he shredded the constitution, now it's him in the shredder

we're at betty's and planning to stay through sunday. then we'll begin heading home. we hadn't planned for treva and ruth (and eli) to take us back and thought ruth and treva would have some fun and travel some more. treva had said mid-week that they'd go back to atlanta so that they could drop betty and her kids off and we just assumed we'd travel with them up to that point and then rent a car for the rest of the long drive back.

but treva says she's sure and she's serious and, to be honest, i don't think i'd be comfortable in anything but an r.v. now for a long trip. i don't mean 'ever.' but a road trip like the trip home? i'd be nervous the whole way if we were anything small. it's the pregnancy and worrying about that. or it's about having made out of the crisis period when i usually miscarry and having entered the safe period, i now have to invent things to worry about between now and my delivery.

let me do my news part of the post because betty and i may be the only 1s blogging tonight.

we're on alberto gonzales, the attorney general for now. before i start on that, 2 e-mails asked why he had pretty much been the sole focus? we were in texas all this week speaking and, unless you're c.i., following the news closely wasn't possible. forget news radio, there's just talk-talk-talk-right-wing-talk. so while traveling from place to place (and some areas don't even have an npr) radio was pretty much out. the evening news wasn't always a possibility to catch.
and though c.i. shared newspapers, with all of us, forget about it. it might be an hour before you get a paper as it worked its way through the rest of us. (c.i. generally grabbed 1 story from the new york times - in the morning entries - so that the paper could immediately start being passed around.) in conversations with people after the iraq discussions, the topic that always came up was alberto gonzales which isn't surprising because he was a judge in texas and part of bully boy's administration there as governor. so there was always a lot of discussion about gonzales (people are very curious about the 1st wife) and about this scandal. from just those conversations, i'd have a pretty good idea of what i wanted to write before i ever booted up the computer and then i'd just be hunting around for links to fill in. but that's why i've stuck to that story pretty much all week - it was a constant topic among texans and they were eager to share what they'd heard from the coverage and what they thought about it.

so this is from cnn and it's basically wondering how long bully boy can let alberto stay on as attorney general:

If Bush's job approval ratings were high, their long association might be enough to save his job. But the president's popularity is at a low point, and the potential political liability of keeping Gonzales around is making some Republicans nervous.
"Many Republican senators have expressed these concerns on the record," said Sen. John Sununu, a New Hampshire Republican who faces a tough re-election battle in 2008 and has called for Gonzales to go. "Quite frankly, there are a lot of others that talk very frankly in private conversations."
Many in the GOP have bad memories of the 2006 midterm election, when then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld became a juicy target for Democrats. Bush stuck with Rumsfeld through Election Day, which saw Democrats take both houses of Congress, only to replace Rumsfeld the next day, after the damage had been done.

1 of the worst things about the coverage (and billie was especially outspoken about this) is the fact that the press keeps running to republicans and conservatives for commentary. the chicago tribune's article here may be the worst example. why is norm ornstein (they call him 'norman') the voice of authority? a.e.i. is not known for doing anything to hold government accountable, they aren't exactly c.r.e.w. so why the hell is the article basically what norm thinks?

this is from dan froomkin's piece in the washington post:

But from the very beginning of this scandal, the central question has been and remains: Was there a plot hatched in the White House to purge prosecutors who were seen as demonstrating insufficient partisanship in their criminal investigations?
Everything else is deception or distraction.
The latest development in the case is an
e-mail chain showing that Rove and Alberto Gonzales (then White House counsel, soon to become attorney general) were both mulling the idea of replacing U.S. attorneys as early as the first month of Bush's second term.
According to the e-mails, Rove stopped by the White House counsel's office in early January 2005 to find out whether it was Gonzales's plan to keep or replace all or some of the U.S. attorneys that Bush had appointed in his first term.
And it just so happened that Kyle Sampson, soon to become the attorney general's chief of staff, had discussed that very issue with Gonzales a few weeks earlier. "As an operational matter," Sampson wrote in a e-mail, "we would like to replace 15-20 percent of the current U.S. Attorneys -- the underperforming ones. . . . The vast majority of U.S. Attorneys, 80-85 percent I would guess, are doing a great job, are loyal Bushies, etc., etc."

no offense to dan, but there's actually another point that needs to be made, 'replace them without senate consent'?

as reuters notes, 'consent' is still some sort of an issue. the white house was supposed to say whether karl rove and others could testify (!) to the senate today but they now have say they need more time. here's how it works, you order them to testify, you don't ask them. following sununu's lead, republican senator gordon smith (oregon) has also called for alberto gonzales to step down.

mcclatchy newspapers reports that congress is still waiting on documents they've requested as well which the white house is now saying will be turned over monday. in addition, they note that john conyers (house democrat, chair of the house judiciary committee) says 'he's prepared' to subpoena karl rove and harriet miers. i would suggest that franklin especially read that article after his nasty e-mail telling me harriet miers would not be subpoened. no 1 knows what's going to happen but it is very likely that she will be and john conyers is saying he's prepared to do it. mcclatchy also notes that alberto gonzales made a desperate attempt to save face by doing a tele-conference today with the a.g.s around the country issuing some sort of an 'apology'. these are quotes attributed to gonzales:

'it shouldn't have happened.'

no, it shouldn't. but it did and he should step down.

he 'should have known' what was going on.

e-mails indicate he was in the loop. he knew damn well what was going on but if he wants to play that the guy serving immediately under him, kyle sampson, orchestarted and implemented all of this without his knowledge, that just says alberto's not fit to hold the job because he can't even keep track of what his immediate staff is doing.

'i want you to feel like you can be open with me.'

why? so you'll be able to fire more in a few months?

cbs news has an interesting link:

"I believe, and I think all my colleagues believe, the real reason is partisan politics," the former U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico, David Iglesias told CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric. "I believe I was fired because I did not play ball with two members of the Republican delegation here in New Mexico. I did not give them privileged information that could have been used in the October and November time frame."

by the way, i usually watch cbs evening news if i'm watching a newscast on the big 3. i mention that because i'm getting pretty sick of the attacks on katie couric and that little snot tyndall or tyndell with his sexist 'report' that's unsourced and full of masculinist assumptions but the media's treating him like his lord god of all things holy. i think couric hit a few bumps early on but i don't think that's uncommon for most new to anchoring the evening news. more importantly, it's the only 1 i can watch. charlie gibson is an airhead who puts you to sleep and brian williams is just so creepy. if you're interested in catching a big 3 newscast, i strongly recommend couric. the show's still shaping up but it's already watchable and i think they've got some strong elements that will just get stronger.

now the ap is saying the white house finally - today - dropped their 'it was all harriet miers!' nonsense, that conyers' committee will vote next week on whether to subpoena miers and rove, and they note this:

"It is ultimately the president's decision, but perhaps it would benefit this administration if the attorney general was replaced with someone with a more professional focus rather than personal loyalty," said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif. He complained of "a pattern of arrogance in this administration."
On the Senate side, Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, a Judiciary Committee member, said Gonzales should go if it is proved he misled Congress.
"I've not joined in a call for his resignation, but when a top official in a department is inaccurate in their testimony, we're going to have a look at it," Sessions told National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" program. "That's just the way it is. And I hope that he will be able to answer that convincingly, that there is no ethical or other malintent in misleading Congress. If he did, I think he will be out of there."

the buffalo news reports that the senate committee has already voted in favor of some subpoenas:

