|August, 2004 link archive
Tuesday, August 3, 2004The Washington Post reports that information seized in Pakistan, said to be the basis for the latest terrorism alert, consisted mainly of old al Qaeda surveillance done before 9/11, including such items as photos obtainable from brochures, prompting a senior law enforcement official to ask, "Why did we go to this level?"
The Post also reports that a top advisor to Senator John Kerry accuses Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge of implying that the threat information was new and a product of President Bush's anti-terrorism efforts.
A New York Times editorial says that "This news does nothing to bolster the confidence Americans need that the administration is not using intelligence for political gain," while a WSWS headline reads: 'Terror alerts set stage for election based on fear.' Plus: 'an amazing series of coincidences' and 'baloney chronicles.'
Senator Mark Dayton tells a hearing that, as he reads the 9/11 Commission report, "this country and its citizens were completely undefended" on 9/11.
A trade analyst for Focus on the Global South says that if the framework is implemented, "the inevitable result will be de-industrialization of the developing world and the end of small-scale farming. Millions of workers will lose their jobs and millions of farmers will lose their livelihoods." Plus: Developing countries "have been had."
'Blacklist to the A List' A declassified September 1991 Pentagon intelligence report reveals that Alvaro Uribe, the current president of Colombia and a Bush administration favorite, was at the time "dedicated to collaboration with the Medellin cartel at high government levels," reports Newsweek. In 2002, Uribe abruptly ended an interview with the magazine when asked about his ties to drug-trafficking. Plus: 'Washington's paramilitary game in Colombia.'
As the New York Times reports that "Attacks against American troops in Afghanistan and Afghan security forces and civilians have increased steadily in the past several months," Le Monde editorializes that in leaving Afghanistan, "The 'French doctors'... call into question the whole western strategy and America itself."
American Journalism Review lauds Knight Ridder's Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay for their pre-Iraq war intelligence reporting. "Many other news organizations were willing to give the administration the benefit of the doubt, particularly in the post-9/11 environment," says Strobel, "we were not." And Landay calls "the failure of the media in general in covering the story... as egregious as the intelligence failure."
The New York Observer's Tom Scocca writes that "news proper" was missing from the Democratic convention because "It doesn't belong, for the same reason that clocks don't belong in casinos: It might break the spell."
Robert Kuttner says Kerry is still the underdog, while Ron Brownstein says Republican pollster Frank Luntz was premature in saying that "in certain ways, Bush is now the underdog." So did Kerry get a post-convention bounce or not? Among vets, he evidently did, although "a lot of the chiefs don't make any secret of the fact that Bush is their man."
Karl Rove telegraphs a punch: the GOP convention will portray Kerry as "an object of humor and calculated derision." Meanwhile, Senator Trent Lott throws a haymaker at a 'French-speaking socialist', and Tom Engelhardt notes that Bush has had to "rush back to the campaign trail as his own attack dog."
"In his sometimes brazen pattern of deceptions, Bush apparently senses no danger from being called to account," writes Robert Parry, citing Bill O'Reilly's interview with Michael Moore as evidence that conservative media personalities would not only defend Bush's false statements, but could be "counted on to go on the offensive against anyone who dared criticize him."
Although Gov. Jeb Bush maintains that touch screen voting machines are reliable, the St. Petersburg Times reports that the Florida GOP has urged voters to order paper absentee ballots in order to "Make sure your vote counts." Plus: helping new U.S. citizens vote in Florida, by giving them voter registration forms already marked "Republican" for party affiliation.
The New York Times reports that Democratic "dirty tricks" have become a major theme of Ralph Nader's campaign, while in West Virginia a Nader signature gatherer encounters some angry Kerry supporters, including one who "wanted to shoot me in the head." Plus: Peace and Freedom Party picks Leonard Peltier despite Nader's appeal.
Raw Story claims to have "finally proved" that Bush was AWOL in 1972, should have been placed on active duty and did not complete his National Guard service.
A Texas-based group called American Veterans Standing for God has put Alabama's Ten Commandments' monument on a flat-bed truck and is taking it on a tour of the U.S., which will culminate in October when the monument arrives in Washington D.C. for the "America for Jesus" rally.
Wednesday, August 4, 2004
USA Today quotes Secretary Tom Ridge as saying that "we don't do politics in the Department of Homeland Security," but adds that "The last time he said that, he was standing on the Boston waterfront, just days before Kerry's political convention, answering charges he was hyping the possibility of terrorism around the convention to grab attention from Kerry."
