Friday, March 31, 2006


The story of the day
[Murray Waas] Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political adviser, cautioned other White House aides in the summer of 2003 that Bush's 2004 re-election prospects would be severely damaged if it was publicly disclosed that he had been personally warned that a key rationale for going to war had been challenged within the administration. Rove expressed his concerns shortly after an informal review of classified government records by then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley determined that Bush had been specifically advised that claims he later made in his 2003 State of the Union address -- that Iraq was procuring high-strength aluminum tubes to build a nuclear weapon -- might not be true, according to government records and interviews..

Hadley was particularly concerned that the public might learn of a classified one-page summary of a National Intelligence Estimate, specifically written for Bush in October 2002. The summary said that although "most agencies judge" that the aluminum tubes were "related to a uranium enrichment effort," the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research and the Energy Department's intelligence branch "believe that the tubes more likely are intended for conventional weapons."

Three months after receiving that assessment, the president stated without qualification in his January 28, 2003, State of the Union address: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production.". . .

The White House was largely successful in defusing the Niger controversy because there was no evidence that Bush was aware that his claims about the uranium were based on faulty intelligence. . . But Hadley and other administration officials realized that it would be much more difficult to shield Bush from criticism for his statements regarding the aluminum tubes, for several reasons.

For one, Hadley's review concluded that Bush had been directly and repeatedly apprised of the deep rift within the intelligence community over whether Iraq wanted the high-strength aluminum tubes for a nuclear weapons program or for conventional weapons.

For another, the president and others in the administration had cited the aluminum tubes as the most compelling evidence that Saddam was determined to build a nuclear weapon -- even more than the allegations that he was attempting to purchase uranium.

And finally, full disclosure of the internal dissent over the importance of the tubes would have almost certainly raised broader questions about the administration's conduct in the months leading up to war.

"Presidential knowledge was the ball game," says a former senior government official outside the White House who was personally familiar with the damage-control effort. "The mission was to insulate the president. It was about making it appear that he wasn't in the know. You could do that on Niger. You couldn't do that with the tubes." A Republican political appointee involved in the process, who thought the Bush administration had a constitutional obligation to be more open with Congress, said: "This was about getting past the election.". . .


Release the Hadley memo:

The US is becoming irrelevant in Iraq

And in Afghanistan?

Excuses for the war

New strategies:

Old lies:
[Dick Cheney] "Well, some of us didn't. I think there are — there's been a debate, obviously, and we've got a lot of folks who don't believe that there was any kind of a relationship there between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. I think the record is abundantly clear that Saddam Hussein was, in fact, a prime sponsor of terror. This is the guy who was making $25,000 payments to the families of suicide bombers. This is the guy who provided a safe haven for Abu Nidal. The track record there is very clear.”

Rumsfeld to go?

“Three simple questions”
[Kos] 1. How does sending our troops to Iraq, separating them form their families and loved ones, putting them in harm's way, and keeping them there equal "supporting the troops"?

2. Why do those who claim to "honor their sacrifices" want them to continue sacrificing?

3. Why don't those who bloviate about "supporting" and "honoring" the troops against an enemy they think threatens Western civilization actually, you know, put on combat boots and join them?

Wonderful: the Army can’t get proper body armor to its troops – and now blocks soldiers (or their families) from buying their own

Senate hearing on censure today

As he prepares to leave the Senate and position himself for a presidential bid, Bill Frist faces mounting criticism that he has proved an ineffectual majority leader whose legislative agenda increasingly is dictated by his White House ambitions. . .

Kaloogian’s new photo “proof” that the media isn’t telling us the good side of Iraq is a shot taken (a) a year ago and (b) from the safety and comfort of the fortified Green Zone – he never even went out onto the streets of Baghdad (hmmm. . . why? not safe?)
This picture was apparently taken last year, and one of the buildings in that picture has been bombed to pieces. . .


Typical Republican bamboozlement:
The candidate said he hadn't recognized the error because "the military asked us to use our discretion and put things on the Internet that were nondescriptive ... (because) if we posted something that was easily identifiable, it could be a target."
[Kaloogian] "Last night I wrote to you to give you a heads up on the fact that there was a growing attack on our campaign by the news media and liberal political activists.

And the good news is that despite their best efforts, their attacks are backfiring. . ."

Blue America
This is not Bush Country. It's blue from sea to shining sea.

Yes, that's right, you can now travel through the US from the Atlantic to the Pacific without setting foot in a state where Bush's approval tops 45%. . .

Bush's approval rating is below 40% in 23 states, below 30% in eight, and below 50% in 47 states of the Union. He is at or below 40% in fourteen states that went for him in 2004. . .

Richard Cohen shocked – SHOCKED – to learn that Bush has been lying about the war
[Ezra Klein] If you don't think Bush is a liar, you simply haven't been paying attention. And if you haven't been paying attention, maybe you shouldn't be a Washington Post political columnist. . .

Judicial temperament
“The judge paused for a second, then looked directly into my lens and said, ‘To my critics, I say, ‘Vaffanculo,’ ” punctuating the comment by flicking his right hand out from under his chin, Smith said. . .

Smith said the jurist “immediately knew he’d made a mistake, and said, ‘You’re not going to print that, are you?’ ”. . .

They really are the “f-ck you” administration:

Bonus item: a waste of space
Prayers offered by strangers had no effect on the recovery of people who were undergoing heart surgery, a large and long-awaited study has found. . .

[NB: A waste because no one who believes in prayer will be persuaded by such a medical study – and because no one who DOESN’T believe in it needs empirical “proof”]

***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, March 30, 2006


I love this headline
Beleaguered Premier Warns U.S. to Stop Interfering in Iraq's Politics

Bush explains Iraq violence this way (no I’m not kidding): it’s all Saddam’s fault

The US plans for Iraqi oil (thanks to David N for the links)

Nuclear proliferation
Saudi Arabia is working secretly on a nuclear program, with help from Pakistani experts, the German magazine Cicero reported in its latest edition, citing Western security sources. . .

[NB: And let’s remember where 15 of the 19 9-11 hijackers came from]

Will the WH mini-shakeup stem Republican anxieties about Bush policies?
[Steve Benen] Are Republicans on the Hill happy now that the Chief of Staff who wouldn't return their phone calls has stepped aside? At this point, it seems the Card-to-Bolten transition is not what most of the GOP had in mind. . . Roll Call had a detailed report today reflecting widespread disappointment among Republicans in DC. They seemed pleased that Card is leaving, but they're dissatisfied with his replacement and wanted a more sweeping change. . .

