Sunday, April 30, 2006


A nation of laws? Not for Bush
[Boston Globe] President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution. . .

An obsession with secrecy,1,5984422.story
As the Bush administration has dramatically accelerated the classification of information as "top secret" or "confidential," one office is refusing to report on its annual activity in classifying documents: the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

A standing executive order, strengthened by President Bush in 2003, requires all agencies and "any other entity within the executive branch" to provide an annual accounting of their classification of documents. More than 80 agencies have collectively reported to the National Archives that they made 15.6 million decisions in 2004 to classify information, nearly double the number in 2001, but Cheney continues to insist he is exempt.

Explaining why the vice president has withheld even a tally of his office's secrecy when such offices as the National Security Council routinely report theirs, a spokeswoman said Cheney is "not under any duty" to provide it. . .
In yet another late Friday sneak attack, the Bush administration threw up another stonewall to an investigation into its illegal warrantless wiretapping of American citizens. As Jeffery Feldman diaried last night, they will invoke the little used "State Secrets Privilege" to demand that the lawsuit brought by the Electronic Frontiers Foundation against AT&T be dismissed. The suit alleges that AT&T collaborated illegally with the NSA in its surveillance program. . .

The FBI secretly sought information last year on 3,501 U.S. citizens and legal residents from their banks and credit card, telephone and Internet companies without a court's approval, the Justice Department said Friday.

It was the first time the Bush administration has publicly disclosed how often it uses the administrative subpoena known as a National Security Letter, which allows the executive branch of government to obtain records about people in terrorism and espionage investigations without a judge's approval or a grand jury subpoena. . .

The Bush gang is threatening to prosecute reporters under espionage laws
[T]he Bush administration is exploring a more radical measure to protect information it says is vital to national security: the criminal prosecution of reporters under the espionage laws.

Such an approach would signal a thorough revision of the informal rules of engagement that have governed the relationship between the press and the government for many decades. Leaking in Washington is commonplace and typically entails tolerable risks for government officials and, at worst, the possibility of subpoenas to journalists seeking the identities of sources.

But the Bush administration is putting pressure on the press as never before, and it is operating in a judicial climate that seems increasingly receptive to constraints on journalists. . .

The Bush gang doesn’t want to release some of the Gitmo prisoners because . . . ahem, cough, cough, cough. . . they’re afraid they’ll be mistreated by their own governments

Where do the ironies end?
[Lea Geller] Military officials claim that of the almost 500 suspects being held at Guantánamo, 150 are ready for repatriation as soon as their return can be negotiated with their home countries. Talks with these countries, especially Saudi Arabia and Yemen which account for almost half of the detainees, have been "complex, time-consuming and difficult." The State Department's human rights bureau is insisting on guarantees that prisoners will not be tortured upon their return and will be treated in accordance with international humanitarian law. Enforcement seems to be the sticking point – officials have no way of monitoring the prisoners. One proposal had the Red Cross visiting prisoners but when the Saudi government refused to allow the Red Cross access to its prisons, the proposal was scrapped.

Of course, the irony of the officials' fears for the safety of the detainees is not lost on well, anyone. A diplomat from an unnamed Middle Eastern country involved in the talks said, "It is kind of ironic that the U.S. government is placing conditions on other countries that it would not follow itself in Guantánamo or Abu Ghraib.”

Rumsfeld linked directly to authorizing prisoner abuse

Mission Accomplished
[T]he democratic process, seen as the main hope for ending the violence, has been unable to stop it. Two constitutions, two elections and a referendum later, Iraq is reeling toward more chaos, not less. . .

Do the Republicans MIND tagging themselves as the party of scandal? They seem to be working hard at it
[SusanG] While we're wallowing in the Republican Whorefest at the Watergate it's easy to lose sight of plain old-fashioned, money-based GOP corruption stories clicking across the news wires at a NASCAR pace. As a public service, I bring you three separate stories about shenanigans - and keep in mind, these are all articles from just this morning. . .
The day before the Republican House leadership struggled for five hours to bring lobby reform legislation to the floor, Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-Calif.) declared that voters have little or no interest in ethics legislation.

"Do I think they care about it? No, I don't," Doolittle told a reporter. Doolittle said that during the April 7-23 recess, he did not hear "anything about Jack Abramoff," the central figure in a lobbying scandal. . .

[V]oters appear to be interested in the ethics issues. A number of polls show the Abramoff lobbying investigation and the guilty plea by former representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.) to bribery charges appear to be having a negative effect on the public's view of the Republican Party in general, as well as on legislators, such as Doolittle, who have been linked to Abramoff.

For three years, Democrats have pounded on the theme of a Republican "culture of corruption." Some political strategists have questioned whether the corruption issue has much traction with voters, but the surveys suggest the Democrats may have tapped into something that could boost their prospects in the November elections. . .


Yesterday, we had the news that the limo company that allegedly transported prostitutes for Republican congressmen was also the recipient of a multimillion dollar Homeland Security contract! No, you couldn’t make it up. . .
[WP] The Homeland Security Department said it awarded Shirlington Limousine, one of three bidders, another one-year contract for $21.2 million in October.

Homeland Security spokesman Larry Orluskie said the department does not routinely conduct background checks on its contractors. . .

[Georgia10] So, Homeland Security does not thoroughly vet its contractors, even if they are given the highly sensitive task of driving around high-level members of our government. And it doesn't thoroughly vet its contractors before it awards them millions of dollars in contracts. This incompetence at DHS should be a scandal in and of itself. . .

What this scandal tells us about the CIA
[Laura Rozen] What was Charlie Wilson about? He was about implementing the policy inside the policy, the secret policy that a faction inside the White House and the intelligence services and the right (and in Wilson's case, a hawkish wing of the nat'l security Democrats) wanted to be run, even as it officially didn't exist, wasn't approved, evaded oversight until long after the fact. It wasn't about the money for Wilson, it was about the cause. And from what I've heard of the very large contract Wilkes was in discussions to potentially receive from the CIA, to set up an off the books plane network for the Agency, and Wilkes and Foggo's earlier activities, for instance, supporting covert US efforts to arm and fund the contras, that fits right into the paradigm, the off-the-books secret policy that the tough guys run steering under the radar of a democratic system, with an informal network of friends, profiteers, true believers and wanna-bes on the inside and the outside. Was it just about the money? Or was it about the semi deniable policy within the policy, run by those who had proved themselves over time, from Central America and Afghanistan to cigar-smoke filled Watergate suites, to be reliable members of the club that doesn't overly concern itself with the law? More than that: it's about this club's conviction that the law is an impediment to the national security cause, that the way to run things is through these informal networks. One can imagine over time the kind of arrogance, recklessness and contempt for the law, democratic governance and just simple standards of morality that might breed among those who have operated in this milieu. It's hardly a surprise that people who have done business for years with those who share these convictions would use prostitutes, pay bribes and take bribes; in a deeper way, they have been the go-to guys for policies that were incompatable with the law and democracy all along, from arming the mujahedeen to Iran contra to extraordinary renditions, but which they may have believed were worthy.

