Friday, February 29, 2008


Rush Limbaugh on Abu Ghraib: from the inaugural issue of this blog, May 8, 2004
CALLER: It was like a college fraternity prank that stacked up naked men --

LIMBAUGH: Exactly. Exactly my point! This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation and we're going to ruin people's lives over it and we're going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You of heard of need to blow some steam off?

Yesterday we learned just how monstrous things actually were in Abu Ghraib. Fraternity pranks? Blowing off steam? Watch this, if you can bear it

I guess you would call it “ironic”
[FZ] Maybe people didn't pay much attention to President Bush's presser today, but he did say this regarding the incursion of Iraq by Turkey:

"The Turks need to move quickly, achieve their objective, and get out."

Quite an astonishing statement, as we head into the sixth year of our own objective. . .

Here is a question I haven’t seen seriously addressed in our press: Is the mountainous deficit spending over Bush’s war the true cause of the current economic crisis?,25197,23286149-2703,00.html
THE Iraq war has cost the US 50-60 times more than the Bush administration predicted and was a central cause of the sub-prime banking crisis threatening the world economy, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. . . .


At the president’s White House press conference this morning, a reporter raised a reasonable question: “You’ve said, Mr. President, that you want to leave Iraq in a sustainable situation at the end of your administration. Can you describe for us specifically what do you mean by ’sustainable’? Do you have specific goals and objectives that in your mind would meet the criteria of sustainability?” . . . [read on]

Here we go: the Justice Dept has said it won’t enforce contempt citations against WH personnel. Nancy Pelosi forces the issue. What happens next?
[Paul Kiel] If Mukasey, through D.C.'s U.S. attorney, rebuffs the referral as expected, the House has a backup plan. The House also passed a resolution that would allow the House Judiciary Committee to pursue a lawsuit against the White House over the subpoena. If a judge agreed to hear the case, it might lead to a decision as to whether the President's sweeping invocation of privilege is Constitutional.

Priceless. The Republicans are very, very disappointed in the telecoms. After working so hard to get them immunity for conducting illegal surveillance under Bush’s orders, they are shocked – SHOCKED – that these companies aren’t giving them bigger political donations!

More on telecom immunity
[Emptywheel] We know that the Administration only became intransigent about immunity for telecoms after a telecom lobbyist took over as Counselor to the President. And we know the telecoms cut off wiretaps--even a FISA one--when they didn't get paid by the FBI . . . .
[Bush] “[N]ow, all of a sudden, plaintiffs attorneys, class-action plaintiffs attorneys, you know — I don’t want to try to get inside their head; I suspect they see, you know, a financial gravy train — are trying to sue these companies.” . . .
[CBS’s Bill Plante, from the Bush press conference] “You can get the Congress to protect telecom companies from lawsuits, but then there’s no recourse for Americans who feel that they’ve been caught up in this. I know it’s not intended to spy on Americans, but in the collection process, information about everybody gets swept up and then it gets sorted. So if Americans don’t have any recourse, are you just telling them, when it comes to their privacy, to suck it up?”

Bush protests, saying he “wouldn’t put it that way … in public” . . .

As expected, President Bush used today's press conference to bang that drum on the surveillance bill. It's "dangerous" that the House Democrats aren't giving in. . . .

[NB: By the way, let me just say that I would almost respect Bush if he said, “Look, let’s be fair. The telecoms did what they did because we told them to, and because we assured them it was legal – if you want to question that legality, take it out on us, not on them.” That, of course, is NOT what he says. But remember that one company, Qwest, refused to go along – so the telecoms knew that something was questionable about it all.]

Their Master's voice
[Bush] “Congress needs to act to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. Unfortunately, the Senate is considering legislation that would do more to bail out lenders and speculators than to help American families keep their homes. The Senate bill would actually prolong the time it takes for the housing market to adjust and recover, and it would lead to higher interest rates.

This would be unfair to the millions of homeowners who make the hard choices every month to pay their mortgage on time, and it would be unfair to future home buyers.

Instead, Congress should move ahead with responsible legislation to modernize federal -- the Federal Housing Administration and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. . . .”
Senate Republicans yesterday blocked consideration of a bill designed to prop up the struggling housing industry, declaring that the Democratic-backed provisions would harm mortgage lenders and inflame the housing crisis. . . .

A dubious milestone: 1 in every 100 Americans is now in prison
[Daniel Politi] One in 15 black men, and more specifically, one in nine black men ages 20 to 35, are behind bars. For Hispanic men, the figure is one in 36. Although the violent-crime rate has decreased 25 percent since 1987, spending on corrections has increased 127 percent (adjusted for inflation). Meanwhile, many believe that nonviolent criminals could be better served by other types of punishment, including community service, which would be far cheaper. "Getting tough on crime has gotten tough on taxpayers," a Pew director tells the NYT.


What. A. Liar.
Stephen Johnson, head of the EPA. . . .

McCain’s lobbyist entourage

Theocracy watch: McCain used to talk about “agents of intolerance.” Well here’s one, who’s supporting him. What will McCain do about it?
“It was the disobedience and rebellion of the Jews, God's chosen people, to their covenantal responsibility to serve only the one true God, Jehovah, that gave rise to the opposition and persecution that they experienced beginning in Canaan and continuing to this very day.”
[Eric Kleefeld] So here's the question: Will the same media outlets who have hammered Barack Obama about Louis Farrakhan's uninvited endorsement now ask John McCain to denounce and reject the support of John Hagee, which was actually sought and publicly accepted?

