|June, 2007 link archive
Friday, June 1, 2007May's high GI death toll raises questions about the sustainability of the surge, the U.S. military reportedly looks to forge 'cease fires' and 'open a dialogue with al-Sadr,' and Defense Secretary Gates again wheels out an analogy that is seen as little more than "rhetorical cover."
The State Department is upset to find secret plans for the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, which Iraq Slogger reports may be being built with 'coerced labor,' have been freely available on a U.S. architecture firm's now defunct website.
In its documentary following the nuclear detectives 'Inside the IAEA,' BBC Radio 4 hears warnings from the head of the agency about the "new crazies" who are agitating to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities.
The Senate demands "a legal review of the CIA's detention and interrogation program," after rejecting "by only one vote" inclusion of a Democratic proposal to ban harsh interrogation techniques in a bill that could also have significant implications for electronic surveillance and congressional oversight.
In a recently declassified report, Time finds documentation that 'detainee abuse was well planned' and techniques used were modeled on "the practices of secret police in places such as the former Soviet Union," as the role of psychologists in the program comes under renewed scrutiny.
As Valerie Plame and her publisher file suit against the CIA for interfering with efforts to write her memoir, including a refusal to allow her to include material in the public domain, John Dean looks at Fred Thompson's "crude and thoughtless tactics" in the "Free Scooter" campaign.
Playing the big media for maximum coverage of minimal news, Thompson has, in Glenn Greenwald's view, also cultivated an image as "tough guy" and "folksy cultural conservative" that belies his real record as "a lawyer and lobbyist in Washington," and perhaps even created a "cult of personality."
A 'Raging Caging' controversy raises its profile, as Karl Rove's pick for U.S. attorney, Tim Griffin, resigns to "pursue opportunities in the private sector," although it's contended that he quit because of a request for vote caging evidence.
President Bush's announcement of a new approach to global warming, appears to show some signs of evolution, but critics charge that the change is "only rhetorical," unlikely to translate into real action, and the NRDC notes the 'even oil companies are calling for tougher standards.'
NASA's top official tells NPR that it's "arrogant" to assume that climate change won't be for the better, but his doubts about the need to combat global warming are said to ignore the distribution of risk.
Naomi Klein explains how Iraq's oil boom has been 'relocated to Canada,' with the chaos in Iraq helping drive oil prices and profits high enough to get oil firms scrambling to exploit the tar sands of Alberta no matter the environmental cost.
As Rudy Giuliani is dogged by protests "from fire fighters and family members of September 11th victims," Matt Taibbi finds that "Just like Bush, Rudy appeals to the couch-bound bully in all of us," although he occasionally appears to reach for 'the wrong scare words.'
It's "hats off to The Times" at CJR for running 'Lou Dobbs' leprosy problem' to ground, but Lou Dobbs is still "fighting mad and fighting back" against what he terms a "scurrilous attack," as the Southern Poverty Law Center prepares a public discussion of his "anti-immigrant tirades."
"Democracy Now!" hosts a debate over the closing of Venezuela's RCTV, as the controversy is put in context with other incidents of alleged media suppression in Latin America, and a documentary now on line examines the role of the media in the 2002 coup attempt.
Bill O'Reilly worries about threats to the "white, Christian, male power structure" Glenn Beck appears to recommend 'schizophrenia as a methodology', and the revolutionary advantages of a '24 second news cycle' are considered.
Monday, June 4, 2007
Amid signs of 'widening conflict,' an internal U.S military assessment finds the surge behind schedule, with less than a third of Baghdad neighborhoods under control, but ABC reports that U.S commanders in Iraq "expect to report enough progress in Iraq" in September to justify a continued troop presence beyond 2009.
Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the highest ranking former military leader so far to acknowledge "the Bush administration fell short in Iraq," says "forget about winning," a sentiment echoed by retired British General Michael Rose, as British commanders draw up plans for an exit.
President Johnson's 1964 despair that Vietnam might turn into another Korea is thought to have some bearing on the Bush administration's recent fascination with the Korea analogy for Iraq, which the Washington Post considers "an encouraging sign," as it backs a long term U.S. mission.
With missile disputes between the U.S. and Russia setting the stage for "a frosty G8 summit," Mikhail Gorbachev tells BBC it's the fault of the new American "empire," and the granddaughter of Nikita Khrushchev sees Putin and Bush, both flush with the "arrogance of power," as 'mirror images' of each other.
As protesters gather to demonstrate against the G8, violent clashes break out between police and demonstrators despite preemptive police tactics, including the temporary suspension of a treaty guaranteeing free movement across Europe.
With Soviet style torture being translated as "interrogation," the Washington Post examines the 'tortured lives of interrogators,' one of whom has got a book to peddle, and a Guantanamo detainee is suing a Boeing subsidiary for participation in the CIA's extraordinary rendition program.
CJR's Paul McLeary skewers Dana Milbank's attempt to channel the "average American" as he traffics in vintage stereotypes of Al Gore, New York Times readers dissect David Brooks' attempt to preempt discussion of Gore's ideas, and the Washington Post complains "Gore nearly always manages to sound like Gore."
A "Beat the Clock" format at the second Democratic debate cuts off time for nuanced answers, with Hillary Clinton apparently successful in "triangulating her record" on Iraq, but Dennis Kucinich nonetheless manages to find "a teachable moment."
As Democrats debate whether the "war on terror" makes a good bumper sticker, Steve Clemons finds that, outside of the Iraq war, none of the major Democratic candidates seriously challenges the heavy dependence on "projection of force in foreign policy" that underlies it.
Although he finds Barack Obama's health care proposal generally encouraging, Paul Krugman faults it for "a timidity of hope," in failing to mandate insurance for all adults, while Ezra Klein points out that it does not actually "set private and public plans in competition."
In case of an unexpected vacancy on the Supreme Court, the White House is reportedly preparing a list of potential nominees, including some controversial figures who could shift the court even further to the right.
As an 'Apocalyptic Book Boom' kicks off, the 'Abstinence Gluttons' are found feeding off "generous helpings of the same pork-heavy gumbo Bush & Co. brought to war-blighted Iraq and Katrina-hammered New Orleans," and it is not yet clear that the Democrats are ready to cut them off.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Hold that Scooter I. Lewis Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Cheney, was sentenced to prison for 30 months and fined $250,000 for lying and obstructing justice in the Plame leak investigation, despite pleas for leniency citing "the many other children who love Scooter."
President Bush began his European trip on a 'Jarring Note,' with Russian President "I call him Vladimir" Putin objecting to a U.S. missile defense system in Eastern Europe, and Secretary of State Rice explaining for Putin's benefit that "this isn't the Soviet Union."
