|January, 2007 link archive
Tuesday, January 2, 2007As the New York Times details how 'Chaos Overran Iraq Plan in '06,' President Bush is said to be getting ready to escalate, and to expand the mission, in 2007.
After reporting that U.S. officials were "privately incensed at the dead-of-night rush to the gallows," John Burns said that he "could hardly imagine an event more emblematic, of what America has accomplished or failed to accomplish here than the final chapter of Saddam Hussein."
With Iraq's prime minister now reportedly ordering a probe into how the execution of a 'model prisoner' became "a televised spectacle," it's recalled that 'Saddam Was Right and Bush Was Wrong' about WMD.
The Washington Post obtains an NRA fundraising pamphlet "designed to send its members into fits of paranoid rage," despite the group's crowing that "Americans cast their votes for record numbers of pro-gun candidates, both Democrat and Republican."
December 28-January 1
Wednesday, January 3, 2007
According to Robert Parry, 'Operation: Save Bush's Legacy,' which has "the goal of postponing the inevitable until 2009 when American defeat can be palmed off on a new President," includes giving "the bum's rush" to Gen. George Casey.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the "emergency-funding request for operations in Iraq ... is being used to acquire future weapons," but Kathy Kelly acknowledges that "it's hard to put your foot down over something called a 'supplemental spending bill.'"
The priorities of 'Activists on the Left' reportedly "will not be in evidence inside the Capitol," when Democrats take control of Congress tomorrow, and a '10-Step Program' takes no position on Iraq or Afghanistan.
Consideration of the 'Effect of Obama's Candor' prompts memories of Trudeaumania, and the days when Canada had 'A Swinger for Prime Minister,' but Dick Morris concedes that Sen. Obama 'can be whatever he wants to be.'
As a 'Fox News reporter says Bush admitted using cocaine, then retreats,' Media Matters finds that ABC News apparently single-sourced a story on the rivalry between Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton, and the National Journal's Chuck Todd handicaps the candidates going into "the busiest off-year in presidential campaign history."
"You just can't buy a way of life," says a resident of Briny Breezes, in explaining why he's thumbing his nose at a developer's offer of more than $1 million for his slice of the trailer-park town described as "a down-market relic of old Florida."
Thursday, January 4, 2007
Robert Dreyfuss tackles 'The Surge to Nowhere,' other than to the prospect of an insurgent government, but a State Department spokesman reframes the strategy, explaining that "instead of a surge, it is a bump."
A New York Times report describes how Jose Padilla went "from Al Qaeda's dirty bomber to foot soldier" while becoming a "piece of furniture" in the government's case against him, without losing his spot in the top 10.
The WSWS reports on a 'Hunger strike' by "security certificate" detainees being held at "Canada's Guantanamo," pending deportation to countries whose use of torture is said by Immigration Canada to have been "overstated."
Vanity Fair's Todd Purdum profiles "the American media's favorite politician," while momentum builds for one potential presidential rival, who sees 'A Chance To Change The Game,' as another gets "a cute little warning from the Grey Lady."
Appearing on "Countdown," Frank told Keith Olbermann that "when the Republican administration of George Bush tells me not to use legislation to make political statements, it's kind of like being accused of being silly by the Three Stooges."
It is reportedly "not clear how quickly" intelligence czar John Negroponte will be able to assume "a lower-ranking position" at the State Department, because "there is no deputy ready to take over" his current responsibilities.
Friday, January 5, 2007
As Democrats kick off their first 100 hours, the passage of House rule changes "designed to sever the cozy links that have developed between lawmakers and lobbyists," is called "a positive first step," and Sen. Patrick Leahy introduces a bill targeting fraud by government contractors.
Amid widespread calls for "bipartisanship," a White House spokesman suggests that the GOP can work with House Majority Leader Pelosi "regardless of gender," a Fox News banner warns of "100 Hours To Turn America Into San Francisco," and right-wing bloggers launch "Red Scare 2007."
In the fight against the "gratuitous privatization" of Medicare, Paul Krugman argues that the Democrats should go beyond allowing Medicare "to negotiate prices on behalf of the private drug plans" and force it "to offer direct drug coverage that competes on a financially fair basis with the private plans."
According to the Washington Post, the resignation of Harriet Miers was prompted by administration insiders who felt that she was not the kind of "tough street fighter" needed for the coming war over "congressional demands for information on politically sensitive topics."
Named the "most annoying person on the right" by a national conservative weekly, Sen. John McCain appears to have forgotten his earlier assessment of how easy the Iraq war would be, and apparently doesn't have his facts straight about his campaign manager's involvement with a controversial ad.
Aiming at a "clean sweep," the president is replacing the top military commander in Iraq and will appoint an admiral as head of central command, a decision that, the New York Times suggests, "reflects a greater emphasis on countering Iranian power."
Given how much the American invasion of Iraq has strengthened the Iranian position in the region, Slavoj Zizek imagines that, facing the right judge, President Bush could be "condemned as an Iranian agent."
As the U.S. 'Army digs deep to get strong,' a former top general does an about face on "don't ask, don't tell," and a new poll shows the military looking a little less like "a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Republican Party."
As Senate Majority Leader Reid and House Speaker Pelosi 'Criticize possible Iraq troop surge,' the White House is simply postponing disaster in Iraq, says Sen. Joseph Biden, who is considering introducing a congressional resolution opposing a surge in order to split Republicans from the president. Plus: A call to 'End the Crusade.'
In his diary, the director of the Iraq National Library and Archive details his struggle to keep the institution operating in the face of bombings, snipers and the assassination of members of his staff.
