The Week in Editorial Cartoons – Misremembering George W. Bush

(9AM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

Crossposted at Daily Kos and The Stars Hollow Gazette

Bush Memoir by Rob Rogers, see reader comments in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Buy this cartoon

George W. Bush is on a book tour with his new autobiography.  According to critics, there isn’t a lot of new or revealing material here.  W still believes the war in Iraq, tax cuts for the rich and torture were all good ideas.  He didn’t really need to publish a non-reflective memoir to tell us that.

Shock And Awe by RJ Matson, New York Observer, Buy this cartoon

Nick Anderson

Book Signing by Nick Anderson,, see reader comments in the Houston Chronicle)

Stuart Carlson, Universal Press Syndicate/Slate Comics and My Buk by David Cohen, Asheville Citizen-Times

(click link to enlarge cartoon)

Dubya’s Book by Bruce Plante, see the large number of reader comments in Tulsa World, Buy this cartoon

John Sherffius

John Sherffius, (Boulder Daily Camera)

Dan Wasserman

Dan Wasserman, (Boston Globe)

Memoirs of Bush by Arend van Dam, Freelance Cartoonist (The Netherlands), Buy this cartoon

Pat Oliphant, Universal Press Syndicate/Yahoo Comics and Bush portrayed as Alfred E. Neumann (the fictional mascot of Mad magazine) on the cover of The Nation magazine, November 13, 2000

(click link to enlarge cartoon/image)

Bush Presidential Library by Jim Day, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Buy this cartoon

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PLEASE READ THIS: There are another 20 or so editorial cartoons and videos posted in the comments section of the GOS.  Check ’em out.

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This weekly diary takes a look at the past week’s important news stories from the perspective of our leading editorial cartoonists (including a few foreign ones) with analysis and commentary added in by me.

When evaluating a cartoon, ask yourself these questions:

1. Does a cartoon add to my existing knowledge base and help crystallize my thinking about the issue depicted?

2. Does the cartoonist have any obvious biases that distort reality?

3. Is the cartoonist reflecting prevailing public opinion or trying to shape it?

The answers will help determine the effectiveness of the cartoonist’s message.

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Mike Thompson,, see reader comments in the Detroit Free Press

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When Greek philosopher Socrates — regarded as the father of Western philosophy — said that “an unexamined life is not worth living,” he could have easily been talking about the likes of George W. Bush.  Having watched a few of his television interviews and read articles written about his memoirs Decision Points, I was again reminded as to how incurious and clueless a person Bush is in matters of great importance that profoundly — and adversely — affected tens of millions of Americans during his two terms as President of the United States.  

A couple of the interviewers from Fox News told Bush that he looked completely relaxed and in good spirits.  Bush replied that he was at peace with himself and enjoying life, as if his presidency had been a spectacular success and had made significant progress in improving the lives of ordinary, average Americans.  The reality is that that his tenure in office resulted in creating unprecedented domestic economic problems while succeeding in diminishing this country’s standing around the world.    

Given Bush’s intellectually lazy approach to life, it wasn’t altogether surprising that a story surfaced yesterday in which it was alleged that Bush had engaged in a bit of plagiarism in “writing” his book

Bruce Beattie

Bush’s Book Controversy

According to a Huffington Post article, former President George W. Bush lifted passages from books written by his advisers for his memoir, “Decision Points.”  In other words, Bush’s book has done what any good memoir should do: Shed new light on the author.  We now know that he’s even dumber than we thought.

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But if you already bought Bush’s book thinking you were getting only his own thoughts, you haven’t entirely wasted your money.  Finding lifted passages in Bush’s book is like an Easter egg hunt.  Look for passages with a number of quotes back to back and then slap the passage into Google Books or plagiarism detection software you might have access to.  The slideshow below shows what HuffPost has found so far.  If you find any more, send the passage to and we’ll verify it and add it to the list.

(Bruce Beattie, (Daytona Beach News-Journal))

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George W. Bush is counting on the fact that the country is suffering from a serious case of amnesia and that most of us have forgotten the serious damage his administration did and the carnage it inflicted upon the American people.  The list of transgressions by the Bush Administration is too long and has been well-documented on this web site over the years.  And often.  After eight years of outright lies, deceit, dishonesty, misinformation, arrogance, and corruption, here’s a brief — though incomplete summary — of his eight years in office while the so-called “adults” were entrusted to run the country’s affairs

(Bush + Cheney = Nixon by RJ Matson,

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Buy this cartoon)

