April, 2006 link archive

Monday, April 3, 2006

Amid reports that 'Sectarian strife fuels gun sales in Baghdad' and 'Middle-class Sunni take up weapons to counter rising sectarian threat,' an estimate that some 1,000 Iraqis are "displaced daily," leads Juan Cole to suggest "that a sea change has occurred in Iraq."

Following a "two-day run through a raucous, mishap-ridden gantlet" dubbed the "Magical Mystery Tour," Secretary of State Rice and her British counterpart made an unannounced visit to Iraq, where the latter declared, "The United States and the United Kingdom are the people who liberated this country."

With an inquiry into last July's London bombings having "conceded that the bombers were inspired by UK foreign policy," and an intelligence warning that the Iraq war has made Britain the target of an Al-Qaeda terror campaign, the Washington Post airs speculation that 'Attacking Iran may trigger terrorism.'

As it's reported that British troops may be in line to operate one of six "enduring" bases being built in Iraq, Gary Hart repeats his call for the U.S. press corps to "ask the Bush administration one simple question."

Two hundred million dollars into a reconstruction contract to build 142 Iraqi clinics, "putting quality medical care within reach of all Iraqis," a major U.S. contractor -- referred to in a Brickburner interview with Jeffrey St. Clair as "Halliburton's great rival" -- now says it "Will Try to Finish 20" of the projects.

A visit to Baluchistan "makes it clear that ... the government is waging a full-scale military campaign here," reports the New York Times, quoting a Baluch tribal leader -- branded a 'miscreant' by the Pakistani government -- as saying of the conflict, "I don't see it ending." Plus: 'The world's costliest exchange-student program.'

'The Hyperpower Hype' It's argued that following 9/11, "Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and other top officials chose to pump up al-Qaeda into a global enemy worthy of a new Cold War," and "badly misread the U.S. position in the world." And, where's the "King of Accountability"?

A columnist who contends that "in their own depraved way, the Islamists are a lot goofier than the commies," is said to feel that the current official rhetoric of the Global War on Terror "is not sufficiently inflammatory and jingoistic."

Describing the ongoing 'legacy of a weapon of mass destruction,' the Independent reports from Vietnam that "unlike the American veterans, no one in the war-ravaged country has received any compensation" for the effects of Agent Orange.

It's said that the 'Prognosis Looks Grim' for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who political analyst Charlie Cook calls "the most classic case of the Peter Principle I've ever seen in American politics. In a business where eloquence and rhetoric is important, he is a man of no talent whatsoever."

With Frist attempting "to stage a high-profile showdown on immigration," Juan Santos tracks 'The Ghost of George Wallace' to the U.S./Mexican border, while "the corporate media ... has continued to paint the anti-migrants as part of a mainstream."

Although "many scientists are not so sure that the oncoming train of global warming can be avoided," a George Will column arguing that scientists were "spectacularly wrong" on climate change in the 1970s is found to be "exceptionally dishonest."

Christian right said to 'lose faith in GOP,' although the case of 'John and Jerry' tells Paul Krugman that "Republicans are saying that it's O.K. ... to declare that 9/11 was America's punishment for its tolerance of abortion and homosexuality, that Islam is a terrorist religion, and that Jews can't go to heaven."

A report that Rep. Katherine Harris' U.S. Senate campaign "lost what was left of its core team," doesn't say if the defectors included, as previously speculated, "even a traveling aide who helps hand out stickers at campaign appearances."

As a 'Post-Katrina Dialogue on Poverty Fizzles' and the top job at FEMA is said to be a 'Tough Sell,' the Waco Tribune-Herald, noting that President Bush "has not welcomed a visiting dignitary to his ranch or held a news conference on the property" since last August, asks: 'Is Crawford still Bush's getaway?'

One day after a Georgia Republican congressman called Cindy Sheehan a "nutcase," a right-wing radio talker said that a Georgia Democratic congresswoman "looks like a ghetto slut."

Firedoglake announces 'Blitzer's Bigot Barbecue Contest,' the excoriation of Jill Carroll is called 'A black eye to blogging,' David Ignatius celebrates 'Courage in Coverage,' and Gen. Anthony Zinni says that "the American media is being made a scapegoat for what's going on" in Iraq.

March 31-April 2

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

'Hammer' Down Rep. Tom DeLay went local and national to say he's not seeking reelection and plans to retire by mid-June, telling Time that his speech to "a conference on the war on Christianity ... convinced me: I can DO this. I could keep fighting for the things I believe in, outside of Congress."

"He has served our nation with integrity and honor," said House Majority Leader John Boehner, while John Nichols predicts that DeLay's "greatest crimes will go unpunished," and the Washington Post's political blogger observes that "both parties sought to cast it as a win."

Citing two eyewitnesses, the Los Angeles Times reports that lobbyist Jack Abramoff offered in 2001 to help Sudan "clean up its image," proposing a "$16- to $18-million contract" while "sitting with the ambassador in Abramoff's skybox" at a Redskins game.

As nine more U.S. troops die in Iraq, an AP count shows 1,038 Iraqi civilian deaths last month in war-related violence, compared to 375 in December and 741 in February. A UPI analysis, citing a figure of "900 sectarian killings in a single month," concludes that "a civil war is well under way."

The Guardian reports that Iraq's interior ministry has for three months refused to deploy any police recruits trained by the U.S. or the U.K., and that "many Sunnis now say they would rather be detained by the Americans" than by the 'Baghdad Blues.'

Robert Parry finds the U.S. news media "turning a blind eye" to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's "revamped war rationale," while Patrick Cockburn asks, 'Do Rice and Straw realize that Iraq has broken up?'

In a excerpt from "Failed States," Noam Chomsky ponders "war crimes and casualty counts" in Iraq, and tells "Democracy Now!" that one sign of a failed state is a "democratic deficit ... a substantial gap between public policy and public opinion."

CounterPunch runs an interview with 'Osama's Favorite Writer' and the author of "Rogue State," who argues that "Ralph Nader has it right ... It's the corporation which is the chief devil in this whole scenario." Earlier: "This is almost as good as being an Oprah book."

As the Pentagon releases another batch of Guantanamo detainee hearing transcripts, an AP report on the Supreme Court's rejection of an appeal by Jose Padilla, prompts the observation that "No one asks Bush the obvious question: 'Is the United States at war?"

Former U.N. chief weapons inspector Hans Blix has reportedly said that "Iran can't have a bomb ready in the next five years," and Brendan O'Neill argues to 'Let Iran have the bomb.'

Accusing new Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper of 'aping Bush,' columnist Linda McQuaig asks, "does anyone else find it ominous that Harper says 'God bless Canada' and vows not to 'cut and run'" from Afghanistan?

Ha'aretz reports on televangelist John Hagee's touting of his new Christian pro-Israel lobby that he claims will be more powerful than AIPAC. A petition drive charges that Hagee "is engaged with gross immorality: greed."

CNN visits South Dakota's only abortion clinic and interviews a doctor who flies in from Minneapolis, but doesn't mention a plan proposed by Cecilia Fire Thunder to offer abortions on the Pine Ridge Reservation if the state's ban stands. Plus: 'Anatomy of a Bad Law.'

After airing critics' complaints about Venezuelan President Chavez doling out money to other countries, a New York Times reporter seems to find it surprising that "Even in Philadelphia ... people were won over, despite Mr. Chavez's antagonism toward Mr. Bush." Earlier: 'The failure of Hugo-bashing.'

With the White House said to be "trying to make drinking water safe for arsenic instead of for the rural voters who reelected this administration," Sen. Barack Obama accused President Bush of a "stubborn refusal" to attack the causes of climate change, during an address that he began by citing Elizabeth Kolbert.

Radio host Neal Boortz apologizes to Rep. Cynthia McKinney, and Rep. Jack Kingston apologizes to Cindy Sheehan for his "low-level name calling," expressing his "great appreciation for your perspective and your sacrifice as an American who has lost a loved one in the War on Terrorism."

According to The Hill, "some Democrats are trying to distance themselves" from Rep. McKinney, who "has a history of making controversial statements that delight progressives while irking moderates" -- and who, during an interview, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer, "Don't even begin to twist my words."

April 3

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

The American Prospect's Greg Sargent says the real significance of Murray Wass's 'big scoop' may be that "If Congress and the press had been more aggressive ... it's perfectly possible that John Kerry would now be president."

Johnny Deadline Sen. Kerry calls for telling Iraqi politicians "that they have until May 15 to put together an effective unity government or we will immediately withdraw our military," and if they succeed, "a schedule for withdrawing American combat forces by year's end." Plus: A tale of two plans.

As 24 of 32 Wisconsin communities 'vote for Iraq pullout,' what is happening in Iraq is said to be 'neither "civil war" nor "chaos"' but occupation, which relies on "various psyops that we won't hear about for another thirty years."

Under the headline 'Rice Dismisses Talk of U.S. Bases in Iraq,' it's reported that during testimony before a House committee she "did not directly answer" when asked, "Will the bases be permanent or not?"

