|June, 2008 link archive
Monday, June 2, 2008As Shiites across Iraq protest U.S. presence and demand a referendum on U.S bases, spurred by concerns about Iraqi sovereignty, Australia carries out a 'token withdrawal of a token force sent to appease ally.'
Reports on improved security in Basra and Mosul, and on a shift to reconstruction in Sadr City, all underline the tentative nature of recent gains, suggesting that a Washington Post pitch for victory is bit premature.
The Pentagon summarily removes a judge critical of Guantanamo war crimes case "without explanation," a preview of a human rights report highlights charges that the U.S. is holding hundreds of detainees on at least 17 prison ships, and John Yoo is cited as part of "The Promise of Berkeley."
As an IAEA report fuels an intensified focus on Iran's nuclear program, Ray McGovern looks at some of the recent heated rhetoric coming from Washington, and former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer in an editorial in the Daily Star turns heads with warnings of an impending attack on Iran.
In Pakistan, it's 'open season for Musharraf-bashing,' where anti-U.S. sentiments are also reportedly seething, but Bush publicly stands by his man, a decision a McClatchy blog post compares to 'pouring gasoline on a fire.'
The CIA Director's upbeat assessment on al Qaeda, which is inconsistent with intel reports to Capitol Hill, and appears out of sync with views aired by the Director of National Intelligence in a recent speech (.pdf), also fails, in Robert Fisk's view, to grasp the essential fact that "al-Qaeda is a way of thinking, not an army."
Tom Engelhardt parses an outburst of 'presidential bloodlust' that is starting to attract some notice, Gary Indiana reviews Eric Hobsbawm's new book on 'America, War, and Global Supremacy,' highlighting his analysis of the "imperialism of human rights," and Robert Scheer challenges the campaign silence on America's massive defense budget.
As the McCain campaign gets tangled up in "verb tenses," an interview with the candidate on 'Israel, Iran and the Holocaust' is said to offer "a pretty good view into the coloring book version of the Middle East that McCain offers to the American people."
At this year's AIPAC conference, the line-up of speakers is said to spotlight a hawkish agenda, with Iran a high priority, and headliners to include all three presidential candidates, while the keynote speaker at another conference remains resolute in the face of still more embarrassing revelations.
Still struggling to rally the roots of his party, one of McCain's strongest political assets in a political climate where emotions trump reasons, John Dean suggests, may be his "poor academic record."
Although Scott McClellan has apologized to Richard Clarke, there is still no sign, Helena Cobban points out, of remorse about how his lies "contributed materially to inflicting massive amounts of actual harm on millions of people in Iraq and scores of thousands of others here in the US."
Sketching out 'McCain's McClellan Nightmare,' Frank Rich observes that, 'Even if he locks the president away in a private home, the war will keep seeping under the door, like the blood in 'Sweeney Todd' ... Even a figure as puny as Mr. McClellan can ignite it."
A raucous meeting of the DNC's Rules and Bylaws committee, spiced up by talk of "disenfranchisement," comes to a resolution that angers the Clinton camp, which is claiming a higher total of the popular vote, and has observers wondering whether the "Ickes Proclamation" is just an empty threat.
Digging through contract proposals recently made public, Walter Pincus sees preparations for 'a continued presence' in Iraq through intensified privatization, while Jeremy Scahill discusses the future of the mercenary industry on "Democracy Now!," in advance of Tuesday's all star panel discussion on the "Devastation of Iraq."
In its response to a Vanity Fair piece on the former president's post-White House career titled 'The Comeback Id,' Bill Clinton's office says he "helped save the lives of 1,300,000 people in his post-presidency."
Charlie Savage and Bob Pear report that the Bush administration has closed the door on new regulations proposed by federal agencies, aiming according to critics of the move to "ensure that rules the administration wanted to be part of Mr. Bush's legacy would be less subject to being overturned by his successor."
The New York Times reports on 'billboards that look back' using facial recognition software to target ads by sex, age and -- soon -- race, as a new study predicts that the "use of video surveillance systems will quadruple over the coming few years."
May 30-June 1
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
With 'An Inglorious Start' to the military commission trials, it's reported that the "war crimes trial of the alleged child soldier Omar Khadr" is 'unraveling,' and the Justice Department's inspector general is called out for omitting the case of John Walker Lindh from its report on the FBI.
Both McCain and Obama are reportedly "'exaggerating Iran's nuclear program,' the 'Public backs Obama on Iran,' and as 'McCain vows to stay the course' in the Middle East, during his AIPAC speech, Gareth Porter describes 'How Cheney outfoxed his foes on Iran and EFPs.'
A new book says that 'Bhutto dealt nuclear secrets to North Korea,' and after A.Q. Khan recanted his confession that he sold nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya, he told The National that he was "tricked" into signing it by Pakistani President Musharraf, who "wants to bully people."
As a four-star general 'denies being influenced' in the Haditha war crimes cases, the "Winter Soldier" hearings reconvene in Seattle, and the Washington Post reports that firing ranges near the "warrior transition" barracks at Ft. Benning, 'Complicate soldiers' recovery from stress.'
As the presidential candidates get reading assignments, Bill Clinton's press criticism is critiqued, and if he's really going out, it's with a bang. Plus: Norman Solomon on 'Obama, Clinton and Anger to Burn.'
Before an odd appearance with Bill O'Reilly, Scott McClellan said on CBS that his critics are "trying to shift this focus away from what this book talks about," which includes McClellan describing "a bizarre relationship with the truth within the Bush White House."
Cheney apologizes for his incest joke at the National Press Club, 'Minnesota Republicans out Franken on lesbian jokes,' William Kristol establishes a new ritual, and Grist reviews Charles Krauthammer's 'bizarre talking points.'
As the 'Pressure mounts on Karl Rove,' the Guardian's George Monbiot explains 'why I went for John Bolton,' a failed effort in which Monbiot violated the first tenet of "How to make a citizen's arrest of a war criminal."
ABC News excerpts Richard Clarke's "Your Government Failed You," which he discussed in interviews on "Fresh Air" and on MSNBC, pointing out that the Bush administration filled the DHS "with political hacks and then they started doing pork barrel grants."
"The wittiest, angriest, most exacting and most desolate work of fiction we've yet had about life in New York and London after the World Trade Center fell," is how one reviewer described "Netherland," by author and cricketer, Joseph O'Neill.
As CNN's Jeanne Moss recounts her run in with Media Matters, Aaron Brown predicts what to look for on CNN once the campaign's over, and a recently published book describes 'How late-night comedy turns Democracy into a joke.'
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
A report from 'In the Clinton Bunker,' quotes campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe, who introduced Clinton as "the next President of the United States," as saying that "Tonight was Hillary's night! We won tonight! We won in South Dakota! We keep winning!"
As 'Republicans begin to highlight Clinton's criticism of Obama,' about Sen. McCain's speech, described as "by far the harshest McCain has been in prepared remarks aimed at Obama," it's suggested that McCain "would have served himself much better by just going to ground for the evening."
Something that Obama needs is 'a better reading list,' according to Thomas Frank, whose forthcoming book, "The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule," excerpted here, is described by Publishers Weekly as a "scintillating j'accuse."
Amid a prediction that the general election campaign will see "two corporate dancers draw ever closer together," McCain's views on warrantless wiretapping are said to now be "identical to Bush's," with his position on spying and executive power described as having undergone 'A complete reversal in 6 months.'
With the exception of McClatchy, the press has been failing miserably in keeping the candidates honest about Iran's weapons program, says CJR, and a U.S.-Iraq security agreement, is reported to be "shaping up as a major political battle between America and Iran."
'Rice drops mentioning peace deal by end of year,' during an address to AIPAC in which she also called 'dialogue with Iran pointless.' And Israeli Prime Minister Olmert told the group that "the Iranian threat must be stopped by all possible means," as an Israeli paper claims that Olmert will urge Bush to prepare an attack on Iran.
In an op-ed on American evangelicals and Israel, Labor Party Knesset member, Colette Avital, suggests that Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, "make an unequivocal announcement that they, too, are cutting ties with Hagee and his ilk."
As 'Syria says Israel should face nuclear checks,' Spiegel reports that 'Huge profits casts shadow over Holocaust survivors organization,' and the U.N.'s Secretary General issues a statement saying that "Continuing settlement activity contravenes both international law and Israel's obligations under the Road Map."
Canada's House of Commons passes a non-binding resolution to 'Let war resisters stay,' and the U.S. 'Army gets defensive' about the removal of the judge in the war crimes trial of Canadian national, Omar Khadr.
