|April, 2005 link archive
Friday, April 1, 2005With crude oil prices up 55 percent over last year, and analysts predicting that oil "could touch $105 a barrel," Molly Ivins foresees "an enormous supply crunch, sooner rather than later."
A BuzzFlash recounting of an appearance by Seymour Hersh reports that he "warned that when the price of oil reaches $68-$69 a barrel, this will be the crunch point in terms of real economic decline."
Responding to Ford Motor Co.'s plan to write a report on global warming, an environmental group's director said that "Ford does nice reports, but they're still suing California, lobbying against higher federal mileage standards and their new vehicles still create more global warming pollution than any major automaker." Plus: "The No. 1 vehicle bought by millionaires."
In a passage excerpted by King of Zembla from an Atlantic article, Benjamin Wittes identifies "the one area in which a Supreme Court packed with Bush appointees would be likely to do the most irreparable long-term damage."
The "most important sentence" in a Presidential Commission's report is found to be missing from a New York Times article on the subject. Plus: 'Two nations, two reports, two very different languages' -- and no blame for any politicians.
A Times analysis, however, says that the Commission's report "left little doubt that President Bush and his top aides had gotten what they wanted, not what they needed, when they were told that Saddam Hussein had a threatening arsenal of illicit weapons."
The Washington Post's Dana Milbank reports that at a White House news conference "on Terri Schiavo and Weapons of Mass Destruction," Commission co-chairs Laurence Silberman and Charles Robb "flanked a beaming Bush as if they were bodyguards -- and in a sense, they were." Plus: "Either startlingly naive or disingenuously deceptive" and off on a 'Curveball.'
Eric Alterman writes that "If Kofi Annan's critics demanded the same level of accountability from George W. Bush they profess to want from the U.N. General Secretary, he would have been impeached in his first week of office." 'Resign? Hell No!'
After "an hour at the gym," where CNN's continuous Schiavo coverage "proved unavoidable," Alterman also writes that "I am beginning to think that 'Jeff Gannon' was in a far more honorable business before he pretended to be a 'news' man."
Click through a very short ad to read Eric Boehlert's 'A tale told by an idiot: Wildly overplaying the Schiavo protesters, ignoring facts and giving Bush a free ride, the press was full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.'
Boehlert notes that according to TV Eyes, "Schiavo" garnered 15,000 cable and network mentions in the past two weeks, compared to 9,000 for "tsunami" in the two weeks following the Asian tsunami. Also in the last two weeks, "television's long-forgotten Iraq war" was mentioned 2,900 times.
Dan Kennedy says "the media -- and especially cable news and talk radio -- have balanced truth with falsehood, creating the impression that there is a genuine dispute over Terri Schiavo's condition," thus allowing "the religious right to declare a virtual fatwa against Michael Schiavo..."
According to the WSWS, the Rev. Jesse Jackson's "transcendent moment" in Pinellas Park "was a public demonstration of the position taken by virtually all the leading figures of the Democratic Party."
In a guest commentary for the Black Commentator David Swanson warns that the bankruptcy bill now making its way through the House could condemn millions of families to debt slavery, and writes that "the greatest hypocrisy on this bill may come from the Democrats," some of whom "spoke against the bill and then voted for it" in the Senate.
An appeal from Sen. Barack Obama, sent out by the MoveOn PAC, reportedly raised $634,000 in less than 24 hours for the re-election campaign of Sen. Robert Byrd. Earlier: 'MoveOn.org: Making Peace With the War in Iraq.'
Stars & Stripes reports on the nightly vigils being held at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to protest the nighttime-only arrival of wounded U.S. troops from Germany. The D.C. chapter of Free Republic organized "a patriotic counter-demonstration of anti-American group Code Pink."
Advocacy groups want the government to take down an official Web site that promotes abstinence while downplaying the effectiveness of condoms. It calls sexual orientation an "alternative lifestyle" and advises parents, "If you believe your adolescent may be gay ... consider seeing a family therapist who shares your values to clarify and work through these issues."
Discussing 'The Pentagon's Secret Stash' of unreleased prison abuse photos, Matt Welch has "little doubt that the administration, its supporters, and Congress will use whatever legal means are available to prevent Abu Ghraib -- the public relations problem, not the prisoner abuse -- from happening again." Plus: 'U.S. Soldiers Told to "Beat the F**k Out of" Detainees.'
As a posse forms in Tombstone, Arizona, with many of its members recruited over the Internet, one Minuteman Project volunteer says patrolling the border is "better than sitting at home all day watching rattlesnakes crawl out of the den." Plus: "Some neighborhood watch you've got there, Michelle."
Monday, April 4, 2005
As the guessing game begins, papal elector Cardinal Bernard Law tells ABC's George Stephanopoulos that this is no time to be reflecting on the sexual abuse of children by priests. Plus: The odds on favorites in the 'Papal Chase.'
James Wolcott thanks Fox News for "providing a sneak preview of how the Pope's death will be politically spun to further a Culture of Life campaign," adding, "don't be surprised if President Bush breaks recent precedent and personally attends the Pope's funeral to pay his respects, of course, and shore up his poll numbers." Read how 'American leaders sought out John Paul II.'
Tribute from the Front U2's Bono calls Pope John Paul II "the best frontman the Catholic Church ever had," and error-riddled coverage is decried as "an endless infomercial for the Catholic Church." Plus: Cleaning up on the papacy.
"I may be 'exuberantly pagan,'" writes Antiwar's Justin Raimondo, "but I recognize a real saint when I see one: and so does the War Party, which is why it did so much to smear and besmirch his good name." And ThinkProgress discovers some 'Papal Hypocrisy' emanating from the "no-spin zone."
Baghdad Burning's Riverbend, describing how Iraq is now being bombarded with American media in "a new phase of the war," has a suggestion for a new "reality" TV show: take 15 Bush supporters and put them in a house in Fallujah for 14 days.
Al-Qaeda claimed credit for an assault on Abu Ghraib, in which 44 U.S. troops were reportedly wounded, overshadowing the election of a Sunni speaker by Iraq's National assembly. Plus: Abu Ghraib targeted for second time in three days.
Indo-Pak media outlets report that Pakistani nuclear scientists A.Q. Khan and Sultan Bashiruddin Mehmood "held meetings with Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders," and "exchanged letters with militant organisations like the Lashkar-e-Toiba," according to an article in Pakistan's subscriber-only Friday Times, which is affiliated with the Daily Times.
The Bush administration's recent decision to supply Pakistan with F-16 jets "symbolizes Washington's abandonment of meaningful efforts to curb Pakistan's nuclear weapons program," argues the Arms Control Association's Daryl Kimball. Earlier: 'Media Follows Suit.'
Newsweek investigates the mission of al-Qaeda envoy Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi, the 'Terror Broker' who brought Osama bin Laden and Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi together.
A new study of al-Qaeda members, which found that 75 percent came from upper-middle-class homes, is said to have "turned Western experts' presumptions ... upside down."
'Tears of a Cop' Former Homeland Security nominee Bernard Kerik reveals in New York Magazine that during his job interview, President Bush "told me he wanted someone to go in there and 'break some china.'"
E-mails released in advance of a Senate hearing reveal that U.S. Geological Survey 'scientists fabricated quality assurance' on Yucca Mountain research, with one writing, "I've made up the dates and names. ... If they need more proof I will be happy to make up more stuff."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who says he plans to introduce legislation to have the U.S. government take control of nuclear waste and store it at reactors, called the revelations "worse than the Enron stuff." Plus: A report from Nevada on the nuclear testing debate and 'How Bush learned to love the bomb.'
"And they're still investigating?" writes Gadflyer's Paul Waldman after a Washington Post report that an independent counsel's office has now spent nearly $21 million investigating former Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros, including $1.26 million in the last six months of fiscal 2004.
First Draft finds Helen Thomas leading the charge as a White House gaggle gets aggressive. In her column, reviewing former White House press spokesman Ari Fleischer's memoir, "Taking Heat," Thomas writes that "Bush could have written it himself."
Tuesday, April 5, 2005
As a "fierce battle" is fought east of Baghdad, amid claims that Iraqi insurgents are 'running out of steam,' insurgent leaders tell the Washington Post that a sophisticated attack on Abu Ghraib prison was carried out by Abu Musab Zarqawi's organization and that "more attacks on U.S. installations would follow."
"Nothing like that happened down there." After a representative of Moqtada al-Sadr claimed that there had been an inmate riot at Camp Bucca, it was denied by the U.S. military, then confirmed by the Red Cross, and finally acknowledged by the U.S. and reported three days later in the American media, with no mention of the controversy.
The BBC reports that it is unclear whether insurgents or criminals kidnapped an Iraqi general in "the upmarket Mansour district" of Baghdad. Iraqi officials estimate that "around 5,000 Iraqis have been kidnapped since the fall of the regime, which does not include those cases that have gone unreported."
Lebanonization? A Syrian political analyst critiques the "gentleman's agreement" in Iraq and finds that it "mirrors the National Pact ... formulated in Lebanon in 1943, giving the presidency to the Maronites, the premiership to the Sunnis and the job of speaker of parliament to the Shi'ites." Plus: Shouting and cursing at the home of Adnan Pachachi.
An Arab Human Development Report, released under U.N. auspices, is said to have detected "no significant advances toward democracy" in the Arab world over the past year. Rather, "the 'war on terror' has cut into many Arab freedoms," and over 10 percent of all Arabs live under foreign occupation, say the authors. PDFs are online.
Walter Uhler reviews the report of President Bush's Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction and says that it is "what Samuel Johnson would have called a 'foolish thing well done.'" Plus: if you "thought he looked relieved ..."
Conflater-in-Chief President Bush awarded what he described as "the first Medal of Honor in the war on terror" to a soldier who died protecting his troops in Iraq. A "news article" by the American Forces Press Service was headlined: 'President Presents First Medal of Honor for Terror War Gallantry.'
In a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Yushchenko, Bush said of Iraq: "not only was the action worth it, the action is worth it to make sure that democracy exists, and because democracies will yield peace, and that's what we want."
Axis of Nixes The U.S. and Iran reportedly find common ground in their mutual opposition to an International Atomic Energy Agency proposal for a global nuclear moratorium.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports on the "cross-section" of Washington policymakers calling for a larger U.S. military. Analyzing the calls coming from 'Liberals and Neocons for a Draft," Kevin Zeese argues that now is the time to "confront the military industrial complex, not kow-tow to it." Plus: 'They're Talking Up Arms.'
Offering 'A Very Short History of Neoconservatism,' Eric Alterman says "don't believe the hype" about the demise of the neocons: "What doesn't kill them just makes them stronger."
