War and Propaganda Council

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emptywheel
BushCo says that--since they haven't seen Petraeus in a week--they clearly couldn't have given him a script for today's hearing. The White House and its allies on Capitol Hill have pushed back hard atthis critique. Administration officials said they are not directing orreviewing the testimony of Petraeus and Crocker. A senior militaryofficial close to Petraeus said the general's congressional testimonyhas not been provided to the White House or the Pentagon "and the

Medicare Giveaways!

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emptywheel
No, not to the seniors enrolled in Medicare, silly! To the private insurance companies. Yet another GAO report has found yet another contracting scam that BushCo is ignoring. Private insurance companies participating in Medicarehave been allowed to keep tens of millions of dollars that should havegone to consumers, and the Bush administration did not properly auditthe companies or try to recover money paid in error, Congressionalinvestigators say in a new report. What's remarkable

The Hunt for Oil

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emptywheel
Does it surprise you that the first company to sign an oil deal with Iraqi Kurds is Hunt Oil, a company with very close ties to Bush and our country's intelligence infrastructure? Texas' Hunt Oil Co. and Kurdistan's regional government saidSaturday they've signed a production-sharing contract for petroleumexploration in northern Iraq, the first such deal since the Kurdspassed their own oil and gas law in August.A Hunt subsidiary,Hunt Oil Co.

Communities of Interest

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emptywheel
This Eric Lichtblau article provides a lot of dots that have been, heretofore, missing in our picture of the surveillance they've got us under. It's no surprise the government has been using data mining on not just suspects themselves, but also on their friends and associates--a virtual "Friends and Families" plan of surveillance.

"The White House Needs to Hire an Archivist"

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emptywheel
WTF is the Administration doing, claiming it has briefed members of Congress on the warrantless wiretap program when it hasn't? After the domestic surveillance program was revealed in 2005, formerSenate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham (D-FL) said thatWhite House briefings that he attended in the Vice President’s office failed to disclose that the administration was spying on Americans: There was no reference made to the fact that we weregoing to…begin unwarranted, illegal —

What Indictments Did Schlozman Speak to Elston About?

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emptywheel
Brad Schlozman remains unresponsive on a few of the questions he (finally) returned to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Take this question that asks for very specific details about any conversations he had with Mike Elston about indictments in WD MO: Did you speak with Michael Elston regarding any other indictments filed while you were U.S.
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Why Would DOJ Oppose Net Neutrality ... Now?

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emptywheel
Mcjoan has a post on how the DOJ intervened all of a sudden into the FCC's consideration of Net Neutrality. As she points out, there's something unusual about DOJ's intervention: it came after the comment period had closed. It was a curious filing, as IP Democracy's Cynthia Brumfield describes: What’s curious about the filing is that, first, it’s an ex parte, orlate, submission in the FCC’s Inquiry on Broadband Practices, mostcommonly known

They Won't Put Their Lies in Writing

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emptywheel
Well, I guess that'll make it harder to prosecute General Petraeus for lying to Congress. In the latest twist to the ongoing saga over the Petraeus White House report, a senior military official tells the Washington Times today that there will actually be no report at all: A senior military officer said there will be nowritten presentation to the president on security and stability inIraq.
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Our Latest Rent-a-Thuggish-Sheikh in Iraq

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emptywheel
I have little wisdom to add to this Abu Aardvark post, but I wanted to make sure people saw it: It's kind of lost in the shuffle of the coming battle over thevarious Iraq reports, but I find myself morbidly fascinated by thephotos and reports which have circulated in the Iraqi press aboutBush's meeting in Anbar with the controversial head of the AnbarSalvation Council Sattar Abu Risha.

Get Your Satellite Out of My Backyard

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emptywheel
This will be interesting. The Dems are trying to prevent Chertoff from implementing his big brother satellite domestic spying program on October 1. We are so concerned that, as the Department’s authorizing Committee,we are calling for a moratorium on the program until the manyConstitutional, legal and organizational questions it raises areanswered. Today’s testimony made clear that there is effectivelyno legal framework governing the domestic use of satellite imagery forthe various purposes envisioned by

Were They Bypassing Gonzales, Too?