Jeralyn Merritt has been highlighting the newly released emails as a factor in the renewed pressure on Karl Rove in the Plame case. Here she connects some dots

And a question:

Limbaugh and his lawyer have the audacity to represent his plea bargain for doctor shopping as a “not guilty” decision


John McCain (former “maverick”) keeps cozying up to the hard right (thanks to David N for the link)

Speaking of tacking rightward, could Joe Lieberman lose the Democratic primary in Connecticut?

Sunday talk show line-ups
FOX NEWS SUNDAY: White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten and incoming White House press secretary Tony Snow.

THIS WEEK (ABC): Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), actor George Clooney and former senator J. Bennett Johnston (D-La.).

FACE THE NATION (CBS): Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Rice.

MEET THE PRESS (NBC): Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman, Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), American Petroleum Institute President Red Cavaney, co-founder Jim Cramer and author Daniel Yergin.

LATE EDITION (CNN): Sens. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), former CIA director R. James Woolsey, former Israeli intelligence director Efraim Halevy and Rice.

Bonus item: The GOP war plans for the coming election (revealed)

Extra bonus: Stephen Colbert at the WH Correspondents dinner (“reality has a well-known liberal bias”)


***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Saturday, April 29, 2006


Sometimes they’re better than the original, sometimes not as good. . . an unbelievable day of scandal, corruption, and failure

Watergate II
[Brent] Wilkes, whom federal prosecutors have identified as a co-conspirator in the bribery case of former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, rented hospitality suites in the capital on behalf of his flagship company, ADCS Inc.

As The San Diego Union-Tribune reported in December, the suites – first at the Watergate Hotel and then at the Westin Grand Hotel – had several bedrooms where lawmakers and other guests could relax.

Federal investigators are trying to determine whether Cunningham and other legislators brought prostitutes to the hotels or prostitutes were provided for them there, according to a report in yesterday's Wall Street Journal and confirmed by the Union-Tribune. . .
‘As Many as a Half a Dozen’ Members of Congress May Be Involved. . .

[NB: Nothing says “fat cats” quite like liquor, “hospitality suites,” and prostitutes. . . Thanks GOP]
[Laura Rozen] A lawyer/reader writes, "This may prove to be the most important paragraph in today's San Diego Tribune story about hookergate":

Two of Wilkes' former business associates say they were present on several occasions when Shirlington Limousine & Transportation Service of northern Virginia brought prostitutes to the suite. They say they did not see lawmakers in the suites on those occasions, though both had heard rumors of congressmen bringing women to the rooms.

"The limousine company was in Virginia and, it appears, it transported prostitutes across state lines into the District of Columbia. That's a federal crime. . .”
[Harper’s] Shirlington Limousine is also a Department of Homeland Security contractor; according to the Washington Post, last fall it won a $21.2 million contract for shuttle services and transportation support. . .
Ken Silverstein at Harper's blog dropped a bombshell last night about just how far-reaching the scandal may be, revealing that the FBI is investigating former lawmakers, including "one person who now holds a powerful intelligence post." TPM Muckraker points out that CIA Director Porter Goss fits that description perfectly. Silverstein also disclosed that there are pictures. . .

Porter Goss?!??
[Billmon] It doesn't bring Goss into the picture -- at least not yet -- but it gets pretty close

People who were present at the games said one of the regular players was Kyle Dustin “Dusty” Foggo, who has been Wilkes' best friend since the two attended junior high school in Chula Vista in the late 1960s. In October, Foggo was named the CIA's executive director -- the agency's third-highest position.

It was Porter, of course, who did the naming -- plucking Foggo from deep within the bowels (there's that metaphor again) of the agency's procurement bureaucracy and dragging him up to the director's office. . . But it's at least possible that the intersection of sex, money and official secrecy will turn this story into something much more special. Who knows? Depending on how high the guest list goes for Wilkes's poker-and-prostitution soirées, this might even become the redneck equivalent of the Christine Keeler affair -- a reference British readers will probably recognize and American ones can find out more about by reading this article or renting this movie. . .

Porter Goss responds:


But that’s not even the WORST scandal reported yesterday (!)
The Washington Post reports on another scandal today, one more along the usual lines of Republican chicanery, this one dealing with money. Lots and lots of taxpayers' money. . .
[Matt Yglesias] "Of the total war spending, the CRS analysis found $4 billion that could not be tracked. It did identify $2.5 billion diverted from other spending authorizations in 2001 and 2002 to prepare for the invasion." I'm fairly sure you're not allowed to "divert" money from other spending authorizations, and you're certainly not supposed to lose $4 billion in untrackable spending. Nor does it sound entirely appropriate for the Pentagon to be running its operation in such a way that the CRS can't discern the causes of 50 percent spending increases. All the sort of thing a real congress would hold some hearings on, and, once again, I won't be holding my breath. . .

Dubai II

State Dept Terrorism Report II
[John Aravosis] 3,000 terrorist attacks worldwide in 2004, 11,000 in 2005. . . If this is success, I have a civil war in Iraq I'd like to sell you.
[Holden] The State Department's annual terrorism report finds that Iraq is becoming a safe haven for terrorists and has attracted a "foreign fighter pipeline" linked to terrorist plots, cells and attacks throughout the world. . .

April is the cruelest month
[AP] An American soldier was killed in a roadside bombing north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said Friday, as April became the deadliest month for U.S. forces in Iraq this year. . .

Bush (again) uses a national crisis as an excuse to try to expand his personal power
Isn't there something more than vaguely pathetic about the president trying to position himself as the champion of raising fuel efficiency standards? . . .


Rice and Rummy’s dog and pony show
[WP] A full 10 seconds of silence passed after a reporter asked Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld what the intense secrecy and security surrounding their visit to Iraq signified about the stability of the country three years after the U.S.-led invasion. Rice turned to Rumsfeld to provide the answer. Rumsfeld glared at the reporter. . . [read on!]