Word that the papal funeral will be on Friday renders accurate Matt Taibbi's March prediction on consecutive hours of cable coverage. And Reuters reports that "Network and cable news rushed in a second wave of correspondents and crews ... preparing for what likely will be at least two weeks of coverage of the conclave and John Paul's funeral."
In contrast to the "bizarre hagiography" of "panoramic television coverage" in which John Paul II is described "almost compulsively, as a rock star," Thomas Cahill remembers "an enthusiastic condemner" who left "the ranks of the episcopate ... filled with mindless sycophants and intellectual incompetents." Plus: "Democracy Now!" on 'The Legacy of Pope John Paul II.'
Sim City A New York Times report on U.S. drones 'Crowding the Skies' over Iraq, notes that "At a command hub spread among a half dozen dimly lit trailers at [Nellis] air base just off the Las Vegas Strip ... Small teams of remote-control warriors nudge joysticks to fly armed Predator aircraft 7,500 miles away."
Iraq coverage received only two Pulitzer Prizes, both for photography. An AP staff that included five Iraqis got the award for breaking news, and a San Francisco Chronicle photographer won for feature photography. "The war in Iraq seemed less present this year," said the awards administrator. "Possibly because of limitations on the press [in Iraq]."
Willamette Week's Nigel Jaquiss won in the investigative reporting category for exposing former Oregon Gov. Neil Goldschmidt's long-concealed sexual abuse of a teenage girl, with "The 30-Year Secret" and "Who Knew." Last week Jaquiss also received an Investigative Reporters & Editors award.
NPR launches a series based on the CBS radio program "This I Believe," which debuted in 1951 with Edward R. Murrow asking: "What truths can a human being afford to furnish the cluttered nervous room of his mind with, when he has no real idea how long a lease he has on the future?" Mark Leibovich explains why Murrow can't be rolling over in his grave.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal editorializes against the "shame" of media complicity in "peddling government propaganda" as news reporting, with the information "cleansed" of its origins via the journalistic equivalent of money laundering. Plus: "Pushing community radio right off the dial" and 'Fox's "24": propaganda thinly disguised.'
Suspense file The New York Times reports that Social Security's "long-term funding hole over 75 years would be 10 percent deeper" without billions in contributions from illegal immigrants, who can't get benefits. Plus: 'bait and switch.'
Empty chamber Sen. John Cornyn, who was charged with "playing politics with the law" while Texas attorney general, associated recent violence against judges with the "perception" that "judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public."
Uggabugga flags down a statement on a U.S. government Web site promoting abstinence that says "More and more newspapers are reporting oral sex ... on school buses," illustrated by a picture of "diversity."
Wednesday, April 6, 2005
As at least 16 people die in a Chinook chopper crash in Afghanistan, the country's defense minister touts a permanent U.S. military presence as an alternative to "the catastrophic disengagement of the international community from Afghanistan in the 1990s, which cost us all so dearly," echoing the "personal view" of Sen. John McCain.
Iraq's new National Assembly has reportedly broken a two-month deadlock, agreeing on a president and two vice-presidents, who "will have two weeks to pick a prime minister, who would then select a cabinet," as the 'sausage-making' continues.
With the central government in Baghdad described as "resisting attempts to loosen its grip on power," Iraq's local councils are said to be "in a much bigger mess than the National Assembly," with newly elected council members in one province "afraid to gather for their first meeting, mindful that eight of their predecessors were assassinated."
'Is this familiar?' Pondering press reports of "the smashing victory at Lake Tharthar," Harper's publisher John MacArthur keeps hearing the voice of Marlon Brando, torturing Martin Sheen "with upbeat war propaganda manufactured by Time magazine on behalf of Lyndon Johnson's White House."
Prison Break Reviewing the "coverage (or lack thereof)" of the insurgent attack on Abu Ghraib prison, CJR Daily concludes that "the utter disregard the American media have shown this story is astonishing." Plus: 'The right-wing smear on photojournalists' who won the Pulitizer Prize.
A returning humanitarian worker, who tells the Portland Press Herald that 'things have gotten worse' in Iraq, "recalls a meeting at the Ministry of Health that was held on the 12th floor of the building because every stick of furniture had been stolen from the first 11."
Kicking off the Bush administration's "campaign to preserve and expand" the Patriot Act, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales warned against "unilateral disarmament" and told senators that the Justice Department "should not be penalized for exercising restraint." An architect of the Act debates the ACLU's Nadine Strossen.
A U.K. business leader warns that 'new U.S. passport rules "threaten business relations,"' while a Canadian travel exec is quoted as saying, "If you don't want us to come, you're giving us a good reason not to."
The Christian Science Monitor, exploring President Bush's vision of 'A Beachhead In Space,' quotes Global Security's John Pike as saying that "space is a really good way to lose a lot of money." In a 2000 interview, Pike argued that "the Air Force doesn't understand that space is different from the air."
As Mexico's financial markets sell-off in advance of a congressional vote that could keep Mexico City's popular mayor from running for president, an economist tells Reuters: "Although some investors are becoming more sensitive to the political situation ... a million protesters in the Zocalo will jolt more of them into action."
"If Orthodox International had a founding father, it was John Paul II," writes Harold Meyerson, describing what he calls the globalization of the blue state-red state division and arguing that Samuel P. Huntington "located his fault line in the wrong place."
The Washington Post investigates the connections between "business interests lobbying in support of the Russian government," a mysterious "Bahamian-registered company," a Washington nonprofit, and an expense-paid trip to Moscow for then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay and his staff.
Pay roll The New York Times reports that since 2001, DeLay's political action and campaign committees paid his wife and daughter "more than $500,000" for "fund-raising fees" and other campaign-related services. Plus: "So what if it's in the NY Times ... is it on Fox News?"
Referencing David Foster Wallace's Atlantic Monthly profile of LA radio talker John Ziegler, Slate's Jack Shafer looks at how Fox News apes the conventions of talk radio. Ziegler's Web site says that it had been posting a link to a copy of the profile, "but we were forced by Atlantic and Clear Channel to take it down."
A Times editorial says a floor speech by Sen. John Cornyn "excuses murderous violence against judges as an understandable reaction to their decisions," while Cornyn regrets that his remarks have been "taken out of context." Earlier: "You'll be able to marry a goat -- you mark my words!"
As a cast of thousands greets attendees at a $1,000 a head fund-raiser for California Gov. Schwarzenegger's ballot initiatives, a political science professor tells the Contra Costa Times that "I think he's going down the Jesse Ventura path to political futility."
Thursday, April 7, 2005
A new poll finds President Bush's base balking at some of his major initiatives, with a third of all Republicans hoping that Congressional Democrats will stop Bush and GOP leaders from "going too far in pushing their agenda." Plus: 'Faking Civil Society.'
As 'a distant war becomes a tough sell,' military recruiters encounter some 'Punk-Rock Resistance' from the members of Anti-Flag, whose Web site offers an "Opt Out" form students can use to request that school districts not release their personal information to military recruiters.
Although opponents say that it will "legalize shootouts in the streets," Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says he will sign a "Castle Doctrine" bill, calling it "a good, common-sense, anti-crime issue" after the measure "moved through the legislature like a rifle shot."
An aide to Sen. Mel Martinez has admitted to authoring "a memo citing the political advantage to Republicans of intervening in the case of Terri Schiavo," reports the Washington Post, which notes that "Conservative Web logs have challenged the authenticity of the memo."
Barbour Shop Newsday's James Pinkerton profiles a "dark horse hottie" for the 2008 GOP presidential race, and, while a new Web site seeks to Drop the Hammer, Maureen Dowd chronicles 'The Passion of the Tom,' said to be "seeking sanctuary in Rome at the pope's funeral" and "taking arrows for all of us."
Sidney Blumenthal discusses the president's trip to Rome, where religion is 'politics under red robes,' amid strong hints that Bush's Secret Service protection will ignore Vatican rules and carry weapons under dark suits into St. Peter's.
The Guardian reports on "the slick media operation surrounding the Pope's death," and Andrew Sullivan expands on his "Hardball" pontificating, writing that "When truth met power, John Paul II chose truth. When truth met his power, John Paul II defended his own prerogatives at the expense of the innocent." Earlier: 'Conservatives distort papal legacy on Iraq war.'
An op-ed by Fernando Henrique Cardoso, president of the Club of Madrid, argues that the Madrid Agenda offers 'A new paradigm for the fight against terror," highlighted by the conclusion that "only democracy will defeat terrorism."
Saddam Hussein and some of his top deputies were reportedly shown an edited videotape of Iraqi National Assembly proceedings, during which Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani accepted the presidency and a heated debate "foreshadowed what could be a harsh purging of former Baathists."
A Christian Science Monitor article on 'Evolution in Iraq's insurgency' says that "fighters may be shifting to fewer but better executed operations, including ones that directly engage U.S. forces," and quotes an insurgency expert as saying that the counterinsurgency effort is only in "the top of the third inning."
As the U.S. military touts the accelerated handoff of counterinsurgency operations to Iraqi forces, a U.S. adviser tells the Washington Post that "It's all about perception, to convince the American public that everything is going as planned and we're right on schedule to be out of here. I mean, they can [mislead] the American people, but they can't [mislead] us. These guys are not ready."
"The allegations on these Web sites are complete baloney and deeply offensive," says the AP's executive editor, responding to charges by right-wing bloggers that Pulitizer Prize-winning AP photographers were aiding the Iraqi insurgency, particularly with this 'Action Shot.'
Hanging Curveball After publication of "details on intelligence failures about Iraq's prewar weapons programs that previous investigations missed," a spokeswoman for the CIA director said that "it was an unhappy surprise to the director that his first understanding of this issue was when he first read'' the presidential commission's report. Plus: An embargoed CIA report -- four months before the election.
The Wall Street Journal reports that archives from postwar military tribunals in Japan reveal that the U.S. government considered many of the same practices approved and practiced on detainees at Guantanamo Bay to be war crimes, for which senior officials were held accountable.
Murray Waas reports that special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald informed a federal court in March that his investigation of the Plame case leak "has been 'for all practical purposes complete' since October 2004," which "indicates that he most likely will not bring any criminal charges." But a Washington Post article says Fitzgerald may "seek to charge a government official with committing perjury by giving conflicting information to prosecutors."
A Knight Ridder columnist writes that "whistleblowers are back to being persona non grata" in Washington, where "there is something rotten ... and it's getting worse." The column notes a Pentagon inspector general's finding that "671 U.S. troops ... complained of reprisals for disclosing waste, fraud and abuse" in 2004.
Slate's Fred Kaplan reviews the "shameful chronology" of the 21 months it took the Pentagon to write the 19 pages of its plan to meet an "urgent" need to improve military language skills -- for which it now hopes to have a "management system" in place by late 2008. Earlier: hundreds of military language experts forced out over sexual orientation.
