Sunday, September 30, 2007


Bush’s phony climate change “summit”
George Bush was castigated by European diplomats and found himself isolated yesterday after a special conference on climate change ended without any progress.

European ministers, diplomats and officials attending the Washington conference were scathing, particularly in private, over Mr Bush's failure once again to commit to binding action on climate change. . .
[Kevin Drum] Of course, there was an easier way to tell that nobody in the White House was taking this thing seriously: it was named the "Major Economies Meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change." When it's a real initiative they take the time to come up with a snappy name and a nifty acronym. This time, they didn't bother.
The Environmental Protection Agency's pursuit of criminal cases against polluters has dropped off sharply during the Bush administration, with the number of prosecutions, new investigations and total convictions all down by more than a third, according to Justice Department and EPA data.

The number of civil lawsuits filed against defendants who refuse to settle environmental cases was down nearly 70 percent between fiscal years 2002 and 2006 . . .

“I’m melting!”
A record melt of Arctic summer sea ice this month may be a sign that global warming is reaching a critical trigger point that could accelerate the northern thaw, some scientists say.

"The reason so much (of the Arctic ice) went suddenly is that it is hitting a tipping point that we have been warning about for the past few years," James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, told Reuters. . . [read on]

“Oops, sorry”
[Roger McShane] Since early 2003, more than 81,000 IED attacks have occurred in Iraq, killing or wounding 21,000 Americans. (IEDs are responsible for nearly two-thirds of American deaths in Iraq.) This leads the Post to claim that the roadside bomb "has become the signature weapon in Iraq and Afghanistan, as iconic as the machine gun in World War I or the laser-guided 'smart bomb' in the Persian Gulf War of 1991." Yet the high-tech Pentagon has struggled to develop countermeasures, as insurgents adjust the way they use this crude and cheap weapon. Or, as one officer recently put it, "The Flintstones are adapting faster than the Jetsons."

This may come as a shock, but the Post says that the war planners gave "little thought … to roadside bombs as a serious obstacle" in Iraq. Moreover, there were no plans for securing the thousands of munitions caches that have kept the bombmakers stocked with explosives. But hey, what's past is past right? Once military leaders became aware of the IED threat, they began a "costly and frustrating struggle" against the weapon. . . .

Well, it’s good to know that the lawless conduct of Blackwater has consequences (thanks to Buzzflash for the link)
A U.S.-based private security firm received a contract worth up to 92 million dollars from the Department of Defense amid hard questions about its involvement in two separate violent incidents in Iraq. . . .

People forget that Gonzales was lying consistently to Congress for months before his slippery relation to the truth became an issue they wouldn’t put up with any more (The turning point, the absolute last straw? Here’s my candidate)
GONZALES: I'm told that in fact here in the press conference I did misspeak, but I also went back and clarified it with the reporter.

SCHUMER: You did misspeak?

GONZALES: Yes. But I went back and clarified it with the reporter...

SCHUMER: When was that? And which -- what was the reporter's name?

GONZALES: At The Washington Post two days later.

(CROSSTALK) GONZALES: Dan Egan (ph) was the reporter. . .

GONZALES: I clarified my statement two days later with the reporter.

SCHUMER: What did you say to the reporter?

GONZALES: I did not speak directly to the reporter.

SCHUMER: Oh, wait a second -- you did not.

(LAUGHTER) OK. What did your spokesperson say to the reporter?

GONZALES: I don't know. . .

Anyway, my point is that they are on the same trajectory now with DNI Mike McConnell. What are they going to do about it?

Don’t make Henry Waxman mad
Dear Mr. Krongard:

I am writing to you about an exceptionally serious matter: reports that your senior staff has threatened officials that you could fire them if they cooperate with the Committee's investigation into your conduct. . . .

Today, I am writing to express my grave concern with the tactics your office has reportedly used in response to my request. This week, several current employees in your office -- including two who have agreed to go on the record -- informed the Committee that your senior staff attempted to coerce them not to cooperate with the Committee's inquiry and threatened their jobs and careers. . .

I am appalled by these reports. As an Inspector General, you hold a position of special trust within the federal government. Your office is supposed to be an example of how to protect whistleblowers, not an example of how to persecute them. It is unclear whether you directed your senior staff to engage in these activities or whether they took matters into their own hands. In either case, the threats against Special Agent Militana, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Rubendall, and others are reprehensible.

You should be aware -- and you should advise your staff -- that Congress has passed civil and criminal prohibitions against threatening and tampering with witnesses, retaliating against whistleblowers, and providing false information to Congress.' If Special Agent Militana's and Assistant Special Agent in Charge Rubendall's accounts are true, some or all of these provisions may be implicated.

The Committee will not tolerate any intimidation of potential witnesses. I direct you to instruct your staff, including your congressional affairs liaison and attorneys, to suspend all communications (other than those necessary to collect responsive documents) with employees the Committee is planning to interview. I also warn you against any further efforts to intimidate witnesses or prevent truthful communications with Congress.

If you have any questions about this matter, you should contact me personally.


Henry A. Waxman
Chairman . . . [Wow – read it all!]

Ahem: the Cornyn resolution, which passed the Senate 72-25, says. . .
(b) Sense of Senate.--It is the sense of the Senate--

(1) to reaffirm its support for all the men and women of the United States Armed Forces, including General David H. Petraeus, Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq;

(2) to strongly condemn any effort to attack the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all the members of the United States Armed Forces . . .

[Steve Benen] In light of the controversies surrounding the “Betray Us” ad and Rush Limbaugh slamming U.S. troops who support withdrawal as “phony soldiers,” you’d think Fox News wouldn’t publish a piece called, “Top Military Officials are a Disgrace to Those They Lead.” . . .


