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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Hillary's Climate Plan & the Awful Truth About It: 'BradCast' 7/27/15
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


From the 'Heads I Win, Tails You Lose' School of Journalism...
By Brad Friedman on 4/29/2007 12:28am PT  

One of the newspapers often attacked by Bill O'Reilly as an example of the "liberal" media is the Los Angeles Times, currently owned by the Rightwing Chicago Tribune.

On Saturday, LA Times ran a story by Chris Kraul on the reaction of Iraqi citizens to the Iraq War spending bill battle. But no need to click on the link. Here's the summary of the "fair and balanced" story as kindly provided on the inside page of the paper edition:

Iraqis uneasy over funding battle

With Congress passing spending bills with timelines for U.S. troop withdrawal, some Iraqis fear further chaos if American soldiers leave Iraq. Others hope President Bush, who has threatened a veto, will prevail and the U.S. will stay, if only for its own strategic interests. Page A5

So...if the bill is signed into law, some Iraqis fear it will make things worse. While on the other hand, some of them hope Bush vetoes it so US troops will stay.

That would be the "Heads I Win, Tails You Lose" school of journalism, I guess.

Those quoted in the story were among the "20 Iraqis interviewed Friday in several cities after both houses of Congress passed measures that set timelines for a withdrawal of U.S. troops as a condition of funding for the war effort."

Kraul failed to quote any Iraqis who are in favor of withdrawal of U.S. troops, despite polls of Iraqis in 2004, 2005 and 2006 all showing a majority of Iraqis want the U.S. to leave. That last one found "70% of Iraqis favor setting a timeline for the withdrawal of US forces."

On the other hand, a story on George Tenet's new criticism of the Administration for ignoring pre-9/11 terrorism warnings and failing to plan for postwar Iraq is featured...on Page 18.

Darn those America/Bush hating "liberals" at the Los Angeles Times!

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Got That?
By Brad Friedman on 4/27/2007 5:39pm PT  

Good lord. The Abramoff scandal now seems to be rotting from inside of the DoJ itself. As if it needed any help.

This from McClatchy late this afternoon (via TPM):

WASHINGTON - A senior Justice Department official has resigned after coming under scrutiny in the Department’s expanding investigation of convicted super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, according to a Justice Department official with knowledge of the case.

Making the situation more awkward for the embattled Department, the official, Robert E. Coughlin II, was deputy chief of staff for the criminal division, which is overseeing the Department’s probe of Abramoff.

He stepped down effective April 6 as investigators in Coughlin’s own division ratcheted up their investigation of lobbyist Kevin Ring, Coughlin’s long-time friend and a key associate of Abramoff.

When contacted at his home in Washington, Coughlin said he resigned voluntarily because he was relocating to Texas. “I was not asked to resign,” he said in an interview with McClatchy Newspapers. “It’s important to me that it's made clear that I left voluntarily.”

He said he couldn’t comment on the Abramoff investigation, nor on whether he has a job lined up in Texas. He referred all other questions to friend Michael Horowitz.

Horowitz, a criminal defense attorney and former Justice Department official and public corruption prosecutor, did not respond to questions, including about whether he is representing Coughlin.

Get your brain around all of that if ya can, as we head into the weekend with the wheels continuing to come off this thing, with a new shoe dropping, it seems, every hour or so of late.

And if you're having trouble keeping score --- at least in the Abramoff game --- McClatchy summarizes our story so far this way:

Coughlin appears to be the first Justice Department official to come under scrutiny in the wide-ranging probe that has implicated a veteran congressman, a deputy Cabinet secretary, a White House aide and eight others.

To which we'll add: So far.

It's gonna get much worse before it gets anything close to better.

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Asks About Mentions of 'Elections or Candidates Provided by White House Officials'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/26/2007 4:46pm PT  

This just in from Henry Waxman's House Oversight Committee office...

Following media reports that at least 20 political briefings were given to officials of at least 15 federal agencies, Chairman Waxman writes to government agencies requesting further information and documents about any briefings mentioning elections or candidates provided to agency employees by officials in the White House. For a list of all agencies, please visit http://oversight.house.gov/story.asp?ID=1272.

