|July, 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.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Seymour Hersh goes on Al-Jazeera, "Democracy Now!" and "Fresh Air" to discuss 'Preparing the Battlefield,' and in an interview with Scott Horton, the first question concerns Defense Secretary Gates' warning about the U.S. attacking Iran.
With senior Pentagon officials reportedly "concerned that Israel could carry out an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities before the end of the year," Mother Jones asks a variety of observers: 'How likely is a scenario in which the U.S. or Israel strikes Iran before Bush leaves office?' Plus: 'Hawks belie Iran's "existential threat" to Israel.'
An 'Ex-agent says CIA ignored Iran facts,' and as 'Word of Bush's alleged covert war hits Tehran,' it's suggested that 'Iran should carefully consider if its nuclear energy programme is worth the effort,' and Jim Lobe asks: 'Does Iran have Bush over a barrel?'
With the Pentagon resisting orders from the EPA to clean up polluted military bases, the RAND Corporation issues a report on 'Shortcomings in planning for post-combat period in Iraq,' which was shelved for three years, because the U.S. Army blocked its release.
With 'Afghanistan deadlier than Iraq,' for the second straight month, 'Criticism grows as Pakistani military pursues limited offensive,' while the country's ambassador to the U.S counters that "There is a complete failure of U.S. public diplomacy in the Muslim world."
In a ruling that "ridiculed Defense Department reasoning as nonsensical, likening it to a 19th century Lewis Carroll poem," a federal appeals court said the U.S. "must present reliable and verifiable evidence to hearing panels that determine whether terrorism suspects should be held indefinitely as 'enemy combatants.'"
As 'Wall St suffers worst June since 1930,' and 'Budget pain hits states,' and even cemeteries, James Galbraith, speculating on a possible 'December Surprise,' asks: 'Is the GOP cooking the books to avoid recession till after Election Day?'
The New York Times puts Obama on the defensive against McCain in a report about his speech on patriotism, and CJR reviews 'What Wesley Clark really said, and how the press missed it,' as did numerous cable and broadcast segments.
As 'Veterans respond to General Clark's comments,' which he's standing by, Jay Bookman, invokes the late James Stockdale to defend 'Wes Clark's "insult" to John McCain,' and recalls "when GOP delegates to the 2004 convention wore fake Purple Hearts to make fun of John Kerry's war wounds."
A 'Newsweek political journalist transcribes McCain campaign spin on energy,' and reviewing Arianna Huffington's "Right Is Wrong," Jack Shafer argues that she "appears to be stuck in 2004 ... oblivious of the right's decline," citing as one example: "The omnipotent Karl Rove has fallen so low he's now working in journalism."
As a rare recording of Gandhi surfaces, some Tibetans are fed up with the Dali Lama's nonviolence, and asked what he thinks about when he meditates, the response from 'Buddhaholic' and Tibetan scholar Robert Thurman, draws this follow-up question: "You mean you fantasize about being breast-fed by Dick Cheney?"
With Obama reportedly set 'to expand Bush's faith-based programs,' the "sexhortations" being encouraged by some churches, are just "another way of becoming the best Christian wife -- to have tons of orgasms so their husbands can go to church the next day and tell people how they really made Jesus proud in the sack," according to the author of "Righteous."
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
'Through the Looking Glass' The case of Huzaifa Parhat, one of the 'Uighurs at Guantanamo,' is said to offer "a peek down the rabbit hole of capricious irrationality that underlies George W. Bush's 'war on terror.'"
As new details are reported on how 'China Inspired Interrogations at Guantanamo,' Phillipe Sands writes to John Yoo about his claim that Sands lied to a House subcommittee, and a former CIAer predicts that while "The highest level U.S. officials may dodge the bullets, at least initially ... the next level down should be worried -- very worried."
With President Bush's "bubble" said to be "as impenetrable as ever," Andrew Bacevich's op-ed on 'What Bush hath wrought,' prompts an observation that even with an Obama presidency, "don't hold your breath for radical change on the core assumptions of the Bush legacy." Plus: 'Surveillance protest group tops Obama website.'
As Obama courts evangelicals and proposes an expansion of faith-based programs, the Rev. Barry Lynn says, "Why not just go back to the way it was before this president's faith-based initiative, which is nothin' more than a kind of 21st century version of walkin' round money."
Going 'Inside Obama's Christian Crusade,' Max Blumenthal describes a meeting with some thirty evangelical leaders, during which "differences reached a crescendo when the Rev. Franklin Graham directly confronted Obama about his supposedly Muslim background and Christian authenticity."
While there's "No peace for Obama on Israel,' a poll finds that an overwhelming percentage of Americans oppose the U.S. taking sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and a Palestinian journalist's claim that Israeli security officials "broke his ribs," is downgraded to "injured" for U.S. consumption.
With 'Israeli threats to Iran seen as bluff -- for now,' Vice President Cheney is said to have an America first policy on attacking Iran, which is reported to be "seriously considering a new offer from six world powers to resolve the dispute over its nuclear program."
An essay on the first English translation of a controversial novella that "raises uncomfortable questions" about Israel's 1948 War of Independence, quotes an Israeli novelist as saying, "There was no scandal" when it was first published in 1949, "because the society felt itself so just that it could absorb a critic."
While 'Alcohol is flowing again in Baghdad,' there are 'Particularly long gas lines,' and with an 'Epic struggle for Iraqi oil,' a Stratfor analyst tells NPR that a U.S. oil well produces an average of 10 barrels of crude per day, but in Iraq, that number is 10,000.
Sen. Claire McCaskill blames the Iraq war for high gas prices, and as 'Oil prices squeeze Pentagon's budget,' to the tune of $400 million per month, Michael Klare says that "The military is coming late to an appreciation of their vulnerability to reliance on petroleum."
It's reported that 'Raw nerves remain,' following last month's immigration raid on a kosher meatpacking plant in Postville Iowa, which is said to have left the community "absolutely shattered," and the senior editor of the Cedar Rapids Gazette is interviewed about the paper's series on prostitution and human trafficking in Iowa, "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree."
As 'CREW files complaint about Sen. Norm Coleman's cheap rent,' Jesse Ventura has two weeks to decide if he'll enter Minnesota's U.S. Senate race, with a recent poll finding that he would hurt Al Franken more than Coleman. Plus: Ventura's Senate soulmate?
An argument that the U.S. is 'Not winning the war on drugs,' coincides with a study finding that Americans lead the world in the consumption of cannabis and cocaine, while a 'Psilocybin study hints at rebirth of hallucinogen research.'
Magazine legend Clay Felker, who died on Tuesday, is remembered as "the man who made magazines matter again," for having "Almost single-handedly ... made journalism a subject of popular interest, and, for offering one writer, 'The best interview advice I ever got.'
The New Yorker's Alex Ross reports that in China, "Western classical music is big business, or, at least, official business," and Joe Henry, describing how literature influenced his music, writes that "Flannery O'Connor was as important to me as Randy Newman."
Monday, July 7, 2008
A deadly suicide bomb rocks Kabul following a weekend in which the U.S. was blamed for a pair of deadly strikes on Afghan civilians and, as U.S. forces face extended tours of duty and expanded job descriptions, it's argued that more of the same will serve the U.S. no better than the Soviets.
Under pressure from continued protests, the Iraqi government considers an alternative to a full status of forces agreement for continuing U.S. presence in the country, amid some pre-election maneuvering over a matter of image.
The censorship of photos of U.S. Marines killed by a suicide bombing in Iraq is seen as emblematic of attempts to separate the public from the realities of the war, as efforts to insert pro-coalition stories in the Iraqi media are evaluated, and the U.S. military tries to influence the direction of Iraq war movies.
As documents come to light suggesting a "wink and nod" deal between the Bush administration and Hunt Oil over Iraq, Naomi Klein looks behind the new contracts and sees 'the greatest stick-up in history.'
Amid warnings that military action against Iran "would destabilize Iraq," Maliki cautions the U.S. against using his country as a launching pad, while Trita Parsi talks to Real News about the effect of threats on public opinion in Iran. Plus: Rumors of germs.
Sen. Obama's press conferences on Iraq are seen as an opening by the McCain campaign, which is pushing the line "his words do not matter," and heighten concerns on the left about an Iraq war stance that, Tom Hayden contends, has always been "more ambiguous than audacious."
In an interview with a Christian magazine, Obama appears to qualify his support for late term abortion rights in regard to cases of "mental distress," as broader questions are raised about whether the Democrats are backpedaling on abortion rights.
With a court ruling against the Bush administrations view on wiretaps likely to be undercut by the Senate's upcoming FISA vote, an article in the American Conservative wonders how watering down support for the Fourth Amendment got to be "centrist."