What next?

Senate fight over who gets to draft NSA legislation

FISA judges don’t want to be cut out of the loop:


The evolution of a Republican lie. Howard Kaloogian, GOP candidate for Congress in California, posts a photo he says he took in Baghdad that “proves” that life is peaceful and happy in Iraq (see? the media is lying to us about how bad things are over there)

Only one problem: the photo wasn’t taken in Iraq, but in Turkey! So, how does Kaloogian respond? Witness the seven stages (okay, six stages) of Republican “confession”

Kaloogian defended the picture as genuine. . .

Blame someone else:
Kaloogian blames the "Baghdad" picture bamboozlement on the webmaster. . .

Kaloogian no longer speaking to the press about "Baghdad" bamboozle. . .

Obfuscation, then trivialization:
Kaloogian speaks: "Everybody in the group, we all shared pictures. I'm sorry, I don't know who took it ... You're being really picky on this stuff. It's not that big a deal. It was a mistake. I'm sorry."

Compound the error:
[Josh Marshall] The picture was evidence, Kaloogian claimed, of how the pro-terror press is misleading the American public about how well things are going in Iraq. Called on his error, he told that it was just a simple mistake. . . So fair enough. Now all he has to do is go back and get one of peaceful pictures from Baghdad.

So this is what he came up with. And just to be clear, no, I'm not joking. This is his new picture. . .

The Senate’s phony “ethics reform” bill
[Justin Peters] The Washington Post, the New York Times, and USA Today lead with the Senate's 90-8 passage of a lobbying reform bill. The bill bans lobbyist gift-giving and makes earmarks more difficult, but critics contend the legislation is riddled with loopholes. . . [T]he bipartisan bill mandates broader disclosure of lobbyists' activities and says that former lawmakers must now wait for two years before they can lobby their former colleagues. An enthusiastic WSJ makes much of the requirement that disclosed data be stored in Internet databases, while the NYT, the LAT and the Post focus instead on the legislation's failure to ban lobbyist-funded travel or create an independent oversight office to investigate ethical lapses. The NYT and the LAT are the only ones to mention the bill's failure to address lobbyists' roles in campaign fundraising.

Perhaps tellingly, some of Washington's most visible reformers, including Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Russell Feingold, D-Wis., came out against the legislation, while advocacy groups blasted the bill as "window dressing." Will the bill have any real effect on how business gets done in DC? Read this Post piece from a couple of weeks ago before you make up your mind. . .
Lobbyists Foresee Business As Usual

That liberal media: the Democrats roll out a major new policy statement on national security. What does the news cover?

More Americans identify as Democrats

Reflections Photography censors more photos

The Goofus Files

Electronic voting: a disaster

God gave us Tom DeLay (no joke)
[Steve Benen] At the ever-entertaining "War on Christians" conference in Washington this week, Tom DeLay was not only presented as a martyr, he was also compared to Jesus and designated God's official lawmaker from Texas. . .

Ann Coulter, busted


Bonus item: Bush’s “political capital” gets audited
In conclusion, we don't think your available political capital is sufficient to support substantial new expenditures, especially in riskier foreign investments . . .

Extra bonus item: Who's Responsible?

***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.***

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


The Bush gang loses faith in yet another Iraqi leader they had previously championed: those darn democratic elections are such a nuisance
The American ambassador has told Shiite officials that President Bush does not want the Iraqi prime minister to remain the country's leader . . .


RNC urges Republicans not to abandon Bush
[Ken Mehlman] The President is seen universally as the face of the Republican Party. We are now brand W. Republicans. The following chart shows the extremely close correlation between the President's image and overall ratings of the party.

President Bush drives our image and will do so until we have real national front-runners for the '08 nomination. Attacking the President is counter productive for all Republicans, not just the candidates launching the attacks. If he drops, we all drop.

[Georgia10] If he drops? IF he drops? I'd love to see that correlation chart he attached to the memo. Maybe he was looking at it upside down?

This is what happens to a party that spends so much effort on branding and not enough effort on, you know, actually implement a decent policy. Republicans can't splinter off from Bush because they don't have anything to independently stand on. What will GOP incumbents point to? The soaring deficits? The lack of funding for national security? Their failure to demand an exit strategy for Iraq? There is no independent record to run on when you're a rubber-stamp Republican.

Indeed, what we are witnessing with the Republican Party is a case of separation anxiety. They know they have to distance themselves from the President--after all, he is one of the most unpopular Presidents ever. But gosh darn it, they just...can' it. Because without the specter of Bush looming over them, Republicans feel naked and vulnerable. Little do they know that specter casts over the entire party a dark shadow of discontent and incompetence.

Let them cling to Bush for their political lives. Let them cling to the sinking ship and hope they can keep their head above water. If this President keeps up his ratings free-fall and his dangerous incompetence, Republicans will be gasping for air come election day.


Throw ‘em an anchor:
[Kevin Drum] So how is the Republican Party doing since George Bush started his second term?. . .

[Steve Benen] Andy Card may have resigned as WH Chief of Staff today, but according to Insight magazine, he wasn't the White House staffer Republicans on the Hill are worried about. . .


Who is Josh Bolten?
[Steve Benen] As the president's budget director, Josh Bolten has helped add $2 trillion to the national debt in less than three years. He's also helped oversee a dramatic rise in government spending and a series of irresponsible tax cuts for the wealthy that the country couldn't afford.

Bolten has sold reckless tax cuts as fiscal responsibility, defended absurd budget tricks as sensible governing, argued falsely that tax cuts can pay for themselves, made demonstrably-false claims about the budget deficit, and embraced misleading scare tactics to promote privatization of Social Security. Bolten also made quite an impression with a memo last year arguing that the administration could ignore legal restrictions and spend as much as it pleases on fake news segments and pundit payola.

Only Bush would see Bolten as the kind of official in need of a promotion. Anyone hoping that today's staff shake-up might represent a change in direction for the Bush White House is likely to be disappointed.

What next for Card?

US lied about Iranian nukes (dog bites man)

Republican corruption continues to astonish. . .
[WSJ] Current securities law and congressional ethics rules don't prohibit lawmakers or their staff members from buying and selling securities based on information learned in the halls of Congress. . .