Right wing attack dogs (Limbaugh, O’Reilly, and the gang), when they get caught uttering some particularly odious bit of claptrap, invariably howl that their comments were “taken out of context” – even when they were quoted, with context, verbatim. Now Limbaugh tries a new trick, IGNORING the context of his original comment about “phony troops,” which made it clear that he was accusing any soldier critical of the war of not being a real member of the military, by trying to pretend that he meant something else

The AP helps promote his lie:

When pigs fly
He's so upset that Media Matters "smeared" him by quoting his own words that Bill O'Reilly says he's going to launch a war on smearing: "...he's going to 'hunt down' media who smear public figures -- and not just him, but Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Oh yeah. . ."

Unclear on the concept. I think Mr. O’Reilly needs some more Sunday school – the last time I checked, wishing you could strangle people (if only you could get away with it) was just about the same ticket to Hell as actually doing it. But at least he’s honest about his feelings

Another example of the stenographic media reporting a candidate’s spin as fact. Newt says on Thursday, with great fanfare, that he’s starting a big fundraising campaign and if he can get promises of thirty million dollars, he will run. TWO DAYS later he says he definitely isn’t running, and gives as the reason that he can’t run while keeping his position as head of his nonprofit. What, Mr. Political Genius didn’t KNOW he’d have to make a choice between the two? He wasn’t aware of that rule? It wasn’t worth it to him to step aside from that post to run for President? Or maybe, just maybe, the initial response to his fundraising appeal was so embarrassing that he knew he’d never come close to thirty mill
[AP] Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will not run for president in 2008 after determining he could not legally explore a bid and remain as head of his tax-exempt political organization, a spokesman said Saturday. . . [read on]


[Eric Kleefeld] In a foreign-policy speech yesterday, Mike Huckabee [R-AK] severely faulted President Bush's handling of the War on Terror, specifically in regards to his trust of the regimes in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan — and even compared Bush to the military strongman who presides over the latter country.

"Just like Musharraf, since 9/11, the Bush administration has played both ends and the middle, assuring the American people that it’s doing everything it can to protect them, while tiptoeing around our supposed ally," Huckabee said . . .

Fred Thompson, a work in process
[Roger McShane] The NYT fronts a look at Fred Thompson's eight years in the Senate. After reviewing his archived papers and interviewing his former aides, the Times says Thompson "brought a lawyer's sensibility to his deliberations" and "displayed little enthusiasm for divisive battles over … issues that motivate religious Republican primary voters." Those may sound like appealing qualities, but such nonpartisanship isn't going to fly in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. So, as the NYT delicately puts it, Thompson "is now refining some of his earlier positions in a way that better reflects his party's base." This graphic outlining his flip-floppery would make Mitt Romney blush.

Resign, hell – Larry Craig (R-ID) ain’t goin’ anywhere (and his Republican colleagues are just THRILLED)
Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho is a tough guy to run out of town.

Not that his Republican colleagues aren't trying. Worried that the disgraced lawmaker intends to remain in the Senate indefinitely, they are threatening to notch up the public humiliation by seeking an open ethics hearing on the restroom scandal that enveloped Craig last month. . .

How the mainstream media describes any group they consider not part of their own cozy DC orbit: “outsiders.” Well, maybe that describes MoveOn – but THIS group?

Sunday talk show line-ups
NBC’s Meet The Press: Former President Bill Clinton, Dan Balz, Pat Buchanan, David Gregory & Tavis Smiley.

ABC’s This Week: Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, Former President Bill Clinton, Torie Clarke, Donna Brazile and George Will join me to debate the week’s politics; plus, Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus.

CBS’s Face The Nation: New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Democratic presidential candidate.

CNN’s Late Edition: Sens. Kit Bond, R-Mo., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari; New Yorker writer Seymour Hersh.

Fox News Sunday: Sens. Chuck Schumer and Trent Lott; David Yepsen, Des Moines Register chief political correspondent and James Pindell, Boston Globe New Hampshire political correspondent.

Bonus item: Yes, he really said it
In the transcript, translated from Spanish by The Washington Post, Bush said that Europeans were insensitive to "the suffering that Saddam Hussein has inflicted on the Iraqis" and added: "Maybe it's because he's dark-skinned, far away and Muslim-- a lot of Europeans think he's okay." . . . [read on]

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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.***

Saturday, September 29, 2007


The next big outrage
[Spencer Ackerman] The State Department's "first blush" investigation into the September 16 shootings at Baghdad's Nisour Square, which left 11 Iraqi civilians dead at the hands of Blackwater security contractors, largely absolves Blackwater of blame for the incident. . . .
[Josh Marshall] But look at the details of the Post piece and you'll see that "first blush" -- the State Department's wording -- is something of an understatement. As the Post puts it, "the report, by the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security, details the events as described by Blackwater guards ..."

So this isn't a preliminary or initial report in any sense I'd recognize. It's a debrief taken the day of the incident from the guys who actually did the shooting.

I'm not sure how much it tells us that they largely absolve themselves of culpability.
Private military contractor Blackwater USA "delayed and impeded" a congressional probe into the 2004 killings of four of its employees in Falluja, Iraq, the House Oversight Committee said Thursday in a report. . . .

More from the State Dept
Two career investigators in the office of State Department Inspector General Howard J. Krongard have charged that they were threatened with firing if they cooperated with a congressional probe of Krongard and his office. . . .

The facts don’t matter – they just want the headline
US-led forces kill top al-Qaida leader
[Josh Marshall] The US military command in Iraq says a key al Qaida operative was killed in Iraq today. "Abu Osama al-Tunisi was one of the most senior leaders ... the emir of foreign terrorists in Iraq and part of the inner leadership circle", says Brig. Gen. Joseph Anderson.

Not surprisingly, as ThinkProgress reports, al-Tunisi also apparently died last year.

Oh, I love this. Milktoast Republicans who want to end the war won’t tie Bush’s hands, but they’re perfectly willing to tie the hands of the NEXT President (whoever she might be)
[David Kurtz] GOPers up for re-election have come up with what they think may be a way to thread the Iraq needle: call now for a withdrawal of U.S. troops--but don't begin the withdrawal until after President Bush leaves office. Brilliant!


I know the Dems have calculated that they have to give Bush everything he asked for in conducting his war, so they don’t get blamed for its failure. But what if they’re going to be blamed for its failure anyway?

