|February, 2007 link archive
Thursday, February 1, 2007As a British think tank reportedly concludes that the U.S. "has lost the ability to impose its global agenda," and Chalmers Johnson finds 'Nemesis on the ... Premises,' a self-appointed 'National Spokesman' insists that "the hegemon will live."
Bush also told the Wall Street Journal that he knew before the midterm-election that a "major change" was needed in his Iraq strategy, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the "surge" will be 'Far Larger Than 20,000 Troops.'
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer 'lays out Democratic position' on Iraq, GOP lawmakers encounter "a charge previously reserved for Democrats," and bipartisan leaders aim for the "largest possible vote" on a surge resolution.
A report that Al Franken is 'saying he'll run for Senate,' includes an earlier quip that "If I do run against Norm Coleman in '08, I'll be the only New York Jew in the race who actually grew up in Minnesota."
'Art Panic' in Boston over devices that Turner Broadcasting said were in place for two to three weeks in 10 cities, leads to arrests, but reportedly "has 20-year-olds wondering what all the fuss was about." Plus: Prank suspects meet the media.
The death of Molly Ivins, who 'Poked Fun at the Powerful,' sparks memories of editing her column, and of finding "awards and distinguished speaker plaques, put to use as trivets for steaming plates of tamales, chili and fajita meat."
Friday, February 2, 2007
During testimony about political influence on government climate change scientists, a House committee heard how a scientist wasn't allowed to put "global" and "warming" together, a restriction apparently shared by the outgoing Director of National Intelligence and a White House search engine.
ExxonMobil gets a pass from CNN and MSNBC on its "only mildly offensive" profits, and scientists are offered cash to help deal with a 'PR problem' in what Robert F. Kennedy Jr. calls the company's continuing 'war on science.' Plus: Talking back to Exxon.
As Shell also reports record profits for 2006, the "Terror-free Oil Initiative" begins hawking gasoline purportedly purchased only from "countries that do not export or finance terrorism," but its initial supplier acknowledges that "We cannot be sure where the conglomeration of the product comes from."
In a report that concludes a surge in Baghdad may only help Muqtada al-Sadr's militia, McClatchy's Tom Lasseter quotes a U.S. Army platoon leader as saying that the American people "think it's bad, but that we control the city. That's not the way it is. They control it, and they let us drive around. It's hostile territory."
Amid questions about whether the forthcoming National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq will be made public, the Washington Post reports that the document will emphasize a "increasingly perilous situation" with "a strong possibility of further deterioration."
The disparity between a Congressional Budget Office report and earlier White House assessments of the size and cost of the escalation of the war in Iraq, leads Keith Olbermann to charge that "President Bush has cooked the books."
A focus group tested PR campaign provides insight into military recruiting media strategy, while pressure for looser standards and a 'National Guard recruiting mission gone awry' are said to provide a preview of what to expect as we hit "the bottom of the barrel."
Although "the drumbeat for an attack on Iran" is getting louder, and the New York Times is apparently "again drinking the Kool-Aid," the "Bush Administration has postponed plans to offer public details of its charges of Iranian meddling inside Iraq amid internal divisions over the strength of the evidence."
Speaking before a pro-Israel lobbying group, Sen. Hillary Clinton declares that "no option can be taken off the table," when dealing with Iran, as experts who advised on the ISG report express surprise at the linkage between Israel and Iraq because "they had been told not to address the matter."
The House Judiciary Committee opens the 'New Investigation Season' with what Chairman John Conyers promises will be an "aggressive investigation into whether the Bush administration has violated any of the laws it claimed a right to ignore in presidential 'signing statements.'"
"Democracy Now!" interviews "Ghost Plane" author Stephen Grey about a German prosecutor's decision to issue arrest warrants for 13 CIA operatives linked to the kidnapping and torture of German citizen Khaled el-Masri, a decision that Spiegel reports has been "universally welcomed by German commentators."
For Matt Taibbi, the early opening of 'witch-hunting season' on Fox News heralds "a future of pure informational mayhem, in which people will have absolutely no reliable means to make political decisions."
Paul Krugman celebrates Molly Ivins' philosophy of satire, on full display in her take down of a 'Lyin' Bully,' and notes how without "special expertise" or access to sources high in the administration, she got almost everything right about Iraq when so many "experts" got it wrong.
A new 'hard line' anti-abortion bill is introduced in South Dakota, with some exceptions but harsher penalties, a right wing blog champions virtue over vaccines, and culture wars result in some more or less selective billboards.
Monday, February 5, 2007
U.S. failure to provide security for Shiite neighborhoods, where militias have been driven further underground, is blamed for enabling the worst single suicide bombing of the war, but a "multiple order magnitude of difference" is promised in the latest campaign to stabilize Baghdad.
The 'Iraq Interior Ministry estimates 1,000 killed in one week,' following on the heels of a bloody January, as President Bush emphasizes that the war is also "very difficult psychologically" here at home.
As U.S. pilots change flying tactics in response to the downing of four helicopters in Iraq, a YouTube video that follows a U.S. Humvee ramming cars and busses in Baghdad is said to raise questions about the chances for "winning hearts and minds" in Iraq.
Looking at the grim conclusions of the new National Intelligence Estimate, a former acting Director of the CIA comments, "Civil war is checkers, this is chess," while McClatchy reports that U.S. 'soldiers in Iraq view troop surge as a lost cause.'
As a House committee prepares to conduct a series of hearings on what the New York Times calls "a virtual fourth branch of government," potential targets scramble to hire lobbyists, and the Washington Post raises questions about the "quasi-military role" of contractors in Iraq.
