June, 2005 link archive

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

'America's golden moment' After President Bush labeled an Amnesty International report "absurd" during a news conference, Derrick Z. Jackson wrote that "All that is missing is a banner ... saying, ''Misinformation Accomplished.'"

Commenting on what "looks like a campaign" to discredit Amnesty International, Reed Brody of Human Rights Watch was quoted as saying that "What is sad is that this effort at damage control may work in the U.S."

Amnesty responded to Bush by saying that "Guantanamo is only the visible part of the story. Evidence continues to mount that the U.S. operates a network of detention centers where people are held in secret or outside any proper legal framework -- from Afghanistan to Iraq and beyond." Plus: Dollars for detainees?

While "Newsweek retracted and apologized ... Nothing like that ever comes from the White House or the civilian leaders of the Pentagon," writes Sydney Schanberg, who sent a fax to six officials asking if they "wish to retract or apologize for or amend any mistakes or statements you have made in relation to the Iraq war..."

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's editorial page editor asks: "Why would this cartoon, above all others, incite such reaction?"

Four employees were burned to death when an angry mob set fire to a KFC in Karachi, following a suicide bombing at a Shiite Muslim mosque, and at least 20 people were killed when a suicide bomber struck a mosque in Kandahar during a funeral for an anti-Taliban Muslim cleric.

As the 'U.S. death toll in Iraq surges,' U.S. Army officers have gone public with concerns about troop shortages in western Iraq, with one telling Knight Ridder that "there's simply not enough forces here ... to do anything right. Everybody's got their finger in a dike."

The Financial Times cites anonymous sources within the Bush administration as saying that "the U.S. has long lost its grip on Iraq's political process," and notes that the U.S. embassy in Baghdad has been "without an ambassador for about six months."

Insurgents mounted new attacks on the road to Baghdad's airport and handed out poisoned watermelon to Iraqi soldiers.

Whatever It Is I'm Against It unpacks an official Pentagon statement explaining that a prominent Sunni leader was "detained by mistake" and "interviewed," observing that "an 'interview' starts with being asked to sit and would you like some coffee, not with having a hood thrown over your head and being dragged out of your house."

Commenting on reports that a budget-driven 60 percent cutback in training hours for Air Force combat squadrons is "leaving frontline units unprepared to go to war," Defense Tech's Noah Shachtman asks, "are times really that tight at the Air Force?" Plus: 'Drafting the dead.'

A settler's group has called for the firing of "Israel's Walter Cronkite," over a documentary in which he says that "Since 1967 we have been brutal conquerors, occupiers, suppressing another people. We simply don't view the Palestinians as human beings."

Vanity Fair's scoop of the Washington Post comes online, and the New York Times chronicles "the slow unraveling of The Post's proprietary grip on the mystery." And '"Deep Throat": Then and Now'

Slate's Timothy Noah writes that the unmasking of an antihero makes everybody involved in the story -- including Bob Woodward -- "look a little less noble," while journalists argue that although "most anonymous sources have mixed motives," without them "there would be little news, certainly no investigative journalism."

A New York Times analysis by investigative journalist Kurt Eichenwald, explains why the Supreme Court's reversal of Arthur Andersen's conviction for obstruction of justice in the Enron case is 'Not a Declaration of Innocence.'

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez 'looks like the new Castro' and is said to have the same "werewolf effect" on the U.S. government, but "has one great advantage the Cuban leader never had -- the richest oil reserves outside the Middle East." Plus: Trade conference in a Cuban "sister city" -- Mobile, Alabama.

President Bush met with a prominent Chavez opponent at the White House, identified in a Reuters photo as head of Sumate, "a non-governmental organization that fights for political rights for the citizens of Venezuela."

The BBC reports that 'Haiti faces explosive situation,' as a new ICG study warns that "the UN mission needs executive authority over law enforcement if the situation is to be saved."

In an op-ed decrying left-wing bias at the BBC that ran in the Wall Street Journal's European edition, Fox News' London bureau chief gives up the game, and the director of "Outfoxed" puts Wal-Mart in the crosshairs.

Like a Thief in the Nightly Noting that "Tom Delay's ethics problems received four minutes of coverage on ABC and CBS combined, and none on NBC" during the papal death watch, Susan Douglas writes that "the rise of Jesus news ... embezzles time away from stories people really need to hear."

This is CNN Noting recent "Survivor Week" and "Crime Scene Week" themes, the Los Angeles Times quotes a former reporter who says, "If you watch what they're doing on the air, it seems softer, rather than harder." Plus: When CNN's "slow, painful decline began..."

Media Matters disputes claims that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is "moving to the center" in preparation for a potential presidential run, and that "Hardball" host Chris Matthews is a "liberal Democrat."

May 31

Thursday, June 2, 2005

"Nothing has been of more concern to the Pentagon-centered Bush administration abroad than bases, or of less concern to our media at home," writes Tom Engelhardt, offering up a tour of "global Baseworld ... imperial America's lifeblood."

Bases Without Bodies? The Financial Times reports that "by the end of April the army had attracted only 35,926 soldiers towards its goal of 80,000 for the year ending in October," while "Figures for reserves were even worse." And as the 'recruitment crisis deepens ... draft fears rise.'

'Wreck It and Run' William Lind, returning from the funeral of Colonel David Hackworth, ponders what Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's successor will inherit in the wake of his management approach.

"Gulag" or "Model Facility?" "Democracy Now!" hosts a debate between Amnesty USA's William Schulz and attorney David Rivkin, who earlier responded to Thomas Friedman's call to shut down Guantanamo.

With at least 20 killed in Northern Iraq on the first day of June, the Los Angeles Times reports 'Suicide Attacks Rising Rapidly" to unprecedented levels, with 69 attacks in April and 90 in May, as insurgents are said to be getting more money, expertise and intelligence leaks.

Wounded Iraqi civilians are virtually on their own, reports the Washington Post, as Baghdad's main rehab center, with "five new amputees arriving daily," may be "forced to close the prosthetics wing" for lack of spare parts.

An AMERICAblog post recommends that "someone tell Rush" and the New York Post that "the numbers show an Iraqi-dominated insurgency."

President Bush tells broadcasters that although he doesn't "worry all that much, frankly," he worries about people losing their lives in Iraq.

Fox News reports that the Downing Street Memo has been 'Mostly Ignored in the U.S.,' and quotes a member of the group Military Families Speak Out as saying that "TV news ... really just dropped the ball on this." Plus: Why "a real probing ... would not be uncomfortable only for Republicans."

Happy 25th! Ted Turner delivers an anniversary address to CNN employees, ESPN gets a journalistic leg up on the cable news channels.

War Games Bob Harris writes that "apparently we're so desensitized now that the ransacking of an Arab home belongs in the Sports section."

The suicide bombing at a Kandahar mosque that killed 19, including Kabul's police chief, is part of "a surge in violence" that has spread across the country in recent weeks, reports the New York Times' Carlotta Gall.

Delivering a commencement address at the Air Force Academy, where allegations of widespread sexual assault and evangelical Christian proselytizing "continue to reverberate," Vice President Cheney "mentioned none of this in his remarks."

Although North Korea called Cheney a "bloodthirsty beast" who has "drenched various parts of the world in blood," he does have a record of providing for his family.

As Bob Woodward tells his side of the Deep Throat story, David Sirota says Woodward's own story had a second act: "He used his fame to suck up to those in power, and then write books like 'Bush at War' that simply told power's story." Plus: "A somewhat different take" and "the golden era was not pure gold."

"It is inspiring to think that the system did once work," writes John Nichols, "but it is painful to recognize the reality that Richard Nixon would never have been forced from office by today's major media organizations or today's Congress."

After criticizing Minnesota's nakedly ambitious governor for vetoing a bill that would have established an official poet laureate for the state, Star Tribune readers unload on former Nixon associates for branding Mark Felt a traitor.

In response to Human Events' list of the "Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries," in which Ralph Nader's "Unsafe At Any Speed" rates an honorable mention, Kevin Drum nominates Arthur Laffer's napkin.

As linguist George Lakoff counsels Democrats to forget about choice, Martha Burk argues that "leaving women out of the debate" is nothing new for Democrats, and that "reframing" won't help them with their 'Woman Problem.'

Social Security reform was "notably absent" from House Majority Whip Roy Blunt's post-Memorial Day list of "priority legislation," reports The Hill.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that Ernest Hemingway's Havana hideaway has been placed on the list of 11 most endangered historic places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which has managed to obtain a Cuba travel license from the Bush administration.

After "almost 50 years of doing nothing," federal authorities exhume the body of Emmett Till, more than four decades after Bob Dylan sang about his murder.

June 1

Friday, June 3, 2005

The car bomb assassination of prominent Lebanese journalist Samir Kassir was called "a crime that hits at the core of the establishment" by a Beirut newspaper editor, and triggered finger-pointing among the opposition.

As Sydney Blumenthal charges the Bush administration with 'harming the national interest' in 'trying to make its gulag problem disappear by attacking Amnesty International,' a U.S. military commander at Guantanamo voices his "frustration" at how the handling of detainees is portrayed by "reporters that have not bothered to come here and look for themselves."

Introducing Nick Turse's 'Rummy Rules,' Tom Engelhardt observes recent "brave slips of the tongue" by both Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney, in publicly referring to the "detainees" at Guantanamo as "prisoners of war."

A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Army to release more than 100 photographs and videos from Abu Ghraib. "These images may be ugly and shocking," said the ACLU's Anthony Romero, "but they depict how the torture was more than the actions of a few rogue soldiers."

The AP reports that "the first civilian to be prosecuted on charges of mistreating a military detainee" has been arrested on charges of assaulting his girlfriend, who told authorities that the former CIA contractor "pushed her into a door, causing her to fall down stairs."

Troops back from Iraq are reportedly having a hard time finding work, with one vet, who "got so desperate he considered returning to Iraq," quoted as saying that prospective employers wanted to know "if he struggled mentally because of his time at war."

With more new Army recruits washing out, battalion commanders are losing the authority to "bounce" soldiers with drug, alcohol, weight, pregnancy, fitness or performance problems, reports the Wall Street Journal. But "These are not soldiers who field commanders want to retain," says a Slate analysis, which offers alternative solutions.

Iraq's Interior Minister tries a little reframing, and the Foreign Minister tells the Washington Post that the U.S. "has withdrawn too much" and needs to be more assertive in Iraq, adding that "there is something between too much and not enough." Plus: 'Help us take out the trash.'

The Post article quotes Larry Diamond, author of 'What Went Wrong in Iraq' and the book, "Squandered Victory," as saying that "we have been hurt quite badly by the prolonged absence of a U.S. ambassador" in Baghdad.

The Washington Note addresses the possibility of U.N. ambassador-designate John Bolton getting a recess appointment, after the issue was raised in a National Review editorial that the Note found "refreshingly pessimistic about Bolton's chances" of being confirmed. Watch him bashing the U.N.

The AP reports that U.N. weapons inspectors have determined that "material that could be used to make biological or chemical weapons and banned long-range missiles has been removed from 109 sites in Iraq," but "reached no conclusions about who removed the items or where they went."

Although 'Operation Lightning packs little thunder,' a general is quoted as saying that the level of violence will soon "fall off for a while" from the current pace, as the Marine combat toll for May "exceeds the total of the three previous months."

Arguing that "keeping American troops in Iraq amounts to fighting a fire with kerosene," the Chicago Tribune's Steve Chapman writes that "the longer we stay, the more suicide attacks we face."

The Iraqi government offers the first official count of the insurgency's civilian toll, saying that 12,000 have been killed by insurgents in the last year and a half. Knight Ridder previously reported that "operations by U.S. and multinational forces and Iraqi police are killing twice as many Iraqis -- most of them civilians -- as attacks by insurgents."

Responding to a report on growing opposition to the Tasering of school children, a Taser International spokesman said the "device has been shown to be medically safe when used on children." Amnesty International has long considered electro-shock stun weapons to be "the torturer's high-technology tool of choice."

Editor and Publisher notes that White House correspondents questioned whether President Bush deliberately shunned female reporters at a news conference, while Voice of America reports that North Korea praised the president.

