|June, 2006 link archive
Thursday, June 1, 2006The Washington Post reports that the findings of a three-month probe on Haditha are "likely to be explosive," and columnist William Arkin predicts that "down the road," Bush and his advisors "will lament that Haditha occured just when they were winning."
'Iraq's prime minister seeks to calm Basra' with an "iron fist," and an official from 'A City In Chaos' tells the New York Times that "As long as we have parties, it's impossible to ensure security," adding that "if you print this, I'll be killed."
As a Republican congressman claims that Iraq is safer than D.C., Tony Snow answers a question about Vice President Cheney's "last throes" comment by asserting that "for a long time, when we talked about insurgency -- that is, 'we,' generally, Americans -- we thought of al Qaeda." (scroll to end) Plus: Dan Froomkin on 'Bush's Lie.'
A Pentagon report of 'Insurgent attacks in Iraq at highest level in 2 years' is called "an ominous sign that, despite three years of combat, the U.S.-led coalition forces haven't significantly weakened the Iraq insurgency," although a Pentagon spokesman says that "Perspective is the thing."
Dick Meyer of CBS argues that 'Whistleblowing In The Wind' is probably responsible for much of what we know "about Abu Ghraib, the NSA's domestic surveillance, secret prisons in Eastern Europe or possible murders in Haditha."
A Rolling Stone feature article by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., which contends that an effort to steal the 2004 presidential election in Ohio "went all the way up to the White House," quotes pollster Lou Harris as saying that "Ohio was as dirty an election as America has ever seen." But it's predicted that "the window won't remain open for long."
"Enron's president" comes out on top when poll asks voters to pick "the worst U.S. President in the last 61 years," and Affective Encryption Analysis is said to predict that Al Gore is "the only Democrat on the scene today who has the ability to defeat the likely Republican challengers" in 2008.
On the first day of hurricane season, as bodies are still being found in New Orleans, a 6,000-plus page report from the Army Corps of Engineers concludes that the Gulf Coast hurricane protection system was "a system in name only."
A North Carolina race riot commission has reportedly concluded that racial violence in 1898, which flipped the city of Wilmington "from a black majority to a white majority," produced "this country's only recorded coup d'etat."
Haaretz's Gideon Levy recounts the launching of another "targeted strike in Gaza" -- one that "was meant to destroy Mohammed Dahdouh of Islamic Jihad, and in one blow killed off a grandmother, a mother and her small son and mortally wounded two other members of the family, including the little daughter."
USA Today reports that Justice Department officials are asking Internet companies to "keep histories of the activities of Web users for up to two years."
Friday, June 2, 2006
As Iraq's prime minister denounces "habitual attacks" on civilians by coalition troops who "do not respect the Iraqi people," U.S. marines 'face murder charges in Hamandiya probe,' and video and photographic evidence of another massacre emerges, but the U.S. military has reportedly denied those allegations.
With coalition troops in Iraq set to get training in "core warrior values," one former U.S. soldier claims that 'the sight of U.S. troops kicking the heads of decapitated Iraqis around 'like a soccer ball'" led him to desert to Canada, and the BBC interviews other U.S. Iraq veterans trying to come to grips with civilian killings.
Decrying the tragedy of "TV journalists dying not in search of deeper truths but to send back another picture-rich but patriotically correct story," Danny Schechter points to a belated realization by a CNN reporter as evidence that journalists need to be called "to account for what they do -- and don't do." Plus: 'Soldier gives his Purple Heart to Dozier.'
An Instapundit post responds to Haditha by warning that the "real danger" comes when supporters of the war say "we might as well be taken as wolves," a catalogue of "ethical weaseling" is assembled, and a Newsday article asks: 'When did Bush know?'
As he accuses the "left-wing press" of rejoicing over Haditha, Bill O'Reilly, who recently confessed a desire to "whack" a guest, is caught attempting to minimize Haditha's significance by again confusing victims with perpetrators in an incident from World War II.
The reelection of "an anti-communist hard-liner fighting an insurgency dating back to the Cold War," has provided a platform for criticizing Hugo Chavez and the rest of Latin America, but political violence and drug trafficking are seen to have made little improvement under Colombia's 'Narco-Presidente.'
Five major powers join the U.S. in announcing a "package of incentives intended to resolve the nuclear crisis with Iran" but specifics were not available and sanctions were not included as the elaborate "diplomatic dance" begins and a hardliner reiterates, "no option taken off the table."
Justin Rood digs up a harsh review of an earlier work by the 'Yellow Badge Bamboozler,' whose "stay the course" advice is said to have been the reason he was invited to the White House to give his "honest opinions" as an expert on Iraq.
A reordering of homeland security priorities that put Washington D.C. in "a low-risk category of terrorist attack," and finds New York lacking national monuments or icons, is based on a classified risk assessment that comes to a conclusion opposite to last year's Rand study.
In 'The wiretapping scam,' Saul Landau argues that "little 'vital intelligence' derives from phone monitoring," which is emphasized mainly "to distract the public from the issues and place the incompetent and corrupt Bush Administration in a patriotic light." Plus: 'Federal judge allows lawsuit against NSA.'
The recipe for the Telco lobby's success, which is alleged to have left the U.S. far behind in broadband penetration and growth rates and resulted in significant "price gouging" is found in the old metaphor of boiling a frog.
Although the primary justifications for urging Internet companies to keep long term "records on the Web-surfing activities of their customers" are "child pornography and terrorism," critics charge that the data retained will be used for general law enforcement.
Paul Krugman warns the Treasury Secretary nominee that "if past experience is any guide, you won't be pressured just to spin on the administration's behalf, you'll be pressured to lie."
As President Bush prepares to promote a ban on gay marriage and John McCain is accused of "giving lip service to marriage while refusing to protect it," the Guardian reports the administration is joining "many Muslim countries" in blocking a new U.N. package to fight AIDS. Plus: Gay marriage ban a smokescreen for estate tax repeal?
As Louisiana's House passes a symbolic abortion ban, a petition to repeal South Dakota's ban appears to reach critical mass, but the Oglala Sioux tribal council prohibits all abortions on Pine Ridge reservation and suspends President Cecelia Fire Thunder.
Monday, June 5, 2006
In 'Supporting Our Troops Over a Cliff,' Frank Rich breaks down the Bush administration's PR strategy as attack "the credibility of reporters covering the war and ... clear troubling Iraq images from American TV screens so that popular support might hold until a miracle happens on the ground."
As 'Rummy Explains Haditha,' retired Army General John Batiste says on CNN that he sees "a direct link between Haditha, the national embarrassment of Abu Ghraib ... with the bad judgment, poor decisions of our secretary of defense back in late 2003 and 2004."
Discussing parallels between Haditha and My Lai, a Pulitzer Prize winning former Toledo Blade reporter and co-author of "Tiger Force," tells Der Spiegel that "I hope the investigation goes up the food chain."
As Iraqis reject the Pentagon's attempt to exonerate itself for the deaths of 11 civilians at Ishaqi, which is said to ignore a wide range of incriminating evidence, it's reported that the Pentagon's new detainee policies omit a Geneva Convention tenet banning "humiliating and degrading treatment."
Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki fails to push through his candidates for the interior and defense ministries on a day of "brutal killing," and Reuters reports that nearly "180,000 Iraqis have now been displaced due to ongoing sectarian violence."
'Muslims in Canada brace for a backlash' following the arrest of terrorist suspects, that was later revealed to have been facilitated by three tons of fertilizer "delivered to the suspects as part of an undercover police sting."
As it's reported that the Bush administration is increasingly invoking the "state secrets privilege" to block lawsuits against the government, the American Bar Association votes to investigate the constitutionality of Bush's expanded use of presidential signing statements.
As the effort to pass 'The Super-Rich Estate Tax' appears to falter, opening up 'a chance for Democrats to pounce,' Paul Krugman reminds that "there's still a clear connection between tax breaks for the rich and failure to help Americans in need."
Finding the details of the Clintons' marriage "newsworthy," the New York Times public editor is accused of failing to recognize the media's "own role in shaping voter perceptions of our political figures," or the imbalance in the coverage of the private lives of Republicans and Democrats.