Hours before a new e-mail surfaced further linking White House political adviser Karl Rove to the controversial firing of eight U.S. attorneys, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday authorized subpoenas forcing Michael Battle, the former U.S. attorney in Buffalo, and four other Justice Department officials to testify in the matter.
The voice vote approving the subpoenas would compel Battle and the others to testify if they do not agree to do so voluntarily, or if Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales attempts to place conditions on their testimony.
While it's unclear when Battle and the others will testify, they will do so in the wake of revelations further tying the prosecutor purge to the White House. Most notably, the Justice Department late Thursday released an e-mail dated Jan. 6, 2005, titled "Question from Karl Rove."
The e-mail, from White House legal aide Colin Newman to deputy counsel David Leitch, read: "Karl Rove stopped by to ask you [roughly quoting], 'How we planned to proceed regarding U.S. attorneys, whether we were going to allow all to stay, request resignations from all and accept only some of them, or selectively replace them, etc.' "
The e-mail -- coming in light of sworn Justice Department statements that the firings were not political and did not involve the White House -- prompted a new round of outrage from Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., who led the fight to authorize subpoenas for the Justice officials but was blocked by Republicans from calling Rove and other White House aides.

so that's where it's at right now. oh, just checked for robert parry and he doesn't have anything up on today's events but i also checked corrente and there are several posts by lambert so check those out. lambert's hilariously calling alberto 'abu gonzales' (because of alberto's hand in fashioning the torture policies that led to abu ghraib and other things we probably are still to learn of).

i'm not writing about valerie plame. i think it's an important story but i know every 1 else was catching flights and i don't know what they're going to blog about. i don't want to step on any toes because i'd hate to get home or wake up tomorrow and feel like 'i was going to cover that! now it's covered!'

betty had to wait for kat and c.i. to land (she doesn't post a chapter without using them as her audience) and her latest chapter is up, 'Couching with a Potato Head.' here's c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot' which does mention valerie plame at the end:

Friday, March 16, 2007. Chaos and violence continues in Iraq; US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid proclaims "The war has gone on too long. We must change direction in Iraq" but apparently can't control senators in his own party; protests rock Sadr City in Baghdad; Vicky Toejam will have to think of a new falsehood now that Valerie Plame has testified to the US Congress that she was a covert CIA agent; and the health 'care' for veterans remains a scandal.

Starting with war resistance, today on
KPFA's Making Contact, Aaron Glantz addressed the topic of Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq (June 2006) and the first to be court-martialed (last month). Glantz noted that before the court-martial began, on a rainy Sunday night, people gathered to show their support. Among those speaking were retired Lt. Col. and retired State Department Ann Wright, "
I have been here so many times and so many times for justice and principle." Glantz noted how the presiding judge, Lt. Col. John Head (aka Judge Toilet) refused to allow Watada to put foward his best defense -- explaining why he refused to deploy. A review of the court-martial's second day included Geoffrey Millard's observations (
Millard reported on the court-martial for Truthout) that the prosecutions' own witnesses backed up Watada under cross examination. This point was echoed by Jeff Paterson who told Glantz, "All the prosecution's witnesses stood up there and said miltary service are important oaths are important but on cross examination they explained how Ehren Watada was trying to fulfill his oath." (Paterson covered the court-martial for Courage to Resist.) Glantz noted that the prosecution witnesses had stated that intent was important as the second day ended so there was a belief that Watada might be able to present his motivations when he took the stand the following day.

"On Wednseday morning the court room was filled with anticipation," Glantz noted. But that quickly changed as Judge Toilet zeroed in on a stipulation where Watada agreed to making public statements. Judge Toilet had seen the stipulation the week prior, on Monday he had instructed the jury on the stipulation. On Wednesday, it was suddenly an issue. Judge Toilet declared a mistrail (over the defense's objections). Eric Seitz, Watada's civilian attorney, notes that double-jeopardy should prevent Watada from being court-martialed again; however, the military has scheduled Juyl 16th for the start of his second court-martial.

US war resister Joshua Key has told his story in the new book
The Deserter's Tale. In addition, he is also one of the war resisters profiled in Peter Laufer's Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq, from page 14:

Joshua still does not understand what he was doing in Iraq in the first place. "I still couldn't tell you why I was there. What purpose was it for? Whose gain was it for? I don't know the truth to it. Like I tell my wife, that's the problem with war -- your president, your generals, they send you off to go fight these battles. And all the way down to your commanding officers, they don't go out there with you. They send you out there to fight and do the crazy sh*t and do the dirty stuff. You're the one who has to live with the nightmares from it. You come back, you're nothing, you know? Guys are living on the streets that fought in Iraq just as well as I did. I mean it's horrific."

Ehren Watada and Joshua Key are part of a movement of resistance within the military that also includes Darrell Anderson, Agustin Aguayo, Kyle Snyder, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Mejia, Patrick Hart, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Corey Glass, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Joshua Key's statements ("You come back, you're nothing, you know? Guys are living on the streets that fought in Iraq just as well as I did. I mean it's horrific.") are the jumping off point to the realities now more openly addressed: what passes for 'care' that many returning receive (or 'receive'). In light of the recent scandals about Walter Reed Army Medical Center,
Gregg Zoroya (USA Today) establishes the point that not all have to deal with mold, rats and roaches -- some quarters are very nice such as the Esienhower Executive Nursing Suite (Ward 72) which "features heightened security, including bullet-proof windows and secure telephone lines. Among the other touches are flat-panel television and curio cabinets filled with gifts from foreign leaders." This is the VIP suite but US Rep John Tierney feels "the true VIPs" are the returning service members and not the ones who get the Esienhower Executive Nursing Suite: "the presidents, the vice president, federal judges, members of Congress and the Cabinet, high-ranking military officials and even foreign dignitaries and their spouse. The only enlisted members of the military who are eligible to stay there are receipients of the Medal of Honor." Conn Hallinan (Berkeley Daily Planet) observes that the problems with Walter Reed require more than show firings, "'addressing' the problem will require jettisoning former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's high-tech subsidies to the nation's arms makers at the expense of the grunts, as well as the White House's mania for privitaziation. [Francis] Harvey [Army Secretary until recently] was brought in by Rumsfeld specifically to reduce the federal work force and, as he said in a speech last year, 'improve efficiency.' A former executive for one of the nation's leading arms producers, Westinghouse, Harvey hired IAP Worldwide Services -- run by two former Halliburton executives -- which promptly reduced the number of people providing service at Walter Reed from 300 to 60. The cutback and resulting increase in workloads kicked off an exodus of trained personnel, which an in-hospital study just released by the House Committee on Oversight and Governance found could lead to 'mission failure'."

One person who has been fighting for better service and for an end to the illegal war is Tina Richards whose son Cloy Richards has served two tours of duty in Iraq and now suffers from PTSD.
Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!) spoke with Richards today and she explained what was next for her son in the Veterans Affairs system: "On March 24th, he's supposed to report in with documentation from Veterans Affairs as to his disabilities. The problem is, is that he doesn't have that documentation, because we've ben fighting with the VA system for close to a year now, just trying to get him treatment. Recently, I've been sitting in on the hearings, and I was interviewed by a Veterans Affairs Committee on the House. And it appears that a lot symptoms that my son has is actually from traumatic brain injury, which can sometimbes be confused with PTSD, or it can be a combination of both. You know, he definitely has undiagnosed traumatic brain injury."