The Brad Blog identifies media outlets that cleaned up after Bush by changing "disassemble" to "dissemble." One scrub was written by the Chicago Tribune's Mark Silva, who then "attempted to shrug it all off," writes Brad Blog, in a follow-up piece headlined "Catalog of 'Bushisms' continue to expand."

Calling the war in Iraq "worse than anything Nixon did," former Sen. George McGovern wishes that there was a Deep Throat in the Bush administration "to tell us what's really going on." And Henry Kissinger claims that Nixon was only speaking "rhetorically" when he proposed break-ins.

The Nation's John Nichols lauds a speech by Arianna Huffington to the Campaign for America's Future's "Take Back America" conference, in which she urged Democrats to 'Make Iraq Topic Number 1.'

You've Got A Friend While saying that William H. Donaldson "has done an exceptional job as SEC Chairman," President Bush lost no time replacing a "disappointingly independent choice" with "a successor whose loyalties seem clear." Plus: 'A Cox in the Henhouse.'

"There is a feeling among the pointy-headed secular set that the evangelicals are a doomed anachronism," writes Matt Taibbi, noting that H.L. Mencken also believed that, "80 years ago, when he filed what he thought was the obituary of American yahoo-ism from Dayton, Tennessee."

A New Yorker article argues that 'intelligent design isn't,' and a female state senator in Kansas, who once spoke out against women's suffrage, is seeking the GOP nomination to become the state's top elections official.

June 2

Monday, June 6, 2005

Weekend Warriors Juan Cole says the Pentagon released the results of its Qu'ran defilement investigation on Friday evening "in order to defeat the U.S. news cycle," and he describes the treatment of detainees as representing a return to the Bill of Attainder.

Branding Guantanamo "the greatest propaganda tool that exists for [the] recruiting of terrorists," Sen. Joe Biden calls for "shutting it down," and in a contentious interview on Fox News, the head of Amnesty USA insists that "there are some similarities ... between U.S. detention facilities and the gulag." Plus: ACLU in shreds?

Thinking Inside the Box The Homeland Security's new Domestic Nuclear Detection Office is being criticized for installing more than 500, $250,000 drive-thru cargo radiation monitors, that "can't tell the difference between highly enriched uranium and naturally occurring radiation in cat litter."

A House committee report is said to detail how the FBI wasted more than $100 million on its failed Virtual Case File system, much of the money spent after it became apparent that the project would have to be scrapped.

Iraq's government declares war on the welfare state, with the Los Angeles Times reporting that Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari's cabinet will look into creating a new agency to shrink the bloated bureaucracy.

The Times also reports that 'Combat Linguists' serving in Iraq for the U.S. complain that "soldiers mocked their Arabic surnames and accused them of being 'on the wrong side' of the conflict."

Questioning Iraq's foreign minister about Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, CNN's Wolf Blitzer makes no mention of a Knight Ridder report that "U.S. intelligence has no evidence" to support the claim by U.S. military officials that "al-Zarqawi visited Syria in recent months to plan bombings in Iraq." Plus: 'Israel bugged Syrian first lady's e-mails.'

Reflecting on his two-year stint in Iraq, Newsweek's Rod Nordland says he went there believing that "WMDs or no, ridding the world of Saddam would surely be for the best, and America's good intentions would carry the day. What went wrong?" And, President Bush's 'optimism on Iraq debated.'

Rep. Pete Stark tells the San Mateo County Times that "If the President won't respond to the deaths of more than 1,600 U.S. troops and more than 20,000 Iraqi civilians, why would I expect him to respond to a memo?"

In an address to the Take Back America conference, at which some of the main speakers "didn't mention the word Iraq," Bill Moyers chronicled 'The Mugging of the American Dream.'

Reminding readers of President Bush's bogus debate claim about tax cuts, David Cay Johnston reports that "53 percent will go to people with incomes in the top 10 percent ... And more than 15 percent will go just to the top 0.1 percent ... call them the hyper-rich." Plus: 'US probes Isle of Man scheme used by billionaire Bush donors.'

A Los Angeles Times reporter's assertion that "President Bush ran on a specific agenda that included privatizing Social Security strikes me as little more than preposterous," writes Josh Marshall. "His entire campaign was framed around two planks: strength against terrorism and the flaws of John Kerry."

House Republicans are said to be concerned about the "the DeLay effect," as leading Democrats seek to distance themselves from comments by Howard Dean.

Alexander Cockburn salutes 'France's Magnificent Non!' vote on the proposed European Constitution and the French left gets back to infighting, with the country's Socialist Party conducting a 'suicidal purge.'

'Democracy on the March!' The Poor Man "exults" as Hezbollah snowballs southern Lebanon, and the Daily Star editorializes that the party's 'seats in Parliament come with a heavy burden.'

Chip Ward ponders the long goodbye of the yellow-bellied marmot, which may be the first among many species to die of confusion in the Lower 48 as a result of global climate changes.

Hullabaloo's Digby responds to a new Supreme Court ruling that state laws don't protect medical marijuana users from a federal ban on the drug.

'If Watergate Happened Now' Jonathan Alter imagines that "Roger Ailes banned the word 'Watergate' from Fox News' coverage and went with the logo "Assault on the Presidency," and "When 'Firebombing Brookings: Good Idea or Not?' became the 'Question of the Day' on MSNBC, Liddy's radio show got a nice ratings boost."

David Lindorff argues that 'We Need More, Not Fewer, Anonymous Sources,' or "all we will be reading will be official press releases."

Arianna Huffington described NBC's Tim Russert as "journalism's answer to the E-ZPass," following his interview with GOP Chairman Ken Mehlman.

Meet the New Boss... After Matt Drudge linked to Qu'ran desecration reports carried by both the AP and Reuters, Sean Hannity asked him: "When will the mainstream media catch up with a story like that?" And Max Blumenthal introduces 'Hannity's Soul-Mate of Hate.'

June 3-5

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

"We all know that this is a bailout for Boeing," says a Pentagon e-mail revealed in a new inspector general's report, which is said to connect Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to policymaking on a $30 billion scheme to convert passenger planes and lease them as tankers.

The Washington Post report notes that "45 sections were deleted by the White House counsel's office to obscure what several sources described as references to White House involvement in the lease negotiations and its interaction with Boeing." Plus: What the Post left out.

"The clues are falling into place," begins Robert Parry. "Many of the clues have been apparent for three years .. but only recently have new revelations clarified this obvious reality for the slow-witted mainstream U.S. news media."

In a "Democracy Now!" segment, 'The Smoking Bullet in the Smoking Gun,' Jeremy Scahill discussed President Bush's "undeclared air war" against Iraq in 2002, and his Nation article, 'The Other Bomb Drops.' Plus: 'Lets Talk About Michael Jackson!'

"The press is missing in action," said Sen. Hillary Clinton at a re-election fund-raiser. "It's shocking when you see how easily they fold ... If they're criticized by the White House, they just fall apart. I mean, c'mon, toughen up, guys ... Let's get some spine." But, 'Hillary ...fails to look in the mirror.'

"It speaks to the state of cable news that we sat in shock and awe for the better part of an hour," writes CJR Daily's Thomas Lang, "as anchors Zain Verjee and Jim Clancy did nothing more than deliver the news like it's supposed to be done."

The contributor's note to an op-ed in which Ben Bradlee, Jr. expresses the hope that a recommittment to the "core values of gathering news -- real news, not blather," will inspire 18- to 34-year-olds to "read and watch less schlock," says that he is "writing a biography of Ted Williams."

The unmasking of W. Mark Felt as "Deep Throat," writes James Mann, "has given the country a rare glimpse into the two separate spheres that coexist uneasily within the U.S. government. Let's call one of them Hidden World and the other Talk Show World." Plus: 'Watergate time warp' and Seymour Hersh's 'Watergate Days.'

'The Pimping of the President' Lou DuBose reports that a tribal chief who paid $25,000 for face time with Bush, and originally denied that the meeting took place, has "revisited that issue" and "now recalls that he in fact did go to the White House."

"Now" lays out the case against the Majority Leader and the lobbyist, and Elizabeth Drew on 'Selling Washington.'

As President Bush 'Predicts Democracy in Cuba' in a speech to the Organization of American States, the WSWS says that delegates to the Ft. Lauderdale assembly saw 'American democracy in action,' and received public apologies for "problems ... with transportation and security."

The Chicago Tribune reports that despite a 'Pentagon in Blinders,' many of "the captains, corporals and privates fighting today" have adopted the theories and tactics of "Fourth Generation Warfare."

As 'Iraq's politically savvy insurgency proves its staying power,' Gannet News reports that the "hopeful talk" at the Pentagon of "significant troop reductions by year's end ... has disappeared."

In a rare interview, Muqtada al-Sadr tells the AP that Iraq's "electoral process was designed to legitimize the occupation, rather than ridding the country of the occupation."

After a report on Operation Lightning says that "the daily death toll has fallen slightly in the past three days," as Iraqi forces "detained nearly 900 suspected militants and set up more than 800 checkpoints," four bombs in seven minutes ended "a relative lull in violence." Plus: 'Who Cares?'

A suicide bomber drove "straight into the building where the men were housed" at a three-day-old Iraqi military base in Baghdad, as 25,000 "security shooters" hailing from "from at least two dozen countries" lobby for "the right to arm themselves with heavy military-style weapons," and an 'Abu Ghraib riot turns violent.'

The Los Angeles Times goes inside a death penalty trial in Baghdad, during which the defendants, who claimed to have confessed "under torture that included rape with a metal rod," never met their lawyer. Plus: Taking "Fear Factor" to 'Another Level.'

As New Jersey prepares to try the SHAC 7 for "animal enterprise terrorism" and "interstate stalking," the group says that "specifically, these activists are alleged to have operated a website that reported on and expressed ideological support for protest activity ... For this they are charged with 'terrorism' and face an aggregate of 23 years in Federal Prison."

Most Americans are mentally ill at some point in their lives, according to a new government, foundation, and pharmaceutical company-funded survey published in The Archives of General Psychiatry, which also found that "only a third" of treatments "met even minimal standards for effectiveness."

Billmon "can hear the sound of conservative heads exploding from 3,000 miles away" as "a backcountry judge in Washington State" delivers a message to the GOP.

The WSWS reports on a little-covered 'reactionary tirade' by an Ohio county sheriff, Simon L. Leis, Jr., who blamed "the mass killing of students in our schools" on "liberal judges" and "a satanic pestilence" of atheists, homosexuals, feminists and liberals. Anti-porn prosecutor Leis was also portrayed in "The People vs. Larry Flynt."

June 6

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

The New York Times obtains documents showing that Philip Cooney, a White House environmental policy official "who once led the oil industry's fight against limits on greenhouse gases has repeatedly edited government climate reports in ways that downplay links between such emissions and global warming."

The article quotes Myron Ebell -- whose Dear Phil memo was obtained by Greenpeace -- defending Cooney's editing, but doesn't mention the $1.3 million that Ebell's Competitive Enterprise Institute received from ExxonMobil. Read more about CEI's "sound science" and its other benefactors.

In "Crude Awakening," Kevin Drum reviews the arguments of Matthew Simmons, one of "The peak oil cranks" who "are cranks no longer. In fact, they've practically become rock stars." Plus: 'Caveat empty.'

'Crank' James Kunstler takes a swipe at a New York Times article on India's energy consumption, and predicts that "The oval office will become a very lonely place indeed by this coming fall, and its occupant will have three long and terrible years left to suffer there." Earlier: 'Eisenhower Channels Bush in 1952?'

The Los Angeles Times looks at how 'Watergate Weighs on Today's White House,' quoting historian Stanley Kutler as saying that "As the man who controls the whistle, Bush doesn't like when other people use it." And, 'Woodward and Bernstein: The Next Generation.'

Ron Rosenbaum calls 'Deep throat, Inc.' the engine of Nixon's escape, and says that Kutler is "the real Woodstein of the past three decades." Plus: Robert Redford's "theatrical advantages."

Reuters' Steve Holland pops the question: "On Iraq, the so-called Downing Street memo from July 2002 says intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy of removing Saddam through military action. Is this an accurate reflection of what happened? Could both of you respond?"

Online chatters challenge the Washington Post's coverage of the memo, Think Progress asks the what and when, and Billmon predicts that "today ... will mark the high point of the corporate media's coverage" of the matter.