Some supporters of a gay marriage ban complain that President Bush's widely publicized endorsement is a "ruse," while others seem to think it is "not harsh enough," and an 'old friend' of Bush's tells Newsweek: "I think it was purely political. I don't think he gives a s--t about it."
As pro-gay marriage billboards go up in Sen. Bill Frist's hometown and James Dobson denounces those fighting for marriage equality as coming "from the forces of hell itself," 'The Rockies Pitch Religion.'
Republican conventioneers make a show of faith in "the holy land," and a fundraising letter from Campus Crusade for Christ leaves one observer with the impression that they are "as exultant as vampires in a blood bank."
After a federal judge ruled against a state financed prison rehabilitation program run by Charles Colson on the grounds that it violates separation of church and state, an appeal to a higher court is expected.
As it's said that 'No Good Science Goes Unpunished,' the Washington Post details how corporate lobbyists use "judicial junkets" to influence judges in important environmental cases, Seed reports on problems caused by a "nationwide decline in scientific interest," and college Republicans organize "global warming beach parties."
Lou Dobbs entertains the notion that immigration threatens 'The end of America,' an article in the Nation argues that "restricted immigration would do little to solve the African-American community's long-term employment problems," and "fiery moats with fire-proof crocodiles" are offered as one solution to border security problems.
Tuesday, June 6, 2006
As Baghdad records its deadliest month since the U.S.-led invasion, a reported drop in the number of Iraqi civilians killed at U.S. checkpoints or shot by U.S. convoys is said to suggest that "hundreds of Iraqi civilians were killed at U.S. checkpoints or on Iraqi highways during the first two years of the war."
The Pentagon's quarterly report to Congress is said to present "a fundamentally false picture" of the situation in Iraq, with claims of Iraqi hopefulness said to be based upon a "nationwide survey" with "no explanation of who was polled and how."
Exploring the slow development of U.S. media interest in probing reports of wrongdoing by U.S. troops in Iraq, Editor and Publisher's Greg Mitchell cites an AP report in which an Iraqi political scientist is quoted as saying that "What the media says now is only a fraction of what happens every day."
'Power Trips' An investigation documents nearly $50 million in privately-funded Congressional travel between 2000 and 2005, more of it by aides than by lawmakers, including "at least 200 trips to Paris, 150 to Hawaii and 140 to Italy." Plus: Meet the top corporate junket-giver.
John Brown argues that restoration of 'America's Fading Glow' will not be achieved by "laundry lists of recycled Cold War programs," as Anonymous Liberal marks the moment "when America became just another country."
The Supreme Court's decision to rule on whether public school systems can take race into account is called "bad news for desegregation advocates," and reportedly could "spell the end of official efforts to integrate the nation's public schools."
Republicans hit the hot buttons, hoping "to lure conservatives," as Molly Ivins checks off the short list, while The Vatican warns of an "eclipse" and the White House press secretary promotes "civil rights."
In New Orleans, piano salesman get "a new job description: grief counselors," residents of "the projects" are 'Clamoring to Come Home,' while a "grandmotherly freshman Republican from North Carolina" introduces her "Louis Vuitton Amendment."
Wednesday, June 7, 2006
A Pew Research poll finds that President Bush's job approval has fallen by 15 percent among conservative Republicans since 2004 -- and that "moderate women stand out for their lack of support for the president" -- while the Hammer comes down on "panic, depression and woe-is-me-ism."
After a "progressive platform" is said to have defeated "the ultimate DC campaign" in the California 50th, CQ Politics reports that "The best that Democrats can argue now is that the outcome represents incremental progress," and Robert Parry explores 'Why Democrats Lose.'
The Wall Street Journal reports that last weekend's arrests of 17 members of a "terrorist coffee klatch" in Toronto developed from the October arrest of a "Generation X" Londoner who styled himself "Terrorist 007."
Reviewing official "Haditha Talking Points," Tom Engelhardt argues that "Those 24 dead noncombatants are ... the essence of this war. From the beginning, the continual slaughter of civilians ... has been the modus operandi of the American invasion and occupation of Iraq."
"It's like opening a can of worms," one expert tells USA Today, regarding the Pentagon's reluctance to track the number of concussions troops suffer in Iraq and Afghanistan, where brain injury is a "signature wound" of the wars.
A media consultant's recommendations for programming changes on military radio reportedly include dropping the Tom Joiner show, "despite its popularity among minority troops," because "several white respondents complained about the show."
An anonymous "American friend" writes David Ignatius to say that "While the new government, all of the ministries, the coalition and the bloated embassy bureaucracy all sit frozen in the Green Zone, this civil war rages on just outside the wire and concrete barriers," while Dave Lindorff follows the money.
In "the latest in a series of revisions," Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson now says that 2.2 million active-duty troops were among the 26.5 million military personnel whose personal data was stolen from a VA employee.
The Hill reports that "some came away" from a meeting between Newt Gingrich, a top administration official and GOP Congressional investigators, "believing there was an implied, unstated message: Ease up on oversight this election year."
Thursday, June 8, 2006
Announcement of the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was reportedly met by "celebratory gunfire," "a giddy session of parliament," news of 'Oil down, dollar up,' and a bomb that killed at least 19 people, but 'For the women of Iraq, the war is just beginning.'
The Atlantic chronicles 'The Short, Violent Life of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi,' described recently as "a terrible writer," who "even to this day ... cannot write a fatwa."
Reporting that President Bush rebuffed a secret campaign by his father to replace Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Sidney Blumenthal describes Bush's "conviction that the critics lack his deeper understanding of Iraq that allows him to see through the fog of war to the Green Zone as a city on a hill."
U.S. government officials tell the New York Times that CIA funding of Somali warlords has "thwarted counterterrorism efforts ... and empowered the same Islamic groups it was intended to marginalize," with one non-governmental expert quoted as saying that "This has blown up in our face, frankly."
As the Los Angeles Times reports that a stepdaughter of House Appropriations chairman Jerry Lewis was paid more than $42,000 by a defense contractor's PAC, NBC interviews another contractor who says that Rep. Lewis invited him to write his own appropriations bill.
After Rep. Tom DeLay went behind closed doors to deliver some farewell remarks, House Speaker Dennis Hastert reportedly joked, "He's leaving. He's not dead."
Although Alaska's Gov. Frank Murkowski is polling a distant third in the GOP primary, and facing a big number, "don't count him out yet," says a pollster, while California Gov. Arnold prepares to do battle with "a walking Achilles heel" who "won't know what hit him."
Friday, June 9, 2006
The death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, whose body was initially identified by "scars and tattoos," is said to be an occassion for celebration by "various online munchkins," but Nir Rosen predicts that "dynamics of the civil war will continue, regardless of any particular individual."
Joshua Holland reviews the history of 'Milestones and turning points,' as top newspaper Web sites are said to make an exception to their standard practice to put a graphic face on Zarqawi's death, and Bill Bennett mocks a CNN correspondent's acccent, accusing her of trying to "get some bad news"
Nicholas Berg's father 'turns tables' on MSNBC's Randy Meier by rejecting revenge and expressing sympathy for Zarqawi's family, while Jordanian police interrupt a broadcast by Zarqawi's brother-in-law on Al-Jazeera.
As Sen. Biden expresses hope that Zarqawi's death improves President Bush's approval ratings and "emboldens him to take bolder moves in terms of his policy in Iraq," the pro-war right in its 'last throes' is seen to imply "that our policy of trying to discriminate between civilians and terrorists is too restrictive."
In a Washington Post op-ed, the Iraqi prime minister calls for an end to the militias, as the new head of Iraq's interior ministry remarks that his department, "which observers say is infiltrated by Shiite militias and death squads," needs more "justice and professionalism."
Although some Democrats are trying to break out of the pack on Iraq, New York's representatives in Washington are observed to be missing from the debate, and Joshua Frank argues both 'war parties' need to be forced into a debate on the war.
Scott Ritter contends that what happened at Haiditha, Bagram, Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, stems from a standard of indifference established by "waiving American adherence to the rule of law in general, and the law of war in particular," and results in a kind of "Red Dawn" in reverse.
