|March, 2008 link archive
Monday, March 3, 2008Top Iraqi officials roll out the red carpet for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the first regional head of state to visit since 2003, and the Iranian leader uses the occasion to denounce the U.S. for importing terror to the region, and to bolster Iran's influence. Stephen Kinzer puts the visit into historical perspective.
In the face of a 36 percent rise in violent deaths in Iraq for February, journalists are offered free graves, and refugees express little desire to return, but Zalmay Khalilzad pumps up oil as the vehicle to unify Iraq, and Karl Rove plays up fears of $200 barrel oil.
A Washington Post article highlights signs that the Iraq war is becoming "a proxy for other issues" in the Democratic campaign, Paul Krugman previews possible dangers of not making the election a referendum on Republican policies, and President Bush stands on principle.
Facing tight primary contests, the Clinton campaign launches a "Daisy ad," drawing return fire from the Obama campaign, and praise from the National Review, while one GOP media consultant comments "It's a love tap compared to the Wu-Tang fist of fury that's coming at this guy in the fall."
Frank Rich brings out the bipartisan parallels in the campaigns against Obama, Bill Maher dissects what the campaign surrogates at 'turban outfitters' have dredged up as they go two-stepping around the race card, and a "60 Minutes" reporter hears the impact the smears have had on voters.
'Talk about bias!' Greg Mitchell notes "something absurd in the AP carrying a lengthy account of bias brought by Walter Shorenstein -- one of her leading backers in California," as the New York Times raises 'questions over favoritism' on the press bus in an article that itself provides fuel for critics.
A much criticized piece in the Washington Post that sighed over the swooning and foolishness of women is now said to have been "tongue in cheek," as an Ad Week essay reviews the treatment of "Brand Hillary" by women in the media, and Huckabee's persistence is seen as a boon to creationism in Texas.
With America's image "in the toilet," a Salon essay considers whether the presidential candidates have what it takes to "save Brand USA," and "America's Finest News Source" praises the media for its thorough coverage of "the most important issue for voters in 2008."
Amid signs of a impending total cave in to White House demands for telecom immunity, Kevin Drum finds reasons for suspecting that the real issue is not indemnification, but "trying to keep the scope of their wiretapping programs secret."
One aide to President Bush in charge of 'selling brand Bush to the Christian right' is forced out over plagiarism, while another high-ranking administration official, who has been "under fire for using his office to proselytize," resigns for "personal reasons."
After undergoing what one Guardian reporter describes as an "image transplant" prior to the election, Putin's protege emerges on top in a "choreographed" election and he is expected, David Remnick notes, to "respond reliably to his master's voice."
With the death toll rising in Gaza, Palestinians suspend peace negotiations "because we have so many funerals," Israel ponders the 'legality of striking civilian areas in Gaza,' Condoleezza Rice heads to the region with minimal prospects, and the Democratic hopefuls attend to other matters.
"Part Iran-Contra, part Bay of Pigs," is how David Rose sums up confidential documents outlining a botched covert White House initiative to provoke a Palestinian civil war, while Laura Rozen points to concerns about possibility of a number of small wars breaking out in the Middle East.
Debate over the increasing number of Israelis avoiding military service is played out in a pair of dueling ads shot in the same restaurant, as a group of discharged Israeli combat veterans take signs of the moral cost of occupation on the road.
'Harry's War: The ugly truth' A British Afghan war veteran highlights the way in which the images of the prince "blasting away on a machine gun" now saturating the "thinned-down" British media help "perpetuate the myth that this is a just war fit for heroes."
Following a cross-border raid by Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela deploy troops to the border, as the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee speculates about excess weapons, and the Monroe Doctrine fades in the face of U.S. neglect and the rising influence of other international partners.
As the federal government weighs a company's request to import radioactive waste from Italy, critics note that all aspects of the U.S. nuclear program, except cleanup, are slated for a budget increase, and plans for escalation are laid out at Oak Ridge. Plus: 'Oil exploration sought in California national monument.'
Feb. 29-March 2
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Scott Horton examines how the news and entertainment media deal with torture, and other than one sentence in a Newsweek article, the U.S. mainstream media took a pass on the 'Atrocity Exhibition' that psychologist Philip Zimbardo presented at Stanford last week.
As the White House 'guts' the Intelligence Oversight Board, newspapers weigh in editorially on the FISA bill, and a potential 'compromise' on telecom immunity prompts the question: "When is a majority not really a majority?"
Patrick Cockburn reviews Robin Wright's "Dreams and Shadows," and while he finds it "fluent and intelligent," he also questions her claim of a "budding culture of change" in the Middle East, arguing that "Sadly, her own research largely contradicts this thesis."
With violence in Iraq leaving 'Young Iraqis Doubting Clerics,' CJR's Paul McCleary, reporting on his dinner with an Iraqi sheikh, notes the wide chasm between the locals and Iraq's national government, and William Hartung tallies 'The Cost of a Week in Hell.'
As a chart compares the enlistment buy-in between Iraq and Afghanistan, and other U.S. wars, IraqSlogger interviews Greg Mitchell about his book "So Wrong for So Long," and Mitchell explains why one of the "heroes" of the book is retired Gen. William E. Odom.
With the Clinton campaign seen as having a 'contradiction on media and electability,' Joe Trippi predicts that Clinton is "running the last top-down campaign that's ever going to happen on the Democratic side," and Glenn Greenwald invokes Howard Kurtz's brand of "media criticism" to illustrate "how the political press functions."
The argument that it's important for the president to be a skilled communicator, is bolstered by President Bush, who has also been distorting the story behind his "favorite painting," according to research that Jacob Weisberg did for his book, "The Bush Tragedy."
NewsBusters takes umbrage with Matt Taibbi's description of Ann Coulter in an article on John McCain, a call goes out to 'Lay off Ralph Nader,' and the video that Jack Nicholson did for Hillary Clinton has its own spokesman.
The torching of five "built green" luxury homes in suburban Seattle, raises the possibility of a "Street of Dreams" appeal in the trial of a "suspected ELF saboteur" in Tacoma, and signals, according to Grist, that it's "Time for everyone to get hot and bothered about 'eco-terrorism' again!"
About a 'global warming deniers conference,' it's said that "even ExxonMobil wouldn't touch this circus with a 100-foot pole. In fact, no company is, the entire conference is being sponsored by freemarket right-wing think tanks," which receive funding from ExxonMobil.
As Moscow's The eXile surveys 'New Cold War Kitsch,' the New York Times profiles 'Putin's Pariah,' Russian novelist and poet Edward Limonov. His National Bolshevik Party is part of the disparate Other Russia coalition, whose supporters clashed with police during protests on Monday.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
The 'Long, Ugly Slog to Pennsylvania' begins, after Sen. Clinton nets three wins, and by one count, "from seven to a bit over 10 delegates," leaving, according to Marc Cooper, "no plausible scenario in which Clinton can win the nomination. At least not democratically." Plus: 'Obama regains ground in Texas caucuses.'
The 'Clintons K.O. their favorite foe,' after Bill barnstormed Texas and courted Rush Limbaugh's audience, in an interview with guest host and Texas talker, Mark Davis. Clinton defended the "3 a.m." ad, saying "it's not an ad which evokes fear," citing its "very positive, upbeat music."
With Sen. Obama facing a 'costly battle on two fronts,' Rep. Keith Ellison says in an interview that he doesn't see attacks on Obama working, and Eric Boehlert describes how bloggers went 'to bat for Obama,' following the AP article that raised questions about his patriotism.
Jonathan Turley describes the "perfect paradox" created by Attorney General Mukasey, and an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation explains that lawsuit damages against a telecom would be very small if the only people it spied on were those "in communication with Al Qaeda."
FAIR takes NPR to task over how it handled the issue of whether Iraqis could prosecute Americans over the killing of Iraqis, during a visit to Iraq by Mukasey, and one company shows how it's "Serving to make a difference," in an ad that ran in the magazine of the International Peace Operations Association.
An AP correspondent new to Iraq finds "plenty to critique about a government that just barely works in the eyes of many Iraqis," and an Iraqi government spokesman is "hammered by questions from Iraqi journalists demanding explanations for Baghdad's pathetic power supply."
With "the fifth consecutive day of major attacks by pro-Taliban militants in Pakistan," the country is reportedly 'in limbo as election winners squabble' over a prime minister pick, and "whether to permit Musharraf to continue as president and whether to reinstate judges he fired in November."
As 'Mexico criticizes Colombia's Ecuador raid,' Colombia launches a raft of accusations against Ecuador and Venezuela, based on information allegedly obtained from the laptop of Raul Reyes, and President Bush uses the crisis to portray a pending trade agreement with Colombia as an issue of national security.
With Israeli-Palestinian 'peace talks back on,' IDF officers say they 'faced fierce but unorganized resistance in Gaza,' and as a McClatchy correspondent releases 'Israel's restrictions on reporters,' Moses goes from tablets to tabloids.
'Telcos turn to Stalin for help against net neutrality,' after Comcast was caught bussing in paid seat fillers for a net neutrality hearing in Boston, and was also said to be "using hacker techniques" to minimize bandwith consumption, techniques that have been compared to those used in "China's Great Firewall."
