|January, 2006 link archive
Tuesday, January 3, 2006Jack Abramoff has pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy, tax evasion and mail fraud. On Saturday, the Washington Post fronted a report on the 'DeLay-Abramoff Money Trail.' Plus: After lobbyist Michael Scanlon 'broke off engagement, ex-fiance told of illicit dealings to FBI.'
The Sago Mine in Tallmansville, WV, reportedly "received 208 citations from MSHA during 2005, up from 68 citations in 2004," following what is described as "one of the 'unnecessary' proposals canceled by the mining executive Bush appointed to head the MSHA."
"At least two children" were among family members killed by a U.S. air strike on a house in northern Iraq, using "precision-guided munitions," in an instance of 'The New Iraq War Strategy.' Earlier: 'Stop the Bombing.'
President Bush's "current posturing is a Kubler-Ross twofer," says Arianna Huffington, which "allows him to deny that what he did was wrong and illegal while simultaneously venting his anger on the enemy. No, not al Qaeda -- but the spy program whistleblower."
A New York Times article headlined 'Bush defends spy program and denies misleading public,' contains an example of Bush misleading the public, which resulted in the White House "clarifying the president's remarks..."
As 'The book behind the bombshell' is released, co-author James Risen tells the "Today Show" that the whistleblowers who disclosed Bush's warrantless domestic spying program were "motivated ... by the purest reasons."
The New York Times' public editor writes that the paper's "explanation of its decision to report, after what it said was a one-year delay, that the [NSA] is eavesdropping domestically without court-approved warrants was woefully inadequate."
"The day after Christmas," writes Alexander Cockburn, the Times "produced an absolutely perfect specimen of the editorial genre," which did "manful battle with the obvious" in analyzing the results of Iraq's election.
As the Los Angeles Times reports that "organized political killing proceeds, as if there had not been elections two weeks ago," Middle East intelligence expert Patrick Lang argues that "Iraq has been engaged in civil war among its primary identity groups since the end of the Coalition Provisional Authority's catastrophic reign."
A Washington Post report that "the Bush administration does not intend to seek any new funds for Iraq reconstruction," provides evidence that the administration may be "abandoning its own strategy," says Think Progress, while "embracing that of Rep. John Murtha."
As the U.S. military 'curbs soldiers' blogs,' a Military Times poll finds that support among the U.S. armed forces for President Bush's Iraq policy, as well as his overall policies, has dropped nine percent over the last year.
Balkinization explains that Bush did more than merely sign the Defense Appropriations bill (and the McCain Amendment) on Friday.
With "Presidents' Month" underway, Slate's Bruce Reed observes that, thanks to the State of the Union and "his other command performance, the federal budget," the occupant of the White House "always owns the stage from Christmas until the Super Bowl," a "looming anniversary" notwithstanding.
In an AlterNet interview accompanied by an excerpt from her book, "Feet to the Fire: The Media After 9/11," Kristina Borjesson says, "Forget about Chris Matthews on 'Hardball' ... if you want the real nuts-and-bolts reporting, go to Knight Ridder. Look at what John Walcott, Jonathan Landay, Warren Strobel are doing."
Israeli Prime Minister Sharon reportedly "plans eventually to scrap a U.S.-led 'road map' to peace with the Palestinians," and the Jerusalem Post amplifies German media reports that the U.S. "began coordinating with NATO its plans for a possible military attack against Iran." Plus: 'No buses roll from Gaza to West Bank, despite deal.'
As the Toledo Blade editorializes on Congress' 'hit on students, elderly,' Michael Moore is reportedly being tight-lipped about "Sicko," which, according to a Business Week analysis on how 'Big Pharma Seeks an Image Cure,' could cause the industry to "suffer even greater damage" with its "focus in part on how drugs are marketed."
'The Political Folly Awards of 2005' are announced, and 'Ten Amazing Predictions for 2006' comes with a caveat emptor: "The author, a historian, has a fair amount of expertise with the past, but knows nothing out of the ordinary about the future."
December 30 - January 2
Wednesday, January 4, 2006
'Confirmed Dead' After a "miscommunication" over miners and "miracles," Editor & Publisher reviews "one of the most disturbing and disgraceful media performances of this type in recent years," and the role of "a company spokesman, sounding like another Michael Brown."
"This one has legs," an FBI official tells the New York Times, as Dems are urged to "run on ethics," while the Los Angeles Times reports that 'Abramoff Reached Beyond the Limits,' even in a 1972 student council election.
Firedoglake argues that recess appointee Alice Fisher, the head of the Justice Department's criminal division, "should have recused herself" from the Abramoff case, as a "new statement by Abramoff is rumored to have caught a great number of DC lawmakers off-guard!"
A Washington Post correspondent "watched as the corpses of three women and three boys who appeared to be younger than 10 were removed" from a house in northern Iraq, targeted in the U.S. air war, and at least 52 were killed on "the deadliest day since the Dec. 15 elections."
Members of the 76th Army Band were among troops getting a 'Big Sendoff' to Iraq, where, as Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez informed them, "the country's on the verge of a civil war."
A U.S. News report on 'Cracking An Insurgent Cell' highlights the relationship between an Iraqi intelligence officer, who complains that "the Americans help terrorists get away" by being too soft on them, and the American major who hands detainees over to him.
About the upcoming White House meeting of former secretaries of state and defense to assess Iraq, "Several of the officials, mostly Democrats," reports the New York Times, "said they were concerned about being used as props in an effort to portray Mr. Bush as seeking what the national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, recently called 'common ground' on Iraq."
'New War's Eve' WFMU's Beware of the Blog revisits the eve of the Iraq war as heard on right wing talk radio, and one "funny part is when O'Reilly says if Bush invades Iraq and finds no WMDs and the Iraqis resent our invasion he'll never trust the Bush Administration again." Plus: "Spit-balling" at 60 percent.
Introducing an article on torture in Burmese prisons, Andrew Sullivan writes that "according to the Wall Street Journal, James Taranto, Mark Levin, Rich Lowry, John Yoo, and many others, nothing detailed in this account qualifies as torture at all."
Although Iraq "stands at the center of Bush's decline," Tony Karon argues that the members of a 'Republican mutiny' appear to be "more inclined than the Democrats have been to distance themselves from Bush, and to challenge him directly on matters of national security."
Israeli police reportedly have "prima facie evidence" indicating that two Austrian brothers "were involved in transferring $3 million to members of the Sharon family, possibly with the intention of bribing the prime minister," according to a document made public by an Israeli TV station. Plus: 'The return of the nightmare for Ariel Sharon.'
A consortium led by Pat Robertson is reportedly "in negotiation" with Israeli authorities to build "a biblical theme park by the Sea of Galilee," or a 'Launching Pad for the Rapture.' Earlier: 'Christian Right's piece of the "Promised Land."'
The Florida teen who traveled to Iraq, skips a news conference that he had arranged, leaving his mother and sister to meet the press. And following a year in which "the ideal of accurate, accountable, civic-minded news media faced nearly constant attack," one award rings true.
Thursday, January 5, 2006
With reports that Israeli Prime Minister Sharon "will be kept in a coma-like state for up to three days" and is unlikely to return to power, a Reuters analysis says that "disarray" in his new party "will certainly benefit what remains of Likud." And Pat Robertson blamed the stroke on Sharon's policy of "dividing God's land."
Reporting that "President Bush and senior Republican lawmakers moved on Wednesday to dump thousands of dollars in campaign donations from Jack Abramoff," the New York Times notes that Abramoff "changed his look" when he "appeared in federal court in Miami to enter two guilty pleas in a related fraud case."
As Newt Gingrich claims that Democrats are "much more tolerant of corruption" than Republicans, Hullabaloo's Digby finds the press "already buckling" under "tremendous pressure from the Republicans to report this as a bi-partisan scandal," and David Sirota urges Democrats to ponder the difference between 'Getting caught vs. coming clean.'
A lead that the Justice Department "doesn't want to follow" in the Abramoff investigation, involving the lobbyist's use of a "clearly-phony" non-profit, is said to "threaten the continued existence of the right-wing noise machine itself." Plus: The key to K Street.
Recess appointments by President Bush include a new head of immigration, a new Homeland Security disaster preparedness official, and a State Department emergency relief coordinator with "zero experience" but good political connections.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid joined the sheriff of Nevada's Clark County in calling for the resignation of Homeland Security Department Secretary Michael Chertoff, "after the government dropped Las Vegas from a list of cities considered potential high-risk targets eligible for special anti-terrorism grants."
Overruling a lower court, the U.S. Supreme Court approved the Bush administration's plan to transfer Jose Padilla from military to civilian custody, but remained silent on whether a U.S. citizen can be held in military custody without charges.
At least 120 Iraqis and 7 U.S. soldiers perish in "one of the bloodiest days in the three-year insurgency," as President Bush 'Listens to Suggestions.' Plus: Iraq War ten times more costly than previously estimated?
Calling on the Bush administration to 'End this evasion on permanent army bases in Iraq,' Gary Hart asks: "does anyone seriously believe the neoconservative magicians are out of tricks?" Hart previously raised the issue on CNN during a debate with Richard Perle, who dodged the question.