Mike McConnell seems to be vying for Alberto’s role as a serial dissembler
[Josh Marshall] Here's an important story. If you're a regular reader, you know that for the last week, Spencer Ackerman's been turning over important new ground in the latest FISA dispute. DNI Mike McConnell said that restrictive FISA regs led to a critical delay in obtaining a warrant to surveil Iraqi insurgents who'd kidnapped American soldiers. But Ackerman's sources disputed McConnell's account. And now the Associated Press has obtained documents that appear to confirm Spencer's reporting. The delay wasn't caused by FISA but because administration officials couldn't get their act together quickly enough.


The Abramoff investigation keeps spreading
[National Journal] The Justice Department has asked the U.S. Attorney's Office in Maryland to handle one aspect of the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling probe -- ex-Abramoff colleague Kevin Ring's lobbying of Justice officials. . .

What the SCHIP fight is doing to Republicans

Dana Perino (they call her Dana Peroxide, but I need a better nickname for her than that) tries to explain Bush’s intransigence on SCHIP
Q Does it strike the President that 18 senators -- Republican senators voted for this bill? Did that make him have any second thoughts about his plan to veto?

MS. PERINO: The President does not have second thoughts. . . . [read on]

[NB: Yes, we all nod, THAT’S the problem.]

After years of denial and trivialization, Bush suddenly discovers global warming
President Bush assured the rest of the world yesterday that he takes the threat of climate change seriously and vowed that the United States "will do its part" to reduce the greenhouse gases that are warming the planet, but he proposed no concrete new initiatives to reach that goal.

The president's speech at a conference of major economic powers represented a symbolic turn for a leader who once expressed doubt about global warming. . . After nearly seven years on the defensive, Bush tried to assume a leadership role in crafting "a new international approach" to preserving the world's climate.

Yet he found himself largely isolated at a meeting that he had organized to address the issue, lambasted by foreign officials, U.S. lawmakers and environmental activists who saw his effort as more show than substance. . . .
Seeking to counter international pressure to adopt binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions, the Bush administration has been touting the success of three mandatory programs to curb U.S. energy consumption: gas mileage standards for vehicles, efficiency standards for home appliances and state laws requiring utilities to increase their use of renewable energy sources.

But for most of the Bush presidency, the White House has either done little to promote these measures or, in some cases, has actively fought against them. Moreover, the fuel economy and appliance initiatives were first taken years ago to slash energy consumption, long before climate change became a pressing issue. . . .


Yes, it's stupid, yes, it’s an abasement of the legislative process, and yes the Democrats HAVE to do it
Rep. Mark Udall (D-CO) will be introducing a resolution in the House of Representatives on Monday condemning Rush Limbaugh for his "phony soldiers" remark. . . . [read on]


Clarence Thomas is, in my opinion, one of the luckiest guys on this earth – given a life appointment to the highest court in the land through no great achievement or merit of his own. But not to hear him tell it. . .
Justice Clarence Thomas settles scores in an angry and vivid forthcoming memoir, scathingly condemning the media, the Democratic senators who opposed his nomination to the Supreme Court, and the "mob" of liberal elites and activist groups that he says desecrated his life. . . .

Question and answer: Why did all the leading Republicans skip a debate at historically black Morgan State University?


Fred Thompson – uh, does this guy actually WANT to be President?
[Steve Benen] * Asked about the Jena Six, Thompson said, “I don’t know anything about it.”

* Asked about his thoughts on the Terri Schiavo matter, Thompson said, “That’s going back in history. I don’t remember the details of it.”

* Asked about hurricane property insurance while campaigning in Florida, a huge local issue, Thompson said he doesn’t “know all the facts surrounding that case.”

* Asked about Social Security reform, one of the top issues on his policy agenda, Thompson said he couldn’t remember what Bush’s position was on Social Security two years ago.

* Asked about oil drilling in the Everglades, while campaigning in Florida, Thompson said he didn’t know there was oil under the Everglades and didn’t know it was an important local issue.


All you can do is laugh, I guess. Everyone knows that Rudy Giuliani invokes 9-11 at EVERY opportunity. So why did he take that cell phone call right in the middle of his NRA speech? You guessed it

Another Mr. Know-Nothing
GIULIANI: I honestly think we might have gotten tougher questions during the Fox interview, but they were substantive questions. During the MSNBC situation, we got some really good questions. But we also got some of the trick questions: Shia and Sunni.

You know, do I know the difference between Shia and Sunni? I felt like I was, you know, defending my doctoral thesis. It happens that I am a student of the history of religion. . . [read on]

Rudy’s link to the ill-fated California proposition to steal 20 electoral votes

I think nothing shows the slimy opportunistic side of John McCain in a worse light than his craven pandering of the Christian Right (the people he once called “agents of intolerance”)

Bonus item: Bush’s three sentences
[Fred Kaplan] Here, in three sentences, is the first lesson on how to assess the current crop of presidential candidates: Don't pick anyone who utters, or seems capable of believing, those three sentences.

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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, September 28, 2007


Let’s see. It’s an OUTRAGE, an absolute outrage requiring Congressional resolutions, Presidential condemnations, and hours of hand-wringing on the news channels and talk radio, when MoveOn dares to question the sincerity of a military man speaking out on the war in Iraq. How dare they demean the motives of someone in uniform who has risked his life to serve our country?

OK, so what about THIS?
CALLER 2: No, it's not, and what's really funny is, they never talk to real soldiers. They like to pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and talk to the media.

LIMBAUGH: The phony soldiers.

CALLER 2: The phony soldiers. If you talk to a real soldier, they are proud to serve. . . .


[NB: The Democrats BETTER have a resolution up and ready before both houses of Congress, using exactly parallel language to the resolution condemning MoveOn, and challenging the Republicans to support it, as Dems did the other one.]

Two fewer phonies to worry about
The Op-Ed by seven active duty U.S. soldiers in Iraq questioning the war drew international attention just three weeks ago. Now two of the seven are dead.