Excuse me, I’ve met Bill Ayers. He’s a friggin’ EDUCATION PROFESSOR now (can you get more harmless than that?)
Fox News falsely claims that Weatherman Bill Ayers was Obama's "mentor" and a "principal" in his first campaign.

Beyond parody
[Josh Marshall] Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) has always been one of my favorite buffoons in Congress. No one trick pony, he's been putting in long moron hours for years up on the Hill and on the chat shows. But it was a particular tour de force even for Jack when he showed up last night on MSNBC to bash Barack Obama for not wearing a flag lapel . . . without remembering to wear one himself . . .

The politics of branding – how it’s helping Obama

VP suggestions for Obama


Bonus item: “Faithless bastards”
Michael Kinsley: I guess I share the conventional wisdom on both of these points. McCain has always been a media darling. At a magazine editors convention a few years ago, he started a speech by saying he was happy to be there addressing "my base." He gets and deserves points for jokes like that.

And the SNL take on Obama is also correct. He is a media darling now. Hillary is rightly bitter. I am puzzled--something happened about six weeks ago that was like a light switch turning off, or on: all of a sudden, she became "the Clintons" and every resentment of her and her husband came to the surface among the media, liberals, everybody.

That said, I am not the best person to explain the media Obama swoon, since I have been a swooner myself.

No doubt we'll all turn on him at some point, faithless bastards that we are. . . .

***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, February 28, 2008


The dog ate my email
[Dan Froomkin] The Bush White House has made a mockery of the Presidential Records Act and its requirement that official White House records -- including e-mails -- be preserved for posterity.

At a congressional hearing yesterday, it became clear for the first time that top White House officials knowingly adopted a new e-mail system in 2002 that was riddled with technical problems that not only risked data loss but could easily be exploited by those who wished to keep their e-mails from public scrutiny. We've known for a while that a lot of White House e-mails, by some accounts numbering in the millions, are missing and have possibly been erased. Yesterday's discovery raises the question of whether that happened by accident -- or by design. And the White House's unhurried approach to addressing the problem is hardly reassuring. . . . [read on]

What will Congress do?

Emptywheel, Queen of timeline analysis
Sorry. I'm afraid Waxman has me hooked on these damn email documents. . . .


How screwed up is this? We now have a government in which the lawyers and “Justice” people are telling us torture is okay because it isn’t really torture – and the military guys are saying, we want nothing to do with it
[Paul Kiel] With the parade of administration officials who've testified about waterboarding in the past several weeks -- that it was once legal, but is not anymore (though it could be found legal again); that it may "feel like" torture, but that doesn't mean it is torture; that as the U.S. practices it, it bears no relation to the technique used by the Spanish Inquisition (it's more in line with the Khmer Rouge way of doing things) -- you can be excused for feeling more than a little confused.

And you may have despaired of ever seeing a clear, unequivocal exchange on the topic with a government official. Like this one from today's hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, with Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency . . . [read on]

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the “bipartisan” shell organization put together to bash Democrats over the FISA bill, isn’t so bipartisan

Man, they really are shameless, aren’t they?
[McJoan] The right is increasingly afraid of losing the battle over telco amnesty, and has been throwing everything they've got at the hold out Dems in Congress. They've spread the lie that this issue is about protecting American from the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal and WaPo to television sets across the nation.

Now they're using veterans to do their dirty work. The American Legion, the veterans' community-service organization that represents the men and women who have fought for their country and their Constitution, is urging those men and women to push Congress to pass the Protect AT&T Act. . . .

No, we’re not “losing intelligence”:

Fox News: wouldn’t life be simpler if Congress just backed out of government and let the Bush gang run things the way it wants?

As near as I can tell, Bush has only two economic principles: (1) Extra money in a rich person’s pocket does more to stimulate the economy than extra money in an average consumer’s pocket; (2) Money spent on war overseas does more to stimulate the economy than the same money spent on repair, infrastructure, and development projects here at home

Iraq is falling apart
Iraq's three-man presidency council Wednesday announced that it's vetoed legislation that U.S. officials two weeks ago hailed as significant political progress. . . .
U.S.-backed Sunni volunteer forces, which have played a vital role in reducing violence in Iraq, are increasingly frustrated with the American military and the Iraqi government over what they see as a lack of recognition of their growing political clout and insufficient U.S. support. . . .
Somehow no one cares that Turkey has invaded Iraqi Kurdistan. . . .


The white elephant in Baghdad
The State Department's new embassy construction chief has rejected his predecessor's certification that the $740 million new U.S. embassy in Baghdad is "substantially completed" and has instead begun a top-to-bottom review of the troubled project. . .

The white elephant at SMU
George W. Bush has always said he thinks history will be his judge. His decision not to give history very much to work with, however, is causing some problems at Southern Methodist University, which recently agreed to house his presidential library . . . read on]

[NB: You’ve heard the joke – the library will only contain one book: “My Pet Goat”]

More jokes:

McCain’s secret talent
[Atrios] Increasingly I've come to realize that John McCain is very good at convincing people that he agrees with them. I don't just mean members of the media, but also various interest groups (even more liberalish ones). It's a great skill for a politician to have if you can pull it off well, because everyone loves being flattered about the fact that they're correct and someone like St. John McCain recognizes it. . . . [read on]
[BarbinMD] The easiest job in America? Covering John McCain's run for the White House. The only requirement is to report what he says, remind America that he is a straight talker, blatantly ignore anything that interferes with that narrative, and then get home to write that novel. . . .


