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The MD4Bush Saga - A Primer
Various | 11/04/05 | conservative in nyc/nunya bidness

Posted on 11/04/2005 5:54:02 AM PST by conservative in nyc

Who is MD4Bush?
MD4Bush was an infrequent poster on Free Republic from 10/07/04 to 02/08/05, usually discussing Maryland politics. All of MD4Bush's public posts are available here. In an apparent attempt to bait FReeper NCPAC (now known as former Republican Maryland Governor Ehrlich staffer Joe Steffen) into incriminating conversations, MD4Bush spread rumors of Democrat Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley's infidelity, called Democratic Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski a "lezbo", and discussed the alleged tactics of Karl Rove.

The February 2005 Old vs. New Media Wars
A battle was brewing between the Old and New Media in February 2005. Bloggers pressured CNN to fire its chief, Eason Jordan, who had publicly accused the U.S. military of deliberately targeting journalists in order to assassinate them. The Old Media pressured Talon News White House Correspondent Jeff Gannon to quit his New Media reporting gig. And the MD4Bush affair exploded right here on Free Republic.

The MD4Bush Scandal: February 8-9, 2005
In 02/08/05 packed news conference before the National Press Club, Democrat Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley stuck his foot in his mouth, likening President Bush's proposed budget cuts to the September 11 terrorist attacks. Later that day, someone logged on MD4Bush's account and publicly posted previously PRIVATE FReepmails from Steffen to MD4Bush on Free Republic. The poster of these one-sided FReepmails underlined Steffen's most provocative comments.

The next morning, the Washington Post ran a front page story originally entitled O'Malley Blames GOP Plot For Rumors (later headline: Ehrlich Aide Ousted Over O'Malley Rumors), which detailed the underlined FReepmail content posted on the public forum and outed Steffen as NCPAC. A story about Mayor O'Malley's gaffe was buried on page A5. The Washington Post reporter on the MD4Bush story, Matthew Mosk, interviewed the O’Malley camp about the rumors (who accused Ehrlich "agents" of "spreading false rumors" on Free Republic) and reported that Ehrlich had accepted Steffen’s resignation. In fact, the O'Malley infidelity rumors predated any Free Republic post about them and were widespread. The rumors posted on USENET, other Internet websites, including dcrtv.org mailbag, and in the March 10, 2000 edition of the Washington Post.

The Aftermath
In the ensuing weeks, the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, New York Times and other local and national news organizations ran numerous stories about the MD4Bush affair. You can find some of those articles here and here. Most of these articles described Steffen as a self-described "Prince of Darkness" engaged in a dirty trick campaign to spread rumors about the Democrat Mayor of Baltimore, tasked by a Republican governor the to fire "innocent" state employees.

A few months later, the Maryland General Assembly formed a special panel to investigate the alleged unfair firing practices of at-will employees by the Ehrlich administration based on the “dirty tricks” methods of Steffen. When the committee was convened, Ehrlich Chief Counsel Jervis Finney and Republican legislators suggested it look in to the postings of MD4Bush to balance their view on Steffen, but he and the Maryland Republicans were rebuffed when the committee decided not to grant subpoena power to committee Republicans.

Recent Developments: Unmasking MD4Bush?
This week, as the House voted down a law that would exclude Bloggers and other New Media entities from potentially stifling campaign finance reform laws, WBAL radio in Baltimore reported that MD4Bush may be Ryan O’Doherty, the former research and communications director for the Maryland Democratic Party. Ryan O'Doherty purportedly sent an e-mail on 02/08/05 (prior to the Washington Post's article).  Below is the content of the "Big Story" e-mail, which was attached to a letter from Finney to the Special Committee:

There will be a big story in the Post either tomorrow or Thursday that credits Gov. Ehrlich's staff for creating and spreading the nasty and untrue rumor about our Mayor and his family," the e-mail reads. It goes on to mention a top O'Malley aide who "asked me to contact you to see if you could show your disgust by calling into WBAL Radio after the story hits ... it is top secret!

