|February, 2006 link archive
Wednesday, February 1, 2006President Bush's State of the Union speech 'Draws mixed reaction in Iraq,' where despite the numbers, U.S. officials are reportedly still hopeful that "security will spread, like an oil stain."
After Bush presented what David Corn called his "standard comic-book defense" on Iraq, Time's Baghdad bureau chief, Michael Ware, told CNN: "The 'great lie' of his address is the success of Iraq. In this war, all we have seen is an emboldening of Al Qaeda ... and emboldening of Iran. And the spillover of democracy, we're starting to see that in Palestine..."
'Bush spelled out a clear agenda. Win the midterms,' says Slate's Bruce Reed, who adds that "The president got to step 1 with 'America is addicted to oil,' but didn't have the breath to start scaling the rest of the 12 steps."
Reed notes that "As the Washington Post points out, on renewable energy research, Bush is merely proposing to restore the funding he has cut since he took office." Plus: 'Dead Man Talking' and a 'litany of lies.'
'Spinning Us to Death' In an interview with Guernica, Norman Solomon says that "rampant government lying," while bipartisan, is "more subtle or intricate from Democrats. The Bush administration has been more flagrant ... more jaw dropping."
In describing her arrest, Cindy Sheehan writes that "After I had my personal items inventoried and my fingers printed, a nice Sgt. came in and looked at my shirt and said, '2,245, huh? I just got back from there.'"
A Government Accountability Office report (pdf) is called "a stinging slap to the Homeland Security Department," and to Secretary Michael Chertoff, who "until now ... has largely escaped widespread criticism of the government's sluggish response to Katrina."
Media Matters documents how Fox News has been "slipping the term" terrorist surveillance program "without qualification, into its news reports and commentary," and finds CNN's Paula Zahn claiming: "you've got a lot of people out there saying, if you're Republican, we're going to keep the country safe, if you vote for a Democrat, that basically you want to be bombed."
When U.S. forces inside the Green Zone opened fire on a car carrying four Canadian diplomats, one of the "warning shots" reportedly went "right through the windshield and narrowly missed a passenger."
As 'Some US troops question Woodruff coverage,' a senior military officer tells UPI: "The point that is currently being made (is that) press folks are more important than mere military folks." Plus: 'Army moves soldiers during gay porn probe.'
The Christian Science Monitor reports on a "first-of-its-kind lawsuit" by soldiers of the Massachusetts National Guard, who are seeking to recover "out of pocket expenses" -- amounting to $14,625 in one soldier's case -- incurred while protecting U.S. sites from terrorist attacks.
Opening statements in Enron trial reportedly included a photo collage of Ken Lay titled "American Success Story," and "contrasting excerpts from a meeting Skilling had with employees of Enron Broadband Services and an analyst call eight days later in which Skilling appears to be giving opposite messages." Plus: 'Lay and Skilling in the Dock.'
Read how a Paul Craig Roberts column saved King of Zembla from a sleepless night, spent fretting over "the mere thought of terrorists hijacking our brain."
Sen. Norm Coleman's staff revised his Wikipedia biography, reports the AP, changing a college-era description of the former Democrat from "liberal" to "activist," and deleting a reference to Coleman voting with President Bush 98 percent of the time in 2003.
Coleman's co-chairing of Thursday's National Prayer Breakfast is said to be "the first time in memory that a Jew will be leading the annual religious gathering." Plus: 'A religion that grew from a lot of brew.'
As past of "laying the groundwork ... to prevent a political reaction" to its record profits, Exxon Mobil ran newspaper ads "arguing that profit margins in the industry lagged far behind those of other industries, like pharmaceuticals and banking."
Thursday, February 2, 2006
Five more American soldiers are killed in Iraq, and Baghdad Burning's Riverbend writes that her country's election results leave her "filled with this sort of chill that leaves in its wake a feeling of quiet terror."
"The Bush administration may be scaling down the U.S. force, but Marines and soldiers will be rotating in and out of Iraq for years to come," says former CNN reporter Brian Palmer, embedded with U.S. Marines at Camp Hit, where some are on "their second, third or fourth pump in Iraq."
"I don't think they're coming out," a Justice Department official is quoted as saying, as the administration withholds classified legal opinions, thought to reflect "serious concerns within the Justice Department" on Bush's domestic spying program.
"The question now is whether the President could do it all again," writes Thomas Powers, discussing 'The Biggest Secret,' in his review of James Risen's "State of War."
The BBC's Pentagon correspondent, reviewing declassified plans for "information warfare," reported that "the U.S. military seeks the capability to knock out every telephone, every networked computer, every radar system on the planet."
Monitoring coverage of Cindy Sheehan's arrest, and providing clips, MediaChannel finds a "female-oriented talk show ... outdoing all network news coverage." Although she "broke no laws or rules of any kind," one GOP congressman "wouldn't be so mad if it were just Sheehan ..."
The president reportedly "didn't mean it literally," when he vowed to cut Middle East oil imports by 75 percent: "This was purely an example," explained Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, formerly known as 'One of Texas' Top Five Worst Polluters.'
An energy analyst, appearing as part of a PBS "News Hour" panel, proposed "energy taxes or ... higher taxes on industry, or ... just having Americans give up their Bush tax cut." Plus: 'The Hastert Solution."
'Bush's Brezhnev period' Sidney Blumenthal reviews "a speech so stagnant it would have made the Politburo proud," and Tom D'Antoni adds that "what's missing" from coverage of the State of the Union is "the towering irrelevancy of it all ... He said nothing, badly" -- although some heard him calling for "regime change" in Iran.
As the Enron jury hears testimony that the company "fudged its earnings figures with the knowledge of executives Jeffrey Skilling and Kenneth Lay," Robert Scheer fingers "the politicians who benefited from Lay's largesse, and who changed the law enabling Enron's chicanery."
USA Today's Sandy Grady previews Sunday's ''Surreal Bowl,' "staged in the middle of a wintry city plunged into crisis by back-to-the-wall car manufacturers" -- and "want to bet that the NFL's TV announcers will interview jobless Ford or GM workers at halftime?"
As author James Frey releases an apology penned for "all future editions of his now-tainted book," the Wall Street Journal reports that Frey's memoir "continues to sell."
Concerning the casting of "the least-closeted celebrity this side of Elton John" as a Christian missionary, a Baptist seminary president wrote in his blog that "we must not overreact. And it would probably be an overreaction to firebomb these men's houses."
Stan Cox is "ready to argue that most of the standard anti-Mexican-immigration arguments ... can be applied just as well to the small but swelling tide of immigration by U.S. and Canadian citizens" looking for "La Vida Cheapo."
Friday, February 3, 2006
A memo reportedly documenting a two-hour pre-Iraq war meeting between President Bush and British Prime Minister Blair, is said to reveal "the president of the United States caught conspiring to create a modern-day version of the sinking of the Maine."
With 53 percent of respondents to a new Gallup poll saying the Bush administration "deliberately misled the American public about whether Iraq has weapons of mass destruction," Eric Alterman writes that "The insider press corps cannot connect Bush's war lies to his unpopularity, because it has so much difficulty acknowledging either one."
The Guardian amplifies Amy Goodman's claim that U.S. media reached an "all-time low" by acting as a "cheerleader" for war. Goodman was in Qatar at a forum organized by Al-Jazeera. More from "Democracy Now!" on the satellite channel's popular debate show and its coverage of Fallujah.
Murray Waas reports that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's attempts to discredit Joseph Wilson persisted even after Libby and Vice President Cheney "were personally informed in June 2003" that CIA analysts "no longer believe there is sufficient" credible information to "conclude that Iraq pursued uranium from abroad." And Waas asks: Did Bush receive a PDB regarding Wilson's mission to Niger?