Calling the electromagnetic spectrum arguably the "most valuable natural resource of the information age," with a "valuation upwards of $1 trillion," the author of "The Art of Spectrum Lobbying," wonders "Why has this story gotten so little press attention?"
Extolling 'The Charms of Wikipedia,' Nicholson Baker describes his efforts to fight "extremist deletion," and notes that a one-sentence "stub" on a South African butcher shop and night club, posted by Wikipedia's founder, led to a war between inclusionsts and deletionists. Plus: 'Wikipedia in the Newsroom.'
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Gaza is seeing its worst humanitarian crisis since the Israeli occupation began in 1967, according to a report by British-based aid and human rights groups, and Jimmy Carter and Kofi Annan have offered to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, which would be another first for Carter.
As 'Colombia takes more heat from Latin America left,' the country's government has reportedly promised to share the hard drives from its captured computers with the U.S., which has expressed skepticism about Colombia's "dirty bomb" claim.
With U.S. charges based on documents obtained from an Iranian 'laptop of mass destruction' being called into question, the Washington Post reports that an Esquire profile of U.S. CentCom head, Adm. William Fallon, describes him "as the only person who might stop the Bush administration from going to war against Iran."
The U.S. claims that 'Iran reneged on pledge to quit supporting Iraqi militias,' and Iran is Americans' least favored nation, according to a Gallup survey which also found that since February 2001, Americans' dissatisfaction with the U.S.' position in the world has more than doubled.
As 'Turkey resumes strikes in Iraq's north,' a U.S. general makes a U.S. troop pullout contingent on Iraqis moving faster to create jobs and improve basic services, and Editor & Publisher revisits 'That fateful press conference,' held five years ago tonight.
One day after the head of the EPA refused to say when he would comply with last April's Supreme Court directive on greenhouse gas emissions, President Bush told a renewable energy conference that the U.S. is "in the lead when it comes to global climate change."
The 'FBI investigates missing GOP money,' Paul Krugman goes on 'Drunken sailor watch,' and Salon's Mark Benjamin asks military leaders if they think McCain has the temperament to be the one answering the phone at 3 a.m.
"A long Democratic battle doesn't automatically help the Republicans," according to Karl Rove, who also suggests what "Mr. McCain and Mrs. Clinton" must do, without offering any advice to "Mr. Obama."
As 'Clinton stumbles on Ohio history,' her "Big State" argument is challenged, and despite a 'New Math Problem,' her campaign is spinning so far out as to predict that she'll "win the final contest on June 7 in Puerto Rico."
With Florida and Michigan seeking 'exit from Democratic penalty box,' Ralph Nader talks ballot-access restrictions with Jon Stewart, and as the Clinton campaign promises tax returns around tax day, Alternet's Steve Rosenfeld asks: "Has Obama's campaign about changing American politics come down to the Clinton's tax returns?"
The Willets Point district of Queens is called the "most engrossing character" in the film "Chop Shop," whose director says that "Coming from Iran, you learn to keep your mouth shut when it comes to politics."
Friday, March 7, 2008
Deadly explosions in Baghdad are described as the "second worst bombing of the year," and a reminder of "just how violent and unsettled a situation" Iraq continues to face, as it's argued that Sen. McCain's misreading of Iraq echoes his misreading of Vietnam.
With McCain 'seeking ways to separate' and avoid looking like a surrogate for Bush's third term, Robert Dreyfus looks into how 'Hothead McCain' plans to bypass the UN and set up "new structures and new institutions" to "facilitate an unencumbered, interventionist foreign policy."
Sen. Hillary Clinton's decision to give her GOP rival a free ride over the "Commander In Chief Threshold" raises questions about her judgment and about her own qualifications on the issue, while 3 a.m. overload generates a call to put the hyperbole on hold, and a suggestion to pay more attention to Iraq.
As an Obama foreign policy adviser resigns over a "monster" remark, "Naftagate" unravels, GOP preparations for swiftboating Obama are previewed, and a Time piece warning of dangers that might await Obama if he goes negative pictures him as "a dirty rat."
With Florida Democrats considering the possibility of redoing the presidential primary by mail, and Michican Democrats mulling a new caucus, John Nichols talks to "Democracy Now!" about the possibility of these two states providing "the deciding voice" in the election.
Weighing the election prospects of Senate Democrats, a New York Times analysis raises the possibility that they could gain a a majority not seen in 30 years,' as Survey USA's 50 state polls find either Clinton or Obama edging out McCain in the general election.
An unexpectedly steep job falloff fuels fears of recession, a survey of Wall Street Journal headlines prompts a parachute check, a top bond trader remarks that "Every day is like the 1987 stock market crash," and homeowner equity falls "below 50 percent for the first time on record since 1945."
As the Senate votes to strengthen product safety laws in the face of White House opposition, one analysis peels back Justice Scalia's "lip service to judicial restraint," to find a war against consumer and worker protections, while another digs into a "hat trick" of victories for the Chamber of Commerce at the Supreme Court.
An investigation into how KBR, America's top Iraq war contractor, used shell companies in the Cayman Islands to dodge hundreds of millions in taxes, and avoid paying unemployment benefits, also points to early plans for invading Iraq.
Bush administration maneuvers to avoid the accountability involved in the term "treaty" appear to be setting the stage for a 'constitutional showdown on Iraq,' as the Washington Post reports that officials are leaning toward secrecy on the upcoming NIE assessment on Iraq.
In recording the number of wounded soldiers, who have become the hallmark of the Iraq war, it's argued that "the Pentagon keeps two sets of books," while the military is accused of a "criminal failure" to "address sexual assault for what it is -- a violent crime."
"I don't remember having sustained questions on Iraq ... probably since early December," remarks White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, as a new Harris poll underlines American's distrust of the press, and Dan Froomkin looks to the future in celebrating the iconoclastic legacy of I.F. Stone.
Although no one was injured and damage was small, as in earlier such bombings, the explosion of what the police described as an "improvised explosive device" at a Times Square recruiting station triggers some explosive rhetoric and loose associations on the right.
Reviewing the outsized role Fidel Castro has played in every American presidential election since 1960, Greg Grandin dubs him 'The First Superdelegate,' as the 'very long arm of the law' reaches into Spain to shut down 80 European-owned websites alleged to be helping Americans evade travel restrictions to Cuba.
The arrest of notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout is apparently "fallout resulting from escalating tensions in South America," but the Los Angeles Times notes that the prospect of a public trial is complicated by his "controversial role in supplying the American military effort in Iraq," an aspect of his career that elicits surprise on NPR.
Award winning photojournalist Jason P. Howe recounts how his love affair with an assassin for right wing death squads in Colombia turned sour when grisly revelations finally trumped the feeling that he was "living in a Quentin Tarantino movie."
Monday, March 10, 2008
President Bush vetoes anti-torture legislation with solid backing from his party, including John McCain, and cements "his legacy," as the New York Times puts it, on executive power, over the objections of a number of key figures in the military.
As the Times is taken to task for "avoiding any direct mention of the terrible T-word," the Washington Monthly devotes an entire issue to 37 short essays on torture by writers from all over the political spectrum, whose "unifying message ... is simply, Stop."
Hillary Clinton's pitch for her "commander in chief" credentials, based in part on claims of experience in helping "bring peace to Northern Ireland," is met with skepticism from a wide array of sources, while all the candidates are said to be falling short of the challenges of "post-Bush public diplomacy."
For losing her cool in front of a reporter and describing Hillary Clinton as a "monster," Obama adviser Samantha Power, who has a history with the Clintons, is forced to resign, providing Tucker Carlson with an opportunity to take a righteous stand, and reveal "the role of the American press."
Even as the Clinton campaign casts doubt on Obama's foreign policy credentials, it is talking him up as a vice president, but Obama, on his way to a win in Wyoming, says "you won't see me as a vice presidential candidate," and 'challenges Clinton's standing' on Iraq.
The AP reports that Iowa GOP Rep. Steve King said that terrorists would be "dancing in the streets" if Obama became president, but is criticized for underplaying the "true inflammatory nature of the attacks," which the congressman continues to defend. Plus: Redefining the election through a "violence frame."
With the media constantly calling him a "war hero," John McCain test markets a grander mantle, and complains that "It's getting harder and harder to do the Lord's work in the City of Satan," recycling what has apparently become one of his standard campaign lines when reaching out to the right.
A complaint that McCain looks "too blue" for conservatives insists that restoring his credentials will require "rebuilding" U.S. military infrastructure, as a new book on "legendary conman and disgraced war cheerleader" Ahmad Chalabi, recalls his close ties to the senator.
As the Senate prepares to release the "mixed verdict" of its four-year-long investigation of the run-up to war, Doug Feith's 900-page-long assault on his colleagues for mishandling the launch of the war apparently fails to touch on "some of the basic facts of the war."
In a Washington Post op-ed, Linda Bilmes and Joseph Stiglitz contend that one reason the public doesn't understand the "staggering scale" of Iraq war expenditures is a focus on "upfront costs," and a limited time frame may also account for the difference between their cost estimate and that of the CBO. Plus: Britain feels the pinch.