Theme:

“I voted for Ehrlich because I thought he would get rid of the culture of corruption and assassin politics of Annapolis -- he has only made it worse. He should be ashamed of the dirty smear campaign perpetuated by his own staff. It disgusts me to know that my tax dollars paid for this filth.”

This will be the biggest story of the year. Thanks for your help.


In an e-mail to WBAL Radio, Ryan O’Doherty denied he drafted the 02/08/05 "Big Story" e-mail:

Through news outlets over the course of several months, I have learned of the content of this alleged e-mail, and I can say without a doubt that I did not write it. In fact, I did not work for the Democratic Party at the time the e-mail was allegedly sent and I'm even told that my e-mail address shown on the document is incorrect. I'm disappointed someone is circulating a document without bothering to verify its authenticity.

While the FEC has no record of payments made by the Maryland Democratic Party to Ryan O'Doherty in 2005, he was on the party's payroll in 2004. A Google-cached press release from January 9, 2005 lists Mr. O'Doherty as the contact person. And the Washington Post referred to Mr. O'Doherty as being "of the Maryland Democratic Party" on January 23. Even if Mr. O'Doherty was not officially working for the Maryland Democratic Party on February 8, it is not known whether his mddems.org e-mail account was active.

However, questions are still lingering about the Maryland Democratic Party and Washington Post's role in the deception. On 02/11/05 Freerepublic owner Jim Robinson wrote:

I've got some very interesting information for the governor's investigation regarding the Maryland Democrat Party dirty trickster that setup Steffen and the Washington Post reporter er, Democrat operative that was working in concert with him. Almost hoping to receive a subpoena.

Which begs the question: Who was the Washington Post reporter that colluded with MD4Bush? The Washington Post responded through Maryland editor R.B. Brenner in a 11/02/05 article:

Brenner said, "The Washington Post had no involvement in any way in the chat room postings" between Steffen and MD4BUSH. "The Post did not know about them until after they had already occurred, as we have reported."

Brenner said The Post does not know the identity of MD4BUSH, which the newspaper also has reported.

Post reporter Matthew Mosk received printed copies of the message exchanges last fall, Brenner said. To verify they were authentic, he said, Mosk was given sign-on information needed to view the private chat room by an intermediary acting on behalf of MD4BUSH in late January. Mosk used that information to verify that "the chat room messages were genuine," Brenner said. Mosk presented the printouts to Steffen in February to confirm that they represented his words.

The Post’s piece raises more questions than it answers: Did Matthew Mosk collude with MD4Bush to “get” the Ehrlich administration and set up events that provided Maryland Democrats with the ammo they needed to seat a Committee that would burden the Governor during an election year? Is former Maryland Democrat Party Communications Director Ryan O’Doherty MD4Bush? Is the "intermediary" his brother Damian O’Doherty esq., chief advisor for Democrat Baltimore County executive Jim Smith? And who is the “Steve” in the “BIG Story” e-mail? Is Steve Jost of the Maryland Democrat Party or is it Steve Kearney, Communications Director for Democrat Mayor Martin O’Malley? Or is the "Big Story" e-mail just a fraud?

Free Republic.com has called a press conference at 9:30AM today in front of the Washington Post building in Washington, D.C. to discuss the role of the Washington Post and Mayor O'Malley in the MD4Bush scandal.

Developing....


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Maryland
KEYWORDS: ehrlich; md4bush; ncpac; odoherty; omalley; steffen
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This is nunya bidness and my attempt to summarize and explain the MD4Bush saga. nunya bidness wrote the first draft. I tweaked it a bit and added links. Thank you to the FReepers who commented on the previous thread.

Please also see Congressman Billybob and Dallas Mike's excellent posts for further discussion and analysis.

This National Review Online article by Stephen Spruiell also makes for good background reading (FR thread here).

1 posted on 11/04/2005 5:54:03 AM PST by conservative in nyc
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To: NCPAC; MD4Bush; xcullen; Anti-Bubba182; Mo1; cyncooper; BillF; crushkerry; Howlin; backhoe; ...
MD4Bush Ping!

This is a revised version of the draft MD4Bush FAQ on a previous thread.