  • Bush’s ascendancy to the presidency in December 2000 came only after an assist from the Supreme Court of the United States.  Consistent with his political party’s decades-long stated beliefs, if ever there was a “States Rights” case, it was Bush v Gore.  Given the unusual circumstances, humility and bipartisanship would have been in order but neither was employed in governing the country.
  • His National Security Team was asleep at the switch in 2001 and did (almost) nothing in preventing the greatest attack on the lower 48 states since the War of 1812.
  • Bush and the Republican Congress exploited the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks (which cost 3000 American lives) at every conceivable juncture for purely partisan advantages, with most of the planners still at large.
  • Beating the drums of war for well over a year and subverting decades of American foreign policy traditions by shunning traditional allies, Bush concocted false reasons for an unnecessary and “preemptive” war while wasting hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars and undermining America’s diplomatic position in the world.  In doing so, his Defense Department badly underestimated the troops needed for occupying Iraq and preventing tens of thousands of American and Iraqi casualties — (Jeff Parker, – Florida Today).
  • Bush created climate of fear and paranoia (not seen since the days of the despised Nixon Administration) during which the Congress of the United States subverted the Constitution of the United States by suspending numerous laws dealing with war detainees, illegal wiretapping, and sanctioning prisoner torture in violation of the Geneva Conventions.
  • His Department of Homeland Security and FEMA were guilty of criminal negligence in coordinating rescue efforts and saving hundreds of lives following Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast in 2005.
  • From neglecting the environment to not protecting civil liberties to its disdain for science and rational thinking, the Bush Administration frittered away years of progress made in several areas of domestic policy.
  • His economic policies resulted in fiscal mismanagement, widened income and wealth inequality, and imposed trillions of dollars of debt on American families, one that many future generations will have to work hard to pay down.  The virtual collapse and meltdown of the financial system in late 2008 was a parting gift to his successor, the results of which are clearly evident to this day in the country’s precarious economic condition.
  • (Deadly Intersection by J.D. Crowe, Mobile Register, Buy this cartoon)

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    Bush Buys War on Credit by Monte Wolverton, Cagle Cartoons, Buy this cartoon and Orwell Man Bush Defends Wiretapping by Andy Singer,, Buy this cartoon

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Chan Lowe

Bush’s Memoir by Chan Lowe,, see reader comments in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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As Lowe recounts on his blog, if one event symbolized the incompetence of the Bush Administration, it was its response to Hurricane Katrina which devastated the City of New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast in August 2005

For me, one of the most telling moments of the George W. Bush presidency occurred during a press conference.  A newsman asked him if he could name any mistakes he had made, and the question took the President aback.  None that he could think of, he responded after some thought.  Some would call this evidence of his resoluteness; others, of his foolhardiness.  In any case, we knew that his decision to invade Iraq was not something that kept him awake at night.  What does keep him awake?  Evidently, the verdict of history, because he is now seeking to shape it.

I haven’t read his memoir, but one of the mistakes he finally acknowledges — according to interviews — is allowing the release of the photo that was taken of him looking bemusedly down from Air Force One at New Orleans after Katrina.  He hasn’t mentioned the way he bungled the Katrina response as one of his mistakes, but maybe that’s in the book.

It is Bush’s right to put his own gloss on his moment in history.  We should take his effort with the same grain of salt that we view all Presidential memoirs.  One pundit called it a first “baby step” in his attempt at rehabilitation.  Some would say he doesn’t need rehabilitating, which tells you how controversial a figure he remains, and will continue to remain for some time… memoir or no memoir.

Clay Bennett

The Bush Memoir by Clay Bennett,, see reader comments in the Chattanooga Times Free Press

Dana Summers

Dan Summers, (Orlando Sentinel)

Bill Schorr, Cagle Cartoons, Buy this cartoon

New Peace Symbol by Aislin, Montreal Gazette, Buy this cartoon

Decision Points by Martin Sutovec, Freelance Cartoonist (Slovakia), Buy this cartoon

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1. Torture, Iraq, and Preemptive Wars

Clay Jones, Freelance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA), Buy this cartoon

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For a number of years we were told repeatedly by this fear-mongering and manipulative Bush Administration that we were in the midst of a “War on Terror.”  It characterized it as the defining struggle of our times.  A great fight to the death in which the forces of light were being threatened by the forces of darkness.  We were reminded at every moment that our country (and civilization) was under attack not for our hegemonic policies but for our way of life.  Terrorists, they told us, despised freedom and liberty as if we were the only ones who had exclusive rights for and a monopoly on these universal concepts.  Others were asked to align themselves either with us or against us.  For if they did not, they too would experience our wrath.