As California Gov. 'Schwarzenegger hires Cheney staffer to run campaign,' the vice president referred to the enemy in Iraq exclusively as "terrorists," during a speech that continued his pattern of addressing conservative think tanks.
An 'NSA whistleblower asks to testify' before Congress, and NBC scrubs a transcript of a question by Andrea Mitchell, who asked New York Times' reporter James Risen: "You don't have any information, for instance, that a very prominent journalist, Christiane Amanpour, might have been eavesdropped upon?" Plus: Argument advanced that all leaks are not created equal.
Asking, "What did 'I' do?," Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell writes that "it amazes me when people make fun of the very notion that a president under a dark cloud might be asked to leave office, or given a push, in light of the very recent experience involving one William Jefferson Clinton."
Oklahoma City police arrested a Southern Baptist pastor, who has "spoken out against homosexuality," on a lewdness charge after he allegedly propositioned a plainclothes officer. Meanwhile, Spain reportedly plans to offer asylum to "sexual refugees."
Friday, January 6, 2006
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon underwent emergency surgery amid reports of "extensive and irreversible brain damage," while Pat Robertson's latest foray into international politics prompted concern that the Rev. is "off his game."
After a press briefing where Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace accused Rep. John Murtha of hurting troop morale and recruiting, Murtha observed that "the military had no problem recruiting directly after 9/11," adding that "Peter Pace told me this last night: They know militarily they can't win this."
On "one of the bloodiest days for U.S. forces in Iraq since the 2003 invasion," military officials announced that a bomb which flattened a family's home -- with the family inside -- hit the wrong house.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright noted that "Somebody said there were several hundred years of experience in the room" at Thursday's White House briefing on Iraq to 13 former secretaries of state and defense, which reportedly lasted 40 minutes, with 5 to 10 minutes for interchange with the group. Or, as Left I on the News calculates, about 37 seconds each.
After President Bush explained that "we need intelligence officers who, when somebody says something in Arabic or Farsi or Urdu, know what they're talking about," his administration's new $114 million initiative to reverse the brain drain was seen as "only four years late."
Columnist Ann Coulter denounces the 'Treason Times' for revealing -- and "Democrats and other traitors" for complaining -- that President Bush has been "spying on people with Osama's cell phone number." Plus: 'CNN covers Amanpour spy story.'
As 'America mourns with Anderson Cooper,' one of his scripts is autopsied. On Wednesday, Cooper claimed that "Other lawmakers, mostly Republicans, but some Democrats as well, have also donated the money they received from the lobbyist to charities."
The Washington Post chronicles the majority party's battle 'After Abramoff' to form "a new leadership lineup" in the House, and E.J. Dionne finds that "Suddenly, Abramoff enters two plea bargains, and these former friends ask, in puzzled tones, 'Jack Who?.'"
After Jack Shafer wondered why "no scathing 'Who Is Jack Abramoff?' editorial has appeared" in the Wall Street Journal, the paper's editorial page implores the GOP to "Banish the Abramoff crowd from polite Republican society..." Earlier: "Face Time" for sale.
Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle 'Broadens DeLay Inquiry' to include election spending, reports the Washington Post, "demanding documents related to funds that passed through a nonprofit organization, the U.S. Family Network." Plus: How 'wired' was former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham?
Bill Berkowitz looks at the rich history of "pay to play" at right-wing think tanks, as 'Payola Pundit' Doug Bandow writes in a Los Angeles Times op-ed that "My deal with Abramoff created an appearance of a conflict of interest."
The Tacoma News Tribunes reports that the IRS, through an outside contractor, has "routinely collected" data on political party affiliation of taxpayers in 20 states.
A Wal-Mart spokesman blamed a "bizarre ... technical issue" after the company's Web site marketed as "similar items" a "Planet Of The Apes" DVD, and films about famous black Americans. Earlier: A store manager who didn't get fired for racial profiling.
The Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival opened "with an official declaring it free of the toxic chemicals that polluted the northern Chinese city's water supplies late last year," reports AFP, qouting a Communist Party secretary as saying, "I can guarantee that the ice and snow we have used for the festival is safe and clean."
Monday, January 9, 2006
"He will not continue to be prime minister," Ariel Sharon's chief surgeon is quoted as saying, and "the whitewashing is already underway," as Shimon Peres reportedly lends a boost to Kadima party unity.
Arguing that 'Aid to Israel is Out of Hand,' George Bisharat writes that "since the decolonization of the Gaza Strip, Israel has only intensified its colonization of the West Bank, including Jerusalem." Plus: 'After Sharon, which deluge?'
"At this moment in American history," begins Robert Kuttner, "it would be hard to find a worse Supreme Court nominee than Samuel A. Alito Jr.," whose confirmation "would give Bush effective control of all three branches of government."
With 29 Iraqis reportedly killed at an event attended by the U.S. ambassador, and 28 Americans killed since last Thursday, Andrew Cockburn explores the possibility that the number of civilian casualties may now be "as high as half a million."
U.S. troops reportedly raided the home of award-winning Iraqi journalist Ali Fadhil, after he requested an interview concerning claims that "tens of millions of dollars worth of Iraqi funds held by the Americans and British have been misused or misappropriated."
As 56 percent of respondents to an AP-Ipsos poll say that "the government should be required to first get a court warrant to eavesdrop on the overseas calls and e-mails of U.S. citizens...," President Bush's 'Basis for Spying in U.S. Is Doubted,' according to a Congressional Research Service report.
In "The Wiretappers That Couldn't Shoot Straight," Frank Rich writes that "Far from 'bringing justice to our enemies,' as Mr. Bush is fond of saying, he may once again be helping them escape the way he did at Tora Bora." More on 'Bush's Botched War on Terror.'
German Chancellor Angela Merkel calls for the closing of Guantanamo, and the Observer reports on a lawsuit affadavit revealing that hunger strikers at the prison camp "are being tied down and force-fed through tubes pushed down their nasal passages into their stomachs to keep them alive."
As The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals decides that it 'won't dismiss DeLay charges,' the former majority leader announces plans to appropriate a seat on a House committee, and Speaker Dennis Hastert turns to a previously rebuffed "moderate" for a "high-profile assignment."
Quoting "a Republican close to the President's inner circle" as saying, "They have always seen [DeLay] as beneath them, more blue collar," Time also reports that "Administration officials obtained from the Secret Service a list of all the times Abramoff entered the White House complex, and they scrambled to determine the reason for each visit."
After Abramoff's lobbying firm's billing records showed nearly 200 high-level contacts in the Bush administration's first 10 months, a White House spokeswoman said that "We do not know how he defines 'contacts.'"
Chris Matthews said, "Even Hillary Clinton's got some hot Abramoff cash to shed," and Wolf Blitzer claimed that "Democrats ... took money from Jack Abramoff," after which Howard Dean pushed back, telling Blitzer: "There are no Democrats who took money from Jack Abramoff, not one, not one single Democrat."
"In a case that echoes the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling scandal," reports the Los Angeles Times, "Reps. John T. Doolittle and Richard W. Pombo joined forces with former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay ... to oppose an investigation by federal banking regulators into the affairs of Houston millionaire Charles Hurwitz..." Scroll down for more on Hurwitz, including his TRM PAC donation.
"The Bush administration has illegally stopped making public detailed tax enforcement data, which has been used to show which kinds of taxpayers get the most and toughest audits," reports the AP, according to a motion filed by a Syracuse University professor.
The Young America's Foundation, said to be "credited in some right-wing circles as helping Reagan get elected president in 1980," is supplementing its fundraising by offering a glamour shot poster of a right-wing pinup gal.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Slate's Dahlia Lithwick sums up Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito's opening statement at his confirmation hearings, which elicited 'Bipartisan Agreement': "My family was too poor to afford a judicial philosophy."
In his second day of confirmation hearings, Alito "gave no indication how he would vote if faced with the question of whether to overturn ... Roe v. Wade," and said he had "no specific recollection" of joining Concerned Alumni of Princeton.
Constitutional scholars and former government officials tell Congress 'Why the NSA surveillance program is unlawful,' and in "State of War," James Risen reveals that the head of MI6 "met privately with CIA head George Tenet for an hour and a half" on the day of the July 2002 meeting detailed in the Downing Street Memo.
In what is called a "little-known practice," U.S. officials reportedly open personal mail arriving from abroad for inspection whenever they "deem it necessary" for security reasons.
Raw Story reports that NSA documents reveal that the agency ran a 'massive spy op on Baltimore peace group,' "going so far as to document the inflating of protesters' balloons."
President Bush foresees "more progress toward victory" in 2006, in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign wars, part of a new 'bid to win message battle.' But 'U.S. sees Iraqi oil production choked for years.'
The Iraq war could eventually cost $2 trillion, according to a new study co-authored by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, who previously presented the conservative estimate.
A trial date of January 24 is set for two men charged with leaking and receiving the "Al-Jazeera memo," and Christopher Hitchens has three reasons for believing that "this appalling proposal" was actually made."