FYI - I only post here. I don't speak for Free Republic.
2 posted on 11/04/2005 5:55:58 AM PST by conservative in nyc
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To: conservative in nyc
Just an FYI-- Tony Snow is having Gov. Erlich as a guest today. I do not know if MD4BUSH will be discussed.
3 posted on 11/04/2005 5:58:23 AM PST by tiredoflaundry (Holy Toledo! It's Alito!)
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To: tiredoflaundry
Tony Snow is having Gov. Erlich as a guest today. I do not know if MD4BUSH will be discussed.

What time?

I think I'm going to start a press conference live thread.
4 posted on 11/04/2005 6:00:06 AM PST by conservative in nyc
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To: conservative in nyc
Tony's show is starting now, I don't know what time the Gov. is scheduled for.
5 posted on 11/04/2005 6:01:49 AM PST by tiredoflaundry (Holy Toledo! It's Alito!)
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To: conservative in nyc

me likie, good job.


6 posted on 11/04/2005 6:03:54 AM PST by stacytec
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To: conservative in nyc

Thanks for the ping. Maybe when this is over, this will be another center piece on FR's Home Page like the Rather/Mapes lies getting shredded by Buckhead and TankerKC.


7 posted on 11/04/2005 6:06:40 AM PST by Grampa Dave (MSM pseudo reporters use "could, may, and might" when they are lying and spinning.)
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To: conservative in nyc
Good job. To get competent press coverage, they need to be approached as if they are terminally lazy. "Read two pages, punch a couple click links, and you've got the whole story." That's what your summary does for the lazybones in the press. If you've got Kristinn's cell phone #, you might call him and suggest that your thread substitute for a 30-page paper handout at the Press conference.

John / Billybob
8 posted on 11/04/2005 6:07:34 AM PST by Congressman Billybob (Do you think Fitzpatrick resembled Captain Queeg, coming apart on the witness stand?)
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To: conservative in nyc

Thanks- that is very helpful.


9 posted on 11/04/2005 6:09:00 AM PST by backhoe
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To: conservative in nyc

Great job. Thanks.


10 posted on 11/04/2005 6:12:34 AM PST by GOPJ
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To: conservative in nyc
Like collusion between a MSM reporter and the democRAT party is anything new.

Great synopsis, thanks and bump.

11 posted on 11/04/2005 6:13:30 AM PST by The_Victor (If all I want is a warm feeling, I should just wet my pants.)
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To: patriciaruth

Have you seen this?


12 posted on 11/04/2005 6:18:09 AM PST by Iowa Granny
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To: conservative in nyc
Thanks for the summary, CiNYC.

FReeper NCPAC (now known as former Republican Maryland Governor Ehrlich staffer Joe Steffen)

This term is a bit confusing - I would re-word it as:
now known as Joe Steffen, onetime staffer to former Republican Maryland Governor Ehrlich

13 posted on 11/04/2005 6:19:19 AM PST by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: conservative in nyc

Thanks for the summary.


14 posted on 11/04/2005 6:19:53 AM PST by Ragnorak
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To: Izzy Dunne
You're right that it's confusing.

It should read: "Joseph Steffen, former staffer to Republican Maryland Governor Ehrlich."
15 posted on 11/04/2005 6:24:24 AM PST by conservative in nyc
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To: Izzy Dunne

Unlike Dan Rather and Mary Mapes, I welcome any comments, corrections, additions or suggestions.


16 posted on 11/04/2005 6:26:59 AM PST by conservative in nyc
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To: conservative in nyc

Many Thanks for posting this history summary. Congressman Billybob's comments were very insightful. In my personal view, the saga of MD4Bush points out the many legal complexities of running a discussion site. Free Republic offers the opportunity for infiltrators of all stripes to posture and pose in various roles. We all owe Jim Rob our profound thanks for hosting FR.


17 posted on 11/04/2005 6:31:06 AM PST by ex-Texan (Mathew 7:1 through 6)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Well, if the MSM is reading:

Free Republic is a FORUM, not a Blog.
We're FReepers (or posters), not Bloggers.
There are no Blog entries here, only Posts (or Threads).
A FReepmail is not a chat. It's a PRIVATE message.