A sample of one of Waxman's letters is posted in full at the end of this article.

TPMMuckraker has WH spokesperson Dana Perino's amusing response to questions on the issue, including video. To the point, her most impressive talking point laden response: "There’s nothing wrong with political appointees providing other political appointees with an informational briefing about the political landscape in which they are working."

Waxman's letter follows in full...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Newest Lie in Effort to Tout 'Success' of 'Surge'
RELATED: 100 Civilians Hanged by Iraqi Government Since Re-Instating Death Penalty as American Values are on the March!
By Brad Friedman on 4/26/2007 4:03pm PT  

RAW STORY reports that for the first time, the Iraqi government has withheld data on civilian deaths from a UN Human Rights program which has been tracking such information. The UN is suggesting that it's been done at the behest of the Bush Administration hoping to sell the idea that the "surge" is working.

But what caught my eye was this part of RAW's report, referring to a McClatchy news service article out yesterday revealing that the Bush Administration is now excluding deaths from car bombs in their figures to tout a drop of violence in Iraq since the surge.

Yes, you read that correctly. More mind-blowing, however, was this response from Bush when asked about the issue yesterday on PBS' Charlie Rose:

"Car bombs and other explosive devices have killed thousands of Iraqis in the past three years, but the administration doesn't include them in the casualty counts it has been citing as evidence that the surge of additional U.S. forces is beginning to defuse tensions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims," wrote the news service's Nancy Youssef. "President Bush explained why in a television interview on Tuesday. 'If the standard of success is no car bombings or suicide bombings, we have just handed those who commit suicide bombings a huge victory,' he told TV interviewer Charlie Rose."

I've read those quotes now about six times, and still can't figure out what the hell he is saying. So I'll just say, I don't even know what to say.

In related news... The LA Times reported on Saturday that nearly 100 Iraqis have been hanged since the government re-instituted their death penalty. In one reported case, a trial for an Iraqi-born U.S. citizen accused of kidnapping three journalists lasted "about an hour," with no witnesses testifying, before the man was sentenced to hang.

Great news! George W. Bush's American Values are on the march around the world!

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New Revelation Appears to Counter Corrupt Congressman's Denial That He Was Aware of the Lobbyist's Funding of Overseas Junket...
By Brad Friedman on 4/26/2007 12:48pm PT  

Rep. Tom Feeney's (R-FL) office followed the specific instructions of Jack Abramoff's office in reporting the precise cost of his golf junket to Scotland with the disgraced lobbyist as $5,643, instead of the $20,000 the trip actually cost, according to an email obtained by the St. Petersberg Times.

The brief email is posted at the bottom of this article.

Feeney, the corrupt, once-powerful GOP congressman and very close friend of the Bush Family, has denied for years that he knew the lobbyist had paid for the trip, but the email from Abramoff's assistant seems to suggest otherwise, according to the Times Anita Kumar:

The e-mail from Holly Bowers, Abramoff's then-assistant, instructs recipients to say a conservative think tank, the National Center for Public Policy Research, paid for the trip at a cost of $5,643 per person.

In reality, the extravagant trip that began with a trans-Atlantic flight on a private jet and featured twice-daily golf at world-famous locales cost about $160,000, or $20,000 per person for each of the eight attendees.

Feeney, 48, an Orlando-area Republican who has been contacted by the FBI as part of the Abramoff investigation, reported precisely the details supplied by Abramoff's office in his congressional travel report on the Scotland trip.

The email fails to list thousands of dollars in greens fees incurred by the Scotland contingent's twice-a-day rounds of golf at the legendary Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, one of the world's oldest and most exclusive courses. Feeney now claims he paid those greens fees himself...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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UPI/Washington Times Headline Blames Abramoff for Misreported Cost of Feeney's Trip...
By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2007 8:11pm PT  

Given this morning's Fox "News"/AP switcheroo, here's a bit of headline bait-and-switch that's at least as nifty from UPI and Washington Times tonight (both owned by Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church):

The same headline/article is currently on UPI's website as well.