Karl Rove: big trouble?
[Murray Waas] It has been widely reported that Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fizgerald has been trying to determine whether Rove tried to mislead the FBI and the grand jury in the early stages of the leak probe when he failed to disclose that he had talked to Cooper about Plame three days before she was outed as a CIA officer. But it has not been previously known that much of the questioning of Rove on Wednesday also focused on the contradictions between Cooper's and Rove's accounts of their crucial July 11 conversation. . .

Rove also testified to the grand jury that when he told Cooper that Plame worked at the agency, he was only passing along unverified gossip.

In contrast, Cooper has testified that Rove told him in a phone conversation on July 11, 2003, that Plame worked for the CIA and played a role in having the agency select her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, to make a fact-finding trip to Niger in 2002.

Cooper has also testified that Rove, as well as a second source -- I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, then-chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney -- portrayed the information about Plame as accurate and authoritative. . .
Rove’s in even more trouble than we thought. . .


Ney, Harris, NH phone jamming, and Schmidt: the gifts that keep on giving. . .
Federal prosecutors signaled this week that they have decided to pursue a wide range of allegations about dealings between Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio) and lobbyist Jack Abramoff, rather than bringing a narrowly focused bribery case against the congressman. . .
There is growing concern among Republicans that Katherine Harris not only can't beat Sen. Bill Nelson this November, but she could drag other Republicans down with her. . .
The latest Republican to be implicated in the telephone scandal, in which Democratic phone banks were jammed, and that may have links to Ken Mehlman, is Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. . .
Cincy Enquirer: "A unanimous Ohio Elections Commission voted to issue U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt a public reprimand Thursday for "false statements" - claiming she had a second undergraduate degree from the University of Cincinnati that she never received."


Oh, my!
FBI opens investigation into Missouri Governor Matt Blunt's administration. Blunt is the son of Roy Blunt, House Majority Whip. . .

The kind of people they are (Part 1)
After holding a press conference at a local gas station in Washington, D.C., House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) was photographed several blocks away getting out of the hybrid automobile he used at the event and getting back into his gasoline-powered SUV. . .

The kind of people they are (Part 2)
A few weeks back, I mentioned a campaign ad so bizarre, it was hard to believe it was true. The candidate is North Carolina's Vernon Robinson, and if you weren't paying close attention, you'd swear the guy was a parody of a loony right-wing candidate. . . This month it's a hilarious radio ad. Here's the link to the audio and here's the transcript. . .

Had Enough?

Rush Limbaugh cuts a deal, turns himself in
Rush Limbaugh, the conservative talk-radio host, was charged yesterday with prescription drug fraud and turned himself in to Florida authorities as part of a deal to resolve a lengthy inquiry into whether he improperly obtained painkillers. . .
[Billmon] Liberal Prosecutors Let Known Drug Offender Go Free . . . Boy, you gotta imagine law-and-order conservatives are going to be up in arms about this latest outrage by our morally depraved, bleeding heart, revolving door criminal justice system. . . I bet Rush will REALLY give 'em some hell on his next show.


Is Bob Woodward “retiring” from the Washington Post?

The traditional media notices blogs
[Howard Kurtz] Why are the best blogs sometimes more compelling than the "Senator Jones said yesterday" style of too much newswriting?. . . .

Bonus item: Bush not praying hard enough!

[Satire from the Onion:]

Extra bonus: funny headline
Opting for Defense, the Texans Pass on Bush. . .

[NB: It’s a football story. . . but, no, I don’t think it’s an accident]

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Friday, April 28, 2006


Put that champagne on ice. . .
Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in the C.I.A. leak case, is expected to decide in the next two to three weeks whether to bring perjury charges against Karl Rove. . .


MSNBC's David Schuster will report on Keith Olbermann's show tonight that Karl Rove described his grand jury appearance yesterday as "hell" and is more worried he will be indicted. . .
Karl Rove has described his three and a half hour meeting with a grand jury as grueling, and is more worried about being prosecuted than ever, MSNBC is reporting. . .
[NYT] A lawyer with knowledge of the case said that Mr. Rove had known for more than a month that he was likely to make another appearance before the grand jury, and that he had known since last fall that he would be subject to further questions from Mr. Fitzgerald before the prosecutor completed his inquiry.

[Joe] Yes, Karl knew a month ago that he'd be back for appearance number 5 before the grand jury. What a coincidence, then, that he was "demoted" just last week. . . .The White House is clearly worried. . .
[Dan Froomkin] Karl Rove has a long history of doing his best work when he's facing disaster, and that's where he was again yesterday as he made a startling fifth appearance before grand jurors investigating the leak of a CIA agent's identity. . . The tea-leaf reading is at a fever pace. . .
[Jeralyn Merritt] It seems inescapable to me that Karl Rove will be charged with making at least one false statement to federal officials . . .


We had this yesterday, but the consensus is in: Rove’s excuse for lying in his previous testimony makes NO sense
[WP] Rove’s testimony focused almost exclusively on his conversation about Plame with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper in 2003 and whether the top aide later tried to conceal it, the source [close to Rove] said. Rove testified, in essence, that “it would have been a suicide mission” to “deliberately lie” about his conversation with Cooper because he knew beforehand that it eventually would be revealed, the source said.

[Faiz] Rove wants the grand jury to believe that he wouldn’t have lied in 2003 about his role in the Plame affair because he knew journalists would ultimately tell the truth. But in fact, President Bush and the White House believed in 2003 that journalists would remain silent about the case and would refuse to name their sources. . .
[Steve Benen] That really doesn't make a lot of sense. . . It's such an odd argument, and it's so easily disproved, I can't imagine why "sources close to Rove" would even make it. . .
Here's how Rove's story goes: Rove testifed in February 2004 that he hadn't spoken with Cooper. Sometime around then (after Rove's testimony, one would assume), another Time reporter, Viveca Novak, told Rove's lawyer Robert Luskin that she'd heard Rove had spoken with Cooper. Luskin was "surprised," according to Novak, because Rove hadn't remembered that conversation. This sparked a search of Rove's emails, unearthing one which showed Rove writing about his conversation with Cooper. So then Rove went back and told prosecutors that he'd spoken with Cooper. . . Prosecutors seem to be skeptical of all this and are said to be contemplating perjury/obstruction of justice charges.
But wait. At the time of his earlier testimony -- the testimony being examined by Patrick Fitzgerald -- Rove is supposed to have forgotten about his conversation with Cooper. In other words, he was then supposedly unaware that it had happened. So how could he have at that time worried that it would eventually be revealed, as he reportedly said yesterday? If he didn't remember it having occurred at all, how could he fear that it would come out later?
[BooMan] On December 1, 2005, the New York Times reported "Mr. Rove's lawyer, Robert D. Luskin, spoke in the summer or early fall of 2004 with Viveca Novak, a reporter for Time." That would have placed the meeting well after Rove's original testimony and not too far prior to his October testimony. But Ms. Novak testified that the meeting happened "anywhere from January 2004 to May 2004, although she believed that the conversation more likely took place in May."

