Monthly Archives: September 2006

Juggernaut Update Part II: Playing Footsy with the Lobbyist

Looks like our Katherine has been playingfast and loose with lobbying laws again.

In calling Democrat Bill Nelson a “do-nothing senator,” U.S. Senate challenger Katherine Harris talks up her signature legislation in Congress, the American Dream Downpayment Act, which she tells voters she passed in “record time” to help the poor, little guy buy his first home.

But the congresswoman never mentions one person who also benefited from the act: B. Dan Berger, who left his post as chief of staff of her congressional office to lobby for one of the act’s prime backers, America’s Community Bankers.

Berger began lobbying on the issue so quickly that his name appears on the bankers’ group lobbying report that covers the first half of 2003, though he was with Harris until the end of May 2003. It’s illegal for a congressional staffer to lobby a former boss within one year, and Berger says he did nothing wrong because he followed the law.

Harris — who stopped making exaggerated claims about the number of people being helped by the act after a primary challenger raised questions — also denied any wrongdoing.

But Nelson’s campaign staff and critics of Washington’s culture of insider influence say the act points to a weakness in the Republican’s candidacy — close ties to special interests that sometimes ride the line of legality. They point to Harris unwittingly accepting tainted campaign money from a crooked defense contractor and from corrupt congressman Bob Ney, who helped push the American Dream legislation through the House.

[snip]

“I never lobbied Katherine Harris,” Berger said. He is listed on the bankers organization’s lobbying report covering the period of January through June 2003, but said he didn’t work the issue until after he left Harris’s office.

“I did lobby that issue and I never lobbied her,” said Berger, who no longer works with the bankers group.

Harris’ congressional spokesman, Gerry Fritz, said she “absolutely did not” discuss the legislation with Berger, who worked on Harris’ 2002 congressional campaign and is mentioned in her 2002 book as a friend. But Fritz said Berger was a small player in helping pass the legislation that gives poor and minority first-time homebuyers a downpayment and closing-cost subsidies of up to $10,000 or 6 percent of closing costs, whichever is greater.

[snip]

This year, Harris again touted the legislation, noting she got it passed within a year of being in office — looking to draw a contrast between herself and Nelson, whom she says has had no signature legislation since his election in 2000.

But in singling out the law, Harris repeatedly claimed the act helped 4.5 million people buy their first home.

The number of people really helped? About 13,000, according to analysts with the Government Accountability Office, Congress’ accounting arm. Also, the GAO noted, Congress has never come close to fully funding the $200 million act, authorizing only $25 millon to be spent this year — the lowest amount since 2004.

[snip]

Former staffers have been questioned in connection with her relationship with defense contractor Mitchell Wade, for whom she sponsored a failed $10 million appropriation that would have benefited his business, MZM.

The previous time Harris received illegal contributions was in the mid-1990s when she — as well as Nelson and other state legislators at the time — received phony contributor money from the insurance company Riscorp, for which Berger was once a lobbyist.

‘Whether it’s her conduct with a lobbyist like Mr. Berger or a contributor like Mitchell Wade, there’s a pattern in Harris’ dishonesty and her devotion to furthering her own interests,” Gulley said.

Bush Boom Gets The Vapors

Upon further review the Commerce Department reports that economic growth cooled in the second quarter at amuch steeper rate than previously reported.

Economic growth clocked in at a 2.6 percent pace in the spring, even slower than previously thought.

The latest reading on the gross domestic product, released Thursday by the Commerce Department, reinforced expectations that the economy is settling into a spell of somewhat sluggish activity.

The growth rate was weaker than the 2.9 percent figure estimated for the April-to-June quarter a month ago. Many economists were predicting that this estimate would hold and thus there would be no revision to the overall GDP figure.

[snip]

The second-quarter slowdown comes after the economy sprinted ahead in the first three months of this year, expanding at a 5.6 percent pace, the strongest spurt in 2 1/2 years.

The economy has shifted into a slower gear due to a number of factors, including the cooling of the once sizzling housing market, the toll of once surging energy prices and the impact of the Federal Reserve’s two-year string of interest rate increases.