As Jones points out, every justification conjured up by the Bush Administration and its enablers to initiate the War in Iraq proved to be not only false but demonstrably so.  The lessons of history so brilliantly captured in this Robert Fisk essay were completely ignored

Bush says the most painful thing for him to endure during his presidency was rapper/musician Kanye West calling him a racist.  I guess that whole starting a war against an enemy who never attacked us, never finding the evidence you reasoned with for starting the war, and inflicting casualties among thousands of civilians and our military wasn’t as troubling for him.

But damn that Kanye.

Bush’s Shoes by Bob Englehart, Hartford Courant, Buy this cartoon

Ted Rall, Universal Press Syndicate/GOComics

(click link to enlarge cartoon)

CIA Torture Cases by Rainer Hachfeld, Neues Deutschland (Germany), Buy this cartoon

Jeff Danziger, New York Times Syndicate/Yahoo Comics

(click link to enlarge cartoon)

Bush Book by Joe Heller, Green Bay Press-Gazette, Buy this cartoon

Vic Harville, Stephens Media Group (Little Rock, AR), Buy this cartoon

Joel Pett, Lexington Herald-Leader/McLatchy Cartoons

(click link to enlarge cartoon)

Bush Farewell by Mike Keefe, Denver Post, Buy this cartoon

Gary Markstein

Gary Markstein, (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Dick Cheney and George W. Bush by Taylor Jones,, Buy this cartoon

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2. Bush’s Economic “Philosophy” and His Contributions to the Economy

John Sherffius, (Boulder Daily Camera)

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By any measure, the Bush Administration’s economic performance was the worst in modern American history

The Sad History of Trusting the GOP on the Economy

To be sure, George W. Bush provided the perfect bookend to era of modern Republican economic management ushered by Herbert Hoover.  The verdict on President Bush’s reign of ruin was pronounced even before Barack Obama took the oath of office. January 9, 2009, the Republican-friendly Wall Street Journal summed it up with an article titled simply, “Bush on Jobs: the Worst Track Record on Record.” (The Journal’s interactive table quantifies his comparative failure.)  Just days after the Washington Post documented that George W. Bush presided over the worst eight-year economic performance in the modern American presidency, the New York Times… featured an analysis (“Economic Setbacks That Define the Bush Years”) comparing presidential performance going back to Eisenhower.  As the Times showed, George W. Bush, the first MBA president, was a historic failure when it came to expanding GDP, producing jobs and fueling stock market growth.

But it was the release of a Census Bureau report in September (“Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2008”) which in 67 pages laid bare the economic devastation and human toll during the Bush presidency.  As The Atlantic (“Closing The Book On The Bush Legacy”) rightly noted, “It’s not a record many Republicans are likely to point to with pride”:

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On every major measurement, the Census Bureau report shows that the country lost ground during Bush’s two terms.  While Bush was in office, the median household income declined, poverty increased, childhood poverty increased even more, and the number of Americans without health insurance spiked.  By contrast, the country’s condition improved on each of those measures during Bill Clinton’s two terms, often substantially.

Free Marketeers by Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune, Buy this cartoon

Bob Gorrell, Nationally Syndicated Cartoonist, Buy this cartoon

Unemployed by David Fitzsimmons, Arizona Star, Buy this cartoon

Steve Benson

Steve Benson, (Arizona Republic)

Stuart Carlson, Universal Press Syndicate

(click link to enlarge cartoon)

Bush Farewell by Steve Greenberg, VCReporter (Ventura, CA), Buy this cartoon

Lee Judge, Kansas City Star/McLatchy Cartoons

(click link to enlarge cartoon)

Buying the Bush Book by Nate Beeler, Washington Examiner, Buy this cartoon

Bush Error Tax Cuts by John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune, Buy this cartoon

The George W Bush Liberry by Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune, Buy this cartoon

George W. Bush’s new book for sale by Chris Britt,, see reader comments in the State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL)

Devil May Care Capitalism by Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune, Buy this cartoon

Bush on Mt. Rushmore by Dave Granlund,, Buy this cartoon

The Bush Legacy by Nate Beeler, Washington Examiner, Buy this cartoon

Cleanup by David Fitzsimmons, Arizona Star, Buy this cartoon

Bush Book by Aislin, Montreal Gazette, Buy this cartoon

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3. Tony Blair: Bush’s Foreign Policy Partner in Crime

Tony Blair – with Bush – Then by Taylor Jones,, Buy this cartoon

Foreign policy is the collective face a nation puts forth for the rest of the world to accept or reject; admire or detest; cooperate with or defy; and emulate or ignore.