Sgt. Omar Mora and Sgt. Yance T. Gray died Monday in a vehicle accident in western Baghdad . . .

A little historical context
[Bob Novak, May 6, 1999] Who is responsible for an air offensive that is building anti-American anger across Europe without breaking the Serbian regime's will? The blame rests heavily on Gen. Wesley Clark, the NATO supreme commander. . . .
[Bob Novak, Sept. 22, 2007] Rudy Giuliani scored a hit with conservative activists by getting ahead of his Republican presidential competitors in blasting Sen. Hillary Clinton for not denouncing's attack on Gen. David Petraeus. Giuliani caught the spirit of Republican rage over the left-wing's full-page ad in The New York Times. On the day Petraeus presented his report on Iraq, the ad demeaned him as "General Betray Us."

Giuliani asked: "Who should America listen to -- a decorated soldier's commitment to defending America, or Hillary Clinton's commitment to defending" . . .

The Army is broken

The real impediment to Bush/Cheney’s plan to attack Iran isn’t the Dems, it’s the military itself

Corruption in Iraq: so widespread, they don’t even know where to start in trying to fix it

A serious question: why ISN’T this impeachable?

A classic nondenial denial:

Participants in a contentious Baghdad security operation this month have told American investigators that during the operation at least one guard continued firing on civilians while colleagues urgently called for a cease-fire. At least one guard apparently also drew a weapon on a fellow guard who did not stop shooting, an American official said. . . . [read on]

The contractor scandal spreads
[Josh Marshall] Sec Defense Bob Gates said that one of the issues he's most concerned about is the way that private contractors in Iraq lure away active duty members of the military with promises of much higher salaries -- often to do more or less the same stuff they're doing in uniform. In fact, that problem is so bad that he's looking into whether or not he can get soldiers to sign non-compete agreements to prevent them from getting headhunted by the private contractors who are allegedly there in Iraq working for us.

This really casts in a sharp, almost comedic relief what's happening in the privatization of our military and what's becoming of what we used to call the basis of state sovereignty -- the monopoly on the legitimate use of force. . . [read on!]


Bush: Who, me?
Q Thank you, Mr. President. It's an honor to have you here. I'm a first-year student in South Asia studies. My question is in regards to private military contractors. Uniform Code of Military Justice does not apply to these contractors in Iraq. I asked your Secretary of Defense a couple months ago what law governs their actions.

THE PRESIDENT: I was going to ask him. Go ahead. (Laughter.) Help. (Laughter.)

Q I was hoping your answer might be a little more specific. (Laughter.) . . . Mr. President, how do you propose to bring private military contractors under a system of law?

THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate that very much. I wasn't kidding -- (laughter.) I was going to -- I pick up the phone and say, Mr. Secretary, I've got an interesting question. (Laughter.) This is what delegation -- I don't mean to be dodging the question, although it's kind of convenient in this case, but never -- (laughter.) I really will -- I'm going to call the Secretary and say you brought up a very valid question, and what are we doing about it? That's how I work. I'm -- thanks. (Laughter.)

It’s hard to bear sometimes how badly the Democrats handle these issues; haven’t they studied the playbook?
The Senate dropped legislation Thursday that would have expanded the legal rights of military detainees, sidestepping for now a potential veto fight with the Bush administration on terrorism trials. . .
[Kagro X] Yesterday, Hans Von Spakovsky's nomination of the Federal Election Commission squeaked through the Senate Rules committee and is headed for a vote before the full Senate.

Von Spakovsky, like so many other Bush nominees, is really just about everything you could ever imagine not wanting in a public official. The transgressions are numerous, outrageous, and really, pretty sickening.

But his nomination comes to the floor nonetheless . . .
[Politico] Galling as it may be to Democrats, Bush still can claim to be acting with more clarity and courage than the congressional majority. . . .


Will Republicans back Bush’s veto on SCHIP, to the risk of their own electoral prospects in 2008? Will the Dems figure out a way to make them pay?


Maybe not:

The politics of fear

Well, at least they managed this
The Senate yesterday approved an expansion of federal hate-crimes law to include protections for gay men and lesbians, defying a presidential veto threat by attaching the measure to a high-priority defense bill.

Republicans said they will try to remove the provision in final negotiations with the House, but if that effort fails, GOP leaders urged President Bush to follow through with his long-standing veto threat. They were furious this week when Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) announced that he would force a vote on an expanded hate-crimes statute, with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) calling Reid's maneuver a "shameful" attempt to "hijack" essential defense legislation. . . .

Who voted?

Will Bush veto it?

Why is such an amendment relevant to a Defense Bill? Read on
Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, caused a stir at a Senate hearing this week when he repeated his view that gay sex is immoral . .


Another Republican runs afoul of the law
Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) and five staffers subpoenaed in Abramoff corruption probe, AP reports. . . [read on]

What? Do you expect him to read the newspapers TOO?;_ylt=ArYaYuzykN4weLCFWcj0vQSyFz4D
Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson said Thursday he was unaware that a federal judge had ruled last week that lethal injection procedures in his home state were unconstitutional. . .

Thompson's support for the death penalty was a major part of his campaign platform when he first ran for the U.S. Senate in Tennessee in 1994. Asked for his response to the recent Tennessee and Kentucky cases, Thompson responded, "I hadn't heard that. I didn't know." . . .

A look ahead to the next Supreme Court term

Looks like the GOP plot to steal 20 California electoral votes is dead

What it was:

OK, you don’t have to drop your Verizon service after all -- they changed their minds

Bonus item: Fear of sunlight (thanks to Buzzflash for the link)
Vice President Dick Cheney will speak to a super-secret, conservative policy group in Utah on Friday during his second trip to the state this year.

Cheney will address the fall meeting of the Council for National Policy, a group whose self-described mission is to promote "a free-enterprise system, a strong national defense and support for traditional Western values."

The organization - made up of few hundred powerful conservative activists - holds confidential meetings and members are advised not to use the name of the group in communications. . . "The media should not know when or where we meet or who takes part in our programs, before [or] after a meeting,'' a list of rules obtained by The Times showed. . . .