A Washington Post analysis reviews 'Old Data, New Credibility Issues.' Earlier: Newsday reports that British intelligence claims to have been told by a "credible" source that a terror attack is planned for early September.
Reuters previews a Jane's Defense Weekly article which states that North Korea is deploying ballistic missiles that can carry nuclear weapons and reach the United States. David Keppel writes that "fifty-nine years after the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the danger of nuclear war is rising."
The Progressive's Anne-Marie Cusac investigates a Bush administration decision to relax fire safeguards at nuclear power plants, where fires are "not uncommon." The story quotes a concerned industry veteran as saying that although "a nuclear power plant can kill a million people ... there are more fire barriers in a nursing home."
'Happy days are here again' for the oil companies, says a Seattle Post-Intelligencer editorial, which points out that "the price of oil, just $10 per barrel a few years ago, might hit $45 a barrel. Do we hear $50?" Meanwhile, Vice President Dick Cheney explains that Democrats are to blame for high gasoline prices.
David Hackworth calls the turnover "without appropriate controls" of $8.8 billion in development funds to Iraqi Ministries 'One of the Biggest Heists in History,' adding that "offshore bankers must be burning the midnight oil these days with all the new secret accounts pouring out of Baghdad."
Rahul Mahajan flags a Washington Post story on how at least $1.9 billion in Iraqi funds have been dispersed or obligated by the CPA to Halliburton and other U.S. contractors because "it was simpler to use the Iraqi money" than US taxpayer dollars that would have required oversight and open bids.
Gadflyer notes that with 54 Americans killed there in July, "the 'sovereignty phase' of the Iraq conflict is no safer than the 'occupation' phase that preceded it."
According to the Houston Chronicle, Halliburton dropped health benefits for retirees, sued three of them when they wrote letters to complain, then announced that the retirees were being sued for their own benefit.
After the announcement of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani's arrest in Pakistan followed "almost magically" a visit to Islamabad by Centcom Commander General John Abizaid, and coincided with the Democratic Party's convention, Asia Times claims that more al-Qaeda operators "are already in detention in Pakistan to be produced when and as necessary."
'Mardi Gras Time in Abu Ghraib.' A military investigator tells a court that U.S. troops abused Iraqi prisoners "just for fun," and Rolling Stone obtains the 106 "annexes" that the Defense Department withheld from the Taguba report last spring, with detailed reports implicating American soldiers and translators in rape and sodomy of Iraqi prisoners.
Three British detainees released from Guantanamo detail their experience in a new dossier, claiming they were "repeatedly beaten, shackled in painful positions during interrogations and subjected to sleep deprivation." They also claim they were "photographed naked and subjected to anal searches unnecessarily." A federal judge refuses to halt the hastily created military tribunals for Guantanamo detainees.
William J. Watkins, Jr. finds parallels between the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 and the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, "the federal government's first direct assault on American civil liberties," remedied by the election of Thomas Jefferson in 1800. There the parallel with 2004 breaks down, writes Watkins, because when "the people are given no meaningful choice" then "the franchise is an impotent weapon."
Canada's War Resisters Support Campaign prepares an intensive lobbying effort to persuade the Canadian government to provide sanctuary to U.S. soldiers refusing to participate in the war in Iraq. Granting refugee status is problematic, says one American, because "It's tantamount to Canada saying that the U.S. is a repressive country that persecutes its citizens."
In a Salon editorial, Newsday columnist James Pinkerton laments the "creeping hawkishness" of the Washington Post, observing that the paper's editorial stance on Iraq "is about the same, these days, as that of the Wall Street Journal."
Kerry gets specific on his plan to cut the federal budget deficit, while Treasury Secretary John Snow appeals to Congress to raise the federal debt limit for a third time in three years. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities accuses the Bush Administration of "spinning" the budget deficit in order to "make harmful deficits appear benign."
Follow the bouncing bounce. Slate's William Saletan looks inside the pre-and-post-convention poll numbers and concludes that "at the very least, it's Kerry's race to lose," but a well-wisher wonders how long it will take for Kerry to "get the message machine together," and Daily Howler warns that "When it comes to losing elections, these folks are the ruling masters."
Defense Secretary Donald Rumfeld describes Undersecretary Douglas Feith as "one of the intellectual leaders in the administration," by way of defending him from retired General Tommy Franks, who writes in his memoir that Feith was "getting a reputation around here as the dumbest (expletive) guy on the planet."