The objective of foreign policy goals is not just to advance our “vital national interests” but also to project our values of fairness, cooperation, and morality for mutual benefit.  Consistent with traditions established by both Democratic and Republican Administrations since World War II, an important and essential component had been the pursuit of these goals with the help of our traditional allies.    

And yet, during the Bush Years, American foreign policy was the face of a dominant bully hellbent on intimidating other countries to get in line with and support our perverted agendas, with little or no success.  In other words, in collusion with the British government of Prime Minister Tony Blair, our foreign policy face was that of The Ugly American

Chip Bok

Chip Bok,

Tony Blair’s Book Annoys Queeny by Brian Adcock, The Scotland, Buy this cartoon

Bush and Blair Buddies by Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune, Buy this cartoon

Iraq War Logs by Paresh Nath, Khaleej Times (UAE), Buy this cartoon

Coffee or Tea by Mike Lane, Cagle Cartoons, Buy this cartoon

Dwayne Booth, Mr. Fish, Buy this cartoon

Stephane Peray, The Nation (Bangkok, Thailand), Buy this cartoon

Downing Street Memo Cut by Mike Lane, Cagle Cartoons, Buy this cartoon

Tony Blair’s Memoirs by Patrick Chappatte, International Herald Tribune, Buy this cartoon

Bush Shoe Sale by Paul Zanetti, Freelance Cartoonist (Australia), Buy this cartoon

Iraqi Warming by Christo Komarnitski, Freelance Cartoonist (Bulgaria), Buy this cartoon

Blair and WMD’s by Mike Lane, Cagle Cartoons, Buy this cartoon

Blair’s Autobiography by Paresh Nath, Khaleej Times (UAE), Buy this cartoon

Bush Rides Into the Sunset by Nate Beeler, Washington Examiner, Buy this cartoon

Tony Blair by Adam Zyglis, Buffalo News, Buy this cartoon

Bush Band Live in Baghdad by Christo Komarnitski, Freelance Cartoonist (Bulgaria), Buy this cartoon

Iraq Inquiry and Blair by Rainer Hachfeld, Neues Deutschland (Germany), Buy this cartoon

Cover My Back by Olle Johansson, Freelance Cartoonist (Sweden), Buy this cartoon

Blair and History by Cam Cardow, Ottawa Citizen, Buy this cartoon

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4. Bush and Hurricane Katrina: Nothing Short of Criminal Negligence

J.D. Crowe, see reader comments in the Mobile Register, Buy this cartoon

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Crowe tells a story that I had never heard before in which he details who had first used Bush’s famous words to FEMA Director Michael Brown, shortly after Hurricane Katrina crashed along the shores of the Gulf Coast

The George W. Bush book, Decision Points, has been released. To the American reading public.  Safely after the midterm elections.  And get this: It’s a book with words.  I know, right?

Now, did Bush write his memoirs by his own self?  If he did, I’ll be interested in seeing the word ‘nookular’ in print.  Also ‘turr’.  As in the ‘war on turr.’  Dubya can’t say the word ‘memoirs’ without it soundin’ like ‘them WARS.’

From his book, Bush says: “I asked Bob (Riley) and Haley (Barbour) if they were getting the federal support they needed.  Both told me that they were.  ‘That Mike Brown is doing a heck of a job,’ Bob said.  I knew Mike was under pressure, and I wanted to boost his morale.  When I spoke to the press a few minutes later, I repeated the praise.

‘Brownie,’ I said, ‘you’re doing a heck of a job.’

And now he’s passin’ the Brownie buck to Gov. Bob Riley.  If Bush had been on top of things, maybe he could have come up with his own lame material… It’s not Bush’s fault, of course.  How’d he know the line he stole from a respected Republican governor was gonna go nookular?

Bush Tours New Orleans by Christo Komarnitski, Freelance Cartoonist (Bulgaria), Buy this cartoon

Bush’s Book by Cam Cardow, Ottawa Citizen, Buy this cartoon

Shark Infested Waters by Monte Wolverton, Cagle Cartoons, Buy this cartoon

Lalo Alcaraz, LA Weekly, Buy this cartoon

New Orleans Gone by Cam Cardow, Ottawa Citizen, Buy this cartoon

Bush’s Book Tour by John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune, Buy this cartoon

Our Republican Paradise by Andy Singer,,

Buy this cartoon

Levee of Lame Excuses by Monte Wolverton, Cagle Cartoons, Buy this cartoon

G.W. Bush and His Book by Dave Granlund,, Buy this cartoon

My Pet Scapegoat by J.D. Crowe, Mobile Register, Buy this cartoon

Bush Memoir by Mike Keefe, Denver Post, Buy this cartoon

President Bush Plays Jack Bauer In “24” by RJ Matson, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Buy this cartoon

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5. Bush’s Sordid Legacy

George W. Bush by Bob Englehart, see reader comments in the Hartford Courant, Buy this cartoon

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Under normal circumstances, it takes historians many years (even decades) to fully evaluate any president’s performance in office.  As I detailed in two comments this past summer, the reasons are many — Why Do Perceptions of Leaders Change?  