A report by the Council of Europe, which finds strong circumstantial evidence of "a global spider web" of secret detention centers and transfer points woven by the U.S. with the collusion of several European countries, is said to arouse only "a calculated treatment in the American media."
An amendment to close the "School of the Assassins," is debated in the House, as four South American countries refuse to send their military to this "US army-run Spanish-language military academy" which was the alma mater of at least 11 dictators.
The House 'increases indecency fines tenfold,' and passes "the most extensive telecommunications legislation in a decade" without net neutrality provisions, while the Appropriations subcommittee votes to cut $115 million from public broadcasting.
Paul Krugman sums up the legacy of Tom Delay, whose 'Torrid goodbye' was greeted with ovations from Republicans and a noisy walkout by some Democrats, in the principle that "nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes for very, very wealthy people."
Murray Waas explains how John Ashcroft came to recuse himself "more than two months in late 2003 after he learned in extensive briefings that FBI agents suspected ... Karl Rove and I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby of trying to mislead the FBI to conceal their roles in the leak."
Reading the new bill proposed by Arlen Specter to resolve the NSA scandal, Glenn Greenwald finds Congress abdicating its constitutional powers by making eavesdropping warrants optional and offering a blanket amnesty for past transgressions.
Media Matters catalogs some of the "numerous media figures and Republican strategists" who came to Ann Coulter's defense after her attack on the 9/11 widows, as NBC, despite concerns about "civility," refuses to rule out giving her a forum in the future.
As Billmon considers the implications of "the massive propaganda firepower being trained on one mild-mannered Middle East specialist with a blog," a conservative advocacy group founded by Lynn Cheney tries to paint the professoriate as "a beehive of swarming left-wing radicals," using the "metaphor of Ward Churchill."
USA Today headlines the FDA's approval of a vaccine designed to prevent cervical cancer, but concerns over how it will affect "an abstinence-only message" may influence the CDC's "recommendations for how the vaccine should be administered."
In an online interview, George Soros names the source of the George Bush's low approval ratings, while Al Franken compares the president to his favorite philosopher, and a gangsta rap for the administration debuts.
Monday, June 12, 2006
As the results of an autopsy on Abu Musab al-Zarqawi are released, the U.S. Army now says that he did not die immediately during the attack, as was initially reported, but denies "several news reports" that he was abused by U.S. troops before his death, in a 'Story that keeps changing.'
A video reveling in the killing of al-Zarqawi provokes a reflection on the reasons not to celebrate, and Billmon reports the cancellation of a long running reality TV series, and raises the possibility of a sequel, as a successor to al-Zarqawi is named.
Riverbend asks who they will "have to kill to stop the Ministry of Interior death squads, and trigger-happy foreign troops," and Robert Fisk wonders whether events in Iraq "have taken on a life of their own, unstoppable by any political change in Washington or London." Plus: 'Bush Administration developing plans to keep 50,000 U.S. troops in Iraq for decades.'
The Los Angeles Times reports that U.S. troops are massed around the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi, home to "a desperate population of 400,000 people trapped in the crossfire between insurgents and U.S. forces," but military officials deny that a "Falluja-style offensive" is underway.
A U.N. official tells the New York Times that the situation in Afghanistan is "the most unstable and insecure I have seen," and the Toledo Blade questions the provenance of American goods for sale in Pakistani markets.
Hours after the "funeral of the family killed by an Israeli attack as they picnicked on a beach," Palestinian President Abbas called for a referendum that would recognize the state of Israel, a move dismissed by his Israeli counterpart, whose daughter took part in a protest against the killings in Gaza.
The BBC surveys press reaction in the Islamic world to the suicides of three Guantanamo prisoners, and the labeling of their deaths as "asymmetrical warfare," and a "good PR move" by U.S. officials leads to speculation about other forms of "asymmetric tactics" and a possible addition to the dictionary.
A former managing editor of the Washington Post contends that "intimidation by classification" is the hallmark of the Bush administration, and challenges the constitutionality of the Attorney General's threats to use the Espionage Act against the press.
As a New York Times reporter confesses to writing about YearlyKos for the paper's Web site in her pajamas, Peter Daou argues that Adam Nagourney and Maureen Dowd fail to recognize that "the blogosphere is a new power base, a stand-alone entity with its own ethos... separate from both the political establishment and the media."
The Guardian takes the list of "power players" who came to the convention, which as Markos Moulitsas emphasized in his keynote speech, was entirely organized by volunteers, as a sign of the increased clout of political bloggers.
Worrying that "the Internet might wind up being little more than a digital phone bank," Marc Cooper sees politicians wanting "more volunteers and more revenue and nothing else, thank you very much."
Appearing on "Meet the Press," Moulitsas argued that "the blogosphere actually is the big tent of the Democratic Party," and told Tim Russert and the National Review's Byron York, that opposition to Sen. Joe Lieberman is about more than just his stance on the war.
In his address to the convention, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said he will propose legislation "to ensure that Americans are not misled again about a national security challenge," and also joined those who support net neutrality.
PZ Myers shares his notes for the YearlyKos science panel, and Chris Mooney recounts that Wesley Clark, "riffed for at least twenty minutes, with impressive eloquence, about the importance of science to the American future."
As George Will casts doubt on the human origin of global warming, and federal funding for climate science is 'on the cutting board,' "inconsistent information policies" are blamed for "the intentional or unintentional suppression or distortion of research findings" in science.
In an obituary for compassionate conservatism, Frank Rich argues that President Bush's stance on gay marriage has again shown him to be "an enabler of bigots," and that if he fails to push for tolerance on immigration, "he will have helped relegate Hispanics to the same second-class status he has encouraged for gay Americans."
The Palm Beach Post suggests that if Ann Coulter "wrote about herself the way she writes about others, she might be an 'elitist shrew who is ignoring state election law to save her own skin,'" while the Rude Pundit raises the possibility of plagiarism and David Letterman attaches a label to the woman he calls "some kind of commentator or political thing."
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Although 'Karl Rove Won't Be Charged in CIA Leak Case,' according to his attorney, Truthout's editor "isn't buying it," and a Firedoglake post reminds that "it's not over until Fitzgerald says it is over." But TalkLeft declares that "It's over, folks. Karl Rove will not be charged with a crime."
Carpetbagger says that "Indictment or no indictment, Karl Rove's stunts are pretty hard to defend," one day after Rove urged midterm GOP candidates to open fire on "cut and run" Democrats. Plus: 'Karl Rove taking bullets?'
After what "was supposed to be a good media week for Iraq," and an argument that "if Haditha spurs outrage, it should be directed in the right place," Eric Umansky calls for an independent prosecutor in the military.
'The Terrorist' The New Yorker's Lawrence Wright reflects that "money -- especially from Saudi Arabia -- that used to go to bin Laden was now going into Zarqawi's treasury," and the Los Angeles Times reports that Jordan "played a key role" in ferreting him out.
Although it's reported that "New Orleans could return to its former notoriety as one of the nation's murder capitals," it was "a surge of killings" in Midwestern cities in 2005 that fueled what the FBI calls the sharpest increase in violent crime in 15 years.
Clear Channel's ongoing use of "hate radio" as "a business model" reportedly "resulted in on-air threats of death and references to sexually assaulting a 4-year-old girl on one of the New York City's highest-rated urban stations."
A Washington Post article portrays Democrats as forced to choose between a core constituency and a Senate seat in Maryland.
Michael J. Smith proffers allegiance to "The Lefty's Pledge," after "lurking incognito" for a glimpse of "the sorry varmints that Kosniks so badly want to elect," while Alan Smithee provides solace for the banned.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Despite official Israeli denials of responsibility for killing seven members of a Palestinian family in Gaza last Friday, a Human Rights Watch analyst called for an independent investigation after examining 'the shrapnel evidence that points to Israel's guilt.'
"The girl on the beach who sees dead people" has reportedly become a new icon for Palestinians and "an instant symbol of suffering across the Arab world," where officially 'The Palestinians Have No Friends.'