Halliburton. . . just read it

Grain of salt
Investigative journalist Jason Leopold writes that sources at the State Department, the CIA and the National Security Council, as well as lawyers close to the Valerie Plame investigation have told him that Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald is getting ready to indict Karl Rove or Stephen Hadley, or both, perhaps in about a month. . .

John McCain, erstwhile “maverick” and “moderate,” turns out to be just another. . .
[Josh Marshall] The transformation is almost complete. . . John McCain once called Jerry Falwell an "agent of intolerance." Now he's going to be the graduation speaker at Jerry's Liberty University.
McCain Taps His Inner Wingnut, Flipflops on Gay Marriage, According to Falwell

E.J. Dionne hits the nail on the head today when he says that the positions that John McCain will need to take in order to win the Republican primary may very well lose him the support of the more moderate voters who've hailed him as a maverick, to his perhaps permanent electoral or reputational detriment. . .

GOP imploding over immigration
A “train wreck”. . .


Let’s see: Bush holds special off-the-record sessions with favored reporters. He doesn’t really tell them anything, they can’t report on what he does tell them, and now it emerges that they aren’t even supposed to report that they met with Bush at all. So, what IS the purpose of these sham encounters?
[Joe] Give them a tour of the White House, tell a few jokes, serve some lemonade. They can't report on it, but they can tell their friends. No wonder Karl Rove thinks the media are a bunch of patsies. . .
[Steve Benen] But there's limited, if any, upside for journalists to engage in these personal chats. Bush isn't their "buddy," and he probably isn't asking about their families because he's deeply interested in their personal lives. The White House is struggling to communicate, it knows it, so it's beginning to try and charm reporters. News outlets shouldn't play along.
[Greg Sargent] Did anyone else notice something intriguing about The Washington Post's article today. . . about President Bush's private off-the-record sessions with reporters? . . The Post obviously viewed the president's campaign as newsworthy -- after all, they wrote a story about it. At the same time, though, The Post reporters who first knew about the sessions -- the ones that were invited -- were constrained from talking about them. So Post reporter Charles Babington went to outside sources to get a story that his newsroom colleagues already knew about. . .

Does that strike others as a bit strange? The Post (or at least its employees) agreed to withhold information from readers that it clearly viewed as news, in exchange for whatever it would gain from these private sessions. . . But will readers really benefit from this, given that these alleged insights are based on conversations the reporters can't disclose in the first place?

Billmon on lessons learned from the WP/Domenech affair

More repercussions from that phony Kyl/Graham “colloquy”
[Digby] They knew that the entire Senate did not intend that the court be stripped of jurisdiction in pending cases. It probably wouldn't have passed if that had been the case. So they cheated. This has been the story over and over and over again with this rubber stamp Eunuch Caucus. If they can't deliver for their Dear Leader by following the rules --- even with a majority --- they ignore them. They are the outlaw party.


Bonus item: I like it!

***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, March 28, 2006


They don’t want us in Iraq any more
Jan. 27 - President Bush said in an interview on Thursday that he would withdraw American forces from Iraq if the new government that is elected on Sunday asked him to do so, but that he expected Iraq's first democratically elected leaders would want the troops to remain as helpers, not as occupiers.
Baghdad provincial governor Hussein al-Tahan said on Monday he would suspend all cooperation with U.S. forces. . .,10117,18631622-38201,00.html
IRAQ'S ruling parties have demanded US forces cede control of security. . .

Why we won’t leave

The most dangerous place to be in Iraq is in any town that Bush cites as a “success story”

It is becoming pretty clear that the US has no clear counterterrorism strategy
"If I were grading I would say we probably deserve a 'D' or a 'D-plus' as a country as to how well we're doing in the battle of ideas that's taking place in the world today," [Rumsfeld] told his questioner.


Rifts between the US and UK?

What Bush and Blair said in private, then said in public

Is Rove giving up Libby (and Cheney) to protect himself?

Yes, he is:

Senate Intelligence Committee still refusing to investigate lies about prewar intelligence

The “new” Bush media strategy: honey and vinegar
Editor & Publisher reports that for the first time in his presidency, George Bush is holding private meetings with selected reporters, with at least one at his private residence--on the condition that those meetings be off the record. . .
Media Matters and Peter Daou have done some terrific work lately highlighting the latest Iraq defense embraced by the Bush White House and its allies: it's the media's fault. . .
After the latest round of blaming the media for distorted coverage in Iraq, which emerged this week from top Bush administration officials, war reporters and editors strongly defended their coverage. . .
During a March 26 roundtable discussion on NBC's Meet the Press, New York Times reporter Elizabeth Bumiller uncritically repeated Bush administration assertions that the administration was not attempting to blame the media for negative public opinion about the Iraq war. But while President Bush and White House press secretary Scott McClellan have stated that Bush's recent public comments should not be taken as "criticism" of the media, the full context of those remarks -- as well as comments made by other administration members -- suggests that the White House is attempting to have it both ways: Bush and McClellan have repeatedly suggested that the media have painted a distorted and disproportionately negative picture of Iraq while simultaneously stating -- in Bumiller's words -- that "[w]e're not blaming the media for the war in Iraq.". . .

Molly Ivins, national treasure
The Pentagon has once again investigated itself! And—have a seat, get the smelling salts, hold all hats—the Pentagon has once again concluded the Pentagon did absolutely nothing wrong and will continue to do so. . .

Those reality-challenged Republicans
Today the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. . . . Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and John Kyl have filed an amicus brief with the Court.

This amicus brief argues that the legislative history of the DTA supports the Government's position. Specifically, the brief cites a lengthy colloquy between Senators Kyl and Graham themselves which purportedly took place during a Senate floor debate just prior to passage of the bill. In the exchange, both Kyl and Graham suggest that the bill will strip the courts of jurisdiction over pending detainee cases such as Hamdan. But here's where the story gets interesting.

Apparently this entire 8 page colloquy--which is scripted to read as if it were delivered live on the floor of the Senate, complete with random interruptions from other Senators--never took place. It was inserted into the Congressional Record in written form just prior to passage of the bill. . .

Theocracy watch
The Georgia legislature seems poised to endorse just such a course. Though students in many states enroll in classes related to the Bible, Georgia would become the first to require its Department of Education to put in place a curriculum to teach the history and literature of the Bible. Schools would use the book itself as the classroom textbook. Specifically the bill would establish electives on both the New and Old Testaments.