After the surprise election of 'The GOP's New, Familiar Face,' said to be "hip-deep in political contributions from an industry he oversees," and a consistent supporter of religious right positions, a New York Times analysis was headlined, 'Republicans repudiate past.'
A federal judge blasted the "conscience-shocking" actions of former Environmental Protection Agency chief Christine Todd Whitman, in "telling thousands of people that it was safe to return" to a toxic dust-filled lower Manhattan" after 9/11.
The Gadflyer notes that "no one questioned" a claim by self-styled "renaissance man" Ben Stein, that oil company executives "make less than Hollywood stars ... and they do a much greater service," because Stein was talking to "the amateur hour of business journalism," CNN's "In The Money."
President Bush's State of the Union assault on "isolationism and protectionism" was "not only non-credible, it borders on the desperate and pathetic," writes Pat Buchanan, given that "these fellows have an alibi. They were nowhere near the scene of the crime."
Paul Krugman finds evidence in Bush's speech that "this administration is all politics and no policy. It knows how to attain power, but has no idea how to govern." And, Bush's call for civility draws a response.
'Rumsfeld and Negroponte amp up attacks' on Venezuelan President Chavez, and Pat Robertson renews his call for the assassination of Chavez, who told the World Social Forum that "one day the decay inside U.S. imperialism will end up toppling it, and the great people of Martin Luther King will be set free."
Althought 'Protests intensify over Muhammad drawings,' AFP reports that "there was also a sense of relief after millions of Muslims attended Friday prayers without a major outpouring of street violence."
Monday, February 6, 2006
Adventus argues that "it's data mining, whether it affected 5000 people, or only 5 people," and firedoglake's ReddHedd asks: "and how many resources and manhours have been devoted to this program that has yielded nothing whatsoever?"
USA Today reports that telecoms, "including AT&T, MCI and Sprint," are allowing the NSA to spy on calls, "on the basis of oral requests from senior government officials"
As it's reported that 'Oil Graft Fuels the Insurgency' in Iraq, Lawrence Wilkerson tells "Now" that "I participated in a hoax on the American people, the international community and the United Nations Security Council."
Map illustrating death toll over '31 Days in Iraq' includes a suicide bombing in Ramadi, which, according to a dispatch from a U.S. Marine Capt., resulted in "an increase in violence around the city, consisting mainly of Iraqis hunting down foreign terrorists (the al-Qaida in Iraq guys) and killing them."
As most U.S. papers steer clear of controversial cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad, Lebanon apologizes to Denmark following 'Rioting with well-planned spontaneity.' Plus: 'Clash over cartoons is a caricature of civilization.'
"This is not a great time to heat up the old Samuel Huntington garbage about a 'clash of civilizations,'" writes Robert Fisk, recalling that "more than a decade ago ... someone set fire to the cinema" showing "The Last Temptation of Christ" in Paris. And, better Agunua than Daramulun.
A Jordanian newspaper editor tells Newsweek's Christopher Dickey that "Democracy has a new enemy in the region, which is the support [for democracy] by the United States of America." And Tony Karon says it's 'Time for the U.S. to Get Real on Hamas,' which has a 'new doctrine: talk to the Jews.'
With "Lights Out in Tehran," Afghan refugees who returned home are 'queueing up to leave again,' reports an Observer correspondent in Kabul, where "with local unemployment running at 70 per cent there is simply no future for them."
Interpol issues Orange Notice on Yemeni jail break, days after announcing the arrest for criminal impersonation of David Race Bannon, who reportedly "claimed to have been an Interpol agent for 20 years and to have assassinated several hundred people who allegedly participated in human trafficking."
Most state and local health departments reportedly "expect to be unprepared" for a bird flu epidemic "for at least a year," during which time, says one expert, social distancing "is likely to be all we're going to have as a strategy" -- although U.S. Customs is evidently hard at work on another crisis from abroad.
Article citing the "young presidential appointee with no science background" who "came to be supervising Web presentations on cosmology and interview requests to senior NASA scientists," prompts the question: "Has ever a greater scientist had a less worthy oppressor?" Plus: 'The Political Science Test.'
"'It's great having you on, Mr. Secretary,' chirped Matthews. 'You're one of the good guys. We all like you here. You're great... you're a very civil guy and you're bipartisan and everybody likes you and we could use you here in Washington again.'"
"The best CNN could do" in reporting the death of the woman who exposed "the problem that has no name," and who asked, "Is this all?" did not go unnoticed. Plus: "So eager not to frighten middle America ..."
Tuesday, February 7, 2006
'Congress talks tough to Gonzales -- and then turns and runs,' says Slate's Emily Bazelon, deeming Sens. Specter and Graham "not really up for the fight," following a hearing that was "pretty instructive ... on the bizarre embrace into which the legislature and the executive have locked themselves since Sept. 11."
Jonathan Turley accuses the attorney general of invoking "national security for purely political reasons," while Dana Milbank tallies up the number of times Gonzales "recognized the supremacy of congressional authority," and reports a heckle. Plus: 'What's more outrageous? Spying, or invasions?'
Karl Rove is said to have "threatened to blacklist any Republican who votes against the president" in the wiretap hearings, while BuzzFlash advises Democrats to "stop thinking that they are going to win a chess game based on logic."
"I thought that when I debated Professor Turner this morning, I had confronted the most extreme end of the pro-Bush fantacism," writes Glenn Greenwald. "But I was mistaken. [Tuesday] at 2:10 p.m. EST, I'll be on NPR's "To the Point" to discuss the NSA hearings with Powerline's -- Pajamaline? -- John Hinderaker."
While a 'Handful of races may tip control of Congress,' Arianna Huffington argues that 'Spying and Lying' is "a perfect wedge issue for Democrats, a chance to split off conservatives and independents disgusted with the White House's contemptuous disregard for the rule of law and for the truth."
President Bush's proposals to cut 141 domestic programs, in his "deficit reducing" federal budget are compared to "a man who leases three fully loaded Hummers ... and decides his family has to start buying cheaper peanut butter."
"We are on the verge of an exciting time," says "the nation's top nuclear weapons executive," describing "head-to-head competition" to design new thermonuclear weapons and win contracts worth "tens, perhaps hundreds of million of dollars."
'U.S. defense industry frets about high Iraq spending,' with one industry analyst quoted as complaining that "no one was told that there was a choice between Iraq and recapitalizing the nation's military."
A survey of Iraqi children is said to find that "the only things they have on their minds are guns, bullets, death and a fear of the U.S. occupation," while Iraq's Labor Ministry now says that two million Iraq families now earn less than one U.S. dollar per day, with children paying "the silent cost."
As two Afghans protesting the Muhammad cartoons are reportedly killed after torching a police checkpost at the entrance to Bagram Air Base, Iran's largest-selling newspaper announces a contest on cartoons of the Holocaust, and the Electronic Intifada's Ali Abunimah squares off with Fouad Ajami on the "NewsHour."
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof asks readers to contribute to a fund to send Bill O'Reilly to Darfur, as the Washington Times follows Fox News in joining the program. Plus: "What do you watch on TV these days?"
Fires burn four more Alabama churches, after Chris Matthews speculated to a "Hardball" guest that "maybe a more liberal person, who's gay for example," might be responsible for a recent wave of church burnings.
After the silent treatment in D.C., "shortcomings in aid from the U.S. government are making New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin look to other nations for help," reports Reuters, quoting Nagin as saying, "France can take Treme. The king of Jordan can take the Lower Ninth Ward."