One adviser bridges the gap to the racially charged campaign tactics of the late Jesse Helms, and another supporter urges him to go after the gays to energize the right, while McCain himself confesses "I hate the bloggers."
'Bush at Monticello' Delivering a 4th of July address before a raucous crowd at Thomas Jefferson's house, Bush edits out his predecessor's religious views, as the GOP strategizes for a more stealthy convention appearance, and true believers anticipate a civics lesson.
A proposal for a truth commission to confront Bush era abuses and their enduring legacy makes the editorial page of the New York Times, even as suspicious omissions in the paper's feature article on Chinese origins of U.S. interrogation techniques are highlighted.
Following up on the work of a South Korean truth commission, the AP reports that in the mid-1950's American officials observed and recorded -- and at times gave approval -- to wholesale civilian massacres by its Cold War ally, but never interfered.
On her release from captivity, one of the first people former hostage Ingrid Betancourt thanks is Hugo Chavez, as the Colombian government denies reports of a $20 million ransom, and Anderson Cooper teases "how to beat" FARC.
With "soaring" gas prices making trains a more attractive holiday option and future hope, a Miami Herald reporter lays out the background of an expose of how an inadequate appreciation of the challenges ended up undermining the city's ambitious public transit plans.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
With the Senate reportedly set to vote on FISA legislation Wednesday, MoveOn.org joins those who are 'mad at Obama for spy bill flip-flop,' and a veto threat from the Bush administration is seen as confirming that immediate telecom immunity is 'more important than surveillance powers.'
As FISA opponents take to the pages of the Washington Post, an American Constitution Society panel addresses 'Threats to Privacy in a Brave New World,' and an NPR reporter appears to throw in with the "intelligence community," while 'Domestic spying quietly goes on.'
Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki's statement about a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. forces, was reportedly praised "as a "positive development" by an aide to Moqtada-al Sadr, while Robert Dreyfus writes: "Don't think for a minute that Maliki, or his Shiite allies, want the U.S. forces to leave. But they are under a lot of pressure."
A Washington Post article on al-Maliki's statement, claims that Sen. Obama "has recently tempered his position with a promise to consult with U.S. commanders on the ground before taking any action." Plus: 'McCain campaign wrong about Petraeus' "central front.'"
As 'Pakistan denies involvement in Kabul embassy blast,' Afghanistan's parliament 'condemns U.S. air strikes,' while efforts by U.S. and Nato troops in the country are described as "armed nation-building, not counterinsurgency." And, 'Back in Kabul, Never at Peace.'
A "string of six explosions" in Karachi on Monday, coincides with a report that foreign diplomats are 'ready to flee Islamabad,' following Sunday's suicide bombing, as ''The Taliban is making its presence felt at the gates of Peshawar.'
As a vet passes on vetting, Obama's venue shift 'disrupts networks plans,' but provides a publicity bonanza for one company, while an article on the children of presidents, prompts a warning: 'Sasha Obama, This Could Be You!'
Newsweek reports on 'How McCain is skirting his own spending caps,' as Politico lets stand his campaign's claim that Obama would raise taxes on 21 million small businesses, despite one estimate that it's 481,000, while a McClatchy article doesn't do much better on a 23 million claim, that Time files under 'Fiorina's Fuzzy Math.'
While a video of a sales pitch for a Green Zone casino development appears to be an elaborate hoax, complete with an apology, there seems to be some evidence for the man's claim that "I can assure you that John McCain supports this effort."
After the New York Times' David Carr detailed "the scorched earth between Fox News and those who cover it," a top Clinton adviser followed a top Clinton surrogate to Fox, which is pushing a corporate cousin's report about a '"Germ warfare' fear over African monkeys taken to Iran."
One critique of the New York Times profile on Rush Limbaugh, includes the observation that "Limbaugh may be a lot of things, but allowing him to get away with calling himself a man of ideas or 'intellectual engine' is simply preposterous."
In an essay about his book on the 1917 race riot in East St. Louis, Harper Barnes writes that "In general, white people, even those who have lived in this area for most or all of their lives, have never heard of the riot - a riot that arguably was the deadliest of the 20th century."
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
As an 'Online movement aims to punish Democrats who support Bush wiretap bill,' Jonathan Turley says that "what the Democrats are doing here with the White House, is that they're trying to conceal a crime, that is hiding in plain view." Update: Glenn Greenwald on the Senate vote to approve the bill.
The Chicago Tribune reports on how 'Obama's online muscle flexes against him,' John Nichols imagines the scene on the Senate floor if "Obama had kept his primary-season pledge," and it's suggested that FISA opponents send their Obama money to Feingold.
As it's reported that 'Cheney's office pushed for trims to EPA congressional testimony,' there are indications that "Robert Gates and Pentagon realists appear to have wrenched our Iran policy from the hands of the Cheneyites."
An AP analysis finds that "U.S. exports to Iran grew more than tenfold during President Bush's years in office," (no joke!), the Saudis are said to realize that 'Iran won't go away,' and Human Rights Watch issues a report on "Abuses against Asian domestic workers in Saudi Arabia."
As the 'Pentagon chief downplays Iraqi calls for withdrawal,' Sen. McCain is said to find himself "in a political box," and one report that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, "rejected any security agreement with the U.S.," during a meeting with Iraq's national security counselor, is seconded by another suggesting that "Sistani read him the riot act."
The Iraqi army forms a new unit to repair damaged oil pipelines quicker, the New York Times is alerted to 'All the oil news that's fit to print,' and Noam Chomsky cites "a remarkably brazen statement about exploiting the resources of Iraq," in last year's "Declaration of Principles" between the U.S. and Iraq.
As Sen. Obama addresses the issue of private contractors, Politico reports on a lobbying effort being undertaken on behalf of "a trade group blandly called the Professional Services Council," that includes Blackwater USA, Boeing, DynCorp International and KBR. See lobbying expenditures for the group and its PR firm.
Former secretaries of state James Baker and Warren Christopher make the case for a new war powers resolution that would require the president to consult with Congress before going to war, but it's argued that their "underlying assumption is flawed."
As 'Waxman threatens Mukasey with contempt over leak,' he's also 'Taking aim at the next Karl Rove,' asking: "Why should we be using taxpayer dollars to have a person solely in charge of politics in the White House?"
As a 'Palestinian village takes on Israeli military,' Ha'aretz reports that "Only 10 percent of the instances in which Palestinians accused settlers of attacking them ended up in indictments," according to data from an Israeli human rights group, and Jim Lobe ponders "the relationship between humiliation and the neo-conservative worldview."
Following the airing of a Channel 4 documentary that spotlighted Islamophobia in the British press, particularly the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sun, Mark Steel suggests that "Maybe Muslim newspapers should retaliate by publishing their own made-up stories."
Rep. Virgil Goode, a perpetuator of the still being perpetuated myth that China is drilling for oil off the coast of Cuba, appeared in a July 4th parade accompanied by a Hummer. Plus: 'One rich oil man knows the party is over.'
Thursday, July 10, 2008
'The civil liberties board goes dark under Bush,' and he thanks Congress for passing "a vital piece of legislation," that Sen. Russ Feingold calls "a black mark, not only on the Democrats, but on the Congress, and really the history of our country."
As 'Dems follow Obama down centrist path,' and 'take shift in stride,' Sen. Chris Dodd says that "Opponents of retroactive immunity can take solace in knowing that it will still ultimately be the judiciary that decides whether any of this would have passed muster with the framers." And, the ACLU wants to put your name in a big newspaper ad!
There was not a word about the FISA vote on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," despite its incessant promotion about how the program is "keeping them honest." Instead, leading the "Evening Buzz," was "Trash-Talking Obama."
During Senate testimony, Attorney General Mukasey 'denies politics at Justice, surprising Democrats,' including Sen. Biden, who called Mukasey "an enigma," and said that "You act like you float above, up in the ether somewhere."
"I was very struck that they often talked about Gitmo as a place where they were not physically abused," says Tom Lasseter, about former detainees he interviewed for McClatchy's series, but "The violence in Afghanistan at Bagram was just completely different."
As a study released by the Coalition of Journalists for Open Government, finds that 'At Age 42, FOIA Is Feeling a Little "Bush-ed,"' the Memory Hole is back, and it has the 'FBI's summer reading list.'
Sens. McCain and Obama 'Use Iran's missile tests as a chance for a foreign policy debate,' and while it's warned that the tests "continue a dangerous action-reaction cycle that could lead to war," Tony Karon contends that the tests "shouldn't be difficult to understand."
Laura Rozen investigates why so much sensitive U.S. military technology is winding up in Iran, and as U.S. officials talk up an increase in foreign fighters traveling to Pakistan's tribal areas, Stratfor predicts that it's "only a matter of time before Washington escalates its unilateral military operations deeper into Pakistani territory."