After the Iraqi Interior ministry acknowledges the existence of a disputed AP source , the source is arrested for talking to the media, but there are few signs of regret from the conservative bloggers who denounced the AP's reporting, and Eason Jordan spreads the blame around.
A raid into the West Bank city of Ramallah, which killed 4 Palestinians and wounded many others, is described as "routine arrest activity" by an Israeli army spokeswoman, but its timing leads to controversy.
Monday, January 8, 2007
After Democratic leaders in Congress sent President Bush a letter rejecting a surge and calling for an end to the war in Iraq, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi threatened not to fund escalation unless the president justifies it.
Advocates of escalation warn Bush that anything less than 18 months just won't do, 'Sen. Lieberman goes his own independent way,' saying that a troop increase "must be substantial, and it must be sustained," and Sen. McCain presents Lieberman as evidence of the war's popularity.
Queegmire? Paul Krugman considers how surge proponents appeal to the president's ego in suggesting that "that he might yet be able to rescue his signature war," as what Krugman calls "the president's Captain Queeg-like inability to own up to mistakes" seems to find an echo in Sen. McCain.
The war in Iraq doesn't play as well as it used to even in Utah, as Oliver North argues that McCain and Lieberman are wrong, and George Will joins all seven regular New York Times opinion columnists in opposition to escalation, but one key 'surge pusher' remains at the Times.
The marathon of "Ford obsequies," Frank Rich contends, serves mainly as a "grim verdict" on Bush, with the "Hussein snuff film" a further reminder that our "long national nightmare in Iraq" is getting a second wind as the president prepares to overrule the electorate and escalate.
Inspired by the gargantuan P.R. disaster surrounding Saddam Hussein's hanging, Matt Taibbi reviews how Thomas Friedman played oracle to suburban supporters of a war cooked up by bureaucrats "who know an awful lot more about bowling than they do about Islam."
As Iraq rejects calls to halt the execution of his co-defendants, Saddam Hussein's execution video 're-ignites death penalty debates worldwide,' but Christopher Hitchens' denunciation of "the shameful hanging" is said to be tainted by the idiom of a "white man's burden."
Although a Washington Post report emphasizes that the new top U.S. military commander in Iraq "still sees peace as possible," the article notes that there is widespread skepticism about what General Petraeus can achieve, with one colleague suggesting that he has been dealt "a losing hand."
With Iraqi Health Ministry statistics showing a tripling of civilian and police deaths in '06, the No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq concedes that a military surge "would not be enough," and that "under President Bush's new war strategy" gaining the upper hand might take another "two or three years."
Newsweek details 'how the U.S. is losing the P.R war in Iraq,' noting that U.S. officials believe that in some cases "insurgents attack American forces primarily to generate fresh footage" for propaganda videos.
The New York Times reports that the green light for Saddam to be turned over to the Iraqi government was given by Secretary of State Rice, "despite the reservations of the military commanders in Baghdad."
Tony Karon contends that the increasingly violent conflict between Hamas and Fatah is "the intended consequence" of 'Condi's savage war on the Palestinians,' as "the last neocon standing" appears to be organizing for a "hard coup" against the Hamas government.
"Twice a day, the clock strikes 11," observes Laura Rozen, pointing to the apparently recycled London Times headline 'Israel plans nuclear strike on Iran,' although it's noted that if such an attack did take place, "it would be hard to overestimate the geopolitical repercussions."
As Defense Tech highlights the 'new spy chief's total information ties,' the Democrats form an 'un-disappearing committee,' and a new Web site aims to become 'the Wikipedia of leaked documents.' Plus: 'Declassified in name only.'
The "lonely Kerry" photo story, which was heavily promoted by right wing bloggers, falls apart, but the promoters have trouble letting go, as former Democratic party boss Terry McAuliffe lambasts Kerry's presidential campaign in a new memoir.
In 'Working Harder for the Man,' Bob Herbert notes that while the CEO of Home Depot "began the new year with a pink slip and a golden parachute," and some Wall Street bonuses were "fabulous enough to resurrect an adult's belief in Santa Claus," increases in worker productivity received little reward.
A new study by the Congressional Budget Office finds that 'Bush Tax Cuts Offer Most for Very Rich,' with families earning more than $1 million a year seeing "their federal tax rates drop more sharply than any other group in the country."
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
As President Bush rallies the troops for a "daunting sales job," White House Press Secretary Tony Snow says that Americans "don't want another Sept. 11," and it's argued that "victory is ... at hand" in Iraq.
The Wall Street Journal raises the profile of deputy national security advisor J. D. Crouch, one of 'National Security's Hard Men,' who argued in 2005 that failure to find WMD "in no way minimizes the threat Saddam posed," and who is now 'Crafting an Iraq Plan.'
As Bush gets the fiscal year 2008 budget debate 'Off to a Bad Start,' Fair Trade Dems are seen as being "on the wrong side of history," and congressional 'staffers worry revolving door will slow down.'
As Democrats again delay choosing between New York City and Denver for their 2008 convention, the Denver Post profiles a labor leader whose refusal to sign a no-strike contract may be a deal breaker for what is called the best place for Democrats to "stake a claim."
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposal to offer health care for all in California reportedly "gave virtual coronaries to leaders of California's hospitals, doctors' groups and insurers," and the Governator has already identified his next target.
A conservative talk show host accuses The Weather Channel of having "succumbed to the cancerous spread of liberalism," and of catering to "the global warming crowd," while at ExxonMobil, the song remains the same.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Mike Lupica observes that Bush will offer another in an "endless series" of plans for Iraq, after moving managers around "the way sports owners do it with bad teams, as a way of showing some kind of movement to the fans when there is none in the standings."