As UN human rights experts demand immediate closure of Gitmo, it's reported that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld has expelled U.S. reporters from Guantanamo, where "it is as though nothing out of the ordinary has happened."
In a Rose Garden press conference, President Bush said, "I'd like to close Guantanamo, but ... we're holding some people that are darn dangerous, and ... we better have a plan to deal with them in our courts ... our military courts." Bush was also asked: "how concerned are you about the U.S. image abroad...?
"The president's sudden appearance" in Baghdad, editorializes the Palm Beach Post, was "about as subtle as posing with the corpse" of Zarqawi, and signaled Bush's decision "to take on an old enemy he knows how to defeat."
According to a pool report on Bush's quick trip to Baghdad, hailed as a "political masterstroke," "Everyone on the helicopters was in body armor except for the White House aides, who wore business suits but no armor."
A private security contractor in Iraq, where "the security business" is said to cost "tens of billions of dollars," tells CNN that "where you've got a military where the assets and the personnel are strained, then private contractors have had to step in and fill the void."
With a "top GOP source" quoted as saying that "We've got so much good news popping out these days I don't know where to start," it's recalled that Labor Secretary Elaine Chao said in 2004 that "the stock market is, after all, the final arbiter."
As 'Karl Rove Escapes Prosecution,' after "misleading the public," a member of the Plame panel from YearlyKos argues that "it has become clear that Cheney was the architect of this smear, from start to finish." Plus: 'Finally, we get to the bigger question...'
A former Reagan Republican -- and former supporter of his fall opponent for a U.S. Senate seat -- wins a Democratic primary in Virginia, that 'Boiled Down to Electability vs. Allegiance' -- and statewide turnout of "soccer-score proportions."
Facing South finds GOP outrage over wrongful payments to Katrina victims to be "especially disengenuous given their nonchalance over hundreds of millions in no-bid Katrina contracts known to have been awarded to Halliburton, Bechtel, Blackwater and other companies."
A Reuters report on a Harvard study, which predicts a soft landing for the U.S. housing market, fails to mention that the Policy Advisory Board of Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies "reads like a Who's Who of the housing industry."
An American Conservative contributor finds it "appalling" that media reaction to the NSA's 'Reach Out and Tap Someone' program has been "short and relatively mild."
Thursday, June 15, 2006
"It's a number." As the U.S. military death toll in Iraq hits 2,500, with 18,490 troops wounded, "military medical experts say the U.S. death toll would be even higher if not for advances ... that keep alive badly wounded troops who would have died in previous wars."
A survey of 100 American foreign-policy analysts finds "surprising consensus" that the war on terror is a failure, while participants in a Foreign Affairs roundtable "all agree that current U.S. strategy in Iraq is unlikely to succeed." Plus: 'It's All "Domestic Terror" Now.'
'The fast-fading luster of the American story' is attributed to mounting resistance to the "soft power" of U.S. culture among "those who once held up America as a model," and it's argued that the real unemployment rate in the U.S. is 13.3 percent.
In a venue described as "unusual for a secretary of state," Condoleezza Rice reportedly received several "standing ovations ... as she tried to link Southern Baptist work ... with the administration's goal of promoting democracy overseas."
As CJR Daily traces 'The Birth of a Narrative, Sidney Blumenthal argues that "If Zarqawi's killing was a new version of Saddam Hussein's capture ('We got him!'), Bush's surprise visit to Iraq on Tuesday was 'Mission Accomplished' in a business suit."
A Knight Ridder review finds that although the number of innocent Palestinian civilians "killed since Israel began pulling out of the Gaza Strip last year surpasses the number of Israelis killed in suicide bombings, ambushes and drive-by shootings ... most of the deaths of the Palestinians received little media attention."
"Emergency medical care in the United States is on the verge of collapse," and "geography determines survival," according to new studies from the Institute of Medicine, as Shakespeare's Sister notes that "six million have been added to the rolls of the uninsured ... since Bush took office."
'Sleepover' In the California 50th, electronic Diebold voting machines were reportedly sent home with poll workers, to be stored in living rooms, cars and garages, before GOP candidate Brian Bilbray's narrow win in a special election to succeed convicted bribe-taker Randall "Duke" Cunningham.
2006 'Looks like a GOP wipeout' to Dick Morris, despite rumors of the mojo man's discovery of "an interesting debate in the Democrat Party," a "dumb idea," and a rumored push to "find bin Laden before November."
'Anti-war Dems' are portrayed as "threatening to disrupt the unified front Democrats have used to frustrate Republicans" in Congress, and Norman Solomon analyzes Sen. Hillary Clinton's big problem with 'Premature Triangulation.'
Friday, June 16, 2006
A leaked amnesty proposal for guerrillas who attacked U.S. troops, which prompted the resignation of an Iraqi official, is defended by Republicans during a debate the coiner of "freedom fries" termed "a charade."
Before the House passed a resolution -- 256 to 153 -- rejecting a timetable for pulling U.S. forces out of Iraq and labeling the Iraq war part of the war on terrorism, Speaker Hastert implored Congress to "show the same steely resolve as those men and women on United Flight 93."
With word that the man George Will deemed the "most effective terrorist in history" appears to have been on the brink of demotion, U.S. military officers "put a face on" what Kurt Nimmo calls the 'New al-Qaeda in Iraq Boogieman.'
Documents purportedly discovered in al-Zarqawi's hideout are seen to gain credibility because they outline "the same exact strategy and goal embraced by the Bush administration itself," and War in Context remarks that "most of the action coming out of this intelligence bonanza is happening in front of cameras and microphones."
Nicholas von Hoffman warns that indicators of a possible "Dunkirk in the Desert" are not reaching "TV viewers and ordinary newspaper readers," as Molly Ivins reminds that "leaving a place worse off than Saddam Hussein kept it is not a bragging point."
Although the Pentagon says expectations of "a large-scale offensive in Ramadi," may be somewhat off the mark, it's estimated that "70 per cent of the city's population have fled, as "loudspeakers aimed into the city warn civilians of a 'fierce impending attack,'" and "Iraqis brace themselves for yet another staggeringly high civilian body count."
John Pilger sees the same policy at work in Iraq and Palestine, where "an escalation in violence across the Gaza-Israel boundary" is identified as "only one aspect of what may be the greatest crisis facing the Palestinians since 1948."
As "Operation Mountain Thrust" debuts in southern Afghanistan, where command is being transferred to NATO, one observer is told "the beleaguered Donald Rumsfeld is desperate to bring some American troops home by November's congressional elections." Plus: "Every rocket was a painkiller."
Although Iran's president is said to welcome an incentive package, Raw Story reports that the creation of an "Iranian directorate inside the Pentagon" and a trip to Italy by "a long time advocate of Iranian regime change" have "raised red flags among those concerned about a potential war with Iran."
The Independent profiles 'The firebrand on Bush's doorstep' who has edged into the lead in Mexico's neck and neck election campaign, which has been punctuated by "Mud-slinging, red-baiting, legal chicanery and scattered bouts of violence."
As the Bush Administration finds itself "in the awkward position of insisting" that a former Guantanmo detainee it released last year has "has strong, long-term ties to terrorism," Democracy Now hosts a debate over the participation of doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists in military interrogations.
In what the New York Times describes as "a rightward shift," the Supreme Court upheld the right of police to use evidence from "no-knock searches," a decision that Talk Left is concerned could put lives at risk, and that raises questions about a potential conflict with Florida's "Castle Doctrine."
Peter Daou contends that Ann Coulter's appearance on the "Tonight Show" was "a watershed moment in the war between the establishment media and the progressive netroots," a sign from the media that "liberal ideology can be denigrated with impunity." Plus: 'On fragging John Murtha.'
A "safety valve" for women touted by supporters of the abortion ban in South Dakota is seen to be undermined by pharmacy regulations against requiring pharmacy access to emergency contraception, as a similar ban is debated in Ohio.
The Federal Reserve's focus "on what Paul Krugman calls the phantom menace of a new wage-price spiral" and Robert Reich labels "the inflation genie," is said to ignore the fact that productivity has grown but wages have not. Reich warns to "Worry more about the 1930s."