As the Army Times reports that 'Misinformation clouds new GI Bill," U.S. troops in Iraq are facing 'a powerful new weapon,' that military officials call "Improvised Rocket Assisted Munitions, or IRAMs," also known as "flying IEDs."
'Are They Really Oil Wars?' Although Ted Koppel says the 'U.S. needs to stay in Iraq for the oil,' the author of a book on "The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism," takes on the concept of Peak Oil, and argues that "resorting to military measures can, indeed, lead to costly, not cheap, oil." Plus: Pulling out of Iraq won't save the U.S. money?
A Chicago Tribune writer discusses -- print and video -- her book on "Mr. Gatling's Terrible Marvel," which, writes reviewer Johathan Yardley, "presaged modern warfare in all the dehumanized anonymity with which combatants and innocents are killed."
The 'FTC says it won't intervene to protect Internet user privacy,' at a Senate hearing on the privacy implications of online advertising, which was followed by a "NewsHour" debate between the head of the Center for Democracy and Technology, and the policy VP at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Carly Fiorina is called on her 'fuzzy McCain-speak,' and after CJR faulted the mainstream media for ignoring Monday's remarks by Sen. McCain, that "seemed to question the entire premise of Social Security as we understand it," the Washington Post reported that the comments are "only now catching up to him."
Both the Star Tribune and the New York Times, speculating on Jesse Ventura entering Minnesota's U.S. Senate race, describe him as a former Navy SEAL, which he is not, and if Ventura does enter the race, might a trailing Al Franken prompt some Democrats to conclude, "better Jesse than Norm?"
Vanity Fair photoshops 'The Frightful Faces of Fox News,' a 'Man retires rather than honor Helms,' and one month after Ed Kuck posted a banner slogan on his Republican club's Web site, reading, "Obama loves America like O.J. loved Nicole," he took it down because, "I found out it was inappropriate."
Friday, July 11, 2008
On a tape played during a preliminary hearing on allegations of misconduct in Iraq, U.S. Marines are heard discussing how they murdered four handcuffed prisoners after being ordered to raid a house during the 2004 battle of Fallujah, claiming to have interpreted a platoon leader asking "Are they dead yet?" as an order to kill.
Britain agrees to pay compensation in the case of an Iraqi man who was beaten to death by its soldiers in Basra, and John Pilger contends that this incident remains a key exhibit for understanding 'how Britain wages war.'
Newly released documents indicate that, repeated denials notwithstanding, the Canadian government knew about the abuse of Canadian citizen Omar Khadr at Guantanamo, and a preview of Jane Mayer's "The Dark Side" highlights her discussion of a secret Red Cross report "categorically" describing the U.S. treatment of another detainee as torture.
Behind Prime Minister Maliki's demand for a timetable for withdrawal, IPS's Gareth Porter sees signals of a final Bush defeat, while another analyst suggests that it is the issue of control over private contractors that has brought things to a head in Iraq.
Although Iran's enhanced missile tests triggered the usual round of "bellicose talk," given that every tick upward in the price of oil militates against an attack, Tom Engelhardt suspects that "even where there's a will, there may not be a way."
As Mother Jones reports on "a parade of high level Israeli officials" on their way to the White House next week to discuss what to do next about Iran, 'some observers suggest the missile tests show a readiness to bargain.'
Although the expansion of a Nato base in Afghanistan is seen as a sign that officials have accepted an indefinite coalition presence, an official Afghan government investigation holds the U.S. responsible for the deaths of 47 civilians killed by air strikes in recent weeks.
As President Bush hails an Italian "amigo" who is attempting to secure a grant of immunity from prosecution, the European Parliament warns Italy over the fingerprinting of Gypsies in the midst of what one critic describes as "an atmosphere of increasingly hysterical rhetoric about crime and security."
Spiegel looks at attempts to tighten control over France's media by the country's "telepresident," who is apparently vying with a political rival over who can share the limelight with the country's most famous former hostage.
With a movie about the rescue from FARC already in the works, the McCain campaign toys with getting in on the action, but as questions are raised about the current story line, one observer recalls the cautionary tale of Jessica Lynch.
"Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter," quips President Bush on his way out of a "fiddling" G8 conference, while back at home his administration decides to "run out the clock on the EPA's finding that greenhouse gases endanger public welfare." Plus: A "mocumentary" about global warming?
The FISA capitulation is seen as political test for the strategy of 'strength through bowing,' while the American News Project follows the money trail in 'Finance, Favors and FISA,' and Bush angles to secure 'his (secret) legacy' with an absence of e-mail.
The EFF surveys the battlefield in the continuing fight against telecom immunity, as FISA's prospective aspects are emphasized, and a discussion of the law's role in 'the construction of a national surveillance state' raises questions about whether Congress has really ratified the president's wrongdoing.
Out of the country on a "long scheduled trip," Karl Rove blows off a subpoena from Congress, although apparently not on the grounds of executive privilege, setting the stage for a contempt resolution.
As 'Pastor Hagee's desperate news suppression campaign backfires,' the Catholic League targets a science blogger for a host of transgressions, and a Writ analysis contends that Obama's endorsement of faith-based funding jeopardizes separation of church and state.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Facing some ongoing public relations problems, U.S. and Iraqi negotiators have for the time being, according to the Washington Post, abandoned the pursuit of a SOFA in favor of a "bridge agreement." But an Arab media report adds that a "withdrawal schedule" is still on the table.
As the Iraqi government hands out cash hoping to prevent the return of the militias, Patrick Cockburn talks to leaders in Sadr City about the possibility of a Mehdi Army comeback, and War News Radio hears mixed reviews of the impact of Awakening councils on personal security.
Given the New York Times' acknowledgment that one factor in a possible drawdown in Iraq is "the pressing need for additional American troops in Afghanistan," questions are raised about why such stories continue to be spun as 'naturally good news for McCain.'
'The Wedding Crashers' Tom Engelhardt considers the implications of a series of four -- perhaps five -- weddings that were interrupted by American bombs during the course of Bush's wars, as it's noted that nine American soldiers in Afghanistan were killed near where 15 civilians were recently killed by U.S. bombing.
With the U.S. in Afghanistan facing increasing resistance from Pakistani militants and even former CIA-backed warlords, Joint Chiefs Chair Mike Mullen delivers a warning to the Pakistani government, but Pakistan's foreign minister insists that no foreign troops are allowed in -- even to hunt Bin Laden. Plus: 'The real crisis in Pakistan.'
Now that he has determined who's on board for his trip to Iraq, Sen. Obama, talks foreign policy with Fareed Zakaria and, in a New York Times editorial, welcomes a timetable for withdrawal, acknowledging that "Iraq is not the central front in the war on terrorism," but still advocating a "residual force."
As the 'collateral damage' of the global war on terror is assessed, a 23 year CIA veteran argues against 'overstating our fears' by conjuring up "the image of terrorists behind every bush, the bushes themselves burning and an angry god inciting its faithful to religious war."
What Jane Mayer documents in "The Dark Side" is the genesis of 'an American gulag' (Andrew Bacevich), that "This time the crime is worse than the cover up" (Frank Rich), and "what a country becomes when it decides that it will not live under the rule of law" (Glenn Greenwald).
On "Countdown," Jonathan Turley discusses the specter of war crimes, about which the Red Cross explicitly warned the Bush administration, according to Mayer. Other revelations in her account include the complicity of a former APA president and that a one-legged detainee was 'forced to stand for hours without prosthesis.'
A yearlong investigation by the Sacramento Bee probes connections between lowered recruiting standards and "controversial or criminal incidents in Iraq," as a new accusation of abuse by British soldiers is linked to an 'empire of sadism.' Plus: What the t-shirt says.
As John McCain's latest wisecrack about killing Iranians 'smolders in Tehran,' and caps off a week full of potential hits, Juan Cole wonders whether his 'sick sense of humor' should disqualify him for president.
Although the 'McCain campaign pulls plug on Gramm,' commentators on the right from Amity Shlaes to Sean Hannity take up the whine, while George Will pushes the envelope, asserting that Americans are "the cry babies of the western world."
The Accidental Luddite "I am learning to get online myself ... I am becoming computer literate," says Sen. John McCain, whose 'knowledge gap' in a variety of areas, Mark Weisbrot suggests, really should be a campaign issue.
An Obama caricature on the cover of the New Yorker encapsulating a host of right wing smears is said to be a bit rich for an "irony-challenged nation," as the artist who penned the drawing, no stranger to provocation, defends his work, and one observer wonders: 'White people: not ready for democracy?'
The interpreter who spoke out against the assembly-line treatment of meatpacking workers arrested during the largest immigration raid in U.S. history talks to "Democracy Now!" about what he describes as "the saddest procession I have ever witnessed."