A Defense Department investigation links sick troops to bad water supplied by KBR (a former Halliburton subsidiary), the Carlyle Group is reportedly poised to "re-emerge as the owner of one of America's largest private intelligence armies," and Blackwater ends its bid for a California training site.
As the U.S. military denies that the recent surge of violence in Iraq is a trend, a demonstration decries "the killing of women, workers, academics and scientists" in Basra, and another mass grave is uncovered, which locals suspect contains Sunnis killed by Shiite militias.
Rival Pakistani political parties unite against President Pervez Musharraf, aiming to reinstate the judges he fired and strip him of crucial powers, although the U.S. is reportedly working "behind the scenes" to "dampen enthusiasm" for reinstating the chief justice, who is viewed as "too much of a Musharraf opponent."
Mother Jones' Bruce Falconer highlights problems of allegiance and motivation facing the Pentagon's plan to impose an "Anbar-style model" on Pakistan's tribal areas, while Matthew Cole, in an interview with a Taliban commander, learns "how Bush administration aid to Pakistan helps fund insurgents who kill U.S. troops."
As an absence of regulators is faulted for the "self-inflicted recession," a Mother Jones essay shines the spotlight on 'subprime lending's smartest guys in the room,' and a Dollars & Sense column explains why neither war spending nor tax cuts can overcome serious weaknesses in the U.S. economy.
God and Blair at Yale Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is tapped to start teaching "faith and globalization" at President Bush's alma mater, generating some speculation about what an appropriate syllabus for this course might look like.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Guantanamo trials "will be tainted by coercive tactics such as waterboarding used to obtain evidence and should be scrapped," according to a report from Human Rights First, and Congress is urged to "enhance the truth by overriding President Bush's shameful veto of a ban on torture" Plus: 'We don't do torture - especially in debates.'
After the Wall Street Journal revealed that Total Information Awareness "never actually died, and was largely rebuilt in secret by the NSA," it's reported that "the House leadership's draft proposal for a surveillance bill contains a provision that would reject giving retroactive immunity to the telecoms."
Salon excerpts Greg Mitchell's book on how the U.S. press failed on Iraq, and, reports on a plan by an Iraqi journalist to save Iraq. And as Rep. Henry Waxman asks three federal agencies to investigate Blackwater, U.S. troops get a pricey towel "with KBR embroidered on it."
A Pentagon-sponsored study 'finds no link between Saddam and al-Qaeda,' a U.S. commander suggests that al-Qaeda in Iraq "may be planning on executing kind of a large media type event," and Jeremy Scahill contends that "When it comes to Iraq, we don't have a Democratic Party and a Republican party, we have a war party."
After delivering a military graduation speech that received mixed reviews, Vice President Cheney is heading to the Middle East to talk 'peace and oil,' Sen. John McCain will visit Israel next week, and with a lull in the violence between Israel and Hamas, reporters find something 'Better than Disneyland: Terror Tourism.'
Dean Baker argues that the Iraq war "is not the cause of this recession," and an article speculating that gas prices could be candidate McCain's undoing, finds that in past presidential contests, "it's the gas price, stupid."
As the Nation covers "The other side of the McCain lobbyist scandal,' among those interviewed for an article on McCain's relationship with Arizona reporters, is a former Arizona Republic editor who recently wrote about 'The McCain I Know." Plus: 'In Havana, a page from McCain's past.'
With Crawford winding down and Sedona ramping up, a Texas Observer feature on "Crawford," the movie, notes that while "Bush's status as (mostly) absentee cowboy has profoundly affected the community, Bush is a spectral presence in "Crawford."
Dississippi Sen. Clinton now says that "it's premature to talk about whoever might be on the ticket," after the odds-on favorite accused her campaign of trying to "okey-doke" voters, and her spokesman said that she "will not choose any candidate who has not at the time of choosing passed the national security threshold."
Making 'The case for a revote in Florida and Michigan,' Govs. Corzine and Rendell argue that "having our nominee decided by superdelegates ... would be less than ideal," but NBC's Chuck Todd said, at the end of a "Hardball" segment, that for Clinton supporters, the whole point of a revote is to free up the superdelegates in those states for Clinton.
A sociology professor sees 'The red phone in black and white,' the notion of a 'War party fusion ticket' is advanced, a "radical thesis" is offered in response to a Newsweek article by Tina Brown, and 'A loyal Clinton soldier turns in his badge.'
As 'Clinton military brass join ranks with Obama campaign,' the New Republic reports on how 'Hillary's think tank went for Obama,' and the New York Times profiles its initial funders, who also provided $30 million in start-up money for ProPublica, one example of the rise in nonprofit journalism.
Firedoglake raises 'Some questions about the Spitzer incident,' one of which includes the name Roger Stone, and in a post asking 'Who cares if Eliot Spitzer hires prostitutes?,' Glenn Greenwald takes CREW to task for calling on Spitzer to resign.
As 'Analysts ask: what was Spitzer thinking?,' Fox News' Shepherd Smith reportedly "could barely contain himself when it was suggested that Mr. Spitzer was 'Client No. 9,'" and cable news channels are urged to "make a contribution to Coyote."
In advance of Tuesday's editions, headline suggestions were offered up for the New York Post and Daily News, and an article on the paparazzi suggests that 'Wolf Blitzer and Co. are but one rung higher than 'TMZ' in the devolution of the media."
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
As Sen. Obama was winning the 'racially polarized Mississippi primary,' a CNN estimate gave him a delegate win in Texas, and a rundown of various pledged delegate counts has his lead ranging from 137 to 162.
A McClatchy report finds that 'Clinton's foreign experience is more limited than she says,' and the 'umbrage war' over remarks by Geraldine Ferraro moves to network TV morning shows, with Obama accusing her of "slice and dice politics."
Speaking to religious broadcasters, President Bush twice voiced his opposition to the "Fairness Doctrine," and referred to the Iraqi pet-market suicide bombers as "mentally retarded," despite a February report that "it remained unclear whether the women ... suffered from any medical condition that would have prevented them from understanding what they were doing."
Centcom Commander Adm. William J. Fallon 'Retires After Irking Bosses,' resigning in a phone call from Iraq, following the publication of an Esquire profile by Thomas P.M. Barnett, about which Chris Floyd wrote, "the magazine's view of Fallon as some kind of secret peacenik was laughable."
Iraq surge acrhitect Frederick Kagan 'Meets His Match' on the PBS "NewsHour," where, debating Nir Rosen, he said that "there's a magnificent myth out there ... that there are no mixed areas in Iraq anymore and that the cleansing is completed."
The New York Times reports on Kurdistan's 'Brisk Business in Blast Walls," which it calls "the most readily identifiable symbol of the current state of Iraq," where "soaring oil revenues ... are pushing the country toward a massive budget surplus."
As the Pentagon blames Syria and Iran for Iraq's lack of border control, an Iraq war supporter becomes a real estate baron, and Greg Mitchell recalls 'Eighteen things you've already forgotten about the media's flawed coverage of Iraq.'
The Guardian interviews three filmmakers about their Iraq war movies and the public's lack of interest in them, and the Boston Phoenix reviews a "War Stories" exhibit that includes Purple Hearts photos, Redaction paintings, and "9 Scripts from a Nation at War."
A U.N. report finds a 'sharp rise in Afghanistan attacks,' the Independent reports on a dispute that has left a notorious Afghan warlord "under siege," and a "Marketplace" segment describes how Afghans bought into a 'pyramid scheme for developing countries.'
As the 'House fails to override torture veto,' Mother Jones goes 'Inside Gitmo with Detainee 061,' and the Pentagon dangles the prospect of twice-yearly phone calls to family members for Guantanamo prisoners.
The author of a book on modern-day slavery, describing negotiations for "a 9-year-old sex partner/house slave" in Haiti, says that what "struck me more than anything afterwards was how incredibly banal the transaction was. It was as if I was negotiating on the street for a used stereo." Plus: 'Would legalizing prostitution increase trafficking?"
As Eliot Spitzer resigns, 'Mars and Venus dissect the Spitzer scandal,' Home Depot co-founder Kenneth Langone says of Spitzer, "I hope his private hell is hotter than anyone else's," and Harper's Ken Silverstein finds it "curious how quickly word leaked about Spitzer's involvement."
An Asia Times commentator responds to a 'supremely cynical' vice-presidential option for the "Big Dog," Juan Cole wonders "How far will McCain go in presenting himself as Son of Bush in order to energize his party's base?,' and the father of Bush appears in a 'Rare Washington Times dinner party disaster video.'
Thursday, March 13, 2008
ABC News breaks the story about the Pentagon trying to bury its report finding no operational links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. Or, as one paper headlined a McClatchy article, 'Iraq report quietly goes public.' Update: You can now read the full report here.
With U.S. military deaths in Iraq nearing 4,000, public awareness of the number "has declined sharply since last August," according to a Pew survey, and a 'Bereaved Iraqi mother' tells Patrick Cockburn: "One day I will put on an explosive belt under my clothes and then blow myself up among the Americans."
As an article marks the sixth anniversary of the Iraq war, about the "Winter Soldier Hearings" that begin Thursday, viewing and listening options here, Mark Benjamin asks: 'Will American war crimes be revealed?'