Although President Bush claims to have been inspired to create 'the world's largest protected marine area' by a PBS documentary, the real reason, according to Mother Jones Blog, is that he can now say that he has "accomplished the single largest act of environmental conservation in history."
With a GOP Senate hopeful turning down an invitation to attend because of his son's high school graduation, Bush's fundraising trip to Seattle is said to give Democratic challenger Darcy Burner "the honor of being the first 'Netroots endorsed' candidate to be targeted with a presidential visit."
As Sen. Joe Lieberman agrees to debate his primary opponent, Sen. Chuck Schumer's refusal to rule out supporting Lieberman in an independent bid generates debate about what party loyalty means for Democrats, and a YearlyKos attendee finds something missing from the convention.
Monday, June 19, 2006
Helena Cobban asks whether the "Khalilzad Cable," published by the Washington Post and detailing "the daily-worsening conditions for those who live outside the heavily guarded international zone," is "the present war's equivalent of the Vietnam War's 'Pentagon Papers.''' Plus: A second cable?
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow complains that in focusing on two kidnapped servicemen, the media forgets "that since Zarqawi was killed, hundreds of bad guys have been rounded up, there has been a lot of intelligence ... There is a lot going on there."
Dahr Jamail runs the numbers on the first five days of "Operation Forward Together," and CBS News' Gloria Borger, speaking about the media's coverage of President Bush's trip to Iraq, says that "I think we are suckers.... We do like these secret trips."
Robert Dreyfuss argues that "the U.S. adventure in Iraq" is not necessarily destined for failure and that to avert tens of thousands more deaths, it is important to for the antiwar movement to consider opening up a "dialogue with the Iraqi insurgents."
The Washington Post reports that the U.S. military is conducting a campaign of intensified airstrikes in response to resurgent Taliban attacks, aiming to secure the transition of command to NATO at what the London Times calls "a critical moment if it is not to go the way of Iraq."
"Panic, smears and blatant obstruction" characterized the Pentagon's response to the Guantanamo suicides, according to the Observer, achieving the "removal of media scrutiny" but leading the father of one dead detainee to demand an international investigation into the circumstances of their deaths. Plus: 'Parting The Curtains ... Somewhat.'
The release of "a historical document" citing "bad advice" for the use of "unauthorized interrogation tactics" by a Special Operations group in Iraq, leads Left I on the News to respond they "don't torture because of memos they get or didn't get. They torture because they were trained to do so."
A former inspector general of Homeland Security comments that the easy transition between senior executive branch jobs and lobbying posts has become "almost incestuous," and it's pointed out that company ties are not always noted when advice is given, as details emerge about how a jailed congressman secured Homeland Security contracts.
The Washington Post cites government statistics showing the Bush administration "virtually abandoned" promised sanctions on employers of illegal aliens, a whistleblower claims that the US is losing billions of dollars in oil and gas drilling fees, and the modus operandi of the House Appropriations Chairman raises questions.
In 'Karl Rove Beats the Democrats Again', Frank Rich finds "the plot holes in the triumphal narrative ... too obvious," but warns that if Democrats continue to "float Band-Aid nostrums and bumper-sticker marketing strategies" instead of articulating "the least-disastrous Iraq exit option" they could still lose the election.
Alexander Cockburn attacks 'The Rove Fixation,' noting the strikingly low profile at several recent progressive conferences of the Iraq war, in whose place "Rove has swollen in the left's imagination like a descendant of Pere Ubu, Jarry's surreal monster."
David Brooks' complaint about "blog-pleasing politicians" who want to "quickly leave Iraq," meets with some statistical objections, while Chuck Pena argues that the war on terror "has been steered off course by falsely defining our enemy as a global, amorphous group of terrorists or a contrived "axis of evil," and that interventionism must be abandoned.
Building on the theme of a "New Class War' he addressed in an earlier talk, Paul Krugman observes that "a party whose economic policies favor a narrow elite needs to focus the public's attention elsewhere. And there's no better way to do that than accusing the other party of being unpatriotic and godless."
As Bush domestic policy adviser Karl Zinsmeister is discovered to have said "he would personally support doctors being jailed for performing abortions," and Louisiana's governor signs a bill that would "ban most abortions," an official response from Rep. Westmoreland to his interview on "The Colbert Report," insists that he knows seven, not three of the ten commandments.
Previewing a discussion to take place at BloggerConIV, Jay Rosen raises questions about how exactly open source journalism might be practiced, the grim picture of life in Iraq painted on the back pages of the New York Times is contrasted to what's up front, and FAIR details a decline in citations of progressive think tanks in the mainstream media.
With the National Guard beginning to deploy along the Mexican border, Marc Cooper profiles a region awaiting 'a long hot season of death,' and the rationale for disproportionate level of anxiety over security in the immigration debate is traced back to displaced fear of terrorism.
Lobbying "to prevent Venezuela from securing an open seat on the U.N. Security Council," Secretary of State Rice was heard telling her Chilean counterpart that a yes vote "would lump Chile with 'a group of losers,'" while Mexician presidential candidate Obrador announced that he "would not honor" some provisions of NAFTA.
Al Gore's film is confronted with 'An even more inconvenient truth,' a preview of Robert Greenwald's film "Iraq for Sale" is released, and a new Web site is launched for Danny Schechter's documentary "In Debt We Trust: America before the Bubble Bursts." Plus: ''Telco argument implodes during DC debate.'
Connie Chung 'croaks adieu' to "Weekends with Maury & Connie," with an extraordinary rendition of "Thanks for the Memories," and Cal Thomas, referring to competitors aping Fox News, says that "There's only so much of that trailer trash pie to go around."
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Fox News abruptly terminated its coverage of a speech by Vice President Cheney to the National Press Club after Cheney was asked a tough question, and before the moderator "Curiously, and with no details" told the VP that he was "advised by your staff that you need to cut the program off early."
It's said that if a "Frontline" probe of Cheney's battle for control of 'The Dark Side' in "the cliquish, cutthroat high school that is the Bush administration" is "right, then Hamlet is wrong," and ex-CIA Director George Tenet "traded integrity for access."
Dan Froomkin examines 'The Cheney Supremacy' depicted in Ron Suskind's "The One Percent Doctrine," which Barton Gellman calls "an important book, filled with the surest sign of great reporting: the unexpected."
Truthout's editor, "endeavoring to mitigate hysteria," argues that Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald was using an indictment to seek "documentation of Cheney's involvement" from Karl Rove, whose attorney denies the Truthout report.
President Bush was described as having "generally avoided ... harsh language" at a GOP fundraiser, where he observed that "It is important to have members of the United States Congress who will not wave the white flag of surrender in this war on terror."
Gary Hart argues that 'The Judgment of History' will fall not so much on Republicans who think they "took an oath to support the president" as on Democrats "who support sinking deeper into the Big Muddy of Iraq out of fear of Karl Rove."
As 3 G.I.'s face murder charges in Iraq, after being accused of releasing detainees "to have a pretext for killing them as they fled," U.S. forces recovered the bodies of two soldiers, said to have been "killed in a barbaric way." Plus: "They should have had a plan in place."
With southern Afghanistan said to be "faced with a full-blown insurgency," which is spreading beyond the border, Stewart Nusbaumer muses on rockets as painkillers in Kabul, where "young men driving Toyota Corollas are everywhere."
A Guardian op-ed argues that 'Israel can no longer rely on the support of Europe's Jews,' citing a new book by "the first prominent Jew in the UK publicly to call for recognition of legitimate Palestinian rights."
A "mental disorder" cited in a "current" Pentagon document, "over thirty years after the psychiatric community acknowledged this is a mistake," is "no sin," according to the new leader of the U.S. Episcopal Church.
Interviewed by PR Week, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. says that his next step, after writing an article alleging that the 2004 presidential election was stolen in Ohio, will be to "devise a litigation strategy."
After the Supreme Court "came close to rolling back" the Clean Water Act, "the two newest Supreme Court justices" are said to have "turned what was going to be a majority opinion upholding enforcement of the Clean Water Act into a polluted mess that will take years or even decades to iron out."