Contemplating the food crisis facing the third world, a Dollars & Sense post offers advice on how to get the most out of mud cookies, while Corp Watch exposes the dark side of the tourist boom as "cruise ship controversies cross borders."
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
As interrogation video of a Guantanamo prisoner is released, the judge in the trial of bin Laden driver Salim Hamdan, allows testimony by the '9/11 braintrust,' and Hamdan's lawyers claim that he was in "Operation Sandman" for 50 days, and that "Sleep deprivation of that nature for 50 days would constitute torture."
Tim Rutten recommends that "if you intend to vote in November and read only one book between now and then, this should be it," as the author answers six questions posed by Scott Horton, including one relating to 'The ethics of a psychologist.'
With a report that 'What to do about Guantanamo vexes both Obama, McCain,' the International Criminal Court's decision to seek an arrest warrant for the president of one country at war is defended, while a proposal that the president of another 'should give those accused of "war crimes" a pass,' is ridiculed.
As Sen. McCain gets fact-Czeched, one of "about a thousand" polls between now and election day, 'Finds voters split on candidates' Iraq-pullout positions,' with 51 percent also saying that the U.S. is not making significant progress toward restoring civil order in Iraq, and that U.S. military action in Afghanistan has not been successful.
Although it's argued that 'U.S. candidates need a Marshall Plan for Iraq,' that's "financed by Iraq's windfall profits from oil sales," oil deals are reportedly being delayed by "political infighting," and oil privatization is described as a "red line for the unions," all as 'Iraq's electricity- starved capital goes solar.'
As the Afghan government calls Pakistan the "biggest exporter of terrorism and extremism to the world," a "NewsHour" segment on the "deteriorating situation in Afghanistan," includes a writer who has reported from Kunar province, where nine U.S. troops were killed Sunday, including a two-part series last fall.
The investigation did reveal that Karl Rove was told to "Keep up the fight," in an e-mail from the AP's new Washington bureau chief, Ron Fournier, who now says that "I regret the breezy nature of the correspondence."
The committee also announced that it "has opened an investigation into allegations that an individual solicited funds for the George W. Bush Presidential Library in return for access to senior U.S. foreign policy officials."
"We are witnessing a momentous event -- the great deflation of Wall Street -- and it is far from over," writes William Greider, while Rep. Barney Frank argues that "the problems of Fannie and Freddie do not stem from decisions they made," and Bloomberg reports on 'Citigroup's $1.1 trillion of mysterious assets."
Interviewed about "This Land is Their Land," which a reviewer describes as "a crescendoing howl against American injustice early in the second millennium," Barbara Ehrenreich is told that "This book is surprisingly funny."
Jesse Ventura tells Larry King that "I'm not going to run at this moment," but if "God comes and speaks to me like he did the president, and tells me I should run ... well, then maybe at 5:00 tomorrow."
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
In an article and blog posts, the Washington Independent covers congressional testimony by Douglas Feith and Philippe Sands, as Dahlia Lithwick likens the former to "one of those cans that erupt with an exploding snake. No matter who the questioner or what the question, Feith responds with a jolt of explosive, affronted outrage."
A federal appeals court issues a split decision on the "only accused 'enemy combatant' apprehended and held on U.S. soil," and Tuesday's pre-trial testimony by Salim Hamdan, "was the first time the Yemeni who challenged President Bush to the U.S. Supreme Court testified in four years of war court proceedings."
As it's alleged that British intelligence outsourced the torture of British citizens to Pakistani security agencies, the 2003 video of Omar Khadr being interrogated at Guantanamo, 'polarizes Canadian opinion between sympathy, outright contempt.'
Jane Mayer goes online and on video to discuss "The Dark Side," and tells ProPublica that "it's frequently not the president who's making many of these calls; it's the vice president .... I asked a lot of questions about [Bush] when I was doing interviews, and he keeps disappearing from the frame of the picture."
As a 'Kazakh politician claims luring Cheney to Central Asia in 2006 cost $2 Million,' Bush library fundraiser Stephen Payne is forced to resign from a DHS advisory post, and Ken Silverstein points out the friendly op-eds on Azerbaijan coordinated by Payne's firm.
With 'Iraq's Anbar province growing tense,' Tuesday's suicide bombings in Diyala province, prompts an observation that "For all the statistics showing improved security in Iraq, "many parts of the country remain astoundingly violent." Plus: 'Lieberman's oversight activities have watchdogs howling.'
As 'U.S. shifts policy to send envoy to Iran talks,' Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warns that "Iran would 'cut off the hand' of any aggressor against the Islamic Republic over its disputed nuclear program."
With McCain declaring that "I know how to win wars," he and Obama are seen as having found 'Some accord on Afghanistan,' but after McCain one-upped Obama by proposing to send three additional brigades to Afghanistan, he "modified his assertion."
As the 'McCain campaign uses online spider to ambush Obama' on surge criticism scrub. FAIR takes issue with how the Washington Post concluded that "Poll finds voters split on candidates' Iraq-pullout positions.' Plus: McCain still Czeched out?
Naomi Klein reexamines "The Shock Doctrine" on "Democracy Now!," McClatchy reports that it was 'A gloomy day for the economy, except at the White House,' and an NPR article details how with lobbying clout and massive political contributions, 'Fannie, Freddie Became Kings Of The Hill.'
As conservatives amplify a dubious claim by Lawrence Kudlow that a sharp drop in oil prices was the result of President Bush saying 'Drill, Drill, Drill,' Tom Engelhardt notes that a similar two-day plunge last week was short-lived, in outlining 'The Energy Reality We Face.'
With reporters accused of 'Shallow coverage of candidates' energy policies,' Dean Baker asks: "If McCain could look good proposing a policy that jeopardizes the environment for no visible economic benefit, why not push an economic policy that is a proven failure as though the past eight years never happened?"
As a Florida 'Voter law threatens to cloud elections,' David Rieff reports on the possibility of Little Havana going blue, and T. J. English discusses his book "Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba -- and Then Lost It to the Revolution."
"There hasn't been a better book about America in years," writes one reviewer about the British publication of "Divine Magnetic Lands," excerpted here, a travelogue by a U.S. expat novelist, that is said to be part of "a tradition that mixes travel, history, fiction and introspection into the literary equivalent of a new world."
Thursday, July 17, 2008
With the U.S. reportedly planning 'to station diplomats in Iran for first time since 1979,' the Bush administration's decision to send an envoy to nuclear talks is seen as 'another win' for the realists and further evidence of 'Why John Bolton is Right on Iran.'
As the Los Angeles Times reports on the increasing clout of oil-rich countries, 'Iran pours cash into Afghanistan,' Reuters analyzes how 'Civilian casualties fuel Afghan conflict,' and the U.S. military confirms that eight Afghan civilians were killed in an air strike on Tuesday.
While an 'Iraq Sunni Arab dispute may delay Anbar handover,' it's reported that 'Unrest surfaces in Fallujah again,' where "Authorities may have controlled the media better than the violence." And, U.S. 'media stars' find a reason to visit Iraq.
As Mitt Romney credits Sen. McCain with being "the person who authored ... the philosophy that said a surge would work in Iraq," the New York Times editorializes that McCain "has not matched Mr. Obama's seriousness on Iraq. Mr. McCain is still tied in knots, largely adopting Mr. Bush's blind defense of an unending conflict."
Romney also claimed that McCain supports drilling in ANWR, and Think Progress compiles a highlight reel of Republicans claiming that there were no major oil spills caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, one of the 'three biggest myths' about offshore drilling.
As the 'Energy debate excludes conservation,' an energy sector investor tells NPR that "the worldwide capacity to build rigs now has a backlog going out until about 2013," in a feature on the candidates' offshore drilling positions, which includes, 'How one McCain proposal could cut fuel costs.' Plus: Howell Raines on 'Crude Reporting.'
As 'Ashcroft defends waterboarding before House panel,' the first chapter of Jane Mayer's "The Dark Side" goes online, and a consultant for Human Rights First is blogging from Guantanamo, where on Wednesday, Salim Hamdan was cast "as a bit player in al Qaeda, an insider turned snitch."
President Bush 'claims privilege to withhold CIA leak records,' in what Newsweek describes as "a set of novel and controversial legal arguments," and with Attorney General Mukasey "treating the White House as off the constitutional grid," according to Jonathan Turley, Emptywheel looks at "what Waxman was after."
A Black Agenda Report commentary looks at 'Where Obamaism seems to be going,' and New York Times reporter Adam Nagourney responds to criticism from the Obama campaign over an article that prompted a Time pollster to write: "I've rarely seen a story so wildly off from the actual data on which it is based."