Dinesh D'Souza wants to debate the president of William & Mary over his decision to remove a cross from a campus chapel. It would be sponsored in part by the well-endowed Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Weighing what President Bush said and didn't say in his address to the nation, the New York Times, seen as "more hawkish than Oliver North" on Tuesday, editorialized that "there is nothing ahead but even greater disaster in Iraq."
Presidential aides have reportedly "hinted that the administration had already come up with a 'Plan B' in case the latest strategy failed," and Chris Floyd argues that "the real Plan B" is all about Iran.
Although the Chicago Sun-Times editorializes that "like it or not, Bush's strategy is America's," a Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted after the speech found 'Most Americans Opposed' to sending more troops to Bush's 'Private Fantasyland.'
A New York Sun report suggests one reason why reporter Judith Miller may have been "effusive" in her praise of General David Petraeus, President Bush's new Iraq commander, who has argued that "everyone must do nation-building."
The top Al Qaeda leaders are reportedly 'Still Alive' in Somalia, despite previous reports, although 'U.S. attacks may have killed Canadians' and more than 100 civilians, leaving Mogadishu 'Awash in Anger.'
Storming the Gates In the wake of a Los Angeles Times investigatory series, described as "pretty damning stuff," the world's largest philanthropic organization has reportedly announced a decision to "review other strategies that can fulfill a social responsibility role."
Friday, January 12, 2007
As 'reporters quiz officials about new U.S. threats against Iran,' Steve Clemons reports on insider speculation about "a secret Executive Order ... to launch military operations against Syria and Iran" and Secretary of State Rice is warned that an attack on Iran would "generate a constitutional confrontation in the Senate."
The Washington Post quotes U.S. officials saying that yesterday's raids on Iranian targets in Iraq "are part of a new U.S. intelligence and military operation launched last month against Iran," but the regional Kurdish government protests a violation of its "internal sovereignty."
Grilled on escalation in Iraq by both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, Rice becomes a 'uniter of the divided' in opposition to Bush's new policy, as she proposes a new label for the troop increase.
Lewis Lapham's Operation Iraqi Quagmire offers an annotated edition of the president's address to the nation, Keith Olbermann concludes that Bush's new strategy fails because it depends on his credibility, and a panel of commentators on Fox News leaves CJR Daily's Paul McLeary struggling to identify the weakest link.
A weekend P.R. blitz to sell the Bush Iraq plan faces a solid majority of Americans opposed to escalation according to two new polls, and even at a Georgia military base Bush is greeted with "little of the wild enthusiasm" ordinarily showered on the commander in chief.
A survey of Mideast media response to the Bush plan finds one political observer complaining that Iraq is being treated like a "banana republic," as Bush's comment to Maliki that "this has to work or you're out," raises questions about Iraqi sovereignty.
A plan for "gated communities" in Baghdad recalls a Vietnam war precedent, while U.S. Marines, adapting an idea from ancient history, build walls of sand to seal off "flashpoint towns" in western Iraq.
Robert Bryce finds that what is omitted from the "sanitized version of history" presented in James Baker's recent publications exposes their "fundamental dishonesty," but the president's reading of the ISG report is rumored to have been a bit more "scatalogical."
Worldwide protests and calls for closure mark the fifth anniversary of the Guantanamo detention center where, the Financial Times reports, the inmates are being "driven insane" by a detention policy said to have "done more to reverse 200 years of democracy than any other government act in US history."
Paul Krugman argues that a critical flaw in Gov. Schwarzenegger's universal health insurance plan, compared to a single-payer system like the one the governor vetoed last year, is its insistence on keeping insurance companies in the loop, while Joe Conason draws lessons for progressives from an untimely death.
Although the margin by which the House approved a stem cell research bill is not sufficient to override a promised White House veto, the measure's congressional supporters are considering a range of tactics to push the measure through by the end of the year.
After a YouTube video deploys old debate footage to target Mitt Romney's flip-flopping on abortion, his media team mounts a rapid response on a talk show and on YouTube to shore up his conservative credentials.
Radar reports that Harold Ford has been offered the chairmanship of the Democratic Leadership Council, and publishes a memo suggesting that the DLC is writing off the presidential hopes of its former chair, Tom Vilsack.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation 'declares war' on a San Francisco radio station that has been "threatening a blogger who posts clips of their reporting," as the station blames publicity generated by "very dangerous and frightening fringe-left groups" for its loss of advertisers.
Monday, January 15, 2007
In an interview with "60 Minutes," President Bush defends the decision to invade Iraq, arguing that the "Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude," and claims the authority "to send more U.S. forces, regardless of what lawmakers want."
With Bush's speech last Wednesday failing to sell even Peggy Noonan on the war, Frank Rich pictures the president as a "defeated Willy Loman," lacking even "the courage of his own disastrous convictions."
Although a majority of Americans oppose the Bush plan, a recent poll shows 67% of Republicans still favor committing more troops to Iraq, putting GOP presidential aspirants, such as John McCain, in a difficult position.
'On Hillary's Turf' John Edwards echoes Martin Luther King's speech denouncing the American campaign in Vietnam, while Democracy Now! interviews the Rev. Jesse Jackson about witnessing King's assassination.
In 'The Texas Strategy' Paul Krugman argues that, for the president and pundits still trying to sell the surge, the real aim is not the faint hope of victory, but prolonging their power and the illusion of their own importance for as long as possible.
The New York Times reports that the "American military's misgivings" about emboldening "a government that is actually part of the problem," have been compounded by the appointment of a virtually unknown Shiite officer as the Iraqi operational commander.