Wednesday, February 8, 2006
Knight Ridder's Warren Strobel chronicles an 'exodus of weapons experts' from the State Department, sidelined by Bush-appointed officials and replaced with "less experienced political operatives who share the White House and Pentagon's distrust of international negotiations and treaties."
The Hill reports that the stage will be set for Rep. Tom DeLay to 'ride a rocket' to re-election, after today's expected GOP appointment of the former Majority Leader to a subcommittee that oversees NASA funding.
Although the first source cited in a Wall Street Journal article on why the 'White House Can't Sweep Aside Abramoff' is Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton, the article fails to note that Fitton previously blamed the scandal on Clinton.
Didn't Know Jack In e-mails obtained by Think Progress, "Abramoff describes meeting Bush 'in almost a dozen settings,' and details how he was personally invited to President Bush's private ranch in Crawford, Texas, for a gathering of Bush fundraisers in 2003."
Republican Rep. Heather Wilson, whose subcommittee oversees the NSA, has called for a full Congressional inquiry into the Bush administration's domestic eavesdropping program. Earlier: Wilson and Sen. Joseph Lieberman among 15 lawmakers said 'Addicted to Porn.'
As a Newsday op-ed calls on Democrats to 'Put Up Your Dukes' on wiretaps and war, the founder of the Baltimore Group says that "It's a Democratic failure that this is America's current attitude towards the 4th Amendment."
The Progressive's Ruth Coniff noticed that during Monday's NSA hearing, which received "the appearance of coverage" on cable news, Sen. Lindsey Graham declared that "I stand behind this President being commander-in-chief, to pursue fifth column movements."
Asked during a "NewsHour" interview why "we" didn't anticipate the Iraqi insurgency, Vice President Cheney said, "Well, you can't anticipate everything." And declining to second the notion that the U.S. is "addicted" to oil, Cheney only conceded that "we clearly depend very heavily on it."
As Louisiana's governor declares that "It's time to play hardball" over oil and gas royalties from offshore drilling, "as I believe that's the only game Washington understands," Russ Baker's RealNews launches with an investigation into the 'Unholy Trinity: Katrina, Allbaugh and Brown.'
Introducing a thorough debunking of administration claims about Guantanamo, Stuart Taylor cites Bush's pledge that detainees are treated "humanely" and his implication that to a man, they're "bad people," and concludes: "If the president believes either of these assertions, he is a fool. If he does not, choose your own word for him."
After Bush received a "rare, in-person rebuke" at Coretta Scott King's funeral, Left Coaster sat back to 'Watch the Mighty Wurlitzer Start,' disputing the notion that "the six-hour service ... seemed to strive mightily to project a theme of inclusion, and the setting aside of political differences."
Among the ads cited in a lawsuit accusing Craigslist of publishing discriminatory housing advertisements, as reported by the Chicago Tribune: "Non-women of Color NEED NOT APPLY" and "Requirements: Clean Godly Christian Male." Plus: 'Racial Suicide' in Europe.
Thursday, February 9, 2006
A new Pew Research poll finds that although President Bush got "no bounce" from his State of the Union address, he "appears to be making headway with his defense of the government's authority to conduct warrantless wiretaps of suspected terrorists," thanks to a shift in support from "moderate and liberal Republicans."
A sidebar to a Christian Science Monitor report on a 'massive data sweep' planned by the U.S. government points out that "Some antiterror efforts die -- others just change names," while increased surveillance is said to be "touching off a scramble among third parties to meet the demand for assistance."
Murray Waas reports that Vice President 'Cheney "Authorized" Libby to Leak Classified Information,' including "portions of a then-still highly classified National Intelligence Estimate regarding Saddam Hussein's purported efforts to develop nuclear weapons" -- according to Libby's testimony to a federal grand jury.
As 'Israel plans to build "museum of tolerance" on Muslim graves,' the head of Shin Bet warns that Israel 'may rue Saddam overthrow,' reportedly arguing that "a strong dictatorship would be preferable" to "chaos" in Iraq.
As a new report finds that only eight percent of Guantanamo detainees are al-Qaedaites, the number of hunger strikers has dropped to four, according to a military spokesman, quoted as saying that while "a restraint system to aid detainee feeding" was being used, the force-feeding was carried out "in a humane and compassionate manner."
One lawyer says he was told by a client that many hunger strikers had "abandoned their protest after being strapped in restraint chairs and having their feeding tubes inserted and removed so violently that some bled or fainted." And another says that "Because of the actions in Congress, the military feels emboldened to take more extreme measures..."
In addition to being "rewarded by party leaders Wednesday with a seat on the Appropriations Committee," Rep. Tom DeLay "was also given a seat on the subcommittee overseeing the Justice Department, which is investigating an influence-peddling scandal involving the disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his dealings with lawmakers."
'Rich Guys Over Here' editorializes the New York Times, after Homeland Security approved the diversion of 16 airport screeners to meet the needs of "selective" passengers at the first "federalized" heliport.
While "the American Left has adopted largely a laissez-faire attitude toward media infrastructure, writes Robert Parry, "the Right's subsidizing of media may be the most under-reported money-in-politics story in modern American history."
After the Rev. Joseph Lowery defended his remarks at the funeral of Coretta Scott King, MSNBC host Tucker Carlson found it "unbelievable that people get to sermonize about politics in church," while another guest maintained that "not everyone stood up and applauded."
A Washington Post analysis of a 5-year budget printout reveals 'Years of Deep Cuts' ahead, even for some programs "slated for increases" in the near term -- and "once inflation is taken into account, the cuts look far deeper."
Speak Speak finds an AP story characterizing $36 billion in Medicare cuts as "savings," and "farmers, teachers [and] doctors" as "groups with special interests."
As the Grammys draw the "J.D. Salinger of funk" out of seclusion, tribute is paid to a 'Once and Future' icon, and a Black Commentator contributor wonders, "What in the hell is going on with our music?"
Friday, February 10, 2006
"So either Cheney or Bush (or both) ordered the release of classified information, which according to Bush is a crime," writes Mark Kleiman. "And anyone who commits a crime has to leave the administration." Plus: Was Bush's foiled terror plot story timed to obscure?
CIA and State Department officials tell Jason Leopold that on March 9, 2003, following a CNN appearance by Joseph Wilson, "they attended a meeting at the Vice President's office chaired by Cheney, and it was there that a decision was made to discredit Wilson." And Al Franken asks a former Time reporter, "Why can't you just say they're big liars?"
The Washington Post reports on an article in Foreign Affairs by a former CIA official who coordinated U.S. intelligence on the Middle East. "Official intelligence on Iraqi weapons programs was flawed, but even with its flaws, it was not what led to the war," writes Paul Pillar, charging that "intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made..."
Pillar, who managed the writing of the National Intelligence Estimates on Iran from 2000 to 2005, tells IPS that "Iranian perceptions of threat, especially from the United States and Israel, were not the only factor, but were in our judgment part of what drove whatever effort they were making to build nuclear weapons."
Although the New York Times headlines 'White House knew of levee's failure on night of storm,' other documents reveal that "The first internal White House communication about levee failures came at 11:13 a.m...." One Congressman told the Times that the only government agency that performed well was the National Weather Service.
Testifying before Congress, former FEMA Director Michael Brown "said he spoke by phone to a top White House official ... on at least two occasions on that day to inform him of what was going on," reports AP. "I think I told him that we were realizing our worst nightmare," recalled Brown. Plus: 'Heckuva Job, Norm.'