Associated Press plagiarizes blog reporting
When . . .confronted . . . the officials admitted to using the information without permission, saying: "We don't credit blogs."

Bonus item: Lovely
[Eric Umansky] The papers go inside with congressional investigators smuggling some radioactive goodies across the border from Canada, enough to make two dirty bombs. The investigators purposely drove through border checkpoints that had radiation scanners, and, thankfully, were noticed by customs agents. Then they showed radiation licenses they had downloaded from the Internet. They were quickly waived on. . .

***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.***

Monday, March 27, 2006


Thanks, one last time, to everyone for their support in the Koufax awards. We got swamped by some of the bigger blogs but it’s an honor just to be included in their company as a finalist. Winning ISN’T the most important thing – your support has been very gratifying.

Stop, news media: YOU’RE HURTING AMERICA! Please, just focus on good news coming out of Iraq
Wednesday, armed insurgents burst into the classroom of Khidhir al-Mihallawi, an English teacher at Sajariyah High School, accused him of being an agent for the CIA and Israeli intelligence and beheaded him in front of his students. . . One teacher, who spoke on the condition that he not be named because he feared retaliation from insurgents, said that most students ran from the classroom but that some stayed to watch. . .
American and Iraqi forces raided a Shiite neighborhood in northern Baghdad, killing at least 16 followers of Shiite militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr. Iraqi security officials are reporting that the U.S.-led team entered a mosque and killed 17 Iraqis, including an imam. The American military denies entering the mosque, but confirms that 16 insurgents were killed in combat with a Shiite militia cell that had kidnapped Iraqi civilians. The U.S. military is increasingly blaming Sadr for the sectarian bloodshed that is ravaging the country. The NYT calls the incident "the most serious confrontation in months," and all the papers make sure to point out that the killings are inflaming an already volatile situation that many Iraqis are already calling a civil war.


Why do these kinds of things follow John Negroponte around?
The bodies of 30 beheaded men were found on a main highway near Baquba this evening, providing more evidence that the death squads in Iraq are becoming out of control. . .

Public opinion on the war shifts decisively

Bush to Thomas
HELEN THOMAS: I'd like to ask you, Mr. President, your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is, why did you really want to go to war?. . .

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I think your premise, in all due respect to your question and to you as a lifelong journalist, is that, you know, I didn't want war. To assume I wanted war is just flat wrong, Helen, in all due respect. . . No president wants war. Everything you may have heard is that, but it's just simply not true. . .

Bush to Blair
In the weeks before the United States-led invasion of Iraq, as the United States and Britain pressed for a second United Nations resolution condemning Iraq, President Bush's public ultimatum to Saddam Hussein was blunt: Disarm or face war. . . But behind closed doors, the president was certain that war was inevitable. During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, he made clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons. . .

Will the Supreme Court rule that it has become irrelevant?

The six major problems of the US economy

Their true colors: the Republican immigration bill inspires massive protests

Police state watch
The LAT reports that the FBI keeps watch lists of activists, including antiwar and environmental protesters. The FBI stressed that it targets people who commit crimes and does not single groups out based on their ideologies. But the ACLU, which FOIA'd the FBI's documents, said, "Any definition of terrorism that would include someone throwing a bottle or rock through a window during an antiwar demonstration is dangerously overbroad."

Today’s must-read
“The Founders Never Imagined a Bush Administration”

Republican corruption keeps finding new ways to astonish. . .

Katherine Harris’s (R-FL) meltdown continues
As Rep. Katherine Harris' (R-FL) "rocky Senate campaign takes an increasingly evangelical Christian bent, her remaining top campaign staffers are preparing to jump ship," the St. Petersburg Times reports.
Though Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL) pledged to sell all of her assets to finance her Senate bid, the Orlando Sentinel reports her campaign is now saying she will not use her inheritance from her father.


"I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy....I was able to get a sense of his soul."

--George W. Bush, after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin, June 16, 2001

From The Australian today:

THE career of Russian President Vladimir Putin was built at least in part on a lie, according to US researchers. . . A new study of an economics thesis written by Mr Putin in the mid-1990s has revealed that large chunks of it were copied from an American text.

Bonus item: From a reader

WMR writes: “Now I understand why Bush thought he could get a line-item veto for the budget: as far as he's concerned, signing statements give him a line item veto on everything else.”

***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, March 25, 2006


Well, folks, thanks to your efforts, PBD is a finalist for “Best Blog” in the Koufax awards. Just to make the top ten is quite an honor, and I really appreciate it. There is now a final round of voting to determine a winner, and if you are so inclined, please go to this site, scroll to the bottom, and vote for “Progressive Blog Digest” via the Comments section:

There are a lot of deserving blogs in this category.

I am out of the country right now, but I will keep posting whenever I can get reliable Internet access. By Monday March 27 I will be back on my regular daily schedule again.


Just read this
When President Bush signed the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act this month, he included an addendum saying that he did not feel obliged to obey requirements that he inform Congress about how the FBI was using the act's expanded police powers.

The bill contained several oversight provisions intended to make sure the FBI did not abuse the special terrorism-related powers to search homes and secretly seize papers. The provisions require Justice Department officials to keep closer track of how often the FBI uses the new powers and in what type of situations. Under the law, the administration would have to provide the information to Congress by certain dates.

Bush signed the bill with fanfare at a White House ceremony March 9, calling it ''a piece of legislation that's vital to win the war on terror and to protect the American people." But after the reporters and guests had left, the White House quietly issued a ''signing statement," an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law.

In the statement, Bush said that he did not consider himself bound to tell Congress how the Patriot Act powers were being used and that, despite the law's requirements, he could withhold the information if he decided that disclosure would ''impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative process of the executive, or the performance of the executive's constitutional duties."

Our lawless government
[Glenn Greenwald] Can that be any clearer for you - Congressmen, Senators, journalists? The President is bestowed by the Constitution with the unlimited and un-limitable power to do anything that he believes is necessary to "protect the nation." Thus, even if Congress passes laws which seek to limit that power in any way, and even if the President agrees to those restrictions and signs that bill into law, he still retains the power to violate it whenever he wants.