[snip]

Consumer spending, which accounts for a big chunk of economic activity, rose at a 2.6 percent pace. That was the same as previously estimated but marked a big pullback compared to the first quarter’s 4.8 percent growth rate.

Business investment in equipment and software dropped at a rate of 1.4 percent in the spring, slightly less steep than previously estimated but a backslide from the stellar 15.6 percent growth rate in such investment seen in the first quarter.

Companies’ profits also lost ground in the spring. One measure of after-tax profits in the GDP report showed that profits rose by just 0.3 percent, down from a 14.8 percent increase in the first quarter.

An inflation gauge tied to the GDP report showed that core prices – excluding food and energy – advanced at a rate of 2.7 percent in the second quarter. Although that was down a notch from a previous estimate, it still marked a pickup in core inflation from the first quarter’s 2.1 percent pace and shows inflation is still hovering outside the Fed’s comfort zone.

[snip]

The second quarter’s 2.6 percent pace was the slowest since the final quarter of last year when the economy was reeling from the blows of the Gulf Coast hurricanes.

A Big Scoutie Thanks

To reader janeboatler for sending me this:

song for my father book Thank You!

Republican Proposed, Democrat Approved

Each and every one of the “special interrogation techniques” depicted below will be legal under the McCain Toture Act of 2006 that the Senate is about to approve.

Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

I’m sorry, but Pony Blow is not a very smart man.During today’s gaggle he wound up conceding every point the press wished to make regarding the NIE.

First, Pony agrees that Bush is wrong to say we are “winning” the War on Terra.

Q A couple things. You said, first of all, that al Qaeda has been degraded. Actually, the report said al Qaeda’s leadership has been degraded, but that its ranks have increased. You also just —

MR. SNOW: But operational — okay.

Q Let me just finish and go through here. You also said that — you’re talking about things the administration has done and, yet, the intelligence estimate is taking this into account and coming up with this conclusion that the factors fueling this growth of the movement, they report, outweigh the vulnerability of the movement and will do so for some time. That’s not “we’re safer.”

MR. SNOW: No. It talks about jihadism.

Q It’s also not “we’re winning.”

MR. SNOW: Well, it doesn’t draw judgments like that. You’ve read the National Intelligence Estimate.

Q I’m practically quoting verbatim from the report. I could read it.

[snip]

Q Well, again, the report says, “factors fueling the movement outweigh the vulnerabilities.” It says they’re not —

MR. SNOW: Yes, but —

Q — that the movement has grown, and that it’s harder to find and harder to prevent attacks.

MR. SNOW: I believe what it says. You’ve gotten it about right.

Q And they’re training new leaders who are being battle-tested in Iraq.

MR. SNOW: No, it says — let’s run through it, because these are all good questions. First, it says — let’s see — what you’re talking about — I’m sorry. Where are we here? Rephrase the one that you’re going after here.

Q Let’s see —

Q The vulnerabilities question.

Q Right. Well, we can go back over — I can read you verbatim —

MR. SNOW: Holden right, here we go. Yes, the — okay, that’s — thank you.

Q — but we’re also talking about harder — you know, the “confluence of shared purpose and dispersed actors will make it harder to find and undermine jihadist groups.”

MR. SNOW: Right. Which is precisely why the President has said — if you look back at what the President has been saying, he says it’s numerous and more dispersed. We’re not disagreeing with that. I’m not trying to pick a fight with it.

What I’m trying to tell you is, there’s a difference between an al Qaeda that has training camps, that has the operational ability. What this is talking about is the ability to get people to say, I’m a jihadist, and be angry, to identify themselves as part of a movement. It’s not the same —

Q Tony, he says we’re winning the war on terrorism. That’s what he says.

MR. SNOW: I know.

Q And there are more of them. They’re more dispersed. They’re harder to find. And, yet, the President is saying, we’re winning the war on terrorism.

MR. SNOW: That’s right. But we’re also fighting the war on terrorism.

Obsession continues below…

Continue reading

An Extra-Special Edition of Your Republican Juggernaut Update

Somewhere in BangaloreKatherine Harris has a sockpuppet.