About the claim that a provision in a Defense appropriations bill offering pharmaceutical companies vaccine liability protection, was added "after the conference had concluded" and "at the specific direction of the speaker of the House and the majority leader of the Senate," Marty Kaplan asks: 'What -- No Up-or-Down Vote, Dr. Frist?'
While President Bush's budget calls for 141 programs to be cut or killed, Newsweek's Allan Sloan discovered that "with no fanfare whatsoever, Bush stuck a big Social Security privatization plan in the federal budget proposal." Plus: Senate Finance Committee chairman accuses the administration of seeking to end "a pittance for widows and widowers."
A nurse working for the Veterans Administration in New Mexico is under investigation for sedition, after writing a letter said to be critical of the war in Iraq, the federal response to Katrina, and "the government which employs you."
'Enemies of the State' A report from Tokyo chronicles the arrest and conviction of a small group of antiwar activists, for handing out fliers protesting "Japan's first dispatch of troops to a war zone since the Second World War."
As 'Malaysia bans possession of Prophet cartoons,' the Danish editor who commissioned the originals is sent on leave, and the head of Hezbollah tells a six-figure crowd in Beirut, "Let Condoleezza Rice and Bush and all the tyrants shut up."
Hamas joins call for calm in cartoon row,' as Russian President Putin says that "we are willing in the near future to invite the authorities of Hamas to Moscow to carry out talks," prompting Israel's foreign minister to warn of a "slippery slope." Plus: 'Israel and US on back foot over Hamas.'
Calling for 'A New Black Power' in an excerpt from his new book, "Life Out Of Context," Walter Mosely argues that a Black Voting Bloc could help "democratize America by taking power away from the two-party system and ... the centrist attendants of the rich."
Monday, February 13, 2006
'More questions raised about delay in reporting Cheney misfire,' including a Chicago Tribune reporter asking: "How is it that Vice President Cheney can shoot a man, albeit accidentally, on Saturday during a hunting trip and the American public not be informed of it until today?"
"When the shooting was finally reported, it was told as a joke," notes Rigorous Intuition, adding, "Remember, this is a man who attended the Auschwitz memorial ceremony dressed for a duck hunt." Plus: "Was the VEEP, like so many tough-guy hunters, juiced for this hunt?"
Both Barrels Democratic and Republican senators call for an investigation into the possible leaking of classified information by Vice President Cheney and others, and John Dean says that "Cheney has stirred up an old fight in Washington. He sent a rookie, however, to make his case publicly. It did not work."
A criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the New York Times article that reinstigated the fight is "rapidly expanding," reports the Times, which cites a Commentary magazine article suggesting that "the newspaper might be prosecuted for violations of the Espionage Act."
"I pray that our chair is not used for torture," says an Iowa man, as a draft U.N. report concludes that the treatment of Guantanamo detainees "must be assessed as amounting to torture," and Ann Louise Bardach details how 'For one Marine, torture came home.'
The CIA's top counter-terrorism official is 'sacked for opposing torture,' and Nick Turse honors the "unlikely rebels" of the "Fallen Legion" waging 'Guerrilla Warfare in Washington.' Plus: 'The Trust Gap.'
In a new TV spot from the folks who blanketed the airwaves with "Ashley's Story," a Marine reservist says: "You'd never know it from the news reports. But our enemy in Iraq is al-Qaida, the same terrorists who killed 3,000 Americans on 9-11..." Or, as one columnist wrote, "Fellow Americans, the Swift Boating of Iraq has begun."
As a News & Observer report details how the 'Pentagon's messy books defy auditors,' the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction tells "60 Minutes" that $8.8 billion is "not accounted for" and says that oversight early on with the Coalition Provisional Authority "was relatively non-existent."
"60 Minutes" also obtained a memo in which the Baghdad airport's security director wrote that contractor "Custer Battles has shown themselves to be unresponsive, uncooperative, incompetent, deceitful, manipulative and war profiteers. Other than that, they are swell fellows." Plus: 'Baghdad Embassy Bonanza'
After witnessing a 5:00 am scene that found her aunt's house suddenly "filled with strange men, yelling out orders and stomping into rooms," Baghdad Burning's Riverbend asks: "Who do you call to protect you from the New Iraq's security forces?"
19 killed in Iraq, as 'Shiites select Al-Jaafari as prime minister,' reportedly reflecting "the growing power of anti-American fundamentalists within the new Parliament," Knight Ridder reports that a "more moderate and progressive" candidate "lost by one vote."
A video of "42 brainless blows" reportedly shows beatings of Iraqi youths by British troops, eliciting the argument that 'the video is not the problem,' as Lila Rajiva welcomes the U.K. to the 'Axis of Child Abusers.'
As Slate's William Saletan probes 'The temptation of remote-controlled killing,' weapons expert David Hambling reviews Air Force efforts to "hack directly into your nervous system," with new technology said to "remotely create physical sensations."
The first photo published of President Bush and Jack Abramoff together, is said to show that Abramoff "was able to gain access to the White House -- and score a presidential meeting -- for a man Abramoff sought as a client."
Although attending the funeral of Coretta Scott King may have felt like "eating sawdust without butter," Craig Crawford and Cynthia Tucker counsel the president to "find more venues" to "take your lumps in public."
"This half-decade tsunami of scandals has had the intended effect," writes Peter Daou, "overload the senses, short circuit the outrage, dizzy the opposition," adding that a glance at coverage "would lead you to believe that the most important piece of news today is that a British man accused of killing his wife and child will return to the U.S. to face trial."
More than half of last Thursday's "Anderson Cooper 360" newscast -- hours one and two -- was devoted to the murder, with CNN even dispatching its Capitol Hill correspondent to "investigate." Is Cooper next?
TV Newser notes that NBC News anchor Brian Williams informed viewers watching coverage of the Winter Olympics' opening ceremonies, that "Italy is the third largest contributor of troops to the coalition forces in Iraq."
As it's reported that "the born-again Christian who chairs media giant News Corporation, has been secretly building a stable of wholly-owned pornographic channels for his BSkyB subsidiary," the seller of Nevada's Chicken Ranch says the new owner's "a good guy... He's been around the brothel industry for a long time."
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
With the Afghanistan death toll besting Iraq's, four U.S. troops were killed when a bomb hit their armored vehicle, and two Pakistani nomad women reportedly died when a U.S. rocket landed on their tent in North Waziristan, where the Taliban have declared the establishment of an "Islamic state."
Unnamed U.S. and Israeli officials float a plan "to destabilize the Palestinian government so that newly elected Hamas officials will fail and elections will be called again," while Israel is said to have "effectively annexed" the Jordan Valley, prohibiting West Bank Palestinians from entering the area.
A Los Angeles Times op-ed argues that the U.S. has not "stood up to Khartoum," or taken the lead in protecting civilians, out of deference to 'Our friend, an architect of the genocide in Darfur.'
Anti-American action film -- "Valley of The Wolves Iraq" -- does boffo box office in Turkey, where "public opinion of America has been steadily declining since the invasion of Iraq," reports the New York Times, citing an Istanbul sociology professor who "believes that the perceived U.S. support for the Kurds is at the heart of this decline."
The Baltimore Sun reports that 1 in 6 Army recruits with "background problems" were given waivers last year, despite medical problems or "a history of criminal conduct or drug and alcohol problems." But, 'The Air Force Flies Right.'
An American Bar Association resolution calls on President Bush "to either stop domestic eavesdropping without a warrant or get the law changed to make it legal," after an ABA poll finds "77 percent of Americans" expressing "deep reservations about the president's secret surveillance program."