In the past, it was assumed that Rove's defense relied on his not having heard of the Novak-Luskin meeting prior to his February 2004 testimony. But now it appears that his defense is that he did hear of the meeting and would therefore have had to be 'suicidal' to lie to the Grand Jury. If this is hard to follow, it is because it doesn't make any sense.

This is what it appears Rove is saying. Prior to his February 2004 testimony, his lawyer informed him that everyone in the Time newsroom was under the impression that Matt Cooper had used Rove as a source for his Plame article. But Rove dismissed that chatter as a mere rumor because he didn't remember talking to Cooper about Plame. He says it would have been suicidal to lie about it if it were true because of all the chatter and the fact that Cooper would certainly have to talk about it at some point. But Cooper (as well as Judith Miller) were defying subpoenas and the matter was tied up in the courts. Soon after Cooper agreed to testify, Rove and Luskin discovered an email to Hadley that confirmed Rove had spoken to Cooper about Niger. Rove now knew that a conversation must have taken place and after he realized that Cooper had sent a contemperaneous email to his editor mentioning Plame, he realized his recollection must be wrong. At that point, he turned over the email and voluntarily returned to the Grand Jury to correct the record.

If you believe that, I got a bridge to sell you. If anything, this testimony is even more damning . . .
[Atrios] Rove's defense is that of course he knew that everyone at Time thought he spoke to Matt Cooper, but he didn't remember doing so and how could have been so stupid as to lie about such a thing. . .
[Josh Marshall] Rove tells the grand jury that he didn't lie to prosecutors, because it would have been foolish of him to do so. . .


Annals of government secrecy
The CIA and other agencies wrongly kept secret about a third of the records they pulled from public shelves at the National Archives during reclassification efforts that were far more extensive than previously disclosed . . .
The CIA has imposed new and tighter restrictions on the books, articles, and opinion pieces published by former employees who are still contractors with the intelligence agency. According to several former CIA officials affected by the new policy, the rules are intended to suppress criticism of the Bush administration and of the CIA . . .


Pat Roberts, Bush puppet
[Kevin Drum] Greg Sargent has more on the delaying game being played by Senate Intelligence Committee chair Pat Roberts. He's confirmed that Roberts quietly allowed a key deadline for his committee's investigation into intelligence manipulation to slip weeks ago, with no indication of when, if ever, Roberts plans to meet it. Now that the subject of the committee is possible misconduct by President Bush, Roberts obviously has no intention of ever allowing anything to see the light of day. . . .

In February, a New York Times editorial asked rhetorically, "Is there any aspect of President Bush's miserable record on intelligence that Senator Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is not willing to excuse and help to cover up?". . .

Arlen Specter (again) making noises of outrage over Bush’s illegal spying: but will he do anything about it?


The GOP legislative record
[Sam Rosenfeld] The collapse of the Republicans' once-formidable legislative machine in Congress is fairly bracing to behold. While immigration reform remains bogged down, intra-GOP squabbling over earmarking and appropriations are hampering the prospects for passing a budget resolution, an emergency supplemental bill, and lobbying reform. . .

The GOP take on high gas prices (in their typically disingenuous fashion)
[Joshua Kucera] The New York Times and Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal world-wide newsbox all lead with Republican senators proposing a package of measures aimed at reducing the burden of high gas prices, including cutting taxpayers a $100 check. . . No one takes the proposals seriously, especially not the editorial pages, where words like "silly," "pander," and "stunt" are used liberally. . .

Now THAT’S chutzpah (thanks to Josh Marshall for the link)
Sen. Conrad Burns said Wednesday he hasn't decided how he will pay for a white-collar criminal defense lawyer he has hired. . . Jason Klindt, a Burns spokesman, told the Associated Press on Tuesday that Burns had hired Caccia to "review the facts" in the Jack Abramoff matter. Klindt said Wednesday that Burns has hired Caccia's firm as his personal lawyer but may choose to have his re-election campaign pay the bill "due to the partisan nature of it” . . .

Sex, sex, sex! (now maybe the press will pay attention)
[WSJ] Federal prosecutors are investigating whether two contractors implicated in the bribery of former Rep. Randall "Duke" Cunningham supplied him with prostitutes and free use of a limousine and hotel suites, pursuing evidence that could broaden their long-running inquiry.

Besides scrutinizing the prostitution scheme for evidence that might implicate contractor Brent Wilkes, investigators are focusing on whether any other members of Congress, or their staffs, may also have used the same free services . . .


Porter Goss (ex-congressman, now Bush’s head of the CIA) hooked up with Cunningham’s prostitutes?!? Don’t tease me

With monstrous oil company profiteering, wouldn’t this be a good time to revisit the Cheney energy task force records?

The kind of people they are (don’t miss it)

Why we lose
[Kos] I wrote yesterday how [Republican] Lincoln Chafee repayed the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters for their endorsement by failing to block the nomination of a polluter lobbyist to handle clean air issues at the EPA. And this polluter lobbyist is really, really bad.

I emailed the Sierra Club's national press secretary, David Willett, and asked him if the Sierra Club was still happy with the Chafee endorsement despite the vote, and the response. . .


Good news: Democrats show some spine, challenge illegal Bush budget law

Maybe now that ex-Fox News anchor Tony Snow is the Bush press secretary, they can begin channeling all government news directly through Fox and just bypass all the other networks

Joe Klein gets an owie
Joe Klein is the flower of American political journalism. . . Today, at the very peak of his profession, he's a columnist for Time magazine and emblematic of all that's smug and clueless in the mainstream press. . .

Bonus item: It’s well-known by now that many in the media try to shape news in the most favorable light for Bush, but this is ridiculous
NBC Today host Katie Couric asked Tim Russert if "in a strange way, the White House is breathing a sigh of relief" because President Bush's approval rating in a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll was "down just one point.". . . Bush's new approval rating of 36 percent is his lowest ever recorded in that poll. . .