As the head of Saddam Hussein's half brother is reportedly "ripped off" during his execution, Conflicts Forum argues that Iran played the decisive role in the execution of Saddam Hussein, graphically demonstrating "that it is now the preeminent political force inside Iraq.
Among the "best case scenarios" for Iraq according to a survey of experts in the New York Times, are that "we'll be in Iraq for 15-20 years," or that it'll "turn into today's version of the Spanish Civil War," while Bush--and the mainstream media--are given credit for slaying the "last empire."
The Independent reveals how the "company appointed to advise the U.S. government on the economic reconstruction of Iraq" has helped fill "Republican Party coffers," while the global energy race appears to be fueling a "transformation of the U.S. military into a global oil protection service."
Amid plans to double the number of reconstruction teams in Iraq and moves to subject civilian contractors to military courts-martial, the Washington Post's Rajiv Chandrasekaran recounts the recent reversal of some de-Baathification and privatization commitments in place since the beginning of the war.
An op-ed in the New York Times explores how the salaries of "ghost" soldiers may be "siphoned off to support tribal and ethnic fighting, and even the insurgency itself," and a check of the Kalashnikov Index is seen as the most reliable indicator of what the future might bring to Iraq.
A contributor to the National Review explains how the president's conduct of the war has shaken up his core political beliefs, but Michael Ledeen persists in suggesting that "if we were successful in supporting democratic revolution in Tehran, we'd have unbelievable popular support."
Although Tony Snow dismisses expectations of war with Iran as an "urban legend," Robert Parry sums up a series of political and military moves that suggest the U.S. is heading toward a wider regional war, and a time line identifies windows of opportunity for an attack on Iran.
"There's nothing wrong with it or illegal," contends Vice President Cheney, confirming reports that the CIA and U.S. military have been accessing financial records of hundreds of Americans suspected of terrorism or espionage, as 'deletions in Army manual raise wiretapping concerns.' Earlier: 'A license to snoop on British air travelers?'
In his keynote address to the National Conference for Media Reform, Bill Moyers, warns of the dangers of media consolidation and corporate designs on the Internet, and it's announced that the first episode of the new "Bill Moyers Journal" will "examine the role of the press prior to the Iraq invasion."
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists will move the hands on the Doomsday Clock a little closer to midnight later this week to reflect "escalating terrorism, and new pressure from climate change for expanded civilian nuclear power that could increase proliferation risks."
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
More than 34,000 Iraqi civilians were killed last year, according to a U.N. tally, which found "nearly three times the number reported ... by the Iraqi government," along with over 30,000 detainees being held "without charge or prosecution."
The U.N. also described "the largest refugee crisis in the Middle East since the Palestinian exodus from Israel in 1948," including violence against Syrian refugees in Iraq, and warned of a "looming crisis" in 'oil-rich Kirkuk.'
With analysts pondering the effect of 'Bush's "surge" on Iraq's oil,' an 'orgy of bombings' sweeps Iraq, with scores of students blown up at a university entrance, and 'The Planner' said to be 'Lost in the Woods.'
McClatchy reports that "the administration has continued to offer inaccurate information to Congress, the American people and sometimes to itself," and Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria argues that 'We Might "Win," But Still Lose.'
An official videotape shown to reporters "more than 13 hours after the hanging" of two Saddam Hussein aides, one of whom was decapitated, reportedly "did not depict the entire execution," or abate the 'Furor' sparked by Saddam's treatment.
Secretary of State Rice reportedly avoided "domestic concerns" such as torture and political repression while in Egypt, stressing "stability, not democracy," while Defense Secretary Gates accused Iran of "acting in a very negative way" as 'Iraq edges closer.'
With Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton calling for a surge in Afghanistan, after reportedly exchanging blows with John Edwards, Sen. Barack Obama announces that he's filing the papers to create a committee.
A Washington Post report on one Gitmo inmate's '5 Years in Limbo' describes the U.S. government as "struggling to rid itself of roughly 200 of its 393 remaining detainees," having "found it difficult" to free them -- or to 'tell a combatant from a cook.'
One day after reporting that "the drug lobby continues to wield tremendous power in the Democratic-controlled Congress," the Washington Post 'Pushes Drug Industry Line, Again' in an editorial, joining the 'All-Pharma Cheerleading Squad.'
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
After at least 70 college students were killed in bombings at a Baghdad university "under the sway of the Al Mahdi army," it's recalled that Prime Minister Maliki had threatened to dismiss any students who failed to attend lectures for fear of violence.
An Interior Department official, who went 'Out of Sight' after coming 'Under Fire,' was reportedly told "nearly three years ago" about an oil and gas royalty problem she claimed to have first learned about in January 2006.
With The Nation's William Greider calling for 'A Globalization Offensive,' as 'The WTO Takes A Hit,' prominent defenders are content to argue for "more sophisticated means of compensating the casualties."
Nipping at the heels of 'The Daily Obama,' Dick Morris has already spotted 'Obama's first blunder,' but Steve Kornacki warns skeptics that 'This Is Not a Fad,' and Chuck Todd lays out "a political junkie's pipe dream" scenario.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
In what's described as an "11th-hour ploy ... to avoid judicial and congressional scrutiny," the Bush administration is said to have "convinced a single judge in a secret session to issue a court order to cover the president's terrorism surveillance program."
'No court order needed' USA Today editorializes that the "stunning about-face" on wiretapping will not end the use of National Security Letters, which "don't violate any laws, though perhaps they should."
In answer to a question from Sen. Russ Feingold, Attorney General Gonzales said that "I didn't have you in mind or anyone on the Committee when I referred to people who oppose eavesdropping on terrorists. Perish the thought."
