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Media Patrol
Knight Ridder's Warren Strobel chronicles an 'exodus of weapons experts' from the State Department, sidelined by Bush-appointed officials and replaced with "less experienced political operatives who share the White House and Pentagon's distrust of international negotiations and treaties."

The Hill reports that the stage will be set for Rep. Tom DeLay to 'ride a rocket' to re-election, after today's expected GOP appointment of the former Majority Leader to a subcommittee that oversees NASA funding.

As a young presidential appointee is shown the door at NASA, a lobbyist's wife describes the new House majority leader "as an 'excellent tenant' who pays his rent on time."

Although the first source cited in a Wall Street Journal article on why the 'White House Can't Sweep Aside Abramoff' is Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton, the article fails to note that Fitton previously blamed the scandal on Clinton.

Didn't Know Jack In e-mails obtained by Think Progress, "Abramoff describes meeting Bush 'in almost a dozen settings,' and details how he was personally invited to President Bush's private ranch in Crawford, Texas, for a gathering of Bush fundraisers in 2003."

Republican Rep. Heather Wilson, whose subcommittee oversees the NSA, has called for a full Congressional inquiry into the Bush administration's domestic eavesdropping program. Earlier: Wilson and Sen. Joseph Lieberman among 15 lawmakers said 'Addicted to Porn.'

As a Newsday op-ed calls on Democrats to 'Put Up Your Dukes' on wiretaps and war, the founder of the Baltimore Group says that "It's a Democratic failure that this is America's current attitude towards the 4th Amendment."

The Progressive's Ruth Coniff noticed that during Monday's NSA hearing, which received "the appearance of coverage" on cable news, Sen. Lindsey Graham declared that "I stand behind this President being commander-in-chief, to pursue fifth column movements."

Asked during a "NewsHour" interview why "we" didn't anticipate the Iraqi insurgency, Vice President Cheney said, "Well, you can't anticipate everything." And declining to second the notion that the U.S. is "addicted" to oil, Cheney only conceded that "we clearly depend very heavily on it."

As Louisiana's governor declares that "It's time to play hardball" over oil and gas royalties from offshore drilling, "as I believe that's the only game Washington understands," Russ Baker's RealNews launches with an investigation into the 'Unholy Trinity: Katrina, Allbaugh and Brown.'

"The looting of Iraq's oil wealth is unprecedented in the history of corporate crime," according to criminologist Dave Whyte, but Ahmad Chalabi says that 'democracy must come before oil.'

'Rumsfeld's Enforcer' In an excerpt from his new book, "Grand Theft Pentagon," Jeffrey St. Clair probes 'The Secret World of Stephen Cambone.'

The Washington Note's Steve Clemons finds "more Rumsfeldian disdain for the press," and brings word of a 2006 Nobel Peace Prize nominee.

Introducing a thorough debunking of administration claims about Guantanamo, Stuart Taylor cites Bush's pledge that detainees are treated "humanely" and his implication that to a man, they're "bad people," and concludes: "If the president believes either of these assertions, he is a fool. If he does not, choose your own word for him."

After Bush received a "rare, in-person rebuke" at Coretta Scott King's funeral, Left Coaster sat back to 'Watch the Mighty Wurlitzer Start,' disputing the notion that "the six-hour service ... seemed to strive mightily to project a theme of inclusion, and the setting aside of political differences."

Among the ads cited in a lawsuit accusing Craigslist of publishing discriminatory housing advertisements, as reported by the Chicago Tribune: "Non-women of Color NEED NOT APPLY" and "Requirements: Clean Godly Christian Male." Plus: 'Racial Suicide' in Europe.

Bill O'Reilly calls Nicholas Kristof's column announcing a "pledge drive" to collect money to send O'Reilly to Darfur, "simply a gimmick, a ploy, to bring my name to his passion."

Advice for Cindy Sheehan, regarding a Senate race in California, is coming from both within and without the Democratic Party.

February 7

'Congress talks tough to Gonzales -- and then turns and runs,' says Slate's Emily Bazelon, deeming Sens. Specter and Graham "not really up for the fight," following a hearing that was "pretty instructive ... on the bizarre embrace into which the legislature and the executive have locked themselves since Sept. 11."

Jonathan Turley accuses the attorney general of invoking "national security for purely political reasons," while Dana Milbank tallies up the number of times Gonzales "recognized the supremacy of congressional authority," and reports a heckle. Plus: 'What's more outrageous? Spying, or invasions?'

Karl Rove is said to have "threatened to blacklist any Republican who votes against the president" in the wiretap hearings, while BuzzFlash advises Democrats to "stop thinking that they are going to win a chess game based on logic."