NPR's Daniel Schorr looks at how Bush's vow to stay in Iraq "not a day longer" than necessary turned out to mean "Permanent Occupation," and Rep. Dennis Kucinich's charge that Iraq is now 'The Democrats' War' is seen as undermining "the single most important rationale for a Democratic president."
Iraq is "rapidly vanishing into the mists of uncollectable, unknowable news, with information travelling only as far as an Iraqi scream can be heard," writes Johann Hari, after 'Iraq's mercenaries' provide a glimpse of a "corporate battlefield with no end."
Last week's top story on cable news -- the 'TB Traveler' -- was "primarily a television phenomenon," filling 24 percent of the cable news hole, with CNN leading the pack, and Fox's Bill O'Reilly arguing that "this TB case is a great example" of "secular progressive" values in action.
Amid right-wing claims that Bush is "no real conservative," Glenn Greenwald tallies "signs that the media is ... beginning to adopt this theme," after it trickled through a White House conduit earlier.
Two current and former New York Times reporters find no home field advantage in Robert Dallek's review of their biography of Sen. Hillary Clinton, which finds the book long on scandals that "came to so little," while 'The Lady Vanishes.'
The Nation's Eric Alterman, who was reportedly taken away in handcuffs after being arrested in the spin room at Sunday night's Democratic debate in New Hampshire, discusses coverage of the incident, which "sent the conservative echo chamber into paroxysms."
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
A New York Observer op-ed describes Thompson as being 'Like Reagan Without the New Ideas,' and Fred Barnes expresses mock disappointment that the GOP's candidates were such 'Nice Guys' in New Hampshire.
Mitt Romney's false claim that Saddam Hussein "wouldn't let the inspectors in" -- while not unprecedented -- went unchallenged by moderator Wolf Blitzer and the other candidates, although CNN analyst Paul Begala argued later, "that's like saying the Mexicans bombed Pearl Harbor."
With U.S. warplanes bombing Iraq "at more than twice the rate of a year ago," Robert Dreyfuss argues that "Democratic criticism of administration policy in Iraq looks muscle-bound when compared with the Party's readiness to go along with the President's massive military buildup." Plus: Turkish troops on the move?
'There's No Winning Strategy for a Lost War,' it's argued, as Gen. Petraeus declares that 'We Haven't Started The Surge Yet,' and a top official says Iraq would "need a miracle" to meet U.S. benchmarks.
George Bisharat attempts to dispel 'The Mirage of the Two State Solution' to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and it's argued that the pattern, in which "while the U.S. and Israel proclaim their desire for peace, they actively work to block it," was set '40 Years Ago'
Urging President Bush to 'Free Scooter Libby,' the Wall Street Journal editorializes that "the cowardice and incompetence of his Administration" are responsible for Libby's fate, and the Weekly Standard's William Kristol sighs, "So much for loyalty, or decency, or courage."
The Senate Judiciary Committee is urged to vote down 'Bush's latest controversial judicial nominee,' after a New York Times editorial calls Judge Leslie Southwick, Bush's current pick for for the long-vacant "Mississippi seat" on the Fifth Circuit Court, 'Unacceptable.'
Rep. John Conyers says he was "personally offended" what he called a "lackluster" apology from Fox News, after the network ran footage of him to accompany a story about corruption charges against Rep. William Jefferson.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
As U.S. deaths in Iraq surpass 3,500, along with a sharp rise in Iraqi civilian deaths from intensified U.S. bombing, Stars and Stripes profiles a mortuary affairs specialist, and a Washington Post article describes damage done by a mortar attack at the U.S. Institute of Peace.
White House war adviser nominee Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute testifies that he "had been skeptical of Bush's decision to send thousands more U.S. troops into Iraq," unlike Sen. Joe Lieberman, who declared on CNN that "the surge strategy ... has worked." Plus: 'The Eighth Front.'
The Washington Times laments "the diminution of terrorism coverage," another female journalist is gunned down in Afghanistan, and the U.S. Navy fires cruise missiles into Somalia, "free from any scrutiny by the world's media."
According to Salon's Mark Benjamin, 'The CIA's favorite form of torture' will soon be back in vogue, as the Senate investigates 'Psychologists implicated in torture,' and the Village Voice reports on the ordeal of 'Mopping Up' Abu Ghraib.
Fred Thompson is 'coming to Israel,' where Israeli soldiers reportedly shot and killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded his wife in a night-time raid on a house in Hebron, and where the situation of Palestinian refugees from Iraq is described by a survivor of "six displacements."
After Fox News president Roger Ailes declared that Democrat presidential candidates who "can't face Fox, can't face al-Qaeda," a spokesperson claimed that he was only giving voice to the concerns of Democratic friends.
Take Two Fox extends a second on-air apology to Rep. John Conyers, then suggests that the indictment of Louisiana Democrat Rep. William Jefferson 'balances out multiple GOP convictions, indictments, investigations,' and makes corruption "bipartisan."
President Bush is said to be under heavy pressure from "the last chunk of the 29 percent upon which he stands," to pardon Scooter Libby, sentenced to prison by a 'tough guy' judge, while conservatives continue to deny that Valerie Plame was covert.
Rudy Giuliani leads the way out of Iowa, 'sidesteps "no tax" pledge,' as it's reported that his Pennsylvania campaign chairman was 'Convicted in '80s Bribery,' and lobbying by his law firm comes 'under fire.'
Alongside news that Alaska's senior Senator is under investigation, the state's only congressman reportedly "responded with an obscene gesture," when a reporter attempted to ask him about $10 million in 'Road Aid to Florida,' apparently to benefit a developer, who "evidently made a very good impression on Congressman Young."
The results of Ronald Reagan's "grand experiment" are said to include "A dismantled and 'outsourced' industrial base, an impoverished work force ... and a captive media that deprives the public of essential news as it issues outright lies."
Friday, June 8, 2007
The BBC reports that an investigation into hundreds of millions of pounds in secret payments to Saudi Prince Bandar from BAE, the UK's biggest arms dealer, was called off to hide British government complicity in the deal.
As long-standing ties between Bandar and the Bush family and rumored secret meetings with Vice President Cheney raise questions about whether Washington pressured Blair to cover up the BAE investigation, the allegations of corruption threaten the company's attempted acquisition of a U.S. defense contractor.
Tom Engelhardt argues the early plans for bases and manpower should have clued the press in to the fact that 'Iraq has always been South Korea' for the Bush administration in so far as it's in for the long haul, and it's suggested that reporters might consider asking Iraqis to comment.
John Pilger, whose first documentary was about declining troop morale in Vietnam, finds parallels in the disdain for "the official line" among British soldiers in Iraq, one of whom writes to complain about deceptive "embedded coverage" of a war most of his peers find "illegal, immoral and unwinnable."