18 posted on 11/04/2005 6:42:06 AM PST by conservative in nyc (I only post here.)
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To: conservative in nyc

Bump for later..


19 posted on 11/04/2005 6:49:19 AM PST by Jaxter ("Vivit Post Funera Virtus")
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To: conservative in nyc

BTTT!


20 posted on 11/04/2005 6:56:53 AM PST by prairiebreeze (Take the high road. You'll never have to meet a Democrat.)
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To: conservative in nyc

Thanks for taking your time to clarify this episode, especially the sequence of events! Very useful and answers a number of questions.


21 posted on 11/04/2005 7:00:07 AM PST by SAJ
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To: conservative in nyc
Excellent post and summary. Thanks for all you have done to keep us informed and updated!
22 posted on 11/04/2005 7:23:47 AM PST by jan in Colorado (As Rush predicted...the Dems are imploding!)
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To: conservative in nyc

Thanks! I think it is vital that FreeRepublic keep close track of this whole fiasco, because this is just a preview of what is inevitably going to happen on a larger scale as time goes on. Last election showed people like Howard Dean how to effectively raise money via the internet. At the same there were any number of politically motivated cyber attacks all over the place, on both sides. (any Wolverines in the audience???)

My point is that we likely don't know just who is and who is not a mole, so vigilience is in order.


23 posted on 11/04/2005 7:28:44 AM PST by Bean Counter (Stout Hearts!!)
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To: StarFan; Dutchy; alisasny; BobFromNJ; BUNNY2003; Cacique; Clemenza; Coleus; cyborg; DKNY; ...
conservative in nyc requested that I ping the Misc. list to THIS thead.

This is a revised version of the draft MD4Bush FAQ on the previous thread.

Please FReepmail me if you want on or off my ‘miscellaneous’ ping list.

24 posted on 11/04/2005 8:28:37 AM PST by nutmeg ("We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good." - Hillary Clinton 6/28/04)
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To: jan in Colorado; All
Postscript:

According to initial media reports from WBAL Radio, Free Republic.com did not unmask MD4Bush at today's press conference. Instead, Free Republic called for an internal Washington Post investigation of reporter Matthew Mosk's alleged abuses of Washington Post ethical standards.

Without further IP address or other information, the MD4Bush mystery continues. It is impossible to prove Mr. O'Doherty actually sent the "Big Story" e-mail without additional header or other information. And in my opinion, the mere sending of an e-mail about the Washington Post's story hours before the story broke does not conclusively show that Mr. O'Doherty or any member of the Maryland Democratic Party is MD4Bush. There's a heck of a lot of smoke coming from that direction. But we can't identify the source of the fire - yet.

Stay tuned.
25 posted on 11/04/2005 8:29:13 AM PST by conservative in nyc
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To: conservative in nyc; Justanobody
Hmmmmmm...

Does The Washington Post have ethical standards?

I bet NOT!

Stay tuned.

OK...I've got my popcorn ready.

26 posted on 11/04/2005 8:50:12 AM PST by jan in Colorado (As Rush predicted...the Dems are imploding!)
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To: The_Victor

But being able to prove it definitively is always an opportunity not to be missed! :-)


27 posted on 11/04/2005 8:54:40 AM PST by GOP_1900AD (Stomping on "PC," destroying the Left, and smoking out faux "conservatives" - Take Back The GOP!)
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To: conservative in nyc

Good approach. We're taking the high road here.


28 posted on 11/04/2005 8:55:42 AM PST by GOP_1900AD (Stomping on "PC," destroying the Left, and smoking out faux "conservatives" - Take Back The GOP!)
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To: jan in Colorado

And with our pressie, we have led by example and demonstrated a much higher ethical standard than the WaPo and the rest of the MSM.


29 posted on 11/04/2005 8:56:57 AM PST by GOP_1900AD (Stomping on "PC," destroying the Left, and smoking out faux "conservatives" - Take Back The GOP!)
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To: nutmeg; conservative in nyc
thanks, I never heard of him until now.
 
MD4Bush Identified!
 