The U.S. opens it's first permanent office for Iraqi refugees who want to settle in the U.S., and "Operation Filmmaker," which features an Iraqi who left the country for the first time to work on the set of a Hollywood movie, is described as a film that 'Exploits Iraq's Exploitation.' Plus: Death of Mia Farrow's nephew in Iraq prompts angry letter to the editor from late soldier's uncle.
Two senators rip the Marine Corps over a 'bungled video system' in Iraq, Sen. Carl Levin says that cost overruns for Defense Department weapons has "reached crisis proportions," and OMB Watch analyzes the White House's memo on 'Midnight Regulations,' which new New York Times reporter Charlie Savage covered last week.
NPR's interview with an 'Anti-folk comic-book antihero,' follows a recent New Yorker article about the collaborators on a graphic adaptation of the 9/11 commission report, and the forthcoming, "After 9/11: America's War on Terror (2001- )."
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Patrick Cockburn reports that the U.S. is demanding of Iraq, '50 military bases, control of Iraqi airspace and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors,' in a deal that 'raises huge questions over our independence,' writes Ali Allawi.
The pact, which also reportedly lets the 'U.S strike any country from inside Iraq,' was denounced by two Iraqi parliamentarians at a U.S. House hearing, with one estimating that about 70 percent of Iraqis favor withdrawal of U.S. forces, and another declaring that 'The surge didn't work.'
As 'Explosions and shootings disrupt relative calm in Iraq,' the Pentagon now 'Contracts out contractor oversight' there, and the war is reportedly creating "a major shortage of night vision goggles for civilian pilots who fly medical helicopters in the U.S."
Coalition forces will be fighting the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan "until 2018 at least," said the head of Australia's military, as a report on May violence suggests that 2008 may be "the bloodiest year since the U.S. intervention." Plus: 'Al Qaeda's strategic chaos.'
As House Democrats drop unemployment extension from war funding bill, Sen. McCain, who has a son serving in Iraq, was confronted over how few members of Congress have family members serving in Iraq. Here's Jesse Ventura's proposal.
Although international reaction to Obama's nomination victory is largely favorable, Arabs raise concern about his support for Israel, and Palestinian leaders react with "anger and dismay" to Obama's pledge, during his AIPAC speech, that Jerusalem should be Israel's undivided capital.
As 'Obama works a tough room at AIPAC,' a Ha'aretz columnist suggests that 'It's Obama's good intentions for Israel that AIPAC fears,' and about the "provocative e-mails," Obama said: "Let me know if you see this guy Barack Obama, because he sounds like a scary guy."
With a report that 'Obama and McCain work together behind scenes,' the GOP jumps on Obama's 'Rezko Judgement,' and McCain distorts his own voting record on Katrina, which has helped a 'scandal-plagued contractor' become one of Business Week's "hot growth" companies.
Reports that Sen. Clinton will end her campaign Saturday and endorse Obama, follow Jimmy Carter telling the Guardian that "you could have the worst of both worlds" with an Obama/Clinton ticket, and Terry McAuliffe brings his "deranged" shtick to "The Daily Show."
Video clips of pundits responding to McCain's Tuesday speech make obvious his interest in town halls, and about his media-bashing pander to Clinton supporters," Chris Matthews asked: "What is his beef with the media ... after ten years of covering this guy, I have yet to see anybody lay a glove on him."
Matthews also suggested a possible event for one of the two corporate-sponsored conventions to be held this summer, and as a call goes out for 'precision in labeling' Obama, McCain and Bill Clinton are said to be victims of "apparent adultery syndrome."
Norman Solomon describes the thoughtful interviews about his book, "War Made Easy," conducted by a one-time anchor of "Hard Copy," who last month was fired by Comcast for protesting a journalism award to Bill O'Reilly. Plus: Fox finishes third in cable news prime time.
As Fareed Zakaria brings in some of the "smartest people" he knows for his new show on CNN, 'Bush gets rough reception in Park City,' and it's suggested that a Manhattan 'assassination' art exhibit may be a hoax.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Reviewing Phase II of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on pre-war intelligence, a New York Times editorial hesitates over calling out Bush administration "lies," but Richard Clarke has no such reticence, and Jim Lobe highlights the way converging events are re-focusing the campaign on the war.
'Did Iranian agents dupe Pentagon officials?' A second Intelligence Committee report focuses on an aborted counterintelligence investigation into a series of meetings in Rome during which Iranian exile Manucher Ghorbanifar laid out 'a napkin plan for regime change in Iran.'
As a new poll concludes that only 7% of Americans favor an attack on Iran, Gareth Porter concludes that it is U.S. negligence, not Iran, that is 'arming our enemies in Iraq,' and Obama rephrases his position on Jerusalem.
Laura Rozen looks into the 'double life' of military strategist, pundit and self-styled "operator" Edward Luttwak, whose recent New York Times editorial about 'apostate' Obama drew an unusually sharp rebuke from the paper's public editor for playing fast and loose with the facts.
Following up on his report about a secret military deal to lock in U.S. military presence in Iraq, which provoked disdain and denial from senior administration officials, Patrick Cockburn reports that the U.S. is threatening to hold $50 billion of Iraqi foreign reserves hostage, as Iraqi officials eye a stopgap alternative to an unpopular treaty.
Observing the conditions inside Baghdad's Shiite slums, Nir Rosen finds that walls erected to dampen sectarian violence have deepened dependence on militias, while Marc Lynch, in a meeting with leaders of Iraq's Awakenings movement, listens to concerns about "the absence of genuine political reconciliation."
As Blackwater opens a controversial training center in San Diego, Jeremy Scahill tracks its diversification into drug interdiction and privatized intelligence, and a Mother Jones piece looks for consequences of a general's false testimony on contaminated water KBR supplied to U.S. troops.
At the opening of the 9/11 trials, 'Khalid Sheikh Mohammed speaks of martyrdom and torture,' and offers a novel reason for rejecting a lawyer, as a top tribunal official celebrates "the American way."
In a newly released redacted version of a "missing IG report" on Maher Arar, it's revealed that he was transferred to Syria "even after the INS determined that it was more likely than not that Arar would be tortured," and the DOJ discloses that it has reopened its investigation into the case.
With the Air Force headhunting for geeks in apparent pursuit of an offensive capability on the internet, William Astore weighs threats and fantasies in the national-security vision of cyberspace, and Wikileaks exposes an ISP's secret attempt to add spy code to web sessions. Plus: Enlisting Manga CVN73.
While the official reason given for the unprecedented ouster of two top Air Force officials is systematic "mishandling of nuclear weapons and components," Noah Shachtman points to signs of a larger turf war in the background.
As a "watered down resolution" applauded by biofuel industries rescues a contentious food summit from the appearance of collapse, Allan Nairn contends that at root the problem is not so much a food crisis as it is a "distribution of wealth crisis." Plus: 'How to manufacture a global food crisis.'
McCain's two-day visit to Florida whips up debate about his opposition to a national catastrophe fund and a Everglades photo op designed to bolster his environmental credentials, while an excerpt from "Machiavelli's Shadow" examines 'How Karl Rove played politics while people drowned.'
Charlie Savage fleshes out connections between McCain's backing of no-warrant eavesdropping and "sweeping theories of executive authority pushed by the Bush administration legal team," and EFF finds the 'McCain campaign staffed by telecom immunity lobbyists.'
As the National Conference on Media Reform opens in Minneapolis, "Democracy Now!" interviews Free Press founders Robert McChesney and Josh Silver about the conference they helped start, and Bill O'Reilly readies an ambush of "the farthest left people in the universe."
Denying a rumor that has right wing bloggers buzzing, Obama challenges the press on "how stories for which there's no evidence at all make it into the public eye," while Reason's David Weigel takes apart the shifting narrative of the source who got the rumors rolling.
An article in the Colombian weekly magazine Cambio, translated here, investigates signs that the U.S. military aims to replace its lost foothold in Ecuador with a recently "recertified" base in Colombia.
Monday, June 9, 2008
Instead of solidifying a political consensus on U.S. presence, Bush administration attempts to impose a status of forces agreement on Iraq appear to have provided a rallying point for opposition, with one senior Shiite cleric warning of an uprising, and Iraq officials talking of keeping U.S. troops 'confined to barracks.'
Redefining U.S. forces as "tenants" on nominally Iraqi bases is reportedly being considered as a "face saving" nod to Iraqi sovereignty, as 'audit pans Iraq and U.S. efforts to account for oil, fuel and revenue flow,' and 'Iraq pledges closer ties with Iran.' Plus: 'Books, tears and blood.'
On an 'unannounced visit' to Afghanistan, Laura Bush showcases "hopeful signs," but an Observer report points to growing 'fear, disillusion and despair,' and U.S. and international support for Afghan President Hamid Karzai appears to be weakening.