With Baghdad schools using 'black humor to help children cope,' the British Museum hears a report on how an army of looters is systematically pillaging what's left of Iraq's cultural heritage, left unprotected by American and British troops.
As the Senate Judiciary committee votes to restore habeas corpus, some Democrats push for more comprehensive human rights protections, Jonathan Turley considers "the dangers of walking away from those rights that define us," and it's argued instilling terror, not extracting information, is the real goal of U.S. torture policy.
Children and wives of suspects number among the "ghost detainees" held in U.S. secret detention facilities, according to a human rights groups' report, and Moazzam Begg, who has first hand experience, is prompted to recall 'what's worse than Guantanamo.'
The Council of Europe releases documentation confirming the existence of secret CIA prisons in Poland and Romania, whose detainees were 'Kidnapped to Order,' as an Italian trial of CIA agents for kidnapping opens another window on rendition.
At the G8 summit, the U.S. agrees to "seriously consider" a plan to cut greenhouse gasses in half by 2050, and President Putin pops out a surprise plan for a joint missile defense, which faces, the New York Times notes, "daunting, and possibly insurmountable, hurdles."
As activists blockade roads and police ram and capsize Greenpeace vessels breaking through their costal blockade, Deutsche Welle looks at diversity within the Black Bloc and perceptions of the American presence at the protests.
With the Republican base fragmented on the issue, the immigration bill stalls in the Senate, and the Texas Observer looks at how tightened border security has made South Texas 'a graveyard for the weak and unlucky.'
Tucker Carlson invites Ron Paul to give a regular tutorial on "what it means to be free," a Canadian mom looking for her missing daughter is denied U.S. entry over a 21-year old drug conviction, and CNN explores a new niche as "the most trusted name in Paris news."
"What century are we in?" exclaims a British observer of the American presidential debates, whose one common thread seems to be "God," as a poll shows 39% of Americans believe creationism is "definitely true" as opposed to 18% who are convinced by evolution.
Outside of the Garden of Eden, the Creation Museum's "Adam" apparently billed himself as a "Bedroom Acrobat," James Dobson broadcasts a sermon 'justifying destruction of a U.S. city by God', and the Christian right is accused of launching a "disinformation campaign" about new hate crimes legislation.
Monday, June 11, 2007
In an 'Alliance of Last Resort,' U.S. troops have started working with and even arming Sunni militiamen to battle Al Qaeda "across wide areas of Sunni-dominated Iraq," as the New York Times puzzles out "the rules of jihadi etiquette."
As Iraq's 'displacement crisis' worsens, the 'U.N. warns of 5 million Iraqi refugees,' and McClatchy's Hannah Allam visits a prosthetics workshop in Syria, where "about 60 Iraqi families show up every day, carting children who are missing limbs" or suffering from other untreated afflictions.
Although the violence in Iraq continues unabated, and the Baghdad morgue is 'overflowing with bodies,' polls find a higher percentage of Iraqis (scroll down) are satisfied with the direction their country is headed than Americans are with theirs.
With a "strike plan in place," according to U.S. military officers, and 'a neo-conservative international' targeting Iran, Sen. Joe Lieberman lets out "centrist war cries" militating for "aggressive military action" against Iran.
The Washington Post reports that the CIA is making its first move to curb privatization of the U.S. intelligence network, in an effort to reduce costs, and a plane owned by Blackwater subsidiaries is connected to "torture flights."
Troubled by the problems Guantanamo is causing for "the way America is perceived," Colin Powell calls for shutting it down and restoring habeas corpus, as it's noted that Guantanamo is only "the first circle of Bush's Hell" and, at CIA black sites, "psychological damage is a feature, not a bug."
Amid allegations of 'secret bank transfers,' the target of a corruption scandal elects to investigate itself, it's argued that 'BAE's secret money machine' is a model of British foreign policy priorities, and Chris Floyd finds a clue about what is meant by "promoting democracy."
As the Pentagon confirms it requested millions of dollars to develop a 'gay bomb,' Maureen Dowd examines how gays have served as "the sacrifice that hypocritical Republican candidates offer to placate 'values' voters," even at the expense of national security.
"Democracy Now!" talks with an environmental activist sentenced to seven years in prison as a "ecoterrorist" for "property crimes," while the guilty plea of an anti-Castro terrorist caught with "the largest cache of weapons ever seized in the U.S." fails to stir media interest.
Mitt Romney's "bizarre pre-war history" still fails to make an impression on the press, John McCain tries to convince Christian conservatives that he is right with God, and Fred Thompson signals his allegiance to the right wing base by refusing to distance himself from scandal.
Talk of "authenticity," contends Paul Krugman, has become a dodge that allows the media to cast aspersions on John Edwards' plans to fight poverty simply because he lives in a big house, while ignoring the disconnect between image and action in politicians like Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani.
Pierre Tristam examines how class warfare "by means other than the obvious" plays out in a pair of articles in the New York Times, while the Wall Street Journal inquires into accusations by a former Fed Governor that Alan 'Greenspan added to subprime woes' by blocking supervision of lenders.
With "anger and frustration with the president" giving rise to a 'nostalgia for Nixon,' as Bush enters "his lame duck period," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice insists that 'history will rate Bush well.'
While President Bush was greeted with riots in Rome, where he chatted with the pope about the "worrisome situation in Iraq," he was mobbed by fans and even welcomed as "God's messenger" in Albania, where celebrities are perhaps less common.
After days of saturation coverage of Paris Hilton's escapades, even the imprisoned heiress herself pleads with the media to focus on more important things, and Juan Cole looks for perspective in the conditions under which 19,000 Iraqis are being held by the U.S. military, without even a mention on American television.
In "Democrazy," a video spoof of U.S. presidential commercials that is premiering at the Venice Biennale, Sharon Stone plays a 'Republican Hillary' facing off with Bernard-Henri Levy in a race for the White House.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
A failed no-confidence vote on Attorney General Gonzales, with Sen. Joe Lieberman voting with the GOP, elicits an op-ed from White House press secretary Tony Snow, hailing Gonzales as "a man of great dedication and integrity," and taunting Congress for its low approval ratings.
As Bush wades deeper into the immigration debate, GOP senators reportedly warn him, "Don't expect much," and efforts to create a 'smart border" lead to the observation that "Kremlinology of a sort is being practiced here."
Needlenose finds proof that "stenography pays" in reporting on Iraq, Jeffrey St. Clair revisits 'How to Sell a War,' and the Washington Post's Anne Applebaum argues that the world doesn't seem to be interested in terrorism anymore.
The Washington Post reports that a $40 million jet "originally sold to lawmakers in the late 1990s as an essential tool for battling terrorism is now routinely used to ferry FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III to speeches, public appearances and field office visits."
