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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

"Contrition is always nice, but it all depends on what gets on the air. That’s the true test."

That and more from Joe Hagan's piece in the Observer on what the White House says CBS has to do to get in its good graces.

It will be interesting to see what Heyward and his fellow geldings at Black Rock come up with this year. But don't expect it will be pretty.

They're still sitting on the goods in the Niger story after all.

"I am extremely concerned that someone familiar with Defense Department classified reporting has forged this document and given it to the press in the hope that it would be reported as genuine. Such an action raises deeply troubling questions about the integrity of the department's processes and raises the possibility of an organized effort to intimidate me as a journalist."

That's a clip from a letter military analyst Bill Arkin recently sent to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. And Arkin was right to be troubled.

Arkin found out about the document when he got a call from Washington Times national security reporter Bill Gertz, who sent him a copy. The phoney cable suggested that he, Arkin, had worked as a spy in the pay of Saddam Hussein.

I want to make very clear that no one is suggesting that Gertz either participated in the production of this document or knew that it was bogus. Indeed, from what I can tell from this piece from the Post last week, he did just what a reporter should have done in this case: he went to the person in question and asked for comment.

It soon became clear that the document was bogus -- a point that no one seems to question, including DOD spokesmen. Gertz declined requests for comment from the Post.

But someone was behind this. And given Arkin's role in uncovering various unpleasant facts about those in power, the motive doesn't seem particularly hard to figure out. Yet Larry DiRita says an investigation into the source of the forged document is "not likely."

We still don't know who forged the bogus Niger documents, even though we now know that their circuitous path into US hands was set in motion by a member of Italian military intelligence. (Any on-going -- such as it was -- investigation into this caper was finally ended earlier this month when Sen. Roberts shut down the promised second half of the investigation into pre-war intelligence on Iraq.)

Add this to the trove of phoney documents which have flowed out of Iraq in the last two years and you end up with a lot of phoney documents whose origins have never been explained.

No transcripts from the White House for Cheney's Bamboozlepalooza events? Holden points us to some local newspaper coverage that may help explain why.

For months now I've been saving string for a piece on the Washington Post's endlessly fatuous series of editorials on Social Security and fiscal policy -- the board seems caught between subservience to the silk-thin assumptions of right-leaning Washington conventional wisdom and an almost parodic level of ignorance about the effect these changes have on most Americans (see this for but one richly evocative example.)

But today's piece is worth at least an interim mention. It is another knock at the Democrats for not buying into the president's claim that Social Security is in a state of 'crisis'.

Given what's become clear over the last three months, the Post is compelled to concede that the president's 'plan' does nothing to deal with Social Security's solvency issues, that his tax cuts create a shortfall "three times greater than the Social Security shortfall projected by the trustees" and that Medicare is a far more pressing problem.

Still, the Post continues ...

it's hard to take seriously the Democrats who say that Mr. Bush should switch focus from Social Security to the much bigger problem of Medicare: If they aren't willing to play a constructive role on the supposedly "minor" challenge of Social Security, why should anyone believe that they would behave constructively if the administration wanted to fix Medicare?


As the Post's endless tergiversations for Washington's new luxe Republican establishment again show us, you can work so hard bending over backwards for some folks that you find yourself bending over forward. As they have.

The final blow ...

Support for President Bush's plan to create personal Social Security retirement accounts which might include stocks or mutual funds has dropped over the last month among Americans under age 30, according to a poll released Thursday.

Young adults have been the strongest supporters of the proposal for months. Support among those 18-29 dipped from seven in 10 to just under half, according to the poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. A quarter of young adults now say they're not sure how they feel about such personal accounts.


More here on the Pew Poll.

Public/Private Partnership. NBC's First Read notes that Sens. Frist, Santorum and Martinez are showing up for Progress for America's Bamboozlepalooza event next week in Tampa ...

By the way, look who's going to Tampa on Wednesday for a Social Security town hall: Senators Frist, Santorum, and Martinez. The event is being sponsored by pro-private accounts Progress for America.


More on this to follow ...

TPM is expanding. And as part of that, we're going to be bringing on at least one new intern. It's a great opportunity to gain experience for a career in political journalism or Internet publishing. If you're interested in applying or would like to find out more, drop us a line.

Send us a note through the 'comments' address at the top of the sidebar and use the subject heading "TPM Internship".

If you applied last year and would like to be considered again, please let us know that too. We had some great applicants who we weren't able to take on and we'd like to know if you remain interested.

Money, money, money, money, money, money, money ...

Traditional Values Coalition founder Lou Sheldon quoted in the Times: "What this issue has done is it has galvanized people the way nothing could have done in an off-election year. That is what I see as the blessing that dear Terri's life is offering to the conservative Christian movement in America."

St. Petersburg Times: "Shame on McCain for being a part of this effort to divide the generations. Usually noted for candid speech, he even resorted to misinformation when he said in 2042 'we stop paying people Social Security.' McCain knows that isn't true."

Mendacity is contagious. And he's caught the bug.

Townhall.com gets out of under Heritage's non-profit IRS restrictions to be more political, says the Washington Times.

No, we're not kidding.

Actually, it's an interesting development, clearly in response to mobilizations taking place on progressive blogs.

LiveWire

Clinton Postpones Trip To Charlotte

In a statement released Friday evening, Hillary Clinton's campaign announced that the Democratic nominee…