On today's Democracy Now!,
Gonzalez and Goodman also spoke with Jean Stentz whose husband, Vietnam vet Willie Dougherty, died last year in a series of injustices that began when he was denied a VA hospital in his area -- Jean Stenz: "Because the VA hospital was full, and they wanted him to go to another one. And so, Beaumont's two hours away from us, and Houston's an hour away, but they sent him to Beaumont. And then, when they released him, I took him down by ambulance to the VA hospital emergency room, who refused him at that time, because they said he wasn't sick enough. He had an infection. He was perspiring profusely. I mean, the pillows were wet. He had fever. He had trouble breathing. But he wasn't sick enough. So we came home. We called on the phone -- in fact, my daughter and I had two phones going, the cell and the home phone -- trying to find help for him. Finally, the VA doctor in Lufkin decided that he should be put in a nursing home. He was in a nursing home in Huntsville less than two days and was very sick, was transferred to the Huntsville emergency room, who transferred him finally to the VA hospital in Houston, where he was in ICU -- very ill -- and transferred to their hospice room and died."

And though the US administration shows no genuine efforts at caring for those injured in combat, they're more than prepared to send even more over to Iraq.
Bryan Bender (Boston Globe) reports the escalation goes on, the escalation goes on: "The top US commander in Iraq has requested another Army brigade . . . . The appeal -- not yet made public -- by General David Petraeus for a combat aviation unti would involved between 2,500 and 3,000 more soldiers and dozens of transport helicopters and powerful gunships, said the Pentagon sources. That would bring the planned expansion of US forces to close to 30,000 troops." Meanwhile, Pauline Jelinek (AP) reports that an additional 2,600 troops "from a combat aviation unit" are going to Iraq "45 days earlier than planned" and that the excuse for not including it in Bully Boy's January numbers was because, Col. Steven Boylan, "This was requested over a month ago as part of the surge." For those who've forgotten, in January Bully Boy announced his intentions to send 21,500 more US service members into Iraq. The response from the American people was "NO!" The US Congress couldn't find it's spine and now that number is not threatened so Bully Boy's upped it. Bender reports that it's about to be upped again and Jelinek reports that in addition to those numbers made public, the White House has numbers they have not made public -- apparently to the people or the Congress.

Edward Wong and Damien Cave (New York Times) and Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) reported, yesterday Rahim al-Daraji was attacked (mayor of Sadr City) and Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) reports that, today, Moqtada al Sadr "denounced the presences of U.S. troops in his Baghdad stronghold of Sadr City, and thousands of his followers waved banners and marched through the neighborhood to back his call for a withdrawal of foreign forces." Prior to the attack, al-Sadr was widely reported to have instructed his militia to lay low during the US sweeps of Sadr City.

In violence today . . .


Reuters notes a mortar attack in Baghdad that killed one and wounded five "in southern Baghdad" and a Kirkuk roadside bomb the resulted in the deaths of two police officers and left three wounded. Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) notes the Baghdad mortar attack was on a Sunni mosque. Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) reports that the mortar attack on the mosque found two mortars landing behind the structure and an third landing in front and Susman also notes another mortar in Hillah which killed one person. Mohammed al Dulainy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a roadside bombing in Baghdad damaged a US military vehicle, a mortar attack on a home "in Al Muasllat neighborhood" killed three members of one family, and three police officers were wounded id Diyala when a man with a "vest bomb" staged an attack.


Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) notes the shooting death of "a member of the governmental facilities protection service in Suwayrah, 25 miles south of Baghdad." Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a fake checkpoint was set up in Diyala and "3 Kurd brothers" were shot dead -- "two of them were less than 10 years old" -- and that, in Kirkuk, an attack on police officers that started with a roadside bomb ended in gunfire with two police officers being killed, and 10 people wounded (6 of whom were police officers).


Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) notes that 9 corpses were found in Baghdad and 2 corpses were discovered in Kirkuk today.

Also today, the US military made announcements: First,
they announce: "A Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West died March 14 in a noncombat related incident in Al Anbar Province." Then they announce: "One Soldier died as a result of injuries sustained from an explosion when Task Force Lightning Soldiers were attacked while conducting combat operations in Salah ad Din Province, Thursday."

Noting yesterday's US Congressional news,
Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) summarized today: "On Thursday, Democrats advanced an Iraq withdrawal resolution in the House but failed to pass a similar measure in the Senate. The House Appropriations Committee voted to send the military spending bill to the House floor. The vote was thirty-six to twenty-eight. The bill would link war funding in part to the withdrawal of combat troops by September of 2008. Democratic Congressmember Barbara Lee of California broke party ranks to vote against the measure. Lee says the resolution doesn't go far enough to end the war. Lee said: 'I believe the American people sent a mandate to us to bring home our men and women before the end of the year.' Meanwhile, the Senate voted down a measure to withdraw troops by April of 2008. The final vote was fifty to forty-eight. Before voting, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid hailed the measure as an opportunity to change course. . . . Two Democratic Senators -- Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Ben Nelson of Nebraska -- joined Republicans in voting against the proposal. Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut also sided with Republicans." As noted on page A8 of today's New York Times (AP box, lower left hand corner), Republican Gordon Smith (Oregon) voted in favote of the measure and was the only Republican to do so. In addition, Socialist Bernie Sanders (Vermont) voted for the measure. AFP reports that Senator and 2008 presidential hopeful Joe Biden stated those who voted against the measure would hear from their constituents on the vote; therefore, "It is ony a matter of time before our Republican colleagues come to that conclusion . . . In the meantime a lot of innocent lives are going to be lost."

The day prior, US House Rep and 2008 presidential hopeful
Dennis Kucinich proposed an amendment to the supplemental which would address the Iraqi oil law: "The United States should not be requiring Iraq to open their oil fields to private foreign companies as a condition of ending our occupation. The Administration's strong push to enact a hydrocarbon law has little to do with the needs of the Iraqi people. Instead it is a concerted effort to ensure that American oil companies are granted access to Iraqi oil fields. By adopting this benchmark in the supplemental, and requiring the enactment of this law by the Iraqi government, Democrats will be instrumental in privatizing Iraqi oil. We must remove this benchmark from the supplemental and work to ensure any hydrocarbon law put in place is truly the best interests of all Iraqi people."

The House bill that passed the committee vote yesterday does not include any statement regarding the Bully Boy to get Congressional authorization should he decide to go to war on Iran next. Kucinich: "
The House Appropriates Committee removed language from the Iraq war funding bill requiring the Administration, under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution, to see permission before it launched an attack against Iran. Since war with Iran is an option of this Administration, and since such war is patently illegal, then impeachment may well be the only remedy which remainst to stop a war of aggression against Iran."