A "strong majority" oppose Bush's surge in a new poll, with half saying that "he deliberately misled the U.S. in making his case for invading Iraq," and Sen. John 'McCain no longer rocks in Granite State.'
Iraq's Prime Minister Maliki accuses President Bush and Secretary of State Rice of giving "a morale boost to the terrorists."
Iraqi insurgents announce a 'plan to escalate attacks,' and U.S. commanders 'ready buildup in Gulf,' but William Lind argues that "the military situation in Iraq is not a variable. All that can change is the speed of our defeat."
As 'Republicans Halt Ethics Legislation,' citing "a principled insistence on giving Bush the line-item veto," Dick Morris apologizes for his blunder in claiming that Sen. Barack Obama 'voted against ethics reform.'
With pressure said to be mounting on 'the "free trade" consensus,' Bill Clinton and his Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin are fondly remembered for having "rejected the social-democracy strategy in favor of ... the 'Eisenhower Republican' strategy."
'Broken-Field Running' As Craig Crawford flips through the playbook, in which Rush Limbaugh asks whether "Stephen Spielberg" and Clint Eastwood are war profiteers, a former NFL quarterback passes on a Colorado Senate race.
Friday, January 19, 2007
As the Iraqi militias prepare for a siege, military officials play down expectations of an immediate confrontation, and consider various ways to reconcile the number of troops available with the 'Pentagon's own standard for force levels.'
Although the 'Middle East hasn't turned out the way Bush, Rice predicted,' the latter claims that opportunities for peace have "suddenly turned brighter," but the region's media is reportedly more skeptical of her "siren" song.
As constitutional scholars lay out the case for Congress' authority "to limit the commander-in-chief," House Speaker Pelosi says "Democrats will never cut off funding," although she "pledged the support of House Democrats" for a resolution criticizing the decision to send more troops to Iraq.
Vice President Cheney's rejection of a 2003 Iranian diplomatic offer to help the U.S. stabilize Iraq on the grounds that "we don't talk to evil," termed 'the neoconservative blunder of the century,' is also seen as emblematic of a pattern of bad choices based on conservative ideology. Plus: Bush v. Cheney.
In an attempt to put the brakes on the escalating 'Nonwar War Against Iran,' a conservative Republican introduces legislation aimed at ensuring that President Bush doesn't have a blank check, and Senate Majority Leader Reid says that Bush has no authority "to launch military action in Iran without prior congressional approval."
The next two years are going to be "a rolling constitutional crisis," predicts Paul Krugman, arguing that a "purge of U.S. attorneys" by a president no longer able to count on Congress to do his bidding is a sign that he is more determined than ever to "claim essentially unlimited authority."
Reviewing 'Bush's crusading scorecard,' Tom Engelhardt finds that although the "war on terrorism" certainly has 'the look of a war against Islam,' at its heart it is only a "monotheistic religion of Force." Plus: 'A Forgetful Richard Perle.'
Jonathan Cook explains the role of Israel's minister for strategic threats in pushing for 'demographic separation,'" not just for the occupied territories but for "the 1.2 million Palestinians who through oversight rather than design ended up as citizens of a Jewish state in 1948."
After praising the U.S. president as a "great leader" and being praised by John Bolton, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is said to need some spin to prove to the world that he is not just "voluntarily following Bolton's battle plan."
During testimony that Sen. Patrick Leahy likened to "Alice in Wonderland," Attorney General Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee that "the Constitution doesn't say that every individual in the United States or every citizen has or is assured the right of habeas corpus."
"We Knew Damn Well He'd Be Tortured," Leahy insisted, pressing Gonzales to explain why Canadian citizen Maher Arar was sent to Syria and why he remains on a terrorist watch list. Plus: Is 'Bush's Canadian Clone' in Jeopardy?
Revulsion against the treatment of Australian Guantanamo detainee David Hicks like "a monkey in a cage," is said to be making dents in the 'social regression and flag-waving promoted by Australia's neocon prime minister,' as the U.S. prepares to try Hicks under new rules that allow "hearsay and coerced evidence."
Chris Hedges argues that the radical Christian Right is fueled not by religiosity but by "personal and economic despair," and the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report follows the swift ascendence of "immigration as a burning issue on the religious right."
Methodist ministers launch an online petition urging SMU to reject the establishment of the George W. Bush presidential library on its land, as the university president tries to allay faculty fears that a proposed "think tank" at the library isn't just 'a giant Trojan horse among the ponies.'
One year after Colbert appeared at the White House Correspondents dinner, this year's version 'Opts for Little in the Satire Department,' with the new host admitting that he has an understanding not to bash President Bush or "even mention the word 'Iraq."
Monday, January 22, 2007
A deadly weekend for U.S. soldiers in Iraq claims 27, including 5 killed by gunmen who were impersonating Americans, while at least 100 Iraqis are killed 'in two separate attacks on busy street markets in Baghdad and Baquba.'
As an additional 3,000 U.S. troops arrive in Baghdad, a Christian Science Monitor article details how the deployment is unlikely to meet the specifications of the U.S. Army's counterinsurgency handbook, and McClatchy reports that 'Kurdish Iraqi soldiers are deserting to avoid the conflict in Baghdad.'
In an interview with La Rebubblica, Moqtada al-Sadr emphasizes his rivalry with former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, not current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, as it's suggested that the capture of a media spokesman for the Sadr movement could 'foreshadow military confrontation.'
On "Meet the Press," Sen. John McCain takes issue with Gen. Casey's "failed leadership" in Iraq but has problems with statistics and troop numbers, as Tim Russert grills him about his statement in a Vanity Fair profile that the issue of the war "isn't going to be around in 2008."