"I thought that when I debated Professor Turner this morning, I had confronted the most extreme end of the pro-Bush fantacism," writes Glenn Greenwald. "But I was mistaken. [Tuesday] at 2:10 p.m. EST, I'll be on NPR's "To the Point" to discuss the NSA hearings with Powerline's -- Pajamaline? -- John Hinderaker."

While a 'Handful of races may tip control of Congress,' Arianna Huffington argues that 'Spying and Lying' is "a perfect wedge issue for Democrats, a chance to split off conservatives and independents disgusted with the White House's contemptuous disregard for the rule of law and for the truth."

As reporters are offered a $1,000 reward, Helen Thomas tells White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, "You know what happened to Nixon when he broke the law."

President Bush's proposals to cut 141 domestic programs, in his "deficit reducing" federal budget are compared to "a man who leases three fully loaded Hummers ... and decides his family has to start buying cheaper peanut butter."

A preliminary analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finds that the Bush budget "fails the tests of fiscal responsibility, fairness and balance, and transparency."

"We are on the verge of an exciting time," says "the nation's top nuclear weapons executive," describing "head-to-head competition" to design new thermonuclear weapons and win contracts worth "tens, perhaps hundreds of million of dollars."

'U.S. defense industry frets about high Iraq spending,' with one industry analyst quoted as complaining that "no one was told that there was a choice between Iraq and recapitalizing the nation's military."

A survey of Iraqi children is said to find that "the only things they have on their minds are guns, bullets, death and a fear of the U.S. occupation," while Iraq's Labor Ministry now says that two million Iraq families now earn less than one U.S. dollar per day, with children paying "the silent cost."

'Iraq fights new war against bird flu,' and 'braces for sectarian attacks as major Shiite feast approaches.'

With 'Vets' ills mounting fast,' the WSWS finds that, "for political reasons, the scope of the tragedy is barely being reported."

As two Afghans protesting the Muhammad cartoons are reportedly killed after torching a police checkpost at the entrance to Bagram Air Base, Iran's largest-selling newspaper announces a contest on cartoons of the Holocaust, and the Electronic Intifada's Ali Abunimah squares off with Fouad Ajami on the "NewsHour."

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof asks readers to contribute to a fund to send Bill O'Reilly to Darfur, as the Washington Times follows Fox News in joining the program. Plus: "What do you watch on TV these days?"

Fires burn four more Alabama churches, after Chris Matthews speculated to a "Hardball" guest that "maybe a more liberal person, who's gay for example," might be responsible for a recent wave of church burnings.

"Jerome Bettis and Saddam Hussein have something in common. Both have received the key to the city of Detroit," Saddam for his "major charitable contributions to Detroit-area churches."

After the silent treatment in D.C., "shortcomings in aid from the U.S. government are making New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin look to other nations for help," reports Reuters, quoting Nagin as saying, "France can take Treme. The king of Jordan can take the Lower Ninth Ward."

February 6

Adventus argues that "it's data mining, whether it affected 5000 people, or only 5 people," and firedoglake's ReddHedd asks: "and how many resources and manhours have been devoted to this program that has yielded nothing whatsoever?"

USA Today reports that telecoms, "including AT&T;, MCI and Sprint," are allowing the NSA to spy on calls, "on the basis of oral requests from senior government officials"

Tom Engelhardt revisits last week in Bushworld, including "an ethanol-powered globe," a "road to victory" lined with IEDs, and "an unannounced constitutional convention in the White House."

As it's reported that 'Oil Graft Fuels the Insurgency' in Iraq, Lawrence Wilkerson tells "Now" that "I participated in a hoax on the American people, the international community and the United Nations Security Council."

Map illustrating death toll over '31 Days in Iraq' includes a suicide bombing in Ramadi, which, according to a dispatch from a U.S. Marine Capt., resulted in "an increase in violence around the city, consisting mainly of Iraqis hunting down foreign terrorists (the al-Qaida in Iraq guys) and killing them."

As most U.S. papers steer clear of controversial cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad, Lebanon apologizes to Denmark following 'Rioting with well-planned spontaneity.' Plus: 'Clash over cartoons is a caricature of civilization.'

"This is not a great time to heat up the old Samuel Huntington garbage about a 'clash of civilizations,'" writes Robert Fisk, recalling that "more than a decade ago ... someone set fire to the cinema" showing "The Last Temptation of Christ" in Paris. And, better Agunua than Daramulun.