Thus, Sen. DeWine can pass his cute little bill purporting to require oversight, or Sen. Specter can pass his, or they can do nothing and leave FISA in place. None of that matters, because no matter what Congress or even the President do with regard to the law, the law does not restrict what the President can do in any way. They are telling the Congress to its face that all of the grand debates it is having and the negotiations it is conducting are all irrelevant farces, because no matter what happens, the President retains unlimited power and nothing that Congress does can affect that power in any way.

The reality is that the Administration has been making clear for quite some time that they have unlimited power and that nothing -- not even the law -- can restrict it. But here, they are specifically telling Congress that even if Congress amends FISA and the President agrees to abide by those amendments, they still have the power to break the law whenever they want. As I have documented more times than I can count, we have a President who has seized unlimited power, including the power to break the law, and the Administration -- somewhat commendably -- is quite candid and straightforward about that fact.

Bush’s shining example of success in the Iraq War (Tal Afar)? Well. . .
[Reuters] "I say that Bush is 100 percent a liar because the city of Tal Afar has become a ghost town rather than the example Bush spoke about," said Ali Ibrahim, a Shi'ite Turkmen laborer. . .

Sunni Turkmen Rafat Ahmed, 35, a shop owner said: "As I'm talking now the Americans and the Iraqi army are surrounding my neighborhood. If we leave our houses we could be arrested." . . .

The deployment last year of Iraqi troops, who were widely perceived locally as Shi'ite Arab outsiders, prompted the Sunni mayor of Tal Afar to tender his resignation in protest at what he described as a sectarian operation. The involvement of ethnic Kurdish forces was also a source of tension, local people said.

"Anyone who says Tal Afar is good and safe actually knows nothing because the reality is we are unsafe, even inside our houses, because we don't know when we'll be arrested," said pensioner Abdul Karim al-Anizi, 60, a Shi'ite Turkmen.

Nice analysis
[Michael Singer] I don't think our collective national mind can contain the two opposing ideas of (1) it's going fine and we're gonna win, (2) it's not going fine and we need an entirely new goal. For this reason, by concentrating the national mind (or by attempting to) so intensely on #1, the Administration is actually hurting us and the Iraqis.

When you start caring mostly about a political win -- as in the President's current five-day long political campaign to turn around public opinion on the war (and, in doing so, to attack the media) -- you stop attending to events. Opinion and events, like oil and water, don't mix. The aesthetic of the win -- of massaging and pushing and pulling public opinion -- becomes your paradigm, the way you see the world. It becomes binary -- your friends and foes -- with a sliding scale between (people who you can persuade to become a friend). . . [read on]

Oh, how Karl and the boys must chuckle over their cocktails. . .

[The Hill] Democrats have suspected that Bush was aware when he signed the legislation that the House and Senate had passed slightly different versions. A Wall Street Journal article published Wednesday bolstered those suspicious by quoting a senior House GOP aide as saying congressional leaders consulted the White House about the discrepancy.

The House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) wrote a letter to the president that included a primer on congressional procedure: "A bill is not a law unless the same version is passed by both the House and Senate and signed by the President," they wrote.

"There is now growing evidence that your action on February 8 breached this fundamental tenet of our democracy with the full knowledge of high-ranking congressional and White House officials," Pelosi and Waxman assert.

Waxman wrote at letter to White House Chief of Staff Andy Card last week, asking the same questions: if the administration knew there was a discrepancy between the two versions of the bill.

The unraveling MZM scandal has the potential to blow the lid off a huge mess of troublesome details about phony pre-war intelligence, corruption, Iranian links, and more of the sort of thing we’ve come to expect from the Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz/Feith Dept of Defense. That’s why they are pressing so hard to keep the investigation internal and secret. Read on


Who’s doing the Pentagon’s domestic spying?

The Department of Justice is still refusing to turn over information to Congress on domestic spying,0,6215902.story
The National Security Agency could have legally monitored ordinarily confidential communications between doctors and patients or attorneys and their clients, the Justice Department said Friday of its controversial warrantless surveillance program.

Responding to questions from Congress, the department also said that it sees no prohibition to using information collected under the NSA's program in court. . . "Because collecting foreign intelligence information without a warrant does not violate the Fourth Amendment and because the Terrorist Surveillance Program is lawful, there appears to be no legal barrier against introducing this evidence in a criminal prosecution," the department said in responses to questions from lawmakers released Friday evening. . .

VERY suspicious:

This Ben Domenech affair is important, not because the fate of this lying plagiarist matters, but because of what it tells us about conservative dishonesty, cronyism, and the pathetic way in which respectable news institutions are allowing themselves to be bullied and intimidated by the Right into giving platforms to people who could never earn a column or talk show based on merit. Call it “reactionary affirmative action”

Domenech resigns over plagiarism charges
[WP] In the past 24 hours, we learned of allegations that Ben Domenech plagiarized material that appeared under his byline in various publications prior to contracting with him to write a blog that launched Tuesday.

An investigation into these allegations was ongoing, and in the interim, Domenech has resigned, effective immediately. . .

Of course, like all good conservatives, Domenech does nothing but make excuses, portraying HIMSELF as the victim in all this (I have no doubt it will help his career – the wingnuts love the narrative of a courageous voice of the Right who has been silenced by the dastardly liberals)

[Short version: “My Editor did it”]

The narrative begins:

“Resigned” or fired?
[Human Events] Domenech said he was disappointed pulled the plug so quickly after the blog was launched.

“I guess the thing that bothers me the most about this is that the Post didn’t give this a chance to either blow over or work itself out,” he said. “And I feel that if they had done that, the blog would have been a great addition to their site.”

What is the status of his excuses? Not worth the paper they are written on
In his excuse making Box Turtle Ben implied that when he ripped off PJ O'Rourke that it was labeled with "as inspired by O'Rourke's original." I'm not entirely sure if he intended to make that claim or if it was just sloppy writing (as this was something he wrote himself it's hard to tell). Either way no such disclaimer was on it.

O’Rourke speaks:
[NYT] Contacted at his home in New Hampshire, Mr. O'Rourke said that he had never heard of Mr. Domenech and did not recall meeting him. . . "I wouldn't want to swear in a court of law that I never met the guy, Mr. O'Rourke said of Mr. Domenech, "but I didn't give him permission to use my words under his byline, no."

The National Review Online, for whom the Post blogger wrote previously, has now found numerous questionable cases of possible plagiarism while writing for the National Review, which pretty much blows the "college indiscretion" argument out the window. . .