***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, September 27, 2007


The bad guys have a good day:

Case #1: Despite a Democratic majority, vote-suppression guru Hans von Spakovsky’s nomination to the FEC gets forwarded by the Senate Rules Committee to the Senate

[Digby] But hey, why should the Democrats want to stop a professional Republican vote stealer from being on the FEC?

More on vote suppression – the GOP is getting in position for 2008
Ohio and Florida, which provided the decisive electoral votes for President Bush's two razor-thin national election triumphs, have enacted laws that election experts say will help Republicans impede Democratic-leaning minorities from voting in 2008. . .

Fight back:

Case #2: The Democratic-controlled House issues a gratuitous “us too” resolution condemning MoveOn. Are we done with this now, folks? Can we get on to something else?
[Greg Sargent] The House of Representatives, which of course enjoys a much larger Dem majority than the Senate, just voted overwhelmingly to condemn MoveOn for its ad criticizing General Petraeus. The vote was 341-179.

As late as this morning, it was unclear whether the House Dem leadership was going to even allow a vote on the measure. The leadership, however, was coming under conservative criticism for not taking up the measure -- and now, obviously, it has done just that.

An astonishing number of House Dems -- 146 -- voted to condemn the antiwar group, versus only 79 who didn't. That's two-thirds of House Dems voting for this thing. No Republicans voted against it. . . .


Case #3: Stripped of its “let’s attack Iran” language, the Kyl-Lieberman resolution finally passes. One question: WHY?
[Big Tent Democrat] Wasting time, good will and attempting to wreak havoc, the original Lieberman-Kyl Amendment on Iran was tantamount to granting President Bush the power to wage war against Iran. Still wasting time and attempting to wreak havoc, the Lieberman-Kyl Amendment was gutted of its war authorizing provisions, but remained provocative, unnecessary and stupid. It should have been voted down. It was not. It passed. Among the Ays was Senator Hillary Clinton. Among the Nays were Senators Chris Dodd and Joe Biden. Absent was Senator Barack Obama.


Are the Democrats going to fight smart over SCHIP, or will that be failure #4?

I think we need another word besides “patience”
Jan.: Bush Urges Patience on Iraq as Election Nears
Jun.: Bush urges patience, long view on Iraq war
Aug.: Bush calls for patience on Iraq mission
Nov.: Bush Urges Patience With Iraq Training

Mar.: Bush calls on Americans to show patience with Iraq
Jun.: After Iraq Visit, Bush Urges Patience
Aug.: Bush Urges Patience on Iraq, Speed in Lebanon
Oct.: Conceding Missteps, Bush Urges Patience on Iraq
Nov.: Bush Urges Patience on Winning Iraq War

Mar: Bush Pleads for Patience in Iraq War
May: Bush Urges Patience on Iraq
Jun.: Bush urges patience on Iraq
Jul.: War In Year 5; Bush Requests Patience
Aug.: Bush pleads for more patience for Iraq war efforts

Another EX-general from Iraq tells us what he really thinks about the war effort

What our reliance on mercenaries and private contractors like Blackwater is costing us
The American security contractor Blackwater USA has been involved in a far higher rate of shootings while guarding American diplomats in Iraq than other security firms providing similar services to the State Department, according to Bush administration officials and industry officials. . .
[Daniel Politi] The State Department keeps track of every time a contractor shoots a weapon while on the job, and although officials agreed to discuss the broad outlines of the reports, they would not provide the paper with any of the actual numbers. . . This higher rate didn't seem to hurt Blackwater's chances of being awarded more contracts and responsibility in Iraq. In fact, just a few weeks ago the company was awarded another large contract. The NYT goes on to note that questions have been raised about Blackwater's ties to politicians as the owner's family contributes heavily to Republicans. As is common with contractors, Blackwater also has several staff members who used to hold prominent government jobs.


Hmmm. . . . I thought they weren’t:
Are Blackwater employees subject to the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice)? It seems they may now be, because of an amendment to last years Defense Authorization Act authored by Sen. Graham

Smoking-gun proof that Bush lied to take us to war – ho, hum, so what’s Britney doing?

Henry Waxman, the busiest man on Capitol Hill, asks for State Dept. documents, including a study on corruption in Iraq. AFTER he asks for them, the State Dept classifies them – then explains that because they’re classified he can’t have them. Smell anything?


The Republicans show their “support for the troops” by condemning MoveOn. Meanwhile. . . .
[WP] More than half a year after disclosures of systemic problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and other military hospitals, the Pentagon's promised fixes are threatened by staff shortages and uncertainty . . .

Judges keep finding the Patriot Act unconstitutional – but no one seems at all concerned about it

Powerful supercomputers are vacuuming up so much information that logs of calls to or from innocent Americans could exist in government databases indefinitely, the nation's top intelligence official said Tuesday.

"You may not even realize it's in the database because you do lots of collection," Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell said, referring to the "inadvertent collection" of Americans' communications through a vast surveillance program instituted after 9/11. . . .

Why haven’t the Democrats found the right voice on FISA?
[Joe Galloway] Once again, the Bush administration is flimflamming the hapless Democratic majority in Congress into rushing an important piece of legislation into law without serious thought or debate about the implications. . . .

A virtual boondoggle
Bush's 'Virtual Fence' Faces Trouble, Delays
Technical and management troubles have caused the government's effort to secure a portion of the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border with a chain of surveillance towers to fall behind schedule, jeopardizing the success of a costly project meant to showcase the Bush administration's tougher stance on immigration enforcement.

A $20 million pilot program to safeguard a 28-mile stretch of rough, mesquite-dotted terrain that straddles a smuggling corridor south of Tucson was supposed to be operational in June but now is expected to be delayed until the end of the year. . .

Ground radar and cameras that were to identify illegal border crossers so that armed patrols could be dispatched to capture them have had trouble distinguishing people and vehicles from cows and bushes. The sensors are also confused by moisture. . .

