Filtered news (100th post!) 3/6

"You may have noticed a subtle difference this week in D.C. The air -- a little crisper.
The food -- a little more tasty. Homeless people -- weren't being discovered drained of blood.
It could only mean one thing: Vice President Cheney was out of town."
-- Jon Stewart

Another Hillary Myth busted Yet another wingnut tale about Hillary is .

Just sayin' : Muslims hate our ideas. Unclear what those ideas are.

Oh for the love of Pete...
Washington Post’s Dana Milbank writes, “Before yesterday’s hearing, a
patient with a prosthetic arm tried to get in but was stopped by a
guard, who asked if the young man was supposed to be in the hearing.
‘I’d like to be,’ the soldier said. ‘It’s preselected, unfortunately,’
the guard replied. The young amputee walked away. Inside, three rows of
seats had been reserved for the Army; .”

Sometimes party (or factional) loyalty demands too much. I wish Bill Maher hadn't said something unspeakably ugly about the assassination attempt on Dick Cheney. And I don't think there's any good reason to pretend otherwise.

Pentagon to Bush: Global warming is a real threat Can't wait to hear
Global Warming again as not having a consensus. Of course, it wouldn't
be the first time that he overrode anything that came out of the
Pentagon for his own brand of truthiness. :

A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and
obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk
beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by
2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting
will erupt across the world. The document predicts that abrupt climate
change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries
develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and
energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.
'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,' concludes
the Pentagon analysis. 'Once again, warfare would define human life.'
The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which
has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said
that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has
insisted national defence is a priority.

I've said before that I fear the repercussions of not acting on global
warming far more than any trumped up "Islamofascist" threat that the
White House has used to justify all sorts of un-American things, like
suspending habeas corpus
and extraordinary rendition. We know they have this report. Now let us
use our collective voices via contact with media outlets and our
elected officials to demand they address the REAL threat to us all.

Note to Malkin: Walter Reed was privatized It's getting hard to keep track of all the times Malkin is wrong on a story and now she adds to her pile. She writes: … Did she miss the memo from C&L:

The memorandum “describes how the Army’s
decision to privatize support services at Walter Reed Army Medical
Center was causing an exodus of ‘highly skilled and experienced
personnel,’” the committee’s letter states. “According to multiple sources, the decision to privatize support services at Walter Reed led to a precipitous drop in support personnel at Walter Reed.” The
letter said the Defense Department “systemically” tried to replace
federal workers at Walter Reed with private companies for facilities
management, patient care and guard duty – a process that began in 2000.”

She probably needs to read this piece which explains that government can run health-care effectively. "
" This pathetic attempt to use the suffering of our troops to attack
health care for all of us seems to be the only response Malkin has on
the hearings so far that has America riveted today. Nice job in
supporting the troops. As : "People
who use our present circumstances to argue that government can’t manage
its way out of a paper bag are either fooling you or fooling
themselves." The Right's Field:
: Worst of all, posts like Malkin’s and statements like Mowbray’s make
wounded veterans into trinkets to be displayed by rightwing bloggers to
prove their case.

Democrats tried to stop Walter Reed sell-out
It's interesting what you can find using "the Google." When the stories
about the conditions at Walter Reed came out, the privatization angle
didn't surprise me, other than I didn't recall hearing about it
earlier. But let's face it, there's so much news coming out of
Washington, things like that have a tendency to fall through the
cracks. However, I did find this
from September of last year that shows that Democrats were concerned
about the privatization of Walter Reed and were brushed aside by the
DoD and the Army. Remind me again, who is supporting our troops?

In a today, Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) joined several of her Senate colleagues, including Paul S. Sarbanes (D-Md.), to urge Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Ranking Member Robert C. Byrd (D-W.V.)
to preserve language in the House Defense Appropriations bill that
prohibits the U.S. Army from outsourcing 350 federal jobs at Walter
Reed Army Medical Center. A similar provision, introduced by Senators
Mikulski and Sarbanes, was defeated by a close 50-48 vote, during the
bill's consideration in the Senate last week. "Our federal employees
are on the front lines every day, working hard for America. These
hardworking men and women deserve to be treated fairly and, at the very
least, deserve to have the same rights that contractors do," said
Senator Mikulski. "I will keep fighting to fix the competition process
that is shamefully slanted in favor of private contractors." -14933">
(Read the rest of this story…)

" Last night, John McCain -- right here on this program -- announced he's running for president.
And then today, he shaved his head and checked into rehab." -- David Letterman

Damn straight. House Dems to keep the public focused on the Walter Reed scandal by pushing the story in VA hospitals in their districts.