AP reports that seven Iraqis seeking to learn more about the process of government were barred from city hall in Memphis after the city council chairman threatened to "evacuate the building and bring in the bomb squad" if they entered. Plus: the only GOP candidate on the ballot in a Tennessee congressional primary election promotes eugenics and declares that "white children deserve the same rights as everyone else."
Thursday, August 5, 2004
'Economic Message.' The Los Angeles Times reports that three bank robberies took place in Davenport, Iowa, while police were busy helping to secure competing campaign locations for President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry, whose convergence AP says "made one small city ground zero."
Both candidates will speak and take questions at this week's Unity 2004 convention, expected to be the largest-ever gathering of minority journalists. Unity leaders appeared on Democracy Now! to discuss a new study showing that just 10.5 of the Washington Press Corps are people of color, vs. 30.9 percent of the U.S. population.
The study was preceded by a survey showing that "people of color in local broadcasting are at about where they were in 1994." Plus: "embedded in the economic elite," and car-crash news anchored by a corporate flack.
Philadelphia Weekly's Steve Volk fills in the history behind 'Shove-It Gate' and Teresa Heinz Kerry critic Colin McNickle, an editorial writer for whom, as Volk puts it, "Rick Santorum isn't conservative enough."
Denver Post columnist Al Knight argues that good election-year reporting begins with getting the basics right on Iraq, since "The American public can't reasonably make an informed decision on which candidate is best equipped to produce a successful result in Iraq without more and better information" than they are now getting. Plus: have the mainstream media lost interest in reporting U.S. casualties in Iraq? Not to mention Iraqi civilian and military casualties.
Commenting on a New York Times story about penalties for secret changes in "accounting practices" during Vice President Dick Cheney's tenure as Halliburton CEO, Josh Marshall calls for more aggressive reporting on what Cheney knew, and Billmon wonders, 'Where Was Dick'? Also: 'Where's Don?'
A would-be voter by chance discovers yet another new way to steal elections: the use of phony change of address cards to remove registered voters from precinct rolls.
Joseph Braude, author of "The New Iraq: Rebuilding the Country for Its People, the Middle East, and the World," pleads guilty to smuggling stolen Mesopotamian relics from Iraq and lying to customs officials. In the promo page for his book, Braude wrote: "The recipe for a prosperous new Iraq will marry the external demands of the global marketplace with an internal reappropriation of the unique attributes of Iraqi civilization."
Braude's employer, Pyramid Research, removed from its web site a prewar interview with Braude (who is apparently the world's only "Iraq reconstruction scholar"), in which he discussed opportunities in postwar Iraq for the telecom industry.
The Iraqi resistance takes the fight to northern Iraqi city of Mosul, raising "the specter that the insurgency - already strong in large areas of the Sunni heartland - had taken a menacing turn farther north." Robert Fisk reports that Iraq is about to implode, the "Prime Minister" is "little more than mayor of Baghdad," and no one believes that there will be elections in January. Plus: 'Iraq's Labor Upsurge.'
Dahr Jamail of IPS finds that Arab troops would be unwelcome in Iraq, with one source saying they would be "would be like the goalkeeper in football ... they will get all the hard shots instead of U.S. troops."
'What can we do? We're thirsty' The Los Angeles Times reports that "typhoid and hepatitis E are running rampant through Sadr City this summer, as residents rely heavily on a sewage-tainted water supply to endure temperatures of 115 degrees and up" while, according to the Washington Post, as of July 20, the Pentagon had spent nothing from U.S. "reconstruction" funds "on roads, bridges, construction, health care, water resources or sanitation."
'They Knew' David Sirota and Christy Harvey document the fact that the Bush Administration was "clearly warned before the war that its rationale for invading Iraq was weak," and F. William Engdahl argues that the peak in global oil production "suggests why Washington may be willing to risk so much to control Iraq and through its bases there, the five oil-rich countries."
The Red Cross says that allegations of abuse suffered by three recently released British prisoners, if proven to be true, could amount to war crimes. In Pfc. Lynndie R. England's preliminary hearing, a military police soldier testified that intelligence officials ordered him to hide detainees from the Red Cross during its Abu Ghraib visits.
Some visiting Iraqis were robbed at gunpoint in Memphis a day after being barred from city hall because they might be "dangerous." Meanwhile, hostages were taken and a gun was fired in a surprise mock security drill at a county commission meeting in northeast Tennessee. An Emergency Management Director defended the exercise, saying, "We live in a different world after 9/11."