More signs that McCain’s d├ętente with right-wing talk hosts is fragile at best: Bill Cunningham, the hate monger who did McCain’s warm-up act in Ohio, says that he was TOLD to pitch “red meat” to the audience, and resents McCain’s backing away from his comments after encouraging him to do it
Radio talk show host Bill Cunningham burned up national TV time, getting about five minutes on CNN last night to give his side regarding his controversial remarks before the John McCain rally in Cincinnati yesterday.

"They told me to fire up the crowd. You're talking to conservatives," Cunningham said of the McCain campaign.

"Get them fired up and give them some red meat. And I did. In fact, when I left, John, the crowd was cheering" . . .

"All was well. No problem whatsoever until about an hour later . . . when John McCain threw me under the bus, under the Straight Talk Express. I got thrown under the bus." . . .

McCain denied ever meeting Cunningham before, saying "I will certainly make sure nothing like that happens again." But Cunningham told CNN he met McCain twice before, including with former U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine at Kenwood Country Club. "John McCain is developing -- maybe because of his advance in years -- a bad memory,'' Cunningham said. . .

"I've had it up to here with John McCain. He's off the list. . . . ."

The McCain election road map
[Josh Marshall] Hopefully, everyone can now see the McCain strategy for running against Barack Obama. Yes, we have some general points on taxes, culture wars and McCain as war hero who can protect us in ways that flash-in-the-pan pretty boy Barack Obama can't.

But that's not the core. . . [read on]

[NB: But just remember -- he's a NICE GUY. . . . and a STRAIGHT SHOOTER]

Our sick, vicious political system
[AP] For Barack Obama, it is an ember that he has doused time and again, only to see it flicker anew: links to Islam fanned by false rumors, innuendo and association. . .


The Republican establishment tells its locals: drop the racist, bigoted language (let third parties do that for us)

On electoral rules and procedures (seating Michigan and Florida; the necessity of Texas; and now this): do Clinton’s people think we don’t notice when they switch from arguing one side of an issue to the exact opposite as soon as they realize it’s no longer in their political interests? Don’t they realize that the transparency of it shows EXACTLY what is going on?
For weeks, the Barack Obama campaign has warned that Hillary Clinton would try to use her ties to the Democratic establishment to muscle 'super delegates' into backing her presidential bid, overriding a popular vote majority and Obama's plurality of pledged delegates elected in primaries and caucuses.

Now, however, as Obama has gained steadily in the polls, the Clinton campaign has reversed field. Top Clinton aides are pleading with uncommitted super delegates to hold off making any commitments, fearful that any commitments they make would be to back Obama, not Clinton. . . .

Things that make you go hmmmm . . .
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton says she won't release her tax returns until she has the Democratic presidential nomination in hand . . .

Rejected or Denounced?
[AP] During a series of satellite television interviews, [Hillary] Clinton was questioned by Dallas station KTVT about comments by Adelfa Callejo, a local activist who supports Clinton candidacy. The interviewer quoted Callejo as saying "Obama's problem is he happens to be black" and asked Clinton to respond.

"Well obviously I want all of us judged on our merits," Clinton said. "I believe strongly that the fact we have an African American and a woman running for the Democratic nomination is historical and I'm very, very proud of that."

"I want people though to look beyond, look beyond race and gender, look at our records, look at what we stand for, look at what we've done and I think that's what most voters are looking for," she said.

The interviewer asked Clinton whether she rejected or denounced Callejo's comment.

"People have every reason to express their opinions, I just don't agree with that," she said, adding "You know, this is a free country. People get to express their opinions."

One of the problems with our current political system is the role of campaign advisors who have their own massive operations (and reputations) to maintain: they can’t ever be seen as losing an election, even when their advice is terrible, because they’ve always got another campaign to go work on. So protecting themselves is, in the end, more important than protecting their candidates. Today’s case in point: Mark Penn
[New York Observer] Mark Penn thinks that people have the wrong impression about him, and about Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

"I think that people misunderstand," he said in a 45-minute phone interview Monday evening . .

What’s going to happen in Texas?


I didn’t know this: on every single primary/caucus day so far, Obama has won the balance of delegates – except for one tie

Obama: over one million contributors

Obama vs McCain (vs the facts) on Iraq

The McGuffin: no third party run for Bloomberg

Poor David Broder:

Republican congressional candidates: only the best and the brightest
"Not only was I football player, but I also was in social studies class, and I have a passion for how this country works," Olivo said. . . .


The GOP has bankrupted the country . . . and their national campaign fund isn’t in such great shape either


The Republicans love them ethics
[Steve Benen] After watching congressional Republicans, during their run in the majority, embrace a fairly transparent culture of corruption, congressional Dems are still anxious to help clean up the mess. Right now, Dems are weighing a proposal to create an independent panel to consider ethics complains against lawmakers, creating a system whereby members would no longer be responsible for policing each other.

It hardly comes as a surprise that Republicans oppose the creation of an independent panel, but what is surprising is what the House GOP is prepared to do about it. . . .

Goodbye Bill Buckley
“Everyone detected with AIDS should be tatooed in the upper forearm, to protect common-needle users, and on the buttocks, to prevent the victimization of other homosexuals.”


There go all my flyboy readers
"The Air Force is tightening restrictions on which blogs its troops can read, cutting off access to just about any independent site with the word "blog" in its web address."