As the Los Angeles Times joins a few other U.S. newspapers in reporting the charges made in "Lawless World," Robert Parry maintains that "politicization of intelligence has been a goal of neoconservative operatives for three decades," and says that former CIA official Paul Pillar, "in effect, corroborates" the "Downing Street Memo."
'It's open season on Dick Cheney,' who "overruled the advice of several members of the White House staff and insisted on sticking to a plan for releasing information about his hunting accident," reports Time, as Editor & Publisher finds that several newspapers carried "wildly different accounts" of what transpired after Cheney shot 'a Texas Liberal.'
Although the type of birdshot Cheney was using is said to be "unknown," a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department report reveals that he was firing an Italian-made Perazzi, the same brand that Sen. John Kerry was ridiculed for toting during the presidential campaign.
Former GOP fundraiser Tom Noe was charged with 53 felony counts by a grand jury in Ohio, where the Bush Pioneer was a 2004 re-election campaign chairman, while his wife was reported to have done "some election reform of her own."
Left Out Media Matters' research finds that during President Bush's first term, Republicans or conservatives accounted for 58 percent of the guests on Sunday political talk shows, 10 points higher than Democrats or progressives represented during Bill Clinton's second term.
'Bush Spent $1.6 Billion on "Spin"' and 'Prepackaged News' -- in what MediaCitizen calls "a scheme to make U.S. taxpayers pay for their own deception" -- and Mike Whitney details the Pentagon's "comprehensive strategy for taking over the internet."
U.S. oil companies are reportedly poised to collect a $7 billion windfall in royalty relief, despite high prices, with the amount of royalty-free gas and oil "expected to double over the next five years."
As an Abu Dhabi court sentences more than 20 men to five years in prison for being gay, a Gonzaga booster group urges fans of the university's basketball team to stop yelling "Brokeback Mountain" at opposing players.
In an article discussing Cindy Sheehan's decision not to challenge Sen. Diane Feinstein, Don Santina distinguishes "People Democrats" from the "Royal Democrats," who "are not that much far removed from the old Jim Crow Democrats who became Republicans when the Democratic Party embraced civil rights legislation."
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
"I would be inclined to leave Cheney to the mercy of Jon Stewart and Jay Leno if it weren't for other signs that this administration has jumped the tracks," writes David Ignatius. "What worries me most is the administration's misuse of intelligence information to advance its political agenda. For a country at war, this is truly dangerous."
'National security whistle-blowers allege retaliation' in testimony before "spellbound lawmakers," with former NSA employee Russell Tice "expressing concerns about a 'special access' electronic surveillance program that he characterized as far more wide-ranging" than the warrentless wiretapping program.
The number of names on the National Counterterrorism Center's list of international terrorism suspects or people who allegedly aid them, has reportedly quadrupled to 325,000 since the fall of 2003.
As 21 percent of respondents to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll say it's "very likely or somewhat likely" that their conversations had been wiretapped, the Commentary editor who argues that the New York Times should be prosecuted, debates Alan Dershowitz.
Newsweek just reported that "The Senate intelligence committee is likely to vote to open an investigation into the NSA's wiretapping program," but the Washington Post says a 'Congressional probe of NSA spying is in doubt,' following an "all-out White House lobbying campaign."
Although "the NSA scandal is at a crossroad," Glenn Greenwald finds that, despite public opinion polls, "many Democrats are slowly slouching towards the path they almost always end up taking."
An NBC story was scrubbed of the ranch owner's comment that "There may be a beer or two in there, but remember not everyone in the party was shooting," and CNN's Bruce Morton said that while Bush "likes to hunt quail with family and friends" and Cheney "loves to hunt," Kerry "spent time posing with guns."
A "senior Bush adviser" is quoted as saying that if Cheney "just apologizes and tells the press to stop making a mountain out of a molehill ... the thing is done" -- but Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell and TNR's Ryan Lizza raise some 'Troubling Questions About Cheney's Boss.'
Sen. Norm Coleman wants everyone to "take a step back from the politics," telling Wolf Blitzer that "my prayers are with the vice president ... and with the gentleman who is now in a hospital." Coleman also talks of how he "kind of went after" former FEMA head Michael Brown.
As senators questioned Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff over a report which found that "thousands of Hurricane Katrina's victims could have been spared," Chertoff reportedly urged them to 'See Successes.'
'Iraqi Violence Claims 18 Lives,' including schoolchildren, as 'Baghdad residents take security into own hands' and the U.S. Army reviews another 'Friendly Fire' fatality. Plus: 'Can You Say "Permanent Bases"?'
The New York Times chronicles the 'Quick Rise' of the Lincoln Group among 'Purveyors of Propaganda' in Iraq, and reports that "the firm is hunting for more government work," in addition to its Special Ops contract worth up to $100 million.
The Los Angeles Times reports that disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff "took credit" for arranging a meeting between President Bush and the prime minister of Malaysia, and boasted that a Karl Rove assistant was his White House "implant."
Thursday, February 16, 2006
After "neither Chertoff nor Cheney could come up with much in the way of what he had done wrong," one commentator wrote that "the message Vice President Dick Cheney got out Wednesday" was that "If you accidentally shoot a hunting buddy in the face, make it about the media."
Although 'Unresolved' and 'Unanswered' questions remain, the AP reports that the Kenedy County Sheriff's dispatcher, "speaking for the department, said the case is closed and no charges will be filed. She said Sheriff Ramon Salinas would have no comment on the report."
With Attorney General Alberto Gonzales 'Withholding Plame Emails' -- citing "executive privilege" and "national security concerns" -- a Cheney claim of "power to declassify" secrets reportedly "could set up a criminal defense" for his former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, in the CIA leak case.
12 hours of tape recordings obtained by ABC News, in which Saddam Hussein reportedly speaks of how he "warned the United States it could be hit by a terrorist attack ... but not from Iraq," will evidently be released to the public this weekend.
In a report featured on ABC's "Nightline," -- "In Their Own Words: Reading the Iraqi Insurgency" -- the International Crisis Group finds that "the insurgency is increasingly optimistic about victory."
'Falling Down' In compiling a wartime playlist for Seattle Weekly, Angela Gunn finds that "less than five years after 9/11, the dearth of war-related songs from either the left or the right suggested that the fondest hopes of the Cheney-Rove crowd have been realized: We've normalized to being at war in perpetuity."
As the New York Times reports that "top political appointees in the NASA press office exerted strong pressure during the 2004 presidential campaign to cut the flow of news releases" on global warming and other sensitive topics, the Wall Street Journal cites NOAA scientists as saying that "the agency has begun keeping closer tabs on their comments to journalists," with public affairs "minders" sitting in on more interviews.
"If you're not doing anything wrong, why should you worry about it?" says Houston's police chief, regarding his proposal for "placing surveillance cameras in apartment complexes, downtown streets, shopping malls and even private homes." Plus: Your cell phone as a "miniature tracking device."
As he bids 'Farewell to Ground Zero,' Jonathan Schell argues that the Bush administration's project for "a profound transformation of the American state ... had even less to do with 9/11 than did the Iraq War."
Robert Koehler argues that the "Democrats are chasing ghosts instead of Republicans," with the specter of George McGovern's defeat "seeming to guarantee uncritical Democratic support... for every ... civil-liberties outrage concocted in the name of national security," and fear of 'The Nader Effect' causing the party to "upchuck the very medicine that will save it."
Bradblog reports that the governor of Maryland, calling for a return to paper ballots, has written a letter stating that "the cost of Maryland's Diebold voting machines has skyrocketed as our confidence in the system has plummeted."
The Black Commentator's Margaret Kimberley notes that the $385 million contract for 'Halliburton Detention Centers' "may also provide migrant detention support ... in the event of an immigration emergency."