The Army missed its May recruiting goal, and a new study reportedly finds that male U.S. veterans of all generations are doubly at risk for suicide, while the entire country prepares to cope with 'Post-traumatic Iraq syndrome.'
With the 'Surge Failing' in a U.N. report, and refugees left 'in the Lurch,' the Los Angeles Times calculates that, since mid-February, its stringers across Iraq have reported "at least 18 incidents" in which U.S. troops reportedly "opened fire wildly or in areas crowded with civilians."
After a 4th Circuit Court of Appeals panel delivered a "symbolic victory," in the case of Ali al-Marri, who was moved from criminal to military detention solely for the purpose of torturing him, a New York Times editorial hailed the 2-1 ruling (pdf) as "another strong argument for bringing Mr. Bush's detention camps under the rule of law."
"American children are dying because of a lack of access to health care," writes Bob Herbert, at a time when presidential hopefuls are 'Running on bended knee,' and 68 percent of Republicans say they don't believe in evolution.
A PBS documentary, which promises to present "both sides of the issue" of the separation of church and state, causes one expert interviewed in the program to express fear that he'll soon "see proselytism on PBS.
A new poll is said to show that the Obama 'brand' is "clearly the strongest general-election candidate" among Democrats, despite Sen. Hillary's Clinton's wide lead in New Hampshire and among women voters.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
A Wall Street Journal op-ed by Iraq's Prime Minister Maliki hails progress in what he sees as his country's version of the American Civil War, but it's reported that Iraq is 'Failing to Meet U.S. Benchmarks,' and Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell wonders, "Who you going to believe?"
With the U.S. military preoccupied with catching 'The Perfect (Sine) Wave,' insurgents strike again at a Shiite shrine in Samarra, destroying the two minarets that flanked the ruins of the Golden Dome.
With 10,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan thought to be "living on the street" in the U.S., the "most military-friendly state in the nation" has reportedly served as a home to hundreds of "poisoned patriots."
With more than half a million names now said to be included on an 'Out of Control' FBI terror watch list, the State Department announces plans to create a "Counterterrorism Communications Center," to be "staffed heavily with military and intelligence officers," at the recommendation of Karen Hughes.
The Wall Street Journal reports that President Bush's attempt to "create a separate legal system for the war on terrorism ... may not outlast his presidency," but a former Taliban cook remains in the system, more than a year after his release was approved.
After British Prime Minister Tony Blair called the media a "feral beast" in his final speech on domestic issues, it was noted that "He didn't criticize any of Mr. Murdoch's press. He criticized the Independent," and Maureen Dowd called him a "lion tamer mauled by his own lion."
While 'The Queen of Cable Television' is credited with having "achieved a domination over cable news that was so total ... it bordered on monopoly," CJR's Paul McLeary finds the U.S headed for 'war-free news,' and Norman Solomon listens for 'The Silence of the Bombs.'
Although a new poll on immigration reportedly "bolsters the view, shared by President Bush, that the bill's opponents represent a vocal minority," few if any minds were reportedly changed after Bush and Senate Republicans lunched on 'An Unappetizing Bill of Fare,' and all major GOP presidential candidates will 'Boycott Latino Convention.'
New documents reveal that high ranking Bush aides were "closely involved in crafting a public response to the uproar" over the firing of U.S. attorneys, and the White House is seen as becoming "the new target," as subpoenas go out.
After Senate Majority Leader Reid said that "Rudy Giuliani has been married more times than Mitt Romney's been hunting," Rep. Barney Frank weighed in on Romney's core beliefs, and Giuliani's "Twelve Commitments" receive a speedy translation.
Bob Dylan is the 2007 recipient of Spain's Prince of Asturia arts award, for "the beauty of his poetry and his commitment to principles," following the jury's decision to give the International Cooperation award to Al Gore.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Although Gen. David Petraeus describes "astonishing signs of normalcy," despite "a 70 percent increase in sectarian murders in Baghdad from April to May," a Pentagon report determines that violence has not diminished in Iraq since the surge began.
Moqtada al-Sadr blames the "hidden hand of the occupier" after Wednesday's attack at the Golden Mosque at Samarra, where witnesses told the Washington Post that "a special unit of commandos, apparently from Baghdad, arrived at the mosque Tuesday night," to replace "the police force that was guarding the shrine."
'Operation FEMA' After U.S. troops "found themselves guiding a sewage truck through the narrow streets, looking for standing sewage in need of vacuuming," a soldier suggests a new name for Operation Babylon Sweep.
President Bush bids farewell and "good luck to you, brother" to Dan Bartlett, welcoming new presidential counselor Ed Gillespie, who brings 'Extensive Corporate Lobbying Ties' to the job of keeping the White House "on message."
The Justice Department 'Reshapes Its Civil Rights Mission,' shifting away from racial discrimination and voting rights cases, to something Bush appointees "can take on with enthusiasm," as directed by the special counsel for religious discrimination.
As attorneys for Scooter Libby fail to get their client "the same relief awarded to Martha Stewart," a new study finds the case reflective of "the lack of commitment of mainstream media to journalistic transparency."
Both House and Senate judiciary committees 'ratchet up confrontation' over U.S. attorney firings, by "reaching directly inside the White House" with subpoenas, and Helen Thomas asks Tony Snow, "what have you got against them taking an oath and having a transcript?"
An internal FBI audit has reportedly found "more than 1,000" violations in the use of National Security Letters, as the agency seeks to create a '6 Billion Record Database,' and more evidence of secret surveillance by the National Security Agency is 'Unsealed in AT&T Spying Case.'
Friday, June 15, 2007
After 'Hamas seizes full control' of Gaza, burning and looting continue but humanitarian operations grind to a standstill, and Tony Karon reviews the Bush Administration's role in setting up "another spectacular Middle East debacle."
Naomi Klein attributes Israel's economic boom to its success in marketing itself as a 'Laboratory for a Fortressed World, and not, as Thomas Friedman would have it, to its willingness to nurture and reward "individual imagination."
Michael Klare examines how the Pentagon has become a "global oil protection service" in a gas guzzling and unsustainable chase after an ever dwindling resource, as the world heads toward what a new documentary terms 'A Crude Awakening.'
Vivoleum is People The Yes Men were the keynote speakers at Canada's largest oil conference, where they explored the possibilities of a new fuel source "something like whales, but infinitely more abundant," and had oilmen light commemorative candles of an "Exxon janitor."
Jim Lobe digs deeper into who's who in the 'Neo-Conservative International' militating for an attack on Iran, Ezra Klein highlights the "evasiveness" of liberal hawks about what they would do differently this time, and a British commentator argues that it is time to 'break with the American crazies.'
In an excerpt from her new book Monstering, whistleblower Sam Provance points Tara McKelvey toward the world of "obscene games and simulated violent acts" by "Robo-tripping" soldiers "beyond the frame of the Abu Ghraib photos."