"The Good War" A review calls "Human Smoke" by Nicholson Baker, "a meticulously researched and well-constructed book demonstrating that World War II was one of the biggest, most carefully plotted lies in modern history." Read an excerpt, and interview with Baker.
With the House set to vote on a bill that rejects telecom immunity, lawyers for a detainee being held in U.S. custody allege "that their client was systematically abused and that he was told there were cabinets full of videotapes depicting his treatment at the hands of the FBI and the Defense Intelligence Agency."
The EPA ignores its own advisers in rewriting pollution standards, a reporter finds the 'Most stunning view in town,' and in his book "Gusher of Lies," journalist Robert Bryce takes on what he calls "The dangerous delusions of 'energy independence.'"
As the New York Times reports on 'an Aspiring Singer,' Scott Horton asks, 'Was the investigation of Eliot Spitzer politically motivated?' And with some legal observers predicting that 'Indictments Loom' for Spitzer, it's said that others mentioned in the complaint 'Sweat It Out.'
Asked "who or what disgusts you the most this primary season?," Matt Taibbi, whose book "The Great Derangement" will be published in May, said that "I think Hillary disgusts me more than anyone else," and lauds John Edwards as "a hero" for having tried to educate people about how things work in Washington.
As 'Clinton apologizes to black voters,' Keith Olbermann throws the kitchen sink at her and Geraldine Ferraro, who are said to be employing an "Archie Bunker" strategy in Pennsylvania, and the GOP is accused of gaming the Democratic primary for Clinton.
With the AFL-CIO launching a $53 million campaign against McCain, David Corn points out that televangelist Rod Parsley, embraced by McCain as a "spiritual guide," has expressed a "desire to obliterate Islam." Parsley is one of the 'Ohio Players.' Plus: 'McCain to media: Let's stay together.'
Since Chris Matthews blasted reporters for "laughing at events and political acts that warrant anything but laughter," over last week's Gridiron Club dinner, Media Matters wonders if Matthews will call out colleague Tim Russert for attending the dinner. Will Rachel Maddow or Olbermann challenge Russert?
David Ignatius refers to Bush's "jolly farewell" at the dinner in a Daily Star column headlined 'From a lame duck to dead ducks in the Middle East.' And as 'Israel imposes sanctions on Al-Jazeera,' Philip Weiss reports on Time and Washington Post columnist Peter Beinart giving 'Private AIPAC talks on how to help Israel in '08 election.'
Former 'Brain Dead Liberal' David Mamet gets tweaked for referring to NPR as "National Palestinian Radio" in an essay that has conservatives all atwitter, and in which he calls Thomas Sowell "our greatest contemporary philosopher."
As a Hollywood producer describes what he's looking for in a personal cultural attache, the author of "Rock On," excerpted here, says that "I got really tired of rich white guys with two assistants and an office the size of my entire apartment telling me it's a really tough time for music."
Friday, March 14, 2008
Following a rare secret session to discuss a secret wiretapping program, the House is expected to vote this afternoon on a surveillance bill that the president is threatening, in increasingly bellicose terms, to veto if it's not to his liking. Update: House passes the bill.
A Justice Department audit finds that the FBI misused national security letters, increasingly targeting U.S. citizens, while Boston Globe's Charlie Savage puts a Bush executive order that stripped the Intelligence Oversight Board of much of its authority into historical context.
The Independent fact checks a new teaching guide on the Iraq war that has Britain's largest teachers union up in arms, while appeasing the U.S. and evading an inquiry into the origins and conduct of the war are cited as possible reasons for 'slight of hand' over promised British troop cuts.
The discovery of the body of a kidnapped archbishop is described as "one more piece of bad news on a day of horrors," as Gen. Petraeus, in an interview with the Washington Post confesses disappointment with Iraqi reconciliation efforts, and Robert Fisk looks at how the 'cult of the suicide bomber' was inflamed by the invasion of Iraq.
Weighing the unequal burdens imposed by the "economic draft," Michael Zweig detects elements of a "class war," as the Politico's claim that the Iraq war will help McCain runs into multiple polling problems.
At the Winter Soldier hearings, "Democracy Now!" discusses veterans' "eyewitness accounts of the occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan," while President Bush shares his vision of how "romantic" it must be on the front lines in Afghanistan.
As the Guantanamo pre-trial hearings get underway, the 'bar questions independence of military commissions,' the Pentagon is accused of doctoring evidence, and a detainee's lawyer charges that one 'sickening truth' at the prison is how medical neglect is endangering lives.
With a Yemeni "ghost detainee" describing three years inside secret CIA prisons, and the in absentia trial of 26 American officials for the rendition of an Egyptian man reconvening in Milan, China tries defending its human rights record by 'citing the Bush torture program.'
As the U.N. torture inspector is denied access to U.S. prisons in Iraq, Tom Hayden considers the implications of having an advocate of "global Phoenix Program," as the "top counterinsurgency adviser" to Gen. Petraeus, and the imprecise track record of a U.S. program of assassination from the air comes under scrutiny.
Evidence that ozone rules were 'weakened at Bush's behest' has the EPA scrambling for justification, and $110 a barrel oil suggests a new trigger for senators' campaign to open up drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but "a simple president" finds himself at a loss for words.
'Opposition from all quarters' appears to have doomed a plan for a mail-in do-over of Florida's primary, another plan being floated for qualified re-enfranchisement is criticized for giving even more power to super-delegates, and Hillary Clinton argues the original Michigan primary should count even though her opponent was not on the ballot.
A Clinton campaign statement that Obama "can't win the general election" is affirmed and then denied, a summary of the toll the campaign is taking on the Democratic party leads off with news that the number of people who think Obama is a Muslim is increasing, and the candidates agree to hold their 21st debate, and maybe even more.
With the 'dollar squeezed from all sides' by converging economic setbacks, Paul Krugman concludes that "the Fed's attempt to avert a recession has almost certainly failed," and the burgeoning debt collection industry tries to 'put on a friendlier face." Plus: 'GOP Gags Witnesses on Credit Card Woe.'
Although the demise of their nemesis has Wall Streeters reveling in 'Spitzenfreude,' a review of the evidence suggests that they are in no way exonerated, and an undercover bust in Tehran and police on the take put the scandal and the hypocrisy in context.
Following 'a close call' on the border in which the Colombian president appeared to be trying out for the "Dick Cheney role," Condoleezza Rice, on tour in Latin America, proclaims that "borders cannot be a means by which terrorists hide and engage in activities that kill innocent civilians."
Monday, March 17, 2008
Of the 9 reflections on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war featured on the New York Times op-ed page, boosters get the lion's share, including a piece by an unrepentant Paul Bremer, whose fateful decisions are facing renewed scrutiny.
Summing up the legacy of the war, Patrick Cockburn concludes that "Iraq is a country no more" and whatever relative calm there is has been bought at the cost of ethnic cleansing, while a former BBC reporter who returns to Iraq looking for the "human stories behind the statistics," contends that "only the willfully ignorant believe that Iraq is a better place."
Although perhaps only in "sturdy middle age," and facing 'a long road ahead,' the war already appears to have taken a heavy and long term toll on U.S power, prestige and influence, laying bare 'the limits of raw military power.'
Bowing to public pressure, Prime Minister Gordon Brown promises to hold an Iraq inquiry some day, as families of British Iraq veterans killed in combat challenge the timing of a Ministry of Defense campaign "aimed at putting a positive spin on the effects of 'military intervention.'"
With 'worms in the water,' and insufficient access to sanitation and health care, millions of Iraqis still face a unrelenting humanitarian crisis, detailed in a new report by the Red Cross, and CNN looks at the impact the war has had on the lives of Iraqi women. Plus: Untold numbers.
As 'Iraqi feel-good stories prove elusive' for an American reporter, new government reports find that "over one third of women and 6 percent of men" in the U.S. military have been sexually harassed, and Winter Soldier airs testimony about institutional sexism in the military.
Spencer Ackerman notes that video-taped evidence of potential war crimes and video interviews with the population under occupation set this year's Winter Soldier conference apart from its Vietnam-era predecessor, while Jeremy Scahill explains to Realnews "why no presidential candidate plans on fully leaving Iraq."
Iraq receives unannounced visits from Sen. John McCain, who insists it is "not a campaign photo opportunity," and whose planned reprise of an iconic market tour got axed by security concerns, and from Vice President Dick Cheney, whose "high-security and secrecy-shrouded arrival" was greeted by a series of bomb blasts.
On its 40th anniversary, Seymour Hersh revisits the signature atrocity of the Vietnam war, and long-buried tapes from an Army investigation reveal the mindset of the killers, but command responsibility for a policy of indiscriminate violence, Gareth Porter contends, has been systematically evaded.
Now U.S. officials "barely mention" President Musharraf, whose "dictatorship" is a target for the newly convened Pakistan parliament, as bombs target Americans at an Islamabad restaurant, and missile strikes in a tribal area of Pakistan "may have been carried out by the U.S."
Tom Engelhardt confronts the Philip K. Dick world opened up by the use of cross-border decapitation strikes as a U.S. global policy, as Minority Leader Mitch McConnell explains that the "purpose of war is peace."