The Bush administration's funding cutback for the promotion of democracy in Iraq is called "a travesty" by the director of Freedom House, one of the organizations that's reportedly receiving money from the administration for "clandestine activities inside Iran." Earlier: 'Fool Me Twice.'

Amnesty International couples the release of a new report on CIA flights with a call for "torture-free skies."

A Los Angeles Times article on what it calls "an extraordinary account" of interrogations of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, that was presented to jurors in the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, quotes a former FBI official as saying that Mohammed and Bin Laden "couldn't stand each other. They both had huge egos."

"Until very recently," reports Noah Shachtman, "being computer-savvy hasn't been considered much of an asset" in 'The Federal Bureau of Luddites,' and "clues were something you kept to yourself."

USA Today reports that victims of a "racial removal program" in the 1930s have been waiting for an apology from the U.S. ever since, with one source cited as saying that "as many as 2 million people of Mexican ancestry were coerced into leaving, 60% of them U.S. citizens."

As a new poll gives Venezuela's president an '82.7% Approval Rating,' a U.S. Department of Energy analysis reportedly shows that "at today's prices Venezuela's oil reserves are bigger than those of the entire Middle East including Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Iran and Iraq." Plus: 'Provocative humanitarianism?'

A record $44.8-billion profit for insurance companies, in a 'Year of Catastrophic Loss,' is seen as a tribute to a longterm effort to "shift risk to clients and the public," while David Cay Johnston explains why the 'Richest Are Leaving Even the Rich Far Behind,' and, "Money doesn't talk, it swears."

Political analyst Charlie Cook tells USA Today, "We know that there's a hurricane coming, and it's going to hit the Republicans in November. We're just trying to figure out how big this thing is."

With 'I, DeLay' characterized as 'Departing on Own Terms,' but not before proclaiming Rep. Cynthia McKinney "a racist," Tom D'Antoni anticipates a come-to-Jesus meeting to plan the terms of DeLay's second coming.

Republicans offered "a resolution commending Capitol police for professionalism," while "the lack of Democratic support" for an early and consistent opponent of the war in Iraq, who "might as well be the black Hillary Clinton" for all the hate mail she receives, was seen as "notable."

After a DHS official was 'Arrested in Online Sex Case,' Firedoglake's Christy Hardin Smith asks, "What in the hell is going on at the Department of Homeland Security ... Background check, anyone?" Plus: A city in the Bible Belt "where you can buy, sell or rent kids."

As Sen. Russ Feingold backs legalizing same-sex marriages, a hearing by a Minnesota legislator on her consitutional amendment to ban them, was attended by her lesbian stepsister, "coming out publicly for the first time with a statement about her sexual orientation and views contradicting her stepsister's."

Complaining of "a bad case of Couric fatigue," CJR Daily's Paul McLeary says the press "has chronicled the story with the sort of gusto generally reserved only for missing white women and potentially pregnant celebrities." And, an exchange of wedding vows bring 'Press and Propaganda ... Together at Last.'

April 4

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Murray Waas reports that 'Libby Says Bush Authorized Leaks,' in a document placing the president, "for the first time, directly in a chain of events that led to a meeting where prosecutors contend the identity of a CIA employee, Valerie Plame, was provided to a reporter."

During a briefing with White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, reporters didn't ask any questions about Bush authorizing the leak, following what is said to be "a declassification that only President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Scooter Libby were allowed to know about."

As congressional debate over the Iraq war 'grows louder,' Sen. John Kerry "has forcefully and specifically laid down a marker for the administration, the Democratic party, and the nation," writes Gary Hart, calling on the Bush administration to "respond to the Kerry time-table."

Juan Cole says "The problem with Kerry's and Greif's exit plans is that they are only that-- exit plans." Cole notes that the senator "seems to be under the impression that the U.S. is fighting 'al-Qaeda' in Iraq, which is generally not true."

With Iraq now as pricey as the seven-year reconstruction effort in post-war Germany, Joseph Stiglitz tells Der Spiegel that "we can afford it, that's not the issue. The issue is: $1 trillion or $2 trillion is a lot of money... you can do a lot of democracy buying for this sum."

One day after Iraq's prime minister told the Guardian that 'I will not be forced out by US and UK,' the New York Times reports that 'Iraqis say Rice trip stiffened premier's resolve,' and finds agreement "across the political spectrum" that Rice and her British counterpart should have stayed away.

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld takes issue with Rice's admission that "tactical errors" were made in Iraq, telling Scott Hennen's "Hot Talk" on Fargo's WDAY, "If someone says, well, that's a tactical mistake, then I guess it's a lack of understanding, at least my understanding, of what warfare is about."

Roberty Dreyfuss weighs whether 'Cutting and Running in Baghdad' would mean "Defeat or a Widening War -- or Both," while the AP covers "the 60th annual Miss Iraq Pageant."

As 'Israel arrests Hamas cabinet minister,' the country's High Court of Justice upholds a ban on a photo exhibit by a group that monitors the behavior of Israeli soldiers toward Palestinians at checkpoints.

While 'Republicans/FOX can't get enough of Cynthia McKinney,' who has now apologized for her part in a Capitol Hill altercation, "the fact that white Democrats are so unwilling to stand up for McKinney" is seen as "just plain shameful."

'Emergency disconnect' Although every lawmaker on Capitol Hill is supposed to have a special card giving them access to a White House-directed emergency phone service in event of a terrorist attack, a survey by The Hill found that "most House and Senate lawmakers said they did not have" such a card and had "never heard of it."

David Sirota sees "the beginning of a frontal attack by Corporate America on the progressive movement," in an account of the launching of The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution, "using the Democratic Party as an all-too-transparent cloak of legitimacy."

The winners of the Peabody Awards are announced, Free Press launches a campaign against fake TV news, and a San Francisco TV station begins charging "product integration fees" to advertisers who want to be included in a news story.

As the AP polls about Katie Couric's move to CBS, a protesting voice is raised over the firing of James Ridgeway.

A British man was reportedly hauled off a plane and questioned for hours as a terror suspect, after a taxi driver alerted authorities that he had been listening to The Clash's "London Calling" and Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song."

April 5

Friday, April 7, 2006

Legal observers tell the Washington Post that President Bush's declassification 'Tactic would be legal but unusual,' and the Post also airs the White House's argument that "Bush's very decision to disclose classified information means he declassified it." After which, notes Kevin Drum, "for some reason they continued with the normal declassification process anyway."

As the 'White House faces barrage of leak queries,' spokesman Scott McClellan refused to say when the information was actually declassified, but did say that it was "provided to the American people."

The New York Times editorializes that "revealing selected bits of intelligence, including information that officials may well have known to be false, seems like a serious abuse of power. It's not even clear that Mr. Bush can legally declassify intelligence at whim."

For Anonymous Liberal, 'Something doesn't add up here,' and a Firedoglake post asks, 'What Has The President Declassified And Why Did He Leak It?'

"Despite Bush's deceptive public pronouncements," says Robert Parry, "the more important legal question is what Bush told Fitzgerald when the President submitted to a 70-minute interview -- not under oath -- on June 24, 2004."

With word of a possible "coalition of the willing" relaunch, the term "Leaker-in-Chief" takes hold, and a Fox News' studio audience applauds after the headline, 'Libby tells prosecutors Bush authorized CIA leak,' is taken off the screen.

More than 70 people have died in an attack on a Shiite mosque in Baghdad, where factual reports are "considered signs of disloyalty" by U.S. foreign service officers, pressed to volunteer for what Sidney Blumenthal terms 'The Tethered Goat Strategy.'

With U.S. officials said to be ''in talks with Iraq militants,' Al Jazeera interviews Baghdad Burning's Riverbend, and neocon ire is directed at 'Those ungrateful Iraqis!'

A 'First Amendment Moment' was met with "a chorus of boos," as one Harry Taylor told President Bush: "You never stop talking about freedom, which I appreciate, but while I'm listening to you talk about freedom I see you assert your right to tap my telephone, to arrest me and hold me without charges."

Taylor also accused Bush of trying "to preclude me from breathing clean air and drinking clean water." A Gallup poll majority "say Bush personally is doing a poor job of protecting the environment." And his approval rating "matches an earlier low" in one poll and hits "a series of new lows" in another.

The Center for Public Integrity analyzes how much drug companies spend to lobby state governments, and the Atlantic Monthly reports on pharmaceutical sales reps, who are 'wielding more and more influence ... and the line between them and doctors is beginning to blur.' Earlier: 'A Spoonful of Sugar.'

Man of Attack Bob Woodward says David Corn's column about Woodward's account of a pre-Iraq war Oval Office meeting is "thoroughly dishonest and represents another low for journalism." A recent interview with Corn described him as someone 'who thanks Bob Woodward for getting him interested in journalism.'

'A goodbye kiss' for one of "the great legislative leaders of all time" is said to be "over-the-top, even by Novak standards."