Fear of being deported to torture has one Guantanamo detainee fighting transfer home and another fighting for his right to return to Britain, as Canada is accused of abandoning a citizen in Guantanamo, and military commissions are said to be obscuring the detention facility's 'real purpose.'
Andrew Sullivan finds some points of comparison between how the Nazis tried to defend the use of "enhanced interrogation" before post-war tribunals and arguments being advanced to defend the practice today.
After a controversial conference call with liberal bloggers in which he blasted Gen. Pace -- or was it the president -- as "incompetent" and called Pace the president's "yes man," Senate Majority Leader Reid calls Gen. Petraeus' upbeat remarks about Baghdad security not "in touch."
As 'the faithful lose faith in their president,' Rosa Brooks takes stock of the growing crowd -- outside of Albania -- that is tired of the president, and Radar checks in on what's left of the coalition of the willing.
The Columbia Journalism Review finds the press more of a lemming than Tony Blair's "feral beast," as Blair, in a Spiegel interview, blames his decline in popularity on his length of time in office, not the Iraq war, which he continues to see as winnable.
With a wave of 'neocon pardon mania' in the forecast and worse "threatened," some responses are already prepared, and John Dean looks at how "over the top" efforts by Scooter Libby's legal team to keep him out of jail backfired with the judge, who dished out some other particularly harsh judgments.
America's 'loss of stature,' in feet and inches, as documented in a recent article in Social Science Quarterly, leads Paul Krugman to wonder whether it's just all the fast food, or whether America has become a society that "doesn't take very good care of its children."
In 'The Life and Death of a Border Town,' Corpwatch tracks the impact of NAFTA on Mexican workers 10 years on, UPS is accused of using a "dicey clause" in the NAFTA agreement force public postal services out of business, and David Neiwert fact checks Lou Dobbs as he "goes off the rails" on immigration.
"Democracy Now!" highlights growing opposition to a surgeon general nominee who believes homosexuality is "unnatural and dangerous," as Democrats are criticized for 'compromising human rights' for abstinence, and leaving military servicewomen without emergency contraception for political reasons.
Chris Matthews' ode to the "sexiness and smells" of Fred Thompson, 'Aqua Velva Man,' prompts Glenn Greenwald to look at the curious range of figures on the right striking ever more manly poses, while Thompson links abortion and infanticide.
Monday, June 18, 2007
With a predictable script for the 'Battle of September' already laying the groundwork for the next '9 or 10 years' in Iraq, a double standard on criticizing the military is documented, and Andrew Bacevich argues the 'Yes Men in Uniform' also bear significant responsibility for the disaster in Iraq.
In a separate article, Bacevich contends that the "bipartisan" consensus for beefing up the military fails to recognize that "the basic orientation of U.S. policy since 9/11 has been flat wrong," as Jim Lobe surveys the "dragon's teeth" the Bush administration's "predominantly military policy" has sown 'from Pakistan to Palestine.'
As McClatchy's Hannah Allam documents the plight of Iraqis pouring into Syria at "a rate of nearly 1,000 per day," Jordan and Syria impose new entry restrictions, desperate shanty towns mushroom across Iraq, and Iraqis have 'a dream called electricity.'
With a Defense Department report finding 40% of returning troops have psychological problems, the Washington Post catalogues the hurdles, both bureaucratic and personal, facing troops returning from the battlefield with psychological wounds, a problem that is exacerbated in Ward 53 by "doctor shortages and unfocused methods.
Following Iraq's expanding 'Parallel War,' where the mercenary has taken the place of the "citizen soldier," the Post tallies up increasing levels of contractor casualties that have been underreported and sometimes concealed, while the Los Angeles Times finds another parallel in mental health claims denied.
'The General's Report' "I thought I was in the Mafia," Gen. Taguba tells Seymour Hersh, recounting how he was forced to retire early for investigating the Abu Ghraib scandal too forcefully even within the limited box in which he was confined in order to "protect the big picture."
In a CNN interview, Hersh emphasizes that the issue is "not when they saw the photographs. It's when they realized how serious it was," as the most recent White House denial again focuses on seeing the pictures.
The moral standing necessary to persuasively articulate the injustice faced by Americans in Iranian detention has, Karen Greenberg contends, been bled away by years of "implementing national security strategies based upon torture, secret prisons, and illegal detentions."
Glenn Greenwald looks at the gap between facts and claims in the New York Times' reporting on the Bush administration debate over whether to attack Iran, as Sen. Joe Lieberman reiterates his call for an attack on Iran despite what he himself admits is mostly negative feedback from constituents.
In the "mob" mentality of "Scooter Libby's love letters," Frank Rich finds a portrait of "a wartime capital cut adrift from moral bearings," while Firedoglake points to "faux balance" and undisclosed personal involvement in a "Meet the Press" discussion framed around the political efficacy of a pardon.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is reported to be "tightening the leash" on federal prosecutors, apparently unconcerned about whether that might appear to be further politicizing U.S. attorney's offices.
An alarmed Sen. Trent Lott vows to deal with the problem of talk radio running America, now that it amplifies opposition to an immigration policy he favors, as a media battle opens up between Republican factions, and David Neiwert sees an opportunity for progressives, if they can enunciate a clear position.
'The Rise and Fall of Tony Blair' features interviews with key decision makers that reveal that Blair joined the Iraq war in full knowledge that post-war plans were inadequate, and helped invade Afghanistan out of fear that the U.S. would "nuke the shit" out of it.
The inadequacy of plans for post-war Iraq was underlined in testimony before Britain's Iraq Commission by former CPA head Jay Garner, who describes "frantic" efforts in 2003 to discover what post-war plans existed, and in an interview with the CPA's central British figure, who details how the U.S. ignored allies in Iraq.
The Environmental Justice Foundation tracks the ease with which pirate vessels can change their nationality under 'flags of convenience' that help them evade measures to manage fisheries, conserve stocks and prevent harvesting of protected species, while 'The Anti-Ahab' prepares to raise a Mohawk flag.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
American intervention has reportedly helped to get Iraq 'Ranked No. 2,' close behind Sudan, on the most recent Failed States Index, which also places the U.S. outside the ranks of countries deemed "Sustainable."
U.S. commanders in Iraq are reportedly unmoved by warnings from Army mental health experts that U.S. forces in Iraq "spend more time in combat without a break than those who fought in Vietnam or World War II."
A survey by The Hill finds that "only a handful" of senators read the National intelligence Estimate on Iraq before voting to go to war, and the U.S. envoy to Iraq is accused of "panicking" after he tells Secretary of State Rice that he "lacks enough well-qualified staff members" to run his embassy.