What next, Mark Foley as a "Democrat"? Oh, wait, never mind...Been there, done that.

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Former Chief of Staff Jason Roe 'Abruptly Resigns' From Romney Campaign as Abramoff Said to be 'Talking so Much He Doesn't Have Time to Eat'
Heat Continues to Build as Everyone Starts Singing in the FBI Investigation of Corrupt Florida Congressman...
By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2007 12:36pm PT  

Signs indicate things are getting worse, and quickly, for one of Congress' most corrupt members, Rep. Tom Feeney, a once-powerful Florida Republican whose extensive career of documented lies, political favors, and routine partisan smear-mongering The BRAD BLOG has covered in great detail over the last two and a half years.

Yesterday, Feeney was fingered as "Representative #3" in recent court filings related to the guilty plea of Republican Congressional Aide Mark Zachares, who admitted receiving some $40,000 in cash and gifts from Jack Abramoff. A day earlier, it was revealed that the FBI had recently interviewed Feeney and requested documents related to his 2003 golf junket to St. Andrews, Scotland with Zachares and the disgraced GOP lobbyist.

Today, court documents reveal that the cost of the 2003 trip was closer to $20,000 per person instead of the $5,643 Feeney claimed when he "paid back" that amount in January of this year, after the House Ethics Committee found him to be in violation of House Rules prohibiting lobbyist-paid travel.

Further news reports indicate much more trouble may be ahead for the beleaguered Congressman, as Abramoff is said to be chattering away to federal investigators --- "so much he doesn't have time to eat," according to one news report --- in hopes of reducing a prison sentence he's currently facing in relation to conspiracy fraud charges to which he's already plead guilty in Florida.

But if that weren't indication enough that Feeney may be in big trouble, it's also now being reported this morning that his former Chief of Staff, Jason Roe --- who, along with his wife, Patricia, has also been the target of corruption allegations --- abruptly resigned from his new position as Deputy Campaign Manager for Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Amusingly, the reason he cited for the resignation was "familial obligations."

Those "familial obligations" might include the fact that Patricia reportedly received some $50,000 from the Feeney campaign for fundraising duties, before becoming Chief of Staff for Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ) --- whose wife's office was raided last week by Federal investigators leading to his resignation this week from all Congressional Committees.

Further, in what TMP's Josh Marshall aptly described last night as "a classic scandal harmonic convergence," the case against Renzi, which included federal wiretaps prior to last year's November election, also has direct implications in the the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal.

And all of the "familial" wives are involved as well.

Following all of this? You may need to take notes. We'll try to make it easy for you...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Noose May Finally be Tightening for the Corrupt Florida Congressman
BRAD BLOG HELPS FBI: Lists a Few More Feeney Matters They May Wish to Inquire About...
By Brad Friedman on 4/24/2007 1:11pm PT  

Orlando Sentinel has some fresh details and Politico has some observations on the papers filed yesterday by the FBI concerning the guilty plea by Mark Zachares in the Abramoff affair, as we discussed yesterday in our item covering the FBI interview of the corrupt Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL).

In addition to what looks like trouble in the case for at least two other GOP Congressmen, it looks like Feeney is being fingered as "Representative #3" in yesterday's filing...

1) Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.), who went to St. Andrews in Scotland with Abramoff in August 2003, finally made the case as "Representative #3." This is not good news for Feeney, and the FBI is reportedly looking into his dealings with Abramoff, according to the St. Petesburg Times. At the direction of the House ethics committee, Feeney has already agreed to pay a fine of $5,643 for improperly reporting the trip.

That can't be seen as good news for Feeney who, we'll remind readers, is a very close friend of the Bush family, having run (unsuccessfully) as Jeb's Lieutenant Governor during his first run in Florida in '98, serving as point man in the FL House during the 2000 Election Debacle (when he promised to give the state's Electors to GWB no matter what the Supreme Court ended up deciding), and much, much more.