The U.S. and its allies in Afghanistan and Pakistan are faulted for wasting a chance 'to build ties with tribal leaders ... that could have curbed Al Qaeda and Taliban's resurgence,' as 'Musharraf vows to stay in office,' defending his alliance with Bush and warning Obama to change course.
The Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg reviews the stagecraft of the military tribunals at Guantanamo, as suspicions are raised about unusual interaction between the defendants, destroyed notes, and a "rush to judgment."
With the quality of justice dispensed in serious doubt, and accusations of abuse continuing to crop up, Tim Rutten argues that the tribunals will likely aid al Qaeda recruitment, but two recent developments raise the possibility of accountability for torture.
"Meet George W. Bush, time traveler." A Washington Post article follows the president through history as he scans past and future in search of some perspective or analogy to counter the depth of his current unpopularity.
As McCain revises and muddies his stance on warrantless wiretapping, to the extent that his real position appears indecipherable, Robert Parry argues that he "has sought to hide the forest of his neoconservative alignment with George W. Bush amid the trees of details." And on taxes and health care, a GOP endorsement of the McCain continuity.
Salon's Mark Benjamin discovers yet another lobbyist in the background of McCain's saber-rattling rhetoric about Russia, as the candidate tries to smooth out his approach to disaffected supporters of Hillary Clinton with a little mood music.
As post-mortems on the Clinton campaign are said to miss a crucial turning point, and the impact of her position on the war is largely -- but not entirely -- avoided, John Nichols attempts to raise 'the anti-war plank' as an issue for the Democratic convention.
Reviewing Obama's recent statements on Latin America, Greg Grandin sees little reason to expect that the Monroe Doctrine is going away any time soon, and Alexander Cockburn predicts increased emphasis on "efficiency" rather than principle as the general election approaches.
After his speech at the National Conference for Media Reform (more video here) emphasizing the clash between media consolidation and democracy, Bill Moyers turns tables on one attempted Fox News ambush, telling the reporter, "If you can't come on my show, send somebody below you. Send Bill O'Reilly."
In a discussion with Moyers about the reception and significance of Scott McClellan's confessions, McClatchy's Jonathan Landay remarks that what most disappoints him is the media's failure to take advantage of this opportunity to "do the mea culpa they never did."
Amid growing concerns about a government crackdown on Russian media, which Garry Kasparov discussed at the recent World Editors Forum, Moscow's quirky English-language alt-weekly The eXile appears to have been shut down.
Although the GOP killed this year's climate bill, Greens look to post-election hopes, while a new study exposes the deep conservative think tank roots of the 'denial industrial complex,' and the contrarian environmental politics of Wired come under fire.
While California sorts out the legal confusion over gay marriage, gays in Lebanon are reportedly flying their flag amid increased tolerance, and as the OAS condemns violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Cuba approves free sex change operations.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Double Down Shiite lawmakers tell McClatchy that the U.S. wants to increase the number of military bases it operates in Iraq from 30 to 58, as part of a security agreement that the Bush administration is now saying might not be completed before Bush leaves office.
As 'McCain pledges to send unlimited troops to Iraq,' Iran's "supreme leader" called U.S. troops the "main obstacle" to "progress and prosperity in Iraq," during a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki, at which he also said that "The dream of the Americans most certainly will never be realized."
The New York Times editorializes against 'Threatening Iran,' Robert Dreyfuss considers 'The unique reality of Condi Rice,' and Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner, Shirin Ebadi, said that while the U.N.'s Human Rights Council, "has not performed well, we should not be interpreting it the same way as the United States has done."
Rep. Dennis Kucinich presents Congress with articles of impeachment against President Bush, and a House committee's draft report that 'Abramoff had White House Juice,' includes four new photos of Bush with Abramoff.
With Scott McClellan set to testify before Congress on the CIA leak case, he also discusses the Senate Intelligence Committee's Phase II report, which did not take into account the activities of the White House's PR group on Iraq.
After having successfully stepped on the release of the Phase II report last Thursday, Defense Secretary Gates 'picks new leadership for Air Force.' Plus: 'Politicians play general, generals play politics.'
"What a spectacle" declares Dan Froomkin, about Ari Fleischer defending the press corps against McClellan's "complicit enablers" charge, and Greg Mitchell calls Fleisher's case "misleading and weak," after having taken on Tom Brokaw.
As 'Polls suggest mixed effects of Clinton on ticket,' political reporters "are suddenly deprived of one of their favorite stories," Jay Rosen tackles the controversy over what happened 'When Mayhill Fowler met Bill Clinton at the rope line,' and Business Week asks: 'How will Bill Clinton manage his brand?'
"If a Democratic-leaning press can convince everyone that the economy is in recession, then it can influence the election," argues McCain adviser Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute, which is clearly outpacing the Heritage Foundation as the go-to think tank for McCain-related coverage. Plus: 'The Truthiness Hurts.'
With Obama's candidacy said to spell 'the end of the one-drop rule,' an argument that calling him black is 'an insult to his mother,' points out that "until fairly recently, 'black' was a political identification, shorthand for 'not white' in the long game of power held almost entirely in white, male hands."
Guernica reports on 'Obama and the Kenya deception,' conservative columnist Max Boot gives 'The Quds Force and Obama' a go, and Media Matters issues a call to action over a Fox News' host implying that a sporting gesture is a "terrorist fist jab."
As it's reported that 'Chuck Berry won't sing for "Johnny" in election,' the 'Beat lives on at a memorial for Bo Diddley,' whose death raises the issue of "people getting rich off somebody else's creativity."
In an interview with the Nation, Billy Bragg discusses his 'Royalty Scam' op-ed and his new album, which falls short for one reviewer who thinks that "we need people like Billy Bragg to be making better records than this."
Bragg's song about Rachel Corrie appears on a soundtrack accompanying a Canadian production of "My Name is Rachel Corrie," which is now being staged in Toronto, after the country's largest non-profit theater company canceled it in 2006.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
'Al-Maliki's balancing act leaves Iran cool,' Iraqis continue to be hot about U.S. security agreement demands, and Sen. Obama tells McClatchy through a spokesman that he wants a new administration to make it "absolutely clear that the United States will not maintain permanent bases in Iraq."
As the mystery surrounding U.S. mega-bases in Iraq is explored, Editor & Publisher readers weigh in on 'Brokaw, Rather, Fleischer, and the War,' which, the American "public is tired of," says NBC Mideast correspondent Richard Engel, interviewed about his reporting and his book, "War Journal."
A report that 'Mainstream media yawns as Kucinich offers impeachment,' likens the reaction to that greeting last week's release of the Senate Intelligence Committee's Phase II report, which, "probably could have been a lot worse for the executive branch."
A "Nightline" investigation into allegations of Justice Department cronyism was co-reported by Murray Waas, and Dan Froomkin continues his series on questions that reporters might explore 'for the twilight of the Bush era,' involving 'Midnight rulemaking, last-minute hires and executive fiats.'
As 'Three media mistakes on warrantless wiretapping' are illustrated, the New York Times is accused of circulating 'fear-mongering claims on FISA debate,' in an article by Eric Lichtblau, and the paper is also at the center of 'The great Wired drug non-controversy.'
"We don't know what will happen with the next U.S. government," said Israeli Prime Minister Olmert, and Ha'aretz reports that the U.S. Army is training Egyptians to find and destroy smuggling tunnels between Sinai and the Gaza Strip.
The pros and cons of Sen. Jim Webb for VP are aired, the Obama campaign scores a military message hit, and Greg Sargent explains "just how much of a back-stabbing Lieberman's attacks on Obama now represent."
As Senate Republicans block renewal for renewables, the press is urged to examine the 'real differences' on energy policy between Sens. McCain and Obama, who also offer 'vastly different health care plans,' along with 'contrasting economic plans.'
With 'Obama's lead stabilizing' in daily Gallup polls, the two campaigns stand together against exclusive town hall coverage, and as Maureen Dowd goes on a gender bender, McCain promises to "veto every single beer."
With 'Moyers vs. Murdoch' cast as 'Journalism vs. Megalomania,' Black Agenda Report asks, 'How will media reformers treat President Obama?,' and as Fox's E.D. Hill apologizes for her "terrorist fist jab" insinuation, she also loses her show.
One replacement host will be Laura Ingraham, dubbed 'Right-wing radio's high priestess of hate,' and called a 'character assassin' by the editor of the Albany Times Union, but to Talkers magazine, she's simply a "female issues" talker. Plus: Ingraham on "the American language."
Europe is reportedly 'Happy to see the back of Bush,' who, according to Germany's Der Tagesspiegel, "is not even popular in the role of the enemy anymore," while in Slovenia, the country's 'Youth Party "thanked" Bush - but it didn't really mean it.'