What F-ing liberal media? Newsweek does Rudy Giuliani's Presidential campaign .

Sick 'em! CREW ethics complaint against Sen. Domenici.

"I love the effect this new nuke is going to have on these socialists on the left.
They're going to be in utter panic over this, and I am honored to bring this
happy news of a brand-new nuclear weapon to you via the EIB Network."
-- Rush who, like the president, loves the idea of killing people

The cancer has already spread : it's not just Walter Reed.

As if things aren't bad enough... Here is a disturbing but I fear enlightening today not from without but from within.

Don't let the door hit you.... Diebold of the elections business it f'd up so badly.

Another prosecutor for investigating a Republican?

The former federal prosecutor in Maryland said Monday that
he was forced out in early 2005 because of political pressure stemming
from public corruption investigations involving associates of the
state’s governor, a Republican.

“There was direct pressure not to pursue these investigations,”
said the former prosecutor, Thomas M. DiBiagio. “The practical impact
was to intimidate my office and shut down the investigations.”

Mr. DiBiagio, a controversial figure who clashed with a
number of Maryland politicians, had never publicly discussed the
reasons behind his departure. But he agreed to an interview with The
New York Times because he said he was concerned about what he saw as
similarities with the recent firings of eight United States attorneys.

Shocked?

Who supports our troops? Danger Room’s Noah Shachtman writes on : “There are women who haven’t gotten pap smears in years, who go without mammograms for years.”

Screwed by FEMA again
A FEMA trailer park was “abruptly closed down” this weekend because of
“ongoing problems with raw sewage that pours onto the grass” and
consistent power outages. FEMA moved many of the families to other
nearby mobile home parks. Some of the displaced residents “questioned
the genuineness of the sudden concern for their health because the
stink of sewage has been a nuisance for about a year.” “They know how
to put me out,” Katrina victim Allsee Tobias said, “but .”

What liberal media? Part II The media networks are racing to get Ann Coulter on the air, proving that is so outrageous that it disqualifies you from receiving TV publicity. This afternoon, CNN gleefully announced:

Ann Coulter joins Paula Zahn with her side of the story, that’s tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Don’t miss it.

Also, last night, Sean Hannity heralded:

Don’t forget. Tomorrow night, Hannity & Colmes. Ann Coulter will be our guest.

This isn’t the first time the media has rewarded Coulter for her hate speech. After she attacked the 9/11 victims, NBC , repeatedly providing a forum for her to talk about it. Similarly, she was given to discuss her comments suggesting Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) should be .

You can contact Paula Zahn’s show and Hannity & Colmes . As always, please be respectful. Media Matters has . Atrios why we should care about Coulter’s TV appearances.

Who supports our troops? Part II The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s national security panel is
on the neglect at Walter Reed military hospital. They heard from Anne
McLeod, wife of wounded Iraq veteran Cpl. Dell McLeod, who was profiled
by the Washington Post. Dell “takes 23 pills a day, prescribed by
various doctors at Walter Reed. Crowds frighten him. He is too anxious
to drive,” and he can’t be left alone. “,”
his wife says. Yet Army doctors disputed that Dell’s head injury was
the cause of his mental impairment, claiming he was slow in high
school, and ended up giving him only a 50 percent disability rating
(meaning he will receive only half of his base pay). Today, Anne McLeod
wept as she told the committee about her experience. “All I’m just
trying to do is have my life, the life that I had and that I know. My
life was ripped apart the day my husband was injured, and having to
live through the mess that we lived through at Walter Reed has been
worse than anything I have ever sacrificed in my life.” Jeffrey Feldman
has .