CNN reports that Valerie Plame testifed to Congress today (a) that she was a covert agent and that (b) the outing of her for political reasons was harmful not only to her but to other (and that it hurt morale). In addition, CNN reports that she "testified her work involved gathering intelligence on weapons of mass destruction." Plame is married to former ambassador Joe Wilson who went to Niger to determine whether or not Iraq had attempted to obtain yellow cake uranium from that country. Wilson found no evidence of an attempt. Despite that fact (which was reported back, through channels, up to the administration), Bully Boy elected to include the false claim (known false) in his 2003 State of the Union address as part of his attempt to scare a nation into war. Wilson would speak privately to Nicholas Kristof (New York Times) about the falsehood and then write his own New York Times op-ed entitled "What I Didn't Find In Africa." The result was the White House conspired to out a CIA covert agent. The Vicky Toejam brigade has long tried to obscure the realities with false claims and the press has often helped them playing fast and loose with the facts -- such as Darlene Superville (AP) -- see Wally and Cedric's entry from yesterday.


harriet tried to get out before the subpoenas were served

the above is from the prophetic, crystal visions of isaiah. it's the last series of panels from 'Celibacy in the City (Series Finale)'. harriet miers has had it, condi's snubbed her, mary cheney is an unwed mother to be and harri is getting her ass out of d.c., going back to texas, 'before the subpoonas are served'. well she did that, but it looks like she will still be getting her subpoena; however, she might not be the white house fall guy the administration was hoping for.

okay, 1st the latest in the conspiracy to fire state attorney generals and replace them without senate confirmation. this is from the ap:

White House political adviser Karl Rove raised questions in early 2005 about replacing some federal prosecutors but allowing others to stay, an e-mail released Thursday shows. The one-page document, which incorporates an e-mail exchange in January 2005, also indicates Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was considering dismissing up to 20 percent of U.S. attorneys in the weeks before he took over the Justice Department.
The e-mail exchange concludes with Gonzales' top aide warning that an across-the-board housecleaning "would certainly send ripples through the U.S. attorney community if we told folks they got one term only."
E-mails released by the Justice Department indicate that Gonzales and his then-chief aide, Kyle Sampson, suggested replacing 15 percent to 20 percent of federal prosecutors they identified as underperformers.
Sampson resigned this week over the department's handling of the firings of eight U.S. attorneys and the agency's misleading of Congress about the process.
The White House maintains that Rove remembers first hearing about the idea to replace all 93 prosecutors from Harriet Miers, a top White House aide designated at the time to follow Gonzales as the president's counsel. "He has not said who the idea originated with," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Thursday evening.
But earlier Thursday, Rove told journalism students in Alabama that the decision to fire each prosecutor "was made at the Department of Justice on the basis of policy and personnel."

so, as betty's sister likes to say, what's really happening?

according to robert parry the entire conspiracy was part of a the power grab for 1 party rule. this is from his '"Prosecutor-gate": Bush's Power Grab:'

In 2005, when the White House launched a plan to oust U.S. Attorneys who showed insufficient political loyalty, George W. Bush was hoping to solidify one-party Republican control of American political life, in part, through aggressive prosecution of Democrats for alleged “voter fraud."

One part of Bush's power grab was to unleash attack-dog GOP prosecutors to rip into Democrats who had been trying to get more Americans to vote. But where Republicans claimed "voter fraud," such as allowing some released felons to cast ballots, the Democrats saw Republican "voter suppression" aimed at frightening minority citizens away from the polls.
But the swing of a few hundred votes in some districts could mean giving the Democrats control of the House and Senate -- and subjecting the Bush administration to some serious oversight. So, by October 2006, when the White House now admits that Bush personally passed on Republican complaints to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales about the lack of urgency in addressing Democratic "voter fraud" cases, the GOP dream of near-permanent one-party governance was in grave jeopardy.
Ultimately, the refusal of U.S. Attorneys in New Mexico and elsewhere to fast-track the pre-election indictments of Democrats denied the Republicans a last-minute boost that might have kept one or both congressional chambers in GOP hands.
Instead, the Democrats carried both the House and Senate, opening the Bush administration to oversight that had been virtually non-existent for the previous six years. Exactly one month after the election, Bush’s Justice Department purged seven U.S. Attorneys on top of one who had been ousted earlier.
Under questioning, Gonzales and other administration officials first denied that politics was involved in the unusual mass firing. But the emergence of e-mails between the White House and the Justice Department forced the Bush administration to change its story and toss Gonzales's chief of staff, D. Kyle Simpson, over the side.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino also acknowledged that Bush did pass along a complaint from Sen. Pete Domenici, R-New Mexico, about the pace of "voter fraud" investigations, but said Bush didn't seek the removal of any specific U.S. Attorney. New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias was one of the seven fired on Dec. 7, 2006.
Traveling with Bush on his Latin American trip, White House counselor Dan Bartlett told reporters that complaints about "voter fraud" cases came in from Wisconsin and Pennsylvania as well as New Mexico.
John McKay, the former U.S. Attorney from Washington State, testified to Congress that in September 2006, then-White House counsel Harriet Miers asked him why he had "mishandled" the 2004 gubernatorial race that a Democrat won by less than 150 votes.
McKay said the conversation came in the context of his possible nomination to a federal judgeship, which Bush never made. [
Washington Post, March 14, 2007]
One-Party Probe
There has been no indication that the Bush administration pressed for criminal investigations of possible electoral abuses committed by Republicans. Bush gained the White House in 2000 despite widespread electoral irregularities in Florida and kept it in 2004 amid allegations of voter suppression in Democratic strongholds in Ohio.
The prosecutors' purge on Dec. 7, 2006, also removed San Diego U.S. Attorney Carol S. Lam, who had brought corruption charges that put Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-California, in prison and heightened public concern about Republican corruption.
According to the administration's e-mails, Lam's firing followed complaints that she was not prosecuting more illegal immigration cases, another sensitive political issue in 2006. Gonzales's chief of staff Sampson asked in one e-mail if the deputy attorney general had ever "woodshedded her [Lam] re immigration enforcement? Has anyone?"
However, in early 2005, when the White House began the back-and-forth that eventually led to the firings, the Republican thinking was focused on how to solidify GOP control of national politics and perpetuate what some conservatives hoped would be effectively a one-party state, with the Democrats consigned to a weak minority status.
Leaders on the Right boasted of Bush's "transformational" role in bringing about this permanent realignment in American politics, giving conservatives control of all branches of the U.S. government as well as consolidating their strong bond with major corporations and expanding their influence within right-wing and mainstream news organizations.
By pulling these various levers of power, Republican victories in the future supposedly would be a foregone conclusion. The idea had traces of the "managed democracy" that President Vladimir Putin has built in Russia, with his opposition kept around to maintain the appearance of democracy but never within reach of real power.
As right-wing activist Grover Norquist explained after Election 2004, the way for the Democrats to fit in to Republican-run Washington was to accept their permanent lot as a marginalized minority party.
"Once the minority of House and Senate are comfortable in their minority status, they will have no problem socializing with the Republicans," Norquist said in an interview with the Washington Post. "Any farmer will tell you that certain animals run around and are unpleasant, but when they’ve been fixed, then they are happy and sedate. They are contented and cheerful. They don’t go around peeing on the furniture and such."

i think he's pieced together it really well. amazingly so. this is about them consolidating their power (that they lost in the 2006 elections).

in alabama, support is tepid to non-existant according to the ap:

Sen. Jeff Sessions of Mobile and Rep. Artur Davis of Birmingham know what it's like to be a nonpartisan federal prosecutor serving at the pleasure of a partisan White House.
Sessions became U.S. attorney for Alabama's Southern District under President Reagan in 1981 and stayed on the job for 12 years. Davis was an assistant U.S. attorney for Alabama's Middle District for four years during the Clinton administration.
While they acknowledge that the appointments are often political, they say politics has no place in the job. And they're both troubled by the Bush Administration's recent firings of eight U.S. attorneys that have sparked growing investigations on Capitol Hill and have left Attorney General Alberto Gonzales at risk of losing his job.
Davis, a Democrat, is calling for Gonzales to resign. Sessions, a Republican, is offering tepid support.