Thursday, June 12, 2008
As the 'U.S. defends Afghan border strike,' Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S., in an interview with Reuters, disputes the claim by Pakistan's military that the 'U.S. deliberately killed paramilitary troops,' but "stopped short of calling the air strike accidental." Plus: Tariq Ali on 'Nato's lost cause.'
The Washington Post reports that the U.S. now 'enlists and arms patrols in Sadr City,' the security agreement "concessions" that the U.S. is offering Iraq are analyzed by Patrick Cockburn, and Sen. Lieberman casts Iraqi opposition to the agreement as "a sign of our success in Iraq."
In response to a proposed ban on using private contractors to interrogate detainees, the New York Times editorializes on 'Interrogation for Profit,' and a former FBI investigator poses three questions on torture to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
As a report on 'Trouble at the Pentagon' cites private contractors who "have formed a cubicle mercenary force," a BBC reporter discusses her documentary on waste and corruption in Iraq, "Daylight Robbery."
With President Bush having "raised unprompted the possibility of a military strike against Tehran's presumed nuclear weapons ambitions," McClatchy reports that "The very fact that a military strike is percolating back into mainstream debate is a significant shift in the political discourse."
As a House committee report finds anti-Americanism at record levels, In These Times examines the myriad ways in which the U.S. government funds foreign news outlets and journalists, such as through the media arm of the National Endowment for Democracy.
'60 Months in the Red Zone' The New York Observer interviews reporters about covering Iraq, including John Burns, who predicts that the conflict "is a long way away from over," and 'Kurdistan's muckraking media test free speech limits.'
Robert Parry describes how Sen. McCain "willfully accused Obama of disparaging the U.S. Constitution," the DNC goes into rapid-response mode following McCain's comment that it's "not too important" when U.S. troops come home from Iraq, and 'Lieberman makes political issue of John McCain's son.'
The surfacing of a video in which McCain calls himself computer "illiterate," follows a discussion about his difficulty in dealing with the advent of video fact-checking, and his decision to update comparing his opponent to Jimmy Carter instead of William Jennings Bryan.
McCain, who has also latched onto a sport that's in decline, finds himself faced with the possibility of having peaked in the polls, a 'New Gang of 14' Congressional Republicans who have refused to publicly endorse or support him, and a potential running mate with a "spiritually experimental past."
Fox News labels Michelle Obama, "Obama's Baby Mama," Bill O'Reilly's viewers are informed that Rupert Murdoch predicted the Iraq war would lead to $20 per-barrel oil, and without Fox, there would have been precious little mainstream media coverage of last week's media reform conference.
The finalists are named for "The MOLLY National Journalism Prize," Amy Goodman extends a "Welcome to Democracy Now!, Scott McClellan," -- who now says that "we need more Helen Thomases in the press corps" -- and the New Republic rolls out 'The Bush Apostate Matrix.'
As a post-campaign "enemies list" highlights a flirtation gone bad, a Minnesota pastor and delegate to the GOP national convention, takes heat for having told parishioners, "If you are a Christian, you cannot support Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama." Plus: Meet "The Family."
'Shooting America' With the publication of a 50th anniversary edition of Robert Frank's "The Americans," the Telegraph reports on Frank's 1955 arrest in Arkansas, where a "paranoid cop thought he had apprehended a spy."
Friday, June 13, 2008
Following 'A death in the family,' Tim Russert is remembered for having 'had a gusto for politics leavened with affability,' and, writes Matthew Yglesias, while "The fruits of Russertism are not always sweet, anyone working professionally in the political journalism game needs to respect Russert's achievements."
Following the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision that detainees have habeas corpus rights, the Center for Constitutional Rights weighs the implications for detainees at Guantanamo, scores of whom could now be freed, but the Attorney General says the decision "does not concern military commission trials."
With 'McCain rebuffed, Obama vindicated' by the ruling, Justice Scalia erupts with dire predictions, cited approvingly by the McCain campaign, but Slate's Dahlia Lithwick suspects that the dissenters "are worried about the risk of ... what? Not an actual mistaken release, but a day in court."
As the DOJ tries keep it off-the-record, and right wing bloggers reach for a quick response, President Bush grudgingly accepts the decision of a "deeply divided court" which, Jack Balkin reminds, could have gone otherwise, with implications that Robert Parry addresses in 'the republic on a knife's edge.'
A new report from the Pew Global Attitudes Project finds 'global image of U.S. improves slightly' apparently driven by anticipations of Bush's departure, and despite efforts to put a good face on things, Spiegel notes that, according to a new survey, that 77 percent of Germans rate his government's work as "bad."
Spiegel also goes in depth on 'how Germany Is dismantling civil rights amid terror fears,' while the "slow strangulation of fundamental British freedoms," is cited in the resignation of conservative British MP, although other motives for doing so have become the source of intense speculation.
Iraq's prime minister talks of an "impasse" and Muqtada al Sadr readies his fighters in opposition to the draft security agreement, but Bush dismisses opposition as "noise in the system," while IPS's Gareth Porter unpacks some slippery wording designed to conceal the administration's negotiating aims.
The video-release defense of Tuesday's attack on the Pakistani-Afghan border appears to account for only "three of the dozen or so bomb strikes," while "even the interpreters have given up interpreting" in a BBC video of American troops' encounter with a Pashtun elder. Plus: 'Good War Blues.'
After 'fueling a renewed offshore drilling debate' with unfounded rumors of Chinese drilling off the Cuban coast, Vice President Cheney admits error, while Dan Froomkin raises concerns about what else he's up to these days.
Michael Klare highlights the failures of 'garrisoning the global gas station' as a national energy policy, while the nuclear power industry gets "slapped with some serious sticker shock" in the U.S., and falls short of expectations in Britain and France.
The Nation takes on the growing class divide, from a graphic depiction of 'plutocracy reborn' to Naomi Klein's critique of 'Obama's Chicago Boys,' while the Tax Policy Center charts some projections of McCain's class impact.
Fox News acknowledges "poor judgment" in the way it headlined the GOP's new surrogate target, and adds Huckabee to its lineup, while the National Press Club hosts an Obama critic known for some outrageous claims.
Despite a rare loss in court, and a report on some trigger-happy Canadian police, Taser International remains poised, the Minnesota Independent reports, "to make millions from fear mongering, slick marketing and the Republican National Convention."
A POGO report questions whether the SBA is "lying to Congress and the public about the diversion of federal small business contracts to some of the largest companies in the world," as 'business boosterism' slips a positive spin into foreclosure headlines.
Against the background of growing, albeit complexly motivated, Korean beef protests and worries about salmonella-infected tomatoes, Paul Krugman faults a regulatory policy which showcases "systematic appointment of foxes to guard henhouses."
A pro-creationism bill which passed the Louisiana House of Representatives 94-3, moves towards the desk of the state's governor, whose stint as an exorcist raises questions of authority, as an assessment is made of the impact of other ideological decisions coming out of the governor's office.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Iraqis put the brakes on negotiations for a status of forces agreement, with Prime Minister Maliki even floating the idea that 'Iraq might ask the U.S. to leave,' and the shadow of 'America's Ziggurats' looming ever larger in the background.
Muqtada Sadr's political bloc fine tunes its electoral strategy with what one analyst terms an 'outside-inside game,' and Iraqi troops mass around the southern city of Amara, in "an operation with military and political objectives." Meanwhile in Britain, Prime Minister Brown is reportedly 'ready to rain on Bush parade with Iraq troop pull-out.'
With the narrative of victory in Iraq going into rewrite, the cover of the Economist is seen to be reframing "mission accomplished" with "a potential American repudiation as the result of a country that ... might somehow not need our fixing anymore."
After hundreds of militants escape from a prison in Afghanistan where hunger strikers had earlier this year "stitched their mouths shut" in protest, the Afghan president, frustrated by cross-border raids, 'threatens to send troops into Pakistan.'
McClatchy launches its investigative series 'Guantanamo: Beyond the Law' with a look at how the U.S. got the wrong guys, and routine abuse at Afghan bases, while a Fair report follows the media's rehabilitation of waterboarding as 'an aquatic sport.'
In the wake of the Supreme Court's Guantanamo ruling, Helena Cobban notes that a brief filed with the case by seven Israeli law professors argues that the treatment of detainees in Guantanamo is 'worse than what Israel does,' and legal scholars discuss 'what's at stake: law and justice in a new administration.'
In reactions to the court's ruling on the right, the flavor of the day appears to be 'hyperbolic apocalypse,' as McCain ramps it up for the election, leading William Kristol to predict that he will join Sen. Graham in introducing legislation to reverse the decision.
The New York Times examines the 'seeds of McCain's war views' in a thesis from 1974, while Matt Taibbi finds 'Full Metal McCain' still "stuck in the same dumb flashback ... the seemingly endless quest to crush the mythical leftist revolution."