“Kathy showed great victory by winning the primary,” one said. “Great show Kathy.”

Thanks A Lot, Pervez

Chimpy’s bestest buddy isgetting American troops killed.

AFP/File/Tim Sloan

American troops on Afghanistan’s eastern frontier have seen a tripling of attacks since a truce between the Pakistani army and pro-Taliban tribesmen that was supposed to stop cross-border raids by militants, a U.S. military officer said Wednesday.

[snip]

Raising further questions about the cease-fire, a Pakistani political leader maintained Taliban leader Mullah Omar approved the deal. A government official denied that.

[snip]

The U.S. officer said the cease-fire that began June 25, cemented by the signing of a peace accord Sept. 5, contributed to the Taliban’s resurgence in Afghanistan. He said ethnic Pashtun insurgents are no longer fighting Pakistani troops and are using Pakistan’s North Waziristan border area as a command-and-control hub for attacks in Afghanistan.

[snip]

[T]he agreement appears to have bolstered Taliban infiltrators, with the number of attacks in eastern Afghan provinces rising threefold since July 31, said the U.S. officer, who agreed to discuss the situation only if not quoted by name due to the sensitivity of the issue.

“That’s why they had the chance to rest and refit, because they were in a sanctuary,” he said, referring to a surge in Taliban attacks over the last several months but without giving specific numbers for incidents before or after the truce.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry rejected that view, insisting Afghan insurgents get no help from inside Pakistan.

“We don’t agree with this. These are just excuses,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said. “Whatever is happening, it is deep inside Afghanistan and is not because of Pakistan.”

Sure Plays A Mean Pinball

Late yesterdayFran Townsend tried her hand at spinning the NIE summary released yesterday by the White House. After spending several minutes regurgitating the NIE’s lesser conclusions without touching on its main finding (that Chimpy’s Vanity War has created more terrorists and left us more vulnerable than ever before) she got stumped on the very first question.

Q Hi, thank you for doing this. I just have one question. You were going through a lot of the judgments in the document. The one that you didn’t go over was I guess in paragraph two, where it says that activists identifying themselves as jihadists are increasing in both number and geographic dispersion. And that seems to answer the question that Secretary Rumsfeld posed back in 2003 — are we capturing, killing or dissuading more terrorists than are being trained and deployed every day? One, do you agree with that? And doesn’t this say that more jihadists are being created every day than we’re capturing or killing?

MS. TOWNSEND: Well, I guess, George, what I would say to you is, one, we have killed — I think the — you know, it’s hard to make precise estimates, but we’ve captured or killed thousands over the course of the conflict. It’s difficult to count how many have been added. I mean, there’s no — as you know, they hardly carry membership cards, and they are dispersed and they do hide in the shadows. It would be very difficult to count them.

Er, uh, um… where’s Jeff Gannon when you need him?

Q Could I get a quick follow on George’s question? Are you questioning the judgment that jihadists are increasing in both number and geographic dispersion? Because if that’s true, how can you say we’re safer?

MS. TOWNSEND: I’m sorry, how can you say — I didn’t hear the question.

Q We’re safer.

MS. TOWNSEND: I don’t think there’s any question that we’re safer. But as the President said, do I think that we’re safe?

[snip]

My only point is, I think it’s difficult to count the number of true jihadists that are willing to commit murder, or kill themselves in the process, because they don’t nominate themselves to be counted.

We lack the metrics? How Rummyesque.

Q Fran, I wanted to just follow up on George’s question before on — and particularly focus in on Iraq, in that regard. Every time Iraq comes up in this, you’ve responded, the President has responded, it’s the central front, and therefore, it is integral to terrorism. But another way to read these key judgments is that the order in which we took these things made a difference and that one might conclude from this, though it does not explicitly state it in any way here, that had we not done Iraq first, had we stayed for a while to do Afghanistan or focused on Iran first or something else, that you might not have created what they refer to here as the Iraqi jihad movement that has attracted so much motion.