Mission Accomplished:

Extra bonus item: Neil Young

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Rove back before grand jury for the fifth time: does this mean big trouble, or just wrapping up a few details? No one knows, but. . .
[Kevin Drum] Karl Rove testified today for the fifth time before the grand jury investigating the Valerie Plame case, and it appears that his testimony revolved around former Time magazine reporter Viveca Novak (no relation to Robert Novak). Here's a recap:

1 Rove originally testified that he had never spoken to Time reporter Matt Cooper about Plame.

2 Later, Rove admitted that he had, in fact, spoken to Cooper. His excuse for his earlier testimony was that he had had a simple memory lapse and had forgotten about the conversation.

3 However, prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald (or so it was rumored) didn't buy the "I forgot" story and was ready to indict Rove for perjury. But then he held off. This was apparently due to a last-minute conversation he had with Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin.

4 What Luskin told Fitzgerald was that Rove really had forgotten about his conversation with Cooper — and what jarred Rove's memory was a conversation Luskin had with [Viveca] Novak, who told him offhandedly that Cooper had spoken to Rove and everyone in the Time newsroom knew it. Luskin immediately went to Rove, initiated a massive search of Rove's email, and eventually discovered that, yes, Rove really had spoken to Cooper. That was what caused Rove to go back to the grand jury and correct his testimony.

5 But is that really true? The reason nobody knew about the phone call in the first place is that it wasn't entered in Rove's phone log, and Raw Story claims that Rove's secretary has testified that Rove specifically told her not to log it. Needless to say, that's mighty incriminating behavior. However, no other news account that I know of has confirmed this.

So: did Rove really forget? Or did he lie and then correct his testimony only when he knew he was about to get caught? . . .
[Tim Grieve] Rove's leaks: Although White House press secretary Scott McClellan insisted in September and October 2003 that Rove wasn't involved in Plame's outing, we now know that that's not true. Rove has reportedly admitted to the grand jury that he leaked Plame's identity to Bob Novak, and Time's Matthew Cooper has testified that Rove leaked to him, too. We don't know whether Rove leaked to other reporters; a spokesman for Rove has said that he didn't leak Plame's identity to Bob Woodward, who says that someone in the administration leaked to him in June 2003.

Rove's testimony: Rove failed to mention his leak to Matthew Cooper when FBI investigators first interviewed him about the Plame case back in the fall of 2003. He also apparently failed to mention it when he first testified before Fitzgerald's grand jury back in February 2004.

The Viveca Novak episode: Sometime in early 2004 -- after Rove made his first appearance before the grand jury -- Time reporter Viveca Novak had a drink with her friend Robert Luskin. Luskin, who is Rove's lawyer, told Novak that Rove didn't leak Plame's identity to Cooper. Novak told Luskin that she had heard otherwise at Time. Novak says that Luskin seemed genuinely surprised by her news and that he followed up by searching again through White House e-mails for evidence of a Cooper-Rove conversation. He apparently found it in a message Rove sent to Stephen Hadley at the National Security Council right after Rove got off the phone with Cooper. In the message, Rove wrote that Cooper had asked him about Joseph Wilson's trip to Niger but that Rove had warned him from making too much of the story.

The spin: Rove returned to the grand jury room in October 2004 -- five months or so after Novak's conversation with Luskin -- and he reportedly admitted then that he'd talked with Cooper about Plame. Rove's camp argues that he'd simply forgotten about the conversation before and that Novak's conversation with Luskin -- and the e-mail message discovered as a result -- refreshed his recollection. That's one way to spin it. The other is that Rove, knowing that his call with Cooper wasn't on the White House phone logs, simply chose to hide the fact that he'd talked with Cooper until he was confronted with evidence to the contrary and with the knowledge that Cooper was being held in contempt of court for his own refusal to testify about the conversation.

Rove's October escape: In October 2005, as Washington waited day in and day out for news of indictments, Luskin met with Fitzgerald, and Rove went before the grand jury again. At the time, it seemed likely that Rove was trying to clear up the inconsistencies and omissions in his own story; Luskin was apparently arguing that additional e-mail messages Rove sent in the summer of 2003 suggested -- through their silence on the Plame matter -- that the outing wasn't a big deal to Rove and that therefore he really might have simply forgotten about his conversation with Cooper. But Murray Waas was reporting then that Rove would also be asked about conversations he had with Libby in the week before Robert Novak outed Plame, and the indictment the grand jury handed down at the end of October seemed to confirm as much: Only Libby was indicted, and Rove got away with just a mention as the mysterious "Official A" who told Libby that Novak would be writing a column in which he mentioned Plame.

The tea leaves: When Fitzgerald announced Libby's indictment, he was asked whether Rove was off the hook. He declined to answer, but Luskin acknowledged that the investigation into his client was continuing. Public developments in the case have been few and far between since then. We heard revelations from Bob Woodward in November and Viveca Novak in December, and Fitzgerald met with a new grand jury then, but most of the press focus has remained on the White House official the grand jury indicted rather than the one it didn't. That began to change last week amid speculation that Karl Rove's job change might be a sign that an indictment was near. Rove supporters are telling CNN that today's grand jury testimony could lead, once and for all, to a happy resolution for him. Others, like the Huffington Post's Lawrence O'Donnell, are wondering whether an indictment isn't imminent. We've heard both kinds of predictions a whole lot of times over the course of the last year. We'll be standing by.

You want more? We got more:

The latest development
In his fifth appearance before the grand jury, Rove spent considerable time arguing that it would have been foolish for him to knowingly mislead investigators about his role in the disclosure of the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame to the media, the source said. . .

Rove for the first time partly waived his attorney-client privilege to detail conversations he had with his attorney, Robert Luskin, about the leak and his knowledge of it, the source said.

Rove's testimony focused almost exclusively on his conversation about Plame with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper in 2003 and whether the top aide later tried to conceal it, the source said. Rove testified, in essence, that "it would have been a suicide mission" to "deliberately lie" about his conversation with Cooper because he knew beforehand that it eventually would be revealed, the source said. . .

[NB: That last line reeks. How could Rove have known that it would be revealed when he was doing everything he could to cover up the conversation? And given that he had “forgotten” the Cooper conversation, how is it that he remembers so much now about his state of mind when he talked about it?]