Wal-Mart retains its top spot in the Fortune 500, launches a media offensive, and starts pitching the Marine Corps on its in-store TV network, with a company spokesman calling the "messages of pride and patriotism seen in the PSAs ... a good fit with the company's values."
The Los Angeles Times reports on the arrest of Johnny Ray Gasca, "Hollywood's alleged prince of piracy," who is said to have "plied his trade with a camcorder and a knack for schmoozing his way into studio screenings." Gasca's wanted poster warned that he "Should Be Considered Armed and Dangerous."
As a U.S. poet laureate wins a Pulitzer and sells 10,000 books overnight for a small press, whose publisher led the protest that brought cancellation of a White House Poetry Symposium, his British counterpart, a self-described "can-opener and flag waver for poetry," gets a tall order.
Friday, April 8, 2005
"This is the future of Iraq," Marine Lt. Gen. John Satler is quoted as saying to local leaders in Fallujah. To which the deputy chief of mission from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad reportedly added, "Let's face it: We're winning. It needs to be said that we are winning. This is a very, very, very difficult thing we're undertaking, but we're winning."
Arriving on Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's desk "several months later than expected," a Pentagon draft of an "overarching doctrine" for "wartime prison operations" would, according to Human Rights Watch, allow the military to hold prisoners as "ghost detainees" and subject their right "to be treated humanely" to "military necessity."
Alex Knott of The Center for Public Integrity explains why Washington lobbyists, many of whom "fail to file necessary disclosure forms," are known as 'The "Fourth Branch" of Government.'
The Village Voice's Ward Harkavy explains why employees of the "top campaign contributor among defense aerospace firms" are "whooping it up" -- and why, if Secretary of State Rice "isn't careful, she's going to wind up on Lockheed's board even before she leaves her government job." Plus: 'For Whatever It's (Fort) Worth.'
As White House spokesman Scott McClellan and the Washington Times tout Bush's un-Clintonesque 'low profile' in Rome, the AP reports that "when Bush's face appeared on giant screen TVs showing the ceremony, many in the crowds outside St. Peter's Square booed and whistled."
With a new Gallup poll showing 'Bush Approval Rating Lowest Ever for 2nd-Term Prez at this Point,' Helen Thomas writes that "you had to be there" at a press conference on intelligence failures which demonstrated that "the buck never stops at this White House."
The Stuntenator Reuters reports that a new poll shows that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's approval rating dropped to 43% from 59% in January, with 49% viewing him as too interested in "gimmicks, public relations and image."
Asked to step down by the White House, the director of the Transportation Security Administration becomes the third top administrator in three years to leave what he calls "the toughest job in federal government."
'The genie in the ballot box' Uri Avnery argues that if truly democratic elections were held in Arab countries where "the present dictatorships ... present themselves as bulwarks against fanatical Islamic forces," the winners would be "forces that completely reject the vision of a secular, democratic and liberal state that Bush talks so much about."
Dana Milbank reports on a House Armed Services Committee hearing where "For more than three hours, [Wesley] Clark and [Richard] Perle reprised their confrontation before the committee in September 2002 ... But this time lawmakers on both sides hectored Perle, while Clark didn't bother to suppress an 'I told you so.'" Scroll down for PDFs of their testimony.
Former UPI and now Salon correspondent, Mark Benjamin, tells "On the Media" -- which just won a Peabody Award -- that in lowballing casualty counts for Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon is disregarding its own definition of "casualty." He also discusses his article on how wounded soldiers arrive in the U.S. only at night. His latest is 'Tough on terror; weak on guns.'
Following last month's Los Angeles Times article about how U.S. 'Spy agencies fear some applicants are terrorists,' the Christian Science Monitor reports that "Because the U.S. has reached such lone, superpower status, government officials say, at least 90 countries -- in addition to Al Qaeda --are attempting to steal some of the nation's most sacred secrets."
Before Mexico City's mayor was stripped of immunity from prosecution, he reportedly told a crowd of supporters -- totaling an estimated 300,000 throughout the day -- that "whatever Congress' decision, he would run for president next year, even if he had to do so from jail." Plus: 'Saving Mexico by ruining it.'
Media Matters produces a comprehensive timeline to illustrate 'How conservatives used trumped-up evidence to blame Democrats' for the Schiavo memo, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee provides other examples of Sen. Mel Martinez pleading "ignorance" to something his staff did -- during his 2004 campaign. And, it's Tom DeLay Day at Salon!
"The United States of America cannot have one of its top congressional leaders taking money from people advocating for Russian military-intelligence and defense interests as part of a lobbying deal. It simply cannot," argues Tapped's Garance Franke-Ruta.
'Un-Embed the Media' "If we had state-run media in the United States, how would it be any different?" ask Amy Goodman and David Goodman, as editorial writers "profess to being shocked -- shocked! -- by the government's covert propaganda campaign."
Monday, April 11, 2005
"We don't know the identity of the corpse that will follow the pope in riveting the nation's attention," writes Frank Rich, apparently coining a term, but "What we do know is that the reality show we've made of death has jumped the shark, turning from a soporific television diversion into the cultural embodiment of the apocalyptic right's growing theocratic crusade."
"An anti-judge furor may help confirm President Bush's judicial nominees, but it also has the potential to turn ugly," warns Dana Milbank, covering a conference on "Confronting the Judicial War on Faith," organized by a group calling itself the Judeo-Christian Council for Constitutional Restoration, which includes Coral Ridge Ministry's James Kennedy.
Milbank quotes a speaker who invoked Joseph Stalin's "no man, no problem" slogan as his "bottom line" for dealing with the Supreme Court, and called for the impeachment of Justice Anthony Kennedy, saying his opinion striking down an anti-sodomy statute "upholds Marxist, Leninist, satanic principles drawn from foreign law." Plus: Why "a Stalinist theocracy is not a contradiction."
As 3,000 Israeli police seal off Temple Mount to ultra-nationalist Jewish protesters, Israeli defense sources tell Ha'aretz that the 'West Bank pullout may be more violent than Gaza,' and Prime Minister Sharon says it "looks like the eve of the civil war." Plus: Washington Post 'Proves "Unwavering Defender" of Israeli Policies,' in an article previewing Sharon's U.S. visit.
A GOP senator calls on House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to "lay out what he did and why he did it," a Republican congressman calls on him to resign, Josh Marshall lays out what they said and why they said it, and Billmon hails 'The Ex-Terminator,' who may be "headed for hotter water."
'Torture Air, Incorporated' Jeffrey St. Clair writes that "it appears that Dick Cheney himself gave the greenlight for the kidnapping and torture scenario" on 'the road to rendition.'
A record 17,000 detainees are reportedly being held in Iraq, most of whom have not been formally charged, in conditions described as "deplorable."
As a note on a gate leads to accusations that U.S. forces in Iraq seized female hostages and used them as bargaining chips to induce male relatives to surrender, an Amnesty International spokesperson says, "I do not think it is the first time."
After tens of thousands of Shiite protesters demanded an end to the U.S. military presence in Iraq, with some staging mock reenactments of Abu Ghraib torture scenes, the Financial Times reports that "Sadr loyalists said they would continue to organise street protests, call upon Iraq's Shia clergy to demand withdrawal, and ask their allies in parliament to introduce a motion for a pull-out."
On Friday, the Washington Post's Anthony Shadid reported that Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army is "openly displaying its strength" in parts of Southern Iraq.
Baghdad Burning's Riverbend writes that although coverage of a royal wedding and papal funeral were readily available in Iraq, "none of the news channels were actually covering" Occupation Day demonstrations around the country, with "hundreds of thousands of Shia screaming 'No to America!'" Plus: 'The Imaginary Past, Remembered.'
Writing about how 'TV news buries Iraqi civilian deaths,' William O'Rourke argues that "it isn't an intelligence failure that the number of Iraqi civilian deaths still remains either contested or unknown."
As the Pentagon floats the possibility of "significant troop reductions" in Iraq by early next year, Iraqi president Jalal Talabani tells CNN that U.S. troops could be gone in two years, and is quoted in the Washington Post as saying that "the war was not the best way, but it was the only way to liberate Iraq." Plus: A deal to save Saddam's life?
"Hundreds of millions" are said to have been "squandered" through improper operation and maintenance of U.S.-funded reconstruction projects in Iraq, reports the Los Angeles Times, citing a coalition memo saying that renovated plants "deteriorate quickly to an alarming state of disrepair and inoperability." Juan Cole offers another explanation.
Michael Klare examines 'Oil, Geopolitics, and the Coming War with Iran,' arguing that "the Bush administration will never mention oil as a reason for going to war."
As White House officials tell Newsweek that President Bush "will become increasingly vocal in public about fuel costs," many news outlets take Bush at his word, with a headline claiming that he's 'Indifferent Over Falling Poll Numbers.'
Daddy Track The Los Angeles Times reports that for the first time since the 1990-91 recession, "the American workforce has in effect gotten an across-the-board pay cut."
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
The AP reports that while surprise visitor Defense chief Rumsfeld and Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari "struggled to make themselves understood to a mixed Iraqi-American press corps," insurgent leaders "made a statement."
As insurgents mounted another large-scale assault on U.S. forces in Iraq, a Sunni spokesman for the Association of Muslim Scholars (ASM) reportedly said that "President Bush himself has said that ... there is no point for elections in Lebanon while foreign troops exist on its national soil. Why does that not apply to Iraq?"
The U.S. Naval War College's Ahmed Hashim says the relationship between insurgents and the ASM now "mirrors the arrangement" between the Irish Republican Army and Sinn Fein, in that "military operations ensure that Sunni Arabs can be taken seriously."
AFP reports that the State Department says U.S. officials are in talks with Iraqis to "clarify" Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's offer of amnesty to insurgents. Plus: U.S. reportedly claims progress, plans retreat.
As a new State Department report charges Halliburton with "poor performance" on a contract to repair Iraq's southern oil field, Iraq's U.N. ambassador criticizes the U.N. for "going overboard" on security concerns and urges the Security Council to lift sanctions. Plus: 'Let them eat bombs.'
A New York Times article surveys the booming business in armored cars as "status symbols for the security-minded," explaining why, in one manufacturer's words, "Iraq is a very important market for BMW right now."
An Iraq vet suffering from PTSD is quoted as telling Senator Dick Durbin that "I had to pick up several of my friends piece by piece. I had to kill women, children, old men -- everyone."
U.N. Ambassador-designate John Bolton is CODEPINKed during a confirmation hearing in which he was accused of bullying intelligence analysts who disagreed with him. Slate's Fred Kaplan thinks it's time to write a 'Dear John,' and 'The Man in the Middle' says he's "still listening."