With as many as 20,000 Chinese troops locking down Tibet's capital, and Chinese authorities locking down YouTube, foreign journalists demand access, but the story, which is receiving little play in the China Daily, is not expected to slow the Olympic torch.
The heart of the FISA debate, according to an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, is political spying, not individual privacy, as Glenn Greenwald accuses Time of fudging the facts in support of the claim that Americans don't care about Big Brother.
Signs of ''a vicious circle of doom for the dollar' and a housing crunch flattening more companies punctuate concerns about the spreading effects of a 'Bear Stearns Market,' and Nouriel Roubini underlines what's problematic about responding to 'a generalized run on the shadow financial system' with a bailout.
With President Bush's carefully chosen words on the economy drawing comparisons to Herbert Hoover, it's suggested that "if he can't fix the economy, the least he could do is rehearse the speech," as concern with the importance of the right words leads to a call for 'the metaphor police.'
As the 'dollar's plunge pushes eurozone past US,' and the 'rise of American incompetence' is interrogated, the New York Times goes along for the ride with a busload of people on a foreclosure tour and discovers how "one-upmanship among billionaires" is driving a fixation on size. Plus: (In)conspicuous consumption.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
While claiming that protests in Tibet were "organized, premeditated, masterminded and incited by the Dalai clique," China also 'blocks YouTube, reporters over Tibet news,' but 'Images and news ... seep onto web.'
As Amar Bakshi discusses his "How the World Sees America" project, seven in ten Iraqis say they want foreign forces to leave, according to a poll conducted for Britain's Channel 4, and in interviews with Iraqi soldiers, CNN finds no support for a President McCain.
FAIR points out that there were 'No Antiwar Voices' in a New York Times 'Stay the Course in Iraq' op-ed section, IPS reports on 'Anti-war grannies arrested trying to enlist,' and an article portraying Iraq as the 'First I-War,' begins by describing a soldier's blog that features the music of Nine Inch Nails.
As an audit finds that the backlog of FOIA requests has decreased a mere two percent over two years, the CIA expands its legal liability insurance, lawyers for Abu Zubaydah say he's being held unlawfully, and two New York Times' reporters are ripped over articles on President Bush's anti-torture veto.
A Justice Department audit finds the terrorist watchlist 'riddled with errors,' and as clues are sought in 'The case of the amazing vanishing corruption investigation,' it's suggested that in a new trial, former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio "might have the opportunity to explain why he thinks he was retaliated against because he believes in the Fourth Amendment."
As the Supreme Court agrees to hear 'FCC vs. Fox TV,' a response to Jeffrey Rosen's 'Supreme Court Inc.," which expands on recent articles in Slate and Mother Jones, says that "There is little reason to think that Clinton and Obama appointees will be openly hostile to business interests."
About the "Events unfolding this week on the lower end of Manhattan," Nicholas Von Hoffman predicts that they "will cancel out all the projects John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been talking about," but, homeowners are promised a "boost of liquidity." Plus: 'Bernanke may run low on "ammunition" for loans, rates.'
In her speech on Iraq, which was immediately countered by the Obama campaign, Sen. Clinton took a statement by former Obama adviser Samantha Power out of context. Clinton is also said to have 'the national media right where she wants them: on the defensive.'
Vice President Cheney, in Iraq, drew "laughter" from reporters for citing the Weekly Standard in continuing to argue that there was a link between Saddam and al-Qaeda, and the magazine's co-editor, William Kristol, had the audacity to hope that NewsMax was a reliable news source, following "a day of true devotion to Barack Obama."
An AP column contends that Obama "holds firmly to views and doesn't like to be challenged," but an op-ed by a former law professor colleague of Obama's, Cass Sunstein, calls Obama "a careful and evenhanded analyst of law and policy, unusually attentive to multiple points of view."
As a representative of Obama's campaign gets a cool reception at a public forum put on by Jewish leaders, the IDF's Gaza attacks have boosted the popularity of Hamas head Ismail Haniyeh, according to a poll finding that he would defeat Palestinian President Abbas in an election.
With the Iraq war being 'kept away from public,' the cable news section of the 2008 State of the News Media report, finds "that celebrity, crime and disasters accounted for almost twice as much airtime as all domestic issues -- except for immigration -- combined. Plus: Washington Post's Walter Pincus 'Rips into Newsroom Neutrality.'
Described as "a lively critique of modern media," the novel "Cleaver" features a British TV celebrity interviewer's grilling of a U.S. president that recalls Matt Lauer's torture toe-to-toe with Bush, who takes a cover turn on the U.S. version of the book, by Tim Parks.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Vice President 'Cheney again links Iraq invasion to 9/11 attacks,' and President Bush makes "some of his most expansive claims of success," as both mark five years of a 'war that started with lies, and continues with lie after lie after lie.'
Greg Mitchell celebrates some 'Unsung heroes and alternate voices,' and reminds that five years ago, 'Many top newspapers opposed war.' Assessing estimates of between 100,000 and one million, the Guardian asks: 'What is the real death toll in Iraq?' And, Robert Fisk on 'The only lesson we ever learn...'
The Nation reports that the Iraq war is 'Killing Our Economy," and in Iraq anniversary remarks, headlined 'President Bush Discusses Global War on Terror,' Bush said that that "In recent months we've heard exaggerated estimates of the costs of this war," likely referring to Joseph Stiglitz. Plus: Initial 'Estimates of Iraq war cost were not close to ballpark.'
Consortium analyzes the 'Iraq War as War Crime,' the New Yorker profiles 'The woman behind the camera at Abu Ghraib,' and an AP article on Stern's interview with Lynndie England, ignores her claim that "Rumsfeld knew what was going on," even though it was the headline of the interview.
The interview contains a link to a Stern article calling the Iraq surge 'John McCain's Potemkin Village.' And as Mark Benjamin recently reported, "As late as May 12, 2004, in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal," McCain defended Rumsfeld.
Obama's 'viral traction' is sustained, with a speech in which he is said to have placed his 'faith in the reasoning abilities of the American public.' And he tells "Nightline" that "I have no idea how this plays out politically."
Among other reactions to the speech, more here and here, is that it was 'Obama's Lincoln moment,' and that "it was a speech aimed right at Blitzer, at the best political team on television, and the makers of our election year spectacle."
As a 'superdelegate primary' and a 'debate dream team' are proposed, the latter made up of Clinton, Obama and McCain, Farhad Manjoo traces the roots of the Obama-is-a-Muslim rumor, and in an excerpt from his book, "True Enough," describes 'How local TV embraced fake news.'
The BBC spotlights 'America's new subprime shanty-towns,' and a Business Week column calling the Fed 'Too Easy on Wall Street,' notes that "New York City securities industry firms paid out a total of $137 billion in employee bonuses from 2002 to 2007." Plus: 'Can't grasp credit crisis? Join the club.'
With the world watching 'China's Media War,' an Australian tourist in Tibet videotapes the clashes, the Nation reports on 'China's Olympic Delusion,' and Tony Karon explains 'Why Beijing Needs the Dalai Lama.'
As it's noted that Pew's 2008 State of the Media report "ranks reporting on courts and the legal system among the least covered domestic issues," the Supreme Court considers the 'Right to Bear Arms,' and Slate's Dahlia Lithwick adds some grizzly details.
Following a report that the U.S. government censored a force-feeding sketch by an Al-Jazeera cameraman held at Guantanamo, Canadian captive Omar Khadr alleged "that he was repeatedly threatened with rape as an interrogation technique." More on his case and allegation.
Interviewed about his book "Marching Toward Hell," described as "an enormously crude, reductionist account of the challenges posed by the jihadists," and "a delight to read," Michael Scheuer says the U.S. has "the worst of both worlds. We're supporting Israel ... and we're supporting tyrannies."
As it's reported that the 'U.S. may relent on Hamas role in talks,' the Palestinian Authority is said to have drawn up a plan urging Palestinians living abroad to exercise their right of return to mark Israel's 60th anniversary, or, as Debka declares, 'Abbas goes on the warpath, tries to steal the show from Hamas.'
Thursday, March 20, 2008
In an audio release, 'Bin Laden attacks EU over cartoons,' and as CNN airs 'spliced video' of Sen. John McCain's Al Qaeda-Iran "gaffe," Jonathan Alter accuses McCain of trying "to conflate all the bad guys over there to confuse Americans who are not paying attention."
Sen. Obama "mocked" McCain for the "gaffe," during a speech in which Obama is said to have provided "a solid clue that, once he's in office, those promises to withdraw troops are not exactly engraved in stone."
The Christian Science Monitor finds 'a deep disquiet in the U.S.,' the AP reports on protests across the country, and journalism students from American University provide additional protest coverage, along with an extensive package looking back at war coverage.
With President Bush hitting a new approval low in CNN polling, down from the 71 percent at the start of the Iraq war, he brought up al-Qaeda 14 times in a 26-minute speech, after which his spokeswoman flat out denied that Bush said what he said.
"When I talked to Gen. Petraeus, he said that's sort of a poor choice of words to say we're fighting terrorists so that they don't fight us in America," recalls Evan Wright, in an interview about an HBO miniseries based on his book "Generation Kill." And Nick Turse describes ''The golden age of the military-entertainment complex.'