'Crumbs for Africa' "The piddling amount Mr. Bush announced yesterday is not even 0.007 percent" of U.S. national income, editorializes the New York Times, without mentioning that $684 million buys only about three days in Iraq.

In a photo essay from Fallujah, Joe Carr chronicles "more destruction and rubble than I've ever seen in my life."

"How does it feel to be a big, rich contractor now?" A U.S. Marine spokesman officially denies that Marines "slammed around" 19 American security contractors who were detained after they were reportedly observed firing at U.S. troops and at civilians.

USA Today reports a 78 percent increase in divorce among Army officers since 2003, and a 53 percent increase over 2000 among the enlisted. Civilian millionaire growth, however, was up 21 percent over 2003.

The U.S. Army lowers its May recruiting goal "with no public notice," and then falls short.

Gerald Rellick wonders why Sen. John McCain, who eulogized Pat Tillman at his funeral, isn't speaking out about the lies the U.S. Army told surrounding Tillman's death, and Sydney Schanberg on 'The issue the press never asks McCain about.'

Missing the Boat Sen. John Kerry's just-released military records "included commendations from some of the same veterans who were criticizing him," reports the Boston Globe, in an article that was buried behind a front-pager on Kerry's Yale grades.

New poll numbers are said to show that "pessimism about the war in Iraq," where 'Torture's Part of the Territory,' has "reached a dangerous level," and to give Bush the highest disapproval numbers of his presidency.

The Guardian reports that Jacques Chirac is now the most unpopular president in the history of modern French polling, and that Dominique de Villepin, although more Rimbaud than Rambo, is "the most unpopular new French prime minister for more than 20 years."

Tobacco industry lawyers expressed amazement after the Justice Department reportedly sought a last-minute $120 billion penalty reduction in a landmark civil racketeering case, and Rep. Henry Waxman wants an investigation into whether "improper political interference" led to the DOJ's "sudden reversal."

Egyptian blogger The Big Pharoah writes that during her recent visit to Egypt, First Lady Laura Bush visited a USAID-funded school, hastily fixed up for the occasion and complete with Potemkin pupils, brought in to replace school girls who "were poor and wore dirty school uniforms."

Despite an intense salvage operation, the 'S.S. O'Reilly Sinks Before Leaving Port' as "The Battle for American Values" doesn't float.

A telemarketing call from a "Christian conservative phone company" helped comedian Eugene Mirman understand why "God hates AT&T, MCI and Verizon."

June 7

Thursday, June 9, 2005

As a federal judge says that a Justice Department award-limit decision in a tobacco case "suggests that additional influences have been brought to bear," two of the government's witnesses say they were 'told to ease up.'

"After this, it gets worse." Although the federal budget deficit appears likely to come in lower than expected, at about $350 billion, the director of the Congressional Budget Office says, "These are the good ol' days. These are the best of times."

'A Nation Holds its Breath' Jim Schultz blogs from Bolivia as lawmakers meet in Sucre to decide on the resignation of the president and choose his successor. Schultz told "Democracy Now!" that if it's the head of the senate, "this country will explode." Plus: Military head suggests possibility of intervention.

The NarcoSphere's Al Giordano looks at press coverage of U.S. diplomat Roger Noriega's claim that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is to blame for Bolivia's crisis.

As Israel's High Court rules that "Judea and Samaria [West Bank] and the Gaza area are lands seized during warfare, and are not part of Israel," the country's military announces that it "has decided not to play any mental games" with Gaza settlers slated for evacuation.

Islamic Jihad presents photos of torn Qu'rans that it says were taken with cell phones by Palestinians held at an Israeli prison, and that Israeli soldiers were responsible for the desecration.

The Pentagon serves up the numbers on the cost of providing Muslim meals at Guantanamo, and an "expert on U.S. defense strategy and budgeting" tells Knight Ridder that the alternative is "not to show proper respect." Apparently POTUS "didn't get the memo."

A U.S. embassy spokesperson in Bangkok "can't confirm or deny" that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld "tried to sell F-16 warplanes ... to Thailand two days after he lashed out at China for upgrading its own military." Plus: "Lighter, quicker, more mobile..."

The U.S. military says that four U.S. soldiers were killed in attacks north of Baghdad, and two more were killed this week in Fallujah. And, scroll down for "In other violence ..."

As the U.S. seeks to disarm Iraqi militias, the military has launched an investigation into a three-hour shooting spree by American private security guards, who afterwards complained that U.S. Marines "treated us like insurgents."

Reuters and the International Maritime Bureau report that a coalition warship answered a mayday signal after a supertanker waiting to load crude oil at Iraq's main deepwater oil terminal near Basra was raided by pirates.

As 'Afghans flee army over Taliban and low morale,' two U.S. soldiers are killed in what is said to be the first mortar attack on a landed helicopter in three years of operations against insurgents in Afghanistan.

A Pakistani journalist who recently predicted that Bin Laden and Mullah Omar will soon release "fresh" material, tells the Washington Post that the Taliban in Afghanistan "may be limited in their movements and unable to take territory and hold it, but they are very much here" and "telling us they have no shortage of volunteers to fight."

As heartland teens join up to 'Dodge A Dead End,' a Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist details an incident in which Marine recruiters went 'way beyond the call,' as a 17 year-old's mother learned that "you can't block calls from the government."

Editor and Publisher's Greg Mitchell sees the nation's editorial writers reaching the 'Boiling Point' on the war in Iraq, but "still refusing to use the 'W' word." Plus: 'Bush lied about war? Nope, no news there!'

The Hartford Courant's Denis Horgan writes that, after the media didn't "do what they are paid to do in the run-up to the war on Iraq ... mightn't you think that, self-chastened, the media might redouble its vigilance where it had so openly and admittedly failed before?"

In response in an apparent attempt to provide a legal justification for invading Iraq contained in the Downing Street Memo, the Star Tribune editorializes that "This is stunning," and refers to an article in which Mark Danner wrote: "Thus, the idea of UN inspectors was introduced not as a means to avoid war ... but as a means to make war possible."

Trickier Dick? "George Bush is building a leviathan beyond Nixon's imagining," writes Sydney Blumenthal, who calls the Bush presidency "the highest stage of Nixonism." Plus: 'What we still haven't learned from George Orwell.'

As his handling of Social Security earns a 62 percent disapproval rating, President Bush says that "I don't care what all the naysayers say."

'An Epidemic Failure' HIV/AIDS fighters slam the Bush administration for not following through on its financial pledge and for funneling money to religious conservatives that have no experience fighting the epidemic, including one group whose proposal to "promote abstinence" among African youth was deemed "not suitable for funding."

As Thomas Friedman plugs away at self-promotion, the WSWS says the New York Times columnist wrote "perhaps the most contemptuous and ignorant" of the many U.S. media "attacks on French voters" after their rejection of the proposed European constitution.

Alexander Zaitchik previews the Human Rights Watch film festival that includes "The Liberace of Baghdad," which chronicles "the strange fortunes of Samir Peter. A pop star under Saddam, he now plays in a half-empty hotel bar to depressed contractors, drunk mercenaries and weary journalists." Watch the festival trailer.

June 8

Friday, June 10, 2005

As Bolivia's new president 'vows early elections,' "Democracy Now!" interviews Bolivia watchers, including Jim Schultz, who is providing regular updates at his Blog From Bolivia. More at Americas.org, including 'Far from Over: Bolivia on the Brink of Civil War - or Revolution.'

The FBI missed at least five chances to uncover the presence in the U.S. of two of the 9/11 suicide hijackers, according to a new report by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine.

Fine's report is also said to reveal that a CIA official blocked a memo "intended to alert the FBI that two known Al Qaeda operatives had entered the country."

The Guardian reports that "American diplomats and army commanders" have held the first "officially sanctioned" talks with insurgents, and a U.S. general in Iraq says that he can understand why "good, honest" Iraqis would want to fight the U.S. military, because "they're offended by our presence."

The Washington Post finds Iraqi soldiers singing ballads to Saddam Hussein -- "We have lived in humiliation since you left" -- and saying that "the people have been destroyed" by U.S. forces, while their American trainers struggle to carry out a 'Mission Improbable.'

As five U.S. Marines are killed by a roadside bomb, Knight Ridder reports that "a massive U.S. campaign to blunt their effectiveness" has failed to prevent roadside bombs from becoming "the No. 1 killer of American troops in Iraq."

The Army tries to address its recruiting shortfall with bigger bonuses and lower standards, and says it will be more tolerant of past "minor crimes" in looking for officer material. Plus: "Let the marketplace decide," getting the draft "ready to go" and the 'Children's Crusade.'

An Iraq war vet facing three counts of first degree rape in Seattle blames the war for his behavior, while "a U.S. Army soldier just back from Iraq" was charged with "explosive malicious destruction," after he allegedly "tried to blow up the car of a romantic rival with a pair of pipe bombs."

As Zalmay Khalilzad, President Bush's nominee to be ambassador to Iraq, unveils his seven-point plan, Robert Dreyfuss profiles 'Our Newest Proconsul,' arguing that "it's hard to imagine anyone worse ... for the Baghdad job."

The AP chronicles Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's 'Message Modifications,' that have displayed him "publicly out of synch with members of the Bush administration twice this week, including the boss."

Juan Cole writes that 'The Revenge of Baghdad Bob' is to have had "his rhetorical strategy, of simply denying reality ... taken over by his arch-nemesis, George W. Bush."

The ACLU says Bush 'misled' the public when he 'discussed' the Patriot Act with highway patrol officers in Columbus, Ohio. Plus: 'Holy Toledo, it's Coingate!'

Muckraker-in-Chief An AP article posted on a Toledo TV station's Web site is introduced with the claim that 'Bush was in Columbus to push for a Republican-led committee to review state investment scandals.'

Revisiting the 2004 presidential election, Gore Vidal smells 'Something Rotten in Ohio' and hails the Conyers report. Read the report in pdf or html.

Brad Blog reports that MoveOn.org is generating "several thousand new signatures each minute" for Rep. John Conyers' letter to Bush about the Downing Street Memo.

Raw Story reports that the Republican head of the House Judiciary Committee "shut off the microphones during a live hearing on the Patriot Act ... accusing Democrats of raising issues unrelated to the Act such as treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay."

Although Bush's job approval rating has fallen to a new low as he stumps for extension of the Patriot Act, "Authoritarian Post-Modernism" is seen to be on the MARC to make a comeback.

Shivving the Shill NPR has posted the transcript of a segment based on internal e-mails showing how Merck turned on a doctor that it was paying to promote Vioxx, after he began acknowledging evidence of the drug's potential dangers. Earlier: 'How drug companies keep tabs on physicians.'

"I got a little insight today into how the bullies at Fox News play the game," writes Jonathan Alter, who took a swipe at news chief Roger Ailes in a satirical column titled, "If Watergate Happened Now."

The account of a Fox News correspondent's photo-op meltdown is toned down in official version of event.

A former co-chairman of the Republican National Committee is the leading candidate to become the head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, reports the Washington Post, and is said to be "the favored candidate" of chairman Kenneth Tomlinson. Earlier: 'station execs decry melting of heat shield.'

A U.S. House appropriations committee has reportedly voted to zero out funding for the PBS programming initiative that caught flack from the Department of Education for the "Postcards From Buster" episode featuring a lesbian couple.

Have You Seen My Gameboy Media Daily News offers up recent examples of what's being plugged on TV shows, in conjunction with an outfit dedicated to measuring and tracking product placement "performance." Plus: Media outlets find story of spokescharacter's makover, irresistible.

June 9

Monday, June 13, 2005

Joining the ACLU in debunking President Bush's claim that "federal terrorism investigations have resulted in charges against more than 400 suspects, and more than half of those charged have been convicted," the Washington Post reports "that 39 people -- not 200 ... were convicted of crimes related to terrorism or national security." Read part two.

The Post's Walter Pincus reports on a memo providing "new insights into how senior British officials saw a Bush administration decision to go to war as inevitable, and realized more clearly than their American counterparts the potential for the post-invasion instability that continues to plague Iraq."

The Times of London also covered the memo, which, according to an analysis piece, "makes clear that Blair and Bush have a lot to apologise for."

In 'Don't Follow the Money,' Frank Rich points to an article in which Eric Boehlert reported that in the 19 daily White House press briefings that followed the publication of the "Downing Street memo," it was the subject of only 2 out of the approximately 940 questions asked of Scott McClellan.