Friday, February 17, 2006
An exclusive interview 'pays off' as Fox News 'withholds the video of Cheney's drinking acknowledgment.' And as President Bush 'Denies accident shows an overly secretive White House,' Peggy Noonan says that "This is a White House that likes to hit refresh when the screen freezes."
Harry Wittington apologizes to Cheney, whose defender Mary Matalin is credited with "an excellent turn of phrase" -- and fact-checked for her claim that, with regard to "the Abu Ghraib situation ... The pejorative 'secretive' ... is a creation of Cheney critics."
"The Abu Ghraib images bring home, again, what has inspired outrage among the Arab and Muslim masses around the world," writes the WSWS's David Walsh, calling "The racist cartoons... merely the final indignity."
As Bush 'War Spending Nears Half-Trillion Dollars' -- with "no downward motion at all" seen in monthly costs -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice admits 'Mistakes' while 'Outrage Spreads Over New Images.'
A federal 'Judge Orders Spying Documents Released,' but 'Senate GOP blocks eavesdropping probe,' and House Intelligence Committee reportedly agrees to focus "on whether federal surveillance laws needed to be changed and not on the eavesdropping program itself."
As the Springfield Republican accuses Attorney General Alberto Gonzales of "gagging two of the former officials who would best be able to provide some real insight into the creation of the domestic spying program," Bloomberg columnist Ann Woolner warns, "Don't expect much of an answer from the Office of Professional Responsibility."
James Hansen, the NASA 'scientist Bush tried to gag' tells the Independent that "We don't have much time left" -- and tells CNN's Lou Dobbs that "this is not limited to NASA. In fact, the problem is more serious in NOAA and still worse in EPA."
After receiving 'The Full Barnes Treatment' from "the perfect Bush hack," American prospect's Chris Mooney finds it "hard to decide what's the bigger outrage here: 1) That Bush didn't tell the public his real 'dissenter' view on global warming; or 2) that Karl Rove set up a secret science advisory session for the president with a novelist."
A Gallup review of recent polling data is said to show that Republicans are much more likely to own guns than Democrats or Independents.
After 'New wave of bad publicity ... puts Pentagon back on the defensive,' White House spokesman Scott McClellan dismissed a U.N. report, which called on the U.S. to shut down Gitmo, as "rehash of allegations that have been made by lawyers representing some of the detainees."
A Mother Jones article on "How the Democrats took Paul Hackett out," describes a "whisper campaign" spreading "swift boat" rumors that Hackett committed war crimes in Iraq, but David Sirota argues that Hackett withdrew because he saw the internals.
'Sorry We Missed Church ...' Michael Ventura doffs his fedora to two women in a tin-can car in Lubbock, whose bumper sticker didn't say, PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN.
Monday, February 20, 2006
A recently retired Pentagon lawyer repeatedly challenged the Bush administration's interrogation policy, reports The New Yorker. The Republican appointee tells the magazine that "It seems odd to me that the actors weren't more troubled by what they were doing ... To preserve flexibility, they were willing to throw away our values."
As Slate's Dahlia Lithwick wonders why three major reports on Guantanamo released within a span of two weeks doesn't constitute a big story, "The Road to Guantanamo" wins best director award at the Berlin Film Festival, where "Politics is what gets them worked up."
The Los Angeles Times editorializes that having something called an Intelligence Committee "is an irony George Orwell would have truly appreciated. In a world without Doublespeak, the panel, chaired by GOP Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, would be known by a more appropriate name -- the Senate Coverup Committee."
As 'U.S. military planes criss-cross Europe posing as civilian flights,' the case of one traveler, "detained by our government, sent to Syria to be tortured, held for ten months, and ... left without any legal recourse," is said to show that "accidents will happen" in the war on terror.
Hamas selects a prime minister, and a Toronto Star columnist argues that "If Hamas must renounce violence, so should Israel," while a joke told for the benefit of Israel's "Hamas team" is said to be "incomparably worse than the Danish caricature."
Blowback? The London Times reports that British government officials regard as "coincidence" a 'fourfold increase in uranium levels' in U.K. atmosphere during the "shock and awe" bombing campaign of March 2003.
Pondering "the Moscow show-trial moment in which the victim of Mr. Cheney's recklessness apologized for getting shot," Paul Krugman wonders, "Where have all the mensches gone?"
The AP finds Vice President Cheney's 'Accident tale filled with discrepancies,' the Houston Chronicle reports that "a clear picture of exactly what happened on the ranch's Comal Pasture has yet to emerge," and a political science professor speaks of "a deference to [South Texas] ranch owners that would astound most Americans."
"Dick Cheney did not make a mistake," since "Non-communication has become the standard procedure, not a breakdown in practice but the essence of it," argues Jay Rosen, who also writes of "a new game, in which flagrant factual contradiction is not a problem, but itself a form of cultural politics."
Before her supporting role appearance in 'The Mary Matalin Horror Show,' Maureen Dowd wrote that "I love it when Shooter and Rummy call us unrealistic for trying to hold them to standards that they set. They are, after all, victims of their own spin on Iraq."
A Newsweek report on 'Cheney's Secret World' raises the possibility that the vice president acted unilaterally in ordering that United Flight 93 be shot down: "The factual narrative, closely read, offers no evidence that Cheney sought initial authorization from the president."
Peter Beinart argues that since 9/11, "America's political television has failed almost as egregiously as America's political leaders... What the viewer needs is less opinion than information," and the Washington Post's ombudswoman agrees with a reader that Dana Milbank's work should be labeled as opinion.
The NAACP is calling on the Justice Department to postpone city elections in New Orleans, where firearm sales are reportedly 'booming since Katrina,' and where "a belief exists among many ... that the natural mortality rate of New Orleanians -- whether still in the city or relocated -- has increased dramatically since, and perhaps because of, Katrina."
With the Medicare drug plan seen as a liability for Republicans, a new study says President Bush's proposal to expand Health Savings Accounts would result in more uninsured people. The current number is 45 million, according to an Observer correspondent who also found '37 million poor hidden in the land of plenty.'
As prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald calls document requests by Lewis Libby's lawyers, "a transparent effort at 'graymail,'" the Washingtonian reveals further correspondence with Jack Abramoff, who described a photo taken with President Bush as they discussed working out with weights, and another in which they both had "Cheshire cat grins."
Rocker-comedian Henry Rollins received "a letter from a nice woman" in Australia, who works in "one of those Government areas that deals with antiterrorism matters," after a fellow passenger saw the book Rollins was reading on an airplane.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
As Iraq suffers "the bloodiest day in almost two months," the commandant of a U.S. counterinsurgency academy in Iraq -- 'Giving Officers a New Mind-Set' -- says that "You can ask just about every Iraqi, 'What about the elections?'" and "They'll say ... 'Well, we voted five times, and nothing's happening out here.'"
The Los Angeles Times reports on the "effort to distance" U.S. forces from Iraqi death squads in the highway patrol, quoting one anonymous officer as saying: "We don't train them, we don't give them equipment, we don't conduct site visits over there. They are just bad, criminal people."
After 'U.S. threatens to cut aid to Iraq,' Iraq's Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari reportedly warned that "Iraqis would not accept interference in their affairs," in an article which also mentions why one 'Iraqi Province Cuts Off U.S. Forces.'
Reflecting on her recently ended three-year stint in Iraq, a Wall Street Journal reporter writes that "In the quest for a safe place, I moved eight times" in three years, with each location "more heavily fortified than the last." Plus: War claims yet another victim?