_"I would never, ever make a change in a United States attorney for political reasons," he told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Jan. 18. Critics say his statement is patently absurd because administration officials later said that former U.S attorney H.E. "Bud" Cummins was forced out of his job in Arkansas to make room for Tim Griffin, a former Bush campaign worker and a protege of Karl Rove, the president's chief political adviser.
Gonzales' critics suspect that other U.S. attorneys were fired because they either failed to target Democrats or they indicted prominent Republicans. Republican Party officials across the country funneled their complaints about U.S. attorneys through Rove or his deputies.


_"I believe fundamentally in the constitutional role of the Senate in advise and consent with respect to U.S. attorneys and would in no way support an effort to circumvent that constitutional role," Gonzales said Tuesday, reiterating his Jan. 18 testimony.
If that's true, Gonzales failed to convey that message to Sampson.

meanwhile it looks like the white house plan to pin the blame on harriet miers (who left the white house and went back to texas early this year) will not work. cnn reports:

Newly revealed White House e-mails show President Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, and then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales were involved in discussions of a shakeup of U.S. attorneys before Gonzales became attorney general.
A January 9, 2005 e-mail discussing the prospect of replacing all 93 U.S. attorneys in Bush's second term noted Gonzales aide Kyle Sampson discussed the matter with his boss "a couple of weeks ago." Gonzales was facing Senate confirmation as attorney general at the time.
Sampson's e-mail came in response to a forwarded message originally from another White House aide, Colin Newman. Newman wrote that Rove had asked "how we were going to proceed regarding U.S. attorneys, whether we were going to allow all to stay, request resignations from all and accept only some of them or selectively replace them, etc."
The White House said the idea for sacking federal prosecutors in Bush's second term came from former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, who wanted "new blood" in those offices. Miers became White House counsel after Gonzales moved to the attorney general's office.
But the e-mails "show conclusively that Karl Rove was in the middle of this mess from the beginning," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, told reporters -- an assertion the White House disputed.

the conspiracy continues to unravel. now it's time for c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Thursday, March 15, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces the deaths of more US service members, Hillary Clinton gives bad press, and the Senate says "no" and the House says "yes."

Starting with news of war resistance.
Dean Kuipers (LA City Beat) examines the war resistance within the military and notes AWOL figures (8,000 since the start of the illegal war according the US Defense Department), desertion figures (40,000 since 2000) and that: "Several hundred of those soldiers have fled to Canada, according to unconfirmed reports, but only a few have identified themselves and thus face prosecution." On the issue of the sentencing of war resisters who go public, attorney Jim Feldman, who represents Agustin Aguayo among others, sees the sentencing as encouraging, noting that, "People who really are sincere, the Army judges are not going to come down hard on 'em. The judges seem to recognize that as a mitigating circumstance." Agustin Aguayo's recent court-martial in Germany found him sentenced to eight months and the time he had been in custory already (since turning himself in at the end of September 2006) was credited to his sentence. Iraq Veterans Against the War's Kelly Dougherty shares her view with Kupier, "At the same time, I think they are taking a tough stand because eight months in prison is still a long time in prison, especially for refusing to serve in a war because your conscience says it's wrong to kill people, or because you reel that this particular war is illegal. They could certainly be prosecuting people more. But the sentences that they are giving are being handed down as a message to others serving in the military not to apply for CO status and not to refuse to go to Iraq."

Ehren Watada, the first commissoned officer to publicy refuse to deploy to Iraq, is but one example of the attempt to "send a message." His second court-martial is scheduled to begin July 16th. The double jeopardy issue (a Constitutional issue) is something the military seems determined to ignore. Courage to Resist is asking that a mail campaign (snail mail) be used to demonstrate to Lt. Gen. James M. Dubik how much support there is for Watada. Dubik "has the power to drop all charges and let Lt. Watada out of the army". You can write to Lt. Gen. Dubik at: Bldg 2025 Stop 1, Fort Lewis, WA 98433.

In other news,
Vue Weekly reports: "Toronto hip-hop artist Mohammad Ali is about to release his new album at an event here in Edmonton for the War Resisters Support Campaign, a coalition of indivduals supporting US soldiers seeking asylum in Canada because they refuse to fight in Iraq. The self-proclaimed in-your-face activist ('I write about names, events and dates -- specifics.') is highlighting some of the controversial politics behind the war in Iraq, drawing some examples from the experiences of Darrell Anderson, an Iraq combat veteran." Darrell Anderson is the US war resister who served in Iraq, was awarded a Purple Heart and then self-checked out in January 2005 and moved to Canada. In September of last year, Anderson announced that he was returning to the US to turn himself in. On October 3rd, he turned himself in at Fort Knox. He was released by the military on October 6th and, as expected, he was not charged and was given an other-than-honorable discharge.

Darrell Anderson,
Agustin Aguayo and Ehren Watada are part of a movement of resistance within the military that includes Joshua Key*, Kyle Snyder, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Mejia, Patrick Hart, Ivan Brobeck, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Corey Glass, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

[*Yesterday, the third time I mentioned Joshua Key, I wrongly called him Josh Wolf. Wolf is a reporter who has been imprisoned for refusing to roll over on the First Amendment -- imprisoned "
longer than any other reporter in U.S. history for refusing a federal grand jury subpoena" as Howard Vicini notes.]

Turning to the selling of the illegal war,
a wave of Operation Happy Talk hit big media and they suited up, grabbed the Sticky Bumps and rushed to ride that wave. The talking point was that the ongoing crackdown in Baghdad (which began in June of last year and has been beefed up and juiced up ever since) had achieved real results! It was a success! This was true because they were told it was true! One of the few who remembered he was a reporter and that the occupation entails more than mere stenography was Damien Cave (New York Times) who noted problems with the announcement that violence had declined: "But the degree of improvement was unclear, partly because of the continued confusion over casualty counts here, and an American general cautioned against reading too much into optimistic reports, given that January and February were two of the worst months for car bombings since the invasion. The Iraqi review came from Brig. Qassim al-Moussawi, a military spokesman, who said at a news conference that civilian deaths since the start of the plan on Feb. 14 were counted at 265 in Baghdad, down from 1,440 in the four weeks before. He said 36 car bombings struck the capital over the past four weeks, down from 56. [. . .] It was not clear what his statistics were based on, though, and they may not have taken into account the bodies found strewn around the capital each day. An analysis by The New York Times found more than 450 Iraqi civilians killed or found dead during the same 28-day period, based on initial daily reports from Interior Ministry and hospital officials." While Cave reported, many of his cohorts were at the beach (mentally, if not physically).

The wave came rolling in despite a new report from the Pentagon. (Or maybe because of a new report from the Pentagon. Operation Happy Talk has always attempted to counter reality.)
Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) reported on the Pentagon's "bleakest assessment of Iraq yet" which found: "record levels of violence and hardening sectarian divisions in the last quarter of 2006 as rival Sunni and Shiite militiias waged campaigns of 'sectarian cleansing' that forced as many as 9,000 civilians to flee the country each month. Weekly attacks in Iraq rose to more than 1,000 during the period and average daily casualties increased to more than 140, with Iraqi civilians bearing the brunt of the violence". Also noted was that the assement acknowledged "Those figures may represent as little as half of the true casualties because they include only violence observed by or reported to the U.S.-led military coalition". That obvious fact was ignored by those pushing the wave of "violence is down" due to the latest version of the crackdown (this version was 'released' in February of this year). Of the Pentagon assessment, Reuters noted, "There was an average of 1,047 attacks per week on U.S.-led forces and Iraqi soldiers, police and civilians in January and early February, according to statistics released with the report." The report also notes the civil war aspect raging in Iraq. This as the AFP notes Mister Tony's denials of civil war: "British Prime Minister Tony Blair insisted that despite the raging violence four years after the invasion, Iraq is not in a state of civil war. 'not a country at civil war'."