In 'The Green-Zoning of America,' Paul Krugman argues that the same kind of "politicization and privatization" on display in Bremer's Iraq has taken root in the U.S. in accordance with "a philosophy that encourages outsourcing almost everything government does." Earlier: Juan Cole conducts a two-part interview with the author of "Imperial Life in the Emerald City."
Although evidence purportedly linking Iran to strife in Iraq fails to make the grade, hardline rhetoric and military hardware appear to be moving toward a devastating confrontation, Dan Froomkin offers some advice on 'how the press can prevent another Iraq,' and Congress is urged to take preemptive action.
Sen. Hillary Clinton's "hawkish" rhetoric on Iran at an AIPAC event disappoints some because it included a reference to diplomacy, and John Edwards appears to temper earlier statements on Iran in an interview with Ezra Klein, as Iran becomes a campaign issue.
A town at the center of a controversial deal is overrun by the Taliban and remains under their control, as a transfer of Nato command in Afghanistan raises concerns that the Americans will adopt "an overly aggressive approach that will damage relations with ordinary Afghans."
With his budget request threatening to "push war spending above the total cost of the Vietnam war," and the military seeking even more, President Bush showcases a new cause that he hopes will "cross party lines and leave him with an end-of-term accomplishment."
As a federal judge rules that residents of several hard hit neighborhoods in New Orleans can sue the Army Corps of Engineers for flood damage, the Corps is proposing to divert some funds for levee repairs away from "where most of New Orleans is situated."
Explaining 'Why Dick Cheney Cracked Up,' Frank Rich argues that the Scooter Libby trial has triggered a resurgence of the "hysteria" that gripped the White House in its "herculean" efforts to keep the lid on evidence that it had been lying "to hype its case for war."
In the midst of a trial peppered with what one reporter calls "Alice in Wonderland moments," Editor & Publisher reports that "Ann Coulter is hopping mad" that conservatives are allowing Libby to be portrayed in a bad light, and Jon Stewart offers a 'Scooter Libby Primer.'
As Media Matters tracks the continued deployment of the TV drama "24" to support hawkish policies, the Carpetbagger Report flags some interpretive difficulties for fitting the show into the desired narrative. Earlier: 'Battlestar Galacticons.'
'Churches scramble to cancel big-screen bashes after an NFL warning,' the leader of the National Prayer Breakfast finds "leadership lessons" in unusual places, and the National Council of Churches comes under attack for association with "strange yokefellows."
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Editor & Publisher notes that the vote came on "the fourth anniversary of former Secretary of State Colin Powell's presentation on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction and 'mobile biological labs' at the United Nations, a crucial moment in greasing the path to war."
As 'Bush slashes aid to poor to boost Iraq war chest,' and his budget director acknowledges past concealing of war costs, the president's plan to balance the budget reportedly 'depends on optimistic projections.'
A cockpit videotape obtained by a British tabloid is said to reveal "the full, disturbing truth about how the U.S. pilot of an A-10 tankbuster jet broke all the rules to shoot up a British convoy in the Iraq war."
President Bush's recent invoking of previously 'Anonymous Sects' is said to be "designed to underscore a shift in U.S. strategy of now focusing wholly on Iran ... rather than on bringing stability to Iraq or dealing with other issues."
"The insurance lobby is just one of the unlikely friends" said to have been won over by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, as a "parenting expert," interviewed on CNN, calls Clinton "a panderer and a flatterer."
A report that Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama may forego early debates, quotes a spokesman for the latter as saying that "Hillary and Obama should band together and say, 'It is not in our interest to debate this early. We've got jobs to do. October is plenty early for debates.'"
Eugene Robinson finds New Orleans caught in a "death dance of Brownian motion," after a presidential appointee champions tax incentives over "the heavy hand of government," but Son of Nun is determined to 'Speak On It.'
Facing South spotlights "a growing trend in how many white Southerners tell the tale" of desegregation.
Davos panelist Bono, known for his 'pitch to help poor,' and his band have reportedly "taken aggressive measures to avoid paying taxes themselves," with the Rolling Stones following U2 to the land of '20,000 mailbox companies.'
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
'Shadows of doubt hang over Iraqi prime minister' Nouri al-Maliki, who tries his hand at branding with a declaration that "Our slogan should be 'rest is prohibited, especially for military men, and day and night should merge in working to achieve victory.'"
Defense Secretary Gates was reportedly angered by a request "that military personnel temporarily fill more than one-third of 350 new State Department jobs in Iraq ... widely seen as an unattractive career option," with the U.S. 'Surging Right Into Bin Laden's Hands.'
Edward Luttwak's proposal to let Iraq 'Fend for Itself' leads Andrew Sullivan to see "the silver lining of Iraq's disintegration," and Josh Marshall to conclude that the U.S. wasn't defeated in Iraq, "this is just a failure."
"Republicans could hardly believe their luck," observed Dana Milbank, after 'Rusty Democrats' grilled former Coalition Provisional Authority head Paul Bremer on his role in "the largest pay out of U.S. currency in Fed history."
"The Bush administration geniuses" are said to have "come up with another grand plan," described by Salon's Gary Kamiya as "pouring gas on the fire he started in Iraq."
A Washington state ballot measure that would require heterosexual couples to 'Have Children Or Else' is seen as "conservative baiting at its finest."
When the New York Times claims that John Edwards' campaign is "in hot water," writes Glenn Greenwald, "what they mean is that there are complaints from right-wing bloggers and people like ... Bill Donohue."
Thursday, February 8, 2007
Sen. James Webb, who described the fate of the surge resolution as "watching good ideas getting nibbled to death by ducks," also said on MSNBC's "Hardball" that he is "worried that we might accidentally set something off" by sending aircraft carriers into the Persian Gulf.
