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Duane Shank: Daily News Digest

posted by God's Politics

The lastest news on Libby convicted, Iraq, Federal prosecuters testify, children’s health insurance, Iran, Afghanistan, North Korea, the death penalty, and select editorials.
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Full news summary:

Libby convicted. Libby Found Guilty in CIA Leak Case – “A federal jury convicted I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby of lying about his role in the leak of an undercover CIA officer’s identity, culminating a four-year legal saga that transfixed official Washington and revealed the inner workings of the White House and the media.” Libby Guilty of Lying in C.I.A. Leak Case- “I. Lewis Libby Jr. is the highest-ranking White House official to be convicted of a felony since the Iran-contra scandals of the 1980s.” For an Opaque White House, A Reflection of New Scrutiny - “Shortly before he was inaugurated for his second term, President Bush was asked why no one was held responsible for the mistakes of the first.”We had an accountability moment,” he replied, “and that’s called the 2004 elections.”


A Judgment on Cheney Is Still to Come- Dick Cheney’s critics, and even some of his supporters, say the vice president has been diminished by the proceedings.” Cheney, Rove survive trial with clout intact – “The former chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney now stands convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury in an investigation of the naming of a CIA operative whose husband had accused the Bush administration of manipulating intelligence used to make the case for the invasion of Iraq. Yet Cheney, perhaps the administration’s most ardent supporter of the war, remains largely untouched by the investigation and trial.” Libby ‘Pilloried’ For Leak, Panel Members Believed – “The jurors who huddled around two pushed-together conference tables for 10 days, meticulously filling 34 pages of facts from the trial on a large flip chart, believed that Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff had been “pilloried” for a CIA leak that other top White House aides had committed.” After verdict, jurors call Libby `fall guy’ – “Despite a “tremendous amount of sympathy” for Lewis “Scooter” Libby, jurors Tuesday found the former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice. According to one jury member, some believed Libby was being made a “fall guy” for his White House superiors.”


Iraq. President Cites ‘Encouraging Signs’ From New Iraq Plan – “President Bush said that there are “encouraging signs” that his new strategy in Iraq is working and bluntly challenged a divided Congress to provide funding for the war with no restrictions on commanders.” Bush lauds ‘surge’ results – “President Bush touted positive early results of his troop “surge” in Iraq and urged patience with the plan, though the administration says privately it knows it has only a short time to produce substantive results.” Leaders Try to Get House Democrats Together on Measures to End Iraq War- “Democrats are struggling to reach agreement over what conditions should be placed on war financing.” House’s left wing threatens war funds – “Anti-war Democrats in the House said they would help deny supplemental funding for U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan if the leadership refuses amendments that would limit spending to the current deployment and to a troop withdrawal.”


Children’s Health Insurance. Sen. Pushes to Up Child Insurance Funds – “The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee said that he is pushing for an additional $50 billion over five years for a health care program that insures millions of children. That would bring overall spending to $75 billion – more than double what the administration is proposing.”


Federal prosecutors testify. Prosecutors Say They Felt Pressured, Threatened – “Six fired U.S. attorneys testified on Capitol Hill that they had separately been the target of complaints, improper telephone calls and thinly veiled threats from a high-ranking Justice Department official or members of Congress, both before and after they were abruptly removed from their jobs.” Fired U.S. attorneys testify before Congress- “A fired federal prosecutor described how two Republican lawmakers from New Mexico made him feel “sick” after they called him – in one case at his home – to ask about criminal charges against Democrats last fall, just as one of the officeholders faced a tight reelection race.” Ex-prosecutors felt intimidation – “Several former U.S. attorneys told two congressional committees that they felt political pressure from the Bush administration to remain silent about the circumstances of their firings.”


Iran. Saudis, Iranians seek to heal rift – “The weekend summit between Saudi Arabia and Iran crowned weeks of frenzied diplomatic activity by the two regional powers, which seek to ease Sunni-Shi’it
e tensions by minimizing the presence of the United States, participants and analysts say.” A very public struggle for control – “The bitter rivalry between Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the country’s leading elder statesman has erupted into a public struggle for control over economic policy. Hashemi Rafsanjani, the president’s most influential opponent, set the scene for a power struggle by telling Iranian journalists that Mr Ahmadinejad’s “trial period is over”.


Afghanistan. NATO Offensive Targets Taliban In S. Afghanistan – “NATO and Afghan forces launched what commanders described as a major operation in a key province of southern Afghanistan, part of a bid to win back territory that has become a haven for insurgents.”


Major Afghan offensive begins – “NATO forces launched the alliance’s largest offensive yet against insurgents in southern Afghanistan, marking the start of what both sides predict will be an intense round of fighting over the spring and summer.”


North Korea. U.S. pleased with results of N. Korea talks – “American negotiator Christopher Hill said that two days of talks with his counterpart from North Korea had been “very good” and that the plan to dismantle the country’s nuclear program and normalize ties with the United States was “on the right track.” U.S. Presses North Korea Over Uranium – “The United States said yesterday that North Korea must fully disclose its efforts to produce highly enriched uranium as part of the negotiations now under way that are aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and normalizing relations between the two countries.”


Death penalty. North Carolina sues to get doctors at executions – “In an unusual development, the North Carolina Department of Corrections sued the state’s medical board, asserting that the board’s threat to discipline doctors participating in executions had prevented the state from getting a physician to be present at lethal-injection executions.”


Editorials.


Verdict: He lied. (Chicago Tribune) – “That answers one serious question. But it leaves a much larger–and more important–one hanging: Why? Did Libby lie to help the White House avoid embarrassment? Because he wanted to cover his tracks? Because he just didn’t think he’d get caught? We don’t know.”


The Wider Shame of Walter Reed(New York Times) – “the fundamental responsibility rests with the president and his former defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, who stubbornly insisted on going to war without sufficient resources – and then sought to hide the costs of their disastrous mistakes from the American public.”



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