Jason Leopold, yes:
Karl Rove's appearance before a grand jury in the CIA leak case Wednesday comes on the heels of a "target letter" sent to his attorney recently by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, signaling that the Deputy White House Chief of Staff may face imminent indictment . . .

Rove’s lawyer, no:
"In connection with this appearance, the special counsel has advised Mr. Rove that he is not a target of the investigation," Luskin said in a statement. "Mr. Fitzgerald has affirmed that he has made no decision concerning charges." Regarding Rove's testimony, Luskin said it centered on information that has surfaced since he last testified, in October.

Jason Leopold, YES!
My sources maintain that Rove is a target and that Luskin understood that. I called Luskin again to get his statement. But he did not return the call. Rove's spokesman at the White House also weighed in, specifically denying my report that Rove received a target letter. This is the same White House that has refused to discuss this case for more than two years but decided on Wednesday to break its silence and respond to my story and deny that it's true. That seems odd. . .

[Digby] Odd lawyerly sentence, ripe for parsing:

In connection with his appearance, the special prosecutor has advised Mr Rove that he is not a target of the investigation.

Why not just say the prosecutor has advised Mr Rove that he is not a target?
[Kevin Drum] That's pretty weaselly language, so it's hard to know what to make of it. Luskin doesn't say that Rove isn't a target, only that he's not a target "in connection with this appearance." As for bringing charges, there's no telling what "no decision" means. Maybe he's waiting to see if Rove cooperates in testimony against someone else. Maybe that's just boilerplate stuff that prosecutors say until the day they hand down an indictment. Who knows?

Did Rove ask to see Fitz, or vice versa? Why it matters


Wild and irresponsible speculation: enjoy

Conservative pundits start flailing wildly
[Bill Bennett] We are talking about the name of an agent that was not covert . . . She was not covert. . .

US to pull out 30,000 troops from Iraq?
[Steve Clemons] ABC News is reporting that the Pentagon hopes to pull 30,000 troops out of Iraq if conditions are right on the ground.

The condition that most matters most to the White House and our President, "the decider," is the proximity to election day on November 7, 2006.

War crimes
[AP] The CIA has conducted more than 1,000 undeclared flights over European territory since 2001 — a clear violation of an international treaty, European Parliament investigators said Wednesday. . .


George Bush, the pusher (thanks to Billmon)
[George Bush, 2006] The prices that people are paying at the gas pumps reflect our addiction to oil. Addiction to oil is a matter of national security concern . . . These countries know we need their oil, and that reduces our influence, our ability to keep the peace in some areas.

[Ari Fleischer, 2001] The President believes that it's an American way of life, and that it should be the goal of policy makers to protect the American way of life. The American way of life is a blessed one . . . The President also believes that the American people's use of energy is a reflection of the strength of our economy, of the way of life that the American people have come to enjoy.

Yep, time to start praying:
Clergy in the nation's capital and across the country pray for lower gas prices . . .

Republicans put Bush in an impossible spot: to veto, or not to veto?
The Senate voted Wednesday to divert some of the money President Bush requested for the war in Iraq to instead increase patrols against illegal immigrants on the nation's borders and provide the Coast Guard with new boats and helicopters. . .


FEMA worked fine for more than 20 years. Bush and Brownie destroyed it,0,7340341.story


Republicans are no longer worried about the corruption issue (yeah, you just keep thinking that way)

Polls hit another new low – and the most ominous number of all for impending regime change
[O]nly 24% think the country's moving in the right direction . . .

Rick Santorum, Senator from PENNSYLVANIA, says he doesn’t live in Pennsylvania any more (thanks to Atrios for the link). Boy, is this guy stupid,-the-Good-Old-Days.html

What they’re doing with our public school data
[AP] The Defense Department is violating the privacy of millions of high school students nationwide with a detailed database it uses for military recruitment, a federal lawsuit filed Monday claims.

The New York Civil Liberties Union sued on behalf of six high schoolers, saying the department is ignoring privacy rules set by Congress regarding the collection and distribution of students' personal information. . .

Poor baby
[Howard Kurtz] Tony Snow hadn't so much as walked into the briefing room to thank the president for appointing him when the liberal bloggers started ripping him apart.

Welcome to the White House, dude.

The libs were having the most fun rounding up past columns where the Fox News commentator took potshots at the prez (while ignoring the 90 percent of verbiage in which Snow was supportive). . .

[NB: Yeah, why didn’t we focus on all those times when the new Press Secretary DIDN’T call his new boss “impotent,” a “wimp,” and “an embarrassment”?]

Progressive blog demographics

Bonus item: An essay on the Bush regime’s “hubris” and “tragic flaws.” Hubris, yes, but not the latter. Tragic flaws only appear in basically good, noble characters who have a trait that brings them to catastrophe (that’s what makes them “tragic”). Othello has a tragic flaw. Iago doesn’t . . .

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006


When Bush claims to be trying to shrink oil companies’ profits, all you can do is shake your head – does he really think we are that stupid?
President Bush on Tuesday ordered a temporary halt to deposits to the nation's strategic petroleum reserve to make more oil available for consumer needs and relieve pressure on pump prices. . . Bush also announced steps to ease environmental standards governing fuel grades. . .

[NB: So, let’s see – allowing the oil companies to convert even more oil to high-priced gasoline and releasing them “temporarily” from environmental requirements. Ohhh, that’s getting tough with them. I’ll bet they’re just howling in agony.

Here’s the good thing: prices always go up over the summer. Now, by grasping the nettle, Bush has allowed himself to be blamed all the more when prices go up, because these measures won’t do anything to prevent it.]
[SusanG] Any bets on how long a "temporary suspension" will last?

And is anyone else detecting a pattern here?

In the wake of Katrina, Bush suspends prevailing wage laws.

In the aftermath of 9/11, Bush basically suspends the Fourth Amendment and, at Gitmo, the right to a fair trial.

There is no tragedy, crisis or concern in this country that will go unmet by this administration. . . with a boon to cronies or a bolstering of executive power.
[Georgia10] So President Bush woke up today and suddenly gave a damn about gas prices. Mr. 32% spent this morning calling for a investigation into possible cheating, price gouging or illegal manipulation in the gasoline markets. . .
[Dan Froomkin] President Bush's challenge this morning was to address the problem of skyrocketing gas prices in a way that would telegraph to the public that he is concerned and is on the ball. . . Whether he succeeded or not will depend on how his speech gets covered today and tomorrow. But by any reasonable measure, he was short on substance. . .
[Steve Benen] Republicans must have done some internal polling and found gas prices to be their biggest vulnerability this year, because the moves to do something about it have been fast and furious. Yesterday, it was Hastert and Frist. Today, it's Bush. . .
[Eric Umansky] The NYT announces, "BUSH TAKES STEPS TO EASE INCREASE IN ENERGY PRICES." And exactly how big are those steps? The Times leaves such picayune issues to the 15th paragraph and instead focuses on more important concerns, such as gauging a pollster's reaction.