That, the President doesn’t go to, not the question of whether Iraq is or is not, but whether it was — whether it has, itself, because of it’s timing, turned the tide somewhat against us. Can you address that?

MS. TOWNSEND: Sure. David, first, let me start with the notion of the central front in the war on terror. What’s — forget what the — put aside for the moment what the President has said, because he’s been clear about the administration’s view. Let’s look at what bin Laden and Zawahiri have said — and Zarqawi — about this being either where they’re going to have ultimate victory or ultimate defeat when the President went through those — the quotations from al Qaeda, themselves.

Q But that made that statement only after we had invaded. In other words, had we chosen to delay invasion dealing with Iraq for X number of years, would — is it your conclusion from this that we would have avoided having to deal with an Iraqi jihad at the moment that we are dealing with all of the other elements of this problem?

MS. TOWNSEND: Two points. First I would say to you, it presumes that when you say, the order of things, that we can’t do more than one thing at a time. And as we know, we’re fighting in Afghanistan while we’re fighting in Iraq. Second, what I would say to you is, there’s always an excuse. I mean, we weren’t in Iraq on September the 11th when we got hit, and they hit us anyway. There are always going to be some excuse for them to propagate their hateful ideology — whether it’s the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it’s the conflict in Afghanistan, it’s our troop presence in the Gulf — there’s always an excuse. And so I think that that’s not — I just don’t think that holds weight.

“There’s always an excuse.” I believe that motto is tatooed on George Bush’s ass.

Q I wanted to get back, again, to George’s initial question, and this paragraph on the second page. I know we can’t do a stacking-up of bodies or a body count, but it says here, “We assess that the underlying factors fueling the spread of the movement outweigh its vulnerabilities,” which seems to me somebody is saying, in an equation here, factors causing jihadists are greater than factors detracting.

And then if we look at the individual, itemized four items here underneath, three of them are Iraq-related: fear of Western domination, the Iraq jihad, and pervasive anti-U.S. sentiment among Muslims, which surely is contributed to by Iraq.

So as Americans look at this and say, are we any safer, has this nightmare that existed before 9/11 gotten worse as a result of our actions, doesn’t that paragraph say the answer to that question is, yes?

MS. TOWNSEND: This will not surprise you. I think there is one of the four that goes directly to the Iraq jihad. But entrenched grievances, the slow pace of reform, and pervasive anti-U.S. sentiment predate the Iraq war, and will continue.

And I think, as well — I mean, I understand what you’re saying about that sentence, about the underlying factors fueling, outweighing its vulnerabilities. But, again, I want you to remember, this is — it’s talking about the current trends. The President has always said that this is going to be a long, hard slog. This is a long war because it’s not only a battle of arms, but it’s a battle of ideas. And the battle of ideas is going to be a long-term battle.

And so I don’t take issue with it. What I would say to you is, it’s a current assessment of what the near term — what the near-term struggle is going to be about. And I think we all understand that we have a long-term battle in terms of the war of ideas.

Q But for the near term, that pendulum hasn’t quite kept, because our goal in life, right, is to get — so the pendulum, the factor spreading the movement do not outweigh the vulnerabilities. We want vulnerabilities to be larger than factors fueling. That would — that would be a tipping point we’d look for, wouldn’t it be?

MS. TOWNSEND: Well, I think what — I don’t think this is so much a numeric count as an exploiting the vulnerabilities. And we continue to exploit the vulnerabilities every day. This is a constant judgment we make. But I’m not sure of your question. If you’re asking me, do I think we’re winning the long-term battle? Yes. Do I think that means every day is going to be easy and we’re going to see wins every day? No. But kills like Zarqawi are absolute near-term gains.

Q Right. I was just talking about the duration — they talk here the duration of the time frame of this estimate. So that would be the time frame they’re talking about.

MS. TOWNSEND: Right. But what — I guess my point is, while the killing of Zarqawi is a short-term win for us, it’s also a long-term win in the battle of ideas when you look at the context of them saying, his ability to exploit that — the conflict in Iraq and use that to attract the recruits. He can’t do that anymore because he’s dead. So it has both a short-term gain for the U.S., and it is certainly a win for us, but it’s also a longer-term gain in the battle of ideas.