[NB: So much for “My Editor did it”]

How about the excuses made by others? Risible
[Jeff Goldstein] Ben, for what ever mistakes he may have made, at least appended his own name to whatever he posted or wrote publicly.

[NB: Domenech posted at Red State under the pseudonym “Augustine”]
[Billmon] The Post, it seems, isn't so far gone it's willing to ride out the storm with a serial plagiarist. But the obvious reluctance of the paper and its editorial minions to face the facts, either before or after hiring Baby Ben, is rather telling -- as is the absurdity of their lies:

We obviously did plenty of background checks" on Domenech, Brady said . . . . Plagiarism, though, is not an easy thing to spot, Brady suggested.

So hard, in fact, it took a few left-wing bloggers three whole days to come up with about twenty zillion examples of Ben's journalistic offenses. (Note to Jim Brady: Google. Check it out.)

UPDATE: [Jim Brady] We appreciate the speed and thoroughness with which our readers and media outlets surfaced these allegations.

[NB: That’s funny. It’s like knowingly distributing a buggy 1.0 version of an application to users, expecting them to find the problems and then bring them to your attention. I’m sure Brady “appreciates” progressive bloggers doing the Post’s job of vetting its job applicants for them – AFTER they’ve been hired]

So how did an underqualified, 24-year old college dropout land a plum assignment at one of the nation’s most prestigious news organizations? The Myth, and the Reality
[WP – The Myth] At 18, Benjamin Domenech, of Round Hill, has landed himself a plum assignment in the world of inside-the-Beltway journalism. He writes a column, "Any Given Sunday," recapping the political talk television programs for the World Wide Web site of the conservative National Review magazine.

If there was a Top 10 list of young Loudoun County people to watch, he’d be on it. And agree with him or not, you would be hard pressed to deny that Domenech is a sharp writer with an obvious command of his national politics beat–especially considering that this is the first year he is eligible to vote.

"He really shows maturity beyond his years," said Richard Lowry, editor of the National Review.

Lowry said he runs into a lot of George Will-wannabes trying to break into national journalism circles at a very young age, but "few of them can actually pull it off. [Domenech] just seems to be just a couple steps in front of everyone else."
[DHinMI – Reality] Ben Domenech did not get his position at the Washington Post based on merit. He got his position because of connections. He was home-schooled in part because his family--unlike most American families--could maintain a comfortable living with only one parent working outside the home. He got in to William and Mary, but he did not come close to graduating. (And given his penchant for plagiarism, one would have to wonder if intellectual thievery prompted a forced departure from William and Mary.) Nevertheless, despite no degree or significant life accomplishments, he got some patronage jobs in the Bush administration, no doubt because his father is an upper level GOP apparatchik. . . And he parlayed all those connections in to getting the Washington Post gig while still in his mid-20's. . .

What has the Washington Post learned from this experience? Not much, apparently
[Athenae] Now, of course, the questions begin.

Who made the decision to hire him? What was the vetting process?

What does this say about the journalism of the Washington Post? Who will be held accountable for this debacle?

What can the rest of us learn from it?
[Glenn Greenwald] But Domenech loves George Bush and works as a Republican operative. He worked for Sen. Jon Cornyn, was a RedState regular, and edited Michelle Malkin's book. So behavioral standards don't apply to him. By definition, nothing that he does can be wrong -- certainly not that wrong -- because he's a person at his core who is incapable of doing anything truly blameworthy, and the proof of that is that he is a Bush supporter. As a result, in the face of this truly disturbing and facially conclusive evidence that Domenech is a serial plagiarist, his comrades at RedState are searching around desperately for some rationale to defend and justify his conduct, literally insisting that there is nothing wrong with overt acts of deliberate plagiarism. . .

There are now posts up at RedState entitled "We Must Defend" and "We Must Attack," insisting that Domenech did nothing wrong and demanding that Bush followers defend him regardless of whether he did. The former actually claims that all of this seems like plagiarism "only because permissions obtained and judgments made offline were not reflected online by an out dated and out of business campus newspaper"-- as though all of the magazines and journals in which his plagiarized articles appear, including magazines such as National Review, really did arrange permission with all of the authors from whom Domenech stole but simply forgot to include that permission. They resort to every excuse, every justification, every false defense in order to shield their comrades. . .

It is a base, tribal mentality where group allegiance cleanses any and all wrongdoing and immunizes the individual from any accusations of wrongdoing. We have seen this play out over and over with every Bush scandal, where no conduct is too extreme and too facially wrong to be beyond their willingness to defend it away and justify it. If you support George Bush, you can do anything -- including stealing, like Domenech did repeatedly and extensively -- and still be defended, because your allegiance to the Leader means that anything you do is good, right and justifiable. That is the mentality that has been governing our country for five years now, and it is vividly apparent with this tawdry debacle.


Chris Matthews is shocked – SHOCKED – to realize that the Bush administration lied to get us into war, and are still lying about it
[CM, from the Imus newsletter] "Well I am just going to stick to this point that the president led us in there with the background music of American culture. Everybody was led to believe that we were getting payback, we were avenging what happened on 9/11 and that we are going to get them. Vice President Cheney said we are going to attack terrorism at its base. Over and over the language was, this is where it came from, in fact most recently the President suggested that it was always the hot pursuit, like a new York police chase, we chased them back into their country. We pursued the terrorists back to Iraq and it's all nonsense. The reason there are terrorists in Iraq today like Zarqawi is we created the opening by blowing the country apart. From the beginning it's been not true. Now you can't prove motive and you can't prove somebody lies, but from the beginning everything about how they've got WMD's, they are a threat to us, they are going to bomb us with a nuclear weapon, this country is going to be an easy liberate, it's going to be a cake walk. As Cheney said as recently as ten months ago the insurgents are in their last throws. Everything that is said is not true. And right to the end here, here we are now and it's not a civil war and when Allawi the prime Minster is saying it is a civil war and here is the president quoting his own people that it's not a civil war. I mean the denial has been continuous. So you really can't count on the administration to tell you what is going on. That is just the fact. You've got to check it out. By the way, the president said this week that he wants the whole truth about what is going on in Iraq, the whole truth and that the media isn't telling the whole story. I'll tell you what we are not telling. We are not showing pictures of the twenty five hundred bodies coming back because they won't let us show the pictures. They don't want the whole truth out and that's the fact."