Rep. Cynthia McKinney is praised for striking a 'blow for us all' -- but blamed for taking 'All Eyes [off] the Hammer,' and for being a drag on Gore in 2000. Plus: "Invisibility looks good on you."

The unveiling of a Bush administration plan to build '125 new nuclear weapons every year' is called, "a good start, certainly, but -- will it be enough?"

Pat Buchanan sees Sen. John Kerry as "moving to the base of his party" and "kissing the Joe Lieberman wing goodbye," leaving Sen. Hillary Clinton "in the role of Hubert Humphrey, tied to an unpopular war."

'The End of the Silvio Show?' Just days before elections, the Italian government claims to have thwarted a planned terrorist attack, and the prime minister rails against "state employees whose salaries came from the citizens and who plot, plot and plot against the prime minister."

David Neiwert examines the process of "transmission," by means of which white supremacist ideas have crept back from the fringes, to be "repackaged for mainstream consumption, stripped of overt racism and hatefulness and presented as ordinary politics."

An FBI sting reportedly snares a New York Post Page Six staffer, said to have offered a "high-profile" billionaire the opportunity to buy "a year's worth of protection on the gossip page" for $220,000.

April 6

Monday, April 10, 2006

'Iran & the Bomb' The Bush administration's reading of Iran's position is characterized as "misleading," Belgravia Dispatch cautions against approaching the situation "in a climate of ginned up hysteria about a new Hitler wielding a nuke within the year," and Paul Krugman asks: "Why might Mr. Bush want another war?"

"The word I hear is messianic," said Seymour Hersh, appearing on CNN. And speaking from Tehran, Knight Ridder's Hannah Allam, who wrote about Iran's 'Holy Prophet War Game,' told Editor & Publisher that "the prevailing notion here is that the U.S. is way too mired in Iraq to do anything drastic about the folks next door for now."

As the Washington Post editorialized on 'A Good Leak,' it reported that "the evidence Cheney and Libby selected to share with reporters had been disproved months before," with intelligence agencies "no longer carrying it as a credible item" by early 2003, according to then-Secretary of State Powell.

A Knight Ridder article reminds that "Much of the information that the administration leaked or declassified ... has proved to be incomplete, exaggerated, incorrect or fabricated," and former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega marshalls the evidence before popping a 'Final Jeopardy Question.'

Sen. Arlen Specter 'Calls for Bush to Speak on Leak,' a senior GOP aide "who declined to be named for fear of angering the president," tells Newsweek that "Leaker in chief is something that could stick," and a return visitor to the White House declares, "I have intelligence information for the president."

"There are a slew of holes in this story," says Josh Marshall about a Times of London article by Michael Smith calling the Niger forgeries the work of two employees at the Nigerian embassy in Rome, adding that "this version of events is the work of an Italian government 'investigation.'"

Citing U.S. military documents that "explicitly list the 'U.S. Home Audience' as one of the targets of a broader propaganda campaign" to "Villainize Zarqawi," a Washington Post article refers to a video disk "that not only was widely disseminated inside Iraq, but also was 'seen on Fox News.'"

A military insider's "full-throated critique" of the war in Iraq, which begins by citing an antiwar anthem, prompts Back to Iraq's Chris Allbritton to ask, 'Why didn't you say so?' rather than "sit by for three years while others ... 'paid in blood.'"

"The era of MAD is ending," contends an article in Foreign Affairs, "and the era of U.S. nuclear primacy has begun," prompting Rigorous Intuition to speculate that while the "principal target demographic" for "the nuking of Iran" is Russia and China, "there's a secondary audience for this, and it's us." Plus: Helen Thomas accused of "wild speculation."

A Reuters report on the Peruvian elections says that "thousands of angry people swarmed" front-runner Ollanta Humala "as he voted ... shouting 'murderer, murderer' and 'Ollanta is Chavez!' Some, including wealthy women holding designer handbags, hurled trash at him before he was escorted away by riot police."

William Pfaff reviews the coverage of a recent Harvard study of 'The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,' said to have provoked a campaign of 'Smear and Fear.'

'U.S. Military Secrets for Sale at Afghan Bazaar' reportedly include "information that identity thieves could use to open credit card accounts in soldiers' names," as well as a chart identifying the Afghan counter-narcotics chief as "being involved in the narcotics trade."

"We're watching a bureaucratic slow-roll take place," says one analyst, commenting on a Bush administration plan to send "fewer than 500 NATO advisers" to Darfur, adding that "The administration has been in this knot of having called the situation genocide but then failing to do anything."

Although exit polls showed Italian prime minister Berlusconi losing to "a potentially unwieldy alliance of Christian Democrats, liberals, greens and communists" led by Romano Prodi, polls now say it's 'too close to call.'

As a "Great Awakening" brings 500,000 into the streets of Dallas, James Wolcott finds "repression and racism sprouting eagle claws" to counter what Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez terms 'The Big Brown Alien Frenzy,' while David Sirota looks at NAFTA's role in driving 19 million Mexicans into poverty.

As Rep. Tom 'DeLay looks to worthy successor,' it's time to meet 'The Hammer's Consiglieri,' although some of 'DeLay's K Street buddies want their money back,' with one GOP lobbyist quoted as saying that "If I wanted to give to a legal fund, I would've done it directly."

'Evacuees Return for New Orleans Vote,' but not from as far back as one mayoral candidate, who has "some big hurdles to overcome."

April 7-9

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

'Murray Waas is Our Woodward Now,' declares Jay Rosen, who also gives kudos to the reporters at Knight Ridder's Washington bureau, including Jonathan Landay. Read an interview with Waas, who's mostly ignored by major papers, and see what a difference a day makes at the New York Times.

Contrasting President Bush's assertion that "I wanted people to see the truth" with what Lewis Libby told the Grand Jury about his meeting with Judith Miller, "Hardball's" David Shuster concludes that "it may have been the same selective use of intelligence to justify the war that was used to sell the war."

E.J. Dionne's naming of "just the right man to take the lead in breaking the spin cycle" is greeted with "some cynicism."

Insisting that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is behind more than 90 percent of the suicide attacks in Iraq, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch dismissed as "propaganda" a Washington Post report that a U.S. "propaganda campaign" inflated al-Zarqawi's role, saying that "Nothing could be further from the truth." Earlier: Lynch said to be "talking crazy talk."

The campaign included a "selective leak" of a letter allegedly written by al-Zarqawi boasting of foreigners' role in suicide attacks in Iraq, which led to a February 2004 front-page article in the New York Times, reporting that a man arrested in Iraq intended to deliver the letter to the "inner circle" of Al Qaeda's leadership.

President Bush spoke of the letter as recently as Monday, one day after the Times of London reported that Israeli military officials are riled about the Bush administration going public with a letter allegedly from Ayman al-Zawahiri to al- Zarqawi, that they claim to have passed to Washington last October on condition of strict anonymity.

"The President thinks Secretary Rumsfeld is doing a great job, having overseen two fronts in the global war on terrorism," says Scott McClellan, as the Wall Street Journal reports on the quiet opening of "a third front ... aimed at the rising threat from Europe."

The New York Times visits the Iraq Stock Exchange, to find that it has "lost almost two-thirds of its value in the past year," and ABC News commemorates the four day reign of Miss Iraq.

Arguing that the 'Situation in Iraq could not be worse,' Patrick Cockburn is "becoming convinced that the country will not survive," as an Iraqi general maintains that U.S. forces 'must stay 3-5 more years.' Plus: "Coalition of the willing" to take another hit?

Newt Gingrich calls the occupation of Iraq an "enormous mistake," but with regard to saving Iran, observes that "We're not using much of our Navy or Air Force." Earlier: "The right war ... the right decision."

The credibility of ''The Nuclear Power Beside Iraq' is said to have "almost reached the level of unspoken media premise that the 'Iraq has WMD' canard did a few years ago." Plus: Was Seymour Hersh played? He says no in an interview with NPR.

Before branding Hersh's Iran article "bad reporting," Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol "floated a trial balloon," charging that Patrick Fitzgerald "is now out to discredit the Bush administration." More Kristol, and Karen Kwiatkowski, on C-SPAN's "Q&A."

With "Another criminal scandal that reaches the White House," a new poll delivers 'An Election-Year Blow to the GOP,' but Wonkette wonders how "91 percent of voters have managed to divine a difference between Democratic and Republican plans for Iraq." Do the Democrats need a 'Contract'?

Exploring whether 'Hammer to Swing Again on K Street,' Congressional Quarterly reports that, if he can avoid criminal conviction, Rep. Tom DeLay "would cut an attractive figure in Gucci Gulch."

A columnist reviewing coverage of a gang rape story at Duke University calls for less sociology and more chivalry, but Lucinda Marshall calls for full funding for VAWA.