And the violence continues today.


BBC reports that a bombing in the Karrada district of Baghdad has killed a least eight Iraq police officers and left 25 civilians wounded. Kim Gamel (AP) reports the death of a man (unnamed) in Baghdad who was "vegetable seller" who discovered a package which contained a bomb that "exploded as he was trying to carry it away from a populated area in Sadr City." Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) identifies the man as "Ahmed Draiwel, 18" an dnotes that he "was able to hurl it [the package containing the bomb] into a distant trash pile. His brother, who was trying to help him, lost his arm, witnesses said." Reuters notes a bombing in "the western Yarmouk district of Baghdad" which killed an Iraqi soldier and left two people wounded, while a car bombing in Mosul wounded a police officer.

CNN reports: "At least five people were killed and 21 wounded when a parked car packed with explosives detonated Thursday morning next ot a minibus in Iskandiriya, south of Baghdad, police said. The vehicle was carrying employees of the state-run National Car Industry Co. Police also said the manager of the company was shot dead this past week, while driving to work." The BBC notes this blast took place "outside one of the few factories still operating in Iraq."


AFP reports five shooting deaths in Baquba "by gunmen who attacked a string of gas stations and set them on fire". They also note that, in Baghdad, Rakim al-Darraji's car was attacked and he was wounded while a police officer traveling with al-Darraji was killed -- "Darraji had helped the US military in setting up a security centre in the district [Sadr City] as part of the crackdown in Baghdad". AP notes two deaths ("bodyguards") in the attack. Reuters notes a police officer and a cook were shot dead in Mosul while, also in Mosul, "U.S. forces targeting al Qaeda militants in the northern city of Mosul killed one Iraqi soldier and wounded three after thinking they were insurgent".


Kim Gamel (AP) reports: "Twenty bullet-riddled bodies also were found, most of them in Baghdad". The corpse count in Iraq for Thursday will, no doubt, be reported by others (and a higher number) on Friday. (Reuters is currently reporting corpses from yesterday.)

Today, the
US military announced: "A Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West died Mar. 14 in a noncombat related incident in Al Anbar Province." And they announced: "A Soldier assigned to Multi National Force-West was killed Mar. 14 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province." ICCC puts the total number of US service members who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war at 3203. And, most recently, the US military has announced: "Four Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldiers died when two roadside bombs targeted their vehicles in an eastern section of the Iraqi captial, March 15."
What? In Baghdad? But the Happy Talkers couldn't stop bragging about the crackdown!
Kim Gamel (AP) notes that 2 US service members were wounded. The number of US service member deaths announced toay now stands at six.

In the United States, news from both house of Congress.
Reuters reports the Senate plan (withdrawal of US troops by March 31st of 2008) did not pass. AP reports that the vote was 50 to 48 (50 voting against the measure).

Meanwhile, in the lower house, a bill passed a committee vote and will now go to the full house.
Al Jazeera reports that the "Democratic party plan to withdraw US combat troops from Iraq by September 2008 has been approved by a House of Representatives committee. The House approriations committe approved a $124.1 bn emergency spending bill, including around $100bn to continue fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan by 36 votes to 28." David Espo (AP) notes US Rep Jose Serrano stating: "I want this war to end. I don't want to go to any more funerals." This led to a rejoinder from US Rep C. W. Bill Young who claimed he wanted troops out more than anyone. C.W. Bill Young is most infamous for refusing to call out the scandals at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (which he admitted last month he'd seen himself months prior). His "support" of anyone is curiously exhibited. Espo notes that US Rep Barbara Lee voted against the plan and stated, "I believe the American people sent a mandate to us to bring home our men and women before the end of the year" which Lee (and many others) do not believe the bill honors.

In other political news,
Michael Gordon and Patrick Healy (New York Times via Common Dreams) report on their sit down with US Senator and 2008 presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton who told them that leaving out Iraq was out of the question -- "It is right in the heart of the oil region." Well you go, gas guzzling War Hawk. Her sit down position of some US will remain in Iraq if she's elected president is, as the writers note, in contrast to her campaign stop speech where she claims, "If we in Congress don't end this war before January 2009, as president, I will."

Turning to Iraq, Yes! magazine has the second part of a three part feature. It's worth noting for a number of reasons but, chiefly, due to the overly praised Rolling Stone roundtable which was all male and nothing you really couldn't have seen by turning on cable TV.
In the second part, Lisa Farino and Dal LaMagna discuss their meeting with Iraqi parliamentarians and "ambassadors and leaders from other Middle East cocuntires." Also interested in listening, Ali al-Fadhily (IPS) who reports on what Iraqis are saying they want from leaders and, bad news for exiles, "Iraqis have little faith in people who fled and left them to face the situation." Yesterday on KPFA's Flashpoints, Robert Knight noted that Ayad Allawi was in Saudi Arabia attempting to drum up support for his challenge to Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister/puppet of the occupation.


alberto gonzales

if you're wanting more on the conspiracy to fire state attorney generals, democracy now devoted a large amount of time to the topic today. this is an excerpt from 'Alberto Gonzales Refuses to Resign Over Political Purging of U.S. Attorneys:'

AMY GOODMAN: It’s good to have you here, Joe. Talk about the significance of this case, the whole US attorney series of firings.
JOE CONASON: Well, the way these firings were handled and the apparent purpose of them, which is partisan and political so far, as far as we can tell, is really a violation of traditional protections of federal law enforcement from partisan control. My view is that partisan control of these functions, partisan control of the prosecutorial process, is the sign of life in a banana republic, as you might say, a type of government we have been trying to escape in this country for hundreds of years, where the sovereign, the executive, misuses or can misuse prosecutorial action against political enemies.
These eight attorneys, in different ways, appear to have been -- had their loyalty questioned to the President, which, by the way, is not where their loyalty is supposed to go anyway -- their loyalty is to the Constitution -- because either they were pursuing Republicans or not pursuing Democrats as the President wished. This is why the involvement in this matter of the President's political adviser Karl Rove is of such great interest to the Congress now. They want to understand why the White House counsel Harriet Miers and Karl Rove got so involved in apparently helping to choose which US attorneys, who are very, very powerful officials in the justice system, would be removed.

in addition to the above, another segment also addresses it and the pattern that this fits in with this administration, 'It Can Happen Here: Journalist Joe Conason on "Authoritarian Peril in the Age of Bush"'. so be sure to check that out if you missed it.

bloomberg news reports that john sununu (republican senator) has called for alberto gonzales to step down as attorney general:

"The president should fire the attorney general and replace him as soon as possible with someone who can provide strong, aggressive leadership prosecuting the war on terrorism, running the Department of Justice, and working with the president and Congress on important homeland security matters,'' Sununu said in a statement.
Sununu also cited recent revelations that the FBI violated Americans' privacy by misusing powers given to it by Congress to fight terrorism.
"These failures have created a deep, widespread lack of confidence in the ability of the attorney general to effectively serve the president at a very important time,'' Sununu said.

the next move? who knows? but you can read sununu's statements in full here. what do i think should happen? his ass should be fired. but bully boy's an idiot. so who knows what will happen? but the points joe conason and amy goodman make in the 2nd segment are that this isn't just 1 incident, this is a pattern that's been going on throughout this administration. kat's issued a cry for help. (her planned highlight just imploded on her.) so i'll leave it at this for tonight. here's c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Wednesday, March 14, 2006. Chaos and violence continue in Iraq, the puppet teeters, 3 US service members are announced dead, US Congressional Dems see that when you cave in public you don't get a free pass, and guess which Iraqi exile wants to lead again.