As a new Gallup poll shows 6 of 10 Americans in favor of withdrawal, Pepe Escobar argues that civil war may be the exit strategy for the U.S. in Iraq, where "against all odds, a national liberation front is emerging."

More than 1,700 American forces have now been killed in Iraq, in President 'Bush's "Happy Thoughts" Death Trap.' Plus: "The body counts are back."

Knight Ridder's Tom Lasseter reports on the "growing number of senior American military officers" in Iraq who believe that military action won't end the insurgency. And the 'Word in the field is it may take years' to train the Iraqi army.

A North Carolina Republican puts a timetable for withdrawal on the menu because "I feel that we've done about as much as we can do." Rep. Walter Jones was one of several Republicans appearing on Sunday talk shows to 'urge shift in U.S. Iraq plans.'

Companies "charging rates as much as 30 times higher in Iraq than in developing countries" for workers' comp insurance are said to be "shaking in their boots" and complaining that a new competitive bidding process would "destroy the working marketplace."

The AP reports that executives of a banned contractor have formed new firms, "all are housed in the same office" as Custer Battles.

After Time goes 'Inside the Wire' with extracts in which interrogators note that they "began teaching the detainee lessons such as stay, come, and bark to elevate his social status up to that of a dog," the Pentagon offers an explanation, and Vice President Cheney adds that "the people that are at Guantanamo are bad people."

Juan Cole's list of 'Things You Wouldn't Expect to Happen if You Listened to Bush and Cheney' includes the crushing of anti-Syrian forces in Lebanese elections.

'Bombings Rock Iran,' killing at least 9, and hundreds of Iranian women chose "a time of relative tolerance" to carry out "the first public display of dissent by women since the 1979 revolution."

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, saying that the U.S. is behind the crisis in Bolivia, called Bush's hemisphere-wide free trade proposal "the medicine of death" and added that "capitalism is the road to destabilisation, violence and war between brothers."

Paul Leob writes that "the nuclear option compromise is looking more rancid than reasonable," as judges "Owens, Brown, and Pryor are now the new acceptable standard of judges confirmed for lifetime appointments."

In what an AP report called "a harsh rebuke to the state that executes more people than any other," a 6-3 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a death row conviction in Texas, with Justices Thomas, Rehnquist and Scalia dissenting. Plus: New governor, same story.

A review of Milwaukee's 15-year-old school voucher program finds that "70 percent of the students in the program attend religious schools," some of which "appeared to lack the ability, resources, knowledge or will to offer children even a mediocre education."

Citing "three years of frustrated attempts to better inform Oregonian news editors," a Portland group issues a report based on the "If Americans Knew" model, which it says shows that Oregonian headlines "reported 88 percent of Israeli children's deaths but only 3 percent of Palestinian children's deaths."

USA Today reports that 'The debate's over: Globe is warming' -- following the Friday resignation of President Bush's climate reports editor.

A Star Tribune editorial suggests that "Americans may owe a debt of gratitude to Philip Cooney for his watering down of government reports on global warming." Earlier: 'The Stories Behind the Story.'

The Seattle Times reports that Republicans have decided to disregard a Washington state vote discrepancy -- after 436 delegates apparently cast 444 ballots in an internal race at the GOP's King County convention.

As more than 2,000 reporters "do their work," The Poor Man conjures up a merger of TV networks that "will increase the breadth and depth of our missing white women coverage, and so meet our sacred obligation to keep the electorate informed and aware about where the white women are at."

June 10-12

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Pentagon denies that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld opposed U.S. policy toward Uzbekistan at a NATO meeting where "inter-agency tension" surfaced when the Pentagon's fear of losing access to an air base was said to have trumped the State Department's concern over the shooting of hundreds of protesters.

In a Los Angeles Times commentary, Eric Umansky argues that proponents of closing Gitmo should 'Be Careful What You Wish For,' since "shipping terror suspects to other countries, even their own countries, could be worse."

The interrogation of a Guantanamo prisoner followed an "unequivocal standard of humane treatment," says the Pentagon, as the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee questions whether "eating chicken three times a week is torture."

A defense contractor with ties to Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, a member of the defense appropriations subcommittee, took a $700,000 loss on the purchase of the congressman's house, reports Copley News Service, noting that "roughly around the time of the house transaction," the contractor's "fortunes began to soar."

Cunningham, who defended himself by saying, "My whole life I've lived aboveboard. I've never even smoked a marijuana cigarette," was the subject of Chalmers Johnson's, 'The Military-Industrial Man.'

PSY/GOPS? Billmon investigates the possibility that "the Pentagon's psywar budget is both a hidden piggy bank and an R&D laboratory for the GOP's own political propaganda operations."

Jim Lobe reports that negative news about Iraq has made a "surprisingly strong comeback" in the Pentagon's daily Early Bird Brief, "just like the Iraqi insurgency itself."

A U.S. embassy official "declined to name" a "senior American diplomat" who had a close call with a suicide car bomb in Iraq, but Juan Cole writes that it's "a hell of a note when the acting U.S. ambassador cannot go out of the green zone without risking bodily harm." And Molly Ivins asks: "Why not just send Richard Perle?"

As 'Iraq dilemma stymies Democrats,' the 'White House rejects GOP calls for an Iraq pullout timetable,' and the AP reports that U.S. and Iraqi officials are negotiating an amnesty policy for Iraqi insurgents.

Left I On The News traces the morphing of a "makeshift checkpoint," targeted by U.S. airstrikes, into "more of a compound," as a Los Angeles Times story raises questions about whether 40 insurgents were killed, as previously claimed.

Robert Fisk asks why Saddam Hussein's televised interrogation was 'screened in silence' -- "The pictures, the BBC admitted, were 'mute.' What in God's name did this mean? Who emasculated the BBC to such a degree that it should say such a ridiculous thing?"

While the "incipient revolution" in 'Bolivia, the poor little rich country' has been "no tea party," Rahul Mahajan notes that "only one person has been killed during this evolving drama, killed, of course, by the state security forces." Plus: 'Stalemate in Bolivia.'

In what was said to be "the first time that members of Congress ... have apologized to African-Americans for any reason," six U.S. senators showed up for a voice vote on a formal apology for lynching.

VNR's for CPB? A Washington Post article identifying a former co-chair of the Republican National Committee as the "leading candidate" to become president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, failed to mention her role in overseeing the production of government-produced "news" segments. Plus: Your chance to be heard.

Laying out the anonymous sources debate, Kurt Andersen notes the "ideological role reversal" of those on the right, who "Ordinarily ... argue that grand policy ends -- economic freedom, a more democratic Iraq -- justify messy, even brutal means. Yet here they're carping about imperfect means (anonymous sources) to noble and necessary ends (truth, openness)."

According to FBI documents obtained by The Nation, W. Mark Felt was, "in charge of finding the source of Woodward and Bernstein's Watergate scoops. In a twist worthy of le Carre, Deep Throat was assigned the mission of unearthing -- and stopping -- Deep Throat." Earlier: 'Felt was asked under oath in 1975 if he was Deep Throat.'

The editor of the Rocky Mountain News airs responses to the paper's five-part series on Ward Churchill. It follows a report on the Churchill obsession of a "journalist" who appears on a network that has been described as "Comedy Central for liberals."

'What if CNN hadn't happened?' "Are we better for the competition cable news has fostered, creating a liberal vs. conservative hell storm, a fight for 'gotcha' interviews and endless celebrity fawning?" asks Mitch Albom, who writes of "being asked to talk about Chandra Levy every 10 minutes" when he was on MSNBC. More on covering celebs.

As 2,200 journalists finally decamp in California, the AP's deputy international editor is quoted as saying that "it was our intent to do a story" on the Downing Street Memo, "it just didn't happen."

June 13

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A series of presidential meetings with prominent dissidents from "select countries," focusing on human rights abuses, reportedly skips activists "from allies such as Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia."

The authors of 'The Madrassa Myth,' who "examined the educational backgrounds of 75 terrorists," report that the majority were college-educated and only 9 attended madrassas.

'Myth' co-author Peter Bergen recently reviewed the BBC documentary, "The Power of Nightmares," writing that while the thesis it advances "merits considerable skepticism," it is "arguably the most important film about the 'war on terrorism' since the events of September 11."

Iraq is "statistically" no safer than after Saddam Hussein was overthrown, but "clearly it has been getting better," according to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, who also said that it is now "up to the Iraqi people to restore order."

Suicide bombers killed 28 in northern Iraq, and at least 33 at an Iraqi army base north of Baghdad, as "hundreds of minority Arabs and Turkmens" in Kirkuk are reportedly seized "sometimes with the knowledge of U.S. forces," and secretly sent north for "extra-judicial detentions."

Israeli officials are said to regard a proposed pipeline to pump Iraqi oil to Israel "as a 'bonus' the U.S. could give to Israel in return for its unequivocal support for the American-led campaign in Iraq."

A Kentucky newspaper reports on a speech by a mother who lost a son in Iraq, in which she "ridiculed Bush for saying that it's 'hard work' comforting the widow of a soldier who's been killed in Iraq," and read from a letter she sent to Bush that said, "Beating a political stake in your black heart will be the fulfillment of my life ..."

Leveling a charge of 'Sloppy Reporting on Recruitment Resistance,' Media Massage argues that "if the press could begin to connect the dots, we would be hearing about how the recruiting ''problems' are related to a growing antiwar sentiment in America."

The Los Angeles Times reports on newly-released British pre-war documents, Raw Story publishes the backstory on their release and a 'Path of War Timeline,' and the Star Tribune editorializes on "the use of the United Nations to fashion a rationale for war."

As it's revealed that "Deep Throat now has an English accent," Russ Baker asks: "Where are the news organizations? There is an immediate need for more resources devoted to exploring and exposing what may prove to be one of the most corrupt, dishonest administrations in American history." Plus: "The United States surely produces memos of its own."

Critiquing the New York Times coverage of the British pre-war memos, Media Matters argues that "the obvious truth: that Bush was actively, repeatedly lying to the public about his intentions," is "the elephant in the room that American journalists adamantly refuse to acknowledge." And Ray McGovern on "Exhibit A" of a "domesticated" press.

Arguing that "Michael Jackson under a black umbrella doesn't belong on the front page of the New York Times," novelist Stephen King reminds the nation's press that "My job is to give them what they want ...Your job is to give the people what they need." Plus: 'Times hypes dangerous right-wing virginity study.'

Atrios tortures Wolf Blitzer for "implying that there have been more abductions than usual, rather than just more abducted people who CNN deems attractive enough to cover 24/7." And the teen vs. the memo.

As CNN's Nancy Grace keeps plugging away, CJR Daily asks "Whose article is this anyway?", after a Reader's Digest reporter was said to have "promised to give 'Scientology issues' equal play" in her profile of Tom Cruise, "and agreed to enroll in a one-day Church 'immersion course.'"

"Ever since I published my article last week on 'The New Blacklist,'" begins Doug Ireland, "I've been deluged by an avalanche of hate-mail, inspired by ultra-right and Christer websites who picked up on my article and denounced it."

The National Catholic Reporter says that "it is not clear" who requested prosecution of the St. Patrick's Four on federal conspiracy charges, after a state court jury "refused to convict" the antiwar protesters last year.

Stars and Stripes reports on military doctors who are "braving the ire of the FDA" as an 'Unauthorized medical device keeps soldier alive.'

Commenting on a resolution introduced by Sen. Russ Feingold that calls on President Bush to set a timeframe for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid was quoted as saying that there is no unified Democratic position on the issue.

The Hill reports that several millionaire senators with substantial dividend income, Majority Leader Bill Frist among them, are "benefiting greatly" from President Bush's tax cuts. Plus: 'I just play one in the Senate.'

Reporters Without Borders expresses "disgust" at Microsoft's decision to follow Yahoo!'s example and self-censor "subversive" messages on the Chinese version of its blog tool, and warns that Google "looks likely to follow in the footsteps of its competitor." Plus: A response to a "Microsoft geek" blogger's justification of the business strategy.

Smokin' phone Police and Secret Service agents reportedly retrieved Jimmy Buffett's missing cell phone from a Florida busboy, who says that "his buddies may have crank-called former President Bill Clinton, whose number was stored in the phone's directory."

