrats on Capitol Hill, where two committees are investigating allegations of improper political interference at the Justice Department, said they were troubled by the disclosure and how Sampson and Goodling might have exercised their powers. (apparently they did it with a neoconic iron hand...)

85 US-A CO-CONSPIRATORS? (also see this previous post)
When a jury acquitted Carl J. Marlinga, a former county prosecutor from suburban Detroit, of bribery charges last year, his initial reaction was to write off the episode as a terrible mistake that at least had been corrected. “Prosecutors can make mistakes for innocent reasons,” Mr. Marlinga said. “I know that first hand.” But as he looks back at the case, Mr. Marlinga, 60, who was charged while he was a Democratic candidate for Congress, no longer has such confidence in the integrity of the legal system. “Was there some extra pressure on the United States attorney’s office, whether articulated or tacitly understood, by their superiors in Washington who would not look favorably upon the office if this case was not pursued?” he asked. “I have to wonder.” That kind of second guessing has surfaced with increasing frequency in recent weeks in states including Alabama, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Since the dismissals of eight United States attorneys, local lawyers, politicians, editorial writers, members of Congress and defendants are questioning what they say is a pattern of investigating Democrats. They point to inquiries that drag on for years but end with no charges, an acquittal or convictions for relatively modest infractions.

...and today is a first, I'm quoting myself in an older post...
85 US Attorneys as co-conspirators? from "Between the Lines" 3/18/2007
"Let me press the issue of the SURVIVING US-A's, if Iowa is any indicator, there is an ongoing conspiracy against Democrats, by Republican-planted US-A's, and it may have actually accelerated since this exposure of their colleagues questionable removal and replacements. Matt McCoy, the Democratic state senator from Des Moines' south side, is being persecuted in a classic case of entrapment, by the US-A that was appointed to that district. If there's a provable passel of politics in this process, wouldn't these US-A's themselves be subject to some serious scrutiny from Congress? One thing is for certain, it immediately opens the door for McCoy's defense attorney to demand charges be dropped. This political hackery makes our US-A's impotent."

Wolfowitz, an architect of the Iraq war as deputy U.S. Defense secretary from 2001 to 2005, appeared with his partner, Shaha Ali Riza, and his lawyer, Robert S. Bennett, before an investigative committee of the bank's board Monday to plead his case. The investigative panel met behind closed doors into the evening without resolving the issue. While the committee was meeting, Wolfowitz received an endorsement from President Bush, his former boss, (and Iraq War co-conspirator) but only a noncommittal statement from a key European official. ...Bush nominated Wolfowitz to the World Bank job in 2005. But the bank's board, whose 24 members come from 24 countries, will decide his future. The board includes Germany, whose chancellor, Angela Merkel, met Monday with Bush. Merkel, appearing with Bush, offered Wolfowitz no endorsement, saying only that the bank board's inquiry "should be a very transparent conversation." The Europeans, with whom the Iraq war has never been popular, are among Wolfowitz's most outspoken detractors on the bank's board. However, the board has never unseated a bank president, and bylaws apparently do not contemplate the possibility.

In its first study of how an American company treats its workers, Human Rights Watch said Monday that Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s aggressive efforts to keep out labor unions often violated federal law and infringed on workers' rights. The group said that when Wal-Mart stores faced efforts to unionize employees, the company often broke the law by eavesdropping on workers, training surveillance cameras on them and firing those who favored unions, among other actions. "While many American companies use weak U.S. laws to stop workers from organizing, the retail giant stands out for the sheer magnitude and aggressiveness of its anti-union apparatus," the group wrote. Wal-Mart has more than 1.3 million workers at almost 4,000 U.S. stores, and none belongs to a union. (.. the lowest wages, ALWAYS!..)

The Bush administration proposed on Monday leasing out millions of acres along the coasts of Alaska and Virginia to oil and gas drillers, a move that would end a longstanding ban on drilling in those environmentally sensitive areas. Both areas have been closed to new drilling for many years. The areas off Virginia are still covered by laws that prohibit new drilling in all areas along the Atlantic and Pacific seaboards. But Congress lifted the prohibition on Bristol Bay off Alaska in 2003, and President Bush lifted an executive order in January that had blocked drilling there through 2012. In the case of Virginia, administration officials are hoping to capitalize on interest in drilling expressed by the state legislature, which passed a bill last year asking the federal government to allow exploration for natural gas in waters 50 miles or farther from the state coastline. Both proposals are part of a broader five-year plan to open up 48 million acres along the outer continental shelf to oil and gas drilling. Unless Congress objects within 60 days, most of the five-year plan will go into effect, though resistance has been voiced. Starting this year, the Interior Department plans to offer leases on about 8.3 million acres in the central region of the Gulf of Mexico, which Congress specifically approved for offshore drilling late last year. (...before they leave, the neocons plan their final travesty...)

The United States and China want to amend a major report by U.N.-sponsored climate researchers to play down its conclusion that quick, affordable action can limit the worst effects of global warming, according to documents reviewed Monday by The Associated Press. The critiques, among hundreds of government comments on the draft, are the prelude to what is expected to be a contentious weeklong meeting as scientists and national delegations wrangle over final wording (to spin the truth) in the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to be issued Friday.

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