An Iraqi journalist who reports for the Guardian, documents his trip "to an orphanage in Sadr city, where children speak of their hatred of America," and the directors of "Full Battle Rattle," discuss the documentary, which is about a fake Iraqi village that the U.S. Army built in the California desert.
As 'China sends more troops to restive areas,' an article on the country's 'Patchy Tibet Blackout' includes a charge by Reporters Without Borders that "China has not kept any of the promises it made in 2001 when it was chosen to host these Olympics."
Sen. McCain visits Sderot, where he 'Backs Israeli Reprisals in Gaza,' Ha'aretz reports on a study finding that Israeli Jews are 'becoming increasingly racist toward Arabs,' and Israel's Supreme Court hears an argument that ethnic profiling by Israeli airlines "is racist because it singles out Arabs for tougher treatment."
With 'Clinton facing narrower path to nomination,' it's speculated that Obama's speech on race could 'seal the deal' among superdelegates, and lauding the speech on "Hardball," Bill Maher found it "astounding that in 2008 someone had to go through the ABC's of what racial relations are like in the country."
As Obama's speech passes the two million views mark, Politico reports that an "incendiary" anti-Obama video is the work of Lee Habeeb, the director of strategic content at Salem Radio Network, which claims to field "a team of the finest anchors and reporters in Christian journalism."
"Angler" wins the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, on a day when its subject was fishing off the Sultan of Oman's yacht, and one of the book prize winners is a defense of attack ads in presidential campaigns.
A television spot for Sen. Norm Coleman that was paid for by a group called the American Future Fund, is the first political ad to use the bridge collapse, and Minnesota orders up 'More spin for the span.'
Richard Grant explains how he settled on "God's Middle Finger" for the title of his book on life in Mexico's Sierre Madre mountains, where he found "a hillbilly vendetta culture . . . up to its eyeballs in the world's most murderous business enterprise."
Friday, March 21, 2008
In a conference call with reporters, the State Department explains how two employees for an as yet unnamed outside contractor were caught accessing Obama's passport file by a computer monitoring system put into place after an earlier security breach involving the records of then presidential candidate Bill Clinton.
Amid reports that the passport files of the other presidential candidates were breached as well, Rep. Waxman asks for names, while former presidential candidate and superdelegate Bill Richardson endorses Barack Obama, despite close ties to the Clinton camp.
Hillary Clinton's relative silence in the Wright controversy, Barbara Ehrenreich suggests, is related to her own vulnerability over associations with a secretive conservative Capitol Hill bible study and prayer group, which was the subject of a 2003 expose and a forthcoming book by Jeff Sharlet.
Reacting to the apparent death of the Michigan do-over, Clinton warns that not counting Florida and Michigan would put "legitimacy of the nominee" in doubt, as newly released documents cast doubt on the legitimacy of claims by Clinton and others that she was a critic of NAFTA.
With a McCain aide suspended for promoting a racially charged video hyping guilt by association, the New York Times Magazine is preparing to publish an interview with controversial televangelist Rev. John Hagee, who declares "It's true that [John] McCain's campaign sought my endorsement."
As the McCain-Lieberman tour of the Middle East wraps up, and McCain talks war and makes connections in Britain, Joe Conason considers what his gaffe about an al Qaeda-Iran connection reveals about plans for Iran.
The 'Arabic press highlights the Iraq negatives,' and the refugee crisis mostly goes missing from anniversary coverage, as an editorial in Lebanon's Daily Star observes: "The whole world has been hearing Bush for five long years, and yet no one understands what he says."
Families of dead Iraqis reject Blackwater 'blood money,' while Mother Jones looks at how Eric Prince, the company's founder, has tried to use a less high profile brand as a stealth vehicle for advancing his global aspirations.
Advocates of the claim that there was a connection between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and al Qaeda suffer a defection in the face of a five volume Pentagon report (now on line) finding no such connection, while Osama bin Laden now pitches Iraq as "the perfect base to set up the jihad to liberate Palestine."
Reviewing a series of articles from "liberal hawks' explaining how they got it wrong, Glenn Greenwald highlights how little they learned, while a curious choice of anniversary images and a problematic timeline in the New York Times recall reporting from the Judy Miller era.
A correspondent for Britain's Channel 4 contends that "Mosul has been repackaged now as kind of the final stand, the real reason why America has to stay in Iraq." and USA Today puts together a database to display 'a personal, statistical view' of 3982 U.S. deaths in Iraq.
The deaths of 12 U.S. soldiers by electrocution has put KBR in the crosshairs of a congressional investigation, a Pentagon inquiry and now a lawsuit, leading Will Bunch to wonder whether the pressure to maintain a profit margin is endangering soldiers.
Although the use of public transit in the U.S. has hit a 50-year high, a drive toward privatized solutions at the expense of public transit spearheaded by a transportation policy maker with no experience in transportation is said to illustrate "crony capitalism at its most flagrant."
With increased funding for scientific research largely going to 'bombs and spaceships,' "Democracy Now!" talks with James Hanson about 'censoring science,' Congress mulls a whistleblower bill to protect federal scientists, and Frederick Clarkson looks at how secular baiting has gone mainstream.
After helping stir up 'the mother of all privacy battles,' with "a tool that can track every single online action of a given consumer," the Web company Phorm tries to counter the negative publicity with a flurry of PR. Plus: 'Feds Tout New Domestic Intelligence Centers; Press Stays Home.'
Monday, March 24, 2008
A report on the death toll for U.S. soldiers in Iraq hitting 4000 notes that "There have been about 15 soldiers wounded for every fatality in Iraq, compared with 2.6 per death in Vietnam and 2.8 in Korea," and CNN's Michael Ware underlines how little has been attained.
As the bad news hits page A09 in the Washington Post, and headlines paint a contrast between the Daily News and Murdoch's New York Post, the New York Times notes, and Al Jazeera discusses, the way that "news from Iraq has become a casualty in the battle for the front pages."
A wave of violence across Iraq including a deadly attack on the Green Zone claims dozens of lives, as the Los Angeles Times looks into 'a different kind of power struggle' that is hitting Baghdad the hardest, and Reuters notes that Anbar, 'once a U.S. trophy for Iraq,' is 'losing its shine.'
Reviewing the progress of 'Iraq's Most Fearsome Militia, the U.S. military, on the Offensive,' Michael Schwartz finds the citizens of Baghdad waiting "for a definitive military confrontation or some less violent change that will bring its long ordeal to an end," while a Washington Post report details the revival of 'Hussein-era tactics' in Fallujah.
Pondering the 40 year legacy of 1968, Tariq Ali wonders 'Where has all the rage gone?' as Canada prepares to debate the status of war dodgers in limbo, G.I. resistance is considered, and the Texas Observer offers a taxonomy of 'Military tattoos in the age of Iraq.'
As the 'Pentagon rules out Fallon testimony' before Congress on Iraq, Dan Froomkin finds evidence in a recent Bush interview that suggests that he is "operating in an alternate reality" as far as Iran is concerned.
Tacit approval from President Musharraf's government cleared the way for a recent predator "surge" in Pakistan, but a new parliament is expected to be weaken Musharraf's grip, and begin negotiating "with Islamic militants and demilitarize the campaign against them."
Amid bipartisan calls for the DOJ to investigate the unauthorized searches of the presidential candidates' passport files, and broadening privacy concerns, details emerge on the private contractors involved, including a link to a security contractor operating in Iraq.
On his tour of Europe, Sen. John McCain is shadowed by the Bush legacy, while McClatchy reports that he could lose votes in Kansas because of his ties to Airbus, whose new contract with the Air Force is seen as a threat to the local economy.
Although McCain appears to have been rescued from a potentially bad week of news by a little help from the media, his record on Iraq is found littered with missteps and questionable associations by a Los Angeles Times analysis, and Greg Mitchell notes a resemblance to "Baghdad Bob."
In an interview with the New York Times, 'Megaminister' John Hagee confirms that McCain sought his endorsement but, shying away from "controversy," declines to discuss his remarks on Hurricane Katrina, as two other 'McCain moments, rarely mentioned' offer a glimpse of a candidate at odds with his present image.
The Washington Post observes that 'In parts of Pennsylvania, racial divide colors election,' while a favored right-wing blog offers an Easter missive on race, and right-wing media pundits fume about White Americans not getting the recognition they deserve. Plus: 'The Politics of Racial Reconciliation.'
'Democrats appear to be 'making big inroads in party identification,' with Obama picking up some surprising GOP endorsements, dissension finding a voice even at Fox News, and state GOP parties in 'dire straits.'
Wondering whether the rescue of Wall Street companies will prove to be the "quid without the quo," Paul Krugman raises concerns about the failure of McCain or either of Democratic candidates to really address the economic crisis, as Dollars & Sense profiles the views of their economic advisors.
A proposed new "family detention center" in Texas gets billed as "a holding pen for wetbacks," inmates sue to "halt the practice of feeding nutraloaf as punishment to prisoners who misbehave," and the fight against maddening isolation at Supermax prisons is detailed.