With six choppers down in Iraq in three weeks, the New York Times reports that "historically, improved tactics in shooting down helicopters have proved to be important factors in conflicts in which guerrillas have achieved victories against major powers."
Vanity Fair profiles 'Washington's $8 Billion Shadow,' cast by "the largest government contractor you've never heard of," which "sells brainpower, including a lot of the 'expertise' behind the Iraq war."
Amid reports of "a series of grand scams designed to plunder a reconstruction program funded by the United States," Joseph Galloway wonders, "What does it take for the American people's gag reflex to kick in?"
An official investigation finds 'No Abuse At Gitmo,' after neglecting to "interview any of the alleged victims," and the U.S. declines an invitation to sign a ban on holding people in secret detention. Plus: 'Mistrial could be end of Watada case.'
As 'Rootless Candidates' are said to wander in search of ideological 'Wiggle Room,' the Washington Post has "something about Hillary," AP goes 'Below the Belt,' and Gloria Steinem answers "a dumb and destructive question."
Slate's courtroom observer has "never seen a better witness at a trial" than the 'Utterly Unflappable' Tim Russert, who "never gets flustered, always stays on message," and "upon whose testimony the entire case pivots."
Friday, February 9, 2007
Iraq's no. 2 health official is arrested, accused of diverting resources to "sectarian kidnapping and murder," McClatchy's Tom Lasseter finds 'corruption, incompetence' plaguing Iraqi forces, and the 'Iraq security plan starts -- with glitches.'
Patrick Cockburn thinks that similarities between the anti-Shia bent of current U.S policy in Iraq and policies of the Baath party may have prompted a prominent Sunni insurgent group "testing the waters" to offer its 'conditions for ceasefire.'
As a "warrior scholar" prepares to take command in Iraq, without the manpower his doctrine requires, a Council on Foreign Relations report makes the case for disengagement, and a Baghdad think tank warns against a military offensive targeting the militias.
With Defense Department leaders affirming that "Debate on Iraq Strengthens U.S. Democracy," House Democrats agree to pursue a "non-binding resolution" repudiating President Bush's troop buildup plan as a "first step" toward reasserting congressional power on the issue.
Although Joe Klein now finds Sen. Lieberman's "honorable, if mistaken, support for the war has curdled into demagoguery," Klein's own recent insinuation that "leftists" are "rooting for an American failure," provokes Matt Taibbi to review the flip flops in his positions on the war.
An increasing number of recruits coming in under "moral waivers" or without graduating from high school lead Ken Silverstein to conclude that 'Kerry was right,' while the idea of recruiting a "platoon of lesbians" fired from the military is entertained by Sec. of State Rice.
Reviewing a Pentagon report on the "Office of Special Plans," Sen. Jay Rockefeller raises the possibility that Douglas Feith may have violated the 1947 National Security Act by failing to keep congressional oversight committees informed of his office's activities.
As the 'prosecution rests its case' in the trial of Scooter Libby, Patrick Fitzgerald rejects "Imus on evidence" and, notes Andrew Sullivan, appears to have been "linking Libby's actions to his political master, Dick Cheney, at every turn."
"Bucky" Bush, the president's uncle and a defense contractor who profited from the Iraq war, finds himself caught up in an SEC investigation, 'Dick Cheney's dangerous son-in-law' is accused of stonewalling a GAO investigation into the Department of Homeland Security, and hard times hit Crawford.
Seven months after Israel bombed a power plant near Beirut, it continues to spew oil onto Lebanon's shore, one of many environmental challenges left over from the war, while the violence gripping Iraq prevents clean-up of "hundreds of polluted sites that pose huge health hazards."
Global warming still can't compete for news coverage with Iraq, Iran, or even the 2008 presidential campaign, but the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal is found to be more isolated than ever with its "head still buried in the sand" on the reality of global warming.
As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promotes her "global warming legislative agenda" amid challenges from Republican global warming skeptics, Republicans use an airplane "controversy" that even Tony Snow finds "silly," to question her sincerity on the issue.
Bill Berkowitz profiles a conservative Christian group that is calling for an end to the 14th Amendment citizenship birthright, as the head of the Catholic League is accused of crossing the line on political campaigning, and a second complaint with the IRS is filed against a church that endorsed Rep. Michele Bachmann.
Paul Krugman thinks that John Edwards 'gets it right' on health care, with a proposal for universal health care coverage that has the potential to evolve into a single-payer system, but others argue that it doesn't go far enough in that direction.
Monday, February 12, 2007
As an aide to Vice President Cheney indicates that a U.S. attack on Iran this year is "a real possibility," U.S. preparations for an air strike are said to be "at an advanced stage," and Newsweek learns that a third aircraft carrier "will likely" deploy to the Persian Gulf.
The same Newsweek article quotes a former Bush administration speech writer as saying that Iran and North Korea were originally inserted into Bush's "Axis of Evil" speech "in order to avoid focusing solely on Iraq," but it's also noted that for Neocons, an attack on Iran has been 'a six year project.'
Although intelligence analysts "disagreed with more than 50%" of his team's findings, Douglas Feith continues to defend his earlier claims that Iraq had links to al-Qaida, and one interpretation of his "bizarre" claim that he "never produced intelligence," is that he is "fingering Cheney."
The New York Times' Michael Gordon, in what appears to be a return to pre-Iraq war journalism, leads the charges against Iran with an anonymously sourced article parroting administration claims about Iran's involvement in Iraq that Juan Cole finds just don't add up.
The Washington Post and other news organizations follow suit, 'trumpeting' claims about Iranian weapons contained in a "so-called dossier on Iran" that is "released - on a Sunday - by anonymous officials."