Calling Bolton a "kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy," a former State Department intelligence head testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, also said: "I have never seen anyone quite like Mr. Bolton. He abuses his authority with little people."
Shortly after her bid to force a vote on a gay marriage amendment failed, a Minnesota state senator was caught hiding in the bushes to avoid an OutFront rally. Scroll down to "the light brown lump in the center."
A Crawford summit is said to offer President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Sharon a way to "deflect criticism of their respective approaches at home and abroad," enabling Sharon to "get back on the plane and tell the Israeli press how Bush generally supports the prime minister's moves." Plus: 'Language matters.'
Neve Gordon discusses the importance of Israel as Bush's model for 'Democratic Occupation' in Iraq, where "the new democratic government ... is being created to manage the local population so that the occupying power's economic elite can enjoy the spoils."
On "Meet the Press," host Tim Russert asked Sen. Pat Roberts: "When will we see phase two of your investigation about the shaping or exaggeration of intelligence by policy-makers?" After being repeatedly pressed by Russert, Roberts, who had backed off an earlier pledge, said: "Yeah, we're going to do that, Tim. Tim, we're going to do that. I will bring it here."
Chris Suellentrop contrasts the "two Hershes": "Seymour M. is the byline. He navigates readers through the byzantine world of America's overlapping national-security bureaucracies ... Then there's Sy. He's the public speaker, the pundit. On the podium, Sy is willing to tell a story that's not quite right, in order to convey a Larger Truth."
Max Blumenthal, who recently convened 'With The Evangelical Air Force,' reports that at the "Confronting the Judicial War on Faith" conference, the chief of staff for a GOP Senator told him, "I don't want to impeach judges. I want to impale them!"
A conference organizer makes his case in USA Today, alongside an editorial calling the latest round of judiciary bashing "a particularly nasty mix of intolerance, opportunism and religious fervor," and decrying the "tragi-comically titled," "Constitution Restoration Act of 2005."
The Daily Howler recounts "one of the strangest 'news' segments we've ever seen," -- CNN's eight-minute "profile of Bob Novak's Catholic piety" -- and says "the press corps is full of religious pundits ... But conservatives love to tell the rubes that the Washington press just hates religion." Plus: Media said to have acted as "comforter-in-chief" in covering Pope's death.
Mike Whitney argues that 'Pope TV,' in which "Americans never saw the angry masses who protested Bush's visit" to Rome, reveals a "new game-plan" in news coverage that can be traced to the fact that "the war is starting to look like it was simply a stupid idea conjured up by fanatics."
Former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer reportedly received a $500,000 advance for his memoir, "Taking Heat," which is currently being outsold by thousands of other books on Amazon.com, and had moved less than one-tenth of its 200,000 press run as of early March. (Scroll down for first link.)
Newly-surfaced videos show that most of the 1,806 people arrested during the Republican National Convention "weren't arrested for breaking the law," says TalkLeft, "they were arrested for protesting."
'She never hated men.' The Guardian notes the death of a scholar-advocate whom John Berger once called "the most misrepresented writer in the western world," whose critics inspired creation of an Andrea Dworkin Lie Detector. Earlier: Debunking a persistent Dworkin myth.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld tells the troops in Iraq that "we don't have an exit strategy, we have a victory strategy," and gives Iraqi leaders an earful, but Justin Raimondo writes that "myth and the reality" in 'An Iraqi Potemkin Village' are "not merely divergent, they are completely opposed to each other in every conceivable way."
Rumfeld's latest visit preceeded an explosive day in Iraq, with multiple car bombings and '12 Iraqi security guards killed trying to defuse bomb' in Kirkuk.
'How Many Have Gone to War?' since 9/11, asks Mark Benjamin, who cites Pentagon data revealing that "As of Jan. 31, 2005, the exact figure was 1,048,884," a number that "surprises even close military observers." He refers to a recent Harper's report that 5,500 troops have gone AWOL since the invasion of Iraq.
Army Times reports that Senate Appropriations Committee chairmanThad Cochran explained why the GOP-controlled Senate blocked efforts to add money for veterans' health care to the 2005 supplemental appropriations bill by saying that "the administration has not asked for these funds."
Under Fire A Seattle parent-teacher-student group resolves that "public schools are not a place for military recruiters" and urges principals to ban them from campus. Plus: Death row for the dogs of war.
'Greetings From Mexistan' "Democracy may be all well and good," argues Harold Meyerson, but when as many as 300,000 protesters turned out to support "the most popular Mexican politician in recent history" last week in Mexico City, did the Bush administration "tell the crowds gathered in the Zocalo that America walks at their side? Not quite."
Left I On The News reports that only one U.S. newspaper has covered the story as a major 'Terrorist sneaks across U.S. border' -- and negotiates for asylum.
War in Context's Paul Woodward finds glaring "sins of omission" in an op-ed promoting "nonpolitical" Middle East studies in American universities: "What they are calling 'nonpolitical' is clearly simply code for Israel-friendly."
A New York Times editorial explains an outburst by U.N. Ambassador-designate John Bolton, labeled a "'serial abuser' of underlings" and "a quintessential kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy" at his confirmation hearing. Update: 'Senate committee delays vote on Bolton.'
According to Media Matters, news reports have "consistently failed to note" that junket money for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was laundered through a self-described "conservative think tank," one of whose commentators refers to Democrats as "the political party that failed to defeat the Civil Rights Act."
'DeLay Finds Missing Link' The Congressman's Web site locates the "Contract With America" in distinguished company, alongside the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Plus: DeLay goes outside the box and gets put on the grill.
As 'U.S. takes the lead in trashing planet,' Mark Morford chronicles the race between peak oil and the Rapture Index, after reading an excerpt from James Howard Kunstler's book, "The Long Emergency," which outlines "what's going to happen as we start running out of cheap gas."
In an interview, Kunstler said that President Bush's failure to "prepare the public for the hardships we face ... might be considered an impeachable offense." More commentary from Kunstler on "the flux of events."
After noting that "a 'socialist' medical lab in Canada" may have prevented a pandemic, Dave Lindorff argues that "if it were up to the Homeland Security folks ... the dreaded H2N2 Asian flu virus strain ... might be spreading around the globe already, infecting and killing millions."
In an interview with Reuters, Salman Rushdie says "the curious ability of the [Bush] administration to unite people against it ... plays into Islamic terrorism." He's hoping that an upcoming literary event will "help restore global dialogue," according to the article. Earlier: 'Keep religion out of public life.'
What do Roger Ebert and Mohammed Atta have in common? They're 'partners in crime' according to David Horowitz, whose latest venture, reports John Gorenfeld, has "his critics asking if the right-wing provocateur has finally flipped in his long-running battle with the left."
Progress Report editors say that "headlines" from its daily newsletter, appearing in an excerpt of Byron York's book, "The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy," aren't actually headlines. Another excerpt is sub-headlined: 'MoveOn and the Peacenik Crusade.'
The head of the National Labor Committee calls Nike's naming of its 700-plus suppliers "a significant step that will blow away the myth that companies can't release their factory names because it's proprietary information. If Nike can do it, so can Wal-Mart and all the rest."
I Heart Wal-Mart Commerce imitates art as the retailer pledges to spend $35 million over the next ten years "compensating for wildlife habitat lost nationwide beneath its corporate 'footprint.'" Plus: "Why, after so many years, the proactive PR?", and, what's next?
The LexisNexis Group has responded to a security breach in which the personal data of 310,000 people was compromised by expressing regret and offering to provide free credit reports, which consumers exposed to identity fraud must sign up for, using a promotional code.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
As House Majority Leader Tom DeLay "stepped up his crusade against judges" while apologizing for being previously "inartful" on the subject, White House spokesman Scott McClellan explained that "there are different levels of friendship with anybody," and his boss called DeLay an 'effective leader.'
The Christian Science Monitor reports that conservatives have a 'Near Lock on U.S. Courts,' with GOP appointees already "a majority ... on 10 of the nation's 13 federal appeals courts."
As U.N. Ambassador-designate John Bolton explains that he spied on other government officials "to better understand ... who is saying what to whom," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calls him "a very effective manager and diplomat."
The Nation's John Nichols recalls the day Bolton burst into a Tallahassee library shouting, "I'm with the Bush-Cheney team, and I'm here to stop the count."
Senator Lincoln Chafee, by all accounts the decisive vote in the Bolton process, is called "an expert in sending mixed signals" by the Washington Note and "irrelevant in every way" by Senator Trent lott.
Empire Builders Craig Crawford suggests that part of what's behind placing John Bolton at the U.N. and Paul Wolfowitz at the World Bank, is that they "will be in useful positions to engage alliances with emerging nations, paving the way for U.S. forces in an array of locations." See also, 'George's Amazing Alphabet Book -- B as in Bases.'
'Why make an enemy of Russia?' William Pfaff warns that "the Russians are being subjected to a very high level of provocation" and may not always be "amazingly calm" about being "encircled by American power."
The world wants someone else to "take the driver's seat," writes John Feffer, discussing the results of a new 23-country PIPA poll which found that "the most highly regarded individual country is France."
The New Yorker wins five National Magazine Awards, including Reporting for "Dying in Darfur," and Public Interest for Seymour Hersh's articles on Abu Ghraib, published in three consecutive issues. Calling investigative journalism lonely work, editor David Remnick said, "Sy is the loneliest of the wolves." Earlier: 'Pulitzers cast a blind eye on Iraq.'
Knight Ridder reports on the plight of Iraqis "targeted by insurgents who view them as U.S. collaborators," who also find themselves unwanted in the U.S., although an Amnesty International official says they "should be of special humanitarian concern."
The AP reports that an Iraq war vet arrested for detaining seven Mexican nationals at gunpoint near the Arizona border claims that he is "a victim, not a vigilante." The Arizona Republic quotes sources who describe the reservist as "a very typical and normal guy" who "acted like a soldier" and felt that "he had to protect his country."
High Flyers Two Air National Guardsman reportedly say they used an Air Force cargo plane to haul 290,000 Ecstasy pills from Germany to New York.
As 'A Break for the Well-to-Do Becomes an Everyman Issue,' the co-author of "Death By A Thousand Cuts" is quoted as saying that "this death-tax effort has been a critical piece of an attack on the very idea of progressive taxation in America." Read an excerpt from the book.
"Unambiguous message" Connecticut's governor says she will sign a bill defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman and establishing same-sex civil unions.
'Political Science' Asked if he thinks that calls for "balance" are becoming louder, Scientific American's editor-in-chief tells "On the Media" that "maybe especially under the current administration, that we're starting to see that used more effectively as a tool to keep scientists in their place, so to speak." Earlier: 'Okay, We Give Up'
'Martyrs and Pestles' The problem with religious protests such as pharmacists refusing to fill birth control prescriptions, says Dahlia Lithwick, "is that they treat every step down the slippery slope as equally urgent."