Restaurant owners tell Knight Ridder why Baghdad's finest should take their business elsewhere, and an official elsewhere complains that a new construction project makes his city look "like a detention center."
Editor & Publisher reports that U.S. newspapers withheld the name of journalist Jill Carroll, who was abducted in Iraq on Saturday while on assignment for the Christian Science Monitor. Carroll's work in Iraq was documented by her sister, at the blog "Lady of Arabia."
With the Alexander Strategy Group lobbying firm reportedly shutting down "because of its ties to" Jack Abramoff and Rep. Tom DeLay, the New York Times profiles a "hunkered down" Abramoff. Plus: 'Please, Don't Say "Lobbying Reform."'
As an Ohio newspaper publishes a letter to the editor detailing a list of "Democrats who have taken money from Jack Abramoff," Wolf Blitzer confronts RNC chairman Ken Mehlman with the fact that Abramoff's "cash went only to Republicans." (scroll down)
After an interview in which 'Bush's Main Man' called the Abramoff scandal "an 'incredibly rare' aberration," and defended electrical deregulation, a Montana reporter wrote that "you can be forgiven for choking on your coffee" when reading 'Racicot's revisionist history.'
An analysis by USA Today finds that coal mine companies have paid only about 28 percent of the $9.1 million in fines levied after deadly accidents since 1999, while 'U.S. media sheds crocodile tears for West Virginia miners.'
After saying "goodbye to the Senate," Sen. Ted 'Stevens vows to continue ANWR fight,' and rather than give up his Senate seat, will merely refuse to "play tennis or swim" with certain "personal friends" who turned into "vipers."
The nation's emergency care system is said to "have no capacity to handle a Hurricane Katrina or an avian flu outbreak," in a new study said to illustrate that "we can barely handle a regular flu outbreak." Earlier: Dumping patients on skid row.
Winners of the first Philip Meyer Awards, which "recognize the best uses of social science methods in journalism," are the Oregonian's "Unnecessary Epidemic," Knight-Ridder's "Discharged and Dishonored," and the St. Petersburg Times' "Vanishing Wetlands."
'A Million Little Lies' As a Smoking Gun probe finds that best-selling memoirist James Frey, "The Man Who Kept Oprah Awake At Night," was making things up, novelist JT Leroy may not be the man he claimed to be.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
'Doing the Alito Shuffle' Maureen Dowd calls the nominee "evasive, disingenuous and deferential. He fits the Bush era like a baseball glove." And as Democrats accuse Alito of "inconsistencies," Will Bunch asks: "would you care to tell us the real reason you joined the Concerned Alumni of Princeton?"
"Despite my agreement with Alito on many issues," writes Jonathan Turley. "I have rarely seen the equal of Alito's bias in favor of the government. To put it bluntly, when it comes to reviewing government abuse, Samuel Alito is an empty robe."
The NSA's inspector general is said to have opened an investigation, House Democrats have scheduled a hearing, and an NSA whistleblower "is prepared to tell Congress all he knows," admits that he was a New York Times' source, and "says the number of Americans subject to eavesdropping by the NSA could be in the millions ..."
The Swiss government is investigating a possible breach of official secrets that could lead to prison time for journalists at SonntagsBlick, which reported that Swiss military intelligence had intercepted a fax received by the Egyptian embassy in London that supposedly confirmed the existence of CIA prisons in eastern Europe.
Asking 'Why are the courts leaning on journalists?,' Jeffrey Toobin quotes "a person close to Libby's defense team" as saying: "There are going to be fights over access to the reporters' notes, their prior history and credibility, and their interviews ... By the time this trial is over, the press is going to regret that this case was ever brought." Plus: Life without the fact checkers.
Jason Leopold reports that sources knowledgeable about the case against Karl Rove say that he turned down a December plea deal "which would likely have required him to provide Fitzgerald with information against other officials who were involved in Plame's outing as well as testifying against those people, the sources said."
Former CIA case officer and now conservative think tanker, Reuel Marc Gerecht, defends his Washington Post op-ed defending the Pentagon's pay to play program in Iraq, a former U.S. diplomat predicts that the American public will turn against "Bushprop," and Albert Brooks goes "Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World."
"The American media's record on coverage of the air campaign against the Iraqi insurgency ... has been dismal in the extreme," argues Tom Engelhardt, introducing an essay by Michael Schwarz, who concludes that "The new American strategy, billed as a way to de-escalate the war, is actually a formula for the slaughter of Iraqi civilians." Plus: 'U.S. airstrikes in Iraq could intensify.'
President Bush, reportedly "in full campaign mode ... welcomed 'honest critics' who question the way the war is being conducted and the 'loyal opposition' that points out what is wrong with his administration's approach. But he termed irresponsible the 'partisan critics who claim that we acted in Iraq because of oil or because of Israel or because we misled the American people.'"
Meet the New Boss Bloomberg reports that the top two candidates vying to succeed Rep. Tom DeLay as House majority leader "have been among the key intermediaries between Republican lawmakers and lobbyists...," and Sen. Conrad Burns says "his political enemies are behind newspaper reports linking him to ... Jack Abramoff."
As "Kickback Mountain" gets a sneak peek, Arianna Huffington asseses the work of the 'Brotherhood of the Would-Be Hollywood Players,' Abramoff and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, and Grist reports that environmental groups have Rep. Richard Pombo in the crosshairs.
NPR interviews Smoking Gun' editor William Bastone about the man who 'Conned Oprah' and will be appearing with Larry, as the Village Voice flashes back to a reviewer who wasn't buying the claim of a root canal without anesthesia.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Judge Samuel Alito 'Leaves Door Open to Reversing Roe' -- and says "some truly disturbing things" while remaining under a 'Long Shadow' -- as the Senate Judiciary Committee welcomes 'Alito's Pro-Internment ["You can forget about civil rights"] Witness.'
While Alito may seem "like an understudy for the part of Willy Loman" writes Sidney Blumenthal, "few public figures since Nixon have worn their resentment so obviously." Scroll down to see what the nominee has "no quarrel" with.
Making the case for 'Why Alito's Membership in CAP Matters,' Dahlia Lithwick also finds that the dust-up between Sens. Kennedy and Specter clarifies "the real problem with this whole confirmation process ... It's a battle of the world's largest egos. There is only one product they're trying to move in this four-day infomercial and that product is senators."
In a speech "laden with references to the attacks of September 11 2001," the Financial Times reports that White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that "the war on terror must be won in order to be able to have this sound economy."
As 'The scandal unfolds,' a Washington Post report on the relationship between Congress and lobbyists quotes one lobbyist as saying that "The border has broken down. Not only has it broken down, it's sort of 'barbarians at the gate.'"
Doug Ireland works an angle of the Jack Abramoff story "which hasn't gotten much mass media attention: how a lot of dough from Abramoff-controlled slush funds went to leading homophobes from the religious right," including the Rev. Lou Sheldon, a.k.a. 'Lucky Louie.'
Theme Parked? Forward quotes a spokesman for the Israeli Tourism Ministry as saying of the Rev. Pat Robertson, "We cannot do business with him after these words." But a rabbi tells the paper that "The plan never had legs to begin with. There was never a commitment by Pat to buy into this and put it together."
As a member of Ariel Sharon's medical team reportedly says that a brain disease diagnosed in December was concealed for "political reasons," an Israeli novelist traces the roots of the "Sharon cult of personality" and a Jerusalem Post commentary calls international media coverage of Sharon since last week "relatively benign... But only up to a point." Plus: "From Tarzan to Statesman."
With a 10 point lead in the polls, Canada's Conservative Party appears to be "on track for a majority government," and party strategists "are not trying to keep their right-leaning candidates in the deep freeze on contentious issues."
The U.S. attempts to exploit tensions between "local insurgents" and "Al Qaeda forces" in Iraq, and after a senior British officer called the 'U.S. Army its own worst enemy,' the Guardian reports that "what is startling is the severity of his comments -- and the decision by Military Review, a U.S. army magazine, to publish them." (pdf)
When a U.S. general invoked his right not to incriminate himself in a court-martial of two soldiers who maintain that they were ordered to use dogs on prisoners at Abu Ghraib, a military defense specialist saw "more fire than smoke."
'What I Did During the Blackout' Surprised that there has been "so little serious discussion" about the news blackout that followed the abduction of journalist Jill Carroll and the killing of her Iraqi translator, Greg Mitchell recounts how he followed the story, first writing it up last Saturday.
Off limits since the Reagan administration, but now open for drilling -- 400,000 acres west of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but within a quarter-mile of another 'ecological jewel on brink of change.' Plus: Where they got the idea.
Oprah phones it in, calling Larry to defend the author of Amazon.com's top-selling book, while complaining that "I rely on the publishers to define the category that a book falls within, and also the authenticity of the work."
Friday, January 13, 2006
The new Medicare drug plan, in effect since January 1, is said to have already caused "a major public health crisis," and "the spectacle of governors bailing out Washington, poor people unable to get their medications and pharmacists angry over not getting paid."