Patrick Cockburn finds the evidence against Iran, "even more insubstantial than the faked or mistaken evidence for Iraqi WMDs" disseminated before the war, but even if all the allegations were true, argues Paul Krugman, "attacking Iran would be a catastrophic mistake."
Reading 'between the lines' of the National Intelligence Estimate, a former Director of the NSA concludes that 'victory is not an option,' while the former head of the CIA's bin Laden unit rejects the NIE's "contention that al-Qaida's Iraq presence has any bearing on the group's international planning."
Michael Schwartz follows the surge in Baghdad "through the gates of hell," where "gated communities" on the model of Fallujah are on the agenda, as Helena Cobban looks ahead at the logistical challenges of the eventual withdrawal.
"'The Second Coming' is fast becoming the official poem of the Iraq war," according to an editorial in the New York Times, as 'science makes a new father of a fallen American soldier,' and a prize-winning portrait provides a graphic illustration of the war's enduring legacy at home.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates responds with "words of velvet, not steel" to Russian President Vladimir Putin's critique of America's "militarism" and unwillingness to learn the lessons of democracy that it purports to teach the world.
Appearing on "60 Minutes," Candidate Obama says he would talk to Iran and Syria, as he faces questions about his agenda and experience, but one attempt to discern signs of the boldness necessary for real change in his book finds him still 'lost in the foothills of hope."
Tucker Carlson claims that Obama's church really isn't Christian, William Kristol insinuates that he 'would have been pro-slavery,' and Mike Allen of the Politico takes yet another stab at decoding his name.
After recommending Obama to al-Qaida, Australian Prime Minister John Howard is advised to turn in his deputy sheriff's badge, and the candidate himself responds, "if he's ginned up to fight the good fight in Iraq, I would suggest he calls up another 20,000 Australians and sends them up to Iraq."
As conservatives search for "Mr. Right," "America's mayor" compares Bush to Lincoln, pledges that he will be a president who recognizes that winning ideas "come from God," and shifts 'gently to the right' on abortion. Plus: Gingrich at the Gate.
Christopher Hitchens' "mostly admiring" review of a book that advises culling enemies you can't outbreed, leads one commentator to conclude that 'the thrill of saying something vile' has led 'Christopher and his kind' to "become what they pretend to pre-empt."
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Simultaneous noontime blasts reportedly "laid waste" two markets in central Baghdad, where 'Child beggars' are 'rampant,' although "only four years ago, the vast majority ... were living at home with their families."
As 'Skeptics Doubt U.S. Evidence on Iran Action in Iraq,' McClatchy reports that "neither the White House nor the Pentagon responded to requests for an explanation" after 'Joint Chiefs chairman sees no evidence of meddling by Iran's regime.' Plus: 'Three Wars At Once.'
As the 'Axis of Weasels Strikes Again,' President Bush reacts to "all the noise" and deflects a "trick question," while a State Department spokesman opines that "it seems to be the news media that is whipping up that storyline" on Iran, "not us."
"Too bad" the Plame leak trial "is getting only a fraction of the media fuss stirred up by the death of Anna Nicole Smith," writes Trudy Rubin, because "the same officials who cherry-picked Iraq intelligence are still in the White House."
In his forthcoming memoirs, former CIA director George Tenet is said to present himself as "not telling Mr. Bush that there was rock-solid evidence that Mr. Hussein had chemical and biological weapons, only that the president could make a 'slam dunk' case to the American public about these weapons programs."
An endorsement at the Grammys of 'The Courage of Others' Convictions' came "about three years too late," according to a New York Times editorial -- although the Times' critic has accused the Dixie Chicks, who 'still won't get country radio time,' of 'Dissing' country music fans.
As Rudy Giuliani's 1993 'Oppo Report' on himself surfaces, Mitt Romney is taken to task on location, and slammed as a flip-flopper, while "crazy base world" welcomes Sen. John McCain, and Karl Rove predicts that people will soon become "largely disinterested" in the 2008 race.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
In his first news conference of the year, President Bush repeated his assertion that "if we fail there, the enemy will follow us here," and claimed to be convinced that the Iranian government is supplying weapons to fighters in Iraq, and said he's "going to do something about it."
'The Wrong Surge' Although two-thirds of the 100 experts surveyed for Foreign Policy's new Terrorism Index oppose President Bush's surge, "nearly 70 percent believe that U.S. troop levels should be increased in Afghanistan."
'Key findings of a European Parliament report' are said to include "at least 1,245" undeclared CIA flights in European airspace, post-9/11, by planes "routinely used for transporting terror suspects."
David Neiwert, completing his series on 'Eliminationism in America,' argues that "the disingenuousness of right-wing demagogues regarding the effects of their rhetoric is outdone only by their mendacity."
A Washington Times columnist is caught using an 'Abraham Lincoln Quote,' which was "shown to be a fabrication last year," after being used by a GOP candidate who "wasn't actually advocating hanging" Rep. John Murtha.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
CentCom saw "the stable, pro-American and democratic Iraq that was to be," in a just-revealed 'prewar slide show' from August 2002, which forecast that as of December 2006, only 5,000 U.S. troops would remain in Iraq.
During a news conference in which he "listed no fewer than 18 principles he holds to be true," President Bush also described himself as "very conscience [sic] about the audiences that are listening to my words."
In a Thursday address to the American Enterprise Institute, Bush spoke about 'progress' in Afghanistan and the war on terror, and also noted that "More than 20 AEI scholars have worked in my administration."
As it's suggested that Helen Thomas should lose her front-row seat at White House press briefings to a Fox reporter, Thomas, arguing that "we should have withdrawn our troops yesterday," urges Congress to "end the slaughter in Iraq."