Frank Rich debunks the notion that angry women are easy marks for the McCain campaign's "feminist cross-dressing," but Susan Faludi, noting how Obama keeps refusing to pose as Daniel Boone, warns that the gender war is far from over. Plus: 'The McCain Loyalty Oath.'
With its round the clock coverage of the death of an 'insider,' observes Danny Schechter, "TV honors its own ... as another way of honoring itself," but the Progressive's Matthew Rothschild ventures 'a discordant note' citing Tim Russert's record on the war.
In response to widespread complaints that ISPs are "throttling P2P applications," Google announces that it is developing a 'net neutrality detector,' and as ISPs test 'charging by the byte,' questions are raised about who exactly would be rerouted to "Comcast detention hall" in this latest assault on net neutrality.
As a new survey finds a 'record percentage of Americans use internet for politics,' the AP ponders how to respond to bipartisan pushback against its attempt to sanction unauthorized posting of excerpts of its stories.
Following the collapse of a "u-turn narrative" that forced AP to issue a clarification, Real News discusses what's at stake in Hugo Chavez's call for an end to armed struggle in Latin America, and the New Yorker profiles Venezuela's leader as 'Fidel's Heir.'
As bills to protect millions of acres of wilderness move through Congress, 'Bush gives OK for oil companies to harm polar bears,' and 'tries to raid salmon disaster funds' despite multiplying threats to populations of wild salmon.
The governor of Louisiana makes a public plea for "intelligent design," while a Washington Post piece investigates how '"pro-life" drugstores market beliefs,' and an investigation by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation uncovers how 'Rapture-Ready Evangelicals Impersonate Army Officers.'
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
As the Senate begins hearings into the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody, a Senate investigation reportedly "provides dramatic new evidence that the use of the aggressive techniques was planned at the top levels of the Bush administration." Plus: 'Blurring the boundaries between healers and interrogators.'
McClatchy publishes the third installment of 'Guantanamo: Beyond the Law,' and its Washington bureau chief is interviewed about the series, on the day McClatchy announced that it was cutting 10 percent of its staff.
As the New York Times profiles "a Taliban commander who presents one of the biggest threats to NATO and U.S. forces" in Afghanistan, hundreds of Taliban fighters reportedly take control of seven villages near Kandahar, as part of what appears to be a major offensive.
The practice of "drop weapons" by U.S. soldiers is examined, and with "roughly 22,000 Iraqis in U.S. military internment in Iraq," a contract on storing detainee property reveals that the U.S. is planning for "the anticipated surge of approximately 15,000 detainees in the upcoming six months." Plus: 'Iraqi violence down; war's root causes unresolved.'
Video reports show 'The hellish aftermath of war,' and how 'Iraq's poor struggle to survive,' and a U.S. Army official says that he was fired for refusing "to approve paying more than $1 billion in questionable charges to KBR," which, according to a Pentagon audit, also overcharged the U.S. Navy in the aftermath of Katrina.
As the 'U.S. Attorneys scandal enters the criminal prosecutions phase,' a federal judge dismisses CREW's lawsuit seeking White House e-mails, and in advance of Scott McClellan's testimony, a House committee subpoenas records of the FBI's interviews with Bush and Cheney on the outing of Valerie Plame.
An argument is made for why Sen. McCain should "release his complete naval records," Dana Milbank describes "a typical day in the life of McCain," George Will takes him to task for 'Posturing on Guantanamo,' and David Corn asks: 'Why Is Carly Fiorina McCain's Favorite CEO?'
Following California's ''long road to legal same-sex marriages' a lesbian couple of 55 years again say "I do," and with gay couples 'emphasizing low-key weddings,' Bill Berkowitz previews a "showdown of epic proportions."
As Fox gives voice to a Tennessee Democrat who says Obama "may be terrorist connected for all I can tell," Farhad Manjoo, who wrote an article identifying Andy Martin as an originator of the Obama is a Muslim rumor, doesn't like what he sees at FightTheSmears.com.
As Dan Froomkin illustrates how "President Bush's contempt for those who question him or doubt his accomplishments has been on full display lately," Bush joins an ally and an adversary as the world's least-trusted leaders
After penning his 'Article of Impeachment,' Gore Vidal told one interviewer that it will take "100 years to repair the damage" caused by Bush, and after another thanked him by saying that "it was a great pleasure talking to you," Vidal responded, "I doubt that."
Slate reports on how Google 'rankles the right by declining to commemorate certain holidays,' the New Yorker posts Ken Auletta's video interview with Google's chairman and CEO, and an Atlantic cover story asks: 'Is Google making us stupid?'
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
"How on Earth did we get to the point where a United States government lawyer would say that ... torture is subject to perception?," asked Sen. Carl Levin, during a hearing on aggressive interrogation techniques, video here, after which Salon constructed 'A timeline to Bush government torture.'
The documents released by Levin's committee also confirmed that the U.S. hid detainees from the Red Cross, and, a new report from Physicians for Human Rights, finds "evidence of torture and other abuse" of prisoners held at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.
With a report that 'Senate Dems won't block FISA compromise,' the New York Times editorializes that it's "not a compromise," and the key immunity-related question is said to be: "Will the court be able to rule on whether the telecoms broke the law?"
'Baghdad insists on right to veto U.S. operations,' as part of a security deal that would end immunity for foreign contractors, according to Iraq's foreign minister, who, during an interview with a heat-seeking Wolf Blitzer, was asked, about Muqtada al-Sadr's forces, "Are you going to wipe them out?"
Writing about how "only the cell phones of the Iraqi people can record their tragedy," Robert Fisk cites a book of their photos, "Baghdad Calling," compiled by a Dutch photojournalist, Geert van Kesteren.
As a judge throws out the case against a Marine officer accused of failing to investigate the killing or Iraqi civilians in Haditha, an Iraqi law passed last January on rehiring Baathists is not being implemented, and the southern Iraqi city of Amara is seen as 'The Next Battleground.'
Curveball's Whoppers As "the con man behind the code name" speaks publicly for the first time, in a series of brief interviews with the Los Angeles Times, even "a fellow Burger King worker" says that "He always lied." Plus: Bush's 'Selective Interpretations.'
Aid agencies are predicting a possible repeat of food shortages that killed as many as one million people in North Korea in the mid 1990's, when the country was a 'Global Crisis Canary,' according to an essay published by Tom Engelhardt, who discusses "the sideline that ate my life."
The Obama campaign enlists Richard Clarke to counter the claim that Sen. Obama has a "September 10th mindset," President Bush enters the offshore drilling fray, and Sen. McCain ridicules Obama's support for a windfall profits tax, one month after saying it was worth looking at. Plus: That's the ticket?
As 'Oil prices fuel fury from the pulpit,' conservatives continue to mine the bogus claim that China's drilling off the Florida coast, which has been traced to "an inexplicable spate of letters to the editor at small and regional daily newspapers."
With protests being planned for this week's America's Health Insurance Plans convention, Dollars & Sense reports that more than one third of the aggregate tax revenues collected in the U.S. go to pay for health care, and CJR looks at how journalists contribute to the high cost of health care.
People are still toying with Obama's White House run, even after the managing editor of Wonkette took a stand, and Garrison Keillor positions himself as only "leaning toward Obama," despite having contributed exclusively to Democrats -- $25,000-plus in the last two years -- including Obama.
As Free Press unveils its '2008 Media Hall of Shame,' among the audio segments now available from the media reform conference are 'Media and the War,' 'How independent media creates change,' 'Netroots: what's next?,' and 'Privacy in the age of AT&T, Google and the NSA.'
A panel on gender inequality included Anne Elizabeth Moore, whose book "Unmarketable," describes "the ways in which the mainstream has repeatedly pillaged the underground, repacking what they find before setting it afloat in the sea of mass consumption."
Thursday, June 19, 2008
'It Was Top Down, Stupid,' reminds Phillipe Sands, who wrote the book on the memo authored by former top Pentagon lawyer, William Haynes, who was questioned about it on Tuesday. Colin Powell's former chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, testified Wednesday, but it went mostly unnoticed.
About 'The Great Torture Scandal,' Juan Cole suggests that "there are going to be some European countries where Bush and his cronies would be ill advised to visit," and the New York Times profiles 'An unlikely antagonist in the detainees' corner,' who is representing Omar Khadr.
As four Western 'oil giants' no-bid contract their way back into Iraq, the "Angel of Light" takes his leave, but there's no withdrawal deadline for U.S. troops in a $163 billion war-funding deal reached by House leaders. Plus: 'Running on Iraq: The ignored humanitarian crises.'