Staring with news of war resistance, Joshua Key's book
The Deserter's Tale receives a favorable review from Peter Darbyshire (The Vancouver Provence) who concludes it is "a documentary" while War Pornographer Michael Gordon's Cobra II is a "feature film." Considering the estranged relationship with the truth that Gordo's writing has, that pretty much says it all. Key is in Canada with his wife Brandi and his children after self-checking out of the US miliary. Eric Ruder (Socialist Worker) draws links between the historic resistance within the military during the Vietnam era and with the resistance today, noting that "more than 20,000 soldiers have gone AWOL". Iraq Veterans Against the War's Kelly Dougherty states: "I think there probably are a lot of soldiers who left because they don't want to participate in the war in Iraq. The reason that only a handful have come out publicly is that it's really hard to put yourself in that position. If you come forward, you are exposing yourself to criticism and more extreme punishment from the military. One friend told me that he went AWOL because he didn't want to go to war in Iraq, and when he later turned himself in, he didn't tell anyone that he felt that way."

Joshua Wolf is a part of a movement of resistance within the military tha includes
Agustin Aguayo, Ehren Watada, Kyle Snyder, Mark Wilkerson, Camilo Mejia, Patrick Hart, Ivan Brobeck, Darrell Anderson, Ricky Clousing, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Corey Glass, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

Yesterday on
KPFA's Flashpoints, Dennis Bernstein again spoke with Tina Richards whose son Cloy has already served two tours of duty in Iraq. Richards: "My son can't face a third tour there. He barely made it home alive after the second tour." Cloy Richards suffers from PTSD. Richards is currently in DC and those wishing to join her or find out more information can click here for her website. She's not sure what her son will do but noted that he might decide to self-check out and due to his medical needs that would mean the threat that he would lose his benefits and health care. Noting the 'actions' of the US Congress on Iraq, Richards stated, "What confuses me is that George Bush's bill was not dead on arrival when it showed up at Congressman [David] Obey's office? Why his supplemental wasn't thrown in the trash and rewritten so that it would really benefit our troops and that it would bring them home. And the fact that they're looking like, that they're acting like they have to work off of President Bush's bill is just wrong. This is what a lot of political analysts have said -- that they can write their own bill."

Bernstein asked her if she felt that elected officials were putting "politics before humanity"? Richards noted that some members of Congress were standing up; however, "there's a lot of other ones that are so disappointing because they are not standing up for what is right but they are working around what is going to make sure that they get a president in '08 and how are they going to increase their majority? And it's coming directly from the leadership of the Democratic Party. And other Congress people have told me, this is being run like a hierarchy, it's not run like a democracy and that to me is just . . . Every single one of those represenatives needs to stand up and represent the people in their district not get told by the leadership of the Democratic party what and how to vote to me any congress that does not stand up to their leadership and speak to truth to power then I just cannot, I don't think that they should be re-elected."

David Swanson (AfterDowningStreet.org) notes: "The House Appropriations Committee is taking up the 'Supplemental' spending bill for the war at 9 a.m. on Thursday. Whatever comes out of that committee will go to the full House for a vote. Please call 202-224-3121 today and ask for your congress member's office. Or find their number" here.

The Congressional Dems refusal to tell Bully Boy he needs authorization to go to war with Iran or to utilize their power of the purse to end the illegal war on Iraq is resulting in some strong commentaries.
Linda O'Brien (Common Dreams) observes Congress wouldn't stand up to the Bully Boy in 2003 and won't now and wonders how things would be different if Congress had found their spines in 2003: "A fourteen-year-old Iraqi girl would not have been raped by three or more men, her father, mother and little sister would not have heard her scream from the next room; she would not have heard themb eing murdered and then been raped again, and killed, and set on fire. Cindy Sheehan's life could be about long telephone calls, laughter, arguments, joy and the normal sorrows of loving her child, instead of about spending her life struggling with that empty space in her soul filled with questions that can't be answered -- all the things that will never, ever be right. Tens of thousands of American young and middle aged men and women would spend the rest of their lives walking and seeing and thinking instead of living without legs or arms or memories or brains. Hundreds of thousands -- hundreds of thousands -- of Iraqis, half of them children, would still be alive. Living restricted lives, but alive." John V. Walsh (CounterPunch) feels Congress proposals "are designed to do no more than save face for the Dems and allow them to continue to bash Bush. But the bills will not and cannot end the war. There is but one way for the Democratically controlled Congress to end the war and that is to stop the funding. So far the 'antiwar' Democrats refuse to do that. So they now own the war every bit as much as Bush does."

US House Rep and 2008 Democratic presidential hopeful
Dennis Kucinich states: "I have just come from a Democratic Caucus meeting where I raised this issue: Democrats are pushing President Bush's benchmarks in the supplemental as milestones which must be reached by a certain time. One of the first milestones or benchmarks involveds the privatization of Iraqi oil, in the form of passage of a so-called Hydrocarbon law. Democrats are now in a position of legitimatizing the very reason why George Bush took the US to war against Iraq. To grab the oil. Call your Member of Congress now and tell them to not permit the war funding bill to become the vehilce for the privatization of Iraq's oil." The Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Out of Iraq Caucus have a plan and they presented it some time ago. The Dems in leadership choose to look the other way. Which is at the source of the 'flared tempers' that Julie Hirschfeld Davis (AP) reports on: "Tempers flared on Iraq among Democrats on Tuesday as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi fielded criticism from an anti-war congresswoman over liberals' concern that the party is not doing enough to end the war. Pelosi's behind-closed-doors exchange with Rep. Maxine Waters of California -- described as heated by lawmakers and aides who asked not to be identified because of the session's private nature -- came as House leaders made progress in their quest for votes on a war spending that would require U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq by 2008." Does it do that? The bill needs reauthorization (in August) so it's hard to see how a bill in need of reauthorization in August 2007 can accomplish a 2008 withdrawal.

While the Dems in leadership posts posture and preen, life in Iraq continues as usual.


Reuters notes a car bomb in Baghdad "near an Iraqi army checkpoint" that claimed one life and left four more wounded, a roadside bomb outside Kirkuk that killed one person, a mortar attack in Mosul that killed "a man and his child" and left four wounded, and a bombing in Tux Khurmato that killed 10 and left 15 wounded.


CNN reports: "In Diwaniya, the Shiite provincial capital of the southern Iraqi province of Qadisiya, insurgents Wednesday dragged three Iraqi policemen and shot them. Two of them were killed and one was wounded. Police found the bodies and the inured officer near a canal." CBS and AP report the shooting deaths of "a municipal council chief and three other people . . . in the Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah in Baghdad." Reuters reports, in Baghdad, that Mudhafer al-Ubaidi and a guard were shot dead and al-Ubaidi's on was injured -- al-Ubaid heads the Adhamiya Municipality in Baghdad while, in Mosul, two police officers were shot dead, and, in Kirkuk, a man was shot dead in his story (his brother was kidnapped).


Reuters notes "four decapitated heads" were discovered in Baquba and two corpses were discovered near Falluja.