In a New York Times obituary for wireless cities, one explanation given for why efforts in the U.S. have failed to match the success of other countries, is the inadequacy of "the entire for-profit model," while Wired puts some lower-profile success stories on the map.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
As 'States win over President on criminal law issue,' the Supreme Court also hears a case involving two U.S. civilians captured in Iraq, who the U.S. government argues should be denied a hearing before a U.S. federal judge because the U.N.-mandated multinational force, not the U.S. military, is holding them.
The 'Sadr militia battle troops in four Iraqi cities,' with a "stunning escalation" in Basra, one day after Gen. David Petraeus presented a plan that's likely to keep U.S. troop levels at "nearly the same through 2008 as at any time during five years of war." And, a McClatchy article asks: 'Is "success" of U.S. surge in Iraq about to unravel?'
An analysis finds that only two U.S. newspapers gave prominent front-page play to the 4,000 U.S. military deaths in Iraq, the "NewsHour" convenes a panel of reporters to discuss a new Pew study on 'Public attitudes toward the war in Iraq,' and Glenn Greenwald documents 'The ongoing exclusion of war opponents from the Iraq debate.'
President Bush spoke of those who served in Iraq as laying a "foundation for peace for generations to come," Vice President Cheney volunteered his opinion on U.S. military deaths in Iraq, and a Pentagon report casts further doubt on Bush's claim that Saddam "tried to kill my dad."
Chris Matthews fingers "politicians like the Clintons" for the decisions that led to the death of 4,000 in Iraq, CNN is accused of making anti-war protests 'look like a circus,' and "On the Media" reports on how the Bush administration has gone about 'Stagecrafting the War.'
The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Citizens United that it be allowed to advertise "Hillary: The Movie," Sen. Clinton called her claim of being under "the threat of sniper fire" in Bosnia, "a minor blip," and William Greider examines 'Hillary's Economic Plan.' Plus: A tortured charge on superdelegates?
About conservative law professor Doug Kmiec endorsing Obama, the Wall Street Journal editorializes that Kmiec's "apostasy is a sign" that the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq war "may be starting to cost Republicans some traditional support they've long enjoyed on the right."
TPMMuckracker investigates an "under-the-radar" group -- fronted by Gary Kreep -- that's financing phone attacks against Clinton and Obama, and the group's possible connections to conservative movement stalwart Linda Chavez, and a "family business" that she ran with her husband, a former Bush administration official.
In a Time article on the 25th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars" speech, analysts explain what Vice President Cheney left out during a Heritage Foundation commemoration, when he claimed that "at least 27" countries have ballistic missiles. Plus: '"Star Wars II": Return Of Missile Defense.'
With the UK said to be at the 'Dawn of a new nuclear age,' amid reports of a nuclear pact with France, an article about Sen. John McCain's position on global warming -- 'Strong warnings, few details' -- notes his support for nuclear energy, as Media Matters rolls out "Free Ride: John McCain and the Media."
With 'Iraq seen as more stable than Afghanistan,' in a Jane's report, forty percent of the aid delivered to Afghanistan was spent on "corporate profits and consultancy fees," according to a report by a coalition of aid agencies working in the country.
As 'Residents defy "road map" at illegal West Bank outpost,' the 'Harbingers of disaster' descend on Lebanon, and Pakistan's new prime minister is sworn in, one day after he freed detained judges, during what was reported to be "a wildly ebullient parliamentary session with a heavy anti-Musharraf mood."
A Bhutanese woman reportedly walked 380 miles to vote in the now smoke-free country's first-ever democratic elections, and a Washington Post writer describes subjecting himself to 24 non-stop hours of punditry.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki gives Shiite militias 72 hours to halt the fighting in Basra, and as 'Brits Bail,' it's suggested that "any Western intervention in Basra will have to be mostly manned by U.S. forces."
The U.S. military again says that Iran is behind the violence in Iraq, and Bloomberg reports the Bush administration's take, hailing the Iraqi offensive as a "bold decision," which "shows the country's security forces are capable of combating terrorists."
Mark Danner reviews the strategies of 'Generals Bin Laden and Bush,' and as Sen. John McCain's statements about the difficulty of the Iraq war are shown to be wildly inconsistent, he now claims to have "had no confidence in" Bush before the surge. Plus: 'Pundits who were wrong on Iraq are silent.'
As 'The press hits rewind on the Clinton scandals,' CJR looks at how the New York Times "treated the two instances of candidates 'misspeaking,' a repeated exaggeration by one and either a repeated serious error or a repeated deceptive elision by the other."
In an op-ed on 'The Maverick and the Media,' recently ousted Fox News contributor Neal Gabler writes that McCain "may be the first real postmodernist candidate for the presidency - the first to turn his press relations into the basis of his candidacy." And, a recycler to boot.
'Hillary goes there,' and her campaign goes here, as 'Donna Brazile offers Hillary Clinton a reminder about Rev. Wright,' whose scheduled appearance in Dallas this coming weekend presents another ambush opportunity for Fox.
As Obama's YouTube speech 'tops TV ratings,' and Chuck Norris, newspapers cut costs by pulling reporters off the bus, higher turnout is seen as the 'Flip side of Democrats' spat,' and a Clinton supporter answers the 'McCain Girls.'
Mitt Romney's former political director joins Freedom's Watch, which is already 'Pumping Up Petraeus,' and some Las Vegas tourists were reportedly "puzzled" by an anti-war protest in front of the Venetian, a Strip hotel and casino owned by Freedom's Watch contributor, Sheldon Adelson.
The Supreme Court weighs 'federal habeas rights' for U.S. citizens Mohammad Munaf and Shawqi Omar, who Dahlia Lithwick recasts as Morgan and O'Hara, "Because it's always easy to throw Munaf and Omar under the constitutional bus." Plus: 'A simple argument made confusing.'
With a vast Antarctic ice shelf on the verge of collapse, and a study finding that soot may be a greater contributor to global warming than previously thought, trash pickers have reportedly become "the latest hope in the environmental battle."
As the Investigative Reporters and Editors award winners are named, National Magazine Awards finalists include an article on 'China's Instant Cities,' a VQR special issue on "South America in the 21st century," and 'Where boys grow up to be jihadis.'
Only five Iraq-related articles were nominated: George Packer's "Betrayed," a photo essay on Baghdad, an article on Los Angeles County residents killed in Iraq, "Pat Dollard's War on Hollywood," and a package of Nation' articles on veterans' benefits.
Bill Moyers interviews the directors of "Body of War," as the film's main subject "Responds to Cheney.' And a Rolling Stone review of "Stop-Loss," which opens Friday, notes that "Some have already accused 'Stop-Loss' of glorifying desertion. Bull. The film is a powder keg with no agenda except the human one."
Thursday, March 27, 2008
While 'Thousands in Baghdad protest Basra assault,' also described as 'The enigmatic second battle of Basra,' Juan Cole, in a "NewsHour" segment, says that "it's not really so much the Iraqi central government versus a rogue militia as rival militias in which al-Maliki, a weak prime minister, is picking sides." More from Patrick Cockburn, interviewed on "Democracy Now!"
IPS' Gareth Porter argues that the escalation of fighting between the Mahdi Army and its Shiite rivals, shows the failure of Gen. Petraeus' strategy, but the Bush administration calls the Iraqi offensive a "byproduct of the success" of the surge, and President Bush describes it as "a very positive moment." Plus: The U.S.' role in the fighting.
'Bush scolds Congress about Iraq' as he 'Discusses global war on terror,' and as Vanity Fair excerpts "The $3 Trillion War," the authors talk war costs, in an address to the Commonwealth Club, and in an interview with the "NewsHour."
The 'U.S. steps up unilateral strikes in Pakistan,' reports the Washington Post, "partly because of anxieties that the country's new leaders will insist on a scaling back of military operations in that country." Earlier: Bling it on!
A Florida company that last January became "the main supplier of munitions to Afghanistan's army and police forces ... has provided ammunition that is more than 40 years old," reports the New York Times, with much of it "from the aging stockpiles of the old Communist bloc."
'Bush Mourns Every Loss?' As the president's public reaction to each U.S. casualty milestone in Iraq is recounted, FAIR calls out NPR for claiming that "the number of Iraqis killed range from 47,000 to 151,000, depending on the source," while CNN's tally ranged from "80,000 Iraqis to more than 200,000 Iraqis."
When CNN's Jack Cafferty invited viewers to weigh in on the story of a Minnesota high school canceling an event sponsored by "Vets for Freedom," he described it as "a nonpartisan group whose mission is to educate the public about the importance of achieving success in Iraq and Afghanistan." Plus: 'What can and cannot be spoken on television.'
Tennessee's governor touts his superdelegate proposal, as Christian conservatives in the state rally behind legislation outlawing the implantation of microchips in humans, seen by end timers as "The Mark of the Beast."
As 'Hillary's Pastor Problem' gets another airing, a lexicographer tells the BBC that "misspeak" is "the language of bamboozling, which U.S. politicians and the U.S. military love and get away with," and CJR asks, 'Wherefore "Sticks" a Candidate's "Gaffe?"