Bob Woodward reportedly chose an online chat to acknowledge that he "should have been more aggressive in looking at the run-up to the Iraq war," but many among his colleagues are said to be still 'Asleep at the Wheel' as 'Press ignores congressional OK for martial law.'
ABC News reports that "large teams" of trained suicide bombers are "being sent to the United States and Europe," by Al Qaeda and the Taliban, but a Canadian official dismisses the story as "a PR move," as the Taliban seizes control in southern Afghanistan.
As it's reported that Rudy Giuliani's membership in the Iraq Study Group "came to an abrupt end last spring after he failed to show up" for a single meeting, 'Folksy' Fred Thompson campaigns in London, seeking Margaret 'Thatcher's Blessing,' while 'a British Perspective' on Democratic candidates reveals "barely one solid left winger amongst them."
Declaring that the U.S. is 'Really in Trouble,' New York's Mayor Bloomberg took his non-candidacy out west, reportedly "scolding the press for failing to demand more from those seeking the White House."
In response to concerns over whether a new U.S.-supported West Bank emergency government is legitimate, a former aide to President Abbas tells the Washington Post, "How do I put this diplomatically? Who cares?" Plus: A forecast for Gaza.
Several McClatchy stories on the U.S. attorney firings reveal how the Bush Administration has "eroded the firewall between partisan politics and the Justice Department and compromised the independence of the nation's top law enforcement agency."
"Flying in the face of the Presidential Records Act," the Republican National Committee "lost or destroyed" political e-mail records for 51 of 88 White House officials, but preserved more than 140,000 messages sent or received by Karl Rove, who lost "at least one" BlackBerry.
Responding to a study showing how the president has ignored statutes in bills he signed into law, a White House spokesman said that opportunities to issue signing statements during this Congress "have been limited since we've mostly only received bills to name post offices and federal buildings."
Bob Herbert finds the Bush Administration "creating its own reality" again, this time on health coverage for children, having found a way to "make five million poor kids disappear," in a new "analysis."
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
'Clean Sweep' As Roger Morris begins sifting through 'The Gates Inheritance," it's noted that "nearly every major senior military officer responsible for the war in Iraq has been replaced" since the departure of Donald Rumsfeld.
With Palestinians being offered a "choice" of 'siege or occupation,' Israel is reported to be "planning a major attack" on Gaza, where key Fatah figures are "not welcome," according to one Hamas official.
The AP reports that the Homeland Security Department acknowledges "more than 800 hacker break-ins, virus outbreaks and other computer security problems" over the past two years, while remaining 'Open for Business' as "a giant federal cookie jar for corporate America."
When "24" fan Justice Antonin Scalia issued a dissenting opinion on Jack Bauer, spurred by the judge who helped write Canada's anti-terror laws, an attorney representing Maher Arar reportedly "emerged from the crowd to say that very little of the conversation sounded hypothetical to him."
'Exit Jeff Gerth,' while Maureen Dowd Carmelizes the Clintanos, as if to prove Daily Howler's point that a "nagging problem" for Democrats is in fact "a reaction to the mainstream press corps' messaging."
Richard Cohen -- Robert Parry's nominee for 'dumbest columnist' -- provides the motto that Glenn Greenwald believes "should be inscribed at the top of Fred Hiatt's Editorial Page in pretty calligraphy."
With Republicans now 'Hearing Static' from right-wing talk-show hosts, The Hill's Brent Budowsky argues that although "the realigning power is stunning," it is "not enough for Democrats to be slightly better than Republicans."
New York's Mayor 'Bloomberg Leaves GOP,' sending "clear signals that he is making a case for himself as a candidate" for president, and setting off some "tea leaf reading," with one consultant reasoning that "the market for billionaire businessmen is basically with soft Republican voters."
Coverage of the indictment of Rudy Giuliani's South Carolina campaign manager on federal cocaine charges sparks an inquiry into "The Case Of The Disappearing Crack," while "sentences for possession of crack cocaine and powdered cocaine are treated very differently."
Thursday, June 21, 2007
"Inside a fortified conference room," McClatchy reports, the latest "security plan ... was working on Wednesday. Outside, extremists blew up mosques, lobbed mortars into Baghdad's heavily protected Green Zone and generated a steady drumbeat of violence."
A dispatch from the "Shiite heartland" of Southern Iraq reveals Shiites "killing and kidnapping other Shiites," and a "police force ... made up of competing militias," while "hardly a day goes by when there is not an attempt to shoot some official." Plus: Death of a poet.
'The Mother of All Scandals' may have "the monocles of horrified British defense contractors ... plunking into martini glasses," but "few in D.C. are closer" to Saudi Prince Bandar than President Bush.
Despite being booed by progressives at the Take Back America conference, although he "would NEVER choose a Celine Dion song," 'The Third Man' predicted that the Democrats will win a "historic landslide" in 2008.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Asserting that his office is not an "entity within the executive branch," Vice President Cheney rejects oversight of his office's handling of classified information, raising questions about whether he constitutes a fourth branch of government, or perhaps even "a rogue nation."
In Rudy Giuliani's decision to "go for the money" and blow off the Iraq Study Group, Slate's Fred Kaplan sees a candidate "in it for himself," with little of the foreign policy expertise he claims, as tarnished associates, including a priest accused of molestation, threaten to drag him down.
As 14 American troops are killed in 48 hours in Iraq, most by roadside bombs, a counterinsurgency guidance memo says it's time to "get out and walk," and Gen. Peter Pace contends that Iraqi "sentiment" not the level of violence is the right "metric" for progress.
With the Iraq war debate apparently 'frozen in time' before that country "passed the point of no return," Carl Levin's attempt to enlist Lincoln in defense of continued war funding is said to miss where the real harm to soldiers is coming from. Plus: How soldiers leave their mark.
McClatchy interviews a Mahdi Army commander in Iraq who "lives for revenge" and talks candidly about his killing spree against Sunnis, as other Mahdi Army members are accused of making teachers an offer they can't refuse.
In an extensive media survey, PEJ finds mainstream media coverage of private security companies operating in Iraq mostly missing in action, even though the extent of reliance on 'soldiers of fortune' appears to constitute "a significant new element in 21st Century warfare."
The job of "special envoy," for which Prime Minister Tony Blair is rumored to be angling, is said by many Middle East observers to be "a poisoned chalice," and Ian Williams finds that Blair's track record of doing what ever Bush wanted leaves him unqualified for the job.
As Iraqi tactics add to coalition casualties in Afghanistan, a Nato commander rebuts administration claims of "irrefutable evidence" that Iran is transferring arms to the Taliban, and Glenn Greenwald looks to a "psychopath" and bombing advocate for clues as to how mass killing has become part of "the political mainstream."