Oh, yeah, killing Zarqawi made a huge difference, as attacks on US forces and the number of Iraqi civilian deaths have roughly doubled since Zarqawi was killed.

These people have nothing. Come on, Democrats, wrap Chimpy’s Vanity War around the necks of every Republican candidate and in Novemebr let them reap what they have sown.

US General to take charge in Afghanistan

The US had “pushed for a bigger European involvement” in Afghanistan which resulted in NATO taking over in Southern Afghanistan onJuly 31. But it doesn’t look like NATO is the answer for the US in Afghanistan at least yet. NATO commanders had beenasking for more troops. NATO leadership has been reluctant to send more and Rummy is presently meeting with NATO nations in Albania to“remind them of their commitment” and get NATO to provide sufficient troops “though it may take some prodding.”

NATO is also suppose to also take over in the eastern part of the country but one wonders given all of the above and now anAP article in yesterday’s Stars and Stripes reports that a US 4 star general will be taking control in Afghanistan. The move comes in part to counter the Taliban/Afghan perception that the US appeared weak and was going to withdraw…


KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An American four-star general will take charge of both U.S. and NATO forces here, boosting the stature of the military mission in Afghanistan and unifying an international operation struggling to contain a resurgent Taliban militia.

SNIP

The move appears to elevate the importance of the Afghan war for the Pentagon, since four stars is the U.S. military’s highest rank and both the U.S. and NATO forces are now led by three-star generals.

Washington previously put a four-star general, Gen. George Casey, in charge of Iraq operations. Another four-star, Gen. John Abizaid, is the top U.S. commander throughout the Middle East and Central Asia.

There is growing alarm at increases in Taliban strength, numbers and brutality after the group was all but defeated by 2003. The U.S. military estimates 4,000 Taliban fighters are operating just in Afghanistan’s southern provinces.

Many here – including Taliban rebels – believe Washington displayed weakness by handing the toughest Afghan counterinsurgency battles to Canadian, British and Dutch troops, said Antonio Giustozzi, a military researcher in Kabul with the London School of Economics.

“They thought it looked like the Bush administration was paving the way for a withdrawal,” Giustozzi said. “Maybe sending a four-star general is a way to show the commitment is still there. It’s also cheaper than sending more troops.”

Adding one star sounds like more of Rummy’s doing it on the cheap.And the Taliban thinks Bush is weak and was going to Cut-n-Run. Hmmmm…Sounds like he’s emboldened the terrorists!

Poll: Only 50% favor war in Afghanistan

NewCNN poll

“Do you favor or oppose the U.S. war in Afghanistan?”

Favor: 50%

Oppose: 48%

Unsure: 2%

—–

Judge Please…

Make themshut up

An insurance adjusting firm wants two whistleblowers to stop talking about claims they handled for State Farm insurance, pay damages for economic harm and return records they turned over to federal and state investigators.

SNIP

The sisters said they left their adjusting jobs because of the wrongdoing they discovered and documented from State Farm claims files. They have accused State Farm of manipulating engineering firms to supply reports attributing hurricane damage to water, covered by national flood insurance, rather than wind, covered under State Farm policies.

And judge we want the jackets back…

In its lawsuit against the Rigsbys, Renfroe is also demanding that the sisters return their State Farm jackets. The sisters displayed the jackets on “20/20” to illustrate they represented themselves to policyholders as State Farm employees.

(h/t to reader Rob)

The Teachers Who Taught Me Weren’t Cool

Getting better all the time.

With the Islamic holy month of Ramadan under way, insurgent attacks in Iraq have risen in the past two weeks, particularly in Baghdad, a U.S. military commander said Wednesday.

“This has been a tough week,” Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said. “This week’s suicide attacks were at their highest level of any given week.”

About half of those attacks targeted security forces, Caldwell said.

He said around 50 percent of car bombings were suicide strikes, blaming “terrorists” and “illegal armed groups” for attacks during Ramadan, which began Saturday.