"I think the president made a big mistake this week, and maybe I'm the only one that caught it, but when he came out and said he never said that we went to Iraq because of what happened on 9/11, that Saddam was never involved in 9/11, that whole mentality, the whole culture, the country music, everything, was saying this was payback. We are getting them in Iraq because of what they did to us on 9/11, and now they come out and say I never claimed that. Well you know it's in the actual language of when he said to congress, I'm now going to pick you up on that authorization to go to war, but we are going to war tomorrow, this is in 2003 in March, we are going to war tomorrow and the reason we are going is because we are going to get the countries attacked us on 9/11 we are going to get them. . . . To come out now and say I never said this was payback is B.S." . . .

"He said in the statement he gave to Congress when he said ok boys we are going to war tomorrow morning, in that statement he said I'm operating under the authorization that allows me to go after organizations or countries that attacked us on 9/11. Many times he said we can't distinguish between the people who attacked us on 9/11, we can't separate the two. The vice president was very clear, continually talking about coordination between the Iraqi intelligence and Muhammad Atta, who was the chief hijacker, it's right there in the tapes, and then Cheney comes out and denies it even though it's right on tape. Remember Gloria Borger interviewed him, I'm not sure if she was CBS at the time, but she interviewed him and he directly lied about it, and said that he did not say that. A number of times we have showed the tape and when he actually said exactly what he was denying on tape, we got the tape of what he was denying."


Bad news for Republicans in 2006
The latest survey released by SurveyUSA shows that Americans continue to lose confidence in their Republicans Senators. With Conrad Burns and Rick Santorum leading the pack, five of the Republicans facing strong Democratic challengers this November find themselves with approval ratings in the bottom fifth of the U.S. Senate. The following are the highlights of the latest survey. . .,8599,1176860,00.html
TIME's latest poll finds American voters heading into November's election dissatisfied with the Republican-dominated status quo, but not necessarily convinced that the answer lies in voting Democratic. The poll, conducted March 22-23, finds Americans unhappy with the performance of the Republican-controlled Congress — 39% approve, versus 49% who disapprove — and gives Democrats a 9-point lead when voters are asked to state which party's candidate they would choose for a House of Representatives seat (50% answered Democrat, 41% chose Republican). Voters favor Democratic control of Congress by 49% compared with 38% for Republican control.


Republican candidates are running away from Bush as fast as they can
[Georgia10] The GOP is scared. . .

I guess now he has to quit, too
[Ken Mehlman] “The position of the Republican National Committee is simple: we will not tolerate fraud; we will not tolerate intimidation; we will not tolerate suppression. No employee, associate, or any person representing the Republican party who engages in these kinds of acts will remain in that position.”

That letter, dated August 9, 2005, was sent just two days before the RNC admitted they were paying for James Tobin’s legal defense. . .

The Union Leader today reported that "court records show Ken Mehlman's office received more than 75 telephone calls from now-convicted phone-jam conspirator James Tobin from Sept. 30 to Nov. 22 of that year." At the time, Mehlman--the current RNC Chair--was White House political director. [Union Leader, 3/23/06] This raises the disturbing question of whether Tobin, who worked for the RNC and the NRSC at the time and has since been convicted on two criminal charges for his role in the scheme, discussed the plan with one of the President's most important political strategists.

More on the tax implications of Barbara Bush’s donation to “charity” (her son Neil’s charity)
[Joe] Looks likes W's mother managed to pull a double tax dodge with her "gift" to Katrina. She contributed to a non-profit, so gets to take that as a charitable deduction. But, she earmarked the gift to her son's company via the non-profit. . . The reality of the transaction is that instead of giving Neil a direct gift, he gets the money funneled via the non-profit. Therein lies the second part of the dodge -- if Barbara gave the money directly to Neil, she'd have to pay a gift tax. . . Big tax deduction for her gift. Neil benefits from his mother's earmark. No gift tax. She's a shrewd one that Barbara Bush.

It's good to be Barbara Bush and not pay taxes...only the little people do that.

Good news: FEC won’t regulate blogs
[Rick Hasen] "As a matter of substance, this is about everything that the Internet political community could hope for: broad exemptions for most political activity on the Internet... On the whole, I think these are very good rules in preserving robust political speech on the internet that takes place without much danger of the corruption of candidates."

Sunday talk show line-ups
Meet the Press hosts Sec/State Condoleezza Rice and a roundtable of Washington Post's David Broder, New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller, Cook Report's Charlie Cook, and Wall Street Journal's John Harwood.

Face the Nation hosts NSA Stephen Hadley and Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA).

This Week hosts Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO), Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-MT) and a roundtable of George Will, Fareed Zakaria and Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel.

Fox News Sunday hosts Rice and Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI).

Late Edition hosts Rice and Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Pat Roberts (R-KS).

Bonus item: Big Oops!
[President Bush, 9/16/05] We’ve got a strong ally in Russia in fighting the war on terror….we understand we have a duty to protect our citizens, and to work together and to do everything we can to stop the killing.

[AP, 3/24/06] The Russian government provided Saddam Hussein with intelligence on U.S. military movements and plans during the opening days of the war in 2003.

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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, March 24, 2006


Well, folks, thanks to your efforts, PBD is a finalist for “Best Blog” in the Koufax awards. Just to make the top ten is quite an honor, and I really appreciate it. There is now a final round of voting to determine a winner, and if you are so inclined, please go to this site, scroll to the bottom, and vote for “Progressive Blog Digest” via the Comments section:

There are a lot of deserving blogs in this category.

Of course, wouldn’t you know it, I am out of the country right now and missing my daily schedule; but I will keep posting whenever I can get reliable Internet access. By Monday March 27 I will be back on my regular daily schedule again.

Another smooch-athon from Adam Nagourney and Elisabeth Bumiller at the times


But here’s the best line from the article
[NYT] One person who met Mr. Rove said he attributed Mr. Bush's problems more to external events, in particular Hurricane Katrina and Iraq, than to anything the White House did wrong. . .

[Greg Sargent] The president's problems aren't attributable to anything the White House did wrong? Only to external events? Jeez. Aren't the president's problems due to the fact that he's being held accountable for reacting wrongly to these external events, in both New Orleans and Iraq?

More coming attractions
[Tim Grieve] "Democrat leaders' talk of censure and impeachment isn't about the law or the president doing anything wrong. It's about the fact that Democrat leaders don't want America to fight the War on Terror with every tool in our arsenal."