Friday, August 6, 2004
On Hiroshima Day, Tom Engelhardt remembers his father, a Japanese pen-pal and August 6, 1945, the day "the Earth was knocked off its axis." In a 2002 interview, the Enola Gay's pilot told Studs Terkel that he wouldn't have hesitated to nuke terrorists if given the chance: "I'd wipe 'em out. You're gonna kill innocent people at the same time, but ... that's their tough luck for being there."
In 'How the Press Was Spun,' Editor and Publisher's Greg Mitchell explains how news of the first use of nuclear weapons was "managed" by a public relations campaign.
Paul Krugman tells Media Channel's Rory O'Connor that the media is part of "the machine that is imposing right-wing radicalism on the United States" and says that "There will have to be some kind of reckoning soon." Plus: Krugman on the drop off in coverage about Iraq and how cable news channels followed the script in covering the Democratic Convention.
'Windfalls of War' The Center for Public Integrity ranks the total value of contracts awarded to contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, ranging from Halliburton, with $11,475,541,371, to Kollsman, Inc., an avionics and defense systems company which is listed as getting $100.
"The Pakistani military is waging an intense operation against potential al Qaeda hideouts along the border with Afghanistan," reports the Washington Post, adding that the operation is paid for by the CIA and supported by the National Security Agency. A Guardian story claims that President General Pervez Musharraf "profits under U.S. pressure."
Reuters reports that President Bush told top Pentagon brass on Thursday that "our enemies ... never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
Don King tells New York that when he offered to become President Bush's "promoter" in the election campaign, Bush replied, "I don't know if I can afford you, Don." Sportswriter Jim Brady, writing for the International Brotherhood of Prize Fighters, examines the connection between presidential politics and King's expensive campaign to make sure Bush never signs a boxing reform bill.
Noting that the Bush campaign has denied any involvement in a new anti-Kerry ad that questions the Democrat's war record, Senator John McCain said: "I can't believe the president would pull such a cheap stunt." McCain called the ad "dishonest and dishonorable" and told AP, "It was the same kind of deal that was pulled on me" in 2000.
Media Matters fact checks both the Swift Boat ad and its links to the GOP. The Nation's Ian Williams says that the attacks on Kerry "confirm one thing. Kerry was in Vietnam, in combat." Williams also writes that Bush's own military record makes the president "doubly vulnerable."
The Guardian reports that Senator John Kerry has released a list of his corporate backers "to reassure voters of his moderate credentials."
Spiked's Brendan O'Neill argues that it isn't just the authorities who have repeatedly "raised the terror spectacle."
'Something Cool' An intelligence analyst testified in Pfc. Lynndie R. England's preliminary hearing that he was invited by another military intelligence officer to watch "something cool," the abuse of naked Iraqi detainees. The U.S. invited the press in to cover the hastily-created military tribunals for Guantanamo detainees, an effort to garner legitimacy for what the Center for Constitutional Rights calls a "sham."
'Winning hearts, minds and firefights' In a photo essay for Asia Times, Carsten Stormer writes that for Afghan peasants, "it is difficult to understand how one day [U.S.] soldiers come armed with candy and medicine and build wells and schools, and then the next night raid houses, searching for weapons, contraband and militants."
'Shut My Mouth!' The Telegraph reports that the UK Passport Service is banning smiles on British passports in favor of "a neutral expression and the mouth closed." Plus: backdoor to international databases?
A Chicago Sun-Times columnist questions whether the GOP has "finally hit bottom" in picking Maryland's Alan Keyes to run for U.S. Senate in Illinois against Barack Obama, and notes that in 2000 Keyes said, "I deeply resent ... Hillary Clinton's willingness to go into a state she doesn't even live in and pretend to represent people there, so I certainly wouldn't imitate it."
Monday, August 9, 2004
CNN reports that, at the invitation of the State Department, a team of international observers will monitor the U.S. presidential election in November.
On This Modern World, Bob Harris previews the rollout strategy for "National Preparedness Month," to be announced on September 9, and deciphers its unspoken theme: "vote for Bush if you want your kids to live."
Tom Engelhardt ponders "October surprise" scenarios and lists "ten surprises this administration proved remarkably unprepared for."
Editor and Publisher says President Bush tells the Unity convention he wishes he wasn't the "war president." New York Daily News columnist Albor Ruiz reviews President Bush's appearance before nearly 5,000 minority journalists.