Six years after the fall of the Taliban, a U.N. video finds women 'losing hope' in Afghanistan, with opium addiction now adding to problems of continuing "high rates of infant and maternal mortality, growing insecurity and horrific levels of domestic violence."
The CIA is set to declassify "the family jewels," documenting the agency's involvement in "overseas assassination attempts, domestic spying, kidnapping and infiltration of leftist groups from the 1950s to the 1970s," while the National Security Archive releases documents portraying the Ford administration's "rising sense of panic" over CIA skeletons.
The Senate Judiciary Committee hits the White House with subpoenas concerning its warrantless wiretapping program, bringing the number of subpoenas Democrats have issued to the administration to more than two dozen, with the courts the likely next stop in what could become a constitutional crisis.
Testifying before Congress about the attorney firings, Paul McNulty gives the impression that he is 'The Deputy Attorney General Who Wasn't,' in a repeat of what Sen. Charles Schumer calls the DOJ's "Abbott and Costello Act."
With its decision to make it harder to sue companies and executives for suspected fraud, the Supreme Court continues to be 'good for business,' and Margaret Kimberley looks at a variety of areas in which the Court seems to be stacking the deck.
Negotiations for a treaty on the rights of broadcasters break down, amid heated debate and rogue maneuvers over what constitutes "fair use," while legislation to facilitate the licensing of new non-commercial radio is said to be 'the next test for the Congressional Black Caucus.'
Tony Snow's band plays the warm up for a band of New Orleans musicians, as their record label's founder fields a call on the White House lawn trying to finally negotiate funds out of a post-Katrina housing program.
Monday, June 25, 2007
With September downgraded to a mere "snapshot" of progress in Iraq amid a welter of competing reports, Frank Rich contends that the plan is to "break the bad news on 9/11" and "run out the clock" to January 2009, with the endgame not starting until Republican Senator John Warner says no.
The Transmutation Glenn Greenwald documents how Iraq coverage increasingly labels "anyone and everyone" the U.S. fights as "Al Qaeda," but McClatchy's Baghdad bureau chief breaks from the pack, noting that Baghdad is still "the deadliest place" for U.S. troops.
With more soldiers surviving severe injuries, McClatchy recounts a Marine's struggle to adjust to a life without legs, noting that many less severely injured amputees want to return to active duty, while the 'most severely wounded soldier' remains "fully aware" but at the mercy of machines that keep him alive.
In Showtime's upcoming documentary "Semper Fi" one anti-war gay Marine talks about his struggle with "don't ask, don't tell," while a Brave New Films video profiles an Arabic translator who was fired from the Navy for being gay.
50,000 Iraq refugees are reportedly being forced into prostitution, while the annual U.S. commitment to accepting Iraqi refugees appears stuck at a number equivalent to the number of Vietnamese refugees "processed in a single day back in 1975."
As "Chemical Ali" is sentenced to death for genocide, there is little talk of "foreign complicity," but the New York Times notes that Kurdish officials hope the verdict will "add momentum" their case for "entrenched autonomy." Plus: HRW's final judgment on the trial of Saddam Hussein.
Belief in a Saddam Hussein-9/11 link rises, as the White House fights declassification of a report on Iraqi WMDs, "bottom of the barrel" poll numbers appear to have a liberating influence on the president, and American institutional preferences suggest an affinity for martial law.
As the 'not-so-unitary executive' suffers another exemption, Democrats threaten to cut funding to what one reporter termed Dick Cheney's "secured, undisclosed bunker of his mind," where Robert Dreyfus finds the rule to be "utter secrecy, all the time, about everything without exception."
The first installment of the Washington Post series on the 'Cheney Vice Presidency,' which reporter Barton Gellman will be discussing on line, details how Cheney used a "oblique approach to the levers of power" to transform the White House into a 'panopticon' with himself, not the president at the center.
The second installment follows Cheney as he uses the war on terror to push the envelope on executive power, winning battle after battle inside the administration, a virtually unbroken record of success that Marty Lederman identifies as "the great mystery of the Bush administration."
Among some "colliding metaphors," a veteran newspaper editor finds signs that the Post's Cheney series was "ready to run for some time," possibly since the debate over supplemental funding for the Iraq war, and that the decision to insert it now was "made at the last minute."
'A Marine Tutorial on Media Spin' written to deal with reporters' questions about the Haditha killings advises turning talk to Al Qaeda, as neocons make attempts at 'spinning hearts and minds' in the Middle East that might seem a little tone deaf to an Arab audience.
Mark Benjamin talks to "Democracy Now!" about the "CIA's Torture Teachers," and in a series of open letters, psychologists confront what they term "a history of evasion and denial" regarding abusive detentions and the psychologists involved in them.
Fresh from paying respects to Lady Thatcher, the "soft and safe" Fred Thompson appears to be working on converting former girlfriends into a political asset, but Chris Matthews thinks that for Hillary Clinton to be "surrounded by women" advisors raises questions about her as a commander in chief.
As Rupert Murdoch closes in on the Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker highlights how internal divisions have weakened initial opposition to the sale, the New York Times follows how he builds his media empire on "ever-morphing relations with the powerful, and Slate considers 'how low he'll stoop.'
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
While seeking 'Justice in Alabama,' a whistleblower's "house was burned to the ground" and it's argued that "when the president's top advisor is accused ... of orchestrating the prosecution of a Democratic governor, he should be able to give a straightforward answer."
With talk of a new branch of government prompting a 'Civics Quiz,' White House spokeswoman Dana Perino agrees that the issue is 'a little surreal.' But if the vice president is wrong, who's going to tell him?
Although "the president is 'the decider' ... the vice president often serves up his menu of choices," but 'Sunshine is for losers,' and the Washington Post's Sally Quinn knows "just the partner to bring out Bush's better nature."
As it's calculated that Iraq policy debate generated only 1 percent of last week's major news coverage, the past six months in Congress are said to show that "the Republican Party is a hell of a lot better at being in the minority than the Democratic Party was."
Hullabaloo's Digby attributes a "low point" in American journalism to "a very unseemly and immature desire on the part of certain journalists to go out and play war correspondent," but from the left a charge of naivety is leveled against 'Eleanor Digby.'
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
As Iran's supreme leader and Iraq's president discuss "the main source of insecurity in Iraq," Juan Cole re-examines the canard that Iran's President Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be "wiped off the face of the map."
Under an Israeli court order accusing them of being "trespassers" on "state land," Bedouin Arabs are being forcibly expelled from homes in the Negev desert where they have been living since 1956, demolished to make way for a new Jewish town.
With Republican support for the war in Iraq said to be "slipping by the day," Dick Morris reasons that a troop pullout from Iraq 'might save the GOP,' and a speech by Sen. Richard Lugar gets an unceremonious burial.