Antonia Juhasz, interviewer, and author of the forthcoming book, "The Tyranny of Oil," weighs the possibility that the next war for oil could be fought in "an area of increasing activity for both Big Oil and the U.S. military," and a warning is issued that 'Rebels could hit Chinese oil interests in Sudan.'
As 'The Going Exchange Rate' for Iraqi deaths is calculated, CBS correspondent Lara Logan talks lack of war coverage with Jon Stewart, at one point complaining that "this is an election year, so 'politics, politics, politics' all the time," with Iraq now failing to capture even one percent of the "newshole."
While Gen. David Petraeus is said to be intent on 'Fixing the First War,' the U.S. "has no comprehensive plan to build Afghanistan's army and police," according to a GAO report that discourages Congress from approving more money until the Pentagon and State Department develop a plan.
With a shortage of ships reportedly hampering deep-sea energy exploration, a deal is reached to plug the so-called "London Loophole," and "Countdown" reports on the "Enron Loophole," and the role that McCain economic advisor Phil Gramm played in creating and defending it.
Nader also reiterated that his campaign is "strongly for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney," and he had nice things to say about Tim Russert, whose memorial service included Bruce Springsteen performing "Thunder Road."
One month before the U.S. invaded Iraq, Russert interviewed Hunter S. Thompson, the subject of a new documentary, opening July 4, by the director of "Taxi to the Dark Side," which was just released in the U.K.
"A Nuclear Family Vacation" Husband-and-wife defense reporters, Sharon Weinberger and Nathan Hodge, discuss their new book with Wired, and on "Fresh Air," where they began by talking about how Las Vegas celebrated the atomic bomb tests.
The authors, who also took 'A Terror Tour of Israel,' and vacationed in Russia, have drawn up a wish list for a possible sequel. Weinberger was also interviewed on "The Daily Show" about her book, "Imaginary Weapons."
Friday, June 20, 2008
With a vote of 293-129, the House passes a surveillance bill that offers immunity to telcom firms and expands domestic spying, handing a major victory and -- should it become law -- enhanced powers to a lame duck president.
Although described as a "balanced bill" by Speaker Pelosi, GOP senators admit that the bill was "written to guarantee dismissal" of claims against telcos, and while resistance rallies, Sen. Obama, who earlier endorsed a targeted immunity supporter, has so far remained silent.
Testifying before Congress, Scott McClellan is met with derision from the right as he says that 'White House "overstated and overpackaged" intelligence on Iraq war,' and acknowledges administration efforts to "avoid public scrutiny and accountability" in the Plame affair.
Although not so eager to face congressional questioning, Doug Feith does seem especially concerned, James Risen notes, to eject Ahmed Chalabi from his revised narrative of the Iraq war, and Andrew Bacevich looks beneath such "exercises in self-exculpation" to discern the still extant and unresolved fault lines of Rumsfeld's Pentagon.
Reviewing a week of revelations about Bush administration involvement in authorizing torture, Chris Floyd sees 'Truth, But No Consequences,' as questions about musical torture fall on deaf ears in the record industry, and Guantanamo prisoners attempt to break out in 'a new era of court challenges.'
An anonymously-sourced New York Times report on a major Israeli military "rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran's nuclear facilities" makes the news in Jerusalem, while a neocon think tank urges the U.S. to strike first and go for the oil wells, and even an 'impeachment champion endorses naval blockade.'
After a year-long siege of Gaza, a new dynamic begins between Israel and Hamas, accompanied by revealing exercises in "message management," as both sides try to sell the agreement to their respective constituencies.
The 2008 World Refugee Survey notes that 500,000 Iraqis fled their country in 2007, and a series of reports from War News Radio explores the "current food crises gripping Iraq and Afghanistan," while Ben Lando examines the anomalous case of a 'resort rising in semi-autonomous northern Iraq.'
As President Bush reluctantly closes a contractor loophole, and a 'convicted war profiteer still lives the high life,' Blackwater complains of unfair press and opts for Shari'a, and Dissent reviews a spate of recent books on 'Mercenaries and the Markets.'
A trail of e-mail produces an indictment that "reads like a Hollywood script" for two Bear Stearns managers who are now "the public face of the the nation's mortgage finance meltdown," while more than 400 are indicted for fraud as a result of "Operation Malicious Mortgage."
As POGO releases a extended study of 'cronyism and favoritism in the DOJ grant program,' an ABC report charges that ex-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was 'playing politics with justice' by first firing a critic of torture policy and then attempting to placate with a plumb job offer.
Michael Klare presents the 'anatomy of a price surge,' as U.S. travel drops for the first time since 1983, and high gas prices motivate local politicians to get on board with light rail even in Houston. Plus: Where do the candidates stand?
With Obama opting out of public financing for the general election, the 'GOP pounces,' and John Nichols, while finding the decision disappointing, notes that despite earlier involvement in attempts to the reform the system, has in this campaign been "more than willing to capitalize on its dysfunction."
For critics, McCain's newfound enthusiasm for offshore drilling manifests an environmental incoherence that the press has failed to register, and ignores the environmental perils of offshore drilling, with potential political repercussions possibly exacerbated by the way this move aligns him with an unpopular president.
With John McCain fueling speculation about a nuclear renaissance with talk of 45 new reactors, Chip Ward draws on the experiences of Native Americans with uranium mining to highlight the multifaceted potential for collateral damage of 'Radioactive Deja Vu in the American West.'
A new poll finds that "three-quarters of respondents in 18 geographically and culturally diverse countries reject the use of criminal penalties to discourage abortions," and as the press muddies McCain's record on reproductive rights, Amanda Marcotte offers an 'anti-choice song review.'
Monday, June 23, 2008
Of the new FISA "compromise," Aziz Huq writes, "It contains just enough of a pretense of accountability to allow the legislators to claim a victory for civil liberties, as it sells out core principles of accountability and privacy." And Balkinization digs in with 'A Guide to the New FISA Bill,' Part I and Part II.
Sen. Obama throws his support behind the FISA bill in what's termed "his most substantive break" with the Democratic Party's base since becoming the nominee, but it's suggested that "from Obama's perspective, what's not to like?"
With a new poll showing that '3 in 10 Americans admit to race bias,' and an apparent uptick in visits to racist web sites, a SPLC report notes that some white supremacists are seeing the upside of a black man running for president.
The New York Times surveys reporters on the media withdrawal from war coverage, Broadcasting and Cable covers the decline of investigative journalism, and the misfirings of the Bush administration's ill-fated venture into Arab media are the target of one expose after another in the "free press."
'No Blood for... er... um...' Tom Engelhardt reflects on the New York Times' oblique acknowledgment that there might just be something to suspicions that the war was about oil now that the oil majors are returning to their old stomping grounds.
Upbeat assessments of the state of Iraq in the press appear to leave some major questions unanswered, while 'The State of Iraq' depicted in an optimistic op-chart co-authored by Michael O'Hanlon bears little resemblance to the grim portrait Juan Cole paints in 'The Real State of Iraq.'
As the Iraq government's crackdown on Amarah continues amid charges of "random shooting and beatings," a 'battle shapes up over future of U.S. role in Iraq,' with a Green Zone paper reporting that the SOFA agreement may be redefined as "non-strategic" to avoid the requirement for parliamentary approval. Plus: Flashback to 1930.
Although Nato forces have retaken control of Kandahar, the appearance that they are simply "treading water in increasingly treacherous conditions," is eroding confidence, according to a report in the Washington Post, and the New York Times adds that coalition restraint is also eroding along the Pakistani border.
Reviewing reports of Israel's recently disclosed major military exercise, analysts see not so much a rehearsal for an attack on Iran as "a concerted psy-ops campaign to rattle Iran and generate support in the U.S."
A piece in Haaretz explains why 'Israel is a long way from attacking Iran,' but William Kristol and John Bolton beat the war drums again on Fox News, while IPS's Jim Lobe in a pair of blog posts looks at how a Washington Post interviewer angles for war, and dissects the roots of 'neo-con rage,'
Although secret Pentagon funding is reportedly approaching an all-time high, duct tape remains a front line defense against bioterror threats, and President Bush is showing little interest in naming a White House coordinator for preventing nuclear terrorism despite a congressional mandate requiring him to do so.
While the Bush administration often talks as if diplomacy were "appeasement," a Mosaic report notes that 'Israel gets a pass' on this score, as a new report from an Israeli human rights group charges that the country's soldiers "regularly beat and abuse Palestinian detainees" even after arrest.
The "urban legend" that prisoners released from Guantanamo have killed Americans is debunked, as a New York Times report on the interrogation of a 9/11 mastermind confirms that he was tortured in a detention facility in Poland.