[NB: And only 1,972 miles to go. . . ]

Quick: what is the name of Bush’s Agriculture Secretary? Don’t blink – you’ve just missed him
[TeddySanFran] I admit not knowing the name of the Agriculture Secretary. I learned recently, though, that there’s a farm bill wending its odd way through our national legislature. Doesn’t that sound like something our Agriculture Secretary ought to attend to? Actually, the farm bill affects us all, comes up for renewal every five years, and is entirely within the purview of the Agriculture Secretary.

George W Bush’s second Agriculture Secretary, Mike Johanns [is] leaving Washington before the farm bill even passes the United States Senate. Why? He wants to run for the Senate seat Nebraskan Chuck Hagel is giving up next year. . . .

If Blackwater goes down, it could cause trouble for Mitt Romney. Here’s why

The “weirdness factor”
[Steve Benen] Several years ago, Rudy Giuliani asked his staff to put together a “vulnerability study,” which would highlight potential weaknesses on the campaign trail. . . .

Awwww. . . . .
[ABC] A crucial GOP fundraising committee is nearly broke, according to its latest monthly filing with the Federal Election Committee . . .

A good reason to cancel your Verizon service
Saying it had the right to block “controversial or unsavory” text messages, Verizon Wireless has rejected a request from Naral Pro-Choice America, the abortion rights group, to make Verizon’s mobile network available for a text-message program.

The other leading wireless carriers have accepted the program . . .

[Josh Marshall] This has no direct technological connection to the net neutrality issue. But it shows pretty clearly what can happen when you have no 'common carrier' protections on the new telecom frontier.

One of the great acts of policy hypocrisy is by those who oppose abortion, but ALSO oppose the availability of contraception and information that could help prevent unwanted pregnancies (yes, yes, I know – abstinence is the only way)

ANOTHER Republican retires

Meanwhile, Larry Craig (R-ID) just can’t seem to make up his mind
[Steve Benen] For those keeping score at home:

Craig wouldn’t resign…

Then he might…

Then he did…

Then he changed his mind…

Then he changed it back…

And now he’s back to not resigning again.


I suppose I should let this go, but the infamous 60 Minutes report on Bush’s National Guard duty was, regardless of the forged documents, basically TRUE

The headline of a Newsday article on Bill O'Reilly's controversial remarks about a Harlem restaurant run by African-Americans asserted, "O'Reilly lashes out at CNN over misquoted report," but the article provided no examples of a "misquot[ation]," nor did it quote O'Reilly claiming to have been "misquoted." The article also stated that " released a partial transcript" of O'Reilly's comments. In fact, Media Matters provided the relevant transcript and audio clip of O'Reilly's remarks, which included the full context of his statements. . . .

“If Bill O’Reilly was caught robbing a bank, he would say he was taken out of context.” Paul Waldman, Media Matters . . . [read on]

Bonus item: More misquoting, I’m sure
During the September 25 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly stated that CNN has gone "over to the dark side" for its coverage of O'Reilly's recent statement, first spotlighted by Media Matters for America, that "I couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant [in Harlem] and any other restaurant in New York City. It was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks [and has a] primarily black patronship." O'Reilly went on to claim that he "talked to CNN last night" before the controversy was discussed on the September 24 edition of CNN's Out in the Open and "explained the deal." He added, "They went ahead with the racist angle anyway." During the September 25 edition of Out in the Open, anchor Rick Sanchez aired a video clip of O'Reilly's claim that "he talked to CNN last night" and said of O'Reilly's assertion, "Never once did we utter the word 'racist' in relation to Bill O'Reilly." Sanchez added, "One other thing: He talks about calling us and talking to us. In actuality, he called and screamed at the top of his lungs for a very long period of time."

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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.***

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


House watchdog Henry Waxman wants to investigate Blackwater – Condi’s State Dept tells him, “you can’t,” and Rice (who IS a Congressionally-approved official) refuses to testify herself. What are they hiding?


One thing we have learned about Josh Marshall: he has a great nose for an issue with scandal potential. Now he picks up on the great untold story of this war – the role of contractors like Blackwater (and why the Bush gang doesn’t want anyone looking into them). Expect a lot more to come
[WP] "This is a nightmare," said a senior U.S. military official. . . "This is going to hurt us badly. It may be worse than Abu Ghraib. . . ."

"This is a big mess that I don't think anyone has their hands around yet," said another U.S. military official. . . . “Iraqis hate them, the troops don't particularly care for them, and they tend to have a know-it-all attitude, which means they rarely listen to anyone — even the folks that patrol the ground on a daily basis." . . [read on!]

Well, this just confirms what we always knew – but you might think the press would perk up and take notice, wouldn’t you?
[Josh Marshal] [I]t seems someone in the Spanish government has leaked to El Pais transcripts of conversations between President Bush and then Spanish Prime Minister Aznar just before the outbreak of the Iraq War. The gist seems to be that Bush was rather candid about the fact that the efforts to find a peaceful solution to the crisis were a sham and that the war was a done deal. . .

The Kyl-Lieberman resolution, Democrats realize, is actually a hidden authorization for war against Iran. (Not that the Republicans would ever try to sneak anything like that by them, would they?)


UPDATE – bill pulled, will be “revised”:

Fox News does its part to whip up winger support for an attack on Iran

You just watch: Bush and the Republicans plan to blame the Democrats for the failure of Bush’s war
[Steve Benen] [T]he president not only wants to stay the course between now and then, he also wants to figure out a way for the next president to also stay the course, whether they want to or not. . .


DNI Mike McConnell, whom everyone praised as the apolitical professional needed in that job, turns out to have the same capacity for demagoguery as his bosses
[Spencer Ackerman] Last month, in an interview with the El Paso Times, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell said that openly debating changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- changes requested by none other than McConnell himself -- would mean that "some Americans are going to die." . . .
[Spencer Ackerman] In response to a question from Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), McConnell reaffirmed that discussing the administration's surveillance program in open session will endanger American lives. . . .


Will the Dems cave on FISA (again)?