June 14

Thursday, June 16, 2005

ABC News reports that a Pentagon memo reveals that Navy general counsel Alberto Mora warned that "top officials could go to prison" over interrogation techniques used on Guantanamo Bay detainees. Mora was previously reported to have called the techniques "unlawful and unworthy of the military services."

The New York Times reports on a "cycle that has been repeated in rebellious cities throughout Iraq" -- the U.S. secures an area, leaves insufficient forces behind, and must retake the area after insurgents move back in. "This is what our lack of combat power has done to us throughout the country," says a cavalry major.

'Down the Iraqi Rabbit Hole' Jonathan Schell discusses what happens to "the imprisonment of the human mind in ideology backed by violence" when "all the 'exceptions' turn out to be the rule."

White House aides conclude that President Bush "needs to shift strategies" on Iraq to accommodate "the public's gloomy mood," reports the Washington Post, but "Bush's new approach will be mostly rhetorical," despite an increasing number of military critics who are 'Breaking Ranks.'

Five U.S. Marines and a sailor were reported killed near Ramadi, as 'Bare truths about the war' are found in a small paper. Plus: 'Why Iraqis fear U.S. convoys.'

After Left I on the News took Howard Kurtz to task for claiming that it's "post-Iraq," Kurtz does it again. In an article headlined 'News media give overlooked memo on Iraq second glance,' he writes that "the long and bitter debate that followed the war created a climate in which the memo would be seized upon by critics of the administration."

The AP's international editor concedes that "Yes, there is no question AP dropped the ball in not picking up on the Downing Street memo sooner," and a Hartford Courant columnist writes that "The all-news cable channels, especially, were obsessed with the Jackson trial and the missing young woman (an attractive blonde)."

While the nation's 'biggest editorial pages' also 'remain silent' on the Downing Street memos, War In Context's Paul Woodward and Slate's Fred Kaplan give them a read. Plus: 'More Damning Than Downing Street.'

In response to a reporter's question that began with a reference to the latest batch of British pre-war documents, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said: "I think you've asked these questions, the President has been asked these questions, and I think it's been addressed."

As former White House environmental official Philip Cooney goes through what Rep. Henry Waxman calls "one of the fastest revolving doors I have seen," CJR Daily examines how the New York Times played "the startling outcome of its own earlier exclusive."

The Senate "may be within one or two votes of passing a constitutional amendment to ban desecration of the U.S. flag," reports USA Today, even though a pro-amendment group "reports a decline in flag desecration incidents, with only one this year." Plus: ACLU slams police for forcing protesters into a "pen" at Flag Day event marking founding of U.S. Army.

After 38 Republicans voted with Democrats to 'Curb the Patriot Act,' an aide to a House GOP leader was quoted as blaming "the crazies on the left and the crazies on the right, meeting in the middle."

The Los Angeles Times reports that senate Republicans are calling on the White House to cut funding for the International Red Cross because it criticized U.S. treatment of detainees, after a GOP committee report was "sparked by a series of articles in the conservative National Interest magazine as well as by critical Wall Street Journal editorials."

Investigators at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are reportedly looking into $15,000 in payments to GOP lobbyists, who were "retained at the direction of the corporation's Republican chairman" and "his Republican predecessor" -- as well as $14,170 in payments to "a man in Indiana who provided ... reports about the political leanings" of guests on Bill Moyers' "Now."

One of the lobbyists who received money from CPB, Brian Darling, was the author of "the infamous memo advising Republicans to take political advantage of Terri Schiavo's condition."

While some lawmakers reportedly "backed away" from earlier comments following release of the Schiavo autopsy findings, "It doesn't change the position that the president took," said spokesman Scott McClellan. Earlier: 'Deep Pockets' and 'Deathbed Dollars.'

The New York Times' amplification of Heritage Foundation research on virginity pledges prompted a letter-writer to observe that the "headline neglects to identify the ideological bias of the sponsors of this study, and the story buries the fact that this 'study' has yet to be peer-reviewed ... Perhaps the Times is finding its own way of becoming fair and balanced."

"Are we supposed to be grateful?" The Black Commentator editorializes that a "meaningless apology" is merely "a non-binding resolution" passed after "the Republican Senate Leader made sure that no member would have to go on record against lynching." Plus: "If the Senate is looking for something to apologize to blacks for ..."

The GAO is said to have found that thousands of non-defense contractors owe the federal government more than $3 billion in unpaid taxes, including one company that "piled up more than $18 million in unpaid payroll taxes while buying multimillion-dollar properties and luxury vehicles."

A 'Bomb-Laden Military Jet' that crashed near homes in Yuma, Arizona, is reportedly the fourth Harrier jet from the Yuma air station to crash in recent years.

June 15

Friday, June 17, 2005

As another poll shows 'Dwindling Approval of Bush and Congress,' more than 30 members of Congress attended a basement meeting to discuss British pre-war memos, although "the Republicans who run the House scheduled 11 major votes to coincide with the afternoon event," despite GOP 'strains' over Iraq.

In a "NewsHour" debate on the memos between former CIAers Reuel Gerecht and Ray McGovern, Gerecht says the Robb-Silverman commission concluded that the Bush administration "had not tried to distort the intelligence," but Robert Parry points out that each of the pre-war intelligence investigations was "barred ... from examining that issue."

Parry, who was referring to a Washington Post editorial that also failed to mention the investigations' limited scope, provides some background on the Post's editorial page editor, Fred Hiatt, and reminds of Bush's attempts "to assert that the war was justified because Hussein had not let the UN arms inspectors in."

In rounding up press coverage of the Downing Street memos forum, Left I on the News finds little talk of the "I" word, while awarding "scurrilous coverage of the day" to the Washington Post's Dana Milbank, for an article that also drew the ire of Rep. John Conyers. Plus: Norman Solomon identifies a new memo.

At Thursday's White House press briefing, ABC's Terry Moran asked Scott McClellan seven different versions of: "is the insurgency in Iraq in its last throes?"

As 'Gunmen take over Ramadi,' the Bush administration is seeking $200 million to "help rebuild war-torn countries before they become breeding grounds for terrorists." Earlier: 'The rise of disaster capitalism.'

Reuters reports that U.S. forces dropped nine 500-lb. bombs around the border city of Qaim in support of Operation Spear, and the Independent claims that the 'US lied to Britain over use of napalm in Iraq war.'

A fragging incident at Forward Operating Base Danger is "believed to be the first case of an American soldier in Iraq accused of killing his superiors," and a military spokesman says that "charges against additional soldiers could not be ruled out."

The Boston Globe finds Congress "using the military's budget to steer billions to pet projects," and reports that "the $80 billion war bill passed earlier this year" included $35 million for "a wastewater treatment plant in Desoto County, Miss."

Settling In Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root has been chosen to build a new $30 million "air-conditioned two-story prison" at Guantanamo to be known as "Detention Camp #6." See who else received the more than $300 million in contracts awarded by the Pentagon on one day.

Recapping Coingate, Paul Krugman writes that "Ohio's state government today is a lot like Boss Tweed's New York. Unfortunately, a lot of other state governments look similar - and so does Washington."

The Washington Post reports that Bush appointees, "looking for economy of expression in a leadership text," have been "weakening key sections" of a G-8 global warming plan, replacing one passage calling for "urgent action" with a sentence calling climate change a "long term challenge."

As Senate Majority leader Bill Frist comes under "renewed fire" for his "diagnosis" of Terri Schiavo, which he was caught lying about, the Lexington Herald-Leader issues a patient advisory.

Bill Berkowitz profiles Family Research Council head -- and "Justice Sunday" organizer -- Tony Perkins, about whom the Rev. Barry Lynn said: "I've worked in Washington a long time, but I've never seen anything as manipulative as what Perkins and the FRC did over Terri Schiavo."

The FDA approves a 'Heart Drug For Blacks' -- called both "the most important advance in the treatment of black people that I have seen in my lifetime," and "the first step of what could be seen as racialized medicine."

As growing numbers of bubble-wary homeowners look to "take the money and run," 'Soaring Prices Create Divide ... Between The Owns and Own-Nots.'

"They are as disgusting as Wal-Mart." A UAW official slammed a move by NYU to withdraw recognition from its graduate students union. The university was earlier said to be "gratified" by a National Labor Review Board ruling that "graduate students are not workers."

Still Fakin' It The USDA is producing TV and radio segments to promote CAFTA, reports the Chicago Tribune, noting that "the taglines disclosing the USDA's role generally are at the end of the reports, and some news stations have dropped those taglines..."

Vanity Fair's London editor writes that watching U.S. TV news in hotel rooms over the last three years has been "like witnessing a time-lapse study of emasculation," as "Broadcasters have largely accepted that attacks on the White House can only harm America's interests, and when they don't they are bamboozled and vilified by the shrill voices of the right."

In response to a New York Times article about a possible U.S. Senate run by Al Franken, Bill O'Reilly said that "both the Times and organized crime routinely engage assassins. In the case of the newspaper, they are propping up character assassins."

The Times of London reports on a take-no-prisoners media critique delivered by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

A Portland, Oregon, librarian charges that, "If this was anything other than poetry, the Department of Justice would be all over it."

June 16

Monday, June 20, 2005

Mission Accomplished! No, this one really was. Thanks to the generosity of readers who contributed amounts ranging from $2 to $500, Cursor and Media Transparency's fund-raising drive has gone over the top. And while we're always open for business, we won't have to turn up the volume again until this fall.

Introducing Mark Danner's 'Why the Memo Matters,' Tom Engelhardt reviews shifting press coverage of various pre-war memos and weighs the odds that, "Before we're done, if we're not careful, we'll have a heroic tale of how the media saved us all from the Bush administration." And William E. Jackson asks if the British memos are 'The Pentagon Papers of Our Time?'

Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell revisits what he calls "one of the most shameful episodes in the recent history of the American media, and presidency," when journalists yukked it up with Bush as he joked about his "search" for WMDs. Plus: 'Mocking' the memo and 'Why the US media should be Schiavo'd.'

Just days after the AP's international editor conceded that we "dropped the ball in not picking up on the Downing Street memo sooner," hundreds of outlets pick up an AP article about how "Condoleezza Rice six months after Sept. 11 ... didn't want to discuss Osama bin Laden or al-Qaida. She wanted to talk about 'regime change' in Iraq."

Rice now claims that the Bush administration "has said to the American people that it is a generational commitment to Iraq," prompting Rep. John Conyers to respond that "As Republican Senators publicly proclaim that the situation if Iraq is eroding, we learn that there is no 'exit strategy' because no exit is planned."

Arianna Huffington's "Russert Watch" notes that Sen. John McCain "ran down the mistakes that were being made in the war in Iraq, but at no point did Russert ask him who was responsible for the mistakes and who should be held accountable." Plus: 'Facing facts in Iraq,' as 'a war hawk circles back.'

A Newsday editorial draws a bead on Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, and Aljazeera reports that he and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi have a common target.

A New York Times analysis finds President Bush "dangerously close to a fiery wreck" after what one GOP consultant calls "a rough 45 days," and an AFP article describes Bush as 'Wounded' and seeking to "retake initiative" on Iraq, while the "members of a casualty-depleted platoon" in Ramadi ask, 'Am I Next?' Plus: "Out of Sight ..."

The AP reports that insurgent attacks in Iraq "have killed at least 85 in the past two days -- including 30 people on Monday." Earlier: 'Oil tanker boarded by pirates off Basra.'

Left I on the News says that a report on the recovery of "the 2005 First Edition of 'The Principles of Jihadist Philosophy,'" by U.S. Marines in Karabila, "sounds like something straight out of Hill & Knowlton by way of the CIA."

The Los Angeles Times reports on a "vast system of smaller, under-the-radar" jihadist training camps, which are said to "flourish as never before" as part of "a serious and growing terrorism problem in Pakistan."

Some members of a Uzbek security unit linked to the killing of hundreds of civilians at an anti-government rally, were reportedly trained in Louisiana through a program designed to offer 'Antiterrorism Assistance.'

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the FBI and a federal grand jury are now investigating the sale of Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham's house, and that protesters gathering outside his new, $2.55 million home, were 'chastised' by a neighbor who said "she had a party starting soon and her guests would need places to park."