USA Today's lead gets to the point just a bit quicker: "EFFECT OF GAS PLAN MAY BE LIMITED." The Washington Post says (up high) that the moves "at best are likely to shave a few cents per gallon off the cost of gasoline." It's "more or less like prescribing aspirin to take care of prostate cancer," said one oil consultant.

The Los Angeles Times is ruthlessly direct and skips the rhetoric: "BUSH'S PROPOSALS VIEWED AS DROP IN THE OIL BUCKET." Then there's the frontpage sidebar: "WHY GAS PRICES WON'T GO DOWN."

Putting more oil on the market by capping the oil reserve would be helpful if there were an immediate oil crunch, which there isn't. "Crude oil supplies are at an almost eight-year high," one analyst told the LAT. "The price is obviously not reflecting that. . .”

Nancy Pelosi: when she’s good, she’s good
“If you want to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and therefore improve our national security situation, you can't do it if you're a Republican because you are too wedded to the oil companies. We have two oilmen in the white house. The logical follow-up from that is $3 a gallon gasoline. There is no accident. It is a cause and effect. A cause and effect. How dare the president of the United States make a speech today in April, many, many, many months after the American people have had to undergo the cost of home heating oil. A woman told me she almost fainted when she received her home heating bill over this Winter. And when so many people making the minimum wage, which hasn't been raised in eight years, which has a very low purchasing power have to go out and buy gasoline at these prices? Where have you been, Mr. president? The middle class squeeze is on, competition in our country is affected by the price of energy and of oil and all of a sudden you take a trip outside of Washington, see the fact that the public is outraged about this, come home and make a speech . . .”

One of the best weapons the Democrats have in hoping to retake the Senate is the head of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee, Elizabeth Dole
Sen. Elizabeth Dole, chairwoman of the Republican Senate campaign committee, issued a statement that said, "Democrats have decided to play partisan politics with gas prices in a flailing attempt to distract from the growing economy." . . .

GOP: party of failure
How long will Americans put up with the endless excuses and Republican blame game? About as long as it takes for a GOP screw-up to impact their own pocketbook or lives. And that's exactly what is happening right now with energy prices. Understandably then, Republicans are terrified that their jig is up. High gas prices knocked Jimmy Carter out of office . . .

Pat Roberts (R-KS) divided his committee’s investigation into prewar intelligence abuses into a “Phase One” and a “Phase Two,” with all the important questions put off to Phase Two. Then he diddled around until after the 2004 elections without ever getting around to Phase Two (surprise, surprise). Lately he has been promising to finish the job. But wait! He’s dividing Phase Two into two sections. . .

Pat Roberts, traitor?
[Murray Waas] Three years ago on the eve of the invasion of Iraq, [Senate Intelligence committee chair Pat] Roberts himself was involved in disclosing sensitive intelligence information that, according to four former senior intelligence officers, impaired efforts to capture Saddam Hussein and potentially threatened the lives of Iraqis who were spying for the United States. . .

Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) enabler:
An aide to Sen. Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.), the panel’s ranking Democrat, said that Democrats are aware Roberts is mulling a decision on whether to divide the inquiry and that Rockefeller is unlikely to oppose such a move if Roberts goes through with it. . .
“a wimp. . . not confident of his own judgments”

The Bush gang likes to use polygraphs – so of course now they will use them to get to the bottom of the Plame leak, right? Right?

“Frozen Scandals”
[Mark Danner] "The great problem in this new age is that revelation is followed by nothing but more revelation," says Danner. There are no overarching investigations, and no punishment of those most responsible, so that "it's as if we're this spinning wheel, constantly confirming facts that we already knew" and "the revelations become less and less effective in causing public outrage.". . . .

Will the Dems hold hearings if they retake one or both houses of Congress? Which scandal to pick first? (there are so many to choose from). Some advice

Larry Wilkerson, national conscience (thanks to Joyce for the link)
In January 2001, with the inauguration of George W. Bush as president, America set on a path to cease being good; America became a revolutionary nation, a radical republic. If our country continues on this path, it will cease to be great . . . [read on]

John Negroponte: a barrel of laughs

Fox News breaks the story (get used to it – they’ll be getting lots of exclusive scoops now),2933,193093,00.html
Tony Snow [Fox News anchor] will be named new White House press secretary on Wednesday morning. . .
[Matt Yglesias] I thought this notion that Tony Snow might be made White House press secretary was, you know, a joke. A joke about Fox News being a GOP propaganda outlet, about Snow's lack of ethics, etc. Apparently, no one was kidding. It's honestly pretty surreal. . .

Yes, surreal:
Said Bill Kristol, "It will be good to have a fair and balanced press secretary." . . .

This is a strange and interesting choice for press secretary, because it’s someone with an independent career and reputation to protect. Will he lie when they ask him to? Will he just repeat robotic formulations of the message of the day?
[Tim Grieve] When we heard that Tony Snow has been describing the job of White House press secretary as being part of "an inner White House circle, where you've got to make decisions," we thought he was mis-overestimating just a little what it would mean to be a flack for George W. Bush. . . But maybe not . . .

Not that lying comes hard for him:
The Hotline has more on the likely new White House press secretary: "Tony Snow is said by Republicans familiar with the negotiations to have asked for guaranteed access to the president's ear and to an unusually large degree of latitude to reconfigure the WH press operation. . . But Snow, not content to be a herald, also wants near-complete control over what he says from the podium, be it bromides, platitudes or substance. That would encroach on the broad portfolio of responsibilities that Dan Bartlett claims for himself."
David Gergen: "Tony Snow does have the leverage that neither of his predecessors would have had. And that is, if he walks out on them because they're not open enough, it would be hugely devastating to the administration, so, that he, unlike Scott McClellan, can go in and say, gentlemen, this isn't good. The press has a legitimate need here. We have got to give it to them. And they know that the moment he walks out the door and disgusted, if they are really totally closed or they lie or whatever, that is a bleak, bleak day at the White House. His predecessors never had that leverage."