A legislative over-ride in Maryland produced a 'Setback For Wal-Mart,' which "hosted a fundraising reception on behalf of the Governor on December 15, 2004, just months before he vetoed the health care bill."
"[T]o the extent Judge Alito claimed a judicial philosophy, it aligned him with the court's two most conservative members," according to one analysis, while another finds that "Alito could thus form a relatively solid conservative bloc with Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas."
Robert Dreyfuss raises the possibility that the November 2006 elections "might take place in the midst of yet another crisis manufactured by the Bush administration," as Secretary of State Rice speaks of a "menu of possibilities" that may await Iran at the U.N., promising to draw from the "variety of tools at the disposal of the international community ... at a time of our choosing."
'U.S. missiles blamed for 18 deaths on Pakistan border,' including five women and five children, as foreign Islamic fighters 'flood into Afghanistan,' which they see as the new frontline for an anti-western campaign.
Rounding up evidence that 'Bush Authorized Domestic Spying Before 9/11,' Jason Leopold finds that the NSA "kept a running list of the names of Americans." And as the Baltimore Sun follows Raw Story's scoop, Sen. Dianne Feinstein has some questions for the Pentagon about its database on war critics.
With at least 500 Iraqis and 54 American soldiers killed since the December 15 elections, a U.S. general predicts that "more violence will engulf Iraq in the weeks ahead."
"Thank God we were able to save the walls from the looters, because everything else was stolen," said the governor of Salahuddin province, quoted in a report that Saddam's former palace compound in Tikrit was looted by "some of the same Iraqi security forces and officials to whom Americans transferred control" during a ceremony last November. Plus: "I'm a door kicker-inner."
Columnist advises Florida teen who traveled to Iraq: "If you don't want publicity, don't go on national TV. A short statement expressing remorse for your escapade would've sufficed. But then, you might not have ended up with your own Wikipedia listing."
Report that 'Deficit Could Top $400 Billion,' quotes a "federal budget expert" as saying: "This administration has a history of overestimating the deficit early in the year, lowering expectations, then taking credit when it comes in below forecast. It's not just a history. It's almost an obsession."
Monday, January 16, 2006
10,000 chant "Death to America" in Karachi to protest a "precise attack" in northern Pakistan, as Sen. John McCain offers apologies, while a Democratic colleague tells CNN's Wolf Blitzer that "it's a regrettable situation, but what else are we supposed to do?"
As 'Dubya makes his war pitch,' Congressional Quarterly columnist Craig Crawford chronicles "the infant death syndrome of an anti-war movement," after being asked "What happened to Iraq?" by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann.
The New York Times' coverage of analysts who say that 'Iraq war costs outweigh gains' cites one expert's prewar warning that "if the United States had a string of bad luck ... the outcome could reach $1.9 trillion."
"And the oil?" Tariq Ali explains why "the model being prepared at the moment will cost Iraq billions in lost revenues while global corporations reap the harvest."
Two Reuters journalists, who had been held for several months without charge, were among 509 Iraqi detainees freed from three prisons in Iraq, after all were "cleared of terror-related charges."
'Bush Has Crossed the Rubicon,' writes Paul Craig Roberts, and "in effect ... is vetoing the bills he signs into law" by "asserting the powers that accrued to Hitler in 1933." And Leon Hadar warns that 'The Age Of W Is Not Over,' while Al Gore calls for appointment of a special counsel.
NSA whistleblower Russell Tice calls for "some adult supervision of these programs," offers up a theory as to why the FISA court was bypassed, and says that in "State of War," James Risen "has come across, and basically reported, a crime." Risen also tells the story of 'The yes man and the thug.'
Asked on ABC's This Week, "if the president did break the law or circumvent the law, what's the remedy?," Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter said, "Impeachment is a remedy," but "I don't see any talk about impeachment here."
"Our nation's capital has been overrun by organized crime -- Tom DeLay-style," declares Sen. Harry Reid, in an op-ed appearing in DeLay's backyard, where a new poll gives DeLay 'reasons for both hope and fear.' And FactCheck.org finds that an anti-DeLay ad rejected by Houston TV stations, "contains nothing that is strictly false."
Democrats are strongly advised to "let these judicial matters pass," and one Democratic senator praised Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito's "ability to maintain a very even demeanor," after hearings at which Democrats were said to have "made their own ineptitude the issue."
As San Antonio debates the appropriateness of a military flyover for MLK, a Boston Globe op-ed reasons that "Powerful people fall over themselves to celebrate King's racial tonic because doing so is the deftest way to avoid the harder topic."
"We were quite innocent in those days," recalls MLK contemporary Odetta, who adds: "I think we thought if we had someone to look to, everything else would fall into place."
Reviewing "Women Who Make the World Worse," Ana Marie Cox concludes that without feminism, "Kate O'Beirne would have been unlikely to have this book published -- and most women would not have their own money to waste on it."
Warning that 'The Earth is about to catch a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years,' the "sweet old man" who originally propounded the Gaia hypothesis, now says that 'We are past the point of no return.' Plus: 'The boiling point.'
A pagan was reportedly relieved of her duties as a high school bus driver, after her partner, a former professional wrestler and self-proclaimed vampire, announced that he was running for governor of Minnesota on a platform that includes the impaling of terrorists.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
A "steady stream of telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and names" sent by the NSA to the FBI following 9/11, "soon became a flood," reports the New York Times, quoting one former FBI official as saying: "After you get a thousand numbers and not one is turning up anything, you get some frustration."
Among the plaintiffs in the ACLU suit are Greenpeace, Christopher Hitchens, James Bamford and Larry Diamond, a former CPA adviser whose criticism of L. Paul "Jerry" Bremer was pooh-poohed by Bremer during an appearance on "Meet the Press," an account of which dubs his new book, Bremer's "A Million Little Pieces."'
An article on how 'Skepticism at Home Threatens Bush's Vision,' quotes Diamond as saying that Bush "needs to reach out more to Democrats," as a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says there's a word for the suggestion that the administration has been "reaching out to Democrats." Plus: George vs. George.
The Wall Street Journal reports on the lack of progress in tracing or recovering billions of dollars in Iraqi oil money handed out in cash. The CPA special inspector general's office says, "it hasn't located many of the contracts" and must "pursue higher priorities."
By a 6-3 vote, with Roberts, Scalia and Thomas dissenting, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld Oregon's physician-assisted suicide law, in Gonzales v. Oregon. The co-director of "Robert's Story" welcomed the Court's "astounding show of common sense."
The U.S. is urged to leave the "axis of capital punishment" after "a good day to die" in California, while the AP checks in on Wilbert Rideau, who was released from Angola Penitentiary last January after more than four decades on death row. Rideau "is trying to learn to drive," but "There have been no offers for him to work as a journalist."
As Washington Post reporter Susan Schmidt claimed that Jack Abramoff "was giving a lot of money to Democrats," -- scroll down -- the Post's ombudsman 'twice falsely claimed Democrats received contributions from Abramoff.' And, NPR is said to have been 'drinking the GOP Kool-Aid' in a Monday segment.
As Iran mulls a proposal to conduct its uranium enrichment in Russia, a short ban is lifted after CNN "apologized on all its platforms" for what it says was a translation error. Plus: CNN reportedly hires radio talker who once said: "I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore."
The New York Times reports that "a motorcycle-riding suicide bomber rode into a crowd at a wrestling match" in Afghanistan, where President Hamid Karzai said that "It will take many, many more years before we can defend ourselves."
Witnesses and a U.S. Army lieutenant tell the Washington Post that an Army helicopter crashed after being hit by a missile north of Baghdad, in "the third such incident this month."
Construction on a new Military Amputee Training Center at Walter Reed -- "to accommodate many more seriously wounded Iraq and Afghanistan Soldiers than anybody contemplated" -- will reportedly be completed in September 2007, and researchers are hopeful that a 'Pill could erase PTSD memories.'
After a grieving mother in Ohio asked President Bush to help her learn details of her son's death in Iraq, "his campaign called and asked her to appear in a commercial for him," and documents related to the friendly fire fatality were reportedly "not issued until after Bush was reelected -- with the help of a slim margin in ... Ohio."
Responding to an editorial -- which termed college professors members of the "employing class" -- a letter from a "self-declared anarchist" begins by saying: "Charmed though I am to receive advice on anti-capitalist ethics from the Wall Street Journal ..." Plus: "Absolute silence" from Yale.
The WSWS reports that a memorial service for the Sago miners, organized by the West Virginia governor's office, urged "fatalism and submission," behind "a parade of American flags, evangelical pronouncements and paeans to the age-old sacrifice of coal miners." Plus: "The Dream of the Miner's Child."
An "embattled cloning scientist" gets a 'Tempting Job Offer,' and another job seeker is reportedly interviewing in Bahrain, where "stagnant architectural structures need content," for a position that would fit like a glove.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
'Scandalology 101' "Consider the Abramoff scandal," writes Patricia Goldsmith, in which "the Democrats are blameless only because they were ruthlessly cut out of the action, but it's still a treat watching Wolf Blitzer trying to twist the facts to fit the bipartisan scenario demanded by the RNC talking points of the day."