In an interview with Time, CIA Director Porter Goss, who was asked a question about organic gardening, also compared losing presidential face time to "getting rid of a 60-lb. back sack, climbing up a big, steep trail. I suddenly feel like I am refreshed."

King of Zembla writes that Time's Timothy Burger "must have had a difficult time indeed choosing between the final question he did ask and the one he obviously wanted to."

GOP Senators offer up their reasons for declining to co-sponsor a resolution apologizing for the Senate's failure to pass anti-lynching laws, with one remarking that "it was the filibuster that made it possible for the Senate to be the body that blocked this legislation in the past."

E-mails leaked to the New York Times by a "senior executive" at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, "who is concerned about its direction" under Kenneth Tomlinson, show that a Bush administration political appointee "worked on a variety of ombudsman issues before joining the corporation, while still on the White House payroll."

Last week the Times reported that the CPB's inspector general's office was examining $14,170 in payments made to a Fred Mann for monitoring "Now," which Tomlinson "took the unusual step of signing personally ... without the knowledge of board members." The article said Mann "could not be located, and officials at the corporation said they knew nothing about him."

But the Indianapolis Star has identified a Frederick W. Mann, "who has worked for the conservative National Journalism Center in Washington," where a Fred Mann is listed as heading up the group's "Job Bank." More on the NJC from SourceWatch.

Broadcasting & Cable reports on an NPR segment in which some Voice of America staffers charged that Tomlinson -- as chairman of VOA overseer, the Broadcasting Board of Governors -- "is attempting to influence news coverage there." CJR Daily has reported that given Tomlinson's "federal employee" status in chairing the BBG, "his every move as head of the CPB may be ... in violation of the law."

The "anti-anchor" is quoted as saying that "It won't kill us to give 20 seconds of cute dogs," and a Fox News host who "tends to take a neutral stance" writes that "We would certainly like to be part of finding Natalee," while OSHA investigates a tip that Fox sprayed an employee lounge with diazinon.

Fox News' Neil Cavuto echoes a pre-emptive attack by Rush Limbaugh, who declared that "If we get hit again, these are the names of the people and organizations we need to look at when we're trying to find out why and how it happened." Plus: "I Heart Gitmo" and "The Prison at Guantanamo Bay: Good for the Stock Market?"

June 17-19

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Iraq-Afghanistan war spending surpassed Korean War costs when the U.S. House "voted to advance the Pentagon another $45 billion," with Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi calling the war "a grotesque mistake" and House Speaker Dennis Hastert admonishing her to "support our troops instead of spreading inflammatory statements."

Gen. John Vines, commander of coalition forces in Iraq, tells "Pentagon reporters" not to expect significant U.S. troop reductions, and that Americans who oppose the U.S. presence in Iraq "don't have a good perception of what is at stake here," as Newsweek warns of "forces strengthened by talk of American exit plans."

Reporter to Scott McClellan: "the President was asked about the Vice President's assertion that the insurgency is in its 'final throes.' He was asked if he agreed, and he didn't say anything about it. We went around on this last week, with you, and you didn't endorse that. Is it now the administration's view the Vice President went too far in saying that?"

In reference to comments made by Sen. Chuck Hagel, that "The White House is completely disconnected from reality" and "The reality is we're losing in Iraq," McClellan was also asked: "Would you deny that Al Jazeera loves such statements by Republican senators and Senator Durbin?"

As Hagel and other GOP 'allies break ranks,' George Monbiot asks, "How much damage do Bush and Blair have to do before the rock stars will acknowledge it?"

A suicide car bomber killed 13 and injured 100 in a Kurdish city touted a day earlier by Iraq's foreign minister as "one of the country's many stable areas."

Rotten to the Corps The Boston Globe reports that an investigation by the Marine Corps' inspector general has found that Marines fighting in Iraq "don't have enough weapons, communications gear, or properly outfitted vehicles."

Afghan officials claim to have prevented three Pakistani men from assassinating the U.S. ambassador before he departed for his newly-appointed post in Iraq, where he vowed to "work with Iraqis to break the back of the insurgency."

War in Context surveys the parsing by which the significance of the various Downing Street memos is downplayed in the media, and This Modern World goes inside the loop.

The 'Fixed' Was In! Media Matters offers up confirmation from British sources that the 'meaning of "fixed" -- as in "manipulated" or "cooked" -- is the same in Britain and America.' Plus: 'Why George Went To War.'

Lamenting the fact that "the Blog Circuit Court of Appeals lacks an enforcement arm," Arianna Huffington "wonders what happens to all those enterprising young broadcast journalists ... between grad school and the moment they do their fiftieth windswept, beachfront update on Natalee Holloway?"

Reporting on the 'Mystery Mann' who monitored "Now," Michael Winship asks: "But who does [CPB Chairman Ken] Tomlinson hire to measure the program's 'Left-wing bias?' Not an objective observer but someone from the opposite end of the political spectrum, someone guaranteed to buttress Tomlinson's pre-existing prejudice."

The nomination of John Bolton as U.N. ambassador lost ground with a roll-call vote in the Senate, where a prominent supporter warned that a recess appointment "would weaken not only Mr. Bolton but also the United States."

As the number of unbuilt houses for sale jumps 47 percent, The Economist explores what happens 'After the Fall' in world housing prices, citing an IMF study which found that "output losses after house-price busts in rich countries have, on average, been twice as large as those after stockmarket crashes."

Copley News Service reports that the head of MZM Inc., who took a $700,000 loss on the purchase of Rep. Randy Cunningham's house, "forced his employees to make political contributions that benefited the San Diego Republican and other members of Congress, according to three former senior officials of the company."

Josh Marshall runs the numbers, which include 2004 contributions to Rep. Katherine Harris of "$10,000 from the MZM Pac" and "another $32,000 from employees of MZM."

The Village Voice's Ward Harkavy spots the Pentagon floating a trial balloon in the New York Times, and Fox News' Sean Hannity grabs an "exclusive."

Continuing its coverage of "Coingate," the Toledo Blade reports that last October, "allegations were swirling that Tom Noe had laundered contributions into President Bush's campaign," and that "high-ranking aides to Gov. Bob Taft worked to suppress revelations about the hedge fund loss in the final days before the presidential election."

'Blind Ambition Tour' "With social legislation as his tool," Senator, and prospective presidential candidate, Sam Brownback, "leverages the support of the Christian right forces," writes Max Blumenthal. But "In spite of his pious public image, Brownback's spiritual life seems to be defined by his wealth and corporate ties."

The WSWS reports that the Smithsonian Institution, said to be "warming up" to the theory of Intelligent Design, will show a documentary this week "put out by the Discovery Institute."

The Los Angeles Times pulls the wiki after readers contribute "foul language and pornographic images" to its interactive editorials.

June 20

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

"Iraq may prove to be an even more effective training ground for Islamic extremists than Afghanistan was in Al Qaeda's early days, because it is serving as a real-world laboratory for urban combat," reports the New York Times, about a CIA assessment that analysts have dubbed the "class of '05 problem."

"Al-Qaida in Iraq" has reportedly "formed a unit of potential suicide attackers who are exclusively Iraqis, an apparent bid to deflect criticism that most suicide bombers in Iraq are foreigners."

There were 700 I.E.D. attacks in Iraq against U.S. forces in May, with casualties reportedly reaching "new heights" due to "significant advancements in bomb design," which an Army explosives expert called "pretty disturbing."

"Epidemic corruption" in Iraq is said to have "reached disastrous proportions" and unemployment is estimated at "50 percent or more," but in the U.S., "only the most left-leaning Democrats have called for specific changes to Bush's policies."

"What people find particularly frustrating," writes Riverbend, "is the fact that while Baghdad seems to be falling apart in so many ways ... the Green Zone is flourishing," with "designs and plans being made for ... a virtual country inside of a country with its own rules, regulations and government."

In Houston, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay compared the "constant barrage" of bad news from Iraq to "all this reporting" in the local press about "violence, murders, robberies, deaths on the highways," adding that "if Houston, Texas, was held to the same standard as Iraq is held to, nobody'd go to Houston."

As members of Congress go 'Traveling on the Abramoff Plan,' the Washington Post reports that "the number of registered lobbyists in Washington has more than doubled since 2000" and is now pushing 35,000, with one quoted as saying: "We're trying to take advantage of the fact that Republicans control the House, the Senate and the White House."

President Bush is accused of "catering to right-wing fetishes" in offering up a "dog's breakfast of antiscience, head-in-the-sand policies."

'The wages of fundamentalism' are said to include signs that "American science is losing its edge, and may even have peaked." Earlier: "the U.S. is no longer a friendly destination for foreign students."

Although CPB Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson wrote to Sen. Byron Dorgan that his contract with Fred Mann to monitor "Now" was "approved and signed by then CPB President, Kathleen Cox," a leaked copy of the contract "shows that Mr. Tomlinson signed it ... five months before Ms. Cox became president," reports the New York Times. Earlier: Tomlinson also leaked on here and there.

After an American Spectator editor called PBS "a liberal monopoly" with Bill Moyers as "Exhibit A of that very strident left-wing bias," the head of a Kansas City public TV station reminded him that "Moyers is not even on the air anymore," and that he didn't "recall hearing any charges of bias when we had William F. Buckley..."

Moyers was just on the air with Amy Goodman, and with Lou Dobbs, who wanted to know: "What in the world is going on with the national news media in this country?"

The San Francisco Chronicle's Jon Carroll offers to help the White House uncover liberal bias in the media: "For an extra 20 grand, I would testify before a Senate committee against myself, revealing my long record of liberal opinions."

A report on 'How Walter Jones Grew a Conscience' finds that it wasn't local political pressure that led to a change on Iraq by the North Carolina congressman, whose constituents think his new stance makes him "look 'weak' on the military." It's just that "Walter Jones can't lie about Iraq anymore."

Noting Rep. Jones' support for a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, Tom Engelhardt argues that with "cracks appearing in Republican Party support ... the idea of withdrawal is already on an inexorable course into the mainstream world." Plus: Time to move on?

World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz said he hasn't read any of the recently disclosed British government memos "because he doesn't want to be distracted by history from his new job," reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, quoting him as saying that "no one I met in Africa, no African at least, wanted to talk about Iraq."

'Vietnam's Premier Gets VIP Treatment' as he visits first the White House and "later the Pentagon," and President Bush says he will go to Vietnam.

As Sen. Dick Durbin apologizes for some controversial remarks, Hoffmania surveys how the apology was received.

With his approval ratings approaching Gray Davis levels, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger 'reaches out' and offers to share the blame, with Democrats.

A former California gubernatorial candidate is said to have requested that her feelings about the Bush twins not be reported until after her dinner with the president. And, a happy 100th to Jean-Paul!

June 21

Thursday, June 23, 2005

White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove emerged from 'Bush's jammed PR machine' to declare that "Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers," while "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war."

Sen. Frank Lautenberg described Rove's comments as "political trash talk," but White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said Rove was just "telling it like it is."

Asked about the CIA's assessment that Iraq is a training ground for terrorists, McClellan said "terrorists have made [Iraq] the central front in the war on terrorism," prompting the questioner to remark: "I thought it was a central front in the war on terrorism before we invaded."

Gen. John Abizaid contradicted Vice President Cheney at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, during which Defense Secretary Rumsfeld was also asked: "Isn't it time for you to resign?''

Salon's Mark Benjamin discusses his 'Return of the Body Counts' article, including the Pentagon's claim that "Our policy is to not do body counts. This just happens to be the commanders on the ground have decided of their own authority to start releasing body counts."

The Washington Post reports that the Pentagon is working to create a national database of all students over 16 "to help the military identify potential recruits," using a contractor with no published privacy policy.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it has awarded Halliburton a new contract worth up to $1.25 billion to "support U.S. troops" in Europe, while the Pentagon is accused of acting as if "it has something to hide" in "withholding information about Halliburton's disputed billing under a $2.5 billion contract."

A Pentagon panel that found only "perceptions" of religious discrimination at the Air Force Academy, said "a chaplain who reportedly exhorted cadets in a worship service to tell their classmates to accept Christ or 'burn in hell' was merely using language 'not uncommon' for his Pentecostal denomination." Plus: 'Heathens' need not apply, and 'Obfuscating Intolerance.'