As the DOJ maneuvers to rewrite the evidence for Guantanamo trials, a new report outlines the steps necessary to close the facility, and a conference on prosecuting Bush administration war crimes, organized by a law school dean, aims to "pursue the guilty... if need be, to the ends of the Earth."
The New York Times public editor concedes that Maureen Dowd has gone "over the top" in application of gender stereotypes to Hillary Clinton, while the Washington Post ombudsman begins to look into David Broder's and Bob Woodward's conflicts of interest.
The Los Angeles Times publishes a series of reports taking stock of global impact of the dollar's decline and, as Bush era homeownership gains are wiped out, Paul Krugman calls for refashioning the law to eliminate the bias in favor of homeownership.
With a new U.S. government report detailing the impact of climate change on weather extremes, James Hansen will reportedly use the 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking speech to the U.S. Congress on global warming to call for putting oil executives on trial for "high crimes against humanity and nature."
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
As 'SCOTUS reins in president,' a federal appeals court rejects the military's enemy combatant designation of a Chinese Uighur Muslim imprisoned at Guantanamo, whose designation was based on his connection to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement.
The New York Times is urged to get SEREious about covering torture, Sen. Russ Feingold calls the FISA deal a "farce" that could permanently hide evidence of an "impeachable offense," and as an offline offensive against Rep. Steny Hoyer takes shape, the Washington Post reports on a 'growing online offensive.'
With news of a 'Bittersweet Iraq success story,' the Bush administration's 'Measures of progress' are criticized in a GAO report, and Rep. Henry Waxman calls on President Bush to declassify information about permanent bases in Iraq.
Six Iraqis and four Americans were reportedly killed in a Sadr City blast, and after a U.S.-allied Iraqi politician killed two U.S. troops on Monday, "colleagues said they could think of no motive for the deadly rampage," with one recalling that the Americans "used to love him."
As the U.S. confronts the high cost of terror-proofing its embassies, the U.S. ambassador to Albania is alleged to have conspired with that country's defense minister to cover up the illegal Chinese origins of ammunition bought by Pentagon contractor AEY to supply Afghan security forces.
With a new "Failed States Index" showing that 'Weak states got weaker in 2007,' there's a 'Leadership void seen in Pakistan,' where 'New polling shows repudiation of U.S. policies,' and where former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was barred from running in a parliamentary election.
Richard Clarke, during an appearance on "Countdown," where he was not identified as an Obama supporter, said that "McCain oughta fire Charlie Black," over comments made by Black in a Fortune article on 'The evolution of John McCain.'
As 'Rove empties out the Obama smear catalog,' an effort is undertaken to launch a war with James Dobson's pre-broadcast promo that Obama's "distorting" the Bible, and that he has a "fruitcake interpretation" of the Constitution.
With Obama being supported by Kim Jong Il, according to Laura Ingraham on Fox News, it's reported that North Korea is set to "inject some of its theatric flair into a tedious storyline," and John McCain's "Hanoi Hilton" captor speaks out in what the BBC describes as a "propaganda-perfect version of events."
A New Yorker profile of casino magnate and Freedom's Watch funder Sheldon Adelson, details how his ties to Tom Delay helped him land a Macao casino license, and his dismisiveness of Reza Pahlevi, the son of the former Shah, because "he doesn't want to attack Iran." Plus: 'Congressional resolution demands Bush act on Iran.'
The profile, which quotes Bush as having said, "I had this crazy Jewish billionaire, yelling at me," also reports on how Democrats have targeted Adelson in House races, and with both McCain and Obama in Las Vegas this week, McCain will appear at a fundraiser co-hosted by Adelson.
A report on 'Karl Rove's Trojan Horse among the SMU Mustangs,' warns that unless the United Methodist Church takes a stand at a July meeting, "neither SMU nor the UMC will have any say over ... an autonomous $500 million partisan-driven complex at one of its major universities."
The author of a new book on Rove, "Machiavelli's Shadow," said on MSNBC last week that Rove "helped arrange the sort of message, arranged the funding," for the Swift boat attacks on Sen. John Kerry, and scroll down to see the book's reporting on how Rove squelched talk of "Bush Junior."
As Don Imus goes there, again, the Wall Street Journal reports that the FCC is beginning to crack down on product placement, and with the Senate set to vote on funding for public broadcasting, Broadcasting & Cable remembers 'When Cheney was a "Frontline" fan.'
In These Times previews Tuesday's kickoff of the 2008 season of 'P.O.V.: A Home For Homeless Films,' which include "Election Day" in the U.S., the political "Campaign" of a "nowhere man" in Japan, and an Israeli director's "9 Star Hotel."
With the announcement of five winners out of 22 finalists for best media industry reporting (all with links!), a New York Times series on how China is "Choking on Growth" captures the Grantham Prize for environmental reporting.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
In advance of his testimony Wednesday on "why the Bush administration has lost so many terrorism cases," Johathan Turley discussed the "blistering report" by the Justice Department's Inspector General that confirmed: 'Greenpeace Bad, Federalist Society Good.'
'Will the national surveillance state prevail again?' asks Scott Horton, arguing that "Mr. Hoyer and his team really see no problem with the notion of an imperial president," and Sens. Feingold and Dodd vow to filibuster FISA legislation that includes telecom immunity.
As Douglas Feith is subpoenaed to testify about torture, Dan Froomkin proposes '20 questions for David Addington,' in advance of his scheduled appearance with John Yoo before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, which will be covered live on KPFA.
ProPublica reports that tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money was paid to former U.S. government officials, lobbyists and Washington journalists to appear as commentators on the U.S. government-funded Alhurra, about which Shibley Telhami contends: "In terms of impact on public opinion, I would say it's zero."
A Washington Post reporter discusses his articles on the U.S.- Al-Qaeda media war, and Al-Jazeera English reports on the controversy over carrying the channel on Burlington Vermont's municipally owned cable system, which just released more than 200 letters and e-mails it received on the issue. Earlier: 'Dear Al: Letters to Al-Jazeera."
With Iraqis view on the U.S. presidential election seen as 'Whoever Wins, They Lose,' three Democratic Senators reportedly "want the United States to dam negotiations on contracts the senators claim will, in part, further sectarian fighting" in Iraq, where a roadside bomb killed 3 U.S. soldiers on Tuesday.
As the U.S. military is accused of attempting to 'weaponize culture,' Nick Turse introduces readers to the Pentagon's "secret billion-dollar babies," five stealth corporations that aren't found in your typical "Perpetual War Portfolio," and the naval incident involving the "Filipino Monkey" is repurposed as both provocation and humor.
House Democrats and Republicans jockey over price gouging and offshore drilling, and Mexico's president pledges to keep fuel subsidies, which are helping to attract so-called "gas-tourists" from the U.S. to Mexico.
Sen. Obama's 12-point lead in a Los Angeles Times poll, increases to 15 when Ralph Nader and Bob Barr are included, as "both appear to siphon more votes from McCain than they do from Obama." It follows a Miami Herald poll showing Obama with a 16-point lead in South Florida.
An NPR article on the Obama campaign's courting of unregistered black voters, notes that in Virginia there are 360,000, in North Carolina, 340,000, and in Georgia more than half a million, which approximates Bush's margin of victory over Kerry in each state.
Ishmael Reed, scolding Obama for scolding black fathers, cites a CDC study in decrying the lack of "tough love" for Hispanics among pundits, and notes that "the black commentator who spends the most time on camera at MSNBC and elsewhere is Michelle Bernard, president of the far right Independent Women's Forum."
Bill Kristol offered assurances that John McCain will be out of office when "Baby Alex" is ready for the military, and Dick Morris claimed on the "Today" show, that there's a debate about whether or not Obama is "sort of a Manchurian candidate? A sleeper agent?" Plus: Obama's L.A. fundraiser gets Seal of approval.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
While Sen. Obama may have "sidestepped a potential political land mine," with his dissent on the Supreme Court's decision striking down the death penalty for child rape, he finds himself siding with Justices Alito, Scalia and Thomas.
A U.S. report sees world energy use 'Soaring despite rising costs,' Nevada Sen. John Ensign stalls a housing relief bill with a demand that it include renewable energy tax breaks, and Paul Krugman discusses Sen. McCain's "Lexington Project," which calls for 45 new nuclear plants by 2030, and was announced within 100 miles of Yucca Mountain.
As it's proposed that candidates' policy speeches be covered by a reporter with knowledge of the policy rather than a political reporter, Chris Hedges contends that 'Real journalists don't make $5 million a year,' and the Los Angeles Times' media reporter says that it's 'Time to make candidates answer on Iraq.'
With the current U.S. president seen as 'trying to impose a classic colonial status on Iraq,' a 'Blueprint for Withdrawal,' available here, prompts a call from three congressmen for the 'U.N. to replace U.S troops,' and for the U.S. and Iraq to end talks on a long-term security agreement.