As 'Evacuees Roll Into La.' to vote, many on buses provided by ACORN, it's reported that 'Jim Crow Is in the Fine Print in New Orleans,' where the process of recovering bodies after Katrina "never really ended."

"$100 a head" A Phoenix talk show host volunteers on the air to "kill illegal immigrants as they cross the border," as "well over a million" take to the streets, and the editor of the Agribusiness Examiner chronicles "corporate agribusiness's dirty little secret."

A columnist ridicules the Media Research Center for including among the judges of its DisHonor Awards, those who are "primarily propagandists or entertainers who have no real standing as journalists ... Coulter, Limbaugh, Hannity, and Ingraham are entertainers and not very good at it either."

April 10

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Knight Ridder quotes a political analyst in Tehran who "said he expects Tuesday's political fanfare will soon be followed by another announcement suspending all enrichment activities, as requested by the IAEA... 'They wanted this big ceremony to show that nuclear technology is not a goal - it's an achievement.'"

Contemplating 'Mutually Assured Dementia,' Billmon writes that "I don't think it's absurd to suppose that even an enormous war crime ... could get lost in the endless babble of the talking heads."

He also cites an AFP report that Saudi Arabia, which just announced plans to build the world's longest security fence, "has asked Russia to block any bid by Washington to secure UN cover for an attack" on Iran, where an old habit dies hard.

The Washington Post reports that two days before President Bush declared in May 2003 that "We have found the weapons of mass destruction," a secret Pentagon mission had informed Washington that the trailers of which Bush spoke were not biological labs.

Dropping the Bomb After Defense Secretary Rumsfeld called Iran "a country that has indicated an interest in having weapons of mass destruction," the AP reported Rumsfeld as having said that it's "'a country that has indicated' a desire to obtain nuclear technology."

Rumsfeld, reportedly "very irascible ... even more so than usual," also said of Iran, "obviously the president has indicated his concern about the country, but it is just simply not useful to get into fantasy land." Plus: 'Pentagon admits to surveillance of gay groups.'

'Wag the Camel' Maureen Dowd implores "the reality-based community of journalists" to "stay out of fantasy land, which is already overcrowded with hallucinatory Bushies," and Matthew Rothschild tallies 'The Human Costs of Bombing Iran.'

Amid speculation on 'Who would replace Rumsfeld?' Chris Floyd recalls 'The Slander That Launched Don Rumsfeld's Career.'

As the Phase II investigation 'grinds towards end,' Democrats say "the Committee has yet to interview any public officials about their statements" on Iraq's pre-war capabilities, Patrick Fitzgerald 'corrects' a "key judgement," and a Plamegate timeline is updated.

'Deaths of U.S. soldiers climb again in Iraq,' and John Nichols speculates that "one of the new prime minister's first moves will be to pull Italy's contingent of 2,600 troops out of Iraq."

A senior government official in "the worst city in the world" is quoted as saying that "as long as U.S. troops remain, the city will continue to deteriorate."

Robert Dreyfuss finds 'Hawk-Tied Democrats' calling for an escalation of the "global war on terror," while "some, such as Hillary Clinton, are ... trying to out-Bush the president in demanding a showdown with Iran."

Hoping to create a "groundswell" on immigration, "the GOP went on a racial offensive," writes Steve Gilliard, but although "their friends at CNN were eager to help," Lou Dobbs was "done for the day" after debating Maria Elena Salinas of Univision.

Although a talk show host later apologized for 'Going Ghetto' on Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, Los Angeles Times columnist Erin Aubry Kaplan argues that he would not have "said what he said if he didn't feel there was a critical mass of people prepared to agree with him."

"There's enough money for everybody in the homeland security budget," reports the Washington Post, as the homeland undersecretary for preparedness, who "could have a side career as a standup comic," vows to "push the dollars out the door," as a Louisiana parish looks to hire a consultant.

GOP activist Grover Norquist, seeking a trademark on "K Street Project," reportedly vows to "sue anyone who says it wrong."

Alongside primetime cable coverage of "the brewing war on Easter," This Modern World commemorates 'The passion of the Hammer.'

Wild Pitch Video puts lie to reports in hometown paper suggesting that dirtball caused boos.

April 11

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Trailer Trash Talk The Washington Post's Joby Warrick reports on the White House's push-back against his article, including Scott McClellan's demand that media outlets "publicly apologize."

Sidney Blumenthal argues that President Bush is now entangled in a 'Slow-Motion Trap' of his own devising, and David Gergen says of the Bush administration, "they're in deep, deep trouble ... I think you can hear the quacking now."

"I believe we need a fresh start in the Pentagon," says one retired general, while another tells the Post that among his peers, he senses that "everyone pretty much thinks Rumsfeld and the bunch around him should be cleared out."

Glenn Greenwald finds an attack on the motives behind the 'Revolt of the Generals' to be a "symptom of what is likely to come," but Jeffrey St. Clair sees another kind of "civil war inside the Pentagon -- between the corporations."

Cindy Sheehan returns to Crawford for another protest, declaring pre-emptive victory for having "chased him away from his ranch," and an audience participation gambit leads to question: 'Why are Fox viewers choosing to ignore the good news in Iraq?'

News of a 'Cruel April in Iraq' "should have come as no surprise," reports UPI's Martin Sieff, as 'Shiites Ask: Why Convene ... Parliament?'

The big print giveth and the small print taketh away in a "gem" on Iran, where, it's reported, "State television was broadcasting non-stop images of nuclear sites accompanied by rousing patriotic music." Plus: First casualty logged?

The U.S. should be "talking to the Iranians about the full range of our relationship ... everything from energy to terrorism to weapons to Iraq," said former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

As cracks are said to appear in both major Italian coalitions, Tariq Ali argues that "apart from Iraq, the real divisions between the mainstream parties of both coalitions are slight."

A New Jersey coroner rules that the death of a policeman who developed a respiratory disease after working at ground zero was "directly related" to 9/11, and a BBC report estimates that at least 15,000 people have medical problems stemming from the attacks. Earlier: 'They lied about 9/11's toxic air.'

'Going for Broke' Following Sierra's investigation into corporations using Chapter 11 to "slough off massive environmental liabilities," Sen. Maria Cantwell promoted legislation aimed at companies like copper giant Asarco that "exploit our bankruptcy laws to pass cleanup costs on to taxpayers."

"Rod and gun in hand," says an article in Field and Stream, Bush and Cheney have "unleashed a national energy plan that has begun to destroy hunting and fishing on millions of federal acres" and turned "vast tracts of the western United States into industrial landscapes."

After a FEMA trailer exploded in Slidell, with two Katrina survivors in it, a spokesperson advised other trailer residents to "contact FEMA immediately if they smell anything suspicious."

A company spokesman says, "we are not in a position to comment on matters of national security," after 'Documents Show Link' between AT&T and the National Security Agency in class-action lawsuit brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

At a Vermont gathering, it was reportedly "hard to ignore the sight of two men on completely opposite ends of the .. political spectrum ... sitting side-by-side advocating a change in leadership based on a perceived erosion of civil liberties."

USA Today reports that "at least seven House Republicans who had vowed to leave Congress next year ... will be on the ballot in November," after having "second thoughts" about term limits, as GOP primary candidates go hardline on immigration.

David Corn finds '2008 Looking Like 1968,' with HRC as HHH, Sen Russ Feingold as the "modern-day McCarthy," and Sen. John Edwards "auditioning for the Bobby Kennedy role."

A Marine Staff Sgt. reportedly returned home from serving eight months in Iraq to find his name on the terror watch list, student protesters routed military recruiters on a California campus, and U.S. military bases welcomed minister's message that 'hip-hop is Satanic.'

Scroll down for Bill Nye discussing his talk at a Waco community college where some audience members walked out to protest his literal interpretation of scripture, including a woman who exclaimed "we believe in a God!" But a Waco Tribune columnist tells 'Science Guy, you're right.'

April 12

Friday, April 14, 2006

As the number of retired generals calling for Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's resignation continues to expand, and columnist David Ignatius joins the ranks, the president is said to believe that Rumsfeld is "doing a very fine job."

Alongside a sharp increase in the number of U.S. patrols in Baghdad, "from 12,000 in February to 20,000 since the beginning of March," the Guardian's Jonathan Steele reports that 'U.S. allies are behind the death squads and ethnic cleansing.'

Computer drives for sale at an Afghan bazaar reportedly contain details of "how Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders have been using southwestern Pakistan as a key planning and training base for attacks in Afghanistan." Also on the disks: photos said to be "too graphic to show."

Coverage of the war in Afghanistan is compared to "a PR service for the 'coalition' forces and the U.S.-backed Afghan government.

Molly Ivins hails an "instant classic" among lie defenses, Washington City Paper's Erik Wemple charts "the Washington Post editorial board's Iraqi quagmire," and a Post reporter says that "we try to avoid loaded words like 'lie.'"

Editor and Publisher reports that an album recorded in three days by Neil Young is said to include an anthem titled, "Impeach the President."