Bonus item: Following up on Bush’s hilarious prediction that the Republicans are going to do just great in the fall, here is his even more hilarious explanation for why he is so confident
"When I say I'm confident, I am so because I understand the mentality of the American people.”

***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, February 27, 2008


WH emails: conveniently gone forever
[AP] A computer expert who worked at the White House provided the first inside look at its e-mail system Tuesday, calling it a "primitive" setup that created a "high" risk that data would be lost. . . .

[Paul Kiel] Remember that as The Washington Post outlined last month, the Bush Administration managed to dismantle the Clinton Administration's email archive system without replacing it with anything at all. . . .
After promising last year to search its computers for tens of thousands of e-mails sent by White House officials, the Republican National Committee has informed a House committee that it no longer plans to retrieve the communications by restoring computer backup tapes, the panel's chairman said yesterday. . .


The Pentagon Inspector General – where scandals go to die
[Smintheus] A spokesman for the Defense Department Inspector General's office told me on Tuesday that they will conduct an inquiry into the multi-year delay in purchasing mine-resistant vehicles for Marines serving in Iraq. . . .

The long delay in ordering MRAPs and the resulting casualties for combat troops is a huge scandal. . . .

The Bush gang, still lying about FISA
You've heard from President Bush over and over and over and over again about the imminent danger the country is in. And you've heard from the director of national intelligence and attorney general about how the telecoms are quaking over the uncertainty created by not securing retroactive immunity.

Yesterday, four former top national security officials put forward a different line in a letter to Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell. . . .

McConnell and the administration, they wrote, was distorting the truth about surveillance capabilities after the lapse of the Protect America Act. The country is not "at greater risk," they write. "The intelligence community currently has the tools it needs to acquire surveillance of new targets and methods of communication." . . .

I love how the GOP attack machine names these groups
The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies . . . [read on]

What will the House do on FISA?

Karl Rove loves to play the villain (okay, you’re right, it isn’t playing)

Tell me how this hack (and Hatch Act violator) still has a government job
[Matthew Blake] In May, a White House Office of Special Counsel report found that Doan had violated the Hatch Act, the law that prevents federal employees from engaging in partisan politics. Investigations from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and also Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Ia.) laid out charges that she intimidated employees, awarded a no-bid contract to a friend and inappropriately interfered in approving a contract where the government was overcharged by millions of dollars.

Yet Doan still leads GSA— to the surprise and dismay of a number of congressional investigators and GSA employees. That she hasn’t resigned and the White House’s hasn’t told her to raises a broader question: What does it take before a government official leaves for the good of her agency? . . .

Another one. . .
[Paul Kiel] I've said it before, and I'll say it again: no one will ever accuse Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson of a lack of chutzpah. . . .

An encouraging prediction
George W. Bush on June 14, 2006: I feel confident we will hold the House and the Senate.

George W. Bush on February 25, 2008: I'm confident we'll hold the White House in 2008.

The Republicans DON’T filibuster a bill calling for an Iraq withdrawal (presumably, because they think they’ll win the vote)

Let’s see if this one has legs: the military “fears” Obama
[Greg Sargent] Here's some more proof, as if you needed it, that our old pal John Solomon isn't exactly having a salutary impact on the journalism at The Washington Times, as his former colleagues assured us he would.

Today's edition of WashTimes rolls out a fresh and newly-minted Obama smear . . . [read on]

Oh, really? Maybe Obama wasn’t lying about the story that undersupplied U.S. troops had to scavenge weapons from dead Iraqis

Stop it!
[John Aravosis] It's hard to define "over the top," but using racism comes to mind (such as sending around pictures of your opponent wearing traditional Somali clothing that makes people think he's a Muslim since we all know that all Muslims are radical terrorists) - even worse, being caught using racism again and again and again. To wit, this from Clinton surrogate, Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, referring today to Somalia as Obama's "country" and Obama's "nation." . . .


Debate review: Tim Russert’s shameful performance

The silly season
[Greg Sargent] But the inane question of the night award goes to this Russert inanity, which we just heard moments ago:

"Do you accept the support of Louis Farrahkan?"

Obama, unsurprisingly, denounced Farrakhan, and used the occasion to argue that there's yet another historic dimension to his candidacy:

"What I want to do is rebuild what I consider to be a historic relationship between the African-American community and the Jewish community."

Hillary, in her rejoinder, seems to suggest that Obama didn't go far enough:

"There’s a difference between denouncing and rejecting. . . .
Sen. Obama: "I don't see a difference between denouncing and rejecting. If Senator Clinton feels reject is stronger than denounce, I would be happy to reject and denounce." . . .

Look, I’d be the last to deny that the press plays favorites – they do. But you just can’t get any traction by whining about it
[Alex Koppelman] In response to a question about NAFTA, Clinton balks, "I keep getting the first question." Then she adds, "Maybe we should ask Barack Obama if he's comfortable and needs another pillow."

There are audible boos. . . .


Here’s how the Republican candidates do it: encourage and enable vicious third-party slanders and hate speech, which they distance themselves from and “regret,” but never quite seem to STOP
A supporter of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) ridiculed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in an introductory speech at a McCain rally here this morning, repeatedly using Obama's middle name, Hussein, and deriding him as a terrorist sympathizer. . . .


Rick Renzi (R-AZ) has been indicted on 35 federal counts – but Honest John McCain still wants him in his campaign

McCain tells the Federal Election Commission they have no jurisdiction over his campaign
Any day now, McCain will pass the spending limit for the primaries under the public financing system. He wants out of the system and claims he has a "constitutional right" to withdraw. The FEC says it must agree to his withdrawal, but it's unable to act because of a lack of commissioners. . . .