Gee, why would Republicans not want to go on television to defend the war they keep voting to continue?

Why does the Washington Post hate the military?
Pentagon and Petraeus’ casualty data ‘differ significantly.’ In a report today on the Pentagon’s methods for determining sectarian killings in Iraq, the Washington Post’s Karen DeYoung writes that “apparent contradictions are relatively easy to find in the flood of bar charts and trend lines the military produces.” . . .

Of course, the Republicans see in the MoveOn “controversy” a great fundraising opportunity. . . and make it so
[David Kurtz] Because what better way to honor our troops' sacrifice than contributing to the NRSC. I have a lump in my throat just thinking about it.
[David Kurtz] You don't have to get into the appropriateness of the MoveOn ad or the intricacies of the NYT's ad rate schedule to conclude the obvious: The GOP is engaged in another round of cynical, exploitative caterwauling to change the subject from their party's Iraq debacle. . .

Democrats: if being in the majority means anything, you MUST NOT confirm this man
[Paul Kiel] Finally, the time has come. The Senate Rules Committee will vote tomorrow on whether Hans von Spakovsky, the former Justice Department official who former employees say was key to the politicization of voting rights section, will get a term on the Federal Elections Commission. Von Spakovsky is also a veteran of Republican efforts to target voter fraud. . . [read on]


Action alert:

It appears that the House will NOT be able to override Bush’s veto of the child health care bill. Make Bush and the Republicans pay

Here’s how:

Bush will try AGAIN to dismantle the Social Security system. I have no doubt that the system needs reforming – but no one trusts these people to do it (see above)

It’s more than a year away, but 2008 looks like it will be fun
GOP Bracing For More Congressional Losses . . .


Larry Craig hopes to fly under the radar, stay in office after his announced “resignation” date

What real newspapers do
President Bush implored the United Nations on Tuesday to recommit itself to restoring human decency by liberating oppressed people and ending famine and disease.

Speaking before the United Nations General Assembly, the president called for renewed efforts to enforce the U.N.'s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a striking point of emphasis for a leader who's widely accused of violating human rights in waging war against terrorism.

Bush didn't mention the U.S. prisons in Afghanistan or at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. practice of holding detainees for years without legal charges or access to lawyers, or the CIA's "rendition" kidnappings of suspects abroad, all issues of concern to human rights activists around the world. . . .

How David Brooks works
[Glenn Greenwald] [V]irtually every column David Brooks writes is grounded in one of two highly misleading tactics and, on special occasions, like today, are grounded in both. That's all there is to him. He just re-cycles these same two themes over and over in different forms.

The first tactic is merely the most commonplace conceit of the standard Beltway pundit: Brooks takes whatever opinions he happens to hold on a topic, and then -- without citing a single piece of evidence -- repeatedly asserts that "most Americans" hold this view, and then bases his entire "argument" on this premise . . .

The other Brooks tactic is also a defining feature among pundits and a central prong in the Washington Establishment's orthodoxies. No matter what polls or elections show, Brooks' overriding goal is to "prove" that "most Americans" favor a "hawkish" foreign policy whereby America will rule the world by military force, most importantly in the Middle East. . . . In the Beltway pundit world, there is never any Republican/Democratic or liberal/conservative split allowed on this issue. . . [read on]


NPR tells Bush gang “no, you can’t hand-pick the interviewer to question the President” (so Fox News picks up the interview instead). Expect some faux outrage from the usual sources that this shows NPR’s “liberal bias”

Bill O’Reilly: watch him squeal


Fox brings on a “body language expert” to analyze Hillary’s “evil laugh”

Bonus item: Someone working at the U.N. has a sense of humor
[Tim Grieve] A draft of George W. Bush's address to the United Nations this morning appeared briefly on the U.N.'s Web site today, and it included phonetic spellings for the names of some of the countries and leaders Bush was supposed to mention.

A reporter asked White House press secretary Dana Perino if that meant that the president has a hard time pronouncing some of these names.

"I think that's an offensive question," Perino said. "I'm going to just decline to comment on it."
* Kyrgyzstan [KEYR-geez-stan]
* Mauritania [moor-EH-tain-ee-a]
* Harare [hah-RAR-ray]
* Mugabe [moo-GAH-bee]
* Sarkozy [sar-KO-zee]
* Caracas [kah-RAH-kus]


***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, September 25, 2007


A Great Compromise on Iraq! Sponsored by a Democrat! Except. . . it sorta sounds like . . . . we should keep doing. . . . exactly what Bush is doing. But it’s a COMPROMISE, see? So that’s a good thing, right?
[Atrios] Note the language. "We agree." That's all that matters. Agreement! Congress should stop disagreeing! And then they'll agree! And that'll be so awesome! . . . [read on]

More on the US military practice of laying out munitions “bait” and then shooting Iraqis who happen to pick it up (because that means they’re trying to kill us, and so that makes killing them a kind of self-defense, see?). How many ways can such a scheme go wrong and end up killing innocent civilians? Count the ways

When the GOP sees an opportunity, they have no shame about going back to the well again and again and again
House GOPer demands congressional investigation of New York Times over MoveOn ad. . . Or as Matt Stoller puts it, "I'm a little worried about upcoming fights over funding for Iraq, inasmuch as they might distract us from discussing the Moveon ad."
[Kevin Drum] Don't Republicans have anything better to do?

No shame, as I said
[Kagro X] Watch Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) recite her talking points on MoveOn/NYT/General Petraeus. . . until Tucker substitute host David Shuster asks her the name of the last soldier from her district killed in Iraq. . . [read on]

Republicans (along with their BFF Joe Lieberman) want to give Bush authorization to attack Iran – because it worked so well the last time

Trying to close the prison at Guantanamo

More on the mysterious missing nukes

Condoleezza Who? How bad is it when Sunday news shows don’t want the Sect’y of State for a guest?

We know Bush has gotta lotta nerve, but even for him. . .
[Steve Benen] Working with a Republican Congress for six years, the Bush White House has written federal budgets that grew at a rate of 7% per year — double the rate of growth under Clinton. According the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute, both conservative think tanks, even nonmilitary discretionary spending has blossomed under Bush, far more than his recent predecessors. . . .