With "vanishing Mahdi fighters" reportedly sidestepping Iraq's Operation Imposing Law, a storeowner tells the AP that "It sounds like we are going to be affected more than the terrorists by this security plan."
With Democrats targeting a "prime growth market," and Sen. John McCain reportedly 'in pitched battle to woo Christian right,' Newsweek reports that "the Republicans' first primary contest is next week ... in Orlando, at the annual meeting of the National Religious Broadcasters." Earlier: 'Air Jesus: With the Evangelical Air Force.'
'Enter the Hookers' Defense contractor Brent Wilkes pleads not guilty to bribing a congressman, and to "improperly using his friendship" with the CIA's Dusty Foggo, in a case that 'shines light on how war contracts are awarded.'
The New York Times credits firedoglake with offering "the fullest, fastest public report available" on the Plame leak trial, apparently headed for "a quick, unsensational close," but not without 'Implications for the Media.'
Bob Herbert profiles Tavis Smiley, identified by CNN as "one of the most powerful African-American journalists in the country," and by Black Agenda Report as having found "a hole in the market where a movement used to be."
Catholic League president Bill Donohue, accused of being someone who "throws fire bombs for a living" and runs "an ongoing medicine show of disingenuous outrage," also knows a "gook joke" when he tells one.
With MSNBC's Keith Olbermann reportedly set to get a big raise, Air America's Sam Seder gets a big rise out of syndicated radio talker Ed Schultz. Plus: 'Was Al Franken a success or flop as a talk show host?'
Friday, February 16, 2007
With the House expected to pass a nonbinding resolution disapproving of additional deployments to Iraq, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid orders 'weekend detention' for reluctant 'weekend warriors' in an attempt to force a vote on the Iraq conflict.
Assuming the nonbinding resolution passes, the Los Angeles Times predicts a 'struggle over war strategy' among Democrats, and attaching conditions on the funding of the war, the Washington Post warns, may lead to "a constitutional clash" on war powers.
After the Washington Times' Frank Gaffney misquotes Lincoln as "advocating the hanging of lawmakers who undermine military morale during wartime," the misquote is echoed by Rep. Don Young who, now informed of the mistake, continues to "totally agree with the message" although not the attribution.
In the 'Undertaker's Tally' part two, Roger Morris reviews "the rest of Rumsfeld's long march to power," and his lasting legacies in Iraq and beyond, while Think Progress highlights a moment of deja vu in the conflicting claims about Iranian involvement in Iraq.
Robert Dreyfuss details how the 'Breakdown at the Iraq Lie Factory' has left the Bush administration without plausible evidence that either the civil war or a significant percentage of American deaths in Iraq are caused by Iran, and Andrew Cockburn explains how 'anyone can make a bomb.
Although the Bush administration blames Iran's Quds Force for a spike in anti-American violence in Iraq, Newsweek finds the evidence against them "questionable," noting that they have occasionally been on the same side as the U.S. and are closely tied to Iraqi politicians on whom Washington relies.
Glenn Greenwald shows how the media is 'continually violating its own anonymity policies' in its reporting on Iran, as Michael Gordon, heavily criticized for an earlier report on alleged Iranian weapons that was heavily dependent on anonymous sources, 'returns with more of same.'
New poll numbers from the Pew Research Center suggest that attempts to sell a war with Iran are "falling on deaf ears among the American public," and show support for withdrawing troops from Iraq increasing.
Surge Against the Purge? Sen. Chuck Schumer vows to "get to the bottom" of the dismissal of six federal prosecutors, which Democrats suspect was motivated by politics, not performance, as one replacement promoted by former White House counsel Harriet Miers bows out.
The real problem with 'The Health Care Racket,' Paul Krugman contends, is not just possible actual racketeering, but the "ugly incentives provided by a system in which giving care is punished, while denying it is rewarded."
Continued questions about whether Sen. Barack Obama is 'black enough' appear to be reinforced by media images of the candidate, but Matt Taibbi finds "Obama's 'Man for All Seasons' act ... so perfect in its particulars that just about anyone can find a bit of himself somewhere in the candidate's background."
Facing off with Sen. Hillary Clinton on the Internet, Obama 'hops on the Web 2.0 bandwagon,' while John Edwards opens his own campaign headquarters on Second Life, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi faces down charges of video piracy leveled against her new blog.
Explaining why she had to quit the Edwards campaign, Amanda Marcotte laments that aping "the language and habits of the D.C. insider crowd" may well remain a gateway to political participation, although apparently this isn't so much of an issue for a 'Christian nationalist.'
In cataloguing the ways in which Michelle Malkin has been persecuted, Howard Kurtz appears to have misunderstood why Atrios called her a racist, and papered over exactly how extreme some of her views are.
The self-professed "right wing nut job" behind Fox's "24" prepares to introduce a conservative alternative to the "Daily Show," of which Fox News has ordered only two episodes, to fill what he claims is a missing niche in current television comedy.
Legislators in Texas and Georgia get caught up in promoting a 'bizarre anti-semitic creationist conspiracy theory,' while press coverage of a proposal for death certificates on abortions is said to be taking a Tennessee legislator too seriously.
Monday, February 19, 2007
Frank Rich argues that the latest "rebranding" of the war in Iraq as a fight against Tehran is designed to "whip up a Feith-style smoke screen of innuendo to imply that Iran is the root of all our woes in the war -- and give 'the enemy' a single recognizable face."
After a week of talking to experts about the prospects of military confrontation with Iran, Ken Silverstein suspects that some of the more alarmist press reports have been "cherry-picking the evidence," but warns that the Bush administration remains "locked and loaded" for an attack.