The Washington Post reports that 'Figures in both campaigns have deep ties to mortgage giants,' and the CEO of the mortgage company named HTFC, explains what the acronym stands for, in a lawsuit deposition.
Reporters for a Fox affiliate spar with McCain press aides over a camera angle, including one aide who McCain "uses to get him online," and another who flacked for the White House and the 2004 Bush/Cheney campaign. Plus: video shows how the sausage is (not) made at Fox News.
As Slate looks at 'The weird science of stock photography,' the New York Post appears to be trying to gin up an advertising controversy over the New Yorker's Obama cover, and the Houston Press reveals 'What mainstream publishers don't want you to know about door-to-door magazine sales.'
Friday, July 18, 2008
Perceptions of a newfound willingness to engage with Iran are reinforced by a Guardian report that the 'U.S. will seek green light to open base in Tehran,' raising hopes for an overall "cooling political atmosphere" in regard to U.S. policy in the Middle East.
Nick Turse explores the Pentagon's underreported role as a driving force in the hunt for oil, a 'GOP Senate candidate fesses up to pursuing oil deal over U.S. objections,' and Iraq's government slaps a '1-year limit on no-bid contracts.'
With the two parties serving up 'dueling Iraq videos' on line, it's argued that attempts to spin "the new reality in Iraq" are ignoring the 'facts on the ground,' and the call for a timetable by Iraq's prime minister is said to mark 'a falling away of the fig-leaf rationales' for the occupation.
Media reports appear to tap dance around "U.S. plans to escalate war in Afghanistan," while reviews of McCain's record note that he was 0-for-6 in committee hearings on the war, and had earlier suggested that this war was something the country could just "muddle through."
John Judis concludes that McCain remains entrapped in a cold war mentality, while Gareth Porter recounts that he couldn't get any of the Obama foreign policy advisers he talked to to commit to "a change of policy with regard to the whole idea of occupying Muslim countries." Plus: 'The American Idoling of Empire?'
Setting aside questions of constitutionality, a judge clears the way for the first Guantanamo military tribunal to begin on Monday, while evidence emerges in another case suggesting that the "entire military commissions system has been corrupted."
Although torture is little more than a joke for some at a House Judiciary committee hearing, more details about how the Bush administration shopped around for legal advice come to light, and the 'House votes to prohibit contractors from interrogating detainees.'
In "Kafka Comes to America" -- excerpted here -- a lawyer for an Oregon man falsely accused of involvement in the Madrid bombings gives what one reviewer describes as "an insider's view of some of the most hideous practices our country has allowed since the 9/11 attacks."
In an apparent attempt to fend off demands for an impeachment hearing, House Judiciary Chair John Conyers announces that his committee will hear testimony about Bush's 'imperial presidency.' Meanwhile, plans for a Bush memorial advance to the ballot in San Francisco,
Amid the jockeying for advantage over solutions to the energy crisis, Sen. Larry Craig opts for an aggressive stance on foreign oil, while Al Gore in a major energy address attempts to add some "oomph" to Democrats' attempts to find a "compelling narrative" on high gas prices.
With the Census Bureau set to disappear gay marriages, and South Carolina no longer quite so out of the closet, an Oklahoma politician tries to jump start his campaign with an anti-gay comic book, but in a new California poll 51% say gay is okay.
After mixed messages about gay adoption draw fire from social conservatives, McCain goes "out of his way" to speak against abortion at a pair of campaign stops, while his fumbling over why health insurance covers Viagra but not birth control has Jack Cafferty venturing a medical opinion.
With the nation beset by a host of distress signals, including a widening life expectancy gap, Congress revisits the definition of poverty for the first time in decades, and scaled down economic expectations fuel the perception that "flat is the new up."
At a Senate hearing that had "all the trappings of a Mafia investigation," one witness testifies in silhouette about tricks his former bank had used to help wealthy clients dodge tax collectors, while another admits that his firm helped 19,000 Americans hide $18 billion.
One pair of GAO investigations concludes that lax enforcement under the Bush administration has let "wage theft" by employers go largely unchecked, while another report looks into how the SBA allowed a program designed to help small businesses in poor areas to become "riddled with fraud."
"I'm not dead yet." Talk of a lavish state funeral for Margaret Thatcher -- an honor "routinely accorded only to monarchs" -- draws the observation 'some will throw a party, others a brick,' amid concerns that 'there might not be enough troops to line streets of London.'
Monday, July 21, 2008
Opening his foreign policy tour in Afghanistan, with an eye to the battleground states back home, Sen. Obama promises to send more troops, a position a recent gathering of Afghan policy experts suggested was "clueless."
With Air Force and allied warplanes "dropping a record number of bombs on Afghanistan targets," coalition forces "kill 13 Afghans in strikes said to be mistakes," and Ron Jacobs contends that 'Afghanistan is not the good war' and cannot be won.
Despite a lot of counter-spin, Spiegel stands by its account of an interview with Iraq's prime minister Nouri al-Maliki in which he endorses the Obama plan for withdrawal by name, providing a propitious set up for the senator's visit to the country. The McCain campaign was not so thrilled.
Word of a "time horizon" for withdrawing U.S. troops gives rise to multiple interpretations, as Rand Beers considers the possibility that from a "legacy perspective" Bush might want to just 'declare victory and go home.' Plus: 'Moving out of U.S. control?'
Although the main Sunni Arab political bloc has returned to the Iraqi cabinet, McClatchy reports that Sadr City is "seething with unrest, which backers of firebrand cleric Muqtada al Sadr are managing to control, but only just," and IPS takes note of growing fears in Fallujah that another assault is in the offing.
While the military debates whether it should go symmetrical or asymmetrical, Real News conducts an inquiry into what a rational American foreign policy might look like, including fundamental questions about nuclear weapons policy, and whether the U.S. really has to be number one in military might.
Concerns about the "militarization of U.S. aid to Africa" have AFRICOM going out of its way to "calm fears that it represents a new imperial push," as a regional expert looks beneath the surface of the candidates' views on Africa.
The launch of a war crimes trial at Guantanamo raises questions about the relative value of 'Fig Newtons and fundamental rights' and about who really is on trial, as a report from the House of Commons concludes that "the UK can no longer rely on U.S. assurances that it does not use torture."
Speaking at a Netroots panel discussion about what can be done to restore the rule of law (video), Jeremy Scahill punctuated warnings about "the most radical privatization agenda in history" with the reminder "that Blackwater and Dyncorp were at the moment guarding Senator Obama."
While DLC Chair Harold Ford makes the case against holding Bush administration officials accountable for violations of the law, Charlie Savage reports that felons are already lining up to seek a pardon from Bush, and it's argued that there are a whole spectrum of reasons to investigate war crimes now.
The ACLU makes public documents showing Maryland state police spied on and infiltrated peace and anti-death penalty groups although "In their reports, undercover officers repeatedly stressed that no crimes were in the making." Plus: 'The AT&T convention in Denver.'
Merchants of Debt As the New York Times launches a series on debt in America, some are 'calling on gospel to call off debt,' a new study links "credit card debt, access to bankruptcy, and mortgage foreclosures," and it's predicted that housing prices will continue to fall for two years or longer.
As Speaker Pelosi assigns the blame for high oil prices to "two oil men in the White House," Naomi Klein explains to Fox Business News how Bush's offshore drilling plan perfectly illustrates her thesis about disaster capitalism, and the Bush administration flouts restrictions on Grand Canyon uranium mining.
With Karl Rove away in the Ukraine attending a bigwig conference that the local press terms "nauseating," a campaign is launched to send him to jail which, even Nancy Pelosi agrees, is "where he belongs."
Despite what appears to be some "special treatment" from the military, the New York Times finds a whole spectrum of right wing intellectuals turning inward in "a kind of political EST seminar aimed at self-transformation, while John Bolton keeps repeating "intellectual collapse."
As Pastor John Hagee scrambles to recover mainstream legitimacy, Jews on First puts together a video documenting his factually challenged 'preoccupation with the Jews,' and the two presidential candidates settle on a megachurch run by Rick Warren as the site of their first joint event.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
"The Iraqi government sees that the end of 2010 is an appropriate date for the withdrawal of the forces," said the spokesman for Prime Minister al-Maliki, whose 'Iraq pullout line keeps White House scrambling.'
After getting 'Knee-capped by al-Maliki,' Sen. McCain 'indicates U.S. troops could withdraw in 2 years,' and as a New York Times' reporter claims that McCain has "become perhaps the chamber's most influential member," he takes a wide stance on international borders.
With Obama still refusing to endorse the surge, it's observed that "we've quickly reached the point at which every McCain sentence includes a noun, a verb, and 'Obama was wrong about the surge,'" which is seen as being "part of a rather desperate media strategy."