A Jordanian newspaper editor tells Newsweek's Christopher Dickey that "Democracy has a new enemy in the region, which is the support [for democracy] by the United States of America." And Tony Karon says it's 'Time for the U.S. to Get Real on Hamas,' which has a 'new doctrine: talk to the Jews.'

'Merkel likens Iranian president to Hitler' and 'Chavez says Bush worse than Hitler,' after 'Rumsfeld compares Venezuela's Chavez to Hitler' and 'Likens bin Laden to Hitler.'

With "Lights Out in Tehran," Afghan refugees who returned home are 'queueing up to leave again,' reports an Observer correspondent in Kabul, where "with local unemployment running at 70 per cent there is simply no future for them."

Interpol issues Orange Notice on Yemeni jail break, days after announcing the arrest for criminal impersonation of David Race Bannon, who reportedly "claimed to have been an Interpol agent for 20 years and to have assassinated several hundred people who allegedly participated in human trafficking."

Most state and local health departments reportedly "expect to be unprepared" for a bird flu epidemic "for at least a year," during which time, says one expert, social distancing "is likely to be all we're going to have as a strategy" -- although U.S. Customs is evidently hard at work on another crisis from abroad.

Article citing the "young presidential appointee with no science background" who "came to be supervising Web presentations on cosmology and interview requests to senior NASA scientists," prompts the question: "Has ever a greater scientist had a less worthy oppressor?" Plus: 'The Political Science Test.'

"'It's great having you on, Mr. Secretary,' chirped Matthews. 'You're one of the good guys. We all like you here. You're great... you're a very civil guy and you're bipartisan and everybody likes you and we could use you here in Washington again.'"

"The best CNN could do" in reporting the death of the woman who exposed "the problem that has no name," and who asked, "Is this all?" did not go unnoticed. Plus: "So eager not to frighten middle America ..."

"Shut up or I will kill you!" A bookstore employee offers a first-hand account of her arrest in Cleveland while posting "Bush Step Down" posters.

As 'Sad Reality Sinks In for New Orleans Music Scene,' the Rolling Stones bow to censors in Detroit.

February 3-5

A memo reportedly documenting a two-hour pre-Iraq war meeting between President Bush and British Prime Minister Blair, is said to reveal "the president of the United States caught conspiring to create a modern-day version of the sinking of the Maine."

With 53 percent of respondents to a new Gallup poll saying the Bush administration "deliberately misled the American public about whether Iraq has weapons of mass destruction," Eric Alterman writes that "The insider press corps cannot connect Bush's war lies to his unpopularity, because it has so much difficulty acknowledging either one."

The Guardian amplifies Amy Goodman's claim that U.S. media reached an "all-time low" by acting as a "cheerleader" for war. Goodman was in Qatar at a forum organized by Al-Jazeera. More from "Democracy Now!" on the satellite channel's popular debate show and its coverage of Fallujah.

Murray Waas reports that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's attempts to discredit Joseph Wilson persisted even after Libby and Vice President Cheney "were personally informed in June 2003" that CIA analysts "no longer believe there is sufficient" credible information to "conclude that Iraq pursued uranium from abroad." And Waas asks: Did Bush receive a PDB regarding Wilson's mission to Niger?

Most major media outlets are found to have 'largely ignored' new revelations concerning 'The Plame Case, Missing Email, and the President's Daily Brief.' Plus: 'Why Rove Will Fall.'

As Rep. Louise Slaughter calls for 'Chris Matthews to come clean on Abramoff,' Ari Berman asks: 'Can Justice Be Trusted?'

After the surprise election of 'The GOP's New, Familiar Face,' said to be "hip-deep in political contributions from an industry he oversees," and a consistent supporter of religious right positions, a New York Times analysis was headlined, 'Republicans repudiate past.'

A federal judge blasted the "conscience-shocking" actions of former Environmental Protection Agency chief Christine Todd Whitman, in "telling thousands of people that it was safe to return" to a toxic dust-filled lower Manhattan" after 9/11.

Whitman, upon becoming a lobbyist for a chemical company, was said to have "talked a good game -- spinning herself as a different kind of Republican."

The Gadflyer notes that "no one questioned" a claim by self-styled "renaissance man" Ben Stein, that oil company executives "make less than Hollywood stars ... and they do a much greater service," because Stein was talking to "the amateur hour of business journalism," CNN's "In The Money."

President Bush's State of the Union assault on "isolationism and protectionism" was "not only non-credible, it borders on the desperate and pathetic," writes Pat Buchanan, given that "these fellows have an alibi. They were nowhere near the scene of the crime."

Paul Krugman finds evidence in Bush's speech that "this administration is all politics and no policy. It knows how to attain power, but has no idea how to govern." And, Bush's call for civility draws a response.