The winners of the 2005 George Polk Awards include a Chicago Tribune reporter and photographer whose 'Pipeline to Peril' investigated the massacre of 12 Nepalese men in Iraq, and uncovered forced labor and human trafficking that was financed by a $12 billion U.S. contract awarded to Halliburton subsidiary, KBR.
As it's reported that Dubai Ports World "has at least two ties to the White House," one commentator argues that "The company should be evaluated on its qualifications to operate the ports, not on McCarthy-like litmus tests for Arabs or the UAE."
Although 'Policing porn is not part of job description' for Homeland Security officers, $100,000 in Homeland Security grants reportedly "went to fund the federal Child Pornography Tipline," as part of 'America's fleecing in the name of security.'
The CIA and five other agencies have secretly reclassified more than 55,000 previously declassified documents since 1999, reports the New York Times, quoting the historian who discovered the program as saying of the material: "Some of it is mundane, and some of it is outright ridiculous."
Seeing danger in "the media's failure to react to Bush's unprecedented assertion of power inside the United States," Robert Parry argues that "with only a few exceptions, the commentators who bungled Iraq's WMD" continue to "behave as Bush's cheerleaders" and to wave "pom-poms."
As 'U.S. media drops Abu Ghraib torture issue', New York Daily News borough columnist Denis Hamill observes that "the guys delivering the so-called news on TV gab shows these days are the same guys Woodward and Bernstein investigated."
The problem with Alice Walton's purchase -- for $35 million -- of Asher B. Durand's 1849 painting, "Kindred Spirits," says Rebecca Solnit, is that the painting is "a touchstone for a set of American ideals that Wal-Mart has been savaging." It will hang in the Walton family museum that's being built in Bentonville. Earlier: 'Philanthropy the Wal-Mart way.'
As internal postings leaked to Wal-Mart Watch reveal 'tough talk' from the proprietor of "Lee's Garage," author Charles Fishman, who profiled 'The man who said no to Wal-Mart,' says the company "gets inside our brains and changes how we think about what things should cost and what their value is, and it changes our perception of quality."
'Friends of Scooter Libby Launch Web Site, Want Your Money,' for "one of the unsung heroes in fighting the war on terror." The chairman of the fundraising effort is former U.S. Ambassador to Italy, Melvin Sembler.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
After "the first president in 176 years to serve a full term without exercising this power" was said to have "duct-taped his hands to the steering wheel" in a 'Showdown over ports' on Tuesday, the White House on Wednesday "acknowledged that he did not know about it until recently."
Rutgers prof Deepa Kumar finds progressives providing "liberal cover for right-wing arguments," and the Los Angeles Times editorializes that the "bipartisan hissy fit" over the ports deal "provides members of Congress an opportunity to talk tough and pander to the terrorism-rattled xenophobe in us all."
As an effort is undertaken to 'count Bush's mistakes,' Defense Secretary Rumsfeld says he "just misstated the facts" when claiming last Friday that the U.S. military was no longer paying to plant news stories in the Iraqi media.
The blast triggered more than 90 reprisal attacks on Sunni mosques, reports the AP, and President Jalal Talabani "warned that extremists were pushing the country toward civil war."
An Asia Times report says the situation in Pakistan "is fast coming to a head," with President General Pervez 'Musharraf losing his grip.'
With its missile strike on Damadola, the U.S. "handed the Islamists a victory of considerable proportions," which according to Andrew Bacevich arose from the Bush policy of 'Sending a general to do a sheriff's job.'
As a U.S. military commander acknowledges force feeding at Guantanamo, 98 prisoners have died in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan since August 2002, with at least 34 suspected or confirmed homicide, according to a Human Rights First report.
A Linda Callahan is denied a Yahoo! e-mail account, and the leaders of a Toledo-based Muslim charity claim it was shuttered in retaliation for Hamas' victory. The U.S. Treasury Department alleges that KindHearts has links to a number of individuals and groups with Hamas connections.
As it's argued that 'Palestinians are being robbed by Israel,' Haaretz's election blog suggests that 'Hamas could be just what we needed," while the group's leader says that "Talking to Israel is a waste of time as long as there is no talk about withdrawing from Palestine." Plus: Hamas brand watered down.
Reviewing "Imposter," Publisher's Weekly says Bruce Bartlett's "attack boils down to one key premise: Bush is a shallow opportunist who has cast aside the principles of the 'Reagan Revolution' for short-term political gains..." Earlier: 'Outspoken Conservative Loses His Place at the Table.'
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had a 'heckler tossed' during an appearance at the American Enterprise Institute that was broadcast on C-SPAN. Scalia was keynoting a conference on the "Outsourcing of American Law," that included John Yoo as a panelist.
The Washington Post reports that wildlife biologists at the Bureau of Land Management have been taken out of the field and put to work processing drilling permits, quoting one biologist who recently quit as saying that he "spent less than 1 percent of my time in the field."
While accusing Enron founder Ken Lay of misleading investors, a former company executive informed the jury of a board member's complaint that "Mr. Lay was using Enron as a damn ATM machine."
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Despite reports of "more than 130 deaths, mostly of Sunnis," in Iraq, 'U.S. Downplays Civil War Threat' -- although one military spokesman admits that "some drive-by shootings against mosques have been reported ..."
As an Iraqi vice president, a Shiite, tells the Washington Post that "This is as 9/11 in the United States," Philip Kennicott, reminding that "New Yorkers were horrified by the fact that the simple, certain form of their skyline had been altered," asks the reader to "imagine that same wound to the orderliness of the world magnified by an overlay of religious disbelief."
The Boston Globe is closing its Baghdad office -- a room at the Hamra Hotel -- because of security costs, reports Editor & Publisher, noting that the Tribune-owned Baltimore Sun and Newsday have recently closed, or may close, bureaus in Beijing, Mexico City and London, which the Sun had maintained since 1924.
A Palestinian-American columnist describes how the Chicago Tribune's ombudsman took a parting shot at the lack of Palestinian op-ed voices in U.S. papers, and a familiar figure takes to the op-ed page, where he writes of having "just returned from Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco."
As Iran pledges financial support for a Hamas-controlled government, Secretary of State Rice is greeted with expressions of continued support for Hamas in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, with the latter's reaction seen as "a significant crack in the wall of isolation the U.S. is trying to build around Hamas." Plus: 'How Neo-Cons sabotaged Iran's help on al-Qaeda.'
According to Xymphora, "the hypocritic method is now being used in the Middle East."
Sen. Orrin Hatch's claim that "Nobody with brains" denies that Saddam was "supporting" al-Qaeda, leads to an airing of the issue in Utah. GlobalSecurity.org's John Pike is quoted as saying, "I guess I don't have a brain, then," and it's noted that Paul Pillar called it a "manufactured issue." And, there's 'The "memogate" lie that will not die.'
A test-market TV station refused to run a pro-Iraq War ad which claims "That the media only reports the bad news" and "you would never know it from the news reports, but the enemy in Iraq is al Qaeda." One vet who debunked the ad called it "slick packaging for a troubled product."
Following a segment on military handout photos, "On the Media" airs concerns about the civilian version being pushed out by the White House, and a Hill reporter reveals the techniques behind 'The fine art of flacking,' as practiced by politicians and their aides.
As 'Drives to ban gay adoption heat up in 16 states,' the South Dakota Senate passes a bill that would ban nearly all abortions in the state. The bill's main sponsor is a Democrat, and a Republican Senator's amendment to include an exception for victims of rape was defeated.
Although "only about 20 people" have relocated to South Carolina in response to his call, the founder of Christian Exodus reportedly now believes that "turning the state into a conservative Christian Promised Land will be easier than he had thought."