As PoliFact debunks a McCain ad blaming Obama for high gas prices, the AP reports that the money big oil companies "spend on exploration is nothing compared with what they spend on stock buybacks and dividends," and, 'Another GOP oil-drilling myth is born!'
Defense Secretary Gates 'questions use of contractors for training,' and an "Army IT professional" tells Wired that "blogging by senior Army personnel is a Stephen King novel waiting to happen." Plus: 'How the other half flies.'
As the 'White House threatens veto over expanded intelligence-sharing with Congress,' Attorney General Mukasey 'stays on White House path,' urging legislation to bar federal judges from releasing Guantanamo detainees, which Sen. Russ Feingold calls "an attempt to create an election-year security issue where there isn't one."
As selection of the all-military jury begins in the trial of Salim Hamdan, the judge excludes most interrogations of Hamdan in Afghanistan, "because of the highly coercive environment and conditions under which they were made."Plus: 'I got a Taliban, bro.'
Bosnian Muslims celebrate the arrest of 'poet turned war criminal,' Radovan Karadzic, and John Burns recalls how, at a converted ski hotel that Karadzic used as his headquarters, "he liked to hold court ... and make a show of his grasp of culture, politics and history. It was a Lilliputian scene, at once absurd and menacing."
The arrest, which is said to have given "badly needed credibility to international war crimes tribunals," coincided with Monday's meeting between President Bush and the prime minister of Kosovo, where the "most startling features" are reportedly, "the poverty of the province ... and the pitiful economy that keeps it locked in."
A review of "Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success," notes that with no more than five percent of its GDP coming from oil-related revenue, Dubai "has turned itself into a rising and nimble economic power that actually depends on everything but oil."
The above review appeared before the Los Angeles Times announced plans to terminate its standalone book review, which was called "a philistine blunder " by one former Times' book editor, who has been a vocal critic of book review cutbacks. Plus: 'Newspaper publishers knew the end was nigh - and they milked it.'
As a Fox affiliate in Las Vegas opens a news desk to product placement, LiveScience reports on 'The many ways retailers can trick you,' and a Slate article asks: 'Have corporate-sponsored Internet pranks gone too far?'
The editor of the Austin American Statesman apologizes for a now-scrubbed article about "Netroots Nation," while the conference's "schwag bag," confirms that "with over 75 pieces of paper and some natty condoms, clearly the blogosphere has arrived." And, strange Netfellows: Huffington Post and GQ!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
As Glenn Greenwald debates informal Obama legal adviser Cass Sunstein on "Democracy Now!," responding to comments made by Sunstein as reported by the Nation, Jonathan Turley expresses his concern that "the Bush crimes will remain buried for all time."
But Salon reports that "a movement is stirring in Washington for a sweeping new inquiry into White House malfeasance," modeled after the Church Committee, in an article that "provides names and dates that seem to corroborate the earlier Radar story on Main Core." Plus: 'The exaggeration of terror.'
Iraq's parliament passes legislation on provincial elections, but, reports McClatchy, "the secret ballot alienated Iraqi Kurds and very likely will lead to the postponement of the process until next year." And according to one analysis of the legislation, "the formal 'Lebanonisation' of Iraq has reached an unprecedented magnitude."
After Sen. McCain exhibited 'a fundamental misunderstanding of Iraq,' by falsely stating in an interview with CBS that the surge "began the Anbar awakening," CBS edited it out of what aired on its evening newscast. And Newsday points out that McCain also "tips a GOP attack line" in the interview.
CBS did air McCain's charge, also made earlier in the day, that Sen. Obama "would rather lose a war than lose a campaign," which, said Time's Joe Klein on CNN, "is the most scurrilous thing that I have heard a presidential candidate say in the nine elections I have covered."
The charge was test-driven last week by McCain's top foreign policy adviser, who reportedly lobbied for three firms owned by Bush library fixer, Stephen Payne. And as 'Opponents keep up fight against Bush library at SMU,' a Dallas Morning News editorial calls on President Bush to name his donors.
A unit of the Justice Department is offering counseling for protesters in advance of the GOP convention, which may be underpoliced, and as Rep. Ron Paul upsizes his shadow event, it's predicted that for Sen. Norm Coleman, the convention "is likely to be more of a liability ... than anything else." Plus: Alexander Zaitchik on Franken vs. Coleman.
As photographers photograph a photograph of Radovan Karadzic, Serbia is 'pressed to capture Mladic,' and while 'Court advocates hope Bashir gets message from Karadzic arrest,' Sudan's ambassador to the U.N. says of the International Criminal Court: "We have full right to be part of it or not. And we choose not to be part of it, like the United States."
Lenin's Tomb examines 'Crime and punishment in the neoliberal twilight,' Mother Jones introduces a series of articles on "The coming prison meltdown," and the Boston Review publishes a special "After prison" issue.
While CNN's "Black in America" does have its supporters, Variety rips it for being "about as vanilla as documentaries get," and for failing to "make the seemingly obvious leap of contemplating what Barack Obama's candidacy may say about the here and now." Plus: 'After 60 years, black officers rare.'
What Jonathan Yardley finds "especially welcome" about the book, "Now the Hell Will Start,' subtitled "One soldier's flight from the greatest manhunt of World War II," is that it fills a void in "literature, factual or fictional, about the daily lives of black soldiers," a notable exception being, "And Then We Heard the Thunder."
As Sen. Obama declares during his press conference in Jordan that "reality is reasserting itself" in U.S. foreign policy, Obama love fans out to Berlin, McCain's joking is complemented by an Obama joke, and FactCheck.org shows that it is not in the tank for McCain.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
As 'McCain doubles down on humiliating surge error,' by trying to expand the definition of "surge," he also repeats, for the second day in a row, the charge that "Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a campaign."
VoteVets.org spends 30 seconds accusing McCain of wanting to occupy Iraq indefinitely, McClatchy reports that 'Iraqi forces aren't quite ready to take charge,' despite being "unabashedly cocky," and Iraq's ambassador to the U.S. claims that al-Qaeda's foreign fighters are 'leaving Iraq for Afghanistan.'
Senior Pentagon officials cited in a Times' article say that "more stringent rules" in Afghanistan "required a significantly lower risk of civilian casualties than was acceptable in Iraq," and a Human Rights Watch "military analyst" claims that "the Air Force has all but eliminated civilian casualties in Afghanistan."
Don Siegelman responds to Rove's responses on MSNBC, Scott Horton interviews former U.S. attorney, David Iglesias, who wrote that "all roads lead to Karl Rove," and the Justice Department is accused of "stonewalling efforts to make sure this year's presidential voting operates fairly."
In an interview with "Democracy Now!," former Arlington National Cemetery public affairs director, Gina Gray, who says that she was fired for refusing to limit coverage of funerals, reiterates her claim that "from 2001 until April 30th of 2008 ... 63 percent of the families had said, yes, they did want media coverage."
As it's argued that the "America's Army" video game is not a game, but a recruitment and training tool that violates international law, the "NewsHour" reports on the "Operation Purple" summer camps for children of deployed parents, which have surged to 62 in 37 states. Plus: a report from 'Putin's summer camp,' which sounds 'extreme.'
Both McCain's and Obama's tax plans "would add trillions of dollars to the national debt," reports McClatchy, according to a study by the Tax Policy Center, the release of which featured a debate between the candidates' senior economic policy advisers, that did not include Phil Gramm.
A New York Times reporter is interviewed about his "off-the-trail" coverage of Obama, and Jeffrey Toobin is among those not feeling the "Obama Love," which includes a Business Week correspondent, who asks of McCain: "Whose Brand Is It Anyway?"
As 'Obama bets $5 million on Olympic viewers,' global advertisers 'cheerlead for China' and 'Coke paints Beijing red,' for an event that is expected to attract as many CEOs as the World Ecomomic Forum in Davos, traveling to a country that has a 'testosterone problem.'
Friday, July 25, 2008
Among the key memos authorizing CIA torture obtained by the ACLU this week is a heavily redacted document outlining a "good faith" exemption for interrogators, legal advice that one law professor terms "out and out fraud." Plus: Jane Mayer talks to David Letterman about "special lawyers with special answers."
One Guantanamo detainee turns 30 amid debate about whether he was tortured, the trial of another prompts the revelation that 'U.S. let bin Laden's top bodyguard go,' and the U.S. rejects an outside probe of a Canadian subjected to extraordinary rendition.
Talk of "very effective collateral damage mitigation procedures" notwithstanding, recent Western airstikes in Afghanistan have left so many civilians dead that U.S. and Nato officials have launched an investigation. Meanwhile, the 'Taliban tightens grip near northern Pakistan border,' and begins to 'encroach on Karzai's turf.'