We'll also remind readers that the imprisoned Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) was once designated as "Representative #1" before being indicted in the Abramoff affair himself....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Congressional Aide On 2003 Scotland Golf Junket with Both Men, Pleads Guilty, Is Cooperating With Feds
Corrupt Congressman Has Reportedly Spent $23k on Legal Fees So Far This Year...
By Brad Friedman on 4/23/2007 6:29pm PT  

Holy cow. When it rains it pours. Someone get us an umbrella. Quick.

Two related stories collide to suggest some possibly very bad news for our friend, the notoriously corrupt Tom Feeney (R-FL).

First this just in today from the St. Petersberg Times...:

FBI asks Tom Feeney about trip with Abramoff

Feeney's office said the congressman is cooperating voluntarily.

WASHINGTON - The FBI has asked U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney for information about his dealings with Jack Abramoff as part of its ongoing investigation into the lobbyist convicted of defrauding clients.

FBI agent Kevin Luebke refused to say whether Feeney, a Republican from the Orlando area, is under federal investigation.

Federal agents also have asked the St. Petersburg Times for an email sent to the newspaper by Feeney's office describing a golfing trip the congressman took with Abramoff to Scotland in 2003.
...
"Rep. Feeney considers this an embarrassing episode in his 17-year career as an elected official and an expensive lesson for him as a public servant," according to [a statement released by Feeney's office].
...
The FBI contacted the Times last week to ask for the February 2006 email that Feeney's then chief of staff Jason Roe wrote to the newspaper in response to a series of questions about interactions between Feeney and Abramoff. The Times has referred the FBI's request to its attorney.
...
Feeney, 48, who spent a decade in the Florida Legislature where he was speaker of the House, has paid $23,000 in legal fees this year - more than any other expense - according to his latest campaign finance reports.

"Rep. Feeney anticipates voluntarily cooperating with the Justice Department in any further investigation of this trip and looks forward to promptly resolving this matter," according to Feeney's statement.
...
"Any assertion that this office knew Abramoff paid for the Scotland trip is a g--d----- lie," Roe wrote in the email being sought by the FBI. The email was quoted in a newspaper article last year.
...
"Tom has never written a letter for Abramoff. Abramoff has never been in our office. Abramoff has never asked anything of us," Roe wrote in the email. "There is no accusation of a quid pro quo. No quid pro quo exists."

More details in the full story on what we've been reporting for years --- in what seemed like a vaccuum until now --- on Feeney's golf junkets with Abramoff to St. Andrews, Scotland. (See this May 2006 story for example: "Feeney/St. Andrews/Abramoff and Ney/HAVA/Abramoff Connections Still Flying Beneath the Radar")

There were three Congressmen who went on those trips. The first two, Tom DeLay (R-TX) and Bob Ney (R-OH), have both been forced out of Congress in the bargain and are respectively under indictment or in jail. Only Feeney, so far, has escaped both notice and legal accountability.

That may be about to change, however, with today's news that Mark Zachares, an aide to Rep. Don Young (R-AK), will plead guilty tomorrow to accepting some $30,000 worth of goods from Abramoff, with a promise of a job down the line in an interesting scheme that could also reveal something about what Feeney might have been discussing in some fashion with Abramoff.

As AP is reporting tonight:

From June 2002 through November 2004, Zachares worked for the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, providing Abramoff contact information for prospective businesses that would be affected by the creation of the Homeland Security Department, the court papers stated.

The two men worked out a "two-year plan" in which Abramoff would build a homeland security lobbying practice that Zachares ultimately would join.

Feeney has insisted that there was never a deal for anything between him and Abramoff, unlike with DeLay and Ney. However, the notion of long term plans, such as the deal Abramoff was working on with Zachares, has never been discussed in relation to Feeney.

And as luck would have it, Zachares was on that trip with Feeney and Abramoff in 2003 and is cooperating with the feds --- all of which could spell out very bad news indeed for Feeney.

We've been covering the corrupt Congressman in great detail for years in relation to allegations by Florida computer programmer Clint Curtis that Feeney asked him to create a vote-rigging software prototype when they worked together at a software firm in 2000, while Feeney was serving as a registered lobbyist for the company even while he was Speaker of the Florida House. We originally broke that story in December 2004. A summary version is here.