As 80 countries weighed solutions in Brussels, and a prime minister dodged a handshake, central Baghdad was bombed awake in an Iraq experiencing "a newly energized Christian evangelical activism."

As oil prices "briefly" hit $60 a barrel amid reports of a blackout in Ohio, Needlenose relays the news from Houston, to reflect the House Majority Leader's perspective.

Cry For Help E-mails from super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff reportedly reveal both temporal and spiritual requests for help at a Senate hearing investigating Abramoff's "Gimme Five" partnership with Michael Scanlon. Plus: "I need to start humping."

A post on a "Republican community weblog" asks, "Is it just Abramoff and Republicans who are in the soup here, or do we have any hope that we're going to get some, ahem, partisan balance" on this "witch hunt"?

A North Carolina newspaper reports that a Republican candidate for Chief Justice of the state's Supreme Court announced that she is leaving the party "and likens Bush's administration to the 'Nazis' and says that all who disagree with the administration are being branded as 'traitors.'"

Dana Milbank shows more empathy for the "Denver Three" than he did for the congressional 30. Scroll down for a "Countdown" interview with Milbank and one of the 'three.'

Watch a five-second commercial and get "the latest developments in a months-long string of deception, partisan hackery and willful malfeasance" by the man who "heads all of the country's publicly funded broadcasting -- both domestically and internationally." Plus: 'The lies of Ken Tomlinson' and 'Bush's broadcast barbarians.'

GOPTV The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has named a former Republican Party co-chair, Patricia S. Harrison, as its president and chief executive.

Survivor Island Observing that "BushCo survived the illegal sanctioning of inhumane torture ... a gay male prostitute acting as a journalist ... Enron and Diebold and the rigging of the first election," Mark Morford predicts that "they will survive Downing Street simply because all the people who should be on the attack about these atrocities all work for the guys who committed them."

Columnist Rick Mercier says why get hysterical over the Downing Street Memos, "did you see the ring Tom Cruise gave that little teeny-bopper?" And an Arizona Republic letter writer has "heard all I want to hear about this week's unfortunate young blond woman who has disappeared." Plus: "gushing" clarified.

Monitoring the cable news channels over 16 hours to see what passes for news, CJR Daily found that "Fox News was the place for anything Natalee Holloway- or Sen. Dick Durbin-related. Those two subjects received 10 times more coverage than the top news stories of the day." Earlier: Terri Schiavo autopsy DOA on FOX.

Dear Susan Estrich: "I'm the woman in OUTFOXED who used you as an example of a Fox staple, the faux liberal. Ring a bell? So I read your defense of Fox, and I have a few comments."

June 22

Friday, June 24, 2005

While a U.N. source said that U.S. officials have admitted that prisoners have been tortured at Guantanamo and elsewhere, Vice President Cheney was quoted as saying, "They're living in the tropics. They're well fed. They've got everything they could possibly want." Plus: 'Top five Gitmo falsehoods.'

Reuters reports on an article charging that medical professionals at Guantanamo are required to provide health information on detainees to interrogators, contradicting Pentagon statements that there's a separation between intelligence-gathering and patient care. And 'Interrogators cite doctors' aid.'

In a Star Tribune profile of Dr. Steven Miles, who was denounced by the Pentagon for a Lancet article in which he accused U.S. Army doctors at Abu Ghraib of falsifying medical records, Miles says the medical system "became one of the professional arms of a torturing society."

Five U.S. Marines and a Navy sailor were killed in Fallujah when a suicide car bomber "slammed into a 7-ton U.S. military vehicle." It happened one day after Gen. John Abizaid told a Senate hearing, "I'm sure you'll forgive me from criticizing the vice president," about whom Greg Mitchell asks: 'Is it time to start calling him "D.C. Dick?"'

A New York Times article on Abizaid's comments, 'General Sees No Ebb in Fight,' notes that on Tuesday, President Bush "will give a speech on the first anniversary of the end of the American occupation."

A Task Force Baghdad spokesman predicts a rising number of attacks by rebels "trying to influence the international population through the media that Iraq may not be as secure as everyone makes it out to be."

As Baghdad residents face 'Another Year of Living Misery,' a new survey finds that, when asked who was responsible for starting the war with Iraq, more Americans now blame 'The War President' than blame Saddam Hussein.

Slate's Fred Kaplan thinks "the die was cast" for invading Iraq in June 2002, and the Daily Howler wonders, "Had Bush decided to fake the intel by July 2002?"

Seven More Years? Karen Kwiatkowski writes that although developments in Iraq have left 'Neoconservatives Speechless,' members of Congress have not sat idly by: "there is a bipartisan move to repeal the 22nd Amendment."

Iraq's Commission on Public Integrity denies that it is targeting former prime minister Ayad Allawi's interim government, even though "many of the most prominent" cases of corruption concern the Allawi regime, and warrants have been issued for two of Allawi's ministers.

"Back into the news rides Judith Miller," writes Russ Baker -- "sleuthing" the "U.N. dirt beat" like an "Inspector Clouseau turned loose by the Perle/Cheney gang."

As the House votes to restore $100 million in budget cuts for public television and radio, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting appoints a new president, who described her previous assignment as "helping Arab and Muslim journalists produce balanced reports" and "'good news' stories" on Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Washington Post describes her as "a former public relations executive who has no public broadcasting experience, was a co-chairman of the RNC from 1997 to 2001, and helped raise funds to elect party candidates, including President Bush," but Kenneth Tomlinson tells the paper that "leaders of public broadcasting check their partisanship at the door."

"It has all started to feel like a Gilbert and Sullivan show," writes the National Journal's William Powers, "with Tomlinson as Lord High Executioner ("Defer, Defer, to the Lord High Executioner!") and the other cast members scurrying around him in fear and outrage."

Touting his Social Security plan, President Bush describes automobile plant line workers as "people from all walks of life, all income groups," while Arlie Hochschild explains 'The Chauffeur's Dilemma' created by the "Bush empathy squeeze."

It's the Stupid Economy! An American Research Group survey finds that "63% of all Americans rate the national economy as bad, very bad, or terrible," up 12 points since January.

The WSWS editorializes that "the pattern is all too familiar. A prominent Democrat commits the unpardonable sin of stating an unpleasant truth," Republicans object, and other Democrats "demonstratively distance themselves from whomever in their midst made the offending remark."

"For Rove, the war on terror, Iraq and Afghanistan have always been nothing more than tools of domestic politics," writes Josh Marshall. "The president and his partner are more concerned with going to war with half the country than they are with war against the country's enemies abroad." Scroll up and down Marshall for reports on the "Duke" who lives like a king.

Although White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan stated repeatedly that Rove's remarks were simply about "different philosophies" and "different approaches," all of the usual suspects are ID'd in an RNC press release assumed to have been "prepared well in advance" of when the controversy erupted.

Billmon sees a 'Punch Drunk' Rove "falling back on his classic strategy of rallying the base ... While the customary surrogates -- Fox News, Rush, the blogger hyena pack -- have snarled and snapped, the results apparently have been found wanting. Now Bush's 'brain' is stepping into the ring himself."

Revisiting an April lecture in which Rove said, "Unless you have clear evidence to the contrary, commentators should answer arguments instead of impugning the motives of those with whom they disagree," David Corn looks at how well Rove took his own advice in an interview on "Hardball."

Beyond Chutzpah Publishing veterans say they have "never heard of another case where somebody tried to get a governor to intervene in the publication of a book."

A New Brunswick Rotary Club is taking heat for raffling off a "Hum-Dinger" of a prize to raise money for a new "eco-center."

June 23

Monday, June 27, 2005

After 9/11, the U.S. Justice Department used the material witness law to "thrust scores of Muslim men ... into a Kafkaesque world of indefinite detention without charge," according to a new report from Human Rights Watch and the ACLU.

La Dolce Vita! The mission said to have been undertaken by suspected CIA operatives wanted in Italy on kidnapping charges, is described as "equal parts James Bond and taxpayer-financed Italian holiday."

Gary Sick says that "what we're seeing in Iran is the same kind of populist revolt that we've seen with Chavez in Venezuela and in the old days Peron in Argentina, but actually to some degree what we have in our own country today, and that is a mix of religion and traditional values creating a base of support..." Earlier: 'US hawks rooting for hardline Iranian candidate.'

Michael Klare describes the 'Saudi Oil Bombshell' predicted by an oil industry insider, and a 'simulated oil meltdown shows U.S. economy's vulnerability,' as world oil prices 'break new ground.'

Wyoming environmentalists express their concern over a U.S. plan to resume production of plutonium 238 for the first time since the cold war, for "secret missions" and "national security." Earlier: 'From Potatoes to Plutonium.'

A San Jose Mercury News report on a new California National Guard "special intelligence unit," reveals that Guard officials "have already been involved in tracking at least one recent Mother's Day anti-war rally organized by families of slain American soldiers."

As rebels carpeted Iraq with suicide bombs and IEDs, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld acknowledged that meetings between U.S. forces and insurgent leaders "go on all the time" and said that "insurgencies tend to go on five, six, eight, 10, 12 years."

Billmon writes that if the media can ignore the Bush administration's flip-flop on 'Negotiating with Terrorists,' then "they can ignore anything."

Think Progress reveals the evolution of Rumsfeld's thinking about a "Credibility Gap," and Gadflyer's Paul Waldman finds him parsing the meaning of "throe," explaining that "last throes could be a violent last throe, just as well as a placid or calm last throe."

Iraqis put on their 'brave face' after Rumsfeld's comment that defeating the insurgency is "up to them," and an introduction to an AP 'Look at Iraq by the Numbers,' says that they "shed light on the progress made."

In an interview with a 20 year-old "battle-hardened insurgent," Time gets 'Inside the Mind of an Iraqi Suicide Bomber,' said to be "the first to tell his story before carrying out such a mission."

The Christian Science Monitor examines President Bush's new "public-relations offensive" to persuade Americans that his administration is not "disconnected from reality." Plus: A 'tough sell' in L.A., and Helen Thomas waits for a word from Bush.

Robert Parry predicts that Bush will be 'Baiting, Not Debating' the war, despite "a hopeful new line from some pundits" who once again expect Bush to "level with the American people."

Andrew Sullivan thinks "the American people have reached a point of no return with the president and his constant and unpersuasive assertions that everything is just peachy in Mesopotamia." He also says that with Karl Rove "dealing cards that low in the deck, you know he's rattled."

'Amazed' that more Americans now blame Bush for provoking the war than blame Saddam, James Wolcott writes: "That's not an argument I've heard anyone make on cable talk or on the op-ed pages. Somehow Americans drew that conclusion all on their own!"

Identifying "a second front in the battle for public opinion: charges that the administration is not telling the truth about how the war is going," the Los Angeles Times quotes pollster Andrew Kohut as saying, "decline in support for the war ...has sprung from the public itself. It wasn't led by politicians or by an antiwar movement." Plus: 'Not so tricky Dick' and 'It's Not the EKG; It's the Cover-up.'

The 'party's over' for a 'betrayed Republican' who writes that "we shouldn't be surprised if neither the American people nor the world ever trusts us again."

The Rev. Billy Graham, concluding his farewell tour, alienated at least one conservative with an exchange of endorsements while 'Crusading in New York.'

Television coverage of Graham's final crusade paid scant attention to his taped conversation with President Nixon regarding the Jews, or his support of a proposal that reportedly would have caused a million deaths in Vietnam.

The U.S. Supreme Court splits on Ten Commandments displays, refuses to hear the appeal of Matthew Cooper and Judith Miller and gives the cable industry a "major victory," while press coverage of its Grokster decision is called "shockingly unenlightening."

Fears for Big Bird are misplaced, writes Frank Rich, who views 'The Armstrong Williams NewsHour' as a more likely, and more sinister, outcome than the demise of "the ornithological equivalent of a red herring."

And a survey of local television news shows that "if you do the crime, you'll get the airtime."

June 24-26

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

As the Washington Post 'Visits Downing Street' in a front-page article on the memos, a Wall Street Journal report on their 'Lingering Effect' credits "a half-dozen liberal activists" with "having some success in making the documents fodder for Capitol Hill rhetoric and White House news briefings."

A Raw Story report on 'The unofficial war' includes a graph indicating that "When President Bush formally declared war on Iraq in March 2003, allied airstrikes in Iraq actually declined." More on 'The War Before the War.'