Ehrlich asks panel's help on MD4Bush
 
Free Republic.com to Speak About MD4BUSH and the Washington Post
 
GOP Questions Newspaper's Role With 'MD4Bush'
 
Steffen Talks To I-Team About Ehrlich Firing Practices
 
Md. GOP Seeks Wider Firing Probe
 
Stephen Spruiell on Washington Post & Maryland on National Review

30 posted on 11/04/2005 9:56:13 AM PST by Coleus (Roe v. Wade and Endangered Species Act both passed in 1973, Murder Babies/save trees, birds, algae)
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To: GOP_1900AD; Justanobody; Fred Nerks
demonstrated a much higher ethical standard than the WaPo and the rest of the MSM.

It doesn't take much to have higher ethical standards than the ENEMEDIA (AKA MSM), since they have absolutely NO ethical standards at all. They have done everything they possibly can to undermine this President and to sabotage success with this WOT.

The ENDEMEDIA has given aid and comfort to the enemy and IMHO their actions are treasonous.

FYI...a few of us FReepers have decide to no longer call them the MSM. There is NOTHING MAINSTREAM about them. They are an extension of the Democratic Party and their primary objective is to undermine President Bush and do all they can to prevent him from accomplishing his agenda.

As Rush has said so often..."What's Great for America, is bad for them"! Their actions are despicable and unforgivable.

I know, I know...this is a rant. Sorry

31 posted on 11/04/2005 10:13:45 AM PST by jan in Colorado (As Rush predicted...the Dems are imploding!)
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To: jan in Colorado

Old Stream Media ... OSM ...


32 posted on 11/04/2005 10:43:58 AM PST by GOP_1900AD (Stomping on "PC," destroying the Left, and smoking out faux "conservatives" - Take Back The GOP!)
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To: GOP_1900AD; jan in Colorado; Fred Nerks; RandallFlagg
Enemy + media = Enemedia

or ... if you prefer ...

Enema + media = Enemedia

or ... if they continue their death spiral ...

End + old media = Endomedia

33 posted on 11/04/2005 11:03:33 AM PST by Just A Nobody (I - LOVE - my attitude problem! WBB lives on.)
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To: Justanobody
Hey justanobody!

Well, what ever we call them...they are obsolete....gone the way of the dinosaur...good riddance!

Are you ready for the big Freep of the enemy tonight? It's going to be hard to top last week, but as long as you're out there for our Troops...it's all good!

34 posted on 11/04/2005 11:13:21 AM PST by jan in Colorado (As Rush predicted...the Dems are imploding!)
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To: Justanobody

LOL!!!


35 posted on 11/04/2005 11:34:42 AM PST by GOP_1900AD (Stomping on "PC," destroying the Left, and smoking out faux "conservatives" - Take Back The GOP!)
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To: jan in Colorado

Signing off and heading out as soon as I post to you! It is a beautiful day. Thank God!! I really dislike those high humidity FReeps! ;*)


36 posted on 11/04/2005 11:37:36 AM PST by Just A Nobody (I - LOVE - my attitude problem! WBB lives on.)
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To: jan in Colorado

The ENEMEDIA are fullfilling their own deathwish, that's what they have in common with the liberals and islam.


37 posted on 11/04/2005 3:53:26 PM PST by Fred Nerks (MAINSTREAM MEDIA ISN'T MAINSTREAM IT'S THE ENEMEDIA!)
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To: Fred Nerks
In their thirst to destroy America, they have exposed themselves as the vile, hateful,tools of evil that we all now know that they are!

"For nothing is hidden that shall not become evident, nor [anything] secret that shall not be known and come to light." Luke 8:17

38 posted on 11/04/2005 4:15:33 PM PST by jan in Colorado (As Rush predicted...the Dems are imploding!)
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To: conservative in nyc
engaged in a dirty trick campaign to spread rumors about the Democrat Mayor of Baltimore, tasked by a Republican governor the to fire "innocent" state employees.

Maybe I'm dense, but I don't get it - how does Steffen spreading rumors in private e-mails give him ammunition to fire state workers? And why did Steffen resign in the first place if all he was doing was gossiping about another politician? I initially thought that he was spreading the rumors about his own boss, which could be bad, but this just sounds like water cooler stuff...