"If only the NeoCon Bellowing Corporation would have had the imagination and the backbone to fully and fairly cover what was happening," laments Dave Zirin, "these Winter Olympics would not have been such a staggering waste of time and talent."
Friday, February 24, 2006
As it's reported that "Violence spreads in Iraq as militia groups take to the streets," Juan Cole's read on an Al Hayat article is that "Astonishingly, Sistani seems to be threatening to deploy his own militia ... if the Iraqi government doesn't do a better job of protecting Shiites and their holy sites."
"On the one hand, we don't want to give the impression that we're not focused on this," a senior State Department official is quoted as saying. "On the other hand, we don't want to play up the 'we're on the brink of civil war argument.'"
David Sirota argues that a devotion to "free-trade fundamentalism," by "the most corporate-controlled administration in recent history," explains "why the president threatened his veto," while Rigorous Intuition rounds up evidence suggesting that "we're way past politics here."
As a 'Blogger bares Rumsfeld's post 9/11 orders,' Ted Koppel, referring to "the Bush administration's touchiness about charges that we acted -- and are still acting -- in Iraq 'because of oil,'" says, "Now that's curious."
FBI agents opposed "aggressive interrogation tactics" by U.S. military personnel at Guantanamo, but their protests were overridden by Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, according to documents released by the ACLU, one of which refers to DHS interrogators showing detainees homosexual porn movies and wrapping them in the Israeli flag.
As a federal judge orders the Pentagon to release the identities of Guantanamo detainees, one commentator asks: "So how did these previously unreleased pictures get in the hands of a small television station in Australia and why were they leaked now?"
"Vigilance is the watch-word now," says blogger and Republican, Gregory Djerejian, "not only re: our many enemies abroad, but also with regard to key administration actors ... Yoo. Addington. Haynes. Cheney. Rumsfeld. Gonzalez. Wrong on the law. Wrong on our values. Wrong for America."
The awarding of a $385 million contract to Halliburton subsidiary KBR to construct detention centers in the U.S., prompts an inquiry into what 'new programs' might be on the drawing board, as the National Journal reveals that an old program has new life. Plus: Columnist thanks library "for having the guts to say, hell no."
All the President's Friends In a letter to the Director of National Intelligence, Sen. Jay Rockefeller charges that the Bush administration "authorized" leaks of classified information to Bob Woodward for "Bush At War," that may have damaged national security.
"I can't imagine anything worse, your loved one is killed in Iraq and you've got to deal with Fred Phelps," says the deputy director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project. "It's nice that these veterans and their supporters are trying to do something."
"We used to be excited when a newspaper that no one had ever heard of called to do a piece on us, but now we are jaded," says the executive producer of Swarthmore College's War News Radio, which has recently garnered a great deal of media attention. Plus: Positive Iraq news makes its way to "Scarborough Country."
Expressing mixed feelings about Mardi Gras, Jordan Flaherty reports that a New Orleans city council member who "declared publicly that many of the residents should not be allowed to return," said that "we don't need soap opera watchers right now."
After citing "a number of administration officials" for a story reporting that "Cheney was drunk when he gunned down his friend," Capitol Hill Blue's Doug Thompson maintains that "we don't have to make this stuff up."
Monday, February 27, 2006
Lewis H. Lapham "wouldn't have expected to find myself thinking that such a course of action was either likely or possible," but "after reading the report, I don't know why we would run the risk of not impeaching the man."
While 'U.S. options in Iraq worsen,' analysts ponder 'Lebanon-ization,' and the U.N.'s John Pace reveals that "hundreds of Iraqis are being tortured to death or summarily executed every month in Baghdad alone."
"And where are the Americans in all of this?" asks Baghdad Burning's Riverbend. "They are sitting back and letting things happen -- sometimes flying a helicopter here or there -- but generally not getting involved."
Following 'Meet the Republicans,' Arianna Huffington asks: "So how bad does the situation have to get in Iraq before Tim has someone on who will acknowledge the truth of what's going on over there?" And the reporter who broke the Downing Street Memos story writes about 'The Bullying of the Press.'
William Greider argues that "Bush was the principal author" of the "mass hysteria" David Brooks refers to, and Mark Danner says that "the phrase I come back to, not only about interrogation but the many other steps that constitute the Bush state of exception ... is 'take the gloves off.'" Before there was Bush, there was Bushido.
Guantanistan As inmates riot at one Afghan prison, the New York Times reports that Bagram now 'rivals bleak Guantanamo,' holding "some 500 terror suspects in more primitive conditions, indefinitely and without charges." And in what is described as a 'weird feature,' a former Taliban spokesman says: "I could have ended up in Guantanamo Bay. Instead I ended up at Yale."
'Another White House briefing, another day of mutual mistrust,' as Dick Cheney headlines a fundraiser whose guests are said to want to show the vice president that "people in America still care for him." Plus: Can Cheney continue to deliver?
With monumental needs remaining after 'Two-Thirds of Katrina Donations Exhausted,' the Washington Post reports on the more than $500,000 spent by the Red Cross over three years to "pitch its name in Hollywood, recruit stars ... and brand its [former] chief executive as the face of the Red Cross."
'Pizza Pope' Now that the official ground-breaking has been held, Ave Maria, Florida, is on track to become "the first town in America to be run according to strict Catholic principles," if the founder of Domino's Pizza has his way.
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
"U.S. soldiers overwhelmingly want out of Iraq -- and soon," writes Nicholas Kristof, citing numbers from a Zogby poll, which also found that 85 percent of U.S. troops serving in Iraq believe that their mission is mainly "to retaliate for Saddam's role in the 9-11 attacks."
Left I on the News argues that the Zogby poll findings put U.S. troops "to the left of the Democratic Party," and a soldier on patrol in Iraq is quoted as saying that "It felt -- at times -- like someone else's war."
A BBC poll is said to mean that "It's official. Citizens worldwide think Western leaders have made a fundamental mistake in their war on terror by invading Iraq," but "self-proclaimed conservatives" are said to have "little use these days" for "personal responsibility."
The German government denies a New York Times report that its intelligence agents obtained Saddam's plan for the defense of Baghdad and passed it on to the U.S. in February 2003. A Der Spiegel article says that "If the report is accurate, it would be a journalistic sensation" in Germany.
Following a trip to near Nixon country, President Bush will visit India, accompanied by a "three-ring security cordon" consisting of 5,000 personnel, and stay at a hotel where "the visiting American team has booked all 600 rooms," and which "now resembles a fortress."
As the U.S. was showing 'How not to win friends' in India, it was said of another diplomatic effort that "Nothing better captures the great contest that now defines the Middle East than four telegenic characters who have crisscrossed the region during the past week." Plus: "No 'there' there?"
As it's reported that 'U.S. is settling detainee's suit in 9/11 sweep,' Sen. Robert Byrd laments his Patriot Act vote, saying "I wish I had voted as he did," and Paul Pillar tells press: 'Don't get fooled again.'
Robert Parry finds "the U.S. news media ... experiencing a cognitive meltdown as it tries to hold onto the traditional view of the United States as a beacon for human rights while facing the new reality in which George W. Bush has plunged the nation."
A Washington Post article is said to offer "more or less conclusive evidence" that an IRS audit of Texans for Public Justice was "a political hit," and a Washingtonian editor contends that the "level of villainy" ascribed to Jack Abramoff "is a little excessive."
Right-wing radio takes a hit in LA, with Sean Hannity plummeting from 1.8 to 0.5. in "the money demographic," and Marc Cooper recalls the "terrific time" he had at a weekend event that revealed "a lot of fear and trembling going on among Republicans."
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