Welcome back Jack. He went off on the Walter Reed situation… | |

This soldier has something to say | |

Staff Sgt, John Shannon, after pausing and tapping his head — voiced a very powerful statement today at the hearing:

Shannon: My biggest concern? My biggest concern is
having the young men and women that have had their lives shattered in
service to their country to get taken care of. That's my biggest
concern.

Waxman: Staff Sgt, John Shannon, that's your biggest
concern and it's got to be the biggest concern of all Americas. I think
people are shocked when they heard about the Washington Post story…

:

Annette McLeod's husband, National Guardsman Cpl.
Wendell McLeod, is in the VA system to receive care for brain injuries
he sustained in Iraq. "He got treatment a dog didn't deserve," said McLeod to a panel of stunned Committee members…

:

“We have let some soldiers down,” said Peter Geren, the undersecretary of the Army.

No, Mr. Geren, you’ve let every soldier, sailor, and airman down - not to mention the American public, which continues to be deceived by the ineptitude and callousness of the people in charge.

Middle class Americans are increasingly unable to afford health insurance. “Today, more than one-third of the uninsured —
— have family incomes of $40,000 or more, according to the Employee
Benefit Research Institute, a nonpartisan organization. More than
two-thirds of the uninsured are in households with at least one
full-time worker.”

"We didn't create the war in Iraq.
We didn't create the war on terror."
--Tony Snow, lying again,

Fox Noose sucks Our national media embarrassment was on full display on Friday. Both
MSNBC and Fox News devoted more coverage to Anna Nicole Smith — three
weeks after her death on Feb. 8 — than they did to the multiple
developments involving the neglect and deplorable conditions at Walter
Reed military hospital. The most lop-sided coverage by far was
aired by Fox News, which featured only 10 references to Walter Reed
compared to 121 of Anna Nicole — roughly 12 times the coverage. MSNBC
featured 84 references to Walter Reed and 96 to Anna Nicole. References to Anna Nicole and Walter Reed on cable networks on March 2:

NETWORK
ANNA NICOLE
WALTER REED

FOX NEWS
121
10

MSNBC
96
84

CNN
40
53

If you want to write CNN and thank them for their more balanced coverage, the feedback form is .

Attorneygate: The fecal matter hits the fan Running out of
time to come clean, Rep. Heather Wilson 'fesses up. But Wilson's
explanation turns out to be even more comical than Sen. Domenici's.
Wilson released a statement to the Washington Post in which she :
"I did not ask about the timing of any indictments and I did not tell
Mr. Iglesias what course of action I thought he should take or pressure
him in any way. The conversation was brief and professional."

We pick up the story from the Post ...

Wilson said in her statement that many of her constituents
had complained about "the slow pace of federal prosecutions" in
corruption cases and said she was told by one unidentified constituent
that "Iglesias was intentionally delaying corruption investigations."

Wilson also said she was trying to help Iglesias: "If the
purpose of my call has somehow been misperceived, I am sorry for any
confusion. I thought it was important for Mr. Iglesias to receive this
information and, if necessary, have the opportunity to clear his name."

Wilson said Iglesias's dismissal occurred "without input
from me." Justice officials said they are not aware of any contacts by
Wilson about Iglesias. But they said Sunday that Domenici complained to
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales three times in 2005 and 2006 and
spoke to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty in the first week of
October 2006.

Now, let's be honest. This is so risible as to almost be sad.

Consider what Wilson is asking us to believe: she says she didn't ask
Iglesias about the timing of the expected indictment. Nor did she tell
him "course of action" she should take. She called because so many of
her constituents had complained that this Republican US Attorney,
appointed by President Bush, wasn't moving quickly enough in his
corruption investigation of a prominent New Mexico Democrat. Indeed,
one unidentified constituent said Iglesias was intentionally bottling
up the investigation. And Wilson called to give him the chance to
"clear his name."

Imagine Iglesias not understanding that in placing this call Wilson was just looking out for his own good?