Jesus' General displays an "I Love Big Cats" mousepad that is part of a line of clothing and accessories created by someone associated with Little Green Footballs, to, in the General's words, "celebrate the crushing of Rachel Corrie by an Israeli bulldozer."
Bomber Eric Rudolph recited "a formulaic catechism" at a hearing, and issued a statement written in "an oddly passive voice," declaring that "I was born a Catholic and ... hope to die one."
Earlier: Reviewing coverage suggesting that Rudolph is a 'Christian terrorist,' Christianity Today's blog suggested that "a tighter connection to the murders than abortion or religion" was Rudolph's tendency to "smoke pot and watch movies by Cheech and Chong."
Needlenose recalls a memo from Fox News chief John Moody, mandating that "We should NOT assume that anyone who supported or helped Eric Rudolph is a racist ... feelings in North Carolina may just be more complicated than the NY Times can conceive."
Friday, April 15, 2005
The bankruptcy bill clears the House 302-126, with about a third of Democrats voting with Republicans -- while lobbyists complain that the measure, "a priority of credit card companies for about a decade," was "watered down."
The Senate Intelligence Committee approves John Negroponte as National Intelligence Director, The Progressive's Matthew Rothschild sums up 'The Scandal of John Negroponte' and LA Weekly's Marc Cooper unfolds a 'Tale of Two Ambassadors.'
As U.N.Ambassador-designate John Bolton faces allegations of "a third attempt ... to purge career officials he perceived as impeding his policy goals," Jason Vest reviews Bolton's record of trying to get a Justice Department Civil Division lawyer fired for requesting maternity leave. Earlier: "... as if it were a Cosa Nostra clan."
'10 Ex-G.O.P. Lawmakers Attack Changes in Ethics Rules,' with one warning Republicans not to "circle their wagons" around Tom DeLay "like they circled their wagons around Richard Nixon." Common Blog recalls the 'DeLay of Old' and new Web sites target Delay's House of Scandal and the presence of Jack in the House.
With Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said to be "all but certain to press for a rule change that would ban filibusters of judicial nominations," the New York Times reports that Frist will "join a handful of prominent Christian conservatives in a telecast portraying Democrats as 'against people of faith' for blocking President Bush's nominees.
The Family Research Council is sponsoring the "Justice Sunday" event, which will also feature Focus on the Family's James Dobson. FRC head Tony Perkins, in a message published on the group's Web site, contends that "the courts have become the last great bastion for liberalism."
Citing experts who say that "the threat of another large-scale act of domestic terrorism" by radical right-wing groups "remains real," the AP quotes an FBI official who says that domestic groups pose "just as serious a threat to the public" as international terrorists.
'Feds Lay Down For Rudolph' "We have been told since [9/11] that the federal government would ... never stop short of delivering to terrorists the justice they deserve," writes CBS News' legal analyst. "But now, suddenly, federal prosecutors aren't willing to trust an American jury in a case involving domestic terrorism involving hundreds of victims?"
With U.S. abortion clinics reportedly "bracing for attacks" in the wake of Rudolph issuing his manifesto, Chattanooga's WDEF-TV, "Your Safe Families Station," asks, 'What did Eric Rudolph Leave Behind?'
A "fast track to American citizenship" has not been enough to stop a decline in non-citizen military recruits, reports the AP, noting that casualty rates for foreign nationals serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, "represent 8 percent of the total despite being less than 3 percent" of active duty personnel.
HR1553, anyone? War in Context finds that "not a single newspaper in America bothered reporting" the introduction of a bill to re-impose the ban on military sales to Pakistan.
As the FCC calls on TV newscasters to clearly disclose the origin of video news releases, a House Democrat says the Department of Education's inspector general is being barred from interviewing current and former White House staffers who may have knowledge of the Armstrong Williams contract. More: "Debate rekindles over government-produced 'news.'"
Matt Taibbi rolls with 'The Beasts on the Bus' in an excerpt from his book, "Spanking the Donkey: Dispatches from the Dumb Season," in which he explains why man-in-the-street interviews never produce answers like "I think they all suck" or "I'm not voting, and I hope they all die in a fire." Plus: Taibbi on Taibbi.
As 97 percent of Caterpillar Inc. shareholders reject a resolution calling for the company to investigate the use of its bulldozers by the Israeli army to demolish Palestinian homes, Dane Baker argues that the U.S. 'Press supports Caterpillar in sales to Israel.' Plus: 'Caterkiller' activists stage protests against the company.
Lowbagger reports that activists in Missoula, Montana are expressing outrage over 'Victoria's Dirty Secret.'
British medical journal The Lancet reports evidence that convicts executed by lethal injection in the U.S. may have died in agony due to inadequate anaesthesia, and editorializes that doctors who "participate in this barbaric act are shameful examples of how a profession has allowed its values to be corrupted by state violence."
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Watch a mere three-second ad to read Eric Boehlert's 'A tale told by an idiot: Wildly overplaying the Schiavo protesters, ignoring facts and giving Bush a free ride, the press was full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.'
Monday, April 18, 2005
President Bush will address rising gasoline prices this week, with consumer confidence at a 19-month low, reflecting a swift downward shift in mood and economic outlook, while a sell-off on the Nikkei "wiped out $118.9 billion of investor wealth -- more than Singapore's economy."
No Report, No Problem Knight Ridder's Jonathan Landay says that the U.S. State Department's decision to stop publishing an annual report on international terrorism, came "after the government's top terrorism center concluded that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985, the first year the publication covered." Earlier: '"Misunderestimating" Terrorism.'
Landay, who credits former CIA and State Department analyst Larry Johnson with breaking the story, reports that the number of "significant" terrorist attacks in 2004 was 625 -- compared to 175 in 2003 -- and "didn't include attacks on American troops in Iraq, which President Bush as recently as Tuesday called 'a central front in the war on terror.'"
As a Shiite alliance demanded a purge of all top leaders left over from the Saddam era, a parliamentarian claimed that 200 Shiites were being held hostage by Sunnis in a village, where a rescue mission reportedly turned up "streets full of people calmly sipping tea in cafes," while people "drew their own conclusions" in Baghdad.
Iraqi president Jalal Talabani is quoted as saying that he favors defeating the insurgency by unleashing Kurdish and Shiite militias rather than waiting "years" for Iraqi regular forces to take over from the coalition. Plus: Security and sanitation "in name only."
'Mourning Marla' The founder of Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict, called "a champion I would follow anywhere" by one U.S. senator, was among those killed by a suicide bomber on "Baghdad's most dangerous road" while traveling to visit a child injured by a bomb.
As war reporters say 'Iraq remains frightening,' the New York Times' Dexter Filkins puts the cost of the six-mile cab ride from Baghdad to the airport at $35,000, but adventure writer Robert Young Pelton says it's only $10,000. (Scroll down for both.)
Mike Whitney charges both the Times and the AP with issuing "bogus reports" amounting to "typical wartime propaganda," and cites Naomi Klein's article, 'The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,' to argue that "there really is no intention on the part of the U.S. to rebuild Iraq or anywhere else for that matter."
U.N.Ambassador-designate John Bolton reportedly blocked vital information from reaching Secretaries of State Powell and Rice, who is said to have "kept him out of key discussions on Iran since taking over in January."
With the Senate Foreign Relations committee set to vote on Bolton Tuesday, Senators Chuck Hagel and Lincoln Chafee are reported to be "equally troubled."
The Education Department's inspector general found that the hiring of Armstrong Williams "was not illegal or unethical," reports the AP, "but it was a poor decision and continued even after concerns were raised to the White House." The results of the investigation were released on 'dump' day. Plus: 'Fake news flack ducks behind First Amendment.'
The Economist reports that "the boss of America's most populous state is in trouble," and the San Francisco Chronicle explains why he "may find himself spending part of the 2006 election year ... in a witness box, answering questions under oath before 12 British jurors and a bewigged judge."
Before Time made Ann Coulter a cover girl, The Daily Howler weighed in on a profile of her in last week's issue naming "the world's 100 most influential people," writing that "Coulter's kookery goes undiscussed when self-dealing 'journalists' like Time's Jay Carney are assigned to discuss her great work."
With House Majority Leader Tom DeLay increasingly the butt of jokes on late night TV, papers that endorsed Bush question Delay's practices and USA Today editorializes that "the Republicans have hurt themselves more in handling the DeLay issue than the Democrats have." Plus: Get him to the church on time.
'Deathbed Dollars' As Florida's Department of Children and Families releases documents finding no evidence that Terri Schiavo had been abused or exploited by either side of her family, Bill Berkowitz asks: "how will the money raised around the Schiavo case be used by Christian right organizations?"
With the "smoke cam" in place, the New York Times reports that "if the conclaves of the last century are any guide, a pope should be elected by the end of the week." Plus: Springers and a drifting favorite, and loss leaders played for entertainment value.
In February, Phoenix New Times profiled 'God's Banker,' who "arguably held the most power" of any American in the history of the Catholic Church, and who now celebrates Mass in the Diocese of Phoenix "as investigators around the world continue to fight [his] Vatican immunity."
Heading Off Kasparov? Last month it was reported that Garry Kasparov is 'tired of being a pawn' to Russian President Putin, now the former world chess champion has been hit over the head with a chessboard, and Russian news agencies are fingering the pro-Putin youth group, "Walking Together."
The Washington Post's Al Kamen reports that it's hard for the First Fan to "keep up with every tiny little thing in the paper."
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Where there's smoke ... A day before white smoke "poured from a chimney at the Vatican" to announce the election of Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that "Holocaust survivors can pursue the Vatican Bank for profiting from a Nazi puppet regime."
Reuters reports that a U.S. soldier was accused of grabbing a member of Iraq's parliament by the throat, putting plastic cuffs on him, and shoving him to the ground, in the presence of other Iraqi lawmakers. Plus: Beating the democracy drum.
"What the future here is, it's kill them all." Marines reportedly "hunker down in defensive positions" in Camp Gannon, in a region where violence is said to be "off the charts" and a young man sees 'The Grim Reaper, Riding a Firetruck.'
A Defense Ministry official and a travel agent were among those shot dead in Baghdad on Monday, as "three battalions of troops" were "rolling through the ... deserted streets" of Madain, "looking for hostages."
"The gloves are coming off." After an August 2003 theater-wide e-mail from Baghdad headquarters solicited "wish lists" from interrogators, one of them reportedly responded with a plea to "remember who we are." Others suggested using dogs, snakes and electricity.
TI's 'Corruption Perception Index' for 2004 ranks Finland as the country judged least corrupt, with the U.S. tied for 17th, just ahead of Chile, and Iraq holding a share of the 129th spot.