With the Iraq war now reported to be 'costing $100,000 per minute,' the Pentagon assumes a 'greater role in bankrolling foreign militaries,' while 'Foreign companies eye oil reserves in Iraq.'

The Financial Times reports that the 'End beckons for the "United States of Iraq"' -- "a parallel, virtual country in Iraq that most soldiers and American civilians never have to leave."

'Rumsfeld and Negroponte amp up attacks' on Venezuelan President Chavez, and Pat Robertson renews his call for the assassination of Chavez, who told the World Social Forum that "one day the decay inside U.S. imperialism will end up toppling it, and the great people of Martin Luther King will be set free."

Althought 'Protests intensify over Muhammad drawings,' AFP reports that "there was also a sense of relief after millions of Muslims attended Friday prayers without a major outpouring of street violence."

Astrologers are reported to have persuaded the king of Bhutan that "the stars will not be favourably placed until 2008" for democratic elections.

February 2

Five more American soldiers are killed in Iraq, and Baghdad Burning's Riverbend writes that her country's election results leave her "filled with this sort of chill that leaves in its wake a feeling of quiet terror."

'Retreating on the Offensive' A Washington Post editorial expresses concern that the president may be "decrying retreat while quietly packing his bags."

"The Bush administration may be scaling down the U.S. force, but Marines and soldiers will be rotating in and out of Iraq for years to come," says former CNN reporter Brian Palmer, embedded with U.S. Marines at Camp Hit, where some are on "their second, third or fourth pump in Iraq."

A Tom Toles cartoon drew an angry protest from "all six members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff," regarding what John Aravosis called "the insidious threat cartoons pose to our troops."

"I don't think they're coming out," a Justice Department official is quoted as saying, as the administration withholds classified legal opinions, thought to reflect "serious concerns within the Justice Department" on Bush's domestic spying program.

"The question now is whether the President could do it all again," writes Thomas Powers, discussing 'The Biggest Secret,' in his review of James Risen's "State of War."

The BBC's Pentagon correspondent, reviewing declassified plans for "information warfare," reported that "the U.S. military seeks the capability to knock out every telephone, every networked computer, every radar system on the planet."

Monitoring coverage of Cindy Sheehan's arrest, and providing clips, MediaChannel finds a "female-oriented talk show ... outdoing all network news coverage." Although she "broke no laws or rules of any kind," one GOP congressman "wouldn't be so mad if it were just Sheehan ..."

The president reportedly "didn't mean it literally," when he vowed to cut Middle East oil imports by 75 percent: "This was purely an example," explained Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, formerly known as 'One of Texas' Top Five Worst Polluters.'

An energy analyst, appearing as part of a PBS "News Hour" panel, proposed "energy taxes or ... higher taxes on industry, or ... just having Americans give up their Bush tax cut." Plus: 'The Hastert Solution."

After Bush sounded a new note on oil imports, Max Blumenthal explained 'Who's Really Addicted to Oil,' and CJR watched 'Seven Newspapers Grapple With Bush's Flip-Flop.'

'Bush's Brezhnev period' Sidney Blumenthal reviews "a speech so stagnant it would have made the Politburo proud," and Tom D'Antoni adds that "what's missing" from coverage of the State of the Union is "the towering irrelevancy of it all ... He said nothing, badly" -- although some heard him calling for "regime change" in Iran.

As the Enron jury hears testimony that the company "fudged its earnings figures with the knowledge of executives Jeffrey Skilling and Kenneth Lay," Robert Scheer fingers "the politicians who benefited from Lay's largesse, and who changed the law enabling Enron's chicanery."

USA Today's Sandy Grady previews Sunday's ''Surreal Bowl,' "staged in the middle of a wintry city plunged into crisis by back-to-the-wall car manufacturers" -- and "want to bet that the NFL's TV announcers will interview jobless Ford or GM workers at halftime?"

As author James Frey releases an apology penned for "all future editions of his now-tainted book," the Wall Street Journal reports that Frey's memoir "continues to sell."

Concerning the casting of "the least-closeted celebrity this side of Elton John" as a Christian missionary, a Baptist seminary president wrote in his blog that "we must not overreact. And it would probably be an overreaction to firebomb these men's houses."

Stan Cox is "ready to argue that most of the standard anti-Mexican-immigration arguments ... can be applied just as well to the small but swelling tide of immigration by U.S. and Canadian citizens" looking for "La Vida Cheapo."

Although President Bush spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast, according to USA Today he was not the headliner -- who was fresh from entertaining "fat cats in the snow."

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