Blue text is my own commentary.
Violet text is the blog quote of the day.
BUSH WARS: A new Czar to blame
President Bush tapped Army Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute yesterday to serve as a new White House "war czar" overseeing the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, (isn't that the President's job, along with the Sec. of Def. and the Joint Chiefs? Is this more proof of Bush's incompetence, outsourcing his "Commander-in Chief duties?) choosing a low-key soldier who privately expressed skepticism about sending more troops to Iraq during last winter's strategy review. In the newly created position, Lute will coordinate often disjointed military and civilian operations (they are supposed to be "jointed" at The President's desk, through his cabinet and joint chiefs) and manage the Washington side of the same troop increase he resisted before Bush announced the plan in January.
DOJ SCANDAL TAKES ON A NEW LIGHT
As WH Counsel, current AG (Gonzales) pressured former AG (Ashcroft) to violate privacy law while he was on his sickbed!
James B. Comey, then the acting U.S. attorney general, was on his way home one night in March 2004 when he got an urgent call from the office on his cellphone. The distraught wife of Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft, who was recovering in the hospital from gallbladder surgery, had called the Justice Department to report that her husband was about to get two uninvited guests. The visitors were two top aides to President Bush, (what, are these LATimes editors allergic to printing or publishing the name "CARD?") and they wanted Ashcroft's signature on a secret national security directive that Comey had rejected only a short time before. "I was very upset. I was angry," Comey told a Senate panel Tuesday. And he was determined to get to the hospital first. Thus began one of the most unusual episodes in Bush's first term, a showdown over warrantless wiretapping that nearly brought the resignations of Ashcroft and several other top administration officials until the president intervened. (changed his mind?) The saga of the race to Ashcroft's bedside left senators amazed. While the hospital encounter had been described previously in general terms, Comey's was the first eyewitness account, and offered new and dramatic insight.Comey got to the hospital first and Ashcroft didn't sign the document. But it was a close call, Comey said. "I thought I just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man," he said. His story was more than just an insider's anecdote: One of the White House officials who arrived at Ashcroft's bedside was Alberto R. Gonzales, (at least they got that minor fact somewhere in the first couple paragraphs) whose performance as attorney general is receiving critical attention in Congress.
(A text search of this entire first page of this article fails to even mention the name of Andrew Card, seems as if Mr. Card somehow has his thumb on someone in the media: Through some means of intimidation or collusion, he seems to be absent from the opening list of guilty members, and he's one of the worst of the bunch!)
Here's the Washington Post version of the same story, it isn't nearly as fearful of revealing Card's name, wonder why the LATimes is so averse to publishing Card's name in the first paragraph?
On the night of March 10, 2004, as Attorney General John D. Ashcroft lay ill in an intensive-care unit, his deputy, James B. Comey, received an urgent call. White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales and President Bush's chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., were on their way to the hospital to persuade Ashcroft to reauthorize Bush's domestic surveillance program, which the Justice Department had just determined was illegal.
Here's the NYTimes version, headlined as if Bush "saved the day" which is a real stretch from any perspsctive, it sounds more like he finally realized how insidious their demands must have been.
Mr. Comey said that on the evening of March 10, 2004, Mr. Gonzales and Andrew H. Card Jr., then Mr. Bush’s chief of staff, tried to bypass him by secretly visiting Mr. Ashcroft. Mr. Ashcroft was extremely ill and disoriented, Mr. Comey said, and his wife had forbidden any visitors. Mr. Comey said that when a top aide to Mr. Ashcroft alerted him about the pending visit, he ordered his driver to rush him to George Washington University Hospital with emergency lights flashing and a siren blaring, to intercept the pair. They were seeking his signature because authority for the program was to expire the next day. Mr. Comey said he phoned Mr. Mueller, who agreed to meet him at the hospital. Once there, Mr. Comey said he “literally ran up the stairs.” At his request, Mr. Mueller ordered the F.B.I. agents on Mr. Ashcroft’s security detail not to evict Mr. Comey from the room if Mr. Gonzales and Mr. Card objected to his presence.
Considering this happened March 2004, and the home stretch of the 2004 election season was just beginning, I wonder if these guys wanted to get away with spying on the Democrats, and planned to use the Patriot Act as a cover. Where was Rove in all of this? Sure seems more a potential political move than a national security issue to me. And who at the LATimes is protecting Card? The ommission of Card's name from the opening paragraph of that story defiles the entire concept of the 4th Estate, and would garner a failing grade in any Journalism 101 class. Ommission is the highest form of obfuscation.
DOJ ATTORNEY FIRING SCANDAL CLAIMS ANOTHER VICTIM
Paul J. McNulty, a career Republican operative who rose to the No. 2 spot at the Department of Justice, announced his resignation Monday in the midst of the widening scandal over the firings of eight U.S. attorneys. His exit marks the fourth resignation since the matter became public this year. It is all the more dramatic because of his high rank — deputy attorney general — in the Bush administration. McNulty has admitted misleading Congress about the reasons for the dismissals. Though he maintained he was out of the loop (and there is some validity to this claim, first and foremost HE IS NOT ONE OF "THE TEXANS!" or one of Monica's hires) about the terminations, documents showed he attended a crucial meeting with Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales and others to review a final list of prosecutors to be fired. (another one bites the dust)http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-mcnulty15may15,0,3258743.story
And all of this brings us to the blog quote of the day, from Paul Keil at Josh Marshall's TPMMuckraker:
"It took little more than 12 hours after Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty announced that he will resign for Alberto "I accept responsibility" Gonzales to lay the U.S. attorney firings at his feet. As many have pointed out, Gonzales barely gave McNulty any time to turn around before he stabbed him in the back... ...Maybe this was Gonzales' strategy -- to surround himself with such an eminently blameworthy staff?"
WOLFOWITZ GALPAL SCANDAL REACHES CRITICAL MASS
The Bush administration, shifting strategy in the face of mounting opposition to Paul D. Wolfowitz, opened the door Tuesday to his resigning voluntarily as World Bank president if the bank board dropped its drive to declare him unfit to remain in office. But the administration’s new approach — outlined in a telephone conference call between the Treasury Department in Washington and economic ministries in Japan, Canada and Europe — appeared to gain few immediate supporters, various officials said. Indeed, bank officials said the board seemed determined on Tuesday evening to endorse the findings of a special committee that Mr. Wolfowitz broke bank rules, ethics and governance standards in arranging for, and concealing, a pay and promotion package for his companion, Shaha Ali Riza, in 2005. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/16/washington/16wolfowitz.html?th=&adxnnl=1&emc=th&adxnnlx=1179324457-/1WPdwMlhZJRK+8RfLf9qQ
And what do Texans think of Bush these days? Here's a letter to the editor from the Austin Statesman that sums it up:
New funding authorization for the war in Iraq needs to constrain the Bush administration in four ways. It should:
•Only be provided 90 days at a time with effective, measurable benchmarks established for subsequent renewal periods as a basis for continuing funding.
•Include provisions for increased care for our veterans (The number of poorly served veterans is estimated at over 50,000.).
•Mandate sharp increases for independent audit and contract administration personnel.
•Require an estimate of costs to re-equip existing military units with equipment that has been worn out in Iraq.
Restricting funding is not failing to support our troops; it is the only strategy left to the legislative branch to support our troops.