With reaction to Al Gore's speech engendering talk of "Al vs. Hillary," another prospective presidential candidacy draws this observation: "I wouldn't call him the favorite, or even second or third. But it's early."
As the 'AP reports facts on White House smear of Gore,' a reporter seeking information on "a few staff-level meetings" that Jack Abramoff had at the White House, tells Scott McClellan: "You shouldn't demand that we give you something specific ... I mean, this guy is radioactive in Washington. And he knows guys like Karl Rove. So did he meet with him or not?"
A Wall Street Journal report warns that Senate hearings on President Bush's wiretap program "won't yield ... a binding decision on whether Mr. Bush broke the FISA law," and that "getting quick legal clarity in the courts ... may also prove tricky."
'Does the President Really Know Best?' asks Elizabeth de la Vega, while Robert Parry's analysis of a recent presidential appearance finds Bush offering a "fictional account of the run-up to war in Iraq," and apparently unable to remember "important events in which he played a leading role."
U.S. State Department analysts reportedly "concluded in early 2002 that the sale of uranium from Niger to Iraq was 'unlikely' because of a host of ... obstacles," among them, requiring "Niger to send '25 hard-to-conceal 10-ton tractor-trailers' filled with uranium across 1,000 miles and at least one international border."
Christopher Hitchens believes "the President when he says that this will be a very long war, and insofar as a mere civilian may say so, I consider myself enlisted in it." Meanwhile, "imagine an Iranian Thomas Friedman ..."
David Corn envisions how "Karen's Rules" might help to spin a CIA missile attack on a Pakistani village, that was "off the front pages by Monday and competing for time on national cable news broadcasts with runaway convicts and other local crime news." Plus: 'Misplaced ire over U.S. misfire.'
"If Iraq's problems with rampant violence were not enough," reports the Washington Post, "the government is now investigating the death of an girl in northern Iraq who suffered from symptoms similar to those of bird flu."
'Female detainees set free in Iraq,' after a group holding U.S. journalist Jill Carroll warns that "she will die unless all Iraqi women prisoners are freed." CJR's Paul McCleary chronicles 'Further Adventures in (Attempted) Embedding.'
Baghdad Burning's Riverbend presents a photo essay documenting successful Iraqi reconstruction efforts after the 1991 war, when foreign expertise was unavailable, in the time before the 'Parade of Weasels.'
A CNN photojournalist speaks of "little gems where you get recognized by the president. He gives you a wink. That's a nice feeling."
As Bill O'Reilly threatens to sap Vermont's economy, Orlando magazine revisits "a conflagration revolving around Adolf Hitler, the late Senator Joseph McCarthy and Fox News host Greta Van Susteren," whose father once served as McCarthy's campaign manager.
The White House was reportedly "disappointed at the decision" by the Supreme Court on Oregon's Death With Dignity Act, which Justice Scalia linked with "polygamy or eugenic infanticide" in his dissent, in a case said to show "the Administration's true colors."
In an 'Intervyew with the Vampyre,' a Minnesota candidate for governor pledges to impale President Bush at the White House, "when I become president."
Thursday, January 19, 2006
In a new audio tape broadcast on Al-Jazeera, a voice purporting to be that of Osama bin Laden warned of new attacks on the U.S., but also spoke of "how to end" the war, adding that "we do not mind offering a long-term truce."
The speaker also said, "There is no defect in this [truce] solution other than preventing the flow of hundreds of billions to the influential people and war merchants in America, who supported Bush's election campaign with billions of dollars." Vice President Cheney says the truce offer sounds like "some kind of a ploy."
As Al-Jazeera airs new images showing Jill Carroll surrounded by three armed and masked gunmen, scroll down for New York Times' reporter Dexter Filkins telling CNN: "I came over in an armored car that cost about $250,000. And I had an armed guard in that car. I had another car follow me over and there were armed guards in that car as well."
An 'Iraqi Oil City,' where one U.S. soldier "didn't expect to lose so many friends so soon," is described as both "a critical priority for the U.S. military," and an area "long neglected by American forces and still firmly in the grip of insurgents."
"It is unclear how much the U.S. will be able to steer Iraq's political transition," reports the Wall Street Journal, since "Iraq's leaders know that the White House is allowing the funds for its Iraq reconstruction program to run out and that the administration has acknowledged plans to begin a military withdrawal this year."
"The American drumbeat -- take Iran to the Security Council -- is being carefully choreographed," writes War In Context's Paul Woodward. "It is intended to reach a dramatic climax in February when, chance would have it, the council's presidency will be held by US Ambassador, John Bolton."
A Congressional Research Service analysis concludes that the Bush administration's limited briefings for Congress on the NSA's domestic warrantless eavesdropping are "inconsistent with the law." It was requested by Rep. Jane Harman, who believes the briefings should be open to more than just eight members of Congress.
After playing dumb on extraordinary rendition to Syria, White House spokesman Scott McClellan dismissed a Human Rights Watch report which charged that "torture and mistreatment have been a deliberate part of the Bush administration's counterterrorism strategy."
A Knight Ridder article on McClellan continuing to duck questions about which White House staffers met with Jack Abramoff, notes that he also "ducked whether there are any pictures of Bush with Abramoff." And what better way for Sen. Conrad Burns to celebrate, after a tribal council rejects his "tainted money."
A GOP congressman from California explains that a $110,000 fundraiser, hosted by a "secretive $16 billion New York hedge fund," whose chairman is Dan Quayle, had nothing to do with his effort to protect a $160 million Navy project "critical to the firm," although he had previously criticized it.
Despite the arguments of GOP leaders "suddenly taking a strong interest in lobbying reform," the "real solution," as advanced in a New York Times op-ed, is "for Congress to behave like the deliberative body it is supposed to be" -- although at least one senator believes reform has already gone too far.
After six former EPA chiefs blasted the Bush administration for a failure of leadership on global warming, the Washington Post gave the last word to a spokesman for a "well-funded front for corporations opposed to safety and environmental regulations."
As the 'Coverage of Al's Speech Gets Gore'd,' The Daily Howler, responding to a column by Maureen Dowd, reminds "just who put those skirts on Al Gore," even as Chris Matthews demands "a little more proof of life."
To Margaret Kimberley's ear, 'Oprah's Best Self' -- as heard on a call to
Friday, January 20, 2006
With "another audacious media and political coup of a high order," editorializes the Guardian, "The most wanted man in the world has proved again that he has an unrivalled ability to cock a snook at the American-led global manhunt against him."
"This is almost as good as being an Oprah book," said William Blum, after Osama bin Laden pimped his book, "Rogue State," rocketing it onto Amazon.com's top-seller list. Last week the U.S. government denied Blum a travel visa to Cuba to appear at the Havana Book Fair.
After Chris Matthews compared bin Laden to Michael Moore, Sen. John Kerry released a statement saying: "You'd think the only focus tonight would be on destroying Osama Bin Laden, not comparing him to an American who opposes the war whether you like him or not."
Asked by Bill O'Reilly if he believed what Vice President Cheney said in an interview with Fox News, that "We could get attacked, but we have done a tremendous amount of damage to Al-Qaeda," Michael Scheuer told O'Reilly: "No, sir. He's whistling past the graveyard, sir."
Terrorism analyst and author Peter Bergen, who was just interviewed by the American Prospect about "The Osama bin Laden I Know,' spoke at a forum earlier this week with "Ghost Wars" author Steve Coll, who characterized Iraq as the training ground for "the Osama bin Laden of the 2030s."
Former U.S. diplomat John H. Brown, who resigned in protest over the invasion of Iraq and recently predicted that the American public will eventually reject what he calls "Bushprop," suggests viewing the War on Terror "as a twenty-first century continuation of ... the American Indian wars, on a global scale."
Although a Jan. 5 analysis by the CRS found "no indication that Congress intended to authorize warrantless wiretaps when it gave President Bush the authority to fight Al Qaeda and invade Afghanistan," reports the New York Times, a new Justice Department rationale says Congress' action "places the president at the zenith of his powers in authorizing the NSA activities."
As Amnesty International USA launches a campaign calling on President Bush to 'Tell the Truth About Torture' in his State of the Union address, Arianna Huffington asks of the Democrats, who have chosen Virginia Governor Tim Kaine to deliver the party's response to Bush, "What the Hell Are They Thinking?"
Reps. Louise Slaughter and Brian Baird air allegations of day-trading inside the offices of Sen. Bill Frist and Rep. Tom DeLay. Baird has sent a letter to the House Ethics Committee, which is said to have been all but "defunct for the past year."
As Paul Krugman offers up 'The K Street Prescription,' Eric Boehlert reports on 'How the press played dumb about the K Street Project,' which garnered just eight mentions on U.S. network and cable news programs between June 2002 and Jan. 3, 2006.
An AP report that "The Abramoff investigation threatens to ensnare at least a half dozen members of Congress of both parties," prompts the question: "How can the public know what's happening in their government when the reporters of the news seem so bent on misleading them?"