Radio Iowa reports that Rep. Steve King refrained from firing his shotgun in the air in Washington, D.C., after news of Zarqawi's death, but not from cracking a joke at the expense of Helen Thomas. Plus: More conservative humor.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Although news of the 'Barbaric' slayings of two U.S. soldiers "affected senators in Washington debating proposals for possible troop withdrawals" from Iraq, a stand by Sen. John Kerry 'Leaves Democrats Fuming' during "idea week."
As Maureen Dowd warns that "big ideas can backfire," The BAG observes that "a large cross section of the MSM swallowed last week's administration propaganda and is now using it as 'lining paper' to neatly package the story of these murders."
The Booman Tribune fact-checks Rush Limbaugh's claim that "the cut and run liberals" are "happy these two soldiers got tortured," as "the 'leftist' version of Ann Coulter" provokes 'Selective Media Moral Outrage.'
As it's reported that the U.S. Army Reserve faces an "involuntary call-up" crunch, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage offered a "gloomy assessment of the situation" in Iraq and Afghanistan in an Australian interview.
President Bush, at a press conference in Vienna, said that 'For Europe, September 11 Was a Moment,' and that "some people" believe that it's "OK to condemn people to tyranny." Bush also autographed flags.
While 'Bush Accuses Iran of Dragging Its Feet,' Noam Chomsky argues that a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis is 'Within Reach,' despite the fact that, as Chomsky told an interviewer, "for over 50 years the U.S. and Britain have been torturing the people of Iran."
Intelligence experts tell Salon that a "secret, highly secure room" maintained by AT&T in St. Louis since 2002 "bears the earmarks of a National Security Agency operation" for "spying on U.S. Internet traffic." Plus: "Quicker and Easier Than Subpoenas."
Advocacy groups are said to be reacting with indignation to efforts by members of Congress to eliminate "interest group spam (known to some as constituent e-mail)" -- to which "the majority of lawmakers respond ... with postal letters."
Hailed as "a big deal," the 997-page encyclopedia of American Conservatism reportedly "omits familiar names like Ann Coulter, Tom DeLay, Grover Norquist, Bill O'Reilly and Karl Rove," but shares a publisher with Sen. Rick Santorum.
"A near epidemic of depression and post-traumatic stress disorders" reportedly afflicts New Orleans, which has a suicide rate almost triple pre-Katrina levels, while "the local mental health system has suffered a near total collapse."
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Long Bomb Fox "News Alerts" ran wild with discredited reports that WMDs have been found in Iraq, airing claims advanced by two GOP lawmakers, one of whom is "18 points behind in his re-election efforts."
'Their Barbarism, and Ours' Citing an appearance by the New York Times's John Burns on "The News Hour," Norman Solomon argues that a "flagrant double standard" keeps "the media window on the world ... tinted a dark red-white-and-blue."
As the Washington Post reportedly 'Smears War Critics, Again,' 'Robert Novak reports that some 26-year old dirt on Rep. Jack Murtha was shoveled his way "not by a Republican hit man but a Democratic former colleague in the House."
'Mind Games' An account of "the weaponization of information" in the "war on terror" finds that "it is not the use of information as a weapon that is new, but rather the scale of the strategy and the nature of the targets."
In distinguishing "a strategy to win in Iraq" from "a strategy for Republicans to win elections," Sen. Hillary Clinton also hammered advocates of setting a date for withdrawal "without regard to the consequences."
'Pentagon Withheld Info' for 9 months before telling relatives that two U.S. soldiers were killed by Iraqi troops, and an Army Recruiting Command official maintains that raising the recruiting age again, from 35 in January to 42 now, "is not an act of desperation."
An "unofficial" effort to 'Steer the News' away from "negative" coverage of the war "appears to have backfired badly" in Afghanistan, where "illusions are being manufactured as fast as the drinks can be consumed." Plus: Steering the news at home.
Although Sen. Arlen Specter terms President Bush's effort to expand his executive authority through the use of signing statements "problemsome," the Toronto Star reports that the U.S. is learning to live with less freedom.
"Gimme Five!" As the Senate Indian Affairs Committee issues a report describing Jack Abramoff's work for casino clients, TPMmuckraker extracts the "damning details about ... Grover Norquist [and] Ralph Reed's scheme to launder casino fees through non-profits."
A claim that "I don't think we have racial bias in Texas anymore," which helped to scuttle renewal of the Voting Rights Act, is said to "represent retrogressive forces that America hasn't seen at this level since the 1960s."
"Don't Suicide Bomb" A 60-second public service spot filmed in Los Angeles and described as a "pricey and unorthodox attempt to subdue the violence" in Iraq, is reportedly "backed by a group of mystery donors."
Friday, June 23, 2006
The New York Times reports, over Bush administration objections, on a secret program for access without "warrants or subpoenas" to a vast international database described as "the mother lode" of financial data, which the administration defended as not a "'fishing expedition,' but rather a sharp harpoon aimed at the heart of terrorist activity."
Recent headlines lead Will Bunch to anticipate a hike in the terror alert, while Larry Johnson suspects that the arrest of a "fledgling Al Qaeda cell" in Miami, said to "pose no immediate danger," may turn out to be no more threatening than earlier such incidents.
An emergency curfew was hurriedly declared in Baghdad, following "an extended gun battle between a joint U.S.-Iraqi patrol and a set of impromptu insurgent roadblocks just north of the fortified Green Zone."
Noting signs of progress in the Senate debate over Iraq, Tom Hayden warns not to "fall for the media and Republican spin that the Democrats are self-destructing," as it's argued that "Cut and run is the mantra in this landlocked argument. But sitting anchored to a failed policy is the danger."
"It is less toxic than most things that Americans have under their kitchen sink at this point," remarked David Kay about the "stockpiles" of chemical weapons that Sen. Rick Santorum claims were found in Iraq, but 'For diehards, search for Iraq's W.M.D. isn't over.'
As a White House official has trouble finding "the white flag of surrender," it's asked "How will we know when we have won? Will it be when things are as good as they were under Saddam Hussein?" Plus: 'Kicking open the gates of hell.'
With Vice President Cheney reportedly rejecting calls by former Clinton adminstration officials for a U.S. preemptive strike on a North Korean ballistic missile, "suggesting that might trigger war on the volatile Korean peninsula," a survey of the South Korean press response finds reasons for a more nuanced response.
Said to be distancing himself from ongoing military operations in the south of Afghanistan, President Karzai decries the escalating death toll, remarking, even "if they are Taliban, they are sons of this land," as his brother is labeled, "a 'problem maker' in the pay of drug lords."
Israeli Prime Minister Olmert, expresses "deep regret" about attacks which killed 14 Palestinian civilians in Gaza over the last nine days, but said lives of Israelis are "even more important." Plus: Blogger's investigation raises possibility that an AP article scrubbed Olmert's quote. (scroll to bottom)
"That's absurd" exploded President Bush when confronted with a poll showing "most Europeans consider the United States the biggest threat to global stability," in a Vienna press conference which generated three other "curious media headlines."
Molly Ivins contrasts Bush's decision to protect "the already protected Northwestern Hawaiian Islands" with other recent actions on the environment such as the EPA's decision "not to release information on 140 Superfund sites."
Presidential hopeful Lopez Obrador talks up a "Mexican New Deal," during a campaign in which "economic inequality and related environmental and population crisis," are critical factors, as month-long clashes continue between the government and striking teachers, and cartels escalate a grisly drug war.
In a pair of editorials evaluating 'Republican priorities,' the New York Times describes the rejection of an increase in the minimum wage as 'afflicting the afflicted' and House passage of an "estate-tax cut that is a repeal in everything but name" as 'comforting the comfortable.' Plus: Jon Stewart on not raising the minimum wage.
Joe Conason observes that "Irony abounds in the Congressional theater of the absurd" where the Senate minority leader derides the flag desecration amendment as one of the "pet issues of the right wing," but will vote "aye" and share "a full measure of blame" if it passes.