39 posted on 11/04/2005 5:13:08 PM PST by A. Goodwin
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To: A. Goodwin
Maybe I'm dense, but I don't get it - how does Steffen spreading rumors in private e-mails give him ammunition to fire state workers?

You're not dense. I could have made it clearer.

Governor Ehrlich was the first Republican governor in Maryland for many, many years (Over 30, IIRC). Maryland has a large number of employees who can be fired at-will (over 7,000, IIRC). It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that many of those jobs are filled by people with ties to the Maryland Democrat party. According to many newspaper reports, Steffen was tasked with firing some of these MD at-will employees.

Of course, the Democrats got upset about when some of their most loyal supporters, relatives and who knows who else were kicked out of their cushy state jobs to make room for Ehrlich's appointees. This has fueled the belief that Steffen was entrapped by the Maryland Democrat party into making allegedly incriminating statements about Mayor O'Malley's alleged marital infidelity. How better to stop your appointees from getting fired than start a scandal over it?
40 posted on 11/04/2005 5:27:48 PM PST by conservative in nyc
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To: conservative in nyc

Can you put the significance of this into one specific sentence?


41 posted on 11/04/2005 5:55:23 PM PST by unspun (unspun.info | What do you think? Please think, before you answer.)
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To: unspun
Can you put the significance of this into one specific sentence?

Unfortunately, no. It's too complicated.

I'm trying to report the facts, with supporting links for others to follow. If anyone thinks I'm wrong or am missing something, please tell me. I'll think about it and correct it if I am. I'm not trying to jump to unsupported conclusions.
42 posted on 11/04/2005 6:15:07 PM PST by conservative in nyc
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To: conservative in nyc

Thanks - that does make sense...


43 posted on 11/04/2005 9:37:47 PM PST by A. Goodwin
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To: conservative in nyc; nunya bidness; Congressman Billybob; DallasMike

Thank you, all, for your diligence on this story.
And, thank you, cinyc, for posting the primer.
I have been following this story since the beginning.
But, I haven't been here much lately, and needed the refresher and updates.

Very interesting turn of events, to say the least. ;o)

Thank you for the ping, nutmeg!


44 posted on 11/04/2005 10:14:16 PM PST by dixiechick2000 ("Virtute et armis" - By valor and arms)
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To: conservative in nyc

If there is to be war, let it begin here.


45 posted on 11/05/2005 7:52:15 AM PST by Rapscallion (It goes far deeper than contempt of Congress. Government takes so much and gives so little.)
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To: conservative in nyc

Thanks so much. This is an excellent summary "for dummies" like me. I pretty much ignorede these threads because I figured them kind of a "Maryland Issue", but it's as "hugh" and "series" from a FR standpoint as Rathergate was. Good job on the primer.


46 posted on 11/05/2005 8:02:08 AM PST by hispanarepublicana (No amnesty needed...My ancestors proudly served. [remodel of an old '70s bumper sticker])
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To: hispanarepublicana

Bump


47 posted on 11/07/2005 5:37:41 PM PST by conservative in nyc
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To: conservative in nyc

Bump and bookmarked.


48 posted on 11/07/2005 5:47:26 PM PST by PilloryHillary (Government is the only enterprise in the world which expands in size when its failures increase.)
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To: PilloryHillary

bttt


49 posted on 11/07/2005 5:51:32 PM PST by hispanarepublicana (Chuck Cooperstein is a tool.)
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To: NCPAC; MD4Bush; xcullen; Anti-Bubba182; Mo1; cyncooper; BillF; crushkerry; Howlin; backhoe; ...
MD4Bush Ping!

See the for Version 2.0a of the Primer. Consider it the long version.

I've added sections on Michelle Lane, the Maryland "at-will" firing probe, the alleged WaPo ethical and ECPA violations, and recent developments. I've cleaned up some typos along the way and (hopefully) didn't make any more (doubtful).

As always, this is a work in progress and comments or questions are appreciated. And like almost every other FReeper, the views expressed in the primer are my own and only my own, with significant help from FReeper nunya bidness.

50 posted on 11/10/2005 7:57:31 AM PST by conservative in nyc
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