THAT Tony Snow?
– Bush has “lost control of the federal budget and cannot resist the temptation to stop raiding the public fisc.” [3/17/06] . . .

– “George Bush has become something of an embarrassment.” [11/11/05] . . .

– Bush “has given the impression that [he] is more eager to please than lead, and that political opponents can get their way if they simply dig in their heels and behave like petulant trust-fund brats, demanding money and favor — now!” [9/30/05]

– “When it comes to federal spending, George W. Bush is the boy who can’t say no. In each of his three years at the helm, the president has warned Congress to restrain its spending appetites, but so far nobody has pushed away from the table mainly because the president doesn’t seem to mean what he says.” [The Detroit News, 12/28/03]

– “The president doesn’t seem to give a rip about spending restraint.” [The Detroit News, 12/28/03] . . . [More!]

Some questions for Tony on Day One:
Do you still think President Bush is a "wimp" and looks "impotent" for not "veto[ing] a single bill of any type"? . . .

Class consciousness
The multimillion-dollar lobbying effort to repeal the federal estate tax has been aggressively led by 18 super-wealthy families, according to a report released today by Public Citizen and United for a Fair Economy . . .

The IRS isn’t interested in investigating illegal political activities by tax-exempt churches

Bush’s war against a free press

Air Force reportedly blocking progressive web sites, while leaving conservative sites alone
[AmberJane] Attempts to load any of the "forbidden" sites causes a very scary screen to pop up, warning the user that a regulation or policy or some such has been violated and the address of the computer has been logged. . .

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Turns out Mary McCarthy, fired CIA officer, wasn’t the main source of the WP story on secret US torture prisons. So why WAS she fired?
A former CIA officer who was sacked last week after allegedly confessing to leaking secrets has denied she was the source of a controversial Washington Post story about alleged CIA secret detention operations in Eastern Europe . . .

Democrats in the CIA (oh my!)
In case you missed it over the weekend, the WaPo reported that the CIA is responding to the Mary McCarthy leak on secret prisons by doing a little more digging — into partisan affiliations . . . Don't forget the context here. The White House has leaked classified information for political purposes with no consequence. Indeed, as far as the Bush gang is concerned, the president can leak whatever he wants, whenever he wants. When a senior CIA official apparently decides to expose a legally dubious scheme, however, the White House wants to know if there are any Democrats at the agency that Bush needs to worry about. . .

The inner war at the CIA over secret torture policies:

The role of the media:

The NYT caves:
[Armando] The New York Times changed the earlier accurate version of a story on testimony on secret CIA prisons in Europe (a story first reported in depth by Dana Priest and for which she won the Pulitzer Prize) by the EU counterterrorism chief Gijs DeVries, to an inaccurate version that favored the Bush Administration. . .

The bottom line
[Matt Yglesias] But, of course, if you think that leaking classified information in order to expose illegal conduct by high government officials is the same thing as high government officials selectively releasing classified information in order to bamboozle the public into supporting a strategically daft invasion, then you're out of your mind. The issue, though, is that a certain number of people think that bamboozling the public into supporting the Iraq War was a good and noble thing to do, and a largely overlapping group of people think that arbitrary detention and torture are so vital to American national security that a little lawbreaking and secrecy is a small price to pay to ensure that the job gets done. Others of us hue to an anti-bamboozlement, anti-torture line and, naturally, don't think the president should be able to cover up his illegal conduct by slapping a "classified" label on all the evidence.

[Atrios] This is something we all forget from time to time, those of us who have a knee-jerk faith in general human goodness and decency. Whether it's the administration, elite pundits, or blogospheric idiots, we are dealing with liars who support torture. Once we understand that, it all makes a bit more sense.
[Larry Johnson] "There is a fundamental moral and ethical difference between someone who leaks information in order to serve the public good and someone, like George Bush, who authorizes leaks only for the purpose of saving his sorry political ass."

How the right-wing blogosphere has tried to slant the story
[Mark Kleiman] A Technorati search shows that much of Red Blogistan is repeating as fact that the secret prisons are now known not to have exist, and that Priest just won a "Pulitzer for a lie." . . . [read on!]


Tyler Drumheller’s blockbuster revelations on WMD lies. He testified to the committees reviewing prewar intelligence manipulation: why didn’t they listen to him?


And they’re doing it again

This Chicago Tribune story deserved bigger play than it received,1,3771631,print.story
The top U.S. commander in Iraq has ordered sweeping changes for privatized military support operations after confirming violations of human-trafficking laws and other abuses by contractors. . .


Bush’s “do-over” in Iraq
[Josh Marshall] Marx tells us that history happens first as tragedy, and then a second time as farce. But he leaves us entirely at sea when it comes to the seventh or eighth time. So, really, what are we to make of the news that James A. Baker is leading an elder-statesman fact finding mission to Iraq to "generate new ideas on Iraq." . . .

The NH phone-jamming scandal really has the GOP nervous. How nervous?
[Georgia10] I love the smell of panic in the morning . . .
[Josh Marshall] The RNC and the NH GOP have spent almost $6 million on lawyers in the phone-jamming case. . .

Non-reformist reform: how the GOP keeps watering down their already-anemic attempts to limit lobbying

What the Rove “shift” in responsibilities tells us: all the Bush gang cares about right now is saving the Republican congress. Democratic control means investigations, subpoenas, and two more years of paralysis


The New Democratic Agenda

Bush: 32%, and steadily dropping


Bush’s anchor (thanks to Buzzflash for the link)
GOP sources said many in the congressional leadership have warned that growing opposition against Mr. Rumsfeld could result in the loss of the Republican Party’s majority in the 2006 elections. . .

General #8 calls for his resignation:

Falling Snow

Making the Fox News/WH communications office merger complete
Sources close to the White House said Monday that Fox anchor Tony Snow is likely to accept the job as White House press secretary, succeeding Scott McClellan. . .

We could lose the Internet (really!)

What to do:

Contrary opinions:

Atrios replies:

Theocracy watch (Ohio edition)
In a challenge to the ethics of conservative Ohio religious leaders and the fairness of the Internal Revenue Service, a group of 56 clergy members contends that two churches have gone too far in supporting a Republican candidate for governor.

Two complaints filed with the tax agency say that the large Columbus area churches, active in President Bush's narrow Ohio win in 2004, violated their tax-exempt status by pushing the candidacy of J. Kenneth Blackwell, who is the secretary of state and the favored candidate of Ohio's religious right. . .

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***