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, June 27, 2007

Wednesday Morning US Blues

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

The two men knocked on Abu Salam's door on a Friday morning. He was one of the last remaining Christians on his block. "Peace be upon you," they said, and Abu Salam, a man in his 50s, repeated the greeting. The pair, one fat and the other thin, spoke politely. Both were cleanshaven and wore slacks and button-down shirts. "You are now aware the neighborhood of Muwallamin belongs to the Islamic State of Iraq," the bigger man said. "We have three conditions you can accept: You can pay a tax, become a Muslim or you can leave your house and we will help you take out your furniture. "We'll let you make up your mind. "Peace be upon you," the men repeated as Abu Salam watched them leave.Within hours, Abu Salam and his family left their neighborhood of more than 50 years. They joined an exodus that has all but emptied Dora, a large district in south Baghdad, of its once-thriving Christian population. Abu Salam, who spoke on condition that he not be fully identified, citing fears for his safety, is staying elsewhere in Baghdad for now."People will leave if things don't get better. It is chaos," he said. "If there is no imminent solution, Iraq is finished."Christian leaders say 500 families left Dora in April and May. The U.S. military acknowledges that a large number of Christians were uprooted but says the number is significantly less. The United Nations' refugee agency said it counted 100 families at one location who had fled Dora.The flight of Dora's Christians is an example of how the initial phase of the U.S. security crackdown here has failed to establish security and stop the sectarian "cleansing" of Baghdad's neighborhoods.

The convicted former governor of Alabama, Don E. Siegelman, faced prosecutors who urged a long prison sentence here on Tuesday in a federal corruption case that has unexpectedly transcended the confines of this sleepy state capital. The talk in the courtroom was of local things — dubious warehouses, a landfill, a lucrative hospital. But as he emerged from court today, Mr. Siegelman, a Democrat, tried to paint a bigger picture, saying he was a victim of Karl Rove, the senior political adviser in the White House. The origins of this case are political,” Mr. Siegelman said.There’s no question that Karl Rove’s fingerprints are all over this case, from the inception.His words, in turn, have been fueled by an affidavit that seems to link his prosecution to high government circles, which has given the case a serious jolt. Mr. Siegelman was convicted of bribery, conspiracy and mail fraud last year after being accused of persuading Richard M. Scrushy, then the chairman of the HealthSouth Corporation, to pay off $500,000 in debt from a lottery campaign the governor had initiated, in exchange for a seat on a state hospital licensing board. (...how does that compare to Bush and Rove handing out plum State Department posts, particularly ambassadorships, to Rangers and Pioneers? Lets focus the same laws on Bush that were applied here, maybe that magnifying glass will heat things up a bit.) Mr. Scrushy was also convicted. It was a small part of a voluminous Justice Department bribery-and-racketeering case, most of which — 25 out of 32 counts — was dismissed by the jury. Nonetheless the government is urging a sentence of 30 years and is asking Judge Mark Fuller of Federal District Court to even weigh charges on which Mr. Siegelman was acquitted. That incomplete government victory, in turn, loomed in the background of the arguments of Mr. Siegelman’s lawyers Tuesday as they urged Mr. Fuller, an appointee of President Bush, to go easy on their client, who was sitting in the dock with Mr. Scrushy. In particular, Mr. Siegelman and his backers refer to the affidavit of a Republican lawyer, released this month, that appears to implicate Mr. Rove. The lawyer, Jill Simpson, claims to have heard a top Alabama Republican operative with longstanding links to Mr. Rove boast over the phone in 2002 that Mr. Siegelman’s political career would soon be scuttled.
(...so when does Karl's career get to be ruined?)

Opinion from Joel Connelly at the Seattle PI
If Attorney General Alberto Gonzales steps foot in the federal courthouse while visiting Seattle on Wednesday, it'll be akin to a teenager entering a high school that he just vandalized. Our city's federal bench has been home to first-rate, non-ideological judges, regardless of who held power in Washington, D.C. Cool, professional U.S. attorneys, of both parties, have prosecuted difficult cases. Six months ago, a politically driven Justice Department under Gonzales fired one of those U.S. attorneys -- John McKay -- because of his professionalism and resistance to pressure. Gonzales violated what our courthouse represents, as well as the independent legal-judicial system, which is the key check on power in the American government... The "other" Washington is, increasingly, an Orwellian place of twisted language and wars by proxy. As in Iraq, the casualties are those of lower ranks. Cheney gets angry about Ambassador Joseph Wilson's editorial, and retaliates by "outing" Wilson's CIA agent wife, Valerie Plame. What happens? Scooter Libby is convicted, Cheney carries on. "Fredo" fires a bunch of U.S. attorneys for improper reasons. The consequences? Virtually all of his top deputies resign under pressure. Gonzales goes free. (... at least thus far...)

Blog Quote of the Day,
from Robert Scheer at Truthdig
No company has profited more from the carnage in Iraq than Halliburton, which Cheney headed before choosing himself as Bush’s running mate. One shudders at the blissful arrogance of this modern Daddy Warbucks, who sees no conflict of interest over the blood-soaked profits garnered by the once-bankrupt division of the company that left him rich. This week’s evidence of the continuing corruption of Halliburton and its subsidiaries profiteering from contracts costing American taxpayers an unbelievable $22 billion stems from a report by the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. The report, only one of many about Halliburton’s recently severed subsidiary KBR, focuses on work done in Baghdad’s super-secure Green Zone. While parent company Halliburton insults U.S. taxpayers by relocating its headquarters to the tax shelter of Dubai, subsidiary KBR has been spun off to focus more directly on the American military contracts that form the core of its operations. The corrupt reconstruction project has left a wasteland of failed energy, water, educational and political reform plans. As report after report details, garbage is not collected, hospitals are not staffed, schools close soon after they are opened and factories sit idle in shocking refutation of the vaunted efficiency of the United States’ political economic model. (...I wonder just what the total corruption $ figures are, Bush's bubbas and Cheney's partners have all done quite well by this war, over and under the table.)

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