NPR appears to be handling Joe Lieberman with 'kid gloves,' and the Wall Street Journal imagines the senator as "a sort of Horatio at the congressional bridge," but on MSNBC he gets pressed for a Plan B in Iraq beyond "let's hope and pray it works."
Amid new charges that the White House politicized disaster response in Louisiana, the New York Times reports that the population of New Orleans may plateau at half its former size, but the Senate's "leading apostle of bipartisanship" has reportedly already given the president 'a pass on Katrina.'
Glenn Greenwald finds something "uniquely and appallingly dishonest" about Bill Kristol and Fred Kagan's latest rhetorical tactic for bashing Democrats, as Kristol demands that Democrats "be quiet" for long enough to drop an "extra five divisions" into Baghdad. Plus: Of Nepotism.
In 'Lying Like It's 2003,' Frank Rich argues that with the usual suspects again "accusing administration critics of aiding Al Qaeda," and the newest lies "custom-made to prop up the new 'way forward' that is anything but, the only real way forward in Iraq" is "facing the truth."
Using what's called a "shock and awe tactic," Blackwater security is counter-suing attorneys representing the estates of of four of its employees killed and mutilated in Fallujah, as "National Geographic Explorer" airs a documentary on 'Iraq's Guns for Hire.'
With confidence in his leadership at an 'all time low,' according to a new poll, George Bush prepares to give the State of the Union address, to which Sen. Jim Webb, who "favors cutting off funding for Iraq reconstruction in order to pay for Hurricane Katrina recovery," will deliver the Democrats' formal response.
As Sen. Hillary Clinton enters the presidential race, the Atlantic releases a profile of the senator that begins with her entry into "the lawmakers prayer group," the London Times casts her as the 'new Thatcher,' and Bob Harris raises questions about her record and her electability.
Speaker Pelosi's push to form a new Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming is seen as an end run around the House's committee system, and Rep. John Dingell, who doesn't appear "too keen on the idea that there is a scientific consensus on global warming."
For Paul Krugman, the 'gold plated indifference' of Bush's Saturday radio address on health care stood out most, not in his proposal "to penalize workers with relatively generous insurance coverage," but in his tone of contempt for "the plight of less fortunate Americans."
The Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff talks to IraqSlogger about pushing the limits of political cartooning, a street artist explains how he introduced graffiti to Tehran, and a Magritte exhibit in Los Angeles is relabeled, "This is not fair use."
One of the "most scathing" of the "playable editorial cartoons" discussed in an AP article on 'putting politics into video games,' is a McDonald's game that allows "gamers to raze villages, manipulate public opinion and bribe health officials and politicians."
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
With a 28 percent approval rating in one poll, and another dropping him to 'Nixon's Level,' President Bush is reportedly ready to reach across the aisle in his State of the Union address, in an effort to "revitalize" his agenda.
Bush is seen as being "really in the cellar of public opinion," given that "nearly two-thirds of Americans appear to have given up" on both Bush and Iraq, with USA Today's David Jackson asking Bush, "Are you worried about a mass exodus from your party over Iraq?"
The BBC's 25 nation poll finds that "the view of the U.S.'s role in the world has deteriorated," with 68 percent saying that the U.S. military presence in the Middle East "provokes more conflict than it prevents."
With the U.S. said to be "on the verge of defeat" in Iraq, Sen. John McCain has for "the first time blamed Vice President Cheney for ... a 'terribly mishandled' war," while an Afghan warlord sees 'U.S. facing Soviet-style defeat in Afghanistan.'
Mark Manning, presenting his entirely unembedded Fallujah documentary, was among the ad-hoc panelists videotaped discussing 'War, Media, and Impeachment' at the National Conference for Media Reform in Memphis.
Al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri has reportedly challenged Bush to "send your entire army" to Iraq, in a new video, which the SITE Institute, whose work is "cited in the Times and the Washington Post about twice a month," claims to have "intercepted."
ABC News consultant Richard Clark defended his network's report that al Qaeda in Iraq "considered using student visas to slip terrorists into the United States," after Keith Olbermann suggested that leaking the six-month-old intelligence was timed to coincide with President Bush's SOTU address.
Scooter Libby's live-blogged trial opens with Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald alleging that Libby "wiped out" a note showing Vice President Cheney's early involvement in the leak of Valerie Plame's identity, and Libby's defense team 'throws Karl Rove under the bus.'
CJR Daily's Paul McLeary offers 'My Kingdom For A Storyline' in reviewing "horse race" political coverage, and finding that the Wall Street Journal's Jackie Calmes "seems to have a hard time following poll numbers."
"On the Media" examines the coverage of Rep. Dennis Kucinich's presidential bid as an "amusing oddity," seen elsewhere as "$11 million of activist money poured down a rat-hole," with "a significant element of conscious deception."
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
The Democratic response, delivered by newly-elected Sen. Jim Webb, was judged by Newsweek's Jonathan Alter to have "overshadowed the president's big speech" and to have "left ... Bush's ordinary address in the dust."
With the Iraqi parliament practicing "limited government," Prime Minister Maliki, described as an "intense workaholic," is seen as having "perhaps the hardest job in the world," and as getting squeezed to hand over Iraq's oil profits to companies based in the U.S. and U.K.
The state and local costs of the Iraq War are available from the National Priorities Project.
National Journal's Chuck Todd argues that, from a GOP point of view, "Someone has to convince Bush that his lone job between now and Labor Day of this year is to do whatever it takes to get the Democrats to share responsibility on the Iraq issue."