Juan Cole looks at growing anger over U.S. handing of the identity of double agent Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, whose "outing" may have "prevented the capture of bin Laden" and was "a monumental foreign relations blunder," a security analyst tells Reuters. A New York Daily News story says the motive was "apparently to justify the orange alert." Newsweek reports that "Senior Pakistani officials expect that Al Qaeda will replace Khan easily enough."
Steve Clemons flags and expands a Los Angeles Times story on former CIA director James Woolsey, a "leading advocate for the war" in Iraq, his wife Suzanne, and their connections with companies doing war-related business. Says Clemons, "A recusal from war profits should be standard for talking heads and policy commentators when it comes to sending American men and women into harm's way." Plus: the 'corporate invasion of Iraq'.
The Oregonian reports an incident in which Oregon Army National Guard soldiers who rescued dozens of abused Iraqi detainees were furious after being ordered to "return the prisoners to their abusers and immediately withdraw." The incident occurred on "Iraq's first full day as a sovereign nation."
As the Iraqi leadership shuts down Al Jazeera's Baghdad bureau, Reuters reports that "former Pentagon darling Ahmad Chalabi," said to be on holiday in Iran, and his nephew Salem Chalabi, the head of the Iraqi Special Tribunal which will try Saddam Hussein, have a warrant out for their arrest in Iraq, with Ahmad wanted for counterfeiting and Salem for murder.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and top U.S. military officials had to be hustled out of town amid renewed attacks during a visit to Najaf. The Christian Science Monitor's Scott Baldauf, the only Western reporter on the scene, chronicles 'The Battle for Najaf.'
In Al Sadr City, "one of the most densely populated urban areas on the planet [is] subjected to aerial bombardment," and Baghdad Burning's Riverbend asks, "300+ dead in a matter of days ... is this a part of the reconstruction effort"?
A Foreign Policy in Focus commentary by Stephen Zunes argues that in its 2004 platform the Democratic Party has in some ways shifted to the right of Barry Goldwater in 1964 and adopted language that "may be preparing the way for a President Kerry, like President Bush, to launch invasions or other military actions against foreign countries in defiance of international law by simply claiming that 'our safety is at stake.'"
In a brief CounterPunch interview, asked why voters in swing states who may be worried about his candidacy tilting the election to Bush should vote for him instead of Kerry, Ralph Nader replies: "If they are worried, let them vote for John Kerry. Voters should follow their conscience."
The Daily Howler accuses both mainstream journalists and Democratic National Committee talkers of repeatedly gazing into space rather than countering bogus statements about Kerry's record.
'I knew it was wrong.' A key figure in the anti-Kerry "Swift boat ad" campaign retracts his contention that Kerry did not deserve the Silver Star, then retreats from his retraction, and Media Matters profiles the co-author of "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against Kerry." Plus: Josh Marshall starts his own veterans organization, and South Knox Bubba on 'Alabama Mail Room Veterans for Bush.'
Eric Margolis writes that the Niger yellowcake forgeries were an "Italian job," and that an FBI investigation is at "critical phase."
The New York Times details how President Bush enlisted coal industry executives "to help oversee" mine safety and environmental regulations. The Los Angeles Times investigates Bush administration efforts to override the U.S. Forest Service and intercede on behalf of a giant energy company's desire to drill for natural gas in a national forest in New Mexico.
The Observer reports that British people are consuming so much Prozac that measurable quantities of the drug have found their way into the water supply, and Art Spiegelman introduces "Art Spiegelman."
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Senator John Kerry tells reporters that, knowing what he knows today, he'd still vote for war, and a Denver Post columnist writes that indifference is mounting over U.S. casualties in Iraq, adding "Maybe we'll go on a binge of regret when the number of American deaths hits 1,000."
AP reports that the exposure of the identity of Pakistani double agent Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan has allowed other terror suspects to escape, and Jim Lobe writes that fallout from the "outing" has put the White House on the defensive.
Catch and release. Berry's World digs up a revealing snapshot of U.S. Rep. Porter Goss, President Bush's nominee to head the CIA, whose appointment, predicted agency veteran Ray McGovern, would be "the ultimate in politicization."
Ivan Eland writes that Iraq's new U.S.-backed government seems to be ruling more like Saddam everyday. CNN reports that in the wake of arrest warrants for Ahmad and Salem Chalabi, Richard Perle agrees.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the U.S. has taken operational control of Iraqi troops in Najaf, which cleric Muqtada Sadr vows to defend "until the last drop of my blood has been spilled."