Let's hope Curtis saved those "Clint Curtis for Congress" signs. He may need them again sooner than he might have thought.

As you can imagine, we'll be watching this one closely. And likely with no small amount of elan...

UPDATE 4/24/07: Feeney fingered as "Representative #3" in FBI filings. Details...

For more info on The BRAD BLOG's continuing investigative series on
The Clint Curtis/Tom Feeney/Yang Enterprises Vote-Rigging Scandal series, please see:
- A Quick Summary of the story so far.
- An Index of all the Key Articles & Evidence in the series so far.
- Curtis eventually ended up running for U.S. Congress against Feeney in 2006.
For more info, see: www.ClintCurtis.com
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By Brad Friedman on 4/21/2007 1:48pm PT  

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Issues reported by BRAD BLOG for last three years hit mainstream, are advanced several steps by NYTimes, McClatchy...
By Brad Friedman on 4/20/2007 9:35am PT  

The most valuable takeaway from the entire U.S. Attorney Purge scandal will likely prove to have been the exposure of the long-perpetuated GOP "voter fraud" scam. The scheme has been been so pervasive for so long, but the coverage of it has been largely contained to blogs like ours.

In the interim, the MSM coverage of the issue had been given over to the well-funded Republican propaganda machine which had detailed the phony claims of "voter fraud" as if they were legitimate.

The result, as designed, were calls for restrictive Voter ID legislation at the polling place, an effort that was successful in a number of states. After all, as the Republican snakeoil salesmen oft-repeated, "you need an ID to get on a plane, to cash a check, why not to vote?"

It was a difficult line to refute on its face, but it was built on lies, disinformation, and attempts by this White House and this Republican party to wage an unprecedented effort to keep any portion of the 10 to 30 million Americans (mostly Dem-leaning) without photo ID's (many even without birth certificates!) from being able to cast a vote.

The U.S. Attorney Purge scandal has helped to reveal the insidious scheme, opening it up for everyone to see by helping to expose the slimy, well-funded campaign for what it really is: little more than a broadly-waged, party-funded, voter suppression ploy.

Scores of MSM articles and columns over the past week or two have finally helped expose this scam to the public, and the likes of vote-suppression operative Thor Hearne's well-financed, systematic, White House-run "non-partisan" American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR) has, for now, slithered back underground.

Much of the MSM coverage to date has repeated what BRAD BLOG readers already know since we've been covering it for so long. But there are a couple of notable must-read exceptions recently which move many of these inter-related stories forward several moves...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Has the Former DoD War Architect Ever Met Condi Rice or Colin Powell?
Just Asking...
By Brad Friedman on 4/19/2007 11:42pm PT  

NPR's Morning Edition reported yesterday that Douglas Feith, the Bush Administration's former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, has a new job since leaving the Pentagon. Apparently he's busy rewriting history as a professor at Georgetown University.

In apparent and extreme denial, one of the main Neocon architects for Bush's failed war had the following extraordinary exchange with host Steve Inskeep (who, unfortunately, didn't correct the record, so we guess we'll have to) concerning the rationale for going to War in Iraq. Feith turned downright indignant when Inskeep suggested that there were analysts who didn't see Saddam Hussein as a threat before the war...

NPR: Feith insists that many accounts misstate the reasons the U.S. chose war against Saddam Hussein.

DOUGLAS FEITH: He had demonstrated that he was interested in WMD and the danger was that he could take action in the future that would get him in a major fight with us. At which point he might use the WMD capabilities and connections to terrorists to hurt us.

NPR: Is there any point in that that you ended up assuming too much?

FEITH: I think that...I think that was a reasonable assumption under the circumstances...

NPR: Still...

FEITH: ...Do you not?

NPR: It sounds reasonable the way that you put it.

FEITH: Well that's what we were worried about (laughs)...I don't think that there's anything unreasonable in in...

NPR: ...But of course there were analysts making an entirely different...

FEITH: No, there weren't. No, there weren't....I mean that's just false. I, I, I hope you can do something to clarify this point. I mean, this notion that there were analysts who were saying that Saddam Hussein was not a threat?! There was nobody saying that.