With a global poll finding that most do not blame religion and culture for tensions between Islam and the West, Alastair Crooke of Conflicts Forum argues that dealing with the Islamic resurgence is an "intellectual challenge" to which dialogue rather than force is the appropriate response.
What Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki called the "dazzling success" of the security crackdown in Baghdad is disrupted by deadly car bomb attacks, which some local residents suggested were the insurgents' response to claims of progress with the new security plan.
The editors of USA Today call for the U.S. to accept more Iraqi refugees, "particularly those tainted by helping Americans," as the International Organization for Migration estimates that one million Iraqis will flee the country in 2007, and the "internally displaced" continue to seek safe haven.
The Washington Post surveys "the despair of Building 18" at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where wounded veterans face cockroach infested housing and neglect, and finds it just part of "a virtual town of desperation and dysfunction" hatched by the conflict in Iraq.
In 'Wrong is Right,' Paul Krugman contends that the anger Sen. Hillary Clinton has provoked by sticking to her guns on the Iraq war vote comes not just from opposition to the war, but from an insistence on making a break with an administration "pathologically incapable" of owning up to mistakes.
In an interview for Frontline's "Newswar," the Washington Post's Dana Priest says that the press needs to "crack down on the use of anonymous sources," but Michael Gordon defends his own recent anonymously-sourced articles, insisting that they are nothing like the pre-war WMD stories.
The New York Times reports that al-Qaeda has started rebuilding and has established training camps in Pakistan near the Afghan border, but the U.S. is unsure about how to respond without undermining Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's government. Plus: Bush's Plan for bin Laden.
An Italian judge indicts 26 Americans and the country's own former top spy for their role in the "extraordinary rendition" program, as tens of thousands protest the expansion of a U.S. military base in Italy, raising environmental concerns and "chanting anti-American slogans."
Helena Cobban finds expectations low for the "summit of the three weak reeds" in Jerusalem, while an article in Haaretz imagines the drama of the summit unfolding like a detective novel thick with ulterior motives.
'Playing with fire' With right wing bloggers attempting to stir up suspicions of a "Salt Lake Jihad," Michael Savage rails against journalists "with curly hair and large glasses" who won't cover a shooting "without a Christian to crucify."
Joe Conason explains in what sense "It could happen here," Chalmers Johnson considers how the challenges of America's global empire have been underestimated, and "Democracy Now!" airs police spy videos taken "from blimps, helicopters and 'lipstick cams' during the Republican National Convention."
The documentary 'Strange Culture' attempts to capture the "climate of suspicion" in the U.S. after 9/11 as it follows the fate of 'a man accused of bioterrorism by the FBI -- for possessing art supplies,' and the International Atomic Energy Agency launches a new symbol of fear.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
'They're baaack' As a veteran terrorism analyst ponders reports of a "stunning resurrection," deemed "absurd" by Pakistani officials, the U.S. is said to be 'Losing the "War on Terror"' rather than making 'War on al Qaeda.'
Sunni Arabia? The wartime "discovery" of "an enormous deposit" is touted in Iraq, and Baghdad Burning's Riverbend writes that "I hope the oil, at least, made it worthwhile," as an Iraqi rape victim gets the special treatment.
Murray Waas predicts that if I. Lewis Libby is found guilty in the Plame leak trial, "investigators are likely to probe further to determine if Libby devised what they consider a cover story in an effort to shield Cheney," whose status in Washington is said to have shifted.
As a New York Times report waxes nostalgic over the Clinton-era efforts of "rich rightwing character assassins," Digby finds it "odd" that they "fail to mention their own complicity in that ongoing effort."
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
The Washington Post editorializes that it "should not have taken newspaper articles" to bring changes at Walter Reed, and CNN's Lou Dobbs declares that "for this military and this commander-in-chief to permit this, I can't think of another word but despicable."
'It's not just Walter Reed,' argues Will Bunch, after noting that "three out of the 12 winners" of the George Polk Awards for Journalism "chronicled mistreatment or abuse or unnecessary risk to Americans fighting in Iraq."
Peter Bergen, co-author of an analysis which found that the Iraq war has sparked a sevenfold increase in worldwide terrorism, was told by newly-minted CNN anchor Kiran Chetry, that "critics will say that the report blasts America, in a way, for the terrorists' actions." Plus: Old habits die hard?
Discussing the 'New Iraq Oil Law,' blogger Raed Jarrar and Antonia Juhasz say that most Iraqis "remain in the dark" about its effects, which have one ex-oil minister 'despairing,' although a New York Times report labels it "an essential element of creating a stable and functioning government."
A Los Angeles Times editorial calls on Congress to 'Restore habeas rights' for Guantanamo Bay detainees, said to have been taken there "precisely for the purpose of keeping them out of the reach of U.S. courts."
Among the 'Bush Friends, Loyal and Texan' -- all "rewarded with plum jobs" -- are a "prep school buddy" who "keeps an action figure of Mr. Bush on his desk," and another who "says she is tired of seeing Mr. Bush treated as a 'caricature.'"
Jeffrey St. Clair analyzes nostalgia for the Clinton years, while Slate's William Saletan finds Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton taking "an amazingly stupid and arrogant position" in 'The War on Error,' while other candidates face a Stockdale test.
Maureen Dowd spotlights Sen. Barack 'Obama's Big Screen Test' at the Hollywood home of a disappointed Leonard Peltier pardon advocate, and attention is drawn to 'MoDo's M.O.' in an earlier 'hit piece.' Plus: Three's a "mindset."