After being deluged with complaints about a January 15 column by ombudsman Deborah Howell, who has since clarified her statement about Jack Abramoff giving money to both parties, the Washington Post announced that "we have shut off comments on this blog indefinitely." Plus: 'The Most Trusted Name in News'?
The Hudson Institute is dubbed 'Home of the indicted and the exposed,' for hiring I. Lewis Libby and retaining Michael Fumento, who was fired by Scripps Howard after he admitted to talking money from Monsanto. The Business Week reporter who exposed Fumento and fellow payola pundit Doug Bandow, hints that there may be more to come.
A church secretary who wrote freelance articles praising former HealthSouth Corp. CEO, Richard Scrushy, during his trial, claims that Scrushy secretly paid her $11,000, with the payments funneled through a PR firm that is run by the founder of the Birmingham Times, where the articles appeared. Plus: Scrushy's "Amen Corner."
A New York Times business reporter who authored the book "Trump Nation," tells "On the Media" that if the compilers of Forbes' list of 'The 400 Richest Americans,' "really dig into it and really do due diligence, they're going to understand how severely they've been spun by Donald."
As a survey finds that 21 percent of Americans believe a lottery is the most practical strategy for accumulating $200,000, "This American Life" interviews a cast member of Riverdance, who describes how the entire company became gripped by Lotto fever, certain that its on-stage energy could beat the odds.
Monday, January 23, 2006
The number of Pentagon TALON reports containing "names of U.S. persons" observed at "more than 1,500 'suspicious incidents'" reportedly "could be in the thousands," as "a Pentagon spokesman declined to say why a private company like Halliburton would be deserving" of domestic "force protection."
Halliburton reportedly disputes allegations "made by its own employees and documented in company e-mails," that it failed to inform troops and civilians at a U.S. base in Iraq that they were using water contaminated with raw sewage for "handwashing, laundry, bathing and making coffee."
'Sympathy for al-Qaida surges in Pakistan," particularly in the tribal border areas, where lawmakers have called for the expulsion of the U.S. ambassador from the country, and where "the military campaign is bogged down, the local political administration is powerless and the militants are stronger than ever."
The Duke professor who edited "Messages to the World," but told The New Yorker that "I'm really not a fan of O.B.L.," doubts the authenticity of the latest bin Laden tape, suspecting that Pakistani operatives brought it out to distract attention from the failure of their intelligence on Ayman al-Zawihiri. Plus: A Karl Rove re-mix?, and "The new news standard at NBC."
After Rove "called for civility in politics ... and then for 26 minutes offered a lacerating attack on Democrats" on Friday, the White House "effectively declared that it views its controversial secret surveillance program not as a political liability but as an asset, a way to attack Democrats."
Sen. John McCain says he doesn't think President Bush has the legal authority to conduct warrantless wiretaps, and Sen. Dick Durbin raises the possibility of a fillibuster against Judge Samuel Alito. Plus: 'Truthiness 101: From Frey to Alito,' and 'Never mind the truth...'
Explaining 'Why Hillary Won't Save Us,' Molly Ivins wonders "What kind of courage does it take, for mercy's sake," to take "a clear stand on the war in Iraq"?
Reporting that "insurgents launched 34,131 attacks last year" in Iraq, USA Today quotes a coalition spokesman as saying that the 29 percent increase in attacks "tells me the coalition and the Iraqi forces have been very aggressive in taking the fight to the enemy." Plus: 'Professionals Fleeing Iraq.'
Robert Parry reviews evidence suggesting that "the Reagan-Bush era began with collusion between Republican operatives and Islamic terrorists," in a "prearranged deal" for the release of hostages on Inauguration Day 1981.
Does Bush Know Jack? Fox News is alone in placing "Reception Line Photos" above an AP report that photographs of the president and Jack Abramoff together were seen by Time and the Washingtonian, which says that if asked, Abramoff would tell prosecutors Bush "knew the names of Abramoff's children and asked about them during their meetings."
As U.S. investigators follow the Abramoff money trail to Hong Kong, 'DeLay's prosecutors dig deeper into California,' subpoenaing records from a defense contractor that contributed to Texans for a Republican Majority, and is owned by Brent Wilkes, "co-conspirator No. 1" in former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham's court documents.
A producer of a never-aired ABC reality series in which two gay men and their son beat out six other families to win a Texas McMansion, charges that the Walt Disney Co. may have used a possible violation of the federal Fair Housing Act as a smokescreen for pre-empting the show, at a time when it was hustling evangelical Christian support for "The Chronicles of Narnia."
With Conservatives sounding "increasingly confident" as Canadians head to the polls, The Tyee explains why the country's voters are "poised to axe the Kyoto Accord, but seem unaware that's what they will be doing." But what if governments were like TV shows?
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Among the high-profile winners were an 'intellectual colossus' who "downsizes himself to Liberal talking points" -- and favors the invasion of Iraq and missile defense -- plus a Conservative who "erased all evidence" of his 'Promise Keeper past,' and a shock jock from Quebec.
With the Fatah movement 'Adrift between past and future,' a Fatah official apologizes to Palestinians, as Hamas 'hardens campaign rhetoric' and 'tries to exploit its pariah status at ballot box.' Earlier: 'U.S. Funds Enter Fray.'
'The Terrorist In The Mirror' Among the "almost inexpressible" ironies mentioned in his Amnesty International Annual Lecture, Noam Chomsky noted that "there was virtually no reaction to the appointment of a leading international terrorist to the top counter-terrorism position in the world."
The Times of London reports that "several hunger strikers at Guantanamo Bay may be close to death," a federal judge rules that the Defense Department must release the identities of hundreds of Guantanamo detainees to the AP, and a 'EU investigator says U.S. exported torture via Europe.'
Former NSA director 'Reveals Shaky Grip on 4th Amendment' while fielding questions from an eclectic mix that included a member of World Can't Wait and a reverend who said: "Churches in Iowa ... Nebraska, mosques across the board are just outraged by the fact that our country could be spying on us." Plus: "what exactly does the administration mean when it refers to 'al Qaeda?'"
A new USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll finds that 51 percent of Americans say the Bush administration was wrong to intercept conversations involving a party inside the U.S. without a warrant, and that 58 percent agree with Al Gore.
Karl Rove delivers yet another 'Early Warning' along the lines of, "If you don't want to get blown up, vote Republican," numerous media outlets let stand his claim that 'Democrats don't want to eavesdrop on Al Qaeda,' and Chris Matthews favorably compares himself to Michael Moore.
A top Army general urges the American people to "remind themselves every day that the United States is at war," and declares that "the Long War" will continue, "even after we win in Iraq, even after we win in Afghanistan." Plus: American Conservative columnist touts America's need for a new George McGovern.
A "preliminary" draft of "the first official history of the $25 billion American reconstruction effort in Iraq" is said to depict a program 'Badly Hobbled' from the outset -- and "let me tell you some stories about electricity," says Paul Krugman.
'Smoke and Mirrors in the Defense Budget' are shown to reveal a preference for pork, by a longtime national security hand who was "invited to resign from his position with the Republican staff of the Senate Budget Committee" in 2002.
"Press accounts of an Iranian bomb being 'imminent'" are described in the Nelson Report as "dangerous nonsense from the same folks who brought us the political sales job ... on Iraq WMD," along with a fondness for "the point of no return."
The Washington Post reports that the 'White House Got Early Warning on Katrina,' which "accurately predicted the collapse of floodwalls along New Orleans's Lake Pontchartrain shoreline."
With 'Bush's foes eager to get photos of president with Abramoff,' the Washington Post reports that Abramoff "has no intention of releasing them," but Newsweek's Michael Isikoff 'Confirms Abramoff shopped Bush photos.'
An anti-U.S. protest in Havana, originally designed to coincide with the expected release of Luis Posada Carriles from federal custody, is also being stoked by an electronic screen broadcasting human rights' messages on the U.S. Interests Section building. Cuba countered an earlier display with a billboard showing photos of prisoners being tortured in Iraq.
FAIR documents how some media outlets went about 'Editing Chavez to manufacture a slur,' and Venezuela's vice president said Sen. John McCain "can go to hell," after McCain spoke of the "wackos in Venezuela."
As 'Microsoft Defends Handing Over Search Data,' speculation on 'Why Google Won't Give In' centers on the fact that while "Google and its competitors all benefit from porn sites ... Google is the only portal company that makes nearly all of its revenue from click-thru advertising."
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Introducing Dilip Hiro on 'The Palestinian Election and Democracy in the Middle East,' Tom Engelhardt reminds that "democracy joined our President's crusade as an animating principle rather late in the game."
After declaring "I don't support our troops," Los Angeles Times columnist Joel Stein was "bombarded" by hate mail. "If you think invading Iraq was a good idea, then by all means, support away," he wrote, but "being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken..."
"Religious groups of all kinds" are said to benefit from 'Military Contractor Philanthropy,' which is "attentive to every kind of minority organization" and is said to explain 'Why Some Stay Silent.'
