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When, on this weekend’s Inside Washington, host Gordon Peterson recited a list of issues Democratic congressional candidates could use against Republican incumbents -- “you've got Iraq, you've got Harriet Miers, you've got Katrina, you got Tom DeLay being indicted. You've got a lot of ammunition” -- NPR reporter Nina Totenberg jumped in to shout: "And you've got the tax cuts!" She soon offered her recommendation on how Democrats should campaign: “One of the other things is you say, 'look, we're in this mess fiscally and they want to increase the tax cuts for the most wealthy people in the United States,’ the top one half of one percent would get a hundred thousand dollars, people who make over a million dollars or something like that." (Still shot of Totenberg and John Harwood.)

Totenberg’s been on a crusade. On the same show last month, as detailed in a September 24 NewsBusters posting, she dismissed the idea of cancelling $24 billion of transportation bill earmarks, to pay for Katrina recovery, as small change and suggested that “if you canceled the tax cuts, you'd get $225 billion." A week earlier, she asserted that President Bush’s New Orleans speech “would have been a great opportunity to say, 'look, I'm for tax cuts, but we need a Katrina tax, we need to really pay, to do this and to pay for it.’" And two weeks before that, as recounted with a video clip on NewsBusters, Totenberg blamed tax cuts for the levee breakage: “For years, we have cut our taxes, cut our taxes and let the infrastructure throughout the country go and this is just the first of a number of other crumbling things that are going to happen to us.”



John Dean, former counsel to president Richard M. Nixon, wrote a column for FindLaw yesterday that is an absolute must read. In it, he gave a thorough analysis of the issues facing special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, while indirectly discrediting the parade of media representatives who have declared in the past couple of weeks that chief White House aide Karl Rove, and Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, will be indicted next week.

 

The crux of his argument is that unless Libby and or Rove perjured themselves or suborned perjury, it would be difficult to prove that their actions were not in the interest of national security:

 

“It is difficult to envision Patrick Fitzgerald prosecuting anyone, particularly Vice President Dick Cheney, who believed they were acting for reasons of national security. While hindsight may find their judgment was wrong, and there is no question their tactics were very heavy-handed and dangerous, I am not certain that they were acting from other than what they believed to be reasons of national security. They were selling a war they felt needed to be undertaken.

 

“In short, I cannot imagine any of them being indicted, unless they were acting for reasons other than national security. Because national security is such a gray area of the law, come next week, I can see this entire investigation coming to a remarkable anti-climax, as Fitzgerald closes down his Washington Office and returns to Chicago.

 

“In short, I think the frenzy is about to end -- and it will not go any further.”

 



In an October 19, 2005, article, veteran Associated Press reporter Tom Raum claimed (emphasis added),

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's CIA-leak inquiry is focusing attention on what long has been a Bush White House tactic: slash-and-burn assaults on its critics, particularly those opposed to the president's Iraq war policies.



There has been a lot of outrage in the media concerning the burning of a couple of dead, Taliban fighters in Afghanistan in early October. Yet, the Australian journalist who videotaped the proceedings, Stephen Dupont, stated in an interview on National Public Radio yesterday (audio link to follow courtesy of Bareknucklepolitics.com) that he believed the bodies were burned purely for reasons of hygiene when the local villagers refused to retrieve them, and that the American soldiers didn't do anything wrong. (Video links to an SBS "Dateline" promo for Dupont's piece as well as an SBS interview with him on the subject also follow):

“I actually believe that the guys who were involved in the burning did it with honorable, you know, reasons. They did it through their orders, or they did if for hygiene. I had no doubt in my mind that they were telling me the truth. If they were doing something that was problematic or controversial, there’s no way they would have shown me this. There’s no way they would have let me go up there and film this.”



I've never seen such a simple graph make me giggle so hard...


And we thought PBS films were bad. David’s Medienkritik reports the German government has subsidized a sympathetic film about Palestinian suicide bombers."Paradise Now" tells the story of two Palestinian men, Said and Khaled, who are selected as the latest suicide bombers, and debate which way is best to defeat Israeli occupiers. This is supposed to help us by "humanizing" the assassins. Oh, but lucky us! It’s coming to America, to the film festival circuit.