As a suicide attack leaves 'at least 12 dead,' Iraqi authorities accuse U.S. troops of killing eight civilians on Wednesday, and wiping out a family in the process, and the New York Times reports on protection money paid to insurgents by Iraqi Christians.
One day after Lara Logan ripped CBS for its lack of war coverage, the network spent the first four-and-a-half minutes of its evening news broadcast reporting on Tiger Woods' injury, because, according to the executive producer, the "story was of major importance."
Writing about the 'The Bolton-Telegraph Scare,' Jim Lobe notes that since the departure of Donald Rumsfeld, the frequency with which articles from the Telegraph and the Jerusalem Post have circulated throughout the national-security bureaucracy, has diminished considerably.
As 'The changing face of Joe Lieberman' airs, conservative U.S. Rep. Chris Cannon of Utah, said he's "actually pretty happy" about losing to an opponent who accused him of not being conservative enough. Plus: 'How many cops, dollars and dignitaries does it take to screw in a political convention?'
The Los Angeles Times reports on the degree to which "Exotic illnesses afflict American poor," the paper's national economics correspondent is interviewed about his book on "The precarious financial lives of American families," and, see how the same story gets two very different headline treatments.
Dam Shame A recent increase in requests by reporters for dam inspection data, reveals that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been rejecting such requests since 2002, citing a U.S. Patriot Act stipulation.
American Lawyer offers a legal perspective on last week's New Yorker profile of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and the U.S. media is taken to task for its reporting on Latin America, by Mark Weisbrot.
Vincent Bugliosi again makes his case for "The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder," citing Bush's October 7, 2002 speech, in which he contradicted the NIE by saying that a Saddam-inspired attack "could happen on 'any given day,' meaning that the threat was imminent."
As a scenario is floated that would put Bush on the ballot in November, Rep. Wexler reiterates his call for impeachment in an interview on the politics of fear, and it's argued that "the House need not even impeach the president to hold a grand inquest into the powers that he has claimed."
Environmental scientists are now using raw sewage to determine drug abuse in communities, an Internet pornographer charged with racketeering and prostitution invokes Google to claim that 'orgies are bigger than apple pie,' and MSNBC reprises a version of its "thong day's journey into night."
Friday, June 27, 2008
Listening to the performance of the 'headmaster and the schoolboy' on Capitol Hill, Dana Milbank takes away the lesson that 'when anonymity fails, be nasty, brutish and short,' and Marty Lederman offers a legal critique but, on the question of torture, it's argued that even bipartisan condemnation may prove too little, too late.
Highlights of the testimony include discussion of the vice-president as barnacle, unanswered questions about the president's power to bury detainees alive, professed ignorance of the unitary executive, and the notion that talk about torture is too dangerous because "al Qaeda may watch C-SPAN."
The Supreme Court issues a 'landmark ruling that enshrines the right to own guns,' perhaps predicated on a new "constitutional right to convenience," but mayors say that it won't stop prevention efforts, and its value as ammunition in the presidential campaign is disputed.
Glenn Greenwald goes after Keith Olbermann over what appears to be an Obama-inspired FISA flip flop -- eliciting a testy response -- and as unions put aside reasonable doubts, 'Obama pays his AIPAC dues -- again,' and 'waffles on School of the Americas.'
'You're On Candid Camera' As Newsweek reports on Bush administration designs "to watch you from the sky," Writ looks at the efforts of a Minnesota community to get itself erased from Google Maps, whose expansive vision has raised concerns about privacy in both public and not so public places.
With a deadly bombing casting a shadow over Anbar, and the Iraqi military's hold on Mosul in doubt, questions are raised about whether Iraq is "coming un-surged," even as "unrestricted funding" for the war sails through the Senate.
Barron's says 'no war, economy expanding' and the Washington Post sees only a "modest" downturn, but a sense of gloom returns to Wall Street on the heels of sharply falling stock prices and soaring oil.
With 'America over oil's big barrel,' Paul Krugman notes that "conservative faith in free markets somehow evaporates when it comes to oil," and "Democracy Now!" hosts a discussion on the 'new geopolitics of energy' with Michael Klare and Arun Gupta.
Vanity Fair looks at how the one percent are 'summering the Marie Antoinette way,' Spiegel reports on an intrusion into the 'secret lives of the super rich,' and the New York Times intimates that there is plenty of envy to go around in the 'class struggle in the East Village.' Plus: 'Why hasn't competition come to CEO's?'
In the face of a no-ice forecast for the North Pole this year, even Drudge is wowed, while Mike Davis follows up dire warnings from James Hansen with scenes of speculation and desperation as the planet bids 'Farewell to the Holocene.'
Benjamin Barber writes of how the convergence of globalization and consumerism has weakened state sovereignty and thereby democracy, while E.L. Doctorow contemplates how the "Manichaean politics" championed by the Bush administration converts democracy into a luxury, and degrades the truth.
Creationism goes off the rails with the founder of Conservapedia and bipartisan in Louisiana, where no public official has been willing to publicly oppose "stealth-creationist SB 733," now signed into law by Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is also attracting attention for his castrating reply to a recent Supreme Court decision.
With journalism confronting downsizing, competition from the Onion, and "migration" pressure, a CJR article considers the prospects for outsourced editing, and Will Bunch wonders whether Lara Logan is being 'smeared for her criticism of Iraq war coverage.'
As one leg of the "axis of evil" goes poof, setting off John Bolton, Scott Ritter exposes the 'nuclear expert who never was,' and Mitt Romney explains how nuclear non-proliferation is a "liberal" idea.
The UN's '2008 World Drug Report' tracks a surge in the Afghan opium trade over the past year that has kept Iranian border police on opium patrol busy but, taking a century-long perspective, notes that opium use is down -- in every country except the United States.
Monday, June 30, 2008
In a new piece for the New Yorker, Seymour Hersh contends that the Bush administration has been 'preparing the battlefield' (text/audio) in Iran by funding opposition groups and conflating intelligence and military operations in a way that highlights the need for increased Democratic congressional oversight.
With Iran reportedly preparing a field of its own, and floating some other counter-threats, Mother Jones opens a discussion on 'Iran panic,' and Thomas Powers reviews the reasons why an attack on Iran would be irrational but not unthinkable.
A U.S. raid sparks a crisis by killing a relative of Iraq's prime minister in his own hometown, with the local governor charging that the raid was connected with the negotiations for the status of forces agreement, and calling for the U.S. to hand over the soldiers involved.
As the Friedman variation of the 'current fairy tale' about Iraq is dissected, Tom Engelhardt exposes some of the blood and bodies lurking beneath 'the good news in Iraq,' and a new U.S. Army history takes a highly critical view of the service's performance in Iraq.
Oil seeps back into the center of discussions about the Iraq war with revelations that lucrative deals for the oil majors were given a helping hand from the U.S. government, gumming up the benchmarks in Iraq and confirming the long-held suspicions of "some people in America" that that's what it was all about.
The Los Angeles Times' Ned Parker follows 'the rise and fall of a Sons of Iraq warrior' who is facing charges that Parker says "belie the notion of an Iraqi government moving toward reconciliation among its Sunni and Shiite populations."
Seven years on, new Pentagon reports highlight the "fragile" security situation in Afghanistan, where the Taliban is 'flourishing' and perhaps ready to step up attacks, as a U.N. official notes that civilian deaths are up 62%.
Claims of victory in Pakistan's Khyber offensive are said to be largely 'smoke and mirrors,' "directed against the wrong area and the wrong people," while the New York Times finds that 'amid policy disputes, Qaeda grows in Pakistan.'
Salon's Mark Benjamin reviews documents unearthed during a Senate investigation that suggest 'Bush's top general quashed torture dissent,' while the Washington Post looks at how the lawsuit of a journalist detained at Bagram may make the U.S. prison the next Guantanamo in court.
With FISA on pause, opponents consider strategy, Obama's own network organizes and revolts over spying, and Glenn Greenwald punches holes in the notion that Democrats must "move to the center" to win.
Charlie Savage writes about an internal report obtained by the New York Times outlining a draft agreement between the U.S. and the E.U. facilitating the exchange of information on private citizens that has outraged European privacy advocates, while AT&T markets the lighter side of wiretapping.
As Obama fans try out a new middle name, a scholar searches out the first link in an e-mail smear, and a former Pentagon analyst wonders whether Obama is letting himself be set up by Pentagon apparachiks from an earlier era looking to worm their way into a new administration.
Although the GOP attack machine is reportedly running on empty, the right accuses a congressman of egging on Al Qaeda, while the McCain campaign, in defense of the candidate's military record, turns a swiftboater loose on Gen. Wesley Clark and takes great umbrage at blog posts.
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