Enough. Wilson would have done better to follow the Domenici route
and just pretended she was making an informational call. After reading
this transparently bogus line from Wilson this is the first moment when
I think there's a decent chance there will be a special election some
time over the next twelve months in the first district of New Mexico.
Anyone who reads even Wilson's defense knows that she did precisely
what Iglesias said she did: muscled a US Attorney to issue an
indictment two weeks prior to election day because she believed it
would help her save her seat.

Again, even going by Wilson's account of what happened, there's really no other reasonable explanation.

Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) now says that in response to complaints
from constituents about US Attorney Iglesias's slow rate of indictments
on corruption investigations, she called him two weeks before election
day to allow him to clear his name.

But let's back up for a moment to look at the story that is emerging.

In his
yesterday, Sen. Domenici attempted to paint a picture of rising
frustration with Iglesias's lackluster performance going back over
several years -- particularly tied to his inability "to move more
quickly on cases" even after Domenici had made sure to make more
resources available to his office.

As we noted yesterday, Iglesias's DOJ performance reviews . And just the opposite.

But late this afternoon we looked a bit further. Domenici claims he and
his office had reacted to "public accounts" of Iglesias's inability to
move cases quickly enough. So we decided to look back through published
articles to see whether there was really anything in the public record
to substantiate Domenici's claims.

And what did we find? Just one article.

And it's very revealing.

It's from the December 19th, 2006 edition of the Albuquerque Journal, the article announcing Iglesias's resignation.

After noting Iglesias's resignation the articles continues ...

Rumors that Iglesias was in trouble with his superiors at the Department of Justice have been circulating for months.

The chief criticism of Iglesias has been that he had not provided
enough resources for public corruption investigations. Some of that
criticism has come from the political arena and some from the FBI,
which has made political corruption its No. 2 priority behind
terrorism.

Iglesias' defenders, in private conversations, argued that
the federal prosecutors are overwhelmed with immigration and narcotics
cases because of the state's southern border with Mexico.

The article then describes the guilty plea Iglesias got from former
state Treasurer Robert Vigil, a Democrat, and then continues with this
...

Iglesias' resignation also comes while a second corruption
case is in the law enforcement pipeline. That case could be as
explosive as the Treasurer's Office investigation.

The FBI has been investigating a kickback scheme centered on the
construction of the multimillion-dollar state and metro courthouses
Downtown.

Last month, Iglesias assigned additional prosecutors to
that investigation, which had been in the works since September 2005.
The investigation became public last spring when FBI agents began
reviewing construction records at the Metropolitan Courthouse.

The pace of that investigation has apparently been a point of contention between investigators and Iglesias' office.

The FBI confirmed in July that it had sent a case involving the
courthouses to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Since then, indictments have
been expected or rumored on a monthly basis.

This is the case that the whole scandal turns on, the one against former State Senator Manny Aragon.

And here the full picture starts to come into focus.

There's no evidence that Iglesias wasn't moving quickly enough through
his office's caseload, as Sen. Domenici claimed. But well before any of
this story became radioactive national news, we have this press account
of rumors that Iglesias was in trouble with the folks at Main Justice
over not "providing enough resources for public corruption
investigations."

Some of the criticism came from the "political arena" and some from the FBI.

So it seems that there were complaints about Iglesias. But the evidence
at hand suggests they all stemmed from claims he wasn't putting enough
muscle into investigating corruption cases. Indeed, Rep. Wilson (R-NM)
now that many of her constituents had complained about "the slow pace of federal prosecutions" in corruption cases.

As we've seen, both the major public corruption cases Iglesias pursued
were of Democrats. And the one all the fuss was about last year was the
investigation of Manny Aragon. Now, indulge me for a moment. When not
enough drug dealers are getting put away people complain. When too few
illegals are getting rousted people may complain. But there's a
particular group of people who complain when an indictment of a
Democratic isn't coming down quickly enough: they're called partisan
Republicans. And yes, same thing if the shoe were on the other foot.

The December 19th report says that FBI investigators weren't happy
either. And I'll be curious to hear more about that. You only need to
watch a few TV cop shows to know that investigators are often out in
front of prosecutors in the course of a criminal investigation. And any
reporter will tell you that the way investigators' complaints often
surface is by way of political partisans. But however that may be, it's
the prosecutors job to decide if and when to indict.