Murray Waas ponders the portrayal of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby "being hung out to dry as a scapegoat for Karl Rove," in 'The Trial of Dick Cheney,' and Maureen Dowd suggests that "in light of the 2006 debacle, the White House might have been better off saving Scooter and dumping Karl."
When 'The Empire Turns Its Guns on the Citizenry,' 'The State Spies on the Union,' and "the machinery of a presidential dictatorship" is rumbling, a GOP pollster advises Democrats to "play nice" and "Don't twist the knife."
Thursday, January 25, 2007
As conservatives are urged to take the pledge, Sen. Chuck Hagel, appearing with Sen. Joe Lieberman on "The News Hour," described Cheney's remark that people do not "have the stomach" for Iraq as "an astounding statement from the vice president of the United States."
Former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld has reportedly "left the Pentagon, but not the Defense Department."
Iraqi TV coverage of Bush's State of the Union address reportedly quoted former Prime Minister Jaafari as saying that Iraq does not need more U.S. forces, given that "we are not engaged in a conventional war against an invading army or something of the sort."
The Bush administration is said to have created 'The New Saddam' in assembling a new coalition, "Sunni Arab-Dominated Dictatorships Against the Mullahs," while pondering "the first step on a new escalator."
Republicans reportedly view Bush as "irrelevant," Carl Bernstein says that the Bush team has done more damage than Nixon, and a former Senate aide argues that the president is 'No Longer Leader of the Free World.'
As Bush is accused of running a 'Bait and Switch on Climate Change,' including a misleading claim about reducing gas consumption by 20 percent, conservative parents call for "students to be exposed to 'other perspectives' when they view a film like 'An Inconvenient Truth.'"
A memo from Sen. Barack Obama's office dissects a smear, the magazine that ran the story claims that CNN "didn't debunk anything," and a Fox News host says that CNN's investigative reporter "Probably Went To The Same Madrassa.'
As Obama calls for universal health care, Matt Taibbi finds Sen. Hillary Clinton "playing the game right," but "the game is the problem" -- and 'Forget America, is Journalism Ready for a Black President?'
Friday, January 26, 2007
The Washington Post reports that the Bush administration has issued U.S. troops a license to kill "Iranian operatives" inside Iraq, and quotes "senior administration officials" comparing the Iranians to the Nazis and SS.
American soldiers are filmed cheering as Iraqi police give alleged insurgents "the Rodney King treatment," a third U.S. soldier pleads guilty in the killing of Iraqi detainees near Samarra, and the 'AP disputes military claims on deaths of Americans in Iraq.'
One of the reasons "it's been easy for so many Americans to ignore such a catastrophic war until relatively recently," writes Tom Engelhardt, is that "the American dead come disproportionately from the most forgotten, least attended to parts of our country."
With the long-delayed National Intelligence Estimate reportedly "going to suggest that adding troops is the wrong way to go," Sen. Jay Rockefeller accuses the vice president of applying "constant" pressure "to drag out the probe of the administration's use of prewar intelligence."
The self-described "decision-maker" explained to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in advance of her visit to Iraq, that the reason he thinks increasing troops is going to work is "Because I told them it had to."
With "America's three armies in Iraq" already exceeding a quarter of a million, according to one analyst's calculations, "Democracy Now!" looks at signs that President Bush is planning to "further outsource war."
In a city Patrick Cockburn describes as "paralyzed by fear," Prime Minister Maliki defends the new security plan as "100-percent Iraqi," while U.S. officials are caught off guard by an unexpected public endorsement of the plan.
In advance of an expected Taliban offensive, the U.S. government has announced that tours of duty will be extended and billions more expended in Afghanistan, while President Karzai resists American pressure "to start chemically spraying" Afghanistan's opium poppy crop.
Bill Berkowitz finds 'Israel looking for an extreme makeover' in an effort to rebrand itself, while Tony Karon suggests that with Washington no longer interested in setting limits, Israel might want to rethink the implications of being in 'Bush's Back Seat.'
With his "blistering call for accountability" on Iraq, Sen. Chuck Hagel has reportedly raised his profile enough to consider a White House run, and convinced Robert Scheer that he has "set the standard for anyone running for president."
Looking at Hagel's record on other issues, some critics are a bit more cynical, as the senator lines up behind an amendment that Sen. Edward Kennedy charges "would effectively eliminate the minimum wage as we know it."
Until "the growing polarization of our economy" is reversed, Paul Krugman contends, good will and calls for bipartisanship are not enough to challenge "the nastiness of modern American politics," and advocates of a new New Deal "should welcome the hatred, not fear it."
David Corn provides a cheat sheet to help follow 'The Twisted Scooter Trail,' as the first weeks' testimony ends with 'the Vice President's office on the stand,' new questions raised about Ari Fleischer, and some of the "darkest suspicions" about the White House's P.R. techniques confirmed.
A 'txt msg' novel is published in Finland, the 'asking price for Jenna Bush's book tops $300K,' and Wonkette looks back "at the curiously rich and varied life of a man who maybe didn't start off 100% crooked."
Monday, January 29, 2007
In what the New York Times describes as Iraq's "deadliest battle in years," a U.S. helicopter is shot down and "at least 250 militants," who were suspected of planning to attack religious pilgrims, are killed but "narratives about its significance" and reports about the affiliation of the militants differ.
Patrick Cockburn observes that "one by one the landmarks of Baghdad are disappearing, engulfed by the torrent of violence," while a New York Times reporter takes stock of how many of the Iraqis she has met over the last four years are fled, missing or killed.
Sen. Joe Biden predicts that "not 20% of the Senate" will stand up in support of the president's plan for escalation, even hawks are balking at the surge plan's proposed dual command structure, and Sen. Brownback dismisses the claim by Sen. Joe Lieberman that opposition will "encourage the enemy."