The Abramoff email McCain never wanted us to see
In the 2006 Senate report concerning [Jack] Abramoff's activities, which McCain spearheaded, the Arizona Republican conspicuously left out information detailing how Alabama Gov. Bob Riley was targeted by Abramoff's influence peddling scheme. Riley, a Republican, won election in November 2002, and was reelected in 2006.

In a December 2002 email obtained by the Huffington Post -- which McCain and his staff had access to prior to the issuance of his report -- Abramoff explains to an aide what he would like to see Riley do in return for the "help" he received from Abramoff's tribal clients.

An official with the Mississippi Choctaws "definitely wants Riley to shut down the Poarch Creek operation," Abramoff wrote, "including his announcing that anyone caught gambling there can't qualify for a state contract or something like that."

The note showed not only the reach of Abramoff, but raised questions about Riley's victory in what was the closest gubernatorial election in Alabama history.

And yet, despite the implications of the information, McCain and the Senate Indian Affairs Committee sat on the controversial portion of the email. According to an official familiar with the investigation, McCain also subsequently refused to make the email public after the report was released. . . .

Bonus item: JFK!
The Central Intelligence Agency will quietly defend its refusal to release a batch of top-secret files related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in a Washington courtroom . . .

***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, February 26, 2008


Remember when we all called the supposedly temporary “surge” an “escalation” by another name? Guess what – it was an escalation
The Defense Department is projecting that when the U.S. troop buildup in Iraq ends in July, there will be about 8,000 more troops on the ground than when it began in January 2007 . . .

Another Iraq vote today:

If the nation is in danger because we don’t have the revised FISA in place, why not support a temporary extension of the “Protect America Act”? Watch Alice try to explain the unexplainable


A full-court press for telecom (and Bush admin) immunity

When fear fails
[Dday] They're playing with a deck that's out of aces. The only thing they have is fear. When it doesn't work, they try to scare even more, but the obviousness of the lie forces an unprecedented backtrack. . .

Musharraf to step down in Pakistan?

The Pentagon general counsel who told a Gitmo prosecutor that tribunals were okay, just so long as everyone is found guilty? He’s out


60 Minutes' Don Siegelman (D-AL) story about the politicization of justice points the finger directly at Karl Rove – here’s your chance to see it (especially if you live in those parts of Alabama where the story was blacked out)

Watch it:

Not in Alabama:
Channel 19 is owned by Oak Hill Capital Partners . . . Oak Hill Partners represents interests of the Bass family, which contribute heavily to the Republican Party. . .

Rove wants a chance to tell his side: please, by all means, come on down

John McCain, sensing that his “we could be in Iraq for a hundred years and I wouldn’t care” comment isn’t going over very well, now says the war in Iraq is almost over

[Atrios] The War is Over. But it will continue forever. But the Iraqis will handle everything. But our troops need to stay there anyway.

Straight talk
John McCain said Monday that to win the White House he must convince a war-weary country that U.S. policy in Iraq is succeeding. If he can't, "then I lose. I lose," the Republican said.

He quickly backed off that remark. . .

The McCain/lobbyist story – more to come

Not likely, but: What if Mitt Romney gets back in?

McCain’s general election strategy (against Obama)

You know this “Obama is a closet Muslim” story is never going to go away. Right wing fringe groups will continue to portray him as a Manchurian Candidate, smuggled into our political system by terrorists plotting to take over the country.

What is unforgivable (if true) is for this crap to be coming from the Clinton camp too. I know I promised not to spend a lot of time here criticizing her campaign any more, but this is just beyond the pale

They deny it:

Things that make you go hmm. . . .
An International Herald Tribune story of October 22, 2007, covers the irony of the Clinton campaign feeding stories to the Drudge Report as part of its strategy . . .

See? Obama hates America

In case there is any confusion about this: politicians put on local garb ALL THE TIME

After weeks of saying “Texas and Ohio are the firewall,” and arguing that winning the big states is all part of the Big Plan for Victory – after Bill himself says that winning both is essential – the Clinton team looks at the polls and says, “well, maybe winning Texas isn’t so important anyway”
Obama up four points in Texas, according to latest CNN poll. . .
[Clinton] I’d love to carry Texas, but it’s usually not in the electoral calculation for the Democratic nominee. Florida and Michigan are . . . [read on]
[Dana Milbank] They are in the last throes, if you will. . .

Everything plus the kitchen sink
[T]he campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is now unleashing what one Clinton aide called a “kitchen sink” fusillade against Mr. Obama, pursuing five lines of attack since Saturday in hopes of stopping his political momentum. . .
Despite the backlash against President Clinton when he compared the candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama to that of Rev. Jesse Jackson after the South Carolina primary, a top Clinton adviser evoked that comparison again today. . . .

[Obama] “[L]ook, I'm the challenger, I'm the upstart, I'm the insurgent. She's the champ, she's part of the Democratic network in Washington, and if you're the title holder then you don't lose it on points. You've got to be knocked out."

