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Archive for June 18th, 2007

Evening Jukebox… River Of Dreams

by- Suzie-Q @ 8:56 PM MST


Billy Joel- River Of Dreams

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First Class Sacrifice, Second Class Care

by- Suzie-Q @ 4:41 PM MST

Physical, Mental Wounds of War Haunt Returning Soldiers


A presidential commission is investigating the physical and mental wounds of war, aiming to fix a system strained by complex injuries and battle stress. Army Spc. Jason Ehrhart, 21, from Dayton, Md., was wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq resulting in the amputation of his left foot, third degree burns over 60 percent of his body, and a brain injury which left him in a coma for three months. (Charles Dharapak/AP Photo)

Wounded Veteran Jason Estes, 21, waited at the door. He peered from his wheelchair into the proceedings of a presidential commission mandated to fix a patchwork healthcare system for Vets like him — severely injured servicemen and women who defy standard care formulas.

“There’s no question that there’s no system here for continuing care when there are complex wounds, both a combination of mental health and physical,” said the Commission Co-Chair Donna Shalala, the former Secretary of Health and Human Services during the Clinton administration.

Monday’s emotional family testimony underscored the Pentagon’s recent findings about the “woefully inadequate” mental healthcare services for the nearly 40 percent of soldiers, a third of Marines and half of the National Guard members who show symptoms of post traumatic stress disorders.

High numbers of traumatic brain injuries caused by shock waves emitted from improvised explosive devices common in Iraq and Afghanistan also add to the strain on the mental healthcare system.

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Bush Ignored Law After 30% Signing Statements

by- Suzie-Q @ 2:26 PM MST

The Government Accountability Office issued a report showing that US government agencies ignored Congressional legislation on 30% of the occasions when President George W. Bush issued a ‘presidential signing statement’ after signing bills into law. The report was released today by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Rep. Conyers slammed Bush’s use of signing statements, which he noted were far more frequent than any previous administration.

“The Administration is thumbing its nose at the law,” he said. “This study calls for an extensive review of these practices, something the Administration has so far refused to do.”

Senator Byrd agreed.

“The White House cannot pick and choose which laws it follows and which it ignores. When a president signs a bill into law, the president signs the entire bill. The Administration cannot be in the business of cherry picking the laws it likes and the laws it doesn’t,” the President Pro Tempore of the Senate said. “This GAO opinion underscores the fact that the Bush White House is constantly grabbing for more power, seeking to drive the people’s branch of government to the sidelines….We must continue to demand accountability and openness from this White House to counter this power grab.”

The GAO examined a sample of 19 specific provisions from fiscal year 2006 appropriations acts where Bush took exception with a signing statement. It found the laws passed by Congress were subsequently ignored about 30% of the time.

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Anthony @ 22:10 BST

As Democrats in the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform plow ahead with their investigation of the intelligence used by the Bush administration to build the case for the Iraq War, their Republican colleagues are attempting to up the ante. Last week, Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), the ranking minority member of the committee, alleged that former covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson had given false testimony and prepared to threaten her with a subpoena.

The Wilsons, who were not aware of the subpoena threat until contacted last week by RAW STORY, criticized the Republican effort in an exclusive statement.

“This is once again another frivolous attempt to go after Valerie Wilson, and distract from what’s really at issue,” said her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson through a spokesman.

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Anthony @ 21:43 BST


House investigators have learned that the Bush administration’s use of Republican National Committee email accounts is far greater than previously disclosed — 140,216 emails sent or received by Karl Rove alone — and that the RNC has overseen “extensive destruction” of many of the emails, including all email records for 51 White House officials.

For the last several months, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has been “investigating whether White House officials violated the Presidential Records Act” by using email accounts maintained by the RNC and the Bush-Cheney ‘04 campaign for official White House communications. Today’s findings confirm that the accounts were used “for official purposes, such as communicating with federal agencies about federal appointments and policies.” The report adds:

Given the heavy reliance by White House officials on RNC e-mail accounts, the high rank of the White House officials involved, and the large quantity of missing e-mails, the potential violation of the Presidential Records Act may be extensive.

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by- Suzie-Q @ 12:25 PM MST

A building close to the White House was evacuated says a breaking news report at the Associated Press.

“The evacuated building was the White House conference center, which is around the corner,” AP said of the facility cleared due to a ‘bomb scare.’ “The conference center temporarily houses the White House press corp during a renovation in the West wing.”

The AP report noted that the visit to Washington of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert resulted in stepped up security.

According to CNN, a dog in the K-9 units “smelled something suspicious” on an Israeli vehicle.

DEVELOPING …

Story

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Federal Prosecution Cases And US Attorney Scandal

by- Suzie-Q @ 12:16 PM MST

Defense lawyers in different cases are raising new questions about government prosecutors and potential political biases.

WASHINGTON — For months, the Justice Department and Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales have taken political heat for the purge of eight U.S. attorneys last year.

Now the fallout is starting to hit the department in federal courtrooms around the country.

Defense lawyers in a growing number of cases are raising questions about the motives of government lawyers who have brought charges against their clients. In court papers, they are citing the furor over the U.S. attorney dismissals as evidence that their cases may have been infected by politics.

Justice officials say those concerns are unfounded and constitute desperate measures by desperate defendants. But the affair has given defendants and their lawyers some new energy, which is complicating life for the prosecutors.

Missouri lawyers have invoked the controversy in challenging last year’s indictment of a company owned by a prominent Democrat, on suspicion of violating federal wage and hour laws. The indictment, which came two months after the owner announced that she was running for political office, was obtained by a Republican U.S. attorney who also has been criticized because he charged workers for a left-leaning political group on the eve of the 2006 midterm election.

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