That's the pitch Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman made in a fundraising solicitation sent to GOP supporters today. And when we saw it, we thought of it as little more than a particularly stark example of the straw-man politics favored by George W. Bush. . .

So straw men? They're everywhere. But Newsweek's Howard Fineman suggests that there's something else going on here, too. . . [T]he White House is making a pivot to Plan B: Forget the Global War on Terror; now it's time for the War Against Terrorists Inside the Homeland. And as part of the usual "with us or with the terrorists" theme, the War Against Terrorists Inside the Homeland also means the War Against the Traitor Media and those Spineless, Security-Hating Democrats, Too.

As Fineman explains it, the White House and the GOP are fixing to set up Bush as some sort of tough-guy cop fighting against the "wussie lovers of legalistic niceties that get in the way of investigations and MSM news organizations that focus obsessively on explosions and mayhem in Iraq, even as they print or broadcast classified information and ask nasty, argumentative questions at hastily called press conferences." The underlying strategy: Move away from all the Iraq talk and get back to the question of homeland security.

Now, we'll admit that we're not sure how this is different from what the Bush administration has been doing all along. Dick Cheney used to complain that John Kerry wanted to show terrorists our "softer side." Cheney and Bush both talk often about the Democrats' "pre-9/11 mindset," and Karl Rove has been known to say that Democrats want only "therapy and understanding" for those who attacked the United States. . .

As part of the White House's current public relations blitz, President Bush and senior aides have claimed that Americans are increasingly disillusioned about the Iraq war because the mainstream media report only the violent and tragic events occurring there. Bush has said that the negative coverage provoked him to explain directly to the public why he remains optimistic about the U.S. mission in Iraq. . . [read on]

Straw man alert:

Gee, the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq was rampant with party hacks, incompetence, and unbelievable corruption. Who knew?
[Newsweek] There is much more to come, especially on the little-noticed issue of contracting in Iraq, which the watchdog group Transparency International last year warned could become “the biggest corruption scandal in history." The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction is expected to issue a harshly critical report in May concluding that the CPA did not have disciplined contracting procedures in place, according to several people involved in drafting the report. If the Democrats manage to get control of the House later this year, it's all going to come in an avalanche of subpoenas and new investigations.

[Kevin Drum] It's not censure or impeachment that Republicans are really worried about if they lose control of Congress. It's subpoenas. If they lose the ability to block Democrats from conducting genuine investigations backed by the subpoena power of Congress, the jig is up. And they know it.


Here’s why Bush has started hinting that troops will be Iraq after he leaves office: THAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE PLAN,1,6914932.story
Even as military planners look to withdraw significant numbers of American troops from Iraq in the coming year, the Bush administration continues to request hundreds of millions of dollars for large bases there, raising concerns over whether they are intended as permanent sites for U.S. forces.

U.S. to Iraq: we can do it, but don’t you dare
Three years after the invasion of Iraq, American troops are no longer simply teaching counterinsurgency techniques; they are trying to school the Iraqis in battling a Sunni-led rebellion without resorting to the tactics of a "dirty war," involving abductions, torture and murder.

Is there a link between the White House and the illegal phone-jamming scheme in New Hampshire? Sure looks like it

Nice work if you can get it
[Josh Marshall] The Houston Chronicle reports this morning that the donation Barbara Bush made to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund was 'earmarked' for the educational software company Ignite!

As some of you probably know that's the junk company owned by her ne'er-do-well son Neil Bush.

Actually, though, it's way better, or worse, depending on your turn of mind.

Ignite!'s has a unique business model, which works like this. Neil goes around the world finding international statesmen, bigwigs and criminals who want to 'invest' in Ignite! as a way to curry favor with the brother in the White House.

[NB: What I want to know is if she took a deduction as a charitable donation for money she donated to her son’s company. That, presumably, would be a crime.]

Will there ever be a proper inquiry into illegal wiretapping? The battle between Roberts and Specter


The Goofus Files

Ben, we hardly knew ye (and it looks like we won’t have the chance to get to know him better via the Washington Post). Within hours of being announced as the new voice of the Right for the Post, multiple plagiarism charges abound against Domenech. (This boy will be gone by next week)

Numerous examples of unambiguous plagiarism cited over at:



What a creep!

But don’t expect the WP ombuds(wo)man to do anything about it – it’s someone else’s problem, she says

Being a conservative means never having to say you’re sorry

A sorry state, indeed

Theocracy watch,,1737214,00.html
[Sidney Blumenthal] In American Theocracy, Phillips describes Bush as the founder of "the first American religious party"; September 11 gave him the pretext for "seizing the fundamentalist moment"; he has manipulated a "critical religious geography" to hype issues such as gay marriage. "New forces were being interwoven. These included the institutional rise of the religious right, the intensifying biblical focus on the Middle East, and the deepening of insistence on church-government collaboration within the GOP electorate." It portended a potential "American Disenlightenment," apparent in Bush's hostility to science.

Even Bush's failures have become pretexts for advancing his transformation of government. Exploiting his own disastrous emergency management after Hurricane Katrina, Bush is funneling funds to churches as though they can compensate for governmental breakdown. . .

Has Chris Matthews gotten even worse?

An example:
McMAHON: His approval ratings have dropped to a level you haven't seen since Richard Nixon. People don't believe this president, they don't trust this president, and it's moved over in to character issues.

MATTHEWS: How can you not trust a man who says "I won't be able to win this war in my presidency; I'm leaving it up to other presidents in the future"? You're basically taking a real -- what do they call it? Not an umbrella defense. A prevent defense. You're saying basically, "OK, I'm not going to win this war."

ROGERS: He's moved the goal post.

MATTHEWS: He's moved the goal post. He said, "I'm not going to win this in the next three years, boys and girls. You're gonna have to live with this." . . . [read on]

[NB: This is a reason to TRUST Bush?]

Handy rundown of open House seats

Annals in the fine art of redaction

Bonus item: Why has the treasonous mainstream media ignored this story?
Rumsfeld: Iraqis Now Capable Of Conducting War Without U.S. Assistance
WASHINGTON, DC—Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Monday that escalating violence in Iraq demonstrates that the Iraqi population is now capable of waging the Iraq war without outside military aid, and pronounced the American mission there "a complete success.". . . [read on!]

[NB: Oh, it’s the ONION – never mind. . .]


***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.***