But Caldwell said murders and executions were the largest cause of civilian deaths in Baghdad and attributed them to sectarian fighting between Sunnis and Shiites.

Pink Shirts

I know, I know, it’s the Wall Street Journal, I shouldn’t take it seriously. But it’s theWall Street Journal, I need to be able to take it seriously, and the fact that I can’t is aproblem:


In an administration that prides itself on viewing the world in black and white, White House press secretary Tony Snow is injecting a lot of color.

Five months into the job, the former Fox News pundit is using his wardrobe to communicate that he’s not the stereotypical press secretary.


[snip]


Mr. Snow mixes things up, with colors that often seem to reflect the administration’s mood. Discussing Syria recently, he wore a serious white shirt and maroon tie. When the president gave an upbeat press conference in the Rose Garden after a surprise visit to Iraq, Mr. Snow wore a cheery pink shirt and light blue tie.

Mr. Snow declined to comment. His arrival comes as the White House is planning to spruce up its dingy briefing room, possibly installing a video wall.


Holy SHIT. A video wall. That is so gonna roxxorz.

Honest toChrist, people. You know, I don’t object to fashion stories. I watch Project Runway like something bad will happen if I don’t get my weekly dose of Tim Gunn. I read Go Fug Yourself and some terribly misguided person got us a subscription to Women’s Wear Daily’s Scoop, which is basically nothing but people trying to convince me that Sienna Miller and Chloe Sevigny are well-dressed, so don’t tell me this is about my hostility to fashion stories.


This is about my hostility to treating people in positions of real power, people who by any objective assessment are doing actual harm to this country, like they’re of about as much consequence as Sienna Miller. (Seriously, why is this girl in my face all the time? She’s not any cuter than ten girls I know, screwing Jude Law is not in and of itself an accomplishment, and I don’t care what WWD says, she dresses like a day shift showgirl on acid.) This is about my hostility to getting cute with serious people, such that cute becomes all we expect, and then we have another election season where it’s all about who wore a sweater instead of who knows how to run the country.

I mean, okay, if Pony Blow showed up for a Syria press conference in a Vivienne Westwood or, worse, a Jeffrey Sebelia concoction with a rainbow wig on his head and an antique cigarette holder dangling from his left hand, I could see doing a fashion piece. But … he wears a pink shirt, so let’s divine some deeper meaning from that? A video wall? If they installed a swim-up bar, maybe that’d be worth a story, but this is like the DC journalism equivalent of doing a story about potholes because your editor’s wife hit one on the way to the grocery store that day. Twenty-four hour cable news networks at least have the excuse of having time to fill, and time’s free, but newsprint’s expensive. Come on. Between this and the Katie Couric/Condi Rice interview, I’m left admiring the hard-hitting tactics of Wolf Blitzer, and man has it been a long time since I’ve taken a ride on that train.


Ray, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did you want to be the guy who wrote about the shirt colors of a guy the Internet nicknamed Pony Blow? Because that’s who you are today, dude. Drink it in.


A.

Your Wednesday Afternoon Republican Juggernaut Update

Oh, my.Little Scottie Rasmussen has some bad news for our Dear Katherine in his latest poll on the Florida Senate Race.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D): 56%

Rep. Katherine Harris (R): 34%

You think that’s bad? Wait until you hear this.

Nelson is viewed favorably by 54% of all voters, Harris by just 39%.Harris is in a rare category of candidates who are viewed unfavorably by a majority of the state’s Likely Voters. Overall, 52% percent view her unfavorably, including 38% with a very unfavorable opinion.

Ouch!

Government said to be blocking global warming/hurricane report

I’m really getting sick of this crap. From theTimes Picayune

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Bush administration has blocked release of a report that suggests global warming is contributing to the frequency and strength of hurricanes, the journal Nature reported Tuesday.

The possibility that warming conditions may cause storms to become stronger has generated debate among climate and weather experts, particularly in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

In the new case, Nature said weather experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — part of the Commerce Department — in February set up a seven-member panel to prepare a consensus report on the views of agency scientists about global warming and hurricanes.