A poll suggests that the Rev. Wright controversy has "been a mixed bag for Obama," who gets a blog boost, and speaks to an issue that has received an inordinate amount of campaign coverage, as the Democratic contest officially becomes a two-person race.
In a foreign policy speech, Sen. John McCain said that "Only a fool or a fraud sentimentalizes the merciless reality of war," and while Sen. Lindsey Graham claims that McCain "has never said that this war would be easy," McCain is again falsely credited with having called for Rumsfeld's resignation.
As McCain's "longtime effort to crack down on tobacco" may be going up in smoke, a New York Times reporter tells "Day to Day" that in lung cancer research, "it's a fairly big deal ... if you take money from a cigarette company."
With U.S. regulatory agencies seen as 'A scofflaw's paradise,' protesters enter the lobby of the Bear Stearns building, and a used T-shirt bearing the company's logo, fetches a price equivalent to about 14 or 15 shares of the company's stock, in an eBay auction.
A judge strikes down Wal-Mart's "trademark infringement" suit against the proprietor of the Wal-Qaeda and Walocaust Web sites, but the company appears to have won a legal victory over a brain-damaged former employee.
Friday, March 28, 2008
In Basra, a complex conflict generates multiple theories about what's really going on, as U.S. planes join the attack on militia strongholds in an attempt to break the stalemate, and Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki extends the deadline for militants to turn in their weapons.
Also in Basra, an oil pipeline bombing and unstable conditions send world oil prices up, and British commanders, who were apparently "unaware of the operation until just before it began" find their exit strategy unraveling, while Al Hayat reports more deadly U.S. bombings in Hilla.
With Baghdad under curfew and Green Zone diplomats urged to take cover, U.S. armor forces appear to take the lead in the offensive against the militia in Sadr City, and Maliki vows to "fight to the end," despite protests and setbacks.
As 'Blackwater fever' spreads across Iraq, and lack of sanitation and drinking water exacerbates the humanitarian crisis, an Iraqi lawyer and refugee explains his unwillingness to return: "Iraq is not a suitable place to live as a human ... Everything is broken there."
Revelations about dungeon-like conditions in an Iraqi-run prison in Fallujah appear to undermine the narrative of success in Anbar, as the British government admits "substantive breaches" of a human rights convention that prohibits torture.
In a speech at the Air Force Museum, President Bush talks of "normalcy returning back to Iraq," but Dan Froomkin brings up a host of reasons to doubt the way he's 'spinning the bloodshed in Basra' at the end of a week that opened to Fred Kagan's pronouncement that "The civil war in Iraq is over."
'National Pentagon Radio?' Norman Solomon notes that as the Iraqi government began its assault on Basra, an NPR reporter commented "There is no doubt that this operation needed to happen," in what appears to be becoming a relatively routine expression of support for the-powers-that-be.
Amy Goodman tries to question Sen. Barack Obama on 'heeding Iraqis' call for full U.S. withdrawal,' while Walter Shapiro, surveying the sideshow of the surrogates now at the center of the media's election coverage, sees little hope for anything less trivial taking its place.
'Where was the media when the sub-prime disaster unfolded?,' asks Danny Schechter, as the house price plunge accelerates, the founder of the Economic Policy Institute thinks about the unthinkable, and Washington begins "a panicked reexamination of the nation's banking laws not seen in decades."
For making the economy 'stronger than ever before,' Bush banks on rebate checks, but Tom Engelhardt reminds that rebuilding things isn't exactly the strong point of his resume, and the Democratic candidates turn their fire on McCain, accusing him of passivity and indifference in the face of economic hardships.
The release on bail of the former Democratic governor of Alabama, Donald Siegelman, whose case is considered "Exhibit A" for the contention that politics has influenced DOJ decisions, appears to clear the way for his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, as a separate inquiry continues into a suspicious media blackout.
With moves toward a two-tiered road system feared to mark the "onset of legal apartheid in the West Bank," an Israeli human rights organization demands an inquiry into whether the killing of four Palestinian militants by Israeli forces was an illegal "assassination mission."
The media is faulted for failing to note that Clinton talks of "dictators" and "rogues" in reference to Venezuela, but not Pakistan, and ignoring the implications of a dubious investment in "emerging markets," while Obama's use of "backyard" rhetoric about Latin America appears to put borders on the message of change.
While a Christian Science Monitor report relays claims of a rebel uranium threat from the Colombian government, the Los Angeles Times notes U.S. officials discount any "dirty bomb" threat, amid suspicions of a "disinformation program" centered on a captured laptop.
Fueled by a world-wide boom in uranium prices, mining companies once again turn their eye toward Navajo land in New Mexico, but Navajos and environmentalists remain wary despite reassurances from the NRC. Plus: Air Force eyes reactors in New Mexico.
Fears of social unrest across Asia are raised by a 30% single-day surge in the price of rice that one U.N. development policy expert speculates was caused by "speculation and a lot of hoarding" by investors concerned about a declining dollar.
As the U.S. Navy takes on pirates operating off the Somali coast, amid escalating incidents, including attacks on relief ships from the U.N. World Food Program, a three-part report from BBC radio explores the world of pirates past, present and cyber.
Reality TV Kills The crew of a British reality TV show is fingered for the outbreak of a deadly flu epidemic among a remote tribe of Peruvian Indians they had been warned not to contact, stirring echoes of Werner Herzog. Plus: Ecuador's Yasuni Park: 'Oil Exploration or Nature Protection?'
Monday, March 31, 2008
A cease-fire in Iraq, reportedly brokered by an Iranian general, follows an indecisive battle for control of Basra that, Reuters reports, drew U.S. special forces into fighting with "a new main adversary."
With the U.S. 'caught in the middle of Shiite rivalry,' the week's fighting appears to have exposed the limited influence and diminishing options Washington has in Iraq's south, the tactics and timing of the offensive are challenged, and Anthony Cordesman ticks off a list of risks it has heightened.
An analysis in the Asia Times looks at how the 'Shi'ite fight shows other side of the COIN,' while the Washington Post's Walter Pincus highlights the uncertainties facing the U.S.-backed Sunni "Sons of Iraq."
One AP article breaks away from the pack by reevaluating the Bush administration claim that "As Iraqis stand up, we'll stand down," and another takes recent setbacks as a 'reality check' on U.S. ambitions, but a third draws criticism for recycling loaded descriptions and obsessing about al-Sadr's weight.
As Bush heads for Europe to try to convince NATO -- but not Germany -- to provide more troops to help "rescue the faltering mission in Afghanistan," an in-depth analysis by the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs takes stock of the numerous regional challenges to the country's stability. And a New Statesman essay asks 'Is it too late?'
An untimely visit to Pakistan by Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte that was met by a "series of indignities and chilly, almost hostile, receptions," is seen as the beginning of the end for Washington's "one-stop approach to its dealings with Pakistan."
Former detainee Murat Kurnaz, whose story of torture at the hands of the U.S. was the subject of recent Mother Jones article, has the opportunity to publicly air his charges for the first time on "60 Minutes," as questions swirl about how military commissions in Guantanamo figure in to the GOP election campaign.
Asked about the role of Karl Rove in his prosecution, freed Alabama ex-governor Don Siegelman says "His fingerprints are smeared all over the case," while Rove, reacting to protesters, explains that "the tail and the horns are retractable."
As the Iraq war tentatively resurfaces as a campaign issue, Senator Graham gets tripped up by "militias," and liberal bloggers declare a new war over the "special relationship" between the media and Sen. John McCain, whose "utter transience" on key issues never seems to rise to the level of a "flip-flop."
A New Yorker profile of the Rev. Wright's 'Project Trinity' notes that its blueprint can be found in the black liberation theology of James H. Cone, as Obama's speech on race inspires discussions in the Bronx, but enough smoldering hostility on the right (scroll down) that Condoleezza Rice loses some former fans.
'With a few more brains ...' Nicholas Kristof reviews the equal opportunity diffusion of dubious beliefs and anti-intellectualism across American society, as it's noted that "Thousands of young Ph.D.'s are stacked up in minimum-wage postdoc holding patterns for lack of full-fledged positions."
Despite financial woes and growing pressure to give up, Hillary Clinton vows to take the nomination battle all the way to the convention, a persistence that the media is increasingly tending to frame in terms of an anonymously sourced rumor about a 'Tanya Harding option.'
In the face of a host of anxieties on Wall Street, a Bush administration plan to regulate turbulent markets is seen as a "band aid" solution -- which Paul Krugman dubs the "Dilbert Strategy" -- and the HUD secretary's resignation amid ethics investigations, adds to the air of uncertainty.
With food stamp use nearing a record, and the dollar plummeting, interest in gold prospecting rises, Oregon's health care lottery draws international attention, and the foreclosure industry turns a tidy profit.
As a New York Times op-ed promoting a free trade agreement downplays the killing of union members in Colombia, the Washington Post reports that "under intense pressure to register combat kills, the army has ... been killing poor farmers and passing them off as rebels slain in combat."
An anti-Islam film by a right wing Dutch politician goes on line featuring a "horror show of images" designed to provoke, and a recent high-profile conversion to Catholicism draws criticism from the Vatican's own representative in Arabia for its "triumphalistic" appearance.
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