  • Documents are declassified that shed light on previously unknown facts.
  • Former high-level government officials write ‘insider’ accounts of their service providing details heretofore unknown to historians.
  • Events happen, perspectives change decades after policies are implemented.
  • Leaders themselves contribute to their re-evaluation in significant ways.

The above does not apply to George W. Bush’s administration.  In 2006, Historian Sean Wilentz of Princeton University wrote this article in Rolling Stone magazine which explained how many historians viewed Bush’s performance

George W. Bush’s presidency appears headed for colossal historical disgrace.  Barring a cataclysmic event on the order of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, after which the public might rally around the White House once again, there seems to be little the administration can do to avoid being ranked on the lowest tier of U.S. presidents.  And that may be the best-case scenario.  Many historians are now wondering whether Bush, in fact, will be remembered as the very worst president in all of American history…

Another president once explained that the judgments of history cannot be defied or dismissed, even by a president.  “Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history,” said Abraham Lincoln.  “We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves.  No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us.  The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation.”

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Well over two hundred years ago, the founders of this country introduced a political system of checks and balances and though not altogether perfect, it, nonetheless, contains within it a remedy and mechanism for self-correction.  The Bush Administration is no exception to that most basic of democratic principles nor is it exempt from being accountable for its actions.  

Editorial Cartoonist Bob Englehart evaluates the damage done over eight years of George W. Bush

We ran this photo of the billboard on Page A3 yesterday and I couldn’t resist.  Do I miss W?  Do I miss polio?  I can’t think of one thing I miss about him.  Fact is, if he were in charge, unemployment would be at 50 percent and we’d be at war with the whole world.

Even worse, the Queen of Hearts and her tea party would be running the country.  If you want a feel for what that would be like, let your thoughts drift to Germany after World War I when all the wrong people gained power.  Obama a Nazi, indeed.  Look in the mirror, tea bagger, and see what hatred really looks like.

The sign depicted in my cartoon is the actual billboard in Minnesota.  It was financed by some local businessmen with a bug up their seated parts.  I don’t usually combine art with photography, but this one works.  Sometimes this job is way too easy.

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Clay Bennett

In Bookstores Now by Clay Bennett,, see the large number of reader comments in the Chattanooga Times Free Press

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A Note About the Diary Poll

A Passage to India (1924) by E.M. Forster and the 1984 movie based on his classic book about British rule in India

I have no idea if there will be a movie made based on Bush’s memoirs, Decision Points. And even if one is made by a supporter as to how accurate it will be of the Bush record.

Numerous best-selling books have been the basis of the some of the best movies ever made.  The diary poll only reflects a few that I chose.  The ones I chose are not necessarily the best ever.  See this list which includes many more books and may very well include your favorites — Books Made Into Movies.

Remember to take the diary poll.

Is the Pony/Pie/Hide rating system too cutsie?

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  1. You can buy the book here.  The London Observer had this review of Life by Keith Richards

    Keith Richards Autobiography by Mike Keefe, Denver Post, Buy this cartoon

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    The survivor’s story is one of the predominant narratives of our time.  It usually traces a familiar arc from excess through despair to redemption, and, as such, allows us to enjoy the vicarious thrill of voyeurism within the framework of a cautionary or salutary tale. Life by Keith Richards, the most famous survivor of them all, breaks with this tradition insofar as it contains excess aplenty but hardly any despair and very little redemption. Keith did it all, had a hell of a good time, and survived to brag about it.

    Life has the macho swagger that rock’n’roll in general – and the Rolling Stones in particular – once possessed.

    Tips and the like here.  Thanks.  

  2. The Bush Paraguay Acerage

    The North American Union and the Amero?

    Motari the puppy chucking marine.

    Chertoff’s dual citizenship.

    Sibel Edmonds?  Cindy Sheehan?

    Condi Rice’s Chevron Afghanistan pipeline?

    Elvis bin Laden?

  3. … for promoting this diary.  Here’s another one about Dubya’s book.  

    Don Wright

    Don Wright,

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