The head of the Iraqi Tourism Board tells Reuters, "We don't want good people from all over the world to come and be captured by criminals. I think they must wait." Ahmed al-Jobori added, "We need to change the psychology of Iraqis. If we give them a Disney city ... they will feel free from sadness and terrorism and fear."
The BBC reports that Pakistan has lodged a protest with the U.S. over the use of its permanent UN envoy as live bait in a sting operation.
The Birmingham News quotes political analyst Larry Sabato as saying that President Bush would be heading for a landslide victory if he hadn't invaded Iraq but would have to become a second Truman to win now. Earlier: Sabato tells Newhouse News that "Most senior Democrats with whom I've talked believe the election is over."
Jared Bernstein of Economic Policy Institute says that "with the new jobs report in hand, the Bush campaign is blowing smoke" and the "fact checkers" aren't dispersing the fog. A Reuters analysis calls the job news a "sharp blow" to Bush.
The Boston Globe finds voters concerned about being required to sign what one rejected audience member called a "loyalty oath" before being allowed to attend Republican rallies.
Writing in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Bill Mann warns that by concentrating on possible terrorist acts in Athens, the media are avoiding what seems a much likelier scenario, namely anti-U.S. protests and widespread booing every time the "Star Spangled Banner" is played. Mann adds that "The possibility of the American team's being lustily booed as it enters the Olympic Stadium on Friday night ... makes NBC cringe."
Sports fans who bring the wrong bottled water into the Olympic complex will face the wrath of a "clean-venue policy" aimed at shielding the Coca-Cola Company and other sponsors from the terrors of "ambush marketing."
The New York Times reports that a federal judge has held reporter Matt Cooper and Time in contempt of court and ordered Cooper to jail for refusing to name the government officials who disclosed the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame to him. Jeffrey Dubner asks, why Cooper?
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
Appearing as part of a panel on PBS's "News Hour," CIA veteran Ray McGovern calls Rep. Porter Goss a "partisan person ... who will do the bidding of the White House. And that's precisely why he's been nominated ... because the controversy will now be centered on the failure of intelligence ... and no attention being given to the failure of the president."
Commenting on a Digby analysis of the Goss nomination, which argues that a President Kerry would have to "turn around and fire" Goss, Needlenose predicts that "The nearer and more certain a Kerry victory becomes, the Republicans will very swiftly revert to insurgency mode as they did in 1993 and 1994."
Interviewed on Democracy Now!, Juan Cole says the White House decision to go public with information obtained from alleged double agent Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan's computers and the leak of Khan's name to the media "can't be entirely removed" from politics.
During a conversation with Mark Trahant, the journalist who asked President Bush about tribal sovereignty recently, Democracy Now! also revisited Jesse Jackson's tongue-in-cheek explanation from an interview with Smoke Signals. Said Jackson: "The President explained. You just didn't understand. Sovereignty is sovereignty. You understand? It's like in sovereignity. If you are on a reservation, you have been soverized."
The New York Times reports that the Republican convention program will feature "Preachers and Patriots" in a show produced by Frank Breeden, former president of the Gospel Music Association and advocate of Christian karaoke.
Although 70 percent of students oppose the idea, a majority of U.S. high-school students believe the government will restart the military draft during their lifetimes, according to a new poll by the Horation Alger Association.
In the days before Nov. 2, Ian Williams wonders, "Will millions of tele-screens suddenly remind millions of voters about the guy with the beard and the turban who has effectively been a non-person for 18 months?"
DefenseTech reports on the Pentagon's project to build "a bunker-busting missile that can fly into near-space, and then come crashing down on a target 3,000 miles away, at four times the speed of sound" creating the ability "to wipe out a bad guy as soon as he's detected."
An embed's tale. Editor and Publisher examines how reporter Mike Francis got the story of Oregon National Guardsmen being ordered to return abused Iraqi prisoners to their Iraqi jailers after coming to their aid.
"So, with all due respect and thanks," editorialized the Salt Lake Tribune, "we have a simple message to the national media paratroops who have parachuted into Salt Lake City for another juicy story on a missing white woman: Go away."
'High jumps, hand grenades and head laundry.' A story in The Independent says that CNN's sports reporters prepared for the Olympics by undergoing "hostile environment" training and doing their "head laundry" with counsellors.
Earlier: Knight Ridder puts Dave Barry through the training, and Simon Barnes of the Times says never mind the Olympics, it's soccer's European Championship where "drunken violence, hideous nationalism, bad vibes and a constant atmosphere of threat are a stone-cold certainty."