A report on efforts to gain "closure" by the New Life Church reveals that "Pastor Ted" is still on the payroll, at terms "roughly equivalent to the $130,000 salary" he earned before his 'escalating dark side' was exposed.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
The New York Times is said to have "reached for the scare button" on Iraq, demonstrating that "by using an industrial chemical, the insurgents have succeeded in making the military and the media believe that they are escalating the conflict to a new level of unconventional warfare."
As a rape scandal in Iraq widens, Prime Minister Maliki fires a critic, but his government's evidence that no rape occurred is said to prove "no such thing," while it's claimed that "We might kill, behead or do torture, but rape -- I don't think so."
NBA legend Charles Barkley tells CNN's Wolf Blitzer that "the Republicans have took the country in a terrible situation," and "the Democrats are not much better," with politicians from both parties seen as 'Blaming the Iraqis for the Iraq Disaster.'
As "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib" has its premier on HBO, the documentary is said to be "raising hell in the nation's capital," where director Rory Kennedy says she "had a lot of trouble getting access to people within the administration or the military."
Walter Reed is 'The Last Straw' for Joseph Galloway, as plans to re-name Building 18 are announced, and the Surgeon General of the Army, appearing on the "NewsHour," blames "the mice and cockroach issue" on "soldiers leaving food in their rooms."
The "talk-show host in chief" proposed "shifting decisions and responsibility to individuals," as he pitched 'Tax Breaks for the Uninsured' to "some 500 Chattanoogans," leading a Fox host to suggest that 'We Already Have National Health Care.'
President Bush will reportedly nominate a corporate lobbyist to head the Consumer Product Safety Commission, described as "working with one hand tied behind its back," and "without a chairman since last summer."
As a feud between two presidential rival camps comes 'Out in the Open,' Slate's John Dickerson awards 'Round 1 to Hillary!' and a GOP strategist pumps a meeting "more interesting than the one in Hollywood."
Friday, February 23, 2007
'In For the Long Haul' Newsweek's Michael Hirsh concludes that the Petraeus plan is "committing U.S. troops ... to a much deeper and longer-term role in policing Iraq than since the earliest days of the U.S. occupation" -- a bit longer stay than Bob Novak has been predicting.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman who, Time notes, has been "indulging in some fairly immodest political footsie," hints that he might switch parties over a war funding dispute, prompting charges that he is holding the entire party "hostage" to his position, but David Sirota wonders "Would it really be that big a deal?"
Senate Democrats prepare legislation to limit the mission of U.S. troops in Iraq, "effectively revoking the broad authority Congress granted in 2002," but the Washington Post reports that House Democrats have "pulled back" from the Murtha proposal to put conditions on funding. Plus: 'White House opposes war authority limits.'
Despite Republican reassurances, Juan Cole finds the British retreat from Iraq poses danger to the supply lines for U.S. troops and to the Iraqi economy, and Patrick Cockburn surveys 'the true extent of Britain's failure in Basra.'
Although British Prime Minister Tony Blair says "Britain should be proud of its involvement in Iraq" and denies responsibility for the "very grim situation" in the country, a promised inquiry into the war will not take place until after Blair leaves office.
Blair says military action against Iran would be "wrong," and the Guardian cites diplomatic sources which say that U.S. intelligence pointing to an Iranian nuclear weapons program is "incorrect," but Vice President Cheney adds to speculation about war by mouthing, "We haven't taken any options off the table."
As the Italian government stands down -- at least for a little while -- over Afghanistan, more British troops stand up, and a reporter for Al-Jazeera traveling with the Taliban finds the group "in effective control of large parts of a key province."
CJR Daily's Paul McLeary looks at 'some creative efforts to take back foreign news,' in the face of a decline in the number of foreign correspondents and newspaper foreign bureaus, as it's argued that, regardless of platform, 'resources and commitment' remain critical for 'journalism that matters.'
With the "Sliming Bowl" well underway, the Fox Attacks website launches with a video by Robert Greenwald designed to expose the Fox News slant on Barack Obama, and pressure builds to "stop treating Fox News as if it were a legitimate news outlet" by letting it host a Democratic presidential primary debate.
A McClatchy analysis of the latest available census figures finds the 'U.S. economy leaving record numbers in severe poverty,' citing a recent study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine which determined that since 2000, the number of severely poor has grown "more than any other segment of the population."
College Republicans at New York University facing protests over their "mock hunt for illegal immigrants" insist that their game is not racist, as Jesus' General suggests 'adding a little realism to the hunt.'
With the focus shifting from the reality of global warming to finding an effective response, Paul Krugman takes 'Colorless Green Ideas' that have successfully encouraged conservation in California as evidence that substantial cuts in energy use do not require a drastic change in lifestyle. Plus: 'Do Sustainable Cities Have a Future?'
Sen. John McCain faces attacks from the right for recognizing global warming, but pays a visit to the creationists and sits down to chat about Armageddon with megachurch pastor John Hagee, as a new study finds that '216 million Americans are scientifically illiterate.'
Monday, February 26, 2007
The London Times reports that "four or five [U.S.] generals and admirals ... would resign if Bush ordered an attack on Iran," leading to speculation about whether Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Peter Pace, who has already publicly questioned administration claims about Iran, would attack Iran if ordered to do so.
Among a fusillade of articles on impending war in Iran published in the Daily Telegraph, is a piece by Con Coughlin which claims that 'Israel seeks all clear for Iran air strike,' but the reporter's past record raises questions about the real source and motivation of the story.
In 'The Redirection' Seymour Hersh details the way in which accelerating U.S. confrontation with Iran is linked to covert operations which are "using money that was not authorized by Congress" to indirectly support groups "involved with the same people that did 9/11."