'War or Impeachment' Robert Parry discusses what Americans might do if the president really leveled with them in his Tuesday night speech, and Sen. John Kerry outlines the 'Speech the President Should Give,' and urges Iraq to "make use of its tribal, religious and ethnic militias."

As David Corn writes that in Bush's view "there are no mistakes. There's only a PR problem to be solved with better spin," the Fayetteville Observer lends a hand, describing Bush's visit to deliver a speech on Iraq as "once again thrusting the world's attention onto Fort Bragg's role in the war on terror." Plus: 'North Carolina suffering more from war.'

Think Progress recalls that 'In 1999, Bush Demanded A Timetable,' and insisted that "Victory means exit strategy," when criticizing President Clinton's strategy on Kosovo.

ABC News goes up high with poll findings that a majority say the Bush administration "intentionally misled" the public in going to war, and "A record 57 percent also now say the administration intentionally exaggerated its evidence that pre-war Iraq possessed nuclear, chemical or biological weapons."

The "record" percent does not find its way into the Washington Post's article on the Post/ABC News poll. And neither does "one stat that Karl is paying attention to."

"How many times are the media going to let them get away with it?", asks Molly Ivins, as the Bush administration tries to "jack up public support for the war in Iraq by attacking anyone with enough sense to raise questions."

NBC reports that Christmas 2003 became "a season of terror" after CIA steganography experts convinced themselves that they saw a secret code in the crawl on Al-Jazeera, and briefed President Bush on their 'bogus analysis.'

"Russert Watch" observes that "Russert asks Rumsfeld if 'a robust insurgency' was on the list of 15 things that could go terribly wrong in Iraq that he had given the president before the war. And Rumsfeld, unbelievably, replies: 'I don't remember.' And Russert, all-too-believably, lets it slide and moves on."

He wasn't alone, as all of the reports on the exchange found on Google News appear to be from an article by the Philadelphia Inquirer's Dick Pollan, which was also cited by the Progress Report in asking, 'Why Is Rumsfeld Still Around?'

Billmon contrasts Rumsfeld's "casual contempt for the 'dead enders' and 'stragglers'" who made up the Iraqi insurgency after the fall of Baghdad, with a prewar Army War College report that "predicted virtually every major obstacle and crisis the coalition has faced in Iraq since the invasion."

As Reuters reports that "Recent U.S. policy statements on Iraq ... can seem confusing," Patrick Cockburn calls Iraq 'A Bloody Mess' and writes that "the sense of fear in Baghdad is difficult to convey." Plus: Nostalgia for "freedom" in Basra.

Iraqi police reportedly opened fire on a crowd of 2,000 unemployed demonstrators while "foreign troops ... observed the violence from the roof."

Tim Robbins, discussing media reaction to his play about the Iraq war, "Embedded," tells In These Times that "You don't go into the backyard of the media and tell them they were full of crap during the war and expect a nice warm hug in return. The elite are very sensitive about their role in society and they don't take well to criticism."

During a seven-minute break from 'Babe Watch,' as Fox News covered yesterday's Supreme Court decisions on the Ten Commandments, "the only guest was Roy Moore," one of whose backers called the Supreme Court Justices "just as dishonest as any person can get dishonest." Plus: 100 new monuments in the pipeline.

There has reportedly been a "reset" on support for First Amendment rights, according to a new survey by the First Amendment Center, which found the percentage of people who believe the amendment "goes too far" dropping from nearly 50 percent in 2002 to 23 percent now.

TNR's Michael Crowley gives the gist of e-mails to and from Jack Abramoff: "A rich Washington lobbyist apparently schemed to use money from Indian tribes to buy paramilitary equipment from Russian oil executives and send it to Israeli settlers in the West Bank. What could be simpler?"

In another article, Crowley writes that "time and again, golf was the bait" that Abramoff used to lure Republican politicians, for whom "golf is like sex -- it leads to reckless risk-taking." Plus: the rabbi who showed a willingness to accomodate Abramoff gets an additional request.

The Los Angeles Times profiles the 12 year old "rebels with a right wing cause" who have "become the shock troops" of the campaign against Gaza withdrawal by Israel. And the Christian Science Monitor reports on 'Israeli vs. Israeli in Gaza.'

June 27

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Tom Engelhardt identifies some 'Immoral Relativists': "No one in our lifetime has found the nature of reality to be more definitionally supple, more malleable, more… let's say it… postmodern and relative (to their needs and desires) than the top officials of the Bush administration."

In a "root canal" of a speech before a 'favorite audience,' President Bush offered "no new strategies in a war that has now stretched for 25 months, with no diminishing of attacks on American forces," other than to "assert success ... and then assert it some more."

"Bush's speech will have been worth plenty if it results in a widening awareness that Cheney is not to be trusted ever again," writes Slate's Fred Kaplan. "Yet Bush engaged in his own mendacities."

The WSWS called the speech a "repellant spectacle," which "constituted a warning" as Bush "played his trump card."

"The president's frequent references to the terrorist attacks of September 11 show the weakness of his arguments," said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. "He is willing to exploit the sacred ground of 9/11, knowing that there is no connection between 9/11 and the war in Iraq."

Left I on the News finds post-speech arguments about "staying the course" advanced by Democrats, analogous to "asking Jack the Ripper to perform surgery on his victims to help save their lives, and saying that it's his responsibility to do so since he's the one responsible for the damage."

A Reuters report on Iraqi reaction to Bush's speech quotes the head of a humanitarian aid group as saying, "Why don't they find another place to fight terrorism?"

The St. Louis Independent Media Center says that a look at Washington Post poll numbers reveals that support for "staying the course" in Iraq is much smaller than the Post's accompanying article suggests.

Rebecca Romani heralds the rise of the 'Leave My Child Alone' movement, spearheaded by the Mainstreet Moms to counter military recruiting at high schools.

Back to Iraq's Chris Allbritton revisits Baghdad and reports that "Iraq is a disaster," despite the "head-in-the-sandism, brazen propaganda and revisionism" of American Forces Information Network news releases.

In a two-part series, Robert Dreyfuss explores "an apt parallel between the way we got out of Vietnam and the way that we will get out of Iraq -- sooner or later."

"Bombs killed Iraq's oldest legislator and two American soldiers" on the first anniversary of Iraqi sovereignty.

A senior U.S. military officer says that "rampant infiltration" of Iraqi security forces by insurgents is "the greatest long-term threat to the security of the country," as two senior U.S. Army officers linked to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal are tapped for Pentagon promotions.

With 'Sharks Circling' news directors, Gary Kamiya asks: 'War? What war?', writing that "Those who have watched Fox News recently must feel as if they had fallen into a bizarre time and logic warp out of Philip K. Dick..." Plus: U.S. media drops napalm on Iraq.

Armies of the Right PressThink's Jay Rosen suggests to Norman Mailer that he attend White House press briefings and blog about them: "Scott McClellan at the White House podium: who really has a language adequate to that event?"

Editor & Publisher reports that Time Inc. is considering handing over documents that would reveal who leaked the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame, and William Safire says that Robert Novak "should finally write the column he owes readers and colleagues perhaps explaining how his two sources ... managed to get the prosecutor off his back."

A Sonoma State University research study found that "only 118 people comprise the membership on the boards of director of the ten big media giants," and Broadcasting & Cable identifies a 'handful of players' who 'are behind every big decision, consensus or roadblock in Washington.'

After Chris Matthews told interviewee Bill Moyers that "I never see a really good articulate labor leader on television," a FAIR search found "only a handful of appearances by union representatives" on "Hardball" during the last 15 months.

About an "Al Franken Show" interview with Ed Klein, Paul McLeary writes that "The sorriest aspect of the whole episode was not the smackdown they gave Klein -- he deserved everything they threw at him and more -- but the fact that they had him dead to rights, and blew the whole thing by barely letting him speak."

Canada becomes the world's third country to recognize same-sex marriage, with Prime Minister Paul Martin saying that "in a nation of minorities you don't cherry-pick rights."

GOP strategist Grover Norquist says that he "misspoke" when he called Sen. John McCain "the nut-job from Arizona." And according to transcripts of an 1971 Oval Office conversation, Richard Nixon said of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, "We really slobbered over the old witch."

June 28

Thursday, June 30, 2005

The public opinion strategy followed by President Bush in his Tuesday speech was reportedly based on the "winning is all that matters" advice of two political scientists, who previously argued that "non-veteran civilian elites are more likely to advocate the use of force than either military elites or civilian leaders with military experience."

Accusing the New York Times of closing ranks with Bush on Iraq, a WSWS column argues that a Times editorial on Bush's speech proceeded from the assumption that "the only questions that matter are whether the war is 'winnable,' and what measures are needed to achieve victory."

In the 'interview that keeps on giving,' a GOP Congressman says that the "evidence is clear" that "Saddam Hussein and people like him were very much involved in 9/11," and that those who failed to find any such evidence "must have looked in the wrong places." Plus: 'When in doubt, it's always September 11.'

Bush reached a 'Career-low' TV audience for Tuesday's speech, and 'Troops' Silence at Fort Bragg Starts a Debate All Its Own,' while the vets at VFW Post 2500 say that "the support is gone. It's gone."

Columnists experienced deja vu all over again while watching Bush's speech.

USA Today reports on foreigners in the U.S. armed forces who are "becoming citizens in record numbers" as "military petitioners are moved to the front of the citizenship line." Plus: A sojourn among 'Generation Chickenhawk.'

With gunmen reportedly marauding through Samarra, "the site of a U.S.-led assault last fall meant to rid the city of insurgents," Billmon warns that 'Failure is an option.'

The railroad cars on Iraq's Baghdad to Basra run are said to be "nearing the end of the line," and as for the line itself, the rails have been "repeatedly ripped up." Plus: Knight Ridder journalist killed in Iraq 'likely shot by an American sniper.'

U.S. forces reportedly reached a downed helicopter after "fighting their way toward the crash site" against "a very strong and determined enemy" in an increasingly violent Afghanistan, where the Taliban promised to release a video.

A presidential directive to "consolidate the power" of John Negroponte "will almost certainly be met with reluctance," as the White House endorses 70 of the 74 recommendations made by the WMD Commission, though not the one calling for "accountability of individual intelligence units."

Another small plane "flying at a rapid clip" triggered a red alert in Washington, disrupting a Senate vote and sending the president to "a more secure location."

A federal audit reportedly reveals 'The High Cost of a Rush to Security' in hiring airport screeners -- including the $300 million wasted during 'A Subcontractor's Short But Lucrative Existence.'

"Pro-Bush" is how FAIR saw a "Hardball" "town meeting" (parts one and two) broadcast after the Ft. Bragg speech, which "excluded forceful critics of the Iraq war -- a war that polls show most Americans no longer support, or believe the White House is mismanaging."

It was part of the "Hardball Church Tour," which included a pre-speech segment in which Chris Matthews introduced the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins with: "You're not the guy in 'Psycho.' You are a powerhouse politically." More on Matthews' 'panel problem' and scroll down for his "nastiest pander."

That Jerry Lewis Doug Ireland profiles "the conservative obscurantist who has been leading the right-wing Republican effort to slash the budget of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting..."

NPR has published the complete "Mann Report" on the monitoring of NPR and PBS, which includes the labeling of the Washington Post's Robin Wright as "liberal" because "Ms. Wright's viewpoint was that U.S. intelligence was geared to fight the Cold War and did not adapt to the new threat of terrorism." Earlier: 'Blacklist isn't new to CPB's Tomlinson.'

Analyzing 'The Political Function of PBS,' Alexander Cockburn describes one recent segment: "From the right there was a nutcase from The American Spectator called George Neumayr and from the left but of course there was no one from the left. There never is. There was a 'moderate' from the center right ..."

About Time's decision to turn over documents concerning the confidential sources of reporter Matt Cooper to a grand jury, the New York Times reports that "The decision by a major news organization to disclose the identities of its confidential sources appears to be without precedent in living memory." Plus: "why Matt and Judy, and not Bob."

Spanish gay couples can get married almost immediately as the country's Parliament legalizes same sex marriage, two days after Canada's House of Commons passed similar legislation.

A Middle East novelist whose latest work is being dismissed as a "forgettable piece of pulp," is reportedly considering a lawsuit against a Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid.

June 29

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