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emptywheel
Marty Lederman points to this excerpt from Jack Goldsmith's book at Slate. Goldsmith explains he only saw Alberto Gonzales disagree with David Addington once--and that Bush ended up siding with Addington. Addington's hard-line nonaccommodation stance always prevailed when thelawyers met to discuss legal policy issues in Alberto Gonzales' office.During these meetings, Gonzales himself would sit quietly in his wingchair, occasionally asking questions but mostly listening as thequerulous Addington did battle with whomever

Or Maybe O'Hanlon Is the New Judy Miller

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emptywheel
Because for the life of me, I can't understand how taking an "overly rigorous approach to the numbers" makes one "sloppy." Yet according to Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow in foreign policystudies at the Brookings Institution who has closely followedstatistics on Iraq for years, the average number of daily attacks onIraqi civilians and US/allied forces has declined from 160 in August2006 to 120 in August 2007.
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The ACLU Begins to Win Back Our Country

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emptywheel
If you haven't given to the ACLU in a while, here's the donate button. The ACLU (with some help) has scored some important wins this week, starting with today's decision that National Security Letters are unconstitutional. The ACLU said it was improper to issue so-called national securityletters, or NSLs -- investigative tools used by the FBI to compelbusinesses to turn over customer information -- without a judge's orderor grand jury subpoena.

General Petraeus Is the New Judy Miller

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emptywheel
General Petraeus, lying to Congress is a crime. Let's just repeat that fact over and over. Because that's what Petraeus is planning on doing on Monday, as Karen DeYoung (in an article buried on page A16) explains clearly. Go read the whole article, closely, for a description of the many methods of the Administration's hocus pocus.

Yet Another Whine about a Report Card

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emptywheel
No, seriously. The GAO's report on DHS is really important evidence that Bush has done very little to make this country more safe. But I'm most struck by the fact that the DHS people quoted are making exactly the same complaint the military did last week, when GAO reported that Iraq has met few of its benchmarks (for the record, DHS seems to be doing somewhat better than Iraq, making at

The Purpose of Homeland Security

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emptywheel
Silly GAO! Silly bloggers! The purpose of the Department of Homeland Security is not to gather together all the resources of homeland security in one coordinated whole. The purpose of DHS is not to improve off of our performance on 9/11. And so you really shouldn't worry too much about any silly little GAO report. The GAO states that after the largest government merger in more thanhalf a century, the DHS met

No Senators Knew

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emptywheel
There are a number of details that make Sidney Blumenthal's latest appear to be a happy coincidence of timing. Just after Bush biographer Robert Draper reports that Bush still claims to have believed--in April 2006--that Iraq had WMD, Blumenthal comes out with an article tying up a lot of loose ends on Saddam Hussein's Foreign Minister, Naji al-Sabri, proving Bush was briefed that Saddam did not have WMD. On Sept.

Somebody to Fire!!!!

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emptywheel
I'm thrilled with the news that George Bush just gave Barry Jackson a promotion. Yesterday, President Bush named Barry Jackson to be Peter Wehnher’s replacement to run the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives.Jackson was the major White House strategist behind Bush’s failedSocial Security privatization ploy, and was one of the White Houseemployees discovered to be using RNC email accounts to e-mail an associate of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. That's because just

Republicans Back Sound Minimization Oversight

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emptywheel
I'm watching HJC's first hearing on FISA Amendment, and I think the Republicans may be giving us a superb opportunity to address one of the big problems of the FISA Amendment. You see, the Republicans have no fucking clue that the reason McConnell chose the Republican bill over the Democratic one is because it removed all oversight over minimization. Thus far--and at 12:04 we've only had questions from 3 Republicans--Dan Lungren has already
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The Decider on Iran

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emptywheel
Aside from the boorishness of discussing more war with bread crumbs all over your chin, Bush's pathetic simplification of our relationship with Iran--in a monologue he calls "strategic thinking"--is pretty alarming, even coming from Bush. "The job of the president," he continued, through an ample wad of breadand sausage, "is to think strategically so that you can accomplish bigobjectives.
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