Nationally . . .
Jan 13: Clinton 42%, Obama 27%
Feb 3: Clinton 41%, Obama 41%
Feb 25: Obama 54%, Clinton 38%
[Daniel Politi] The New York Times and USA Today lead with new national polls that show voters think Sen. Barack Obama has a better shot at beating Sen. John McCain. . . Obama's base of support has expanded substantially among the Democratic electorate. His most significant increase in support has come from men, 67 percent of whom now back the senator from Illinois, which is a marked increase from 26 percent in December. He's also gained support from voters with household incomes under $50,000 (48 percent now from 35 percent in December) and moderates (59 percent compared to 28 percent). Although Obama has made strong gains with women they are still divided among both candidates, and Clinton continues to have an edge with white women.

Another crooked Republican, caught cold but refusing to resign

Audits are for wusses
[Roll Call] The National Republican Congressional Committee apparently stopped conducting independent audits of its finances five years ago, according to Republican sources and Federal Election Commission records.

The NRCC will not confirm its audit history, citing an ongoing investigation into financial irregularities apparently centering on former Treasurer Christopher Ward. But the indication is that the committee did not conduct an independent audit at all during the 2003-2006 tenure of former Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.) and his audit committee chairman, Rep. Greg Walden (Ore.).

Bonus item: GOP trying to repair its racist image
[Kos] Step one: stop being racist. Appearing less racist then becomes less of a challenge.

***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, February 25, 2008


You know that terrible thing the Democrats did, leaving our nation naked and defenseless by refusing to pass Bush’s favored version of the FISA bill? Well, not so much. . .
[Paul Kiel] Whoops. Strike that: the sky is not falling. But it'll probably fall soon. So Dems should still give in, pronto. . . [read on]


“McCain breaks the law that he wrote”
This afternoon Dean and officials at the DNC held a conference call in which they spelled out why they will file a complaint with the FEC against McCain. . .
[Howard Dean] John McCain poses as a reformer but he seems to think reforms apply to everyone else but him... [read on]


Who is Vicki Iseman?

Roughly two decades ago, after abetting a lobbying scandal that cost the taxpayers billions and almost torpedoed his political career, Sen. John McCain sought to recast himself in the mold of an untouchable, business-as-unusual Washington crusader. This week, reports suggesting that the Arizona Republican performed political favors for industry on behalf of a lobbyist have challenged the legitimacy of that carefully crafted persona. . . .
[George Will] "All of this may be perfectly innocent, this may be what Senators are supposed to do and all that, and it may not be corrupt, but it is the appearance of corruption. And the appearance of corruption is the rationale Mr. McCain has used promiscuously in his towering moral vanity to say that everyone else is guilty . . .”
[Emptywheel] John McCain will never be President. . . . [read on]

Watch carefully: here is an object lesson in how the Republicans take a fringe political slander, filter it through the echo chamber by getting people to talk about it, then seduce the media into featuring it as a legitimate story “because it’s out there”
[Josh Marshall] On Friday night's Bill Maher show, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) claimed that Barack Obama refuses to say the pledge of allegiance to the American flag. This along with other bogus claims about Obama come from the hoax emails circulating on the internet . . .
[Josh Marshall] Ben Smith, at The Politico, flags that today CNN's running a 'online poll' asking if Barack Obama has enough patriotism to be president. As Ben, with some understatement, put it's "it's odd to see the mainstream media drive a largely whispered question that none of his main, named critics -- Hillary, McCain, or the RNC -- will touch." Yeah, I'd say so.

That's how it works. Starts at right-swing smear sites and hoax emails. Then the AP's Nedra Pickler, who specializes in scooping up this slop and laundering it into the mainstream press, writes it up for the AP that runs across the country. And then picks it up and makes it a regular part of the campaign conversation. . . .

[John Aravosis] This is unforgivable. . . .

You think this is just a coincidence? I don’t
[Daniel Politi] Meanwhile, the NYT fronts a look at the "hushed worry" of many Obama supporters who fear he will be assassinated if he wins, or gets close to winning, the presidency. Leave aside the obvious question of whether this sort of high-profile story could give anyone any ideas and the fact that by mentioning Obama on the same breath as Dr. Martin Luther King and Sen. Robert Kennedy the NYT is successfully raising the candidate's mythic stature, but are these fears really "hushed"? As the paper mentions, his supporters mention the fears "without prompting," the Times itself has written about it before, a TV reporter famously asked Sen. Ted Kennedy about it, it's clearly a favorite topic of conversation around the Internet, and the phrase "assassinate Obama" even made it on the list of the top 100 Google search terms early last month. . . .

Bill Kristol offers this friendly advice to Hillary Clinton: start acting more like a Republican

Here’s why they call it The Village
GEORGE WILL [Surrounded by Cokie Roberts and the gang at ABC This Week]: It seems to me Obama’s problem is that you can only be a novelty once, and for a while. And he needs – he’s worked one pedal on the organ quite enough now; this stuff, I’d call it banal eloquence, where he says, ‘In the face of despair, we can still hope.’ I have news for him: Americans aren’t in despair. Look around you. Who’s despairing? We have mild problems.

Bonus item: Ralph Nader is running for President again. I know I have some Nader supporters who read this blog, so I won’t rehash the bitter debates over what happened in 2000. People are entitled to vote for whomever they want. But, really: if you don’t think Nader helps the Republicans, look at what THEY say (thanks to Fubar for some of these links)
[Oct 27, 2000] GOP Group To Air Pro-Nader TV Ads
[July 19, 2004] Republicans Helping Nader to Help Themselves
Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, speaking shortly before Nader's announcement, said Nader's past runs have shown that he usually pulls votes from the Democratic nominee. "So naturally, Republicans would welcome his entry into the race," the former Arkansas governor said on CNN. . . .