A Senate committee details how payments of more than $5 million to Ralph Reed "to mount religious conservative opposition to gambling" were "filtered through a series of corporations to satisfy what they said were Ralph Reed's political concerns that he would be linked to the cash."
As Geraldo Rivera boasts that "in the last thirty five years, I've seen a hell of a lot more combat than John Kerry," Bruce Springsteen 'Mocks Ann Coulter, TV Pundits,' during an appearance on CNN, saying, "You can turn on the idiots rambling on cable television any given night of the week, and they say musicians shouldn't speak up?"
Monday, June 26, 2006
Bob Herbert predicts that "Karl Rove and his liege lord, the bait-and-switch king" will milk the troop reduction plan, which is in effect a withdrawal plan, for as much political advantage as they can, but urges serious debate on how to extricate the troops "from the flaming quicksand of an unwinnable war."
Needlenose notes the similarity of this troop withdrawal timetable to an earlier one which never materialized, as the Washington Post charts the duration of the Iraq War against previous conflicts and the AP reports that 'Many U.S. Iraq War vets return to homelessness.'
The Los Angeles Times calls attention to divisions over Prime Minister Maliki's plan to unite Iraq, with criticisms focusing on the issues of amnesty, "diluting language about troop withdrawal," and a failure to address "the changing nature of the violence."
With the percentage of Americans in favor of a deadline for withdrawal from Iraq jumping 8 points to 47 percent in a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, -- other recent polls have found a majority in favor of setting a timetable -- the military acknowledges that American troop levels in the most dangerous areas of Iraq are not expected to decline by the end of 2007.
As Rep. John Murtha reportedly asserts that the U.S. presence in Iraq is more dangerous to world peace than nuclear threats from North Korea or Iran, a new "swift boating" campaign against Murtha is rolled out.
Sen. Russ Feingold, whom GQ terms the 'real maverick,' tells Tim Russert that the president, who took "us into an unnecessary war -- that had nothing to do with 9/11 -- on false pretenses," has committed "an impeachable offense," and that most of his Senate colleagues are out of touch with the public over the war.
A first-hand account by CIA veteran Tyler Drumheller of how discredited WMD claims kept popping back up, is said to be a recurring theme, as the CIA goes dark, and the accomplishments of the Global War on Terror are tabulated.
With the FBI admitting that the "terrorist" plot was "more aspirational than operational," Andrew Cohen finds little in the indictment to show that the Miami Seven, who were not exactly Muslim, were more than "a bunch of angry bozos looking lazily for al Qaeda to hook them up with all sorts of goodies."
Rush Limbaugh, who hosted a Heritage Foundation panel discussion on the TV series "24," subtitled "Fact, Fiction or Does It Matter?" and attended by Homeland Security Director Chertoff and Supreme Court Justice Thomas, praised the series for "giving torture a good name."
Reviewing a book on 'How doctors got in the torture business,' Andrew Sullivan is shocked to find that these stories "read like accounts of a South American dictatorship, not an American presidency," but Media Matters observes that he continues to present 'stay the course' in Iraq as "a political winner."
After Palestinian militants stage a 'raid into Israel,' through a 900 ft. cross-border tunnel, and kill two Israeli soldiers, the Israeli prime minister holds the Palestinian Authority "responsible for this event -- with all this implies," while Fatah's armed wing threatens "chemical warfare."
"Efforts to portray the left-wing leader as the Mexican version of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez miss the point," the Los Angeles Times comments, viewing Lopez Obrador more as a mirror reflecting the "inequalities many refuse to acknowledge."
After Vice President Cheney attacked the media for disclosing a secret financial monitoring program, Rep. Peter King urged criminal charges against the "recidivist" New York Times, for "violations of the Espionage act," but the Times defends the revelations as serving "the public interest" and Feministe wonders "what's next?"
From Iraq to New Orleans, Frank Rich finds that conservatives can't govern because their ideological commitment to "the Bush brand of competitive sourcing" and "revolving-door cronyism" has led to "the creation of a shadow government of private companies rife with both incompetence and corruption."
In an interview with Fellowship, Danny Schechter argues that the chauvinist flavor of mainstream media coverage of the war is revealed by the fact that "It's always all about us, not Iraq," as he passes along a report on how Ann Coulter manipulated applause on the "Tonight Show" by packing the audience (scroll down).
David Brooks attacks "The Keyboard Kingpin aka Markos Moulitsas Zuniga," whose "followers come across like squadrons of rabid lambs, to unleash their venom on those who stand in the way," while Newsweek highlights fears that his popularity will pull the party too far to the left.
As Glenn Greenwald presents 'Lessons drawn from the Zengerle/TNR debacle,' David Neiwert, in 'An open letter to my fellow journalists,' invokes Lars-Erik Nelson's warning that "The enemy isn't conservatism. The enemy isn't liberalism. The enemy is bullshit."
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
As the Senate began hearings on President Bush's prolific use of signing statements, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow defended Bush against "this notion that the president is committing acts of civil disobedience."
At a Senate Democratic Policy Committee oversight hearing on manipulation of prewar intelligence, a former State Department official needed only three words to explain why a few people in the administration had more policy influence than "the professionals."
Robert Parry argues that 'One-Percent Madness' is "less a doctrine than ... a powerful way to defeat bureaucratic rivals who show up at meetings with binders of intelligence analyses under their arms," although it "may have created several other dangers which carry odds of catastrophe far higher than one percent."
New polls show that neither the president nor the Democrats in Congress are thought to have "a clear plan for handling the situation in Iraq," and that "the big advantage that Democrats held on virtually every major issue has narrowed or reversed."
Robert Dreyfuss reports that "the White House has launched an all-out political offensive to portray the war in Iraq as something akin to the Battle of Armageddon," and Alexander Cockburn quotes Christopher Hitchens as saying that Iraq "is glorious ... and it IS my war because it needed Paul Wolfowitz and myself to go and convince the President to go to war."
As Tony Snow accused the New York Times of jeopardizing "somebody's right to live" with a story on secret monitoring of bank transactions, a right-wing message board warned that "If the government won't act" to stop such leaks, "perhaps some private citizens will."
With Army equipment costs ballooning to more than triple 2002-2006 levels, some hawks in the U.S. Senate were reportedly 'Covering Themselves in Old Glory' as part of an ongoing "panderama," while Senate Democrats are caught waving a flag of their own.
"One Party Country" In their new book, Peter Wallsten and Tom Hamburger connect "the years of accrued deficiencies that pushed Democrats into backbench marginalization" to "a new political doctrine, effectively putting the federal bureaucracy and the bully pulpit of the White House in the service of GOP political ends."
Although President Bush received a scrubbing in Minnesota, "words can't even describe" the site of a GOP fundraiser starring Vice President Cheney, at which one giddy volunteer "had most of the people convinced ... that I was really a secret service agent."
Whereas to Billmon's eye, 'The Swiftboating of Kos' is "starting to look more and more like a coordinated effort," Ralph Nader finds that "after a while a chronically humorous way of looking at politics becomes a distraction," as the nation's political life assumes the binary position year after year.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
A resolution condemning the New York Times for exposing government spying on bank records becomes part of a 'Full Frontal Assault' by the GOP, as the program's defenders plead that "a lot of banks ... are very sensitive to public opinion ..."
Fleshing out the scenario for 'When The FBI Raids The Times,' a veteran New Orleans Times-Picayune journalist envisions developments that "would make the Pentagon Papers dispute look like a minor disagreement among gentlemen."
As a Justice Department official is accused of testifying deceptively at a senate hearing, after arguing that President Bush's use of signing statements shows respect for Congress, Dave Lindorff examines 'Why Signing Statements Matter.'
Israeli warplanes reportedly "flew low over the home" of Syria's president, after Israeli tanks and troops entered Gaza in an operation "designed to gain 'bargaining chips,'" as the Arab League head urged the U.S. to resume playing the role of an 'honest broker.'
'U.N. Says 150,000 Iraqis Recently Displaced,' and Nir Rosen reports that "both Abu Ghraib and Haditha were merely more extreme versions of the day-to-day workings of the American occupation in Iraq ... unnoticed by the American people and the media."