Athens is no soft target, says a Toronto Star report, although "last week, reporters penetrated the security net without too much difficulty and wandered at will through venues" that supposedly were already "locked down."
The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty says that a Louisiana man is the 115th former death row inmate in the United States to be freed due to actual innocence. In Iraq, Danish troops have stopped handing over prisoners who might face the newly-reinstated death penalty.
As Sen. John Kerry tells Nevadans that if he's elected president, "there's going to be no nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain," Rebecca Solnit sees "startlingly good news for Nevada" and for "unknown civilizations of the deep future" in a federal appeals court ruling that might stall plans for a Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump.
"Oh dear!" Molly Ivins finds some tough sledding north of the 49th parallel.
Thursday, August 12, 2004
As Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez faces a recall on Sunday, Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research Public comments that it marks "the first time in at least 20 years that anyone in this hemisphere is poised to win an election ... because of what he's done for poor people ... not promised, but actually done." Greg Palast warns: watch out for another Florida fix.
The Washington Post says it "stuffed" stories challenging the administration's rationale for going to war in Iraq. In the words of Pentagon correspondent Thomas Ricks, "There was an attitude among editors: Look, we're going to war, why do we even worry about all this contrary stuff?"
The Wall Street Journal reports on what Pentagon auditors say is a failure by Halliburton and its bankrupt subsidiary KBR to "adequately account for more than $1.8 billion it billed the government for work in Iraq and Kuwait."
Matt Gunn obtains a transcript of outtakes from "Fahrenheit 9/11" in which Rep. Porter Goss says: "I couldn't get a job with CIA today. I am not qualified." Filmmaker Michael Moore tells Reuters that Goss granted an interview to two of his producers without first checking to see who they worked for, and added, "You'd think the person who was the head of the intelligence committee would ask a few more questions."
During a Washington Post online chat, former CIA director Admiral Stansfield Turner commented on the Goss nomination to head the agency: "the President was motivated to nominate Goss in order to improve his electoral chances, not to improve our intelligence. Please note that yesterday he announced the nomination of Goss, a Floridian, at the White House and immediately flew to Florida to campaign."
The race is on. IPS reports that France and the U.S. are racing to curry favor with oil-rich undemocratic African regimes, "supporting military dictators ... while seeking access to natural resources in their countries."
The Los Angeles Times quotes a prominent Southern California Shiite leader as saying that Shiites "worldwide are shocked and outraged over what is going on in Najaf ... Any attack on that city will destroy America's future in Iraq completely." Back-to-Iraq's Christopher Allbritton says that in Iraq "no one cares what the street thinks."
With temperatures in Najaf approaching 130 degrees, the New Standard reports that "both sides may be committing war crimes" and putting civilians at risk in the embattled city. Plus: "walking both a military and political tightrope."
Earlier: a Washington Post story reports that the official explanation -- treatment for a heart condition -- for Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani's sudden trip to London "brings a smile to the lips of U.S. commanders" in Najaf. "A lot of people think it's the green light for us to do what we have to do," one is quoted as saying.
A Boston Globe story on morale among the Marines in Iraq quotes one as saying, "I don't think any of us even care what happens to this country."
In the Sydney Morning Herald, Paul McGeough accuses the U.S. of refusing "as a matter of policy" to do anything about the abuse of Iraqi prisoners under the regime it appointed.
The New York Times reports that, traveling in the Middle East, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said, "If you're going to tear down what is, you darn well better be rather certain about what you're going to put in its place." (Rumsfeld was talking about the 9/11 Commission's recommendations.) Plus: Rumsfeld's Rules, e.g., "It is easier to get into something than to get out of it."
A Toronto Star editorial says that Senator John Kerry failed the Iraq Test when he said that he would have voted for the war even knowing what he knows now, and that his position is "not good news for the world." Also: WSWS says that "The political implications of Kerry's position are staggering."
A GOP convention protest planner tells the Guardian that he envisions "a total expression of seething hatred." Earlier: on Democracy Now!, Norman Mailer worries that "if the rage erupts ... it's going to lose the election."
"Somewhere over the rainbow," Alan Keyes hits the ground singing.
Friday, August 13, 2004
A PINR essay asks whether the U.S. is willing to kill Moqtada al-Sadr, who has reportedly been wounded and under seige, Waco-style. Aljazeera reports that the majority of the provincial council and the city's deputy governor have resigned to protest the assault on Najaf.