Paul Sperry envisions "the press conference that should have taken place," had the White House press corps seized "their golden chance" at 'Counterspinning McClellan' on the latest Osama bin Laden message.
A Pentagon-commissioned study obtained by the AP says the U.S. Army, "Stretched by frequent troop rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan, has become a 'thin green line' that could snap unless relief comes soon." Meanwhile, "more American reporters are leaving Iraq than arriving."
Lila Rajiva reviews 15 years of U.S.-sponsored disinformation in Iraq, countering an op-ed by Michael Schrage, who argued that "the now-controversial 'information ops' were launched as a defensive measure."
Afer a military courtroom reportedly "broke into applause" at a negligent homicide verdict that meant 'No Jail Time in Death of Iraqi General,' Marc Cooper asked, "Just what part of this deliberate torture-unto-death is negligent?"
During a speech in which he called on President Bush to "come clean" in his SOTU address and acknowledge "the costs of Republican corruption," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid also said that "In his 2000 campaign, George Bush promised to bring 'dignity' to the White House, but we've since found that he brought Jack Abramoff instead."
Noting that White House handling of the Abramoff matter "only raises suspicion," Craig Crawford argues that "joining the Republican Party's last-minute drive for lobbying reform on Capitol Hill will not stem the tide if the White House stays so mum about its Abramoff past."
World Party The Financial Times editorializes that "The immediate cause of the turmoil at the World Bank," where "staff disquiet is reaching deafening levels.... Is the appointment of an adviser to Mr. Wolfowitz with close ties to the Republican party as the new director of the internal watchdog that investigates suspected fraud and staff misconduct."
After ABC News reported that during the swearing in ceremony for Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Antonin Scalia "was on the tennis court at one of the country's top resorts," attending a Federalist Society-sponsored legal seminar, the society issued a statement saying that Scalia "spent less than two hours playing the game over the course of those two days."
In New Orleans, where "the sicker people began to return," unlike "hundreds or perhaps thousands of doctors and nurses," one nurse tells the New York Times that "the waiting rooms look like a war center or a MASH unit."
Stan Cox found 'Natural Food, Unnatural Prices,' when he decided to "give Whole Foods the Wal-Mart test," and discovered that some Whole Foods employees couldn't afford to shop there.
A poll conducted for the CBC finds that only 41 percent of those who voted Conservative in Canada's election did so "because they wanted a Conservative government" -- and Parliament's only Independent says he won't be "muting his style."
Two men wanted for murder in California are under arrest following a 'shootout at B.C. border.' At one point their car reportedly struck the International Peace Arch, which commemorates "the longest undefended boundary in the world." Plus: 'Texas-Mexico border standoff.'
The AP reports that Cindy Sheehan is among the 80,000 activists attending the World Social Forum in Caracas, and that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will speak Sunday at the closing assembly. Plus: An offer of 'eye care for U.S. poor.'
Rehab counselers say James Frey's portrayal of his experience at a Minnesota treatment facility "grossly distorted reality," with one claiming that she tipped off Oprah Winfrey's producers before Frey appeared on the show. A former patient at the facility writes of recognizing Frey's "maximixing" m.o., and Jerry Stahl offers up a "defense of the post-truth memoir."
Trump This! The Independent reports that "the property developer, reality show host and now crusader for truth in reporting, has filed a $5bn lawsuit against a writer for the New York Times who dared suggest in a book that the man with the bouffant hair and the serial trophy wives is not nearly as rich as he claims."
Thursday, January 26, 2006
With 'tests acoming,' one observer says that "If Karen Hughes isn't sitting around the table when the Bush administration formulates its response ... she might as well resign right now."
Human Rights Watch reports that the U.S., finding common ground with Iran, has joined a new coalition at the U.N.
"A filibuster is a radical tool. It's easy to see why Democrats are frightened of it. But from our perspective," editorializes the New York Times, "there are some things far more frightening." And David Neiwert writes that "I'm not terribly inclined ... to use profanity in my posts. But if the Democratic Party wants any more of my money, they can just go..."
As Sen. John Kerry calls for a filibuster to block the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito, Buzzflash editorializes that if Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid can't mount a successful filibuster then 'he should resign his position.' Plus: Robert Parry on 'Alito & the Media Mess.'
Reporting that 'In 2002, Justice Department said eavesdropping law working well,' Knight Ridder's Jonathan Landay gives props to blogger Glenn Greenwald for having "first connected the earlier Justice Department statement to the Bush administration's current arguments..."
The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times also credit Greenwald, with the latter quoting an ACLU attorney who "accused the administration of 'remarkable duplicity' for having testified in public against the legal change while carrying it out in private." Plus: 'AG's memo' suggests Patriot Act is 'not needed for domestic spying.'
A Knight Ridder report that "mainstream politicians and ordinary voters are talking openly about the possibility that President Bush could be impeached," refers to Sen. Barbara Boxer's letter to four presidential scholars. Scroll down for Boxer telling Ed Schultz that she forwarded their responses to Sen. Arlen Specter, who has some questions for "Al."
In a speech at the NSA, Bush expressed renewed concern about bin Laden and introduced a straw man skeptic: "I understand there are some in America who say, 'Well this can't be true, there aren't still people willing to attack.' All I would ask them to do is listen to the words of Osama bin Laden and take him seriously."
John Gorenfeld follows the Republican money trail to WWASPS, a leader among GOP-affiliated corporations in the "teen control trade," that ships troubled teens to "foreign discipline schools," where they are subject to Tony Robbins motivational tapes and pepper spray, but not to U.S. laws.
As Katie Couric tells Howard Dean that "Democrats took money From Abramoff too," the White House is said to be "actively involved in covering up and possibly destroying photographic evidence" of President Bush with Jack Abramoff.
As an Air America basher claims that Al Franken is being paid $2 million per year, a right-wing media watchdog accuses the Fox News Channel of "drifting to the left." Plus: What does "straight talk" sound like?
After the Seattle Times aired Washington state reports showing Wal-Mart topping the list of companies "shifting millions of dollars in health-care costs to the state," a columnist explored how "a shining beacon of free-market principles ... has figured out how to get us to pick up its tab."
Nathan Newman finds "only two purposes" for the health savings accounts touted by President Bush in an interview: "helping employers off-load insurance responsibilities onto individuals and helping rich folks hide more income from taxes."
'Iris Scanning For New Jersey Grade School' goes operational, and retail giants plan to 'Let your fingers do the paying,' but researchers find that "most scanning systems can be fooled 90 percent of the time" by using a Play-Doh finger.
The Washington Post covers the unlikely saga of 'Al Gore, Sundance's Leading Man,' as "An Inconvenient Truth" -- a film about a slide show ... with charts -- is said to put "everyone on the edge of their seats."
Friday, January 27, 2006
Jimmy Carter calls for 'funding Palestinians,' Israel's acting prime minister declares that if a Palestinian government includes Hamas, "the world and Israel will ignore it and render it irrelevant," Likkud head Netanyahu says, "The state of 'Hamastan' has been created before our eyes," and Palestinian Authority Chairman Abbas wants to "reactivate the role of the PLO."
As 'Hamas upset rattles Bush strategy,' Justin Raimondo argues that "If ever there was a clear case of 'blowback,' then this is it," and the Electronic Intifida's Ali Abunimah calls the Hamas victory 'A Vote for Clarity' that "pulls the rug from under the project of trying to deflect the blame for the conflict from Israeli colonization to Palestinian internal pathologies." Plus: could it happen here?
White House press secretary Scott McClellan explains that when President Bush made the unchallenged claim that "the Iranians have said, we want a [nuclear] weapon," "he was referring to their behavior." Molly Ivins has asked journalists to "get over reporting the Bush administration as though it were a credible source."
Reason's Tim Cavanaugh argues that "the media are doing the president a huge favor" when they 'Hold the Good News' about Iraq, while Gareth Porter deconstructs the "self-evident wisdom" -- unquestioned by leading Democrats -- of Bush's plan for 'Standing Up an Army Bent on Revenge.'
"The U.S. public is increasingly exposed to propaganda disseminated overseas in psychological operations," according to a "secret Pentagon roadmap on war propaganda" obtained by the National Security Archive.
The Washington Post details "several elements in the NSA spying debate that have been clouded by apparent contradictions and mixed messages from the government," while a New York Times/CBS News poll finds that "responses to questions about the administration's eavesdropping program varied significantly depending on how the questions were worded."
As the FBI and other government agencies are accused of spying on Georgia vegans, Bill Berkowitz reports on how an ACLU Freedom of Information Act request revealed "that the FBI has been collecting information from ... right-wing think tanks that have long had environmental activists in their cross hairs."
The acting head of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration walked out of Monday's Senate hearing on the Sago Mine disaster, claiming that he had to leave because there was "another mine fire ... burning in Colorado."
Slate's John Dickerson says President Bush moved from dodge to deception when asked: "you talked about Jack Abramoff in the context of pictures, but it may not necessarily just be about pictures. He also had some meetings with some of your staff."