Today, the
US military announced: "March 13, a MND-B unit struck a roadside bomb while on a combat patrol in a southern section of the Iraqi capital, killing one Soldier and wounding three others." And they announced: "March 13, a MND-B unit struck a roadside bomb while conducting these types of combined security operations in a northeastern section of Iraqi capital, killing one Soldier and wounding another." And they announced: "A Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West was killed Mar. 13 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province."

In addition,
CBS and AP note: "The head of the local Iraqi Red Screscent Society branch, Jassim al-Jubouri, in Tikrit was abducted by gunmen on Monday night."

Turning to news of the puppet of the occupation.
After David Petraeus held Nouri al-Maliki's hand for the helicopter ride to and from Ramadi yesterdy, you might think there's strong support for ht puppet. But AP reports things are far from pretty: "Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki fears the Americans will torpedo his government if parliament does not pass" the Iraqi oil law "by the end of June, close associates of the leader told The Associated Press on Tuesday. . . . Passage of the oil law . . . has become a major issue for the United States".
Antonia Juhasz, writing for Tuesday's New York Times, examined the obvious inequalities of the law the US wants to force through and notes: "Iraqis may very well choose to use the expertise and experience of international oil companies. They are most likely to do so in a
manner that best serves their own needs if they are freed from the tremendou external pressure being exercised by the Bush administration, the oil corporations -- and the presence of 140,000 members of the American Military."

But could al-Maliki really be out? His dismissal has been floated some time and
AP notes the drama's own Darth Vader has returned: Ayad Allawi. Allawi? Where to start? Something mild like 'related' to Ahmed Chalibi by marriage? Or maybe that in the days before he became Iraq's the prime minister/puppet in 2004, Paul McGeough (Sydney Morning Herald) was among the reporters noting that eye witnesses stated they watched as Allawi "pulled out a pistol and execute as many as six suspected insurgents at a Baghdad polices station, just days before Washington handed control of the country to his interim government, according to two people who allege they witnessed the killings. They say the prisoners -- handcuffed and blindfolded -- were lined up against a wall in a courtyard adjacent to the maximum-security cell block in which they were held at the Al-Amariyah security centre, in the city's south-western suburbs." McGeough appeared on Australia's Lateline in July 2004 to discuss the shootings:

MAXINE McKEW: And just take us through the events as they were accounted to you?

PAUL McGEOUGH: Well, I'll take you through what the two bits of pieces of what the two witnesses said to give you the full chronology as I understand it. There was a surprise visit at about 10:30 in the morning to the police centre. The PM is said to have talked to a large group of policemen, then to have toured the complex. They came to a courtyard where six, sorry seven prisoners were lined up against a wall. They were handcuffed, they were blindfolded, they were described to me as an Iraqi colloquialism for the fundamentalist foreign fighters who have come to Baghdad. They have that classic look that you see with many of the Osama bin Laden associates of the scraggly beard and the very short hair and they were a sort of ... took place in front of them as they were up against this wall was an exchange between the Interior Minister and Dr Allawi, the Interior Minister saying that he felt like killing them on the spot. It's worth noting at this point in the story that on June 19, there was an attack on the Interior Minister's home in the Sunni triangle in which four of his bodyguards (inaudible) -- Dr Allawi is alleged to have said (inaudible) -- .
MAXINE McKEW: Paul, you just dropped out there. You were just beginning to describe in fact how this incident, this alleged incident, took place. What was the action taken?
PAUL McGEOUGH: Um, after a tour of the complex, the sort of official party, if you like, arrived in a courtyard where the prisoners were lined up against a wall. An exchange is said to have taken place between Dr Allawi and the Interior Minister. The Interior Minister lives to the north of Baghdad, and on June 19, four of his bodyguards were killed in an attack on his home. He expressed the wish that he would like to kill all these men on the spot. The PM is said to have responded that they deserved worse than death, that each was responsible for killing more than 50 Iraqis each, and at that point, he is said to have pulled a gun and proceeded to aim at and shoot all seven. Six of them died, the seventh, according to one witness, was wounded in the chest, according to the other witness, was wounded in the neck and presumed to be dead.

And of course, Allawi is an exile -- like al-Maliki -- and was
an asset to both the CIA and M16. In terms of the false claim that Saddam Hussein could depoly weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes of the order being given, as Patrick Cockburn (Independent of London) noted in 2004 leads back to Allawi: "The choice of of Iyad Allawi, closely linked to the CIA and formerly to M16, as the Prime Minister of Iraq from 30 June will make it difficult for the US and Britain to persuade the rest of the world that he is capable of leading an independent government. He is the person through whom the controversial claim was channeled that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction could be operational in 45 minutes."

With the above in mind,
Ned Parker (Times of London) reports that Allawi "is pushing for a return to power after assembling a parliamentary coalition of more than 80 steats" and "presenting himself as a secular alternative to Mr Maliki" and that he's seeking out groups to join his coalition at a time when al-Maliki's coalition is 113 seats in parliament -- a loss of 15 seats resulting from Shia Fadhila walking out of al-Maliki's coalition last week. In January of this year, the strain between the puppet and the US became highly public as al-Maliki publicly took offense at comments made by US Secretary of State (and Anger -- as Wally and Cedric say) Condi Rice that his government was on "borrowed time" and al-Maliki also criticized the Bully Boy's 'plan' which al-Maliki felt left Iraqi soldiers "under-armed." The Secretary of State and Anger's response was that "there is a sense of urgency there". As opposed to here?

Turning to
MADRE's "Promising Democracy, Imposing Theocracy: Gender-Based Violence and the US War on Iraq" (which can be read in full in PDF format or, by sections, in HTML). Wednesday, section one ("Towards Gender Apartheid in Iraq") was noted, Thursday, section II, "Iraq's Other War: Impsoing Theocracy Through Gender-Based." Section III is "The Rise of US-Backed Death Squads" was noted Friday, section four, "Violence Against Women Within Families" was noted Monday and yesterday part five is "Gender War, Civil War," part six is "Gender-Based Violence Against Men," and part seven "Violence Against Women in Detention." Which leaves "Conclusion: Standing With Iraqi Women In A Time Of War" which pulls all the sections together and notes that lofty rhetoric about women's rights by the Bully Boy do not translate into advances for women (the loft rhetoric is for domestic audiences) because the words are cover for a continued embrace of totalitatrian leadership in the regime and efforts to snuff out any progressive movements or forces. The violation of Iraqi women's rights and the violence aimed at them results from the encouragement and actions of the US. When women attempt to speak out, the US media refuses to report it or else rushes to "implicitly cast doubt on the veracity of the allegations." Even in one of the big stories of last year, the kidnapping of Jill Carroll, the media consistently refused to explore the kidnapper's sole demand: "the release of Iraqi women in US custody." The report notes the connections between "honor killings" and the US crimes. The media tends to play the "honor killings" in isolation and fails to explore that "the crimes of the occupation reinforce crimes of honor and how repressive codes of family honor have made all Iraqis more vulnerable to abusive authorities, whether they are US occupiers or their Iraqi successors."

Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted, "The US military is expanding two major prisons in Iraq ahead of an expected rise in Iraqi prisoners from the new crackdown in Baghdad. Thousands of prisoners are expected on top of the 17,000 already behind bars."
Those prisoners include women and young girls. Focusing on just two prisons (Al-Rusafah in Uma Qasr and Al-Kadhmiya) MADRE's report noted there were over 1300 women and girls in the two prisons and: "They range from girls of twelves to women in their sixties." Yet still the US military wants more prisons.

iraqagustin aguayo

joshua key