[Atrios] Who cares?

.38% in 2004.

I could get .38%.

***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.***

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Hey, it’s not much but it’s all he’s got
President Bush said Saturday that Democratic leaders in the House are blocking key intelligence legislation so trial lawyers can sue phone companies that helped the government eavesdrop on suspected terrorists after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Terrorists are plotting new attacks against America "at this very moment," Bush said . . .

"When Congress reconvenes on Monday, members of the House have a choice to make: They can empower the trial bar, or they can empower the intelligence community," Bush said in his Saturday radio address. "They can help class-action trial lawyers sue for billions of dollars, or they can help our intelligence officials protect millions of lives." . . .

Why that’s a lie:

Where will the FISA debate end?
[Glenn Greenwald] Ponder what it says about our press corps that the White House knows it can (a) block all attempts to extend the PAA and then (b) spend the next several weeks blaming Democrats for helping the Terrorists by allowing the PAA to expire. I know I've made that point before, but this one is so brazen, so transparent and audacious, that it just hasn't yet ceased to amaze. . . . [read on]


Quibbling over the details of torture – what the hell have they done to this country?

McCain is lying about his lobbyist ties

Hey John, can’t you keep your story straight?
[On the Iseman story, February 22, 2008] “Since it was in The New York Times, I don’t take it at face value. . .”

[February, 2000] As long as Saddam Hussein is in power, I am convinced that he will pose a threat to our security. "The New York Times" reported just a few days ago that administration officials worry that Saddam Hussein continues to develop weapons of mass destruction.

NYT’s ombudsman questions the innuendo of its McCain/Iseman article

I’m sure the feeling is mutual
Republican John McCain bluntly said Friday that he hopes Castro will die "very soon." . . .


Bush’s Pentagon tries to influence the election

Things tighten up between Clinton and Obama, and it gets nasty – very nasty

Grim assessments for Clinton,0,7152756.story?page=1

Here’s one way to think about the election: would you rather see Obama as Governor of Illinois, or Clinton as Senate Majority Leader?

Here’s a name we haven’t heard for a while: the hopelessly craven (and wonderfully named) AP reporter, Nedra Pickler, thinks that it’s good journalism to go to GOP slimemaster and dirty trickster Roger Stone for an “objective” assessment of Obama’s patriotism. You won’t be surprised to hear what he thinks

Sunday talk show line-ups
ABC's This Week: Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) on Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq. Roundtable: E.J. Dionne Washington Post, Peggy Noonan Wall Street Journal, Cokie Roberts, George Will.

CBS' Face The Nation: Charlie Black, strategist for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign; Govs. Jennifer Granholm, D-Mich., and Janet Napolitano, D-Ariz.

CNN's Late Edition: Adm. Mike McConnell: Director of National Intelligence. Governor Ed Rendell (D-PA), Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D-KS); Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN). Robert Bennett lawyer for John McCain. Bill Schneider CNN Senior Political Analyst; Amy Walter The Hotline, CNN Political Contributor; Suzanne Malveaux CNN White House Correspondent. (AP is also reporting Mike Huckabee may be on, but he isn't listed on the CNN website. Just so ya know.)

Fox News Sunday: Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), Mark Sanford (R-SC), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jon Corzine (D-N.J).

NBC's Meet The Press: Ralph Nader. Roundtable: David Brooks, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Michele Norris, Chuck Todd.

Bonus item: Privacy, shmivacy;_ylt=Ah0HocJRx6bOdJWcuB6VscSs0NUE
A Planned Parenthood clinic in suburban Kansas City will turn over a limited number of patient records to a grand jury investigating abortions there, a clinic attorney said Friday. . .

***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, February 23, 2008


Honest John McCain, caught in a lie
A sworn deposition that Sen. John McCain gave in a lawsuit more than five years ago appears to contradict one part of a sweeping denial that his campaign issued this week to rebut a New York Times story about his ties to a Washington lobbyist.

On Wednesday night the Times published a story suggesting that McCain might have done legislative favors for the clients of the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, who worked for the firm of Alcalde & Fay. One example it cited were two letters McCain wrote in late 1999 demanding that the Federal Communications Commission act on a long-stalled bid by one of Iseman's clients, Florida-based Paxson Communications, to purchase a Pittsburgh television station.

Just hours after the Times's story was posted, the McCain campaign issued a point-by-point response that depicted the letters as routine correspondence handled by his staff—and insisted that McCain had never even spoken with anybody from Paxson or Alcalde & Fay about the matter. . . . [read on]

This is a problem:

A REAL problem
Broadcaster Lowell "Bud" Paxson yesterday contradicted statements from Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign that the senator did not meet with Paxson or his lobbyist before sending two controversial letters to the Federal Communications Commission on Paxson's behalf. . . .

[Josh Marshall] Maybe they'd prefer to go back to the affair story?

McCain: SURROUNDED by lobbyists
[Josh Marshall] Turns out John McCain is such a scourge of lobbyists everywhere that his senior advisor, GOP lobbyist Charlie Black, is now conducting most of his lobbying work by phone from the Straight Talk Express.

I have to confess that this new detail has vanquished my ability to snark. . . .

McCain said Friday that while lobbyists serve as close advisers to his presidential campaign, they are honorable and he is not influenced by corruption in the system. . .

