Saturday, August 04, 2007

No News is Not Good News ...

It's really tough to keep up with it all ... especially when we are faced with 24/7 TV news coverage of one news story: the Minneapolis bridge collapse -- to the detriment of the news stories below:
  • Gonzales Now Says Top Aides Got Political Briefings:
    "Justice Department officials attended at least a dozen political briefings at the White House since 2001, including some meetings led by Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political adviser, and others that were focused on election trends prior to the 2006 midterm contest, according to documents released yesterday.

    Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that he did not believe that senior Justice Department officials had attended such briefings. But he clarified his testimony yesterday in a letter to Congress, emphasizing that the briefings were not held at the agency's offices...."
  • NSA Spying Part of Broader Effort:
    "The Bush administration's chief intelligence official said yesterday that President Bush authorized a series of secret surveillance activities under a single executive order in late 2001. The disclosure makes clear that a controversial National Security Agency program was part of a much broader operation than the president previously described...."
  • Congress eyes pay raise for itself:
    "After raising the minimum wage by 70 cents an hour this week, many members of Congress are ready to give themselves a pay increase of roughly $4,400 per year." How generous of them....
  • Glenn W. Smith | Congress, Bush and the Real Constitutional Crisis:
    "America is in the midst of an authentic constitutional crisis, as the Bush administration moves to reduce Congress to little more than an irrelevant focus group and achieve what no US president has ever achieved: a true above-the-law presidency...."
  • In Violation of Federal Law, Ohio's 2004 Presidential Election Records Are Destroyed or Missing:
    "In 56 of Ohio's 88 counties, ballots and election records from 2004 have been 'accidentally' destroyed, despite a federal order to preserve them -- it was crucial evidence which would have revealed whether the election was stolen...."
  • Senate Passes Bill Granting Bush Expanded Spy Powers
    "Sixteen Senate Democrats, and Senator Joe Lieberman, an Independent, voted in lockstep with all 43 Senate Republicans late Friday evening in supporting an expanded surveillance bill that is virtually identical to the proposals written by the Bush administration. The bill, as written, does not contain any safeguards to ensure average Americans are not caught up in the surveillance activities. Additionally, the Senate put oversight of the surveillance process into the hands of the Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, and embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, granting the officials extraordinary powers to approve spying activities without any independent oversight or review. The key points of the legislation allow the Bush administration to bypass the secret court set up nearly thirty years ago to authorize intelligence officials to conduct surveillance activities. The secret court will be permitted to review the approval process - but not until 120 days after the spying has already commenced. The House is expected to take up a vote on the bill sometime Saturday or Sunday." - jl/TruthOut
  • IRAQ: A Little Easier to Occupy from the Air:
    "Many Iraqis believe the dramatic escalation in U.S. military use of air power is a sign of defeat for the occupation forces on the ground...."
  • Impeachment as Political Solution to Iraq War:
    "Improperly framing Iraq as a war benefits those responsible for it and obscures the clearest path to a saner future. If instead Iraq was framed as the armed assault that it was (billed as "Shock and Awe"), there is a logical, expedient political solution at our disposal - impeachment...."
  • Video: July 23rd Salee Story:
    "The failure of the media to tell stories such as Salee's has deprived the American people of the ability make informed judgments about US foreign policy...."
  • Outsourcing Intelligence: How Bush Gets His National Intelligence from Private Companies:
    "Private corporations are now a major staple of national intelligence and are heavily involved in producing the most important and most sensitive national security document -- the President's Daily Brief...."
  • The Threat Of Martial Law Is Real :
    "The looming collapse of the US military in Iraq, of which a number of generals and former generals, including former Chief of Staff Colin Powell, have warned, is happening none too soon, as it my be the best hope for preventing military rule here at home...."
  • Tax Break Used by Drug Makers Failed to Add Jobs:
    "Two years ago, when companies received a big tax break to bring home their offshore profits, the president and Congress justified it as a one-time tax amnesty that would create American jobs.

    Drug makers were the biggest beneficiaries of the amnesty program, repatriating about $100 billion in foreign profits and paying only minimal taxes. But the companies did not create many jobs in return. Instead, since 2005 the American drug industry has laid off tens of thousands of workers in this country...."
  • Is America becoming a global credit risk?
    "The European markets fell on Tuesday, as financial and insurance stocks edged lower after Countrywide Financial Corp., the largest U.S. mortgage lender, reported disappointing earnings and a drop in crude oil prices hurt heavily weighted energy stocks...."
  • The plot to bring back Benazir to Pakistan politics | Special Reports | Guardian Unlimited Politics:
    "Her father and two brothers were murdered, she's been defeated and exiled, yet Benazir Bhutto can't wait to return to Pakistan politics. And, as trust in President Musharraf fades, she has powerful covert backers - the US and Britain...."
  • Grilling FEMA Over Its Toxic Trailers - TIME
    On C-SPAN, a weekend or so ago, I watched the the Congressional hearing on Toxic FEMA trailers. The stories told by panelists testifying to their and their families' experiences living in Toxic trailers made me feel almost as sick as if I were breathing formaldehyde along with them. You've gotta read it, to believe it. --TUC
  • Inspector General Confirms Probe of Rogue FBI Anti-Terror Office:
    "The Justice Department's Inspector General and the FBI are investigating an office that sent fake, emergency letters to telecoms requesting phone records, according to the Inspector General's office.� That office lacked the authority to request the records and did not apply for the subpoenas promised in the letters.

    That information largely confirms a a Wired News story... which revealed that top FBI officials told privacy groups that a criminal investigation of the office was underway and that individuals had been granted immunity.

    If the investigation looks into possible criminal violations of fraud statutes or a violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, it would mark the first known investigation of government employees for violations of the Patriot Act...."
  • Vetoing Children's Health:
    "President Bush is threatening to veto any substantial increase in spending for a highly successful children’s health program on the bizarre theory that expanding it would be the “beginning salvo” in establishing a government-run health care system. His shortsighted ideological opposition would leave millions of children without health insurance at a time when medical costs are soaring...."
  • The Iraq War Debate: The Great Denier:
    "If ever there were a moment for serious discussion about the Iraq war, this is it. Americans want President Bush to explain how he will extract the troops and contain the bloodletting and chaos the war has unleashed. Washington’s dwindling band of allies and Iraq’s neighbors are also waiting to hear. Pretty much everyone in the world wants answers except the president...."

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