(Clixk Read more for the rest)—–

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Your Wednesday Morning Republican Juggernaut Update

My, my, my. Looks like thebinge drinking started early at Harris campaign headquarters.

Looking for a good, stiff drink in downtown Sarasota?

Try U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris’ office. It’s one of the stops offered up by the Google Maps Web site (maps.google.com) when searching for “drinks” in the area.

Startling? Sure. Tempting? Possibly. But off the mark just a hair.

The mapping site grabbed the congresswoman’s office from a June 2005 press release posted on the Web, a release describing both a Sarasota Chamber of Commerce function with “complimentary drinks” and a separate Harris-led business seminar.

Your Tuesday Morning Republican Juggernaut Update

Banned from Air Force 1? That’s gotta hurt.

People involved in Florida politics say they’ve never seen anything like it: Deep in her campaign for U.S. Senate, Katherine Harris, is all but shunned by her party. On President Bush’s recent trip, she was pointedly avoided and was not invited to travel to another GOP event with the president on Air Force One.

Your President Speaks!

Today, withUnocal Employee of the Month Hamid Karzai.

Who Was The Killer Now?

After all, just yesterday, Taliban gunmen assassinated Safia Ama Jan — cold-blooded kill — she got killed in cold blood.

Was Stopped Being Gathered

Now, you know what’s interesting about the NIE — it was a intelligence report done last April. As I understand, the conclusions — the evidence on the conclusions reached was stopped being gathered on February — at the end of February.

Experience With Good Product

You know, I think it’s a bad habit for our government to declassify every time there’s a leak, because it means that it’s going to be hard to get good product out of our analysts.

Will Fire Karl Rove

We’ll stop all the speculation, all the politics about somebody saying something about Iraq, somebody trying to confuse the American people about the nature of this enemy.

The Look Back This?

You know, look, Caren, I’ve watched all this finger-pointing and naming of names, and all that stuff. Our objective is to secure the country. And we’ve had investigations, we had the 9/11 Commission, we had the look back this, we’ve had the look back that.

Hubris Much?

Q If I may, Mr. President, do you agree with the analysis from the counter chief European — counterterrorism chief European spokesman who said today that the international support for terrorism has receded. Do you agree with that? And do you see the tension between two important allies of yours, Pakistan and Afghanistan, undermining your effort to get Osama bin Laden? Thank you.

PRESIDENT BUSH: It’s a four-part question. First of all, I didn’t — what was this person a spokesman for?

Q Counterterrorism chief in Europe.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Some obscure spokesman?

Q No, actually, he has a name.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Okay, he’s a got a name. Well, no, I don’t agree with the spokesman for the obscure organization that said that the international commitment to fighting terror is declining.

(One) NIE to be released

Bush’s press conference just concluded and Bush stated the administration will release the NIE.

Interesting is thatJosh Marshall is reporting there is a second intelligence report entirely on Iraq which the Bush administration is sitting on…

We’ve been making calls all morning. And it turns there’s another NIE the White House is apparently sitting on. This one’s entirely on the situation in Iraq. And the word we keep hearing to describe the findings are “bleak.”

UPDATE:

TPM now has more on secondNIE report* (see below)…

There’s a second damning Iraq report floating around the intelligence community.

At least, that’s according to Rep. Jane Harman (CA), the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee. At an event this morning, Harman disclosed the existence of a classified intelligence community report that gives a grim assessment of the situation in Iraq, and called for it to be shared with the American public — before the November elections.

The report has not been shared with Congress, although sources say a draft version may have circulated earlier this summer. It is a separate report from the one revealed by major news outlets Sunday, which is said to conclude that the war in Iraq has made the U.S. less secure from terrorist threats.

SNIP

Democratic sources on the Hill confirmed that the report has been a topic of discussion, particularly because of concerns that its release was being “intentionally slowed” by the administration.

*Marshall reports that the second report is essentially an NIE but not being designated as such…

It now appears that it is an NIE in all but name, prepared in the same way, by the same people. But it’s not been given the ‘NIE’ label because that would trigger reporting requirements to congress that the adminsitration has wanted to avoid.