"Democrats cringed and Republicans jeered at the awkwardness of his gesture," says a New York Times article about Sen, John Kerry's support for a filibuster of Judge Samuel Alito, while an attempt to revive the "Kerry is French" slur misses the mark.
As Gallup asks 'the classic Reagan question,' the National Journal reports that "If Democrats win control of the House or Senate, they are ready to spend the last two years of Bush's term probing everything and anything," despite homage paid to a president apparently "immune to damage from anything or anyone outside his bubble."
Mark Crispin Miller, author of "Fooled Again" -- which argues that "there is actually no convincing evidence that Bush and Cheney won re-election" -- says in an interview that "the most hostile reviews that I've received have been in Mother Jones and Salon."
"Bill and Hillary are the masters of their own plantation," writes the Black Commentator's Margaret Kimberley. "It is called the Democratic Leadership Council," and it "exists to make sure that anyone who dares to break free realizes their error and runs back to Tara before sundown."
Monday, January 30, 2006
As 'Corporate Wealth Share Rises for Top-Income Americans,' family farmers are selling water to survive, home heating costs are "skyrocketing," and Exxon Mobil is said to be "almost defensive" in reporting record profits amounting to $1,073 a second throughout last year.
Newsweek profiles some former Justice Department lawyers who "stood up to the hard-liners," a New York Times editorial accuses the Bush administration of telling "a couple of big, dangerous lies" in attempting to justify its warrantless spying, and a report on the CIA expanding its use of drones, quotes a former CIA official who "said the authority claimed by the Bush administration was murky."
Craig Crawford argues that the White House shows not "truthiness" but "liarishness" when "trying to make the issue whether or not to conduct surveillance. But the critics aren't saying we shouldn't conduct surveillance. They're saying we should get warrants ..."
As an audit finds that "American-led occupation authorities squandered tens of millions of dollars that were supposed to be used to rebuild Iraq," a report that U.S. troops used Iraqi women as "leverage" against suspected insurgents, prompts an observation: "And so we slowly descend toward the level of the enemy. Because King George can."
'Army's Rising Promotion Rate Called Ominous,' as "a high-ranking Army officer at the Pentagon" tells the Los Angeles Times that "Basically, if you haven't been court-martialed, you're going to be promoted to major." Plus: "Stop-loss" number reaches 50,000.
As a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll finds that '57% back a hit on Iran if defiance persists,' Fox News 'twists its own polling data to advocate war against Iran,' with Newt Gingrich, who says President Bush's top priority should be regime change in Iran, claiming that the public is "already overwhelmingly in favor of military strikes."
A former head of Israel's Shin Bet "said on Sunday Israel should hunt down wanted Hamas leaders even if they become ministers in a newly elected Palestinian government," a Haaretz commentary argues that "if only people of the right can bring peace ... then we are now facing a new chance that should not be missed," and an Oslo Bar patron laments 'Last Call in Gaza.'
NASA's top climate scientist tells the New York Times that "the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming." He also talks to the Washington Post about a global warming "tipping point."
Profiling the nation's No 1 debate team, representing an institution "with the goal of eventually flooding the system with ... conservative Christian lawyers," Newsweek explains why "debaters are the new missionaries."
In 'A False Balance,' Paul Krugman refers to an American Prospect-commissioned analysis of campaign contributions from Jack Abramoff's tribal clients, which found that after they signed on with Abramoff, their donations to Republicans increased by 135 percent, while donations to Democrats dropped by nine percent.
As documents show that a Republican Congressman who took campaign cash from Abramoff interceded with Interior Secretary Gale Norton on behalf of Abramoff's clients, Interior releases a photo of Norton with Abramoff, and three Republican lawmakers join 76 percent of Americans in saying President Bush should disclose White House contacts with Abramoff.
A Washington Post article, which cites a study said to show that "supporters of President Bush and other conservatives had stronger self-admitted and implicit biases against blacks than liberals did," quotes one expert who says that "If anyone in Washington is skeptical about these findings, they are in denial."
"No one raised a hand" when a federal judge asked potential Enron jurors whether any of them "view this as an opportunity to strike a blow for justice," although "jury questionnaires ... came back with mostly negative comments about Enron and the defendants." Plus: The "unindicted co-conspirators."
Eggs Roll, Eyes Roll Controversy is building over "Whose children should be allowed to participate in the White House's annual Easter Egg Roll," after a reporter asked White House press secretary Scott McClellan whether the president will "take any measures" to prevent LGBT activists from "using" the event "as a way to show the nation their so-called families."
"A U.S. right-wing strategist" who recently urged "fellow U.S. right-wingers not to talk to Canadian reporters" lest they alarm Canadian voters, who have been "led to believe that American conservatives are scary," discusses the prospects that a new prime minister can end "cultural Marxism" in Canada.
After LA Weekly published 'Navahoax,' it was confirmed that celebrated "Navajo" memorist Nasdijj, is Timothy P. Barrus, "a man of Scandinavian descent who grew up in ... Lansing, Mich." Nasdijj, who now admits he's Barrus, "is already attempting to parlay his newfound notoriety into a tell-all memoir," reports LA Weekly. "In an ironic twist, he calls the new work a novel."
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Coretta Scott King, the 'First Lady of the Civil Rights Movement,' has died, on the eve of Black History Month and Judge Samuel Alito's victory, and at a time when segregation is said to have "returned to public education with a vengeance."
As the U.S. Senate confirms Alito, the WSWS calls Sen. John Kerry's failed attempt to lead a filibuster "a complete farce," which "came in response to concern within sections of the party that it was necessary to ... lessen the appearance of abject capitulation."
Dave Lindorff argues that 'The Democrats' Alito Debacle' "means it won't be enough to simply pick up 16 new Democratic seats in the House and six in the Senate in November. Those new seats will have to be filled by people who ... stand for something."
Face the Nation "So while we're kicking around the Dems for not filibustering," writes Steve Gilliard, "America was seeing the Iraq war with a human face ... And that is not good news for Bush and maybe be the beginning of the end of the Iraq debacle."
As President Bush addresses the nation, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds his job approval at 39 percent, and that only 25 percent want Bush, rather than Congress, to "take the lead" in setting policy -- and gridlock be damned, what about the seating arrangements?
'State of Disunion' In advance of a speech being touted as "visionary and directional," Eugene Robinson ponders "How much more revealing it would be to sit the president down with Oprah and let her go after him." Plus: 'The question that journalists don't ask Bush.'
In his own State of the Union address for "Democracy Now!" Gore Vidal compares Bush to the Roman emperor Tiberius, and says that "demonstrations across the country could be very useful" against "an unpatriotic government ... that deals openly in illegalities."
As Glenn Greenwald offers up ten questions for senators to ask Attorney General Gonzales, Sen. Russ Feingold, in a letter to Gonzales, "demanded to know why Gonzales dismissed the senator's question about warrantless eavesdropping as a 'hypothetical situation' during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in January 2005," reports the Washington Post.
Government Handouts A review of AP archives reportedly "found that during the entire eight years of the Clinton administration, only 100 handout photos of events were released to the press. During the first five years of Bush's presidency, more than 500 have been distributed. The key is that each of these events was closed to news photographers."
"The war in Iraq has basically turned out to be a disaster," said Christiane Amanpour on "Larry King Live," adding that "by any indicator Iraq is a black hole" and a "spiralling security disaster" that "just gets worse and worse."
Appearing on Fox News, Bernard Kerik said of al-Qaeda: "They watch this program, they watch CNN. I would imagine they like CNN a little better." But Paul Craig Roberts suggests that since "Fox is aggressively agitating for war with Iran," maybe it's "really in the employ of al-Qaeda."
The New York Times reports that for "the war's most catastrophically wounded troops," being treated at new polytrauma centers, "ongoing annual costs ... can easily be several hundred thousand dollars or more" -- per soldier. Plus: Falling through "every crack imaginable."
Truthout columnist Marjorie Cohn reports that -- under orders from Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez -- 'Military Hides Cause of Women Soldiers' Deaths,' "to protect the women's privacy rights."
A former Israeli military intelligence officer tells The New Yorker that "When the women of Egypt's pro-Western military elite are [wearing traditional head scarves], you know that the Hamas victory is not about Palestine. It's about the entire Middle East." Plus: 'Women of Gaza fear for their freedoms.'
The U.S. is reportedly urging Arab states to continue funding a Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, and while it's noted that Hamas is "just as unwilling to completely renounce violence as are those who now make the appeal," the group's Damascus based-leader says to Israelis: "if you are willing to accept the principle of a long-term truce, we are prepared to negotiate the terms."
"At least two" of the 18 proposed mine safety rules previously dropped by the Bush administration have reportedly resurfaced -- as have 72 Canadian miners, saved by government-mandated "refuge stations." earlier: 'The Day the News Left Town.'
Editor & Publisher reports that "major papers continue to stockpile advance obits more than ever," with the New York Times and the AP said to have a combined total of more than 2,000 in the can. Earlier: remembering one of their own, and Dick Cheney -- 1941 to 2001.
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