As USA Today highlights 10,000 antiwar tax resisters, in a year in which $2.15 billion in tax aid was reportedly "directed to faith-based groups for social services." Plus: A call to "lower income taxes and raise environmental taxes

The Black Commentator weighs in on 'The McKinney Affair,' decribing House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's attempt to ensure that the star of "American Blackout" would "appear utterly isolated and alone." Plus: White flight on election day.

Surveying instances of "the ambush of Ms. McKinney," Ishmael Reed explains "How the Media Uses Blacks to Chastize Blacks."

"Vast sums of waste and misspent funds ... likely to top $1 billion and perhaps much more," are said to be cited in a Homeland Security Inspector General's report on the response to Katrina.

Two-thirds of economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal vote 'Thumbs Down on Snow,' as 'Government spending hits record' and is tied to "clever GOP strategy for defeat."

'Super Sleaze Me' As McDonald's readies truth squads for war on "Fast Food Nation," a Fox News' business segment probes "why we try to tear down successful American companies."

The Rev. William Sloane Coffin, a former CIA employee who became an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War and inspired a Doonesbury character, has died at 81.

April 13

Monday, April 17, 2006

Former U.N. ambassador Richard Holbrooke looks 'Behind the Military Revolt' and finds the most serious military-civilian confrontation since Truman fired MacArthur, and the Wall Street Journal quotes a retired colonel describing Defense Secretary Rumsfeld as "increasingly a spent force."

Interviewing former Gen. Bernard Trainor, "Countdown's" Keith Olbermann observes that "It's not 'Seven Days in May,' but six generals in April," one-time U.S. Marine Stephen Pizzo terms events "extraordinary," and BTC News asks: "Is the military assault on Rumsfeld about Iran, not Iraq?"

As it's reported that a 'New Worry Rises' about Iran's nuclear technology, Pope Benedict uses his first Easter sermon to call for an "honorable solution" based on "serious and honest negotiations."

Although Iran claims to have 40,000 ready and willing suicide bombers, the AP reports that even supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are "starting to question his tactics," and an Independent' correspondent writes from Tehran that "behind the facade, the cracks are very real."

Media Matters finds that some of the media has "learned to stop worrying" and not even mention the bomb in the wake of Seymour Hersh's New Yorker article -- coverage of which is running neck and neck with a bear attack -- and Hullabaloo's Digby wonders if we're already at war.

With British Prime Minister Blair reportedly telling President Bush no on Iran strikes, "Blair fatigue" is said to have become "the dominant narrative in British politics," and it's 'heard' that "Blair has canceled an upcoming trip to America to avoid being photographed with Bush."

A "secular coalition" of Sunnis and Kurds is reportedly attempting to thwart Iraqi Prime Minister al-Jafari's bid for another term, as Iraq's ambassador to the U.S. says a new government "would not be necessarily based on the results of the election." Plus: An isolated construction boom in Baghdad.

As Iraq's parliament again fails to break "months of political paralysis," dozens more Iraqis die in sectarian violence and U.S. casualties rise sharply from March, on pace to make April the deadliest month for U.S. troops since last October.

Islamic Jihad claims responsibility for the first suicide bombing inside Israel since Hamas took power, while a Palestinian analyst argues that without significant Arab aid the pressured Hamas-led government could collapse, and the Economist examines 'The Last Conquest of Jerusalem.'

Editor & Publisher declares that "It's war" between the New York Times and Washington Post, following a Times' editorial headlined 'The Bad Leak.' Plus: 'Post ombudsman defended editorial's falsehoods as a difference in "views."'

David Sirota criticizes Democrats for relying in 2006 on a strategy which is "about nothing," and Nathan Newman explains why "so many folks don't trust liberal leaders."

As the San Francisco Chronicle editorializes, 'Don't undercut Internet access,' the Center for Digital Democracy's Jeff Chester explains in a two-part interview how Congress is trying to do just that.

With the "huge symbolic impact" of recent demonstrations still reverberating, economists tell the New York Times that illegal immigration has had "only a small impact" on the income of U.S. workers -- particularly compared with the long-stagnant minimum wage.

The Ugliest Americans? Business for Diplomatic Action, a corporate consortium including executives from Exxon-Mobil and McDonald's, has created a "World Citizens Guide" which advises Americans traveling overseas to 'Speak softly, don't argue and slow down.'

Although the White House said let's roll to LGBT families, they were reportedly 'moved from front of the line.'

One review of 'Stuff Happens,' David Hare's play about the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, notes that an audience member stood up and shouted, "Please, somebody tell me this is fiction."

April 14-16

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

As it 'Puts Pressure on Hamas' over a Tel Aviv suicide bombing that killed nine, Israel insists that it will not launch a military strike against Hamas, while warning of a new 'Axis of Terror.'

Sen. Joseph Leiberman tells the Jerusalem Post that the 'U.S. could attack Iran's nukes,' Steve Forbes sees an upside to war with Iran, Richard Clarke says Pentagon planning is "more than just ... saber-rattling," and retired Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner insists that a military operation has already begun.

Iran claims to have thousands of suicide bombers ready to strike at "wily England" in the event of an attack by the West - but Britain has its own suicide problem.

As the idea of an Iraq "strategy" is again called into question and the sixteen words that led to war just won't go away, Juan Cole details the "predations of death squads," while noting a Knight Ridder report that the U.S. ignored warnings about the rise of Shiite militias.

With the Iraq war seen as a "dead shark," amid charges that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld 'personally supervised torture,' the Nation compiles a list of his critics from "A to Zinni," and the new White House Chief of Staff sends a message that the 'exits are open.'

"This, too, will pass," says Rumsfeld, taking his case to Rush Limbaugh, as "general after general" calls for his ouster and one retired military official calls the criticism "dishonest and hypocritical."

Jim Lobe says that Rumsfeld's departure "would almost certainly cripple the coalition of neoconservative and aggressive nationalist war hawks" in the Bush administration.

The Pentagon launches a "charm offensive" to defend against the perception that "we botched this," but Atrios reminds that the "consequences have been catastrophic" when we have been told that criticism undermines the war effort.

Republicans "shake their heads and wonder what happened to their party," and Vice President Cheney stumps at "the scene of repeated frustration" for the GOP, as it's charged that his 'Vice Squad' has 'helped ruin the country.'

As Carl Bernstein calls impeachment hearings against President Bush a "national imperative," a Daily Kos poster asks, 'How much is the NH jamming case like Watergate?'

A Reuters article notes that Neil Young appears to have come full circle from "Let's Roll" and his public support for the Patriot Act, to "Impeach the President."

Found 'Guilty on all charges,' former Illinois governor George Ryan has "finally lost an election," while a spate of stories fails to mention "the party affiliation of the guy who got indicted."

Governor Sonny Perdue claims that a tough new immigration bill will ensure "our famous Georgia hospitality is not abused," and a Republican state legislator declares that "the last time I checked, America was the land of English, not Spanish."

David Neiwert thinks the current anti-immigration fever recalls nothing so much as the Yellow Peril scare, but Pat Buchanan is pleased at the 'Return of America First.'

As the Pulitzer Prizes draw criticism from both the left and the right, read how the publication of online material was a factor in this year's awards, and see a list of winners and finalists, as well as links to winning entries.

April 17

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

With President Bush's approval rating at 35 percent in a new Harris poll, the man Vanity Fair's Michael Wolff recently likened to Piggy in "Lord of the Flies," announces that he's "resigning," and Karl Rove is reportedly "giving up oversight of policy development to focus more on politics."

Although Time reports that "McClellan did not want to go," White House reporters tell Editor & Publisher that his resignation "is not a surprise, adding that he likely chose to leave on his own and perhaps just tired of the difficult job after nearly three years in a sometimes harsh spotlight."

Describing the shake-up story emerging from the White House as "extraordinary, even bizarre," David Gergen wondered whether the president is really "surrendering his appointment capacity to his chief of staff," while Josh Marshall thinks "the real story here continues to be that things are so bad ... they just can't manage to bring in any new blood."

As Bush insists that "I'm the decider, and I decide what's best," and the 'Secretary of Serenity' said to be "playing possum," is it "time for some fresh blue blood?" Plus: 'The Decider sticks with the Derider.'

Larry Johnson examines a recently released State Department memo that he describes as "one more nail in the coffin containing the lies Bush told to take us to war," and a Rolling Stone cover story asks: 'The Worst President in History?'

When Bush says "all options are on the table," it's "something to be taken no more literally than President Ahmadinejad's threat that Iran will 'cut off the hands of any aggressor,'" explains War in Context, as Russia now demands that Iran take "urgent and constructive steps" to ease concerns about its nuclear program.

An AP article is said to encapsulate "the most warmongering position to be found in the U.S. media," but as the rhetoric builds, Democrats in Congress "lay low on Iran," with a couple of notable exceptions.

Although "we don't hear it described as such in the corporate media, nor from the Cheney administration," reports Dahr Jamail, "civil war" is a good description of what is happening in the streets of Baghdad.