'Battlespace America' Peter Byrne profiles NORTHCOM, where over 100 intelligence analysts "deep inside Cheyenne Mountain," who could "send Marines down Main Street," study information about the U.S. public.
With potential recruits "staying away in droves" from the New Jersey National Guard, the BBC reports on the 'fury' that erupted when a group of Bosnian Serb army recruits booed the Bosnian national anthem and refused to take the pledge of allegiance at a swearing-in ceremony.
As Democrats sought to delay a vote on the nomination of John Bolton to be U.N. Ambassador, the former chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell was quoted as saying that Bolton "would be an abysmal ambassador."
Minus the numbers Although the State Department says the data formerly contained in its annual report on terrorism will now be provided by the National Counterterrorism Center, a spokeswoman at the center reportedly says that no such decision has been made.
CJR Daily and Left Coaster point to evidence in the Education Department inspector general's report on Armstrong Williams, that contradicts President Bush's assertion during a January press conference that "we didn't know about this in the White House." Plus: 'Columnist group prez criticizes Williams probe.'
Mother Jones and Chris Mooney show and tell about ExxonMobil's pumping of $8 million over four years into "more than 40 think tanks; media outlets; and consumer, religious, and even civil rights groups that preach skepticism about the oncoming climate catastrophe." The American Enterprise Institute received $960,000 and $1,380,000 went to the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
A web of foundations connected to Koch Industries -- the largest privately-owned oil company in the U.S. -- has given tens of millions of dollars to conservative think tanks. Reports on Koch's funding activities include Sierra's 'Rethinking the Think Tanks,' and the Center for Public Integrity's 'Koch's Low Profile Belies Political Power.'
As the National Association of Broadcasters presents its "Distinguished Service Award" to Clear Channel Chairman Lowry Mays, Free Press officially nominates Mays and four others for membership in the "Big Media Hall of Shame." Plus: 'What Rupert Wrought: The Murdoch-ization of America.'
"For the Foxidation process to work, it isn't necessary to convince Americans that the verbal ruffians who give FNC its crackle have a corner on the truth," writes William Rasberry, "only that all of us in the news business are grinding our partisan axes all the time and that none of us deserves to be taken seriously as seekers of truth."
Read reaction to Time's latest cover girl pick and find out how a Twin Cities photographer got the money quote during his 'conversation with Ann Coulter.'
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
"My conscience got me," declared Senator George Voinovich, prompting the Senate Foreign Relations committee to postpone voting on the nomination of John Bolton as U.N. Ambassador, and almost immediately becoming the newest target of a right wing ad campaign, after an "amazing afternoon."
The Los Angeles Times editorializes that 'Bolton Should Step Aside,', suggesting that "Maybe there is a consolation prize the White House could offer him. How about ambassador to France?"
'Is the House of Bush Collapsing?' Stewart Nusbaumer argues that President Bush "barely squeezed through the door of a second term" and is "very close to having his entire presidency blowtorched by history," although 'Democrats must change everything.'
With 'An economy going nowhere,' a housing boom threatening to become a housing bomb, cities facing a 'crushing debt burden' and real wages "falling in the middle of a recovery," thanks to globalization and deunionization, Harold Meyerson asks, 'Remember the Raise?'
Rep. John Conyers called the first hearing of the Commission on Federal Election Reform "at times, outrageous," the Washington Post reported that witnesses "provided a dizzying list of electoral problems," and the commission's executive director claimed that e-mails complaining about James Baker as co-chair constituted "harassment."
The Village Voice's Sydney Schanberg calls for "journalistic civil disobedience," as a response to an administration that "has raised secrecy and information control to a level never before seen in Washington."
Synthesizing accounts of a talk given by Karl Rove, "The Polarized Press: Media and Politics in the Age of Bush," Dan Froomkin writes that "Rove was blunt: It's all the press's fault." Plus: 'Rove's Reading: Not So Liberal as Leery.'
Andrew Sullivan finds a political analogy involving Rove in the elevation of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to the papacy, as AFP recalls how the 'new pope intervened against Kerry in U.S. 2004 election campaign.'
Wolf Blitzer "sounded like a little kid watching a circus parade," writes Tom Shales. "At the sight of Ratzinger himself in his new papal garments, Blitzer went bananas: 'Here he is! There he is! That's Pope Benedict XVI!'"
"Anti-Semitism and other forms of religious harassment" are said to be pervasive at the Air Force Academy, where the commandant is a born-again Christian and evangelical groups see "anti-Christian bigotry developing."
Robert Dreyfuss explores 'Iraq's Catch-22,' which has Iraq's new government leaders "stuck in a fatal embrace" and resistance groups changing tactics "to draw the United States out of its foxhole." Plus: How tribes and bribes trump merit in government hiring.
Pepe Escobar describes popular reaction to 'the shadow Iraqi government,' summed up as "Bush equals Saddam because the same people who repressed us are back."
Cyrille Cartier, freelancing from Iraq for Womens eNews, reports from a women's shelter that the residents, who "represent a microcosm of Iraq," aren't "expecting new protections from domestic violence." Plus: AlterNet interviews Baghdad Burning's Riverbend and excerpts her new book.
The Seattle Times reports that oil pumped from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge could end up being sold to foreign consumers, after being touted as reducing America's dependence on foreign oil. And 'Some Like It Hot' author Chris Mooney details Sen. James Inhofe's 'Cherry-Picking Accident.'
Pay To Say The Wall Street Journal exposes the practice of 'TV experts' taking money from companies to plug their products during interviews with local-TV stations, in shilling that often extends to network TV appearances. Howard Kurtz follows up. Plus: 'The Zombie That Won't Die.'
The Washington Post's Al Kamen finds the Joint Chiefs busy capitalizing on the War on Terrorism. [Scroll down]
Thursday, April 21, 2005
A retired general just back from Iraq warns of "spectacular large-scale attacks" by insurgents who "have the capacity," and a suicide bomber fails in an effort to assassinate outgoing prime minister Iyad Allawi.
In what would be "the first time insurgents have succeeded in bringing down a civilian aircraft in Iraq," a Russian-made helicopter carrying U.S. Defense Department contractors was reportedly shot down by a missile, killing 11, including six Americans.
A Washington Post reporter on a Triangle of Death ride-along watches "the vehicle I had been riding in 10 minutes earlier" get blown up by a road bomb, killing a "gung-ho private fresh out of training" who was "blasted from the Humvee along with the gun turret."
A Post profile of a onetime gang member who 'applies rules of street' in Iraq, "serves to both justify and promote a colonial and homicidal mentality" among U.S. troops, argues a WSWS analysis. And in response to Dana Milbank's 'Bias for Mainstream News,' Nicholas von Hoffman asks: 'Guardians of the truth, or protectors of privilege?'
'Will Media Probe Why?' With a new Gallup poll finding that 53% of Americans says the Iraq war was not worth it, Editor & Publisher notes that "there has been very little press coverage of why, in light of some positive developments in Iraq, this is true."
Andrew Bacevich examines the origins of what he argues is "the American public's ready acceptance of the prospect of war without foreseeable end," in an excerpt from his book, "The New American Militarism, How Americans Are Seduced by War."
Happily Ever After In a pre-publication review of the book, Paul Craig Roberts quoted Bacevich on the "marriage of a militaristic cast of mind with utopian ends" that has "committed the United States to waging an open-ended war on a global scale."
Iranian militants claim that "some 440 volunteers, most of them women," have signed up in Iran for suicide attacks in Iraq and Israel.
The decision by the Senate Foreign Relations committee to delay voting on the nomination of John Bolton as U.N. Ambassador is dedscribed as a 'blow to Bush,' while the president urged the Senate to "put aside politics" and give him his man.
Joe Conason accuses "Justice Sunday" participants, "Mr. Perkins, Mr. Dobson and Mr. Frist," of "exploiting religion to advance an agenda that has nothing to do with Christianity and everything to do with the Chamber of Commerce." Find a simulcast venue near you and read about who's meeting up.
The U.S. is reportedly lobbying to block the World Health Organization from endorsing two abortion pills which could save the lives of an estimated 68,000 women who die from complications of unsafe abortion each year.
The San Francisco Chronicle's Mark Morford offers '14 Thoughts For The New Pope,' calling on Benedict XVI to "do something about Christian rock" and to explain what's wrong with "The West Wing's" Kristin Chenoweth. Plus: Bush and Benedict as 'Holy Warriors.'
A lawsuit against the Department of Education alleges that No Child Left Behind has left the nation's schools to face "multibillion-dollar national funding shortfalls."
As the U.S. economy gets "the most negative rating in two years of monthly polls," a Washington Post analysis notes that "the only economic bills signed into law this year have tilted against the little guy."
The House of Representatives voted to allow drilling in ANWR, along with "$8.1 billion in tax breaks ... to promote coal, nuclear, oil, and natural gas energy industries," just in time for Earth Day. Plus: A "rock-bottom deal" on corporate greenwashing.
A South Carolina state representative said, "I wanted to offend that snippy reporter," after he was asked whether the legislature was "valuing a gamecock's life over a woman's life" by moving to make cockfighting a felony while allowing domestic violence to remain a misdemeanor.
Citing Carl Bernstein's "idiot culture" observation, The Daily Howler asks: "What are 'the consequences to our society' from the press corps' idiot culture? In the campaign which transformed our national politics, they worked for two years to make Gore seem crazy. Now, they're working to make Coulter seem sane."
Friday, April 22, 2005
"Democracy Now!" hosts a debate centered on issues raised in Chris Mooney's "Some Like It Hot" article, which reported on ExxonMobil's funding of a network of groups that challenge the existence of global warming.
'Paying to Play' Bill Berkowitz discusses "privatization on America's public lands" with "old-school activist" Scott Silver of Wild Wilderness, who says that "land management leadership in the current Bush administration is jam-packed with hard-core, pro-privatization ideologues."
President Bush cancels an Earth Day photo op at the "most polluted park in the country," Outside says "it's time to meet the winning side in America's new green wars," and Grist calls for "a revolt, not a celebration."
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell's office denies reports that he "reached out" to "wavering Republican senators" in private conversations regarding U.N. Ambassador-designate John Bolton. More on Powell's role, and "Thanks a lot for that speech, John."
Republicans send judges Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown to the full Senate for confirmation, setting the stage for what one observer predicts will be "an amazing one-stop shop for shameless displays of modern conservatism's New Left-style identity politics."
As several major Protestant denominations urge one of their own to drop out of "Justice Sunday," Sen. John Kerry asks: "We're going to allow the majority leader to invoke faith to rewrite Senate rules?" Plus: Evangelicals taped discussing ways to 'strip courts' funds.'
Sen. Ken Salazar, who campaigned promising support for an "up-or-down vote" on all judicial nominees, responded to a Focus on the Family ad campaign against him and other senators by calling the group "un-Christian," and "a wing of the Republican Party."
