Friday, May 18

Quick Truths

BP’s ‘environmentally responsible’ image takes a hit.

BP’s ceaseless efforts to promote itself as an environmentally responsible energy producer took a serious blow yesterday after a US congressional committee said ‘a mountain of evidence’ showed the company’s cost-cutting on maintenance had led to a large oil spill in Alaska. The US government said it was ‘highly likely’ to fine BP over the leaks.”

If Iraq parliament wants withdrawal, we do too.

“Some key Republican supporters of President Bush’s Iraq war policy said this week that if the Iraqi parliament calls for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, their position could change dramatically.” Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL), the No. 3 House Republican, says, “I suspect we would respect their wishes. … I think that it would reflect a successful, healthy and well-running parliamentary organization that was delivered to that nation by the sacrifices of our fighting men and women.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made similar statements this weekend.

Hurricane chief: Govt wasting millions on PR campaign.

“The federal government is spending millions of dollars on a publicity campaign that could be used to plug budget shortfalls hurricane forecasters are struggling with, the National Hurricane Center’s director said Thursday. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is spending up to $4 million to publicize a 200th anniversary celebration while the agency has cut $700,000 from hurricane research.”

ABC and CBS ignore Comey testimony.

Media Matters notes, “ABC and CBS still have not reported — on either their evening news or morning news broadcasts — former deputy attorney general James B. Comey’s account of what NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams May 15 called a rare glimpse of a high-level, late-night power struggle over the National Security Agency’s warrantless domestic wiretapping program.”

The civil lawsuit brought by outed CIA agent Valerie Plame “is expected to face a withering attack this morning at a court hearing in Washington,” where attorneys for Vice President Cheney, Scooter Libby and others will urge Judge John Bates — a Bush appointee and former Ken Starr aide — that “the case be thrown out.

“Newly declassified data show that as additional American troops began streaming into Iraq in March and April, the number of attacks on civilians and security forces there stayed relatively steady or at most declined slightly, in the clearest indication yet that the troop increase could take months to have a widespread impact on security.”

Al Gore will release his new book The Assault on Reason next week. Gore tells Time that he began questioning why “our democracy hasn’t responded” to both the climate crisis and the Iraq war. “So I started thinking, What’s going on here? … Our democracy was pushed around by false impressions and wasn’t able to hold its focus,” he says. “That’s the common denominator. Once I’d thought through all of that, I couldn’t not write this book.”

Filmmaker Michael Moore is “launching his own probe into the U.S. government’s investigation of him for making an unauthorized trip to Cuba to film scenes for his latest movie ‘SiCKO,’” beginning with a Freedom of Information Act request seeking all documents regarding the investigation.

“The Justice Department on Wednesday told an angry Senate Judiciary Committee chairman it does not have documents described in a subpoena that demands all materials relating to Karl Rove’s possible involvement in the U.S. attorney firings. Instead, it said, Rove’s lawyer must have them.”

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