The relative reduction in violence is seen by many Iraqis, McClatchy's Nancy Youssef notes, as "a complex equation with the U.S. troop surge as just one factor," while War New Radio talks to Bruce Ackerman and Patrick Cockburn about the difficulties faced in reaching a bridge agreement on the status of U.S. forces.
In response to an FOIA request, the Memory Hole gets a first look at the wood "prisoner boxes" used to hold some detainees in Iraq, while the National reports on how Najaf -- now being promoted as a tourist attraction -- has long been a 'corpse smuggler's haven.'
Despite an announcement by the U.S. embassy in Baghdad that it will expand its visa program for Iraqis who have been endangered by working with Americans, it may not be enough to keep up with the demand.
Regional press reviews of Obama's visit to the Middle East were less glowing, and a Iraqi who blogs for McClatchy expresses great disappointment that "he wasn't there for us," as an Electronic Intifada post goes over 'what Obama missed' on a tour that was less balanced than advertised.
Struggling to respond to Obama in Germany and to recover from a long week on the campaign trail, McCain stages a problematic photo op at a German restaurant, while the media picks up a "presumptuous" tag and Ben Stein pushes it over the edge.
Questioning all the soft money flooding in through the convention loophole, Amy Goodman notes that "the corporations funding the conventions have spent more than $1.1 billion lobbying the federal government." But at least DNC protesters won't be facing any "slime or goo."
As "Democracy Now!" interviews Tim Shorrock about "Main Core," Comcast reaches out to touch those who complain, and a Kansas ISP admits to snooping on its customers, but 'every major Senate Democratic challenger announces support for network neutrality.'
The U.S. Senate introduces an IP bill designed to bolster enforcement of intellectual property rights, and 'Yahoo! Music throws away the DRM keys,' while a new scheme to go after music downloaders in Britain remains, Billy Bragg contends, "clueless" about the nature of the internet.
ProPublica gets its hands on a complete draft of a Bush administration proposal that would make it harder for its successors to regulate workplace toxins and chemicals, as Sen. Barbara Boxer releases "choice excerpts" of an EPA climate "endangerment finding" whose full release is being blocked by her GOP colleagues.
As conservative talkers write off environmental concerns in Alaska's "barren wasteland," a USGS survey indicates that 20% of the world's undiscovered oil and gas reserves may lie further north in what might someday be "the next Houston." Plus: Salmon depletion prompts dietary adjustment.
McCain stands firm on offshore drilling despite encounters with a hurricane and a massive oil slick, while a congressional colleague scraps a planned Wildebeest hunt for charity in Wildebeest-free Chad.
As Bush drops another notch, Glenn Greenwald reviews the parade of "shrill, unserious extremists" set to testify on the abuse of executive powers before the House Judiciary Committee today, and Slate offers an interactive guide to who in his administration broke the law and who could be prosecuted.
Monday, July 28, 2008
As a deadly pair of suicide bombings shake up Iraq's "rickety calm between war and peace," Robert Dreyfuss zeros in on "three flashpoints" that could reignite the war, "any or all of which could blow up over the next couple of months."
At a discussion of the future of the U.S. troop presence in Iraq at the USIP, surge advocate Kimberly Kagan bluntly argues that "the future of Iraq depends primarily on American decisions, not Iraqi decisions." Plus: 'Colonizing Iraqi Cuisine.'
An AP report looks at the glitzy marketing behind the Blackwater boom, U.S. government audits highlight the minimal return on $142 million paid to another contractor for Iraq reconstruction, and Chalmers Johnson sums up some of the disturbing implications of an accelerated trajectory of privatization.
With the "war on terror" stalemated or losing ground in Pakistan, IPS's Jim Lobe suspects that Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani may find himself a 'pincushion for U.S. frustration' during discussions in the U.S., at which curbing rogue elements in Pakistan's intelligence services is expected to top the agenda.
In Afghanistan, where rising violence and government interference are said to be putting the 2009 vote at risk, an increasingly media-savvy Taliban is said to be pursuing a 'Baghdad strategy' to weaken support for the regime, and even 'using Western forces to eliminate rivals.'
'Is Afghanistan a Narco-State?' A former U.S. counternarcotics official suggests that a simple solution to the Afghan opium problem is readily available, but fails to inquire more deeply into the why of the situation, while all that is really necessary, suggests Barnett Rubin, is to "assume the existence of a state."
Although "credibility" appears to be the watchword at the now CIA-free Hamdan trial, the release without charges of another Guantanamo inmate after seven years in detention is seen as highlighting the problematic nature of 'indefinite military detention.'
In an interview with Bill Moyers, Jane Mayer notes that the military provided "the first line of defense" against the new interrogation techniques which, Dahlia Lithwick notes, were dreamed up by lawyers who "cited Jack Bauer more frequently than the Constitution."
A new report by the OIG concludes that former Bush loyalists in the Justice Department broke the law by politicizing hiring practices, which on at least one occasion included the question: 'What is it about GWB that makes you want to serve him?'
In its hearing on Bush's expansion of his constitutional powers, inspired by Dennis Kucinich, the House Judiciary Committee flirts with the "I" word, as John Dean considers the Nixon parallels and Bob Barr talks about what was accomplished.
Embraced abroad -- at least for now -- as 'the anti-Bush,' Sen. Obama appears to have become, as Frank Rich observes, the 'acting president,' filling the vacuum left by a lame duck who has become "the media's forgotten man."
A McCain ad claiming that Obama wouldn't visit wounded troops without cameras around finds an uncritical media echo, as wounded veterans rescind Vice President Cheney's speaking invitation because of "draconian and unreasonable" security demands.
Social and religious conservatives line up red meat initiatives designed to energize a GOP base put off by what Matt Taibbi terms "McCain's stubborn refusal to pull a full-court Huckabee on the God front," as GOP candidates down the ticket try to elude the associations of a 'tarnished brand.'
A "parade of lobbyists," the New York Times discovers, was "emblematic" of Sen. McCain's tenure as the head of the International Republican Institute, while TPM attempts to resolve the ambiguities of the senator's evolving stand on Iraq with a definitive timeline.
A Washington Post report on how large U.S. donations are adding weight to the right in Israel leads Chris Floyd to invert questions about the influence of the Israeli lobby and ask "just who is wagging whom here?"
NPR's festive celebration of the FBI's 100th anniversary is faulted for failing to touch on "its more troubling role as a weapon of government power," a legacy that still has some resonance today. Plus: 'FBI fighting challenges to credibility of DNA.'
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
As 'The Pentagon premiered a controversial, gory movie at a war crimes tribunal showing al Qaeda's mayhem,' the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson described 'A Torture Paper Trail' that was revealed in documents obtained by the ACLU.
"Terrorists should be perceived and described as criminals, not holy warriors, and our analysis suggests that there is no battlefield solution to terrorism," according to the lead author of a RAND Corporation study on "How Terrorist Groups End."
"If you could reduce these sensational attacks further, I think you are almost approaching a level of normal or latent violence," said Gen. David Petraeus, as the U.S. military now admits "that a platoon of soldiers raked a car of innocent Iraqi civilians," while declining to prosecute them. Plus: 'Accepting moral responsibility for Iraq.'
As 'Army recruiters threaten high school students,' an article on how 'Bush forced al-Maliki to back down on pullout in 2006,' describes Bush as "deceitfully attributing his own rejection of a timetable to the Iraqi government," and the Wall Street Journal reports that Richard Perle is "exploring going into the oil business in Iraq and Kazakhstan."
About Jonathan Chait's takedown of Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine," in which he calls her analysis "perfect nonsense," it's argued that while "Chait manages to land a few good punches, he quickly runs out of flashy moves and winds up exhausted and unconvincing, even as his opponent stays on her feet."
With the liberation of Thomas Frank's Harper's article, adapted from his book "The Wrecking Crew," it's observed that "The great thing about ... reading Tom's new book is that for weeks afterward the daily news will resemble nothing more than a full-color illustration of its findings."
As war costs are downplayed in reports on the budget deficit, Barbara Ehrenreich cites a Massachusetts woman who "found her own solution to the housing crisis," while according to Ben Stein, 'everything is fine.'
With a 'Grand Strategy for the Middle East' unveiled by Kenneth Pollack, PBS's ombudsman responds to complaints concerning a July 21 segment of the "NewsHour" that included informal McCain adviser Max Boot, who was accused by one complainant of having "overflowed at the mouth with incorrect facts and propaganda."
Despite indications of a predictable turn in the election cycle, Alexander Cockburn argues that 'Bush is wiping out McCain,' in part with what he describes as a "shocking demonstration of sanity" concerning Iran, which will reportedly be the subject of a new NIE to be published in November.