"Nobody saying that"?! Really? Here's just two of them for a start. Names that Mr. Feith might be familiar with:

"[F]rankly, [the sanctions on Iraq] have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors."
- Colin Powell, February 24, 2001

"But in terms of Saddam Hussein being there, let's remember that his country is divided, in effect. He does not control the northern part of his country. We are able to keep arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt."
- Condoleeza Rice, July 29, 2001

What planet do these Bush dead-enders live on, anyway?! Amazing.

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'Don't tell me WE are fighting in this air-conditioned office! WE are not fighting this war! Our TROOPS are fighting this war!' Shouts Engraged Congressman...
By Alan Breslauer on 4/19/2007 5:11pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer


Note from Brad: Holy cow...

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A Special Report from the Hearing Room by BRAD BLOG's D.C. Correspondent Margie Burns
Gonzales Calls US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald 'Outstanding'...
By Margie Burns on 4/19/2007 5:00pm PT  

*** Special to The BRAD BLOG
*** by D.C. Correspondent Margie Burns

Today I sat in on the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, “Department of Justice Oversight,” part of which Brad posted about, earlier. The solo witness was Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, covering some by-now familiar ground in the matter of those questionable firings of US Attorneys in seven of 93 districts. In spite of some repetitive questioning, primarily by Charles Schumer (D-NY), the day was actually enlightening.

First, the hearing further indicated the direct White House connection suggested earlier by Brad. Gonzales is still in a position where he cannot speak freely about Bush, even if he wanted to do so. But even Gonzales’ measured and cautious answers to questions were revealing. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chair of Judiciary, led off by asking whether Gonzales had had any conversations about the US Attorneys with White House senior advisor Karl Rove. Answer: yes, in fall 2006 Gonzales had a conversation with Rove about USAs, regarding “voter fraud” in three districts – New Mexico, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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American Media Stays Fixated on VTech Killings; George W. Bush Still Not in Jail...
By Brad Friedman on 4/18/2007 2:38pm PT  

Killed or Found Dead (So Far) This Week in Iraq...
Sunday: 65
Monday: 51
Tuesday: 85
Wednesday: 233

Look, I hate to keep banging this same drum, but someone needs to.

While the American media continue their infatuation with the horrible shootings at VTech on Monday where 33 students were killed, the carnage continues, several times over, every single day in Iraq. Never mind all that "signs say that the surge is working" bullshit you've been hearing from wingnuts and repeated in the Mainstream Media. It doesn't seem to be doing anything of the kind.

233 were killed or found dead across Iraq today (Wednesday) in a country of 27.5 million.

183 of them were killed in a single car combing incident in the exact same marketplace where 137 were killed at once in a February bombing the month before last.

That follows 85 killed or found dead on Tuesday, 51 killed on Monday, and 65 killed on Sunday (when 20 police officers were also taken captive).

None of that takes away from the tragedy of the 33 killed on Monday at Virginia Tech. But in the United States, a country of more than 300 million, where such mass killings are exceedingly rare --- versus horrifically daily occurrences, year after year after bloody year on end in a country less than one-tenth the size of the U.S. --- one might think the American Mainstream Media would finally pause to take a serious review of the way in which they cover news events.

In case you feel, as one emailer suggested to me, that Americans seem to view the lives of non-American citizens as somewhat less valuable than those of American citizens, I'll also remind you that the killings in Iraq --- though you wouldn't necessarily know it based on American news coverage --- also result in dead Americans.

Some 3,312 American troops have now been killed in Iraq.

3,312.

To date, George W. Bush has failed to attend even one funeral, or ordered flags lowered to half-staff for a single one of them.

Leading me to ask again...At what point does the entire debacle become a criminal action? I suspect that point occurs just as soon as the Mainstream Media realizes that it is, and begins to regard the murders of U.S. Troops and Iraqi Civilians in the same light they view the VTech murders.

Perhaps Nancy Grace can make an honorable woman of herself yet. But I seriously doubt she will.

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