Following the familiar march of the talking points, Michael Klare discerns the outlines of 'Bush's Future Iran War Speech' which, despite increasing issues with credibility, gets the green light from an influential lobby as William Kristol bets on early 2008.
Among religious groups, Jewish Americans 'most strongly oppose' the Iraq war, according to a new Gallup poll, apparently leaving pro-war neoconservative Jews -- and Sen. Joseph Lieberman -- in "a minority of a minority."
Drawing out the implicit assumptions of a key paragraph in a Washington Post story about the "botched launch" of Rep. John Murtha's proposal to curb Iraq war funding, David Sirota finds Murtha's opponents fitting the "dictionary definition of extremists."
With the death toll among civilian contractors in Iraq topping 800, the Washington Post's Rajiv Chandrasekaran details how Bush's plan to jump start Iraqi reconstruction is failing, due to inadequate funding and the lack of experts willing to work in Iraq.
Although an AP-Ipsos poll shows that Americans "woefully underestimate" the number of Iraqis who have died in the war, Left I on the News finds that even the AP's own report perpetuates the misinformation.
Responding to 'long distance shots from the other side of the world' fired by a 'feisty Cheney,' James Fallows retorts that the vice president is "the worst-positioned person in the world" to scold other countries "about what is 'consistent' with a peaceful image."
With 'Al Qaeda resurgent,' Frank Rich contends that "the surge supporters who accuse the Iraq war's critics of emboldening the enemy are trying to deflect attention from their own complicity in losing a bigger battle."
It's argued that British troops are not as much being withdrawn from Iraq as redeployed to deal with a deteriorating situation in a place that Robert Fisk recalls was once "the tomb of the British army."
The New York Times reports that the White House was able to convey the seriousness of the Al Qaeda problem to Pakistan "without appearing to issue a direct threat," thanks to "rumblings from Congress," but Pakistan is reportedly already 'fed up with U.S. and allies on Afghanistan.'
Canada's highest court strikes down the legal underpinnings for what one defendant called "Guantanamo North," but success in 'tracking the ghost pilots' prompts a new attitude toward outing intelligence personnel from the right, and the Nigerian e-mail scam gets a torture twist.
Looking to get beyond the "almost content-free rivalry between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama," Paul Krugman poses a series of "hard policy questions" to help gauge the seriousness of a presidential candidate, as Obama attempts to frame an antiwar candidacy.
'An Inconvenient Truth' garners an Oscar, fueling calls for a late run in another contest, while Robert Parry draws attention to 'Gore's other global warning,' and Juan Cole points to the intersection of oil, war and global warming.
Meeting to find a standard bearer for '08, what the New York Times calls a "secretive club" of influential Christian conservatives expresses "great anxiety" about the lack of suitable candidates and talks of hopes for a "secondary virginity."
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
An 'Afghan Blast' drove Vice President Cheney into a bomb shelter, the Spirit of Strom Thurmond carried him away, and it's argued that the Taliban has now "come closer to killing one of our senior government officials than we ever came to killing bin Laden."
A "dazzling success" gives way to a 'resurgence,' as bombs in Iraq kill 3 U.S. soldiers in Baghdad and "as many as 18 boys playing soccer" in Ramadi, after a female suicide bomber reportedly killed 42 on Sunday.
Media Lens critiques the lack of coverage of "the likely consequences for the civilian population" of President Bush's Iraq "surge," wherein it's "as if the troops are on a mission of their own and not subject, ultimately, to civilian authority."
"To Iraq and Back" Wounded ABC anchor Bob Woodruff returns to report that "at least 10 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans may have sustained a brain injury during their service," although the Pentagon and the V.A. are said to be keeping "two sets of books."
After "60 Minutes" reveals "Dissension in the Ranks" among soldiers said to be "fed up" with the war in Iraq, a classified report from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff informs Congress of 'Military Capability Eroding.'
A majority of Americans polled reportedly favor setting a deadline for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, and support the plan advanced by Rep. John Murtha, who "has been pummeled by Republicans and fellow Democrats eager to bring him down a peg or two."
With 'The Authenticity Sweepstakes' underway, "enmity toward France" is reportedly "a recurring theme" of a PowerPoint presentation listing one GOP candidate's "major negatives and campaign strategies."
The identities of celebrities whose names appear in a Hollywood madam's "trick book" are reportedly "entering the public domain," but a spokesman for Bruce Willis calls the story "a complete fabrication."
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
McClatchy reports that "the deployment of Iraqi forces ... under President Bush's new plan to stabilize Iraq is running behind schedule and that all of the units sent so far have arrived under strength, some by more than half."
Citing "a sense of betrayal," active duty troops lobby Congress to end the war, but Democrats are accused of setting "a new world land-speed record ... in back-peddling," as they "reversed course" in their quest for "the least dangerous, the least negative alternative."
As Tariq Ali makes 'The Case for Withdrawal from Afghanistan,' David Podvin argues that America's 'Exit Strategy' in Iraq is "to stay," and that "the immediate challenge is to craft a plausible narrative that justifies remaining in the Iraqi quagmire."
Comments by an anonymous "senior administration official ... aboard Air Force Two," are seen as containing "subtle clues as to the briefer's identity," and "the audacity" of an 'Afghan Bombing' reportedly "underscores why President Bush sent him there."
Wounded soldiers at Walter Reed have reportedly been 'told to keep quiet,' and ordered to prepare for daily 7 a.m. inspections, while they await relocation from Building 18 to Building 14, "where reporters must be escorted by public affairs personnel."
Al 'Gore's Electric Bills' are said to 'Spark Debate' between an "environmental group" and those who "tried to discredit the report by describing it as a typical smear campaign," and "who could ask for anything more?"
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