It was with some irony, therefore, that the president lashed out at congressional Democrats today, asking why they can’t be as fiscally responsible as he is. . .

Can the Dems win the veto fight with Bush over the bipartisan SCHIP bill? (My guess, yes in the Senate, no in the House.)

Why a smarter health care plan is GOOD BUSINESS

John Edwards actually has an education plan, and it actually makes sense


In general, the Democrats are running a strong policy-based campaign. The GOP-ers are still polishing up their applause lines

I think people are beginning to realize that Rudy Giuliani is a dangerous idiot – but will the Republicans nominate him anyway?

The Republicans and race

David Vitter (R-LA) tries to change the topic from his prostitute problem
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) has earmarked $100,000 for a Louisiana group that advocates stopping the teaching of evolution in public schools. . .


Theocracy watch: frivolous lawsuit edition
[LAT] The Internal Revenue Service has told a prominent Pasadena church that it has ended its lengthy investigation into a 2004 antiwar sermon, church leaders said Sunday. . . [read on!]

[NB: How many IRS investigations of pro-war church sermons?]

***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, September 24, 2007

[Daniel Politi] The Washington Post leads with word that at least some U.S. snipers in Iraq have been encouraged to set out "bait" to lure and kill suspected insurgents. The classified program calls on snipers to set out an object that they suspect an insurgent would use against U.S. or Iraqi troops, such as ammunition or plastic explosives, and then kill whoever tries to take the item. . . .

The Post got word of the classified "baiting" program through court documents relating to murder charges that were filed "against three snipers who are accused of planting evidence on Iraqis they killed." The three shootings don't seem to be directly related to the program but defense attorneys contend that the whole concept of baiting "blurred the legal lines of killing in a complex war zone," says the WP. It's not known how many people were officially told of the program but it seems clear more knew about the items used in the "baiting" and at least some were under the impression that their purpose was to plant evidence on Iraqis they had killed.


“The Revolt of the Generals”
The generals acted independently, coming in their own ways to the agonizing decision to defy military tradition and publicly criticize the Bush administration over its conduct of the war in Iraq.

What might be called The Revolt of the Generals has rarely happened in the nation's history. . . [read on]

Wingers: No one can criticize our uniformed military – except when we do

Now, THERE’S a phrase you never like to hear – “missing nuclear weapons”
[Steve Benen] Looking back, it’s still hard to fathom. In late August, an Air Force bomber accidentally flew six cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads from North Dakota to Louisiana — with the power of 60 Hiroshimas — and no one realized the nuclear-armed missiles were missing for more than a day. . . [read on]


Bush undermines UN conference on global warming
Dozens of world leaders are to gather at the United Nations on Monday for a full agenda of talks on how to fight global warming, and President Bush is skipping all the day’s events but the dinner.

His focus instead is on his own gathering of leaders in Washington later this week, a meeting with the same stated goal, a reduction in the emissions blamed for climate change, but a fundamentally different idea of how to achieve it. . .

Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey – glass half full or half empty?
[Steve Benen] When the president nominated former New York district judge Michael Mukasey to replace Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General, conservatives responded with one of three reactions: there were the rank-and-file Republicans who said, “Michael who?”; there were the Bill Kristols of the world who followed the White House’s lead; and there were the activists who wanted Ted Olson and found Mukasey to be a poor substitute.

Bob Novak, summarizing the feelings of many conservative leaders, blasted Mukasey as “totally unqualified,” preferring Olson because he “knows where the bodies are buried.”

The New York Times’ Adam Liptak had a good feature piece today on Mukasey and his 18 years on the federal bench, which probably won’t help smooth over conservative discontent. Liptak describes the AG nominee as “fiercely intelligent, prickly, impatient, practical and suspicious of abstractions” — hardly qualities found in “loyal Bushies.” . . .
[Newsweek] According to three sources, who asked not to be named discussing the private meetings, Mukasey said that he saw "significant problems" with shutting down Guantánamo Bay and that he understood the need for the CIA to use some "enhanced" interrogation techniques against Qaeda suspects. Mukasey also signaled reluctance with naming a special prosecutor to investigate Bush-administration misconduct, according to one participant. . . .

[NB: And, by the way. . . .]

[Alberto Gonzales] is now looking for a private lawyer to represent him, according to two legal sources who asked not to be identified because of the matter's sensitivity.

Rachel Paulose’s very short career as a US Attorney

A few words from Atrios
I don't really care if Democratic primary candidates, or their surrogates, take potshots at each other. It's an election! It's politics!

What I do care about are a) Democrats who reinforce bogus right wing frames about Democrats generally and b) A lackey press weaned on doing the same. Add a little bit c) which is the tendency of the Beltway press to have a seizure about perceived blogger conflicts of interest while dutifully ignoring those of their favorite sources. . .

Hey Rudy, when you’re speaking before a group that already views you with well-deserved skepticism, best not to take a CELL PHONE CALL partway through your speech


Or was it staged?

Giuliani: there’s no there there
[Jeralyn Merritt] The Washington Post explores Rudy Giuliani's claim he is the go-to guy in the war on terror. . . [read on]


Romney, “the CEO President” (crikes)

Still searching for a viable candidate. The latest flavor of the day: Newt Gingrich

Nasty infighting for control of the National Republican Campaign Committee – they see a bloodbath coming in 2008

Yes, a bloodbath;_ylt=AhfRuh1lkJDWChoon_RTjC.yFz4D
Michael Brooks is exactly the kind of voter the Republican Party can ill afford to lose. But in a foreboding omen for 2008, it may have already done just that. . . .

Brooks is not alone. From coast to coast, independent voters tilt tellingly toward Democrats in their opposition to the Iraq war, their displeasure with Bush and their feeling that the country is moving in the wrong direction . . .

Bonus item: “Irony watch”
White House official accuses Barack Obama of "intellectual laziness."

***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.***