'Swiftboating Hillary' Jamison Foser uses the "extraordinary attention" paid to "The Truth About Hillary," which won't be published for five months, to illustrate "how right-wing attack books ... get so much attention and gain so much influence." Earlier: ' Arthur Finkelstein is Hunting Hillary Clinton.'
Responding to Sen. Jay Rockefeller's call to investigate the detention and interrogation practices of U.S. intelligence agencies, Sen. Pat Roberts said: "I am fast losing patience with what appears to me to be almost a pathological obsession with calling into question the brave men and women on the front lines of the war on terror."
Arguing that "What is considered 'terrorism' by the Bush administration is perceived as something completely different around the world," Pepe Escobar cites a Jordanian poll showing that in four Middle Eastern countries, 85 percent said that "the U.S. war on Iraq was an act of terrorism."
Bob Harris writes that a unanimous Iraqi National Assembly vote to demand an apology for an assault on one of its members by a U.S. soldier is getting "a big symbolic middle finger" from Washington and media attention "across the Arab world."
As Iraq war costs surge past the $300 billion mark, the Brookings Institution's Michael O'Hanlon, who compiles the Iraq Index, which is "based primarily on U.S. government information," estimates that between 500 and 1000 Iraqis per month are still being killed.
A helicopter crash survivor is 'shot dead on video' as the Pentagon acknowledges "an uptick" in violence in Iraq, while the Los Angeles Times reports that a "flow of corpses" in the Tigris dates back almost two months.
John Pilger writes that the British electorate is feeling "a familiar, if desperate media push" to "put aside considerations of basic morality" and "walk over the corpses of at least 100,000 people" to vote in what he calls 'Britain's Absurd Election.'
"The reasons are unclear." An Army-sponsored RAND study finds it puzzling that "all other things equal, combat arms soldiers have higher attrition and lower reenlistment rates than do soldiers in other occupations." A poster at This is Rumor Control offers to help them out.
Debating whether U.S. troops should withdraw now from Iraq, Naomi Klein said that the U.S. is already "abandoning Iraq ... to violence, to daily humiliation, and checkpoint killings." Earlier: Klein on 'The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.'
Iraq's oil ministry reportedly gives 450 the sack as 'Corruption Drains Iraq's Oil Industry.'
As Pope Benedict XVI condemns a Spanish government bill allowing homosexuals to marry and adopt children, AlterNet's Lakshmi Chaudhry reasons that 'A Pope Is a Pope Is a Pope.' Earlier: 'Seeing Smoke.'
Monday, April 25, 2005
Iraqi forces are reportedly deserting their posts as car bombs kill 25 amid escalating violence in Iraq, where "the highest casualty rate of any company in the war" is found among Marines forced to deploy "dummy marines from cardboard cutouts" due to a shortage of armor, men and planning.
'Investigate Rumsfeld, Tenet for Torture,' says Human Rights Watch, observing an anniversary and one day after an Army inspector general report's senior accountability moment. Plus: 'Rumsfeld cheered at Grand Ole Opry,' gets 'slideshow' treatment on Yahoo!.
On the cusp of another anniversary, the Christian Science Monitor reports that although the Pentagon Channel "looks and sounds a lot like CNN and C-SPAN," the Rumsfeld aide who oversees it defends the channel as "simply offering a form of corporate communication."
Political opponents of Egyptian President Mubarak are complaining about a six-hour interview airing on state-controlled television, in which he "appeared to kick off a re-election bid." The AP report quotes an opposition leader as asking: "Who paid for the film? And will this opportunity be given to others?"
An estimated 1.2 million people, which would be "the largest march for democracy in Mexican history," rallied on Sunday in support of Mexico City's mayor. Other reports put the crowd size at "hundreds of thousands." Earlier: 'As democracy goes south of the border, the Bush administration is notably silent.'
A hidden army of girls is fighting around the world, with almost all forced to be "sex slaves or 'wives' of commanders," says a new report by Save the Children. More on 'the forgotten victims of war.'
USA Today reports that hundreds of police officers, including those who "advise their departments on what equipment to buy," moonlighting for weapons suppliers.
The WSWS finds it "remarkable" that, as first reported in Congressional Quarterly, a Homeland Security terror threat list "does not include extreme right-wing groups, some of which have ties to the Republican Party."
As Senator Bill Frist tries to shift coining of term "nuclear option" to Democrats, the Family Research Council claims that its "Justice Sunday" simulcast "made its way into 61 million households." A conservative columnist previewing the event called it "a woeful tactic based on a false premise."
Frank Rich wrote that "It will give you an idea of the level of Mr. Perkins's hysteria that, as reported by the American Prospect, [the FRC head] told a gathering in Washington this month that the judiciary poses 'a greater threat to representative government' than 'terrorist groups.'"
The Los Angeles Times reports that "leading business lobbying associations ... have told senior Republicans that they would not back the Frist initiative to force votes on President Bush's judicial nominees," and refers to internal GOP polling data that prompts the question, 'Filibusted?'
Writing that "Since November's election, the victors have managed to be on the wrong side of public opinion on one issue after another," Paul Krugman asks, "What's going on?" Plus: 'Unexpectedly, Capitol Hill Democrats Stand Firm.'
Former Howard Dean strategist Joe Trippi is quoted as saying that a serious third party candidate who knew who to use the Internet could "raise $200 million and have 600,000 people on the streets working for them without any party structure in the blink of an eye."
A lawyer for the three people removed from a President Bush town hall meeting in Denver said he's seeking to identify who escorted them out "because we're going to sue." The Secret Service has reportedly opened a criminal investigation into the incident, as "The White House stonewalling continues."
'An Embarrassment of Arnolds' James Wolcott weighs in on a Los Angeles Times article -- "The best deadpan coverage of Arnold Deflated" -- describing a sparsely attended "Thank Arnold" rally featuring Gov. Schwarzenegger's friend and fellow "actor," Tom Arnold.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
As the CIA issues a final report concluding 'No WMD found in Iraq' and 'No Evidence Syria Hid Iraqi Arms,' a new Gallup poll finds that 50% of respondents say the Bush administration deliberately misled Americans about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
Sierra reports on a push by U.S. energy companies to have Urenco, the Dutch company that A.Q. Khan stole nuclear secrets from, "build the same type of uranium-enrichment plant in New Mexico that Iran wants, using a technology so dangerous that the U.N. has proposed a worldwide five-year ban on it..."
The article cites a call by the head of the IAEA for countries to honor the proposed ban, and quotes a chronicler of the disarmament movement as saying the U.S. "is determined to have other governments bend to its will when it comes to proliferation but is not willing to accept the same standards for itself."
Opponents of the plant have been stymied by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is identified in a Boston Globe article as being one of the federal agencies "sweeping vast amounts of public information behind a curtain of secrecy in the name of fighting terrorism."
Rolling Stone reports on what it calls 'Bush's Most Radical Plan Yet,' a three-sentence proposal tucked away in the federal budget that "would enable the Bush administration to achieve what Ronald Reagan only dreamed of: the end of government regulation as we know it."
'Friendly Fire 2' A report from "the latest in a series of U.S. military investigations into killings by American forces in Iraq to have found no wrongdoing by soldiers" is said to have come at an awkward time for the Italian government.
Fantasy Island Inhabitants of the maze of "concrete slabs, razor wire and bunkers" known as the Green Zone often fantasize about entering "the red zone, known to inhabitants as the rest of Iraq," writes the Guardian's Rory Carroll. Plus: A tough commute.
From airmen driving convoy trucks to sailors guarding oil wells, the Boston Globe reports that "at least 3,000 Navy and Air Force personnel ... trained mainly in noncombat specialties such as mechanics and construction," serve "on the front lines of the Iraqi insurgency" and may "lack the skills to protect themselves."
Slacktivist Judges? The U.S. Supreme Court is said to have "heeded the advice of the Bush administration," and spared it from "having to go before the justices to argue against American POWs who were tortured" in the 1991 war, by turning away their final bid to hold Iraq liable.
Financial Times reports that Iraq's new defense minister will be a Sunni Arab, and cites a legislator as saying that Sunnis continue to want "at least six cabinet seats, as well as a deputy prime minister post."
As U.N. Ambassador-designate John Bolton is accused of having 'Inflated Syrian Danger,' and of having "no diplomatic bone in his body," Helen Thomas says that President Bush should withdraw the nomination "the sooner, the better."
A Washington Post analysis says that 'Foreign Policy Disputes Are Subtext in Battle Over Bolton,' as "allegations that Bolton has been abrasive have become a metaphor for the broader problem of the United States' image abroad."
Junk Math USA Today reports on a new study from PoliticalMoneyLine, which shows that since 2000, members of Congress have reportedly taken 5,410 junkets worth $16 million, half of it paid by undisclosed nonprofits and the bulk of the rest by corporations and trade associations.
The ethics woes of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who ranked 28th among recipients of privately-funded trips, have reportedly triggered a 'Rush to Refile' travel and campaign records among lawmakers. Plus: DeLay's newest junket "taking loyalty to a new level."
After a Roll Call article described "a major rift" among Democrats over "the recent bankruptcy bill, in which 73 Members ... sided with the GOP," San Rosenfeld finds it "very hard to countenance the moderates' argument" for backing "the kind of corporate whore legislation that Republicans don't even make a big public spectacle out of supporting."
Addressing what he calls the 'Mystery of the Democrats' New Spine,' Robert Parry attributes the Democrats' "turnabout" -- at least in part -- to "the rise of progressive media, most notably progressive AM talk radio."
Telling the Washington Post that "we can pass this law" in any state where "John Kerry held a shotgun," the NRA's Wayne LaPierre praised a Florida gun bill "approved 94 to 20 in the state House, with nearly a dozen Democratic co-sponsors."
Summarizing coverage of "Justice Sunday," CJR Daily wonders why "reporters consistently rely on the tired construction of framing most political stories as simple partisan squabbles. It's obvious that more than just 'liberals' and 'Democrats' oppose the nuclear option ..." Plus: Bush nominee declares 'war.'
Simulscam? Organizers said the event "reached 61 million households," reports Knight Ridder, "which if accurate would put it on a par with the first presidential debate last year, which was broadcast on all the major television and cable networks and drew an estimated 61.5 million viewers."
Focus on the Family, which denies having organized a protest against the Dairy Queen owned by Sen. Ken Salazar's wife, is being targeted for early May protests by groups on both sides of the gay issues debate. But James Dobson will reportedly be attending a National Day of Prayer event in Washington D.C.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Nuclear Option In an address to a small business conference, President Bush called for building new oil refineries at closed military bases and for companies to be offered risk insurance as a way to jumpstart the construction of new nuclear power plants. Plus: 'Pro-Yucca forces regroup for push.'