Iraqi politics remain in a stalemate, with no one "showing a sense of urgency to resolve the situation," reports Knight Ridder, as Newsweek details the emergence of a murky and problematic security force with multiple agendas.

An American businessman pleads guilty to involvement in a "vortex of corruption" surrounding construction contracts for Iraq, and an Air Force colonel stands accused of abusing her position for personal gain and making "a mockery of U.S. efforts to establish the rule of law" in Iraq.

Guantanamo detainees from China, who the U.S. says are neither terrorists nor enemy combatants, unsuccessfully appeal for freedom, the U.S. Army blacklists a torture whistle blower, and questions remain about large-scale detention centers Halliburton is building in case of an "emergency influx" of immigrants.

As China defends controls on media freedom and restarts the investigation of a jailed journalist, the FBI wants to "dig through" the late Jack Anderson's journalistic archive and "remove any item they deem confidential or top secret."

With allegations of death squads and a plot to destabilize neighboring Venezuela threatening to "derail Bush's last American ally," the Bush Administration's "chief image strategist" seeks to get the U.S. "on the same page" as people in Latin America. Plus: 'The Washington Post vs. Venezuela.'

As America meets "the new superpower," competition for access to oil is expected to be high on the agenda.

An editorial advocating nuclear power by a co-founder of Greenpeace is said to be "misleading," and it's warned that "opportunity costs may be quite high." While in Russia, a 'Nuclear textbook provokes debate.'

Does the "imminence of catastrophic global warming" make it more likely that the "Ozone Man" will be "getting the band back together?"

Despite NASA's recent "lofty commitment to a culture of scientific and technical openness," it's reported that climate change scientists are still "being treated like political threats to those abusing government power."

As two Duke Lacrosse Players are arrested for sexually assaulting a woman that MSNBC's Tucker Carlson branded a "crypto-hooker" and Rush Limbaugh called a "ho," it's suggested that the media attention is "disproportionate to the importance of the situation."

A federal judge has overturned a buffer zone law that was enacted after someone set fire to an abortion clinic.

Describing his "beautiful terrorist mind," Zacarias Moussaoui mocked testimony about his alleged schizophrenia, as a mentally ill sister who testified on his behalf said, "I am in another reality."

April 18

Thursday, April 20, 2006

With the White House said to have now shifted into 'Survival Mode,' it's noted that "the ultimate dispensable man" "chose to announce his departure while the White House press corps was about 30,000 feet over Alabama."

As a front-runner to succeed Scott McClellan "emerges," a "Brooks Brothers rioter" from the 2000 Florida recount replaces Karl Rove as White House policy chief, and Josh Marshall wonders "Where are the new faces?" while Wonkette asks, "Seen any retired generals lately?"

A White House protest during a visit by Chinese president Hu Jintao, by a woman described in the New York Times as a "distraught heckler," is called "a major embarrassment" for Bush and a "blemish" on Hu's visit.

'Reporting War' In recent remarks at a Columbia University symposium, John Pilger discusssed "censorship by journalism," and Alexander Cockburn observes that "so far as the Pulitzer Prize committee is concerned this year, the U.S. could be at peace across the world."

With the 'Media on Speed' during 'A Crisis Almost Without Equal,' Robert Parry charges the Washington Post's editorial page with committing "an especially grave offense" in trying "to protect George W. Bush from public outrage over his Iraq War deceptions."

FAIR reviews the Post's response to its critics, and the difference between a leak and a plant, and Editor & Publisher confirms that Valerie Plame will be attending the White House correspondents dinner, where "the president will have to deliver ... jokes."

Among the 11 people pardoned this week by President Bush was a "generous Republican donor" convicted of tax evasion, prompting the observation that "It has been a long time since the federal pardon program was administered in a responsible way."

A Spanish-language GOP ad accuses Democrats of voting to "treat millions of hardworking immigrants as felons," as the Minutemen send an ultimatum to Bush because "You can't get through to the president any other way."

"Woe to the politician, like Bush," writes Dick Morris, who rouses 'the isolation genie.'

USA Today reports that "only one major U.S. building project in Iraq is on schedule and within budget: the massive new American embassy compound," said to be "the size of about 80 football fields," and "the largest of its kind in the world."

With this year's kidnappings in Iraq put at "about 20,000," and 'No "V-E Day" On Horizon,' Iraqis are reportedly being 'driven from homes to desperation,' as 'al-Jaafari relents.'

In New Orleans' mayoral election, business interests are said to have "picked both the incumbent and the two main challengers," and "Jim Crow is on the ballot ... only this time, no one is watching."

'New Orleans is Our Gettysburg,' argues the Black Commentator, describing 'A Generation's Defining Event.'

After $500,000 in cash was seized from a truck "driven by two Houston men who tried to enter a nuclear power plant" in Pennsylvania, Rigorous Intuition's Jeff Wells feels that "something just had its cover blown."

The Wall Street Journal profiles the nation's first Civil Liberties Protection Officer, said to have "the simplest job in government," while a VA nurse accused of sedition receives an apology.

Washington Monthly's Jacob Heilbrunn finds 'The Great Conservative Crackup' chronicled and lamented by Jeffrey Hart, in whose book "the presidents that take the most heat ... are both named Bush."

April 19

Friday, April 21, 2006

As President Bush's approval rating falls to 33 percent in a Fox poll, which also found that 72 percent say that the U.S. economy is either "only fair" or "poor," Mark Morford weighs the odds on one last big 'Hail Mary bet.'

Belgrave Dispatch's Gregory Djerejian argues that 'the Tragedy of George W. Bush" is "ultimately one of his own making," especially given that he "could have changed course, really changed course ... at various junctures."

With White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten said to have floated the name of Harriet Miers as 'Next in Shake-Up,' Media Matters presents "a compilation of false and misleading claims" by the candidate reportedly "in negotiations" to replace Scott McClellan as press spokesman.

PressThink's Jay Rosen bids farewell to 'The Jerk at the Podium,' seen as "a necessary figure" in the Bush administration's "Rollback" strategy of message control, now being emulated in Canada by new prime minister Stephen Harper.

As MSNBC's David Shuster reports that 'Signs Point to Rove Indictment' in the Plame leak case, Billmon goes 'Hip Hop,' although not as far as Jeff Chang.

Editor & Publisher's "early look" at Eric Boehlert's 'Lapdogs,' cites "story counts" illustrating 'How the Press Rolled Over for Bush' by giving "surprisingly modest coverage" to "certain significant subjects."

Glenn Greenwald argues that while Scott Ritter "isn't entitled to a presumption that he's right about everything ... it seems beyond dispute that he's earned the right to be heard" when he calls the Bush administration posture on Iran "the exact replay of the game plan used for Iraq."

With Homeland Security grants reportedly being 'spent on clowns and gyms,' a federal audit is said to find a $7.8 million overpayment on a no-bid Katrina contract, to a firm whose lobbyist "has several former Homeland Security officials on staff."

'Iraq After Jaafari' may be led by "top ally," but 'The One Certainty' is said to be 'Spiraling Costs for Americans,' as it's estimated that "we could end up spending up to $1 trillion in supplemental budgets for this war."

An e-mail which corroborates a Harper's blog report by Ken Silverstein, and describes an FBI memo said to be "widely circulated" at Langley, suggests to Eric Umansky the possibility that "renditions are still ongoing, and some CIA agents have refused to take part."

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez warns that oil prices would reach $100 a barrel if the U.S. invades Iran, whose president maintains that "the global oil price has not reached its real value yet," and that "developed nations are the biggest beneficiary" of rising oil prices.

After White House Counselor Dan Bartlett said on "Hardball" that 'No One Ever Said The War Would Result In Cheaper Gas Prices,' Blah3 compiled a sampler of pundits said to be 'Still Waiting for That $12/Barrel Oil.'

Firedoglake's Jane Hamsher accuses Carl Pope of "one of the most utterly dishonest moments I've ever seen in the blogosphere," after the 'Sierra Club Backs Chafee.'

Dana Milbank catalogs the 'Host of Indignities' that greeted China and its president, as charges are filed against the Falun Gong heckler, who faces up to six months in jail.

A GOP presidential prospect, who is reported to be "mending fences," was referring to the candidate whose "net approval" rating is dead last among all senators, when he said, "In any age you don't have many leaders. Senator Santorum is one of them."

Kentucky's GOP governor reportedly celebrated Diversity Day by removing sexual orientation as a protected category for state employees, but a Baptist-affiliated college rescinded its suspension of a gay student, after protesters called on the governor to veto $11 million for a new pharmacy school.

Bob Dylan tour mate Merle Haggard, described as 'dismayed by political events,' and concerned about "a pervasive jingoism," tells the Memphis Commercial Appeal that "we've been sold out by the current administration. And I don't think there's any other way to look at it."