'Hillary Clinton's Mission Unaccomplished,' according to Frank Rich, is rooted in the fact that she "has always been a follower of public opinion on the war, not a leader," chronically too slow to recognize that "what really matters is the leadership that will take us out of the fiasco."
Defense Secretary Robert Gates is reportedly trying to find ways to minimize the "widely disliked" practice of holding military personnel "on the job and in war zones beyond their retirement dates or enlistment length," as he castigates "any indication of flagging will" on Iraq.
Glenn Greenwald looks at the way the term "commander in chief" is used to delegitimize opposition to the president, while a comparison of 9/11 to what the Soviet Union suffered during WWII is seen as a reminder that "not every enemy is in fact a threat to our existence."
Vice President Cheney, whom Sen. Dick Durbin denounced last week as "delusional," claims in an interview with Newsweek that Bush has "shored up his position" on Iraq, and says of critics, "I'm the vice president and they're not."
A Newsweek poll finds that 58 percent of respondents "wish the Bush presidency were simply over," and that only 22 percent "think Bush's decisions about Iraq and other major policy are influenced mainly by the facts."
With 'haunting echoes of Iraq' in the air, Rep. Dennis Kucinich accuses the White House of "mounting a media blitz to prepare the U.S. public for an eventual attack on Iran," without the authorization of Congress.
Despite reports that Iran's 'boasts of a nuclear program are just propaganda,' and signs that "Iran is refusing to play the 'clear and present danger,'" Bush administration officials, the media and some leading Democrats appear to be ratcheting up the rhetoric of confrontation.
McClatchy reports that "Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is transforming the ranks of the nation's top federal prosecutors by firing some and appointing conservative loyalists from the Bush administration's inner circle," in what one critic describes as a "consolidation of power."
Emptywheel previews some of the possible scenarios for this week's edition of 'Libby's Testimony Dance,' while Murray Waas suggests critical new information may come out in the testimony of Ari Fleischer.
Although the magazine that originated the madrassa smear was so anonymously sourced one journalism professor likened it to "performance art," the media is found to still ignore its own role as an "echo chamber" propagating the "story."
In 'The Sum of All Ears,' Paul Krugman adds up the Bush administration's much anticipated remarks on global warming and energy policy, and concludes that the emphasis on alternative fuels instead of conservation serves powerful constituencies at the expense of good public policy.
Scientists charge that a "dire" forecast on global warming to be released later this week is just "the sugarcoated version," as climate change displaces terrorism on the agenda at the World Economic Forums, and the Bush administration floats a proposal to "blot out the sun."
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
A Brookings Institution paper on 'Containing the Spillover from an Iraqi Civil War,' which argues that the 'U.S. must abandon Iraqi cities or face nightmare scenario,' reportedly resulted from a search for a "Goldilocks solution."
During President Bush's "first-ever sit-down with NPR," after six years in office, interviewer Juan Williams prefaced a question by saying that "the American people want to be with you, Mr. President."
Although 'Questions remain' regarding a battle in Najaf, during which a U.S. helicopter was shot down, President Bush says that Iraqi forces "are beginning to show me something," and a Republican Senator declares that Bush "is not the sole decider."
During the interview, Bush referred to Vice President Cheney's "half-glass-full mentality," and defended an expression said to be "not common usage in Texas," except among "sitting Republican legislators." Plus: 'Is it too much to expect NPR to ask follow-up questions?'
It's reported that "no Republican members attended" a Homeland Security Committee field hearing on Gulf Coast rebuilding, and Sen. Mary Landrieu suggests that "we would have been better off if the terrorists had blown up our levees."
Robert Parry examines the legacy of Ronald 'Reagan & the Salvadoran Baby Skulls,' after the Washington Post reports that "they worked well as candleholders ... and better as good-luck charms." Plus: Catching a kickoff.
The Washington Post helps the Daily Howler understand 'Why Dems Talk Down Their Own Hopefuls' as "not electable," Harriet Rubin factors in the laws of mamisma, and a conservative columnist hails "the new John McCain."
Word that 'When Castro dies, Miami plans to party,' prompts a call to celebrate 'Batista Day,' but "if you're Cuban ... when you tell people you're Democrat, it's almost like the old guard looks at you and says, 'I didn't realize you're a communist."
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Robert Parry reports that "preparations are advancing for a war with Iran," with President Bush "simply ... waiting for a second aircraft carrier strike force to arrive in the region -- and for a propaganda blitz to stir up some pro-war sentiment at home."
A former Iraqi prime minister's claim to have 'warned U.S. about Shiite militias' two years ago, reportedly "raises more questions about the Bush administration's assertion that Iraq's sectarian violence can be traced to the Feb. 22, 2006, bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra."
"From the perspective of the White House," the CIA's former European director tells Spiegel, "it was smart to blur the lines," and to leave rendition up to those who, "if they didn't do paramilitary actions for a living ... would probably be robbing banks."
Sen. Barack Obama's bill to get 'U.S. troops out of Iraq by early 2008' is seen as "a very big gamble," the 'best political move of his career' and "a bombshell too big to ignore," especially when 'Mama Hugs Iowa.'
"Either the largest or second-largest U.S. demonstration yet against the Iraq war occurred in Washington, this past weekend, or it didn't," reports BAR's Glen Ford, but either way, "activists often forget whose field they are playing on ... in the game of media event-creation."
Although Judith Miller reportedly "helped the prosecutor who landed her in jail," she "began to sigh frequently and grow testy" under cross examination, and at one point "turned to jurors, rolling her eyes and shaking her head in frustration."
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