A new report from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform documents the rise of a "shadow government of private companies" under the Bush Administration, as it's reported that 'FEMA May Finally Have the Staff they Need for Adequate Contract Oversight.'
After years of 'Leaving No Tracks,' Vice President Cheney is now said to have put himself 'out on a limb' before climbing back on the branch, after "a moment whose importance is magnified because it fits with jigsaw precision into an existing template."
J. Steven Griles, once described by Jack Abramoff as "our guy" at the Interior Department, and a key member of Cheney's energy task force, was sentenced to prison by a judge who said that "even now you continue to minimize and try to excuse your conduct," especially regarding 'a Crazy Little Thing Called Love.'
After the CIA released documents from "a very different era," some of which are said to "seem remarkably relevant today," James Bamford told the New York Times that "what's going on today makes the family jewels pale by comparison."
A new poll, which found very little enthusiasm for GOP candidates among younger Americans, who are leaning left, was portrayed in the New York Times as suggesting that they "appeared to be really familiar with only two of the candidates, Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, both Democrats."
After Elizabeth Edwards called in to confront Ann Coulter on MSNBC's "Hardball," one blogger refrained from calling Coulter "the Paris Hilton of the punditocracy," but The Hill referred to her as a reliable "cash cow" for Edwards.
David Sirota recounts his visit to the 'Fact-Free Fantasy World,' in which "objective, undebatable facts are increasingly not just spun, but are actually ridiculed when they get in the way," while the GOP works to save talk radio from "balance."
Thursday, June 28, 2007
President Bush refuses to comply with Senate subpoenas on warrantless wiretapping, one of them "personally addressed" to Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, "creating the impression of a White House under siege." Plus: Former chief of staff gets new title.
The immigration bill 'goes down in defeat,' after the Senate "drove a stake" through Bush's plan to legalize millions of unlawful immigrants. His reaction prompts the question: "Have you ever seen such a sad-sack president?"
Bush also faces a 'Tough Crowd' on Iraq within his own party, "probably sooner than he expected," with centrist Republicans under pressure to "put their vote where their mouth is," as some "messaging problems" are revisited.
On the day Democratic presidential hopefuls hold their third debate, on PBS and hosted by Tavis Smiley, who says that it's 'Time for people of color to question the candidates,' the Supreme Court strikes down a school desegregation law, in another 5-4 ruling.
As costs 'Skyrocket' from $2 million to $124 million in 4 years on one no-bid Homeland Security project, it's revealed that "roughly half of the money spent on all federal contracts in 2006 was awarded with little or no competition."
As the U.S. military, anticipating a timeline, shifts its focus to Al Qaeda in Iraq, the Los Angeles Times reports that "despite its name, the extent of the group's links to Osama bin Laden is unclear."
"Why aren't these reporters doing some reporting?" it's asked, rather than reflexively trying to "talk us out of the notion of universal, publicly financed heath care," as Canadians brace for their "cameo appearance" in the U.S. presidential campaign.
During Mitt 'Romney's Cruel Canine Vacation,' his family's dog was "basically, being tortured," says PETA's president, and a Reason article urges Romney to break the connection between his campaign and "tough love" camps for teens.
Friday, June 29, 2007
Conflator-in-Chief Attempting to bolster support for his Iraq policy, President Bush plays the al-Qaeda card and holds up Israel as a model for defining success in Iraq, following an appointment of a Mideast envoy that is termed "beyond satire."
Alastair Crooke considers the implications of 'our second biggest mistake in the Middle East,' Jonathan Cook looks at recent innovations in 'Divide and rule, Israeli style,' and Pepe Escobar argues that parallel developments in 'Hamastan and Red Zoneistan' point toward a model for a "Planet Gaza."
In an upcoming New York Review of Books article, Thomas Powers looks for evidence of what George Tenet really knew about when the Iraq war became inevitable, in Tenet's delayed memoir that barely even mentions the U.N.'s fruitless search for WMDs.
In order to get beyond the 'Kabuki Theater' of the current Iraq war debate, it's argued that we need to recognize that we are damned if we stay, and damned if we go, while Robert Dreyfuss considers the prospects of an Iraqi nationalist initiative to end the war.
As Britain's new prime minister appoints Iraq war critics to his cabinet, including a foreign secretary "less compromised" by the war, a full handover of security in Basra in two months is rumored, and Patrick Cockburn comments that "British soldiers now have no role in southern Iraq other than to provide targets."
The 'Bandar bribery case crosses the Atlantic,' as the narrative of a Saudi threat to cut off intelligence unravels, but British officials are still 'in the dark' about the extent of the DOJ inquiry and a Daily Telegraph reporter with ties to intelligence agencies insists that 'BAE is none of Washington's business.'
As BAE wins a lucrative American contract, a recently released "hagiography" of Prince Bandar, reveling in the many people who fell under his spell, is said to confuse "the fairy-tale idea that there are certain people who are masters of the universe" with the reality of "play-acting psychopaths."
In an op-ed in Haaretz, Ian Buruma charges that a mismeasured "Islamofascism" label provides cover for another kind of "treason of the intellectuals," while in the U.S., even "a jingoist, rally round the flag" poll question fails to stir the expected Republican response.
Although he is still more popular than Paris Hilton, McClatchey tallies "a series of embarrassments that have exposed Bush's political weakness and shaken his hold on power," leaving him a "nothing to lose" president who may just decide to run out the clock across the board.
The House narrowly votes down Rep. Rahm Emanuel's proposal to defund "the office that does not exist in the executive branch," while John Dean reviews the vice-president's record of 'willfully violating the law, and wrongfully claiming the authority to do so.'
When 'Mount Broder erupts,' Michael Tomasky is on hand with a Kremlinologist's reading of the discovery by "Washington's leading columnist" that "Dick Cheney is a dangerous man who has exerted a deeply malign influence on US politics."
As a proposed accord gives Rupert Murdoch 'broad power over editorial staffing at the Wall Street Journal, the paper's reporters are 'taking it to the streets,' while in a Time interview, Murdoch quips "When the Journal gets its Page 3 girls, we'll make sure they have MBAs."
With the fate of two Wall Street Journals at stake, Bill Moyers warns that in Murdoch's hands "politicians become little clay pigeons to be picked off with flattering headlines," and Paul Krugman reviews his track record for "slanting news coverage to favor whoever he thinks will serve his business interests."
After a ruling criticized for "blatantly ignoring the continuing impact of racial inequality" and raising the specter of 'resegregation,' a review of the first term of the Roberts Court leads one analyst to exclaim "if this is the birth of a new constitutional era . . . what an ugly baby."
The latest Democratic debate is seen as largely "a kumbaya event," as Hillary Clinton remarks "It's hard to disagree with anything that has been said," in a discussion that focused on AIDS and problems facing minorities.
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