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Newt Gingrich recommended in a 2003 memo to then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that he "both maximize DoD's influence on debates and to maximize the flow of information to DoD" by establishing "a system of DoD detailees throughout the federal government and where possible as overseas detached personnel for foreign governments."

Gingrich wanted the Defense Department to have more reach in the policy making apparatus and not "yield the territory" at the National Security Counsel and elsewhere to the State Department and other interests.

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Let's say you run a major cable network with a partisan bent and the news of the day turns to a large protest in America's most liberal capital.

This wouldn't normally be a problem. You have a ton of resources and a staff that's met the challenge of covering large crowds repeatedly over the last couple years -- including those gathered by one of your own anchors.

But the challenge is different this time. Now we're talking Madison, Wisconsin -- tens of thousands of protesters whose views you abhor and whose goals you want to undermine. Your task this time is to highlight the dark underbelly of protest movements -- the street violence and intimidation that sometimes mark public rebellions against the government.

Unfortunately for you, this particular protest, though enormous, is completely peaceful. What do you do?

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has caught a lot of flak for his proposal to strip public employee unions of most of their collective bargaining rights. He can add to that a new poll of likely Wisconsin voters from Rasmussen -- a pollster much maligned for its typically Republican-skewing results -- which finds public opinion firmly against him on the issue.

A majority of those polled said they sided with the public employee unions rather than Gov. Walker in the showdown that has deadlocked the state government for more than two weeks. And while a plurality favor a plan to make state employees pay more toward their benefit plans -- something the unions have already agreed to do -- a majority oppose the most contentious proposal put forward by Walker: the elimination of most collective bargaining rights for state employee unions.

Just as damning for Walker, a majority also said they sided with the AWOL Senate Democrats, who fled the state to deny the senate the quorum necessary to advance the budget repair bill.

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There's a lot of early maneuvering about entitlement reform happening on Capitol Hill, and as is perennially the case in Washington, "entitlement reform" translates into Social Security cuts.

Progressives won't abide by that, but if a bipartisan consensus forms around it, they may be outnumbered.

But a recent fundraising letter from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) should cheer them a bit.

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After nearly a decade of mismanagement, theft and fraud, the U.S. military still hasn't found a way to staunch the flow of what is likely hundreds of millions -- if not billions -- of dollars in lost fuel in Afghanistan, some of which is sold on the black market and winds up in Taliban hands, a TPM investigation has found.

With political unrest in the Middle East sending oil over $100 per barrel and Congress more intent than ever at cutting government waste, fraud and abuse in tough budgetary times, the Defense Department is under intense pressure to find a way to monitor and track the flow of fuel in and out of its bases in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The extensive corruption associated with disappearing fuel in Afghanistan provides another illustration of the problems associated with the heavy use of private contractors on the battlefield. Earlier this week, the non-partisan Commission for Wartime Contracting reported that the U.S. government has spent $117 billion on private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002, and tens of billions of those dollars have been wasted.

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North Carolina television station WTVD-TV has obtained voicemail messages "purportedly left by John Edwards" that a former aide says prove Edwards orchestrated the cover up his affair with campaign worker Rielle Hunter. The recordings were turned over to a federal grand jury that's investigating the former senator and presidential candidate.

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If the protesters in Wisconsin don't want to be falsely portrayed as violent, they should start being more violent, according to Stephen Colbert.

At least that's the suggestion he gave Wednesday night when pretending to defend Fox News from allegations that they used misleading footage of heated protests to paint peaceful Wisconsin protesters as violent. That allegation stems from footage of an altercation at a protest in California that was shown on The O'Reilly Factor during a discussion about violence in Wisconsin.

"Shocking footage from Madison Wisconsin," Colbert said. "They're not only bussing in people from out of state, they're also bussing in palm trees."

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Access to the state Capitol building in Wisconsin has now been heavily restricted, so some Democrats are providing a solution to members of the public who can't get to assembly members' offices: They're bringing their offices to them.

As WisPolitics reports, five Assembly Democrats -- Minority Leader Peter Barca, Cory Mason, Josh Zepnick, Nick Milroy and Fred Clark -- took desks outside, in order to meet with constituents and members of the public in below-freezing temperatures.

"Obviously there was a court order to open this building and anybody with a brain would tell you they're defying the court order," Barca told WisPolitics.