After requesting a probe into the State Department's decision to release a terrorism report stripped of statistics showing an upsurge in major attacks, Rep. Henry Waxman, in a letter to Secretary of State Rice, disclosed data showing that approximately 650 significant terrorism attacks occurred worldwide in 2004, including nearly 200 in Iraq.
Knight Ridder's Baghdad bureau chief, Hannah Allam, tells "On the Media" that "I think it's important that we don't confuse a decrease in the attack on American soldiers and American interests with some sort of significant shift in the war." Plus: 'Our Guernica.'
After Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said at a briefing that "winning or losing is not the issue" in Iraq, "in the traditional, conventional context of using the word 'winning' and 'losing' in a war," Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Richard Myers offered a clarification.
Norman Solomon recalls the U.S. invasion of the Dominican Republic, and the familiar 'Intervention spin cycle' featuring "a disingenuous administration and a deferential press corps selling the public on the dire need for an invasion" and which ended with "key facts ... lost in ... exculpatory fog."
After news reports that the U.S. is once again close to capturing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and recently seized his laptop from a car from which he reportedly fled on foot, TalkLeft asks, "How did he run away with only one leg?"
Human Rights Watch has released an anniversary summary of evidence of U.S. abuse of detainees, said to show that Abu Ghraib was "the tip of an iceberg." Plus: Still 'no accountability' for all but the 'overzealous.'
Former 9/11 commission chairs Thomas Keane and Lee Hamilton say they will hold hearings this summer to help Congress and the White House decide whether to implement the commission's recommendations "before the next attack or after it."
Former ambassador Dan Simpson reasons that "the Bush choir is no longer singing in tune" because after a Faustian bargain on Iraq, "the devil is now presenting his bill," which could "cause one to lose one's place on the page." Plus: 'Whose nation under God?'
Max Blumenthal introduces his 'Justice Sunday Preachers' article by asking: "Tony Perkins, Bill Frist, Justice Sunday, and David Duke: Which One Doesn't Fit?" More on Perkins, Frist and the highly secretive Council for National Policy, which Blumenthal discusses.
"That's just normal." USA Today reports that "all five Republicans on the House ethics committee" have either taken money from House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's leadership PAC for their campaigns, given money to DeLay's defense fund, or both. Plus: A show of support.
Although reversing ethics committee rules changes is said to be "a sensitive matter" with House Republicans, one senior GOP official tells the New York Times anonymously that "we fumbled the ball badly."
The Times also reports that even as Vice President Cheney and deputy chief of staff Karl Rove play "a central and aggressive role" in the confirmation battle over U.N. Ambassador-designee John Bolton, other Republicans are already "spinning out his possible loss as a win for Mr. Bush." Plus: The least of the problems for 'Old Yeller.'
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting's "far-right-wing majority directors" have reportedly "deep-sixed" two opinion surveys which, says the Center for Digital Democracy, failed to find evidence that the American people are "fed up" with liberal programming on PBS and NPR.
'Watch Out World' In a dispatch from Doha, Danny Schechter reveals that the channel pronounced "the anti-Christ" of news organizations by the Bush administration will be "going global" in 2006, in "a bold challenge to western TV hegemony."
The Independent reports that Tolo TV, Afghanistan's first private station, is a ratings smash and a stick in the eye for conservatives, with its "mix of entertainment and investigative journalism" by reporters who do more than "go to minister's press conferences and listen attentively."
PR Watch's Spin of the Day notes the establishment of a 'New Blogistan Embassy' by a consulting firm that touts its "blogger relations" services for "Fortune 50 corporations, national trade associations, advocacy groups and political party committees."
An article published on a Web site of pro-union Whole Foods' workers, details how a chain of New Age-type magazines refused to run the group's ads criticizing Whole Foods. But the chain is lauded for running a controversial criticism of the SRI mutual fund industry, by Paul Hawken.
Commenting on a story in Financial Times, which warns that 'Property could fall like a house of cards,' Moon of Alabama says, just "Call him 'Bubbles' Greenspan" from now on.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Frankly Speaking A Business Week commentary suggests that the Bush administration's "main goal is not energy independence, but rather improving its standing in the polls. Indeed, what's most striking about Bush's Apr. 27 speech is how closely it follows the script written by Luntz earlier this year."
Although the nuclear energy industry was quick to 'applaud,' Business Week calls licensing issues a much smaller problem than not having a place to put radioactive waste, but that's "a political hot potato, so Bush steered clear of it." James Wolcott says Bush missed an opportunity "to 'think green' for a change."
As the president prepared to go prime for the first time in over a year, the Pentagon released 360 heavily-edited photos of soldiers' remains, more than a year after former CNN reporter Ralph Begleiter filed an FOIA request.
Uncritical Mass According to a Google News search, about the only mainstream media citations for a finding from an early April CNN/USAToday/Gallup poll, that 50% of respondents now believe the Bush administration deliberately misled the American public about whether Iraq had WMD, is a column by Paul Krugman.
Michael Schwartz finds the Bush administration in "a knot of a dilemma," caught between an overstretched military, a failing occupation, and "a fear that the draft will specifically alienate those who currently endorse the war in Iraq." Rumsfeld: draft talkers "speaking from pinnacles of near-perfect ignorance."
Citing polls showing overwhelming public support, USA Today editorializes that the Pentagon should junk "don't ask, don't tell" and 'Let gay soldiers serve openly.'
As the Bush administration 'switches gears' and releases a report showing 'Terror In Freelance Hands,' Larry Johnson writes: "Rather than admit that the seventh floor at State was stunned by the figures, Phil Zelikow offers spin that this is a new effort that flows from the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission."
'The Good Soldier's Revenge' Sidney Blumenthal says that a "flanking movement" by Colin Powell to block the nomination of John Bolton has caught his successor in "a crisis of credibility, which she herself is deepening."
A female lawmaker, the first member of Iraq's transitional government to be assassinated, was shot down at her front door after the National Assembly reportedly neglected to fund its guidelines calling for 15 guards per member.
'They shoot journalists, don't they?' Pepe Escobar argues that "the Foxification of U.S. and global media has a corollary: the Pentagon considers independent journalism an act of subversion."
A new manual of "Human Intelligence Collector Operations," which bans many practices formerly approved by top commanders, is said to teach Army interrogators "how to walk right up to the line between legal and illegal interrogations" and to prohibit the C.I.A. from holding "ghost detainees" at Army camps.
The Baltimore Sun was first to report on the manual, quoting one GOP senator, who objected to a new ban on "poking in the chest," as saying, "Boy, at a certain point we have to introduce a note of proportion."
The fact that dozens of Republicans wrote checks to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's legal defense fund, after receiving large contributions from his PAC, reportedly "could be construed as an effort to circumvent legal restrictions on contributions."
The Wall Street Journal 'Shines Light on a Dubious Stat' cited in a debate over same-sex couples as foster parents, and maps the course by which "that number snaked through a twisting path" from its origins "to get on CNN," where it went "essentially unchallenged."
In what the Los Angeles Times calls a "surprise announcement," Mexican President Vicente Fox said "My government will not obstruct anyone from participating in the coming federal election," and accepted the resignation of the attorney general who had been leading the prosecution of Mexico City's mayor.
As Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez visits Cuba, his termination of a military cooperation agreement with the U.S. leads Latin America analysts to discuss the 'growing tension' between the two countries, and prompts What Would Dick Think? to update 'Operation Venezuelan Freedom.' Plus: Smokin' the Cubans.
Friday, April 29, 2005
A prime time press conference, at which President Bush was said to have "doubled down on his bet," with "a specific plan to reduce future benefits for tens of millions of Americans," produced 'Little News, One Big Problem' and "Oldicaid."
Congress approves a five-year, $14 trillion budget that extends tax cuts, slashes Medicaid, and instructs the Senate Energy Committee "to find $2.4 billion in revenue, giving the green light for a bill to open Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling."
Writing in the New York Review of Books, Thomas Frank asks, 'What's the Matter with Liberals?' and argues that "the illusion that George W. Bush 'understands' the struggles of working-class people" had some "unintentional assistance" from 'Dumb Dems.'
In what it calls a "far more alarming account" of Al Qaeda's pre-9/11 plans "than has ever been publicly disclosed," Newsweek reports that in the spring of 2001, the FBI was given 'very specific information' that Abu Zubaydah "had been discussing plans [for] launching a strike on U.S. soil."
Some of the information, which was provided by Ahmed Ressam, made its way into the "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." PDB, but "was watered down and seemed far more bland than what the Algerian terrorist was actually telling the FBI," says Newsweek.
James Norton puts a Wall Street Journal editorial praising "the speed and seriousness with which Abu Ghraib was handled" through the shredder. And as 'Big Shots Walk,' the 'Lesson of Abu Ghraib? Whatever.'
Sudan's intelligence chief, accused of "directing military attacks against civilians in Darfur," hitches a ride to Washington on an executive jet as a colleague boasts to the Los Angeles Times of "a complete normalization of our relations with the CIA."
"We are coming." Insurgents welcomed the new Iraqi government by killing at least 29, wounding more than 90, and promising President Bush no "peace of mind." Update: Number of dead exceeds 40, including three U.S. soldiers.
USA Today profiles amputees among the severely wounded women who served in Iraq and are said to "remain largely off the public's radar screen."
A Columbia Jouralism Review article says that, "if the death rate has stayed the same," there have been "roughly 25,000" more 'Dead Iraqis' since an estimate published in The Lancet was "missed or dismissed by the American press."
A New York Times report on the vote to approve Iraq's new cabinet, "for which almost a third of the National Assembly was absent," says that Ahmad Chalabi's appointment "could raise alarms," given his "conviction in Jordan on charges that he embezzled $30 million from a Jordanian bank."
A former Arabic translator at Guantanamo, whose forthcoming book, "Inside the Wire," was rushed to print after an AP report on the draft manuscript, tells "60 Minutes" that prisoner interrogations were staged to give visiting politicians and generals the impression that valuable intelligence was being gleaned.
Seven Arab American men have filed a $28 million lawsuit against a Florida Denny's franchisee, alleging that they were discriminated against and told to leave the restaurant by a manager who said, "We don't serve bin Ladens here!"
Rupert's 'Turf' PR Watch describes the controversy resulting from a PR firm's Web site posting of a case study describing how it created a "grassroots coalition" on behalf of News Corp., "to combat the rollout of new Nielsen TV viewership technology" that it claimed would undercount communities of color.
Salon reports that Al Franken is moving himself and his radio show to Minnesota to prepare for a possible 2008 run against Sen. Norm Coleman, about whom Jesse Ventura says, "Coleman is savvy. He's spun well."
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