April 20

Monday, April 24, 2006

Larry Johnson thinks the firing of his former boss Mary McCarthy "smells a little fishy," and Glenn Greenwald observes that the "orgy of celebration among Bush followers" ignores a selective approach to punishing leaks that "has nothing to do with national security."

The New York Times details the White House's "renewed emphasis on the culture of secrecy" at the CIA, Democrats object to 'a double standard on leaks,' and the Washington Post's executive editor slams the 'Criminalization of leaks to the media.'

After the former head of covert CIA operations in Europe told "60 Minutes" that the Bush administration had "politicized and cherry-picked" intelligence on Iraq, he spoke of being "stunned" that his earlier testimony never ended up in official reports.

Despite a new tape from Osama bin Laden trumpeting a "Zionist-crusader war on Islam" and urging militants to fight in Sudan, Middle East analyst Fawaz Gerges tells Al-Jazeera that "there are few takers for his civilisational war."

As the BBC explores possible motives behind Bin Laden's message, performance artist Karen Finley locates him in a surprising place, and 'Al-Qaeda finds its missing link in Iran.'

With the man selected to lead Iraq accused of sending mixed signals about the militias, the U.S. ambassador warns that militias remain a serious challenge to "building a successful country based on rule of law." Plus: 'Death squads' reportedly taking it to the streets.

Newsweek reports that the vast air base being built up at Balad "is hard evidence that the Pentagon is planning to stay in Iraq for a long time -- at least a decade or so."

Joint U.S.-Iraqi inspections of detention centers continue to reveal "signs of torture," while the top U.S. commander in Iraq changes the rules governing privatized military support operations after confirming cases of "human trafficking."

While praising Knight Ridder for having "rebroken" a story "on the surge in terrorist attacks from 2004-2005," BTC News finds significant discrepancies between the numbers the government is expected to report and other official sources.

As the Los Angeles Times becomes the first major newspaper to call for Vice President Cheney's resignation, a Republican strategist tells the Times of London that "If I were Bush I would think of changing Cheney. It is one of the few substantial things he can do to change the complexion of his administration."

Although protesters at Stanford thwarted President Bush's planned visit to a think tank that is said to be "aggressively promoting the viability of a preemptive military strike in Iran," Left I on the News notes that a Washington Post article made no mention of the protests.

As Republicans are taken to task for transforming "Congress into a holding pen for sheep with egos and a taste for pork," Stirling Newberry offers a Democratic hierarchy that wants 'an election about nothing' an alternative to run on.

Despite finishing first in Saturday's crowded New Orleans mayoral primary," low black voter turnout is said to create "a big hurdle" for incumbent Ray Nagin. Plus: 'Tens of thousands of displaced residents barred from voting.'

An editorial change at the Times-Picayune leads Chris Mooney to speculate that Hurricane Katrina might be the event that truly began to "unleash the political potential of global warming."

As the New York Times editorializes on President Bush's 'Dubious Choices' for top environmental posts, Raw Story discovers that an Earth Day presentation on a House Committee on Resources Web site contains "no mention of global warming or climate change."

Columnist Jonah Goldberg sees red over "the millenarian battiness running through the green scare," but Think Progress argues that the evidence he cites is misleading, as Seed magazine takes a graphical look at the 'State of the Planet.'

"What are the feds smoking?" asks a Scientific American blog post about the FDA's statement reaffirming its opposition to medical marijuana, which reportedly "directly contradicts" a 1999 review by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine.

Randi Rhodes let it rip when CNN's Paula Zahn tried to steer a discussion to the Duke rape case, telling Zahn that on her show, "We're doing real news," such as "on June 2, they're going to explode 700 tons of a simulated nuclear bomb in the nuclear test site in Nevada."

"The ultimate question," says Jerry Landay, "is how we will behave when it dawns that we are being forsaken by The American Dream."

April 21-23

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Arthur Schlesinger Jr., looking ahead at 'Bush's Thousand Days,' expresses hope that the president "might be moved ... to forgo solo preventive war and return to cooperation with other countries," but elsewhere it's feared that Bush "might be tempted to do something dramatic."

John Dean argues that 'If Past Is Prologue, George Bush Is Becoming An Increasingly Dangerous President.'

Hours after Earth Day, as part of what was called a "frat-boy weekend," the president reportedly "enjoyed" mountain biking through a "voluntary avoidance" area during lambing season for endangered bighorn sheep, before suspending environmental rules for gasoline on Tuesday.

Editor & Publisher reports that while in California, Bush "explained, in unusually stark terms, how his belief in God influences his foreign policy," and said that before invading Iraq, he "tried to solve the problem diplomatically to the max."

With Newsweek reporting that "Bush can't get a break even when things go his way," FAIR's Janine Jackson explains why 'Lack of applause for falling wages is media mystery.'

A lawyer for fired CIA officer Mary McCarthy is quoted as saying that McCarthy "did not have access to the information she is accused of leaking," with a Washington Post report adding that, while against the rules, "having unreported media contacts is not unheard of at the CIA."

In a dispatch from "the political war over who will decide what Americans get to see and hear," Robert Parry reports that "Bush and his team -- faced with plunging poll numbers and cascading disclosures of wrongdoing -- appear determined to punish and criminalize resistance to their regime."

'Rummyache' An eighth retired general calls for replacing Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, seen as having "done everything in his power to remove the military from congressional oversight or accountability" and "determined to put the U.S. military under private control."

Amid reports of a militia build-up in 'Oil-Rich Kirkuk,' the inspector general of Iraq's oil ministry tells Reuters that insurgents have crippled Iraq's energy sector, and that "the government has ignored calls for help in the battle against corruption and smuggling."

The New York Times reports that a Halliburton subsidiary's no-bid project to rebuild an Iraqi pipeline was a 'Disaster Waiting to Happen,' with an Army geologist quoted as saying that "No driller in his right mind would have gone ahead."

After a triple bombing in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula killed at least 30, it's reported that "ambulances rushed in a procession from Cairo, more than six hours away."

Declaring that "only the best" former New Orleans public housing residents should be allowed to return, U.S. Housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson denounced "the so-called leadership in the black community, the liberal community" for wanting to "bring a racial component into the hurricane."

'A timely corporate call' goes out from the Crescent City, Ken Lay cites a 'negative media barrage,' and Molly Ivins worries that in both the Enron and the Moussaoui cases, "there is the same feeling that maybe we've missed the point."

A Marine war hero, paralyzed in Iraq, faces charges of "assaulting and interfering with a police officer," after reportedly being "hoisted off the ground by his windbreaker ... slammed back down" and "tossed from his wheelchair" by off-duty cops north of Boston.

As Joshua Frank blogs on Sen. John 'Kerry's Halfhearted Reversal,' a commenter observes that while "their base is rapidly becoming a peace-and-justice community ... the Dems are still a war party," but the SDS is "back again."

Glenn Greenwald reminds Democrats of 'The need for a political soul,' and Alexander Cockburn goes inside 'Obama's Game,' in quest of "any sort of popular champion, as opposed to another safe black, like Condoleezza Rice (whom Obama voted to confirm)." Plus: 'Rice's visit to Greece sparks violence.'

Merle Haggard sings "Why don't we liberate these United States? We're the ones who need it worst," and a CNN reporter asks Neil Young whether being a Canadian gives him "less of a platform to say these things," as Pink (with help from the Indigo Girls) pens a "Dear Mr. President" letter.

Scroll down for a book review in which National Geographic's "Dog Whisperer" is quoted as saying that an "angry-aggressive" person such as Bill O'Reilly of Fox News "would not make a good pack leader ... because the other dogs would perceive him as unstable."

April 24

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

President Bush introduced the administration's "new face," described as a "fair and balanced" press secretary, who recently argued that "the president ... sometimes has to do things that may or may not comport with the law."

The AP reports that Bush "might as well be" on the November ballot, since "Republican losses" could make the next two years a "nightmare for Bush and his GOP allies." Plus: has Bush already conceded, or has he found his "rebound fuel"?

The Bush team's efforts at 'Defining Democracy Down' lead Paul Craig Roberts to warn that "a country against which the world is united is not a superpower."

'Fitzmas Revisited?' Carpetbagger rounds up reports possibly containing clues to the fate of Karl Rove -- but Philo has a 'Sinking feeling.'

'Is There A Double Standard On Leak Probes?' asks Murray Waas, reporting that members of Congress, such as Sen. Pat Roberts, who praised the CIA's firing of Mary McCarthy but was himself "involved in disclosing sensitive information" in 2003, "are almost never held accountable when they seriously breach national security."

'Who Said That She Did?' As Salon's Tim Grieve ponders whether one aspect of the coverage of McCarthy's firing may have originated in an effort "to embarrass an employee who once worked for Bill Clinton and gave money to John Kerry," along comes the 'Mary McCarthy Matrix.'

The CIA is said to have conducted "more than 1,000 undeclared flights over European territory since 2001," and the Boston Globe reports that "at least seven U.S. prisoners ... say they were transferred to countries known for torture" before their time spent "living in the tropics" of 'The Outlaw World.'