"And so basically, what it looks like is going to happen is that Libby and Karl Rove are going to be executed” because “outing a CIA agent is treason,” left-wing author and radio talk show host Al Franken asserted Friday night, to audience laughter, on CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman. Franken qualified his hard-edged satire: "Yeah. And I don't know how I feel about it because I'm basically against the death penalty, but they are going to be executed it looks like." Franken later suggested that President Bush is at risk of receiving the same punishment, since Karl Rove likely told him what he did, but he added a caveat: “I think, by the way, that we should never ever, ever, ever execute a sitting President."

Updated Sunday night with video. Excerpt #1: Real or Windows Media and MP3 audio. Excerpt #2: Real or Windows Media and MP3 audio. Transcripts of the exchanges, on the October 21 Late Show, follow.



On Friday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Lee Cowan filed a story on Congressman Tom DeLay's appearance in a Texas courtroom, which on some counts was balanced, but which glaringly highlighted a Replublican critic of Tom DeLay who referred to him as a "hog." Although Fort Bend Star publisher Beverly Carter has been a longtime critic of DeLay who even endorsed his opponent in last year's election, Cowan simply referred to



Lee Cowan did a report on the "CBS Evening News" tonight concerning Rep. Tom DeLay’s (R-Tex) first day in court. To demonstrate that even people on the right don’t like the embattled congressman, Cowan interviewed Beverly Carter, the Republican precinct chairwoman of Fort Bend County, Texas:

“I've not heard of any Republicans that are supporting Tom at this point win, lose or draw. Whether he's guilty or not guilty, they've kind of had it with him. Pigs get fatter but hogs get slaughtered, and Tom has been a hog.”

Cowan interjected with: “And that's coming from a Republican precinct chairwoman in his home district.”

The problem is that Carter has been an outspoken foe of DeLay’s for quite some time. John Judis of the New Republic wrote of this in May:



Based on these internal e-mails, it looks like some editors at the Washington Post dead tree edition aren't very happy that the web version of the Post is doing well. The web version, apparently, is outside their control. It's also growing -- one editor frets it has more readers than the paper version -- and is making money, besides. More info on the angst is available here.


/>/>          I’m sick of always saying "my Muslim contact," so from now on I will refer to him as “Alex.”  It’s vague enough to keep him protected from the wrath of Islam, and given what he continues to tell the non-Islam world about Islam intentions, he needs protecting.

 



Media Matters, the liberal organization whose stated objective is in "monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation," chided the New York Times (in this post) for failing to identify a "heckler" at a Senate hearing as a former U.S. diplomat. Mary Ann Wright, the former diplomat, reportedly stood up from the audience at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday (October 19, 2005) and shouted at Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Media Matters innocently indicated that Wright was a former senior diplomat and former Army colonel who resigned in protest from her diplomat job in 2003 over the Iraq war.

Wright's identity, however, extends well beyond that of a former official in forceful disagreement with the Bush administration. In August 2005, Mary Ann Wright was the "main coordinator" of Camp Casey, Cindy Sheehan's high-profile demonstration outside President Bush's Crawford ranch. In an interview on the far-left show Democracy Now, Wright described setting up "field operations" for the protest, a reference to her days in the Army. "Longtime diplomat Ann Wright is running Camp Casey," reported the show's web site.



Friday's Washington Post provided quite a juxtaposition of biased headlines, stressing how many dislike the Republican gubernatorial candidate while the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor is emphasizing positive issues, over two stories about November's Virginia elections which the paper placed on the front page of the “Metro” section.


NBC’s Katie Couric had a pediatrician and a teen psychologist on the “Today Show” this morning (video link to follow) to discuss the results of a recent study concerning teenage sexual activity.



The introductory spread for the lead story in U.S. News & World Report’s October 24 issue could serve as bulletin-board or even wall-poster fodder for fans of the media’s things-just-keep-getting-worse-and-worse-for-President-Bush narrative.