So, as I said, the picture starts to come into focus and we see that
the defense proferred by Wilson and Domenici is not so different from
the accusation.

Wilson and Domenici were hearing from Republican supporters that
Iglesias was taking too long dropping that indictment on Democrat Manny
Aragon -- it was commonly believed last fall that Wilson's political
future depended on it. Wilson and Domenici weren't too happy about it
either since Wilson was banking on an indictment before the election to
save her seat. According to the Albuquerque Journal,
Iglesias's bosses in Washington weren't happy with how long it was
taking either. So within two to three weeks of the election both Wilson
and then Domenici call Iglesias to ask what the delay is. He gives them
both the cold shoulder. On election day Wilson wins reelection by fewer
than one thousand votes. Five weeks after that, Iglesias gets telling him he's fired.

Pretty bad when you consider that that's not the accusation but the defense.

And the fired had better keep quiet about the truth From ...

A high-ranking Justice Department official told one of the
U.S. attorneys fired by the Bush administration that if any of them
continued to criticize the administration for their ousters, previously
undisclosed details about the reasons they were fired might be
released, two of the ousted prosecutors told McClatchy Newspapers.

While the U.S. attorney who got the call regarded the tone of
the conversation as congenial, not intimidating, the prosecutor
nonetheless passed the message on to five other fired U.S. attorneys.
One of them interpreted the reported comments by Michael Elston, the
chief of staff to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, as a threat.

Justice Department officials denied that the conversation
with the U.S. attorney ever took place, and Elston said he called
several of the fired U.S. attorneys but never made any such comments.

It just gets better.
The administration's only leg to stand on in firing Cunningham
prosecutor Carol Lam has been that she'd been on the receiving end of
complaints from hapless California Congressman Darrell Issa (R). Now at tomorrow's hearing too. Here's a
up at his website announcing his appearances and cataloguing Lam's
alleged history of prosecutorial sins that led him to drive her from
office. He doesn't getting around to mention her positive performance
review. This is the joker the White House is going to bat with.

Anonymous sources Arthur Silber finds a great example of how to deal ":

It came from KSFR, a public radio station in Santa
Fe, N.M. I don't know anything about the station, although I have been
to Santa Fe a couple of times. It seems that the surge in "unnamed
officials" had finally pushed News Director Bill Dupuy to take action.
He wrote that "until further notice, it is the policy of KSFR's news
department to ignore and not repeat any wire service or nationally
published story" about Iran, North Korea, and other sensitive foreign
areas if it quotes an "unnamed" U.S. official…

Ann Coulter's $upport drying up? :

At least three major companies want their ads pulled
from Ann Coulter's Web site, following customer complaints about the
right-wing commentator referring to Democratic presidential candidate
John Edwards as a "faggot." Verizon, Sallie Mae and Georgia-based
NetBank each said they didn't know their ads were on AnnCoulter.com
until they received the complaints. A diarist at the liberal blog
DailyKos.com posted contact information for dozens of companies with
ads on Coulter's site after the commentator made her remarks about
Edwards at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington
on Friday. ()
"One of the best ways to communicate one's distaste for Coulter's
repeated incidents of hate speech is to respectfully but firmly let her
advertisers know you are deeply troubled by their indirect support of
bigotry through their advertising on Coulter's Web site," the blogger
VolvoDrivingLiberal wrote on DailyKos.com on Sunday.

I'm a big believer in the power of our collective voices. Especially
the power of the written letter. Feedback does affect the way people do
their jobs; overwhelming feedback
can change the way a job is done. This is perfect proof. I've seen a
lot of comments to the effect of "Well, all we do is complain on these
blogs about how bad things are. Nothing gets better that way." Very
true. From time to time, we'll give you the addresses or links for you
to express your feelings on the events we cover. Please consider this
my request for your involvement. Lend your voice. .
Keep in mind that paper letters (while not environmentally sound) does
pull more weight than emails. Let's be part of the process.

All in the family Bill Maher documents the exploits of Phillip Perry. Not protecting our chemical plants seems to earn a big payday for .

Published

March 6, 2007 - 12:01pm

Author