'Tehran insider tells of U.S. black ops' inside Iran, in an article which quotes a U.S. official as describing Camp Warhorse -- in the province that borders Iran -- as "a gated community" where "they bake really good bread."

After the Canadian government banned the media from covering the return of flag-draped coffins from Afghanistan, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who "will not be at the arrival of the caskets," was said to be "taking a page from George Bush's book on public manipulation."

Many TV stations are still airing video press releases as news reports, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal, amplifying a study by the Center for Media and Democracy, which found 'Fake TV News: Widespread and Undisclosed.'

"Scientific discourse" at the FDA is said to include one commissioner's concern that teens might "form sex-based cults centered around the use of Plan B," not to be confused with RU486.

"The most senior resident of the Everglades," said to have been "staring homelessness cold in the eye" after Hurricane Wilma struck last October, reportedly makes "daily visits" to see her new trailer, which authorities promise to have ready by her 100th birthday on Aug. 22.

Reuters reports that 'Many middle-income Americans lack insurance,' citing a study by The Commonwealth Fund, but Lisa Mann sings "My health care plan is don't get sick," as she wails the "Bentonville Blues."

An analysis of a 'Hostile Takeover,' by a writer who also covers the 'War On Immigrants,' cites hopeful signs in "the streets of Nepal."

"Some people say do not come back to New Orleans if you don't intend to work," observes a community organizer. "We say something else. Don't come back to New Orleans if you don't intend to fight!"

As New Orleans prepares for 'A festival of emotion,' Steve Forbert sings of "Underwatertown" and offers up "The Baghdad Dream," in which "Mr. Rumsfeld calls the shots/And we all get what we've got."

April 25

Thursday, April 27, 2006

'Perilously Low Marks' A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found only 19 percent "feeling confident about the economy," and job approval for the GOP-controlled Congress at 22 percent, down from 33 percent a month ago -- and it's noted that "November will be the last time that voters can punish George Bush."

The Washington Post finds "sticker shock on Capitol Hill" as 'Projected Iraq War Costs Soar,' "exceeding even the worst-case scenarios," in the words of the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee. And 'How Many U.S. Troops are Really in Iraq?'

Although more than 600 U.S. personnel have been "credibly alleged to have abused, tortured or killed detainees," a new report documents unfulfilled promises of "transparency, investigation, and appropriate punishment for those responsible." Plus: 'All locked up with no place to go.'

"We didn't invite them." As Iraqi politicians suggest that an unannounced visit to Iraq by Secretary of State Rice and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld "might do more harm than good," a drive-by shooting claims the life of new vice president Tariq al-Hashimi's sister.

Following a report that 'Sen. Roberts seeks delay of Intel probe,' Roberts is also said to have denied Democratic attempts to interview Rice, two former aides to her predecessor, and former CIA Director George Tenet.

National Journal's Shane Harris finds the CIA busily 'Silencing The Squeaky Wheels,' with new rules "intended to suppress criticism of the Bush administration," and Nat Hentoff discusses 'the Government Crackdown on Information.'

The Hill reports that House Majority Leader John Boehner has promised "a full and lengthy floor debate on the Iraq war, a dramatic change of course for GOP leaders."

David Zink goes 'Behind the GOP Attack on Science,' and Glenn Greenwald describes a "thought process" among Bush's defenders that "repeats itself over and over" and that "led us into Iraq and ... kept us there," despite "horrendous failure."

With Karl Rove said to be 'Unsure if He Will Be Indicted' and special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald reportedly "believed to be considering" charges against Rove, Firedoglake hears "the Wurlitzer ... being revved up again." Plus: 'The gaping hole In Rove's defense.'

As 'The Struggle Continues' in New Orleans, and evacuees lose benefits, a Senate panel's proposal to replace FEMA with a new agency reportedly draws "disdain from Homeland Security and its critics."

Among other recommendations: creation of a Homeland Security Academy -- in Sen. Joe Lieberman's home state. Plus: "It's not supposed to work."

Federal prosecutors looking into whether contractors supplied former Rep. Randall "Duke" Cunningham with prostitutes, a limousine and hotel suites, are said to be "focusing on whether any other members of Congress, or their staffs, may also have used the same free services."

The biggest first quarter profit ever posted by Exxon Mobil reportedly "still fell short of Wall Street forecasts," disappointing analysts -- and Sen. John McCain accuses oil companies of having "the least PR sensitivity of any group outside of satanic cults."

'Turnip Day' In his review of a "self-contradictory jeremiad" by "the flower of American journalism," Thomas Frank writes that "If someone strikes Mr. Klein as authentic, you can be fairly sure he's not a liberal." Plus: 'Why Leftists Mistrust Liberals.'

'Crisis of the Soul' In a speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, summarized by Editor & Publisher, former Los Angeles Times Editor John Carroll described a deepening conflict between "those who serve the reader and those who serve the shareholder."

Walk That Walk Advice from the Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes to incoming White House press secretary Tony Snow includes, "Be willing to be disliked."

In publishing the lyrics to Neil Young's "Impeach the President," a Fox News report calls the song an "eye-opening recording" that "many parents are going to be hearing their kids singing in the next few days," as 'CSNY Speak Out.'

In its review of a 'karaoke hymn machine,' the Guardian notes that the 'The Ultimate Music Worship Solution,' features "a disco version of Amazing Grace." Earlier: the Singing Nun's doomed disco comeback.

April 26

Friday, April 28, 2006

As the IAEA finds 'Iran in Defiance of U.N.,' the Christian Science Monitor reports that Israel is moving into a "more proactive position" and the House passes what Rep. Dennis Kucinich calls "a stepping stone to war."

Dana Priest responds to attacks on her reporting on secret CIA prisons, Jim Lobe analyzes a new report finding 'Impunity Endures Two Years After Abu Ghraib,' and Chris Floyd says a new Pentagon strategy puts "dirty war ... at the very heart of America's military philosophy."

Three Years On As Media Matters reviews how "many in the media gushed at the pageantry" as "Mission Accomplished" was declared, including Chris Matthews' observation that "I think we like having a hero as our president," Sen. Russ Feingold offers up legislation to redeploy U.S. forces from Iraq by December 31, 2006.

With Sen. Pat Roberts' new delaying tactics on the "Phase II" investigation, uggabugga sees a 'Senate Intelligence Committee Paradox.'

"Where is the outrage?" asks Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, who is attempting to get answers about warrantless surveillance by filing an amendment to block NSA funding.

As U.S. lawmakers from both parties warn against overreaction to the failed Dubai ports deal, it's reported that President Bush is 'Set to approve takeover of 9 military plants by Dubai.'

Bush proposes raising mileage standards but rejects calls for a windfall profits tax on oil companies, Republicans are said to give new meaning to the word "pandering," and House Speaker Dennis Hastert sizes back up.

As Sen. Ron Wyden ties up the Senate for nearly five hours trying to force a vote on his plan to "end subsidies of energy companies that lease federal land," "Democracy Now!" hosts a peak oil debate.

Mark Kleiman argues that neither party is willing to do "the one thing that would actually work," and Business Week reports that "federal funding for energy efficiency is taking a major hit."

"One of the most frustrating things about the renewed debate over nuclear power," says a Grist magazine columnist, "is that it has basically been forced into the public sphere by brute force of cash."

With Congress and the White House divided on the future of FEMA, Paul Krugman argues that the U.S. "will only regain effective government if and when it gets a president who cares more about serving the nation than about rewarding his friends and scoring political points."

As President Bush was making another visit to the Gulf Coast, Washington Post reporter Jim VandeHei asked the outgoing press secretary: "is there a White House policy that all government TVs have to be tuned to Fox?"

FAIR charges that "In striving to downplay" the incoming White House press secretary's partisanship, the New York Times ignored his "infamous response to Republicans" who had complained about his criticisms of Bush in 2000."

A "prostitute scandal" follow up posted on Harper's blog fuels speculation about which "person who now holds a powerful intelligence post" might be implicated, with one reporter saying the investigation could ultimately include "as many as a half a dozen" members of Congress.

As a Republican presidential hopeful who is said to be "trying to make amends for his old pro-Dixie stances" explains why "a noose" is hanging in his law office, Kevin Drum thinks the question of "authenticity" may be even more significant. Plus: The right of the dial.

They Wear It Well Hullabaloo's Digby finds "eliminationist discourse" on a t-shirt, PZ Myers checks a reference in a new book by Ann Coulter, and Max Blumenthal discovers 'The Demons of David Horowitz.'

With debate continuing over how to determine the relative popularity of recent books by left and right bloggers, Bill Berkowitz sees a potential for podcasting to become "another well-honed partisan political tool" for the right. Plus: 'Confessions of a Former Dittohead.'

As "Impeach the President" goes into heavy rotation, can a pretender's act survive?

April 27

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