As the U.S. military provides a "sober assessment" of the post-Bush-visit Baghdad security crackdown, Prime Minister Maliki now says that his amnesty plan will cover only those who have "not killed anyone."
Notwithstanding the defeat of "but a small humble act" to defend the flag (supported by 14 Democrats), the GOP's "American Values Agenda" will reportedly include votes "touching on abortion, guns, religion and other priority issues for social conservatives ... to improve the party's prospects in the midterm elections."
The Supreme Court upheld most but not all of former Rep. Tom DeLay's Texas redistricting moves, and decided that state legislators "may draw new maps as often as they like ... anytime there is a power shift."
'A Single Person Could Swing an Election,' given the hackability of electronic voting machines, a report by a team of cybersecurity experts is said to have concluded. Plus: Lou Dobbs wakes up to 'sleepovers' in San Diego vote.
Sen. Barack Obama urges Democrats to 'Court Evangelicals,' reportedly delivering "the type of remarks that usually come more readily from Republicans than Democrats" at Call to Renewal's Pentecost 2006 conference.
Obama's "descent into Hell" is chronicled by Paul Street, the author of "Empire and Inequality," who previously analyzed 'the fading global distinction between the good U.S. people and the bad U.S. government."
A GOP senator rules out a premptive strike, and says that a North Korean missile firing 'May Not Be Imminent,' as intelligence analysts are said to have described an already fueled missile that could hit the U.S. only "as a worst-case scenario." Plus: "An artificial crisis"?
Although the Surgeon General declared that "the debate is over: the science is clear" on second-hand smoke, he called for no new restrictions on smoking, and the Washington Post notes that "The administration has been neutral or negative about ... major tobacco-control initiatives."
Shell Oil executives, hoping to "dampen a U.S. political firestorm over soaring gasoline prices and record earnings," fan out on a 50-city tour to explain, in the company president's words, "what we do, why we do it and how we do it to the American people."
Thursday, June 29, 2006
In a 5-3 decision described as "a stinging blow for the administration," the Supreme Court ruled that military war crimes trials ordered by President Bush for Guantanamo prisoners are illegal. Were torture and warrantless wiretapping undermined as well?
Robert Parry sees "over-the-top attacks" on the New York Times, for running stories about government spying, as part of "a fierce counterattack" by neocons to reclaim "a valued part of their propaganda infrastructure, the major U.S. news organizations."
Although 84 of 100 terrorism and national security experts say 'U.S. losing war on terror,' and "the Iraq war is the biggest reason why," a conservative media watchdog argues that "a reasonable person would look at this evidence" and see "great strides."
A self-proclaimed "non-partisan organization" called Vets for Freedom has been exposed as "a pro-war group with ... ties to the Bush public relations team," but the big three U.S. newspapers are said to "have all run op-eds from these guys, without any reporting on who they actually are."
'Their Brand Is Crisis' The campaign approach of U.S. political consultants is said to typify "the default strategy for incumbent political parties in Latin America, as one government after another faces opponents from the left."
A Supreme Court decision on Texas redistricting, while hailed as a "clear victory" by Gov. Rick Perry, reportedly "raises the possibility of congressional districts being redrawn every time a political party gains the upper hand in a state."
In 'The Coming Ballot Meltdown,' warns The Nation's Andrew Gumbel, wherever voters "don't have reason to fear out-and-out political interference in the electoral vote, they can expect incompetence and chaos." Plus: 'Where's the Plan, Democrats?'
As 'Comeback talk creates Lott buzz' on Capitol Hill, a colleague affirms that "No one in the Senate knows more about FEMA than Senator Lott," and Tom DeLay appears "happier and more relaxed than ever."
As FEMA officials complain that "private property rights" prevent the removal of enough Katrina debris "to stack 2 miles high onto a football field," it's noted that "Not a single dollar of federal housing repair or home reconstruction money has made it to New Orleans yet," although a familiar theme has arrived.
As a Georgia middle school science teacher steps away from 'Evolution's Lonely Battle,' a lawsuit demanding that California universities recognize high school biology courses that use textbooks published by Bob Jones University Press is "apparently going to proceed."
After "tumbling down the rabbit hole with professional philosopher Jim Fetzer," a reporter finds that "a funny thing happened" when "the happiest conspiracy theorist on the planet," who's also a Black Op radio personality, took questions from the audience.
Friday, June 30, 2006
The Washington Post interprets Hamdan v. Rumsfeld as a rejection of the Bush administration's governing philosophy -- what Glenn Greenwald identifies as the "Yoo theory of unlimited executive power" -- while the Los Angeles Times emphasizes how it will make ignoring the Geneva conventions more difficult.
Trent Lott calls the decision "ridiculous and outrageous," and other critics on the right rail against its media interpretations as a "setback" or "rebuke" to President Bush, who is expected to return to Congress for authorization to use military tribunals.
A former clerk for Justice Kennedy concludes, "the opinion ... suggests that Congress's views are supreme," and Jack Balkin calls it a "democracy-forcing" decision, as diverging possible futures are charted amid speculation that 'the unitary executive doesn't give a rat's ass...' Plus: World skeptical over Guantanamo ruling.
In an offering of 'contrarian thoughts,' Peggy Noonan imagines that "Bush the Younger would breastfeed the military if he could," while the White House Press Secretary Tony Snow asserts: "I don't think it's ever been the goal of the administration to expand executive authority."
In his dissent from Hamdan, Justice Thomas attacks Justice Stephens' supposed "unfamiliarity with the realities of warfare" and calls the court's willingness "to second guess" the decisions of the political branches "unprecedented and dangerous," as the "rhetorical and semantic flailings" of his fellow dissenters are unpacked.
As the Los Angeles Times profiles Hamdan, one lawyer representing Guantanamo detainees describes his clients as "beaten up and beaten down," and another pens what's called "as convincing an indictment ... as can be imagined in an atmosphere of government secrecy."
An overwhelmingly party line vote on a measure condemning the media for disclosing what analysts Richard Clarke and Roger Cressey termed 'A secret the terrorists already knew,' -- with a magazine & Web site devoted to it -- is dismissed as a "campaign document" by the House Minority Leader, and reedited by Rep. Barney Frank.
The New York Times' publisher responds to a Wall Street Journal editorial slamming his paper, the "Colbert Report" concludes that the Times wants 'you and your family dead,' and the library at San Antonio's University of the Incarnate Word cancels its subscription. Plus: Melanie 'n' Me.
"There is nothing under my sink that could be classified as a weapon of mass destruction" thundered Rep. Curt Weldon, a persistent hunter of WMDs who has been described as "connoisseur of terrorism nightmares," during hearings on a controversial "discovery" in Iraq.
The New York Observer tells of a new "virtual quasi-science" that has sprung up at the U.N. aimed at divining the intentions of Ambassador Bolton, whom Molly Ivins finds a particularly disturbing choice to be "in charge of our relations with the nutcase who has a missile with unstable fuel."
'Condi Artist' Without any "rabbit, or other magic tricks, to pull from her sleeve," Secretary of State Rice's pledge to stand by Afghan President Karzai is said to dodge the real question of "whether Afghanistan is too far gone for any strategy to matter."
Left I on the News finds that a New York Times article on Israel's seizure of 64 members of Hamas leaves out thousands of reasons why Hamas might have ended the ceasefire, as a leader of the "Popular Resistance Committees" argues that conflict has come to be about "who is human, and who is not."
"Like clockwork," writes Heather Williams, "the mainstream press in the U.S. covered the Mexican presidential race as a righteous horserace until the final hour, and then pulled out the stops with subtly alarmist front page articles and op-eds."
After efforts to include net neutrality provisions in a Senate telecom bill narrowly failed in committee, Sen. Ron Wyden put a hold on the bill, signaling his intent to filibuster "until clear language is included in the legislation that prevents discrimination in Internet access."
Surveying the state of protest music, the Los Angeles Times observes that, "Unknowns are making as much protest music as their pop heroes," and as "the need to speak out becomes more constant" a process of "normalizing dissent" takes place. Plus: "The billionaires are in the house."
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