McCain: “I'm moving on...I do not intend to discuss it further”
[Steve Benen] There’s always been some degree of mystery surrounding the media’s embarrassing, almost sycophantic, love for John McCain. For a group of people who are supposed to be secret liberals and agents of the Democratic Party, seeking in desperation to insert a left-leaning bias in every news story, reporters often seem unsure if they want to ask this conservative Republican a question or for an autograph.

Of course, the explanation is clear enough. McCain gives reporters exactly what they want: access. He holds press conferences constantly; he’ll chat with reporters for hours on the campaign bus; he’ll even ask them for their opinions on various aspects of his campaign. Reporters, who expect to be kept at arm’s length, can’t help but swoon.

So it’s hard not marvel when McCain, just yesterday, all of a sudden, decides he’s feeling shy . . .
[Time] In the wake of a scandalous New York Times story suggesting a romantic fling with a lobbyist, McCain arrived at a Ford Focus car assembly plant with a decidedly tense grin plastered across his face. His campaign staff promptly separated anyone with a pen or a tape recorder from the candidate. "The McCain campaign decided who they wanted on the tour, and it's only photographers," a nice lady from Ford announced after a reporter spotted the candidate behind a car chassis and tried to approach him. . .

At the end of the day, McCain boarded the plane with his wife, his staff, and his daughter, Meghan, who trailed an entourage of friends, bound for Indianapolis. On another night, he would have sauntered to the back to chew the fat with reporters. But on this night, he only came half-way down the aisle, keeping a safe distance. "Everybody happy?" he called out. "Fun day. Fun day." McCains eyebrows bounced up and down to signal his sarcasm.

His question, of course, was rhetorical. He didn't want to hear anything more. Before anyone could answer he had wheeled around and gone back to his seat, beyond the reach of reporters and their notebooks for just a while longer. . . [read on]

Was there a meeting of McCain’s staff to discuss the Iseman “problem”? Mr. Straight Talk: it depends on the meaning of “meeting” . . . and “staff”

Watch the self-appointed moralists of the Right try to explain why, even if the stories of McCain’s philandering are true, it’s DIFFERENT from Bill Clinton’s philandering

[Josh Marshall] How is John McCain's attempt to back out of the public financing system getting tripped up by the failed nomination of vote-suppression guru Hans von Spakovsky? Whose evil genius was brought to light by the US Attorney scandal?

And how is it that if John McCain goes ahead and keeps spending money over the campaign finance limits he agreed to abide by back in August he could, at least in theory, do five years hard time in the slammer? . . .


McCain masters the discourse of a Unitary Executive: I don’t have to follow the laws if I don’t want to. He says the FEC judgment on his campaign finance shenanigans is just an “opinion”

Rick Renzi (R-AZ) indicted – and guess whose campaign he works for?
[Josh Marshall] Minority Leader Boehner is telling Rep. Rick Renzi, who's just been indicted for wire fraud, extortion, money laundering and a few other things, should resign. Meanwhile, John McCain, who has Renzi as one of his Arizona campaign co-chairs, says he doesn't "know enough of the details to make a judgment."


McCain criticizes Bush’s big budget bills – all of which he voted for

McCain is 71 – let’s take a serious look at the question of his health, shall we?

In other news

Don’t hold your breath, but. . .
An internal watchdog office at the Justice Department is investigating whether Bush administration lawyers violated professional standards by issuing legal opinions that authorized the CIA to use waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques, officials confirmed yesterday.

H. Marshall Jarrett, counsel for the Office of Professional Responsibility, wrote in a letter to Democratic lawmakers that his office is investigating the "circumstances surrounding" Justice opinions that established a legal basis for the CIA's interrogation program, including a now-infamous memo from August 2002 that narrowly defined torture and was later rescinded by the department.

"Among other issues, we are examining whether the legal advice contained in those memoranda was consistent with the professional standards that apply to Department of Justice attorneys," Jarrett wrote. . . .


How does this line of argument work for you? The Bush gang claims that we are losing valuable intelligence information every day that the revised FISA bill languishes in Congress – but they refuse to support a temporary extension and they refuse to negotiate on the issue of retroactive telecom immunity

There’s still a war going on. . .

Yes, Karl Rove DID take an interest in putting together a legal case to get rid of Alabama’s Democratic governor
[Dan Froomkin] Sunday's episode of "60 Minutes" offers a glimpse of the secret Karl Rove.

Not the public Rove -- the jovial number-crunching doofus who has taken to popping up on Fox News and the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and even has his own column in Newsweek.

I'm talking about the other Rove -- the dirty trickster and master of calumny . . .

Obama questions the military’s spending priorities – the Right Wing howls in fury. Guess who’s telling the truth?
"You know, I've heard from an Army captain who was the head of a rifle platoon -- supposed to have 39 men in a rifle platoon," he said. "Ended up being sent to Afghanistan with 24 because 15 of those soldiers had been sent to Iraq. And as a consequence, they didn't have enough ammunition, they didn't have enough humvees. They were actually capturing Taliban weapons, because it was easier to get Taliban weapons than it was for them to get properly equipped by our current commander in chief."
The Pentagon on Friday tried to cast doubt on an account of military equipment shortages mentioned by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, whose campaign team stood by the story. . . .

[Josh Marshall] It would appear that we have another case where the Bush Pentagon, particularly the Office of Public Affairs is forcefully inserting itself into the civilian election process. . .

Bonus item: Don’t get me started. Ralph Nader may be deciding to run for President again. (Have you heard the groundswell of calls begging him to do it?);_ylt=AoVK2TD6FF4umWCHg7T5Ikus0NUE

***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.***