A claim that 'Big Media Hectors Obama on "Surge,"' is accompanied by a report that "ABC, NBC and CBS were tougher on Obama than on ... McCain during the first six weeks of the general-election campaign," according to a study by a conservative-funded media monitor. Plus: The 'love' is gone!
As Gallup, which has it both ways, finds that "Americans are more than twice as likely to say media coverage of Obama is unfairly positive as to say it is unfairly negative," Ryan Lizza is interviewed on "Democracy Now!" about his New Yorker article on 'How Chicago shaped Obama,' which was described as an "image-slashing profile."
The McCain campaign invoked comments by Sean Hannity for an attack that resulted in the "Troops" ad, which, appears to have been created primarily for the media, was debunked by FactCheck.org, and ended by falsely stating that "John McCain is always there for our troops."
The Tennessee shooting suspect who reportedly "wrote that he hated liberals and was bitter he couldn't find a job," was also found to have been clinging to books by Hannity, Michael Savage and Bill O'Reilly.
As 'Lawmakers agree to ban toxins in children's items,' McClatchy reports on documents obtained by the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, which reveal that EPA staff was "ordered to stonewall investigators and media."
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
A report that the CIA confronted Pakistani officials about links between the ISI and a militant network led by a long-standing U.S. nemesis, cites Pakistan's Prime Minister denying links in a "NewsHour" interview, but the editor of Lahore's The Post, tells NPR that the military and the ISI "are not necessarily obeying the civilian government's orders."
As an Asia Times article examines Pakistan's 'Good cop, bad cop' role, 'Afghanistan surpasses Iraq as deadliest spot for U.S. troops,' and Afghanistan's ambassador to the U.S. makes a pitch for more U.S., but not Nato, troops. Plus: 'Strained by war, U.S. Army promotes unqualified soldiers.'
Jim Lobe identifies a prospect that neo-conservatives find "deeply troubling," which is that "Washington will lose Iraq as a base from which to project its military power in the region, particularly against Iran."
In releasing his quarterly report to Congress, 'U.S. auditor says funding for Iraqi rebuilding should cease,' and as Jason Leopold reviews 'McCain's spin on the surge,' Noam Chomsky, decrying the lack of a "principled analysis" of Iraq, like "we would use automatically in the case of an enemy," contends that "if the surge succeeds, it's just a worse crime."
As Radovan Karadzic is extradited to The Hague, seven Bosnian Serbs are sentenced to prison terms ranging from 38 to 42 years for their part in the mass killing in Srebrenica, and a BBC correspondent recalls his run in with the still-on-the-run Ratko Mladic.
As it's reported that Ontario has better health care than Ohio, the Bush administration says the number of chronically homeless people dropped by about 30 percent from 2005 to 2007, almost double the percentage drop in home prices for May, and while 'Tourism rises globally, but not to U.S.,' there's 'A growing trend of leaving America.'
With members of Congress 'bolting for K Street paychecks,' donations from railroads to the Democratic National Convention's host committee spike, and it's noted that after "Sen. John McCain changed his position on coastal oil drilling ... the fossil fuel crowd took a big liking to his campaign."
Arguing that 'Oil exploration in Arctic Refuge would cause unending harm," the Toledo Blade's outdoors editor cautions against believing "a phonied-up set-piece photo of a bear or a caribou under the pipeline," and disputes the notion of the drilling area as "an insignificant postage stamp on an envelope the size of a football field."
The New York Times profiles Professor Obama, and Sen. Obama is said to have told House Democrats that his attorney general would "review every executive order and immediately eliminate those that trample on liberty." Plus: Obama gets some courtroom support.
As 'McCain goes negative, worrying some in GOP,' party strategists tell The Hill that "the McCain camp has to find ways to fan the flames of distrust and uncertainty" about Obama, branded 'The Untouchable' by Jack Shafer, who asks: "How did Barack Obama achieve superslipperiness without becoming greasy?"
A report that "McCain's bitterness, frustration and near-obsession with Obama are on plain display," coincides with one reporter's conclusion that 'Maverick McCain turns mean,' and Eric Boehlert describes how Obama's "campaign hurt Adam Nagourney's feelings."
With an estimate that the McCain campaign's "Troops" ad ran as a paid commercial, "roughly a dozen" times, the Washington Post reports that 'Questions abound about McCain criticism of Obama trip,' such as, 'Who's Lying? John McCain or Andrea Mitchell?'
As it's reported that the McCain campaign approached Ron Fournier about a communications position, before Fournier returned to the AP, the White House press corps finds common ground with Fox News, and Jesse Ventura debates fascism with Sean Hannity.
Bill O'Reilly complains that "President Obama and a Democratic Congress will likely dole out entitlements," which "means people who drink gin all day will get some of my hard-earned money. Folks who dropped out of school, who are too lazy to hold a job, who smoke reefers 24/7 all will get some goodies in the mail from Uncle Barack and Aunt Nancy."
Thursday, July 31, 2008
As Defense Secretary Gates embraces "The Long War," it's reported that the 'Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader may be in Afghanistan,' and with Iraqi officials saying that a 'Deal on a security agreement is close,' but without a withdrawal date, Muqtada al-Sadr called on Shiite clerics to "issue their fatwas against signing any agreement."
A congressional report contradicts the Pentagon and KBR on the electrocution of a U.S. soldier in Iraq, and the British military is reportedly so low on helicopters in Iraq and Afghanistan, that it may end up renting them from Blackwater.
As the DOJ's inspector rules out criminal prosecution stemming from its politicization probe, in which only one White House official was questioned, Charlie Savage uncovers an e-mail from the White House's political affairs office that reads, "We simply want to place as many of our Bush loyalists as possible."
While the vote to hold Karl Rove in contempt is seen as "A moral victory for Don Siegelman," the Bush administration is attempting to shut out the ACLU from the FISA court's review of the new wireless surveillance law. Plus: 'The putsch that imperiled America.'
As the 'IOC admits Internet censorship deal with China,' regarding Sen. Sam Brownback's outrage over "invasive intelligence gathering," Glenn Greenwald reminds that it's "the same Sen. Sam Brownback who voted last year to enact the Protect America Act."
In 'Unmasking a Gun Lobby Mole,' Mother Jones reports that a prominent gun control activist named Mary McFate, is actually Mary Lou Sapone, 'a freelance spy with an NRA connection.' More on the article from the Brady Campaign, and, a 'Worst Persons' award for Mary/Mary.
With Judith Miller said to be 'The wrong poster child for a federal shield law,' Chris Hedges begins a "Q & A" interview by discussing how his vocal criticism of the Iraq invasion led to him being "estranged" from the New York Times, culminating in a 2003 commencement address -- text and video -- that he knew was "professional suicide."
Exxon Mobil reports the biggest quarterly profit ever by any U.S. corporation, a poll finds that 51 percent of Californians support offshore drilling, CBS News informs viewers that "off-shore leasing wouldn't even begin before 2012," and the Secretary of Energy falsely claims that no oil was spilled during hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
As early reviews were rolling in for "Celeb" -- "leaves out key information," "childish," "biggest spurt of publicity Hilton has gotten lately," "I literally laughed out loud ... but not in the good way" -- the Obama campaign issued its response.
The response takes its title from an editorial headlined 'Low-Road Express,' which calls out Sen. McCain for "waving the flag of fear (Senator Barack Obama wants to 'lose' in Iraq), and issuing attacks that are sophomoric (suggesting that Mr. Obama is a socialist) and false (the presumptive Democratic nominee turned his back on wounded soldiers)."
Blake Fleetwood expands on a quote that Craig Crawford, during a "Countdown" segment, attributed to someone in the McCain campaign: " We're going to have to puncture Obama's balloon, before he floats out of our hands."
As even McCain shares a star turn with Britney, Obama also issued what was described as his 'Patriotism Response,' at a town hall meeting in Missouri, where his comments, and those later in the day, somehow led Jake Tapper to ask: 'Did Obama accuse McCain of running a racist, xenophobic campaign?'
With McCain's campaign "now under the leadership of members of President Bush's re-election campaign," reports the New York Times, it's adopting the "Bush team's tactics of seeking to make campaigns referendums on its opponents," leading Jonathan Chiat to argue that "Obama is making the enormous mistake of letting the race be entirely about him, which is the only way he can lose."
After the Washington Post's Dana Milbank and Jonathan Weisman both cropped quotes by Obama, Sean Hannity used Milbank's cropping to frame a segment with Karl Rove about how "presumptuous" and "arrogant" Obama is.
With 'Experience called poor predictor of presidential success,' Rep. Dennis Kucinich gives his view of what Rep. Nancy Pelosi said on "The View" about impeachment, and a former president's comparison of his born-again Christianity to the current president's, is described as "Pretty good knifework for a Sunday-school teacher."
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