Published July 12, 2007
Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison — the first Muslim member of Congress — says Bush administration actions following 9/11 remind him of the way Adolf Hitler's government expanded its power after the burning of Berlin’s Reichstag parliament building in 1933.
Ellison told a gathering of atheists recently — "It's almost like the Reichstag fire, kind of reminds me of that. After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the communists for it and it put the leader of that country [Hitler] in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted. The fact is that I'm not saying [September 11] was a [U.S.] plan, or anything like that because, you know, that's how they put you in the nut-ball box — dismiss you."
Ellison later told a writer for the Minneapolis Star Tribune that examples of Bush administration actions fitting his Nazi parallel include the Iraq war, certain provisions of the Patriot Act, and the commutation of Scooter Libby's prison sentence.
Behind the Numbers
NATO and the government of Afghanistan say civilian casualty figures that follow coalition action are often exaggerated or fabricated.
The BBC reports officials say this is done by insurgents trying to put public pressure on the U.S. and its allies. They say coalition operations are often followed by false reports of as many as 200 civilian deaths.
One Afghan general says the Taliban regularly forces villagers to phone media outlets with inflated figures — under threat of beheading if they do not comply.
Huckabee — who has lost 110 pounds himself — says — "Michael Moore is an example of why the health care system costs so much in this country. He is clearly one of the reasons that we have a very expensive system ... I know how much more my health care cost when I didn't take care of myself than when I do take care of myself."
Moore hasn't commented yet — but the woman who produced his movie "Sicko" — says "Looks like Mike Huckabee is auditioning for some insurance company dough."
North Korea is often depicted as a dark and colorless place. But it turns out North Korea has some karaoke bars and Internet cafes.
But now the government is shutting them down — saying they are a threat to society. Refugees say such places are mostly located in the northern region near the Chinese border — and are frequented by merchants that do business in both countries.
Pulling the Plug
Meanwhile, a British man living in China who has spent years trying to convince the west that the Chinese government is not nearly as oppressive as it is often portrayed — is now being muzzled by — you guessed it — the Chinese government.
Nick Young writes a newsletter reporting on social, civil and environmental development in the communist country. But now the government is accusing him of "conducting unauthorized surveys" and has ordered him to stop publication or be deported.
—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.