'Fables of the Reconstruction' The Nation's Christian Parenti writes that "seen up close, reconstruction in Iraq looks less like a mission of mercy ... and more like a criminal racket."
According to the Baltimore Sun, an Army report on abuses at Abu Ghraib will assign blame to "no one" in rank above the colonel who commanded military intelligence troops at the prison.
Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman writes that on Iraq Senator John Kerry "sounds an awful lot like the guy who got us into this mess" and that if the basic facts "don't convince Kerry that his vote was a mistake, it's hard to imagine what would."
Slate's William Saletan says that Kerry would not vote today for the Iraq war but that the senator "refuses to make this clear."
Salon's Sidney Blumenthal writes that the election of 2004 may mark the final 'Fall of the House of Nixon.' Earlier: ABC's "The Note" calls the race Kerry's to lose and quotes National Journal's Charlie Cook: "President Bush must have a change in the dynamics and the fundamentals of this race if he is to win a second term."
A CJR Campaign Desk analysis says that "neither candidate is willing, in public at least, to even address al Qaeda's stated grievances," some of which it says are real, and that because of the press's failure, "We don't know what's at stake, let alone why."
"Is your White House campaign being made a Big Joke?", asks the Daily Howler. "Or are we just being too sensitive?" Last week President Bush said, "Now in terms of the balance between running down intelligence and bringing people to justice obviously is -- we need to be very sensitive on that."
In a Washington Post review of Iain Calder's book, "The Untold Story: My 20 Years Running the National Enquirer," Jonathan Yardley writes that the Enquirer "dragged digging for dirt from the outskirts of journalism into the mainstream" and left traditionalists with "little choice except to climb down into the mud and start wallowing."
A San Francisco Chronicle column celebrates "the patron saint of slow news days," the ubiquitous Gloria Allred, who holds "news conferences to announce nothing."
The GOP unveils its roster of celebrity performers scheduled to appear at the party's convention in New York.
According to AP the White House says that it knows of no plans for an imminent attack on U.S. financial buildings.
'Terrorist Drugs From Canada." Kevin Drum says the administration has finally found a "persuasive reason" for banning importation of cheap prescription drugs. Plus: the "me-too" industry, a $200 billion colossus.
Judith Miller, described by Editor & Publisher as "widely criticized for exaggerating the threat of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," is the latest journalist to be subpoenaed in the Valerie Plame identity leak probe. The Times' report on the subpoena quotes publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. as saying, Miller was "doing nothing more than aggressively seeking to report on the government's actions." Plus: 'Risky Business.'
The Independent Institute's Nicolas Heidorn unpacks the GAO's study of how USDA manages the farm subsidy program. The GAO found that 30 percent of applicants who had been fact-checked and approved by USDA were in fact ineligible for subsidies.
Monday, August 16, 2004
Knight Ridder reports that more than 100 Iraqi delegates, protesting the assault on Najaf, walked out of a conference called to pick a national assembly, and that 100 Iraqi national guardsmen and a battalion of Iraqi soldiers chose to quit rather than "attack fellow Iraqis in a city that includes some of the holiest sites in Shiite Islam."
Juan Cole highlights a "night and day difference" between a New York Times story that says the conference "seemed like a metaphor for America's problems in Iraq," and a Washington Post report which Cole terms "an almost panglossian story of the triumph of democracy." Cole cites al-Hayat as reporting that the protesting delegates returned for the second session.
The Telegraph reports that Iraqi police have fired on journalists and ordered them out of Najaf, whereas insurgents now welcome the media.
In an interview with Back-to-Iraq's Christopher Allbritton, Iraqi Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi ducks when asked to name an area of disagreement with U.S. policy.
According to a story in the McAllen, Texas Monitor, a 57-year old South Texas reservist, suffering from skin cancer, must report for active duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom or face jail time.
Walk the plank? A Los Angeles Times analysis sees "infighting about to break out" over gay rights and reproductive choice in the GOP platform, as social moderates attempt to offer President Bush "a Sister Souljah moment." The story quotes the founder of Republicans for Choice as saying, "Our constituents are ready to walk" over a "party unity plank."
The New York Times reports that the FBI has been questioning political demonstrators who might be planning to protest at the Republican convention, after a Justice Department ruling discounted any possible "chilling effect." The story quotes one person as saying, "The message I took from it was that they were trying to intimidate us into not going to any protests."
Commenting on recent controversy over entertainers' political remarks, Merle Haggard tells the Nashville Tennessean that "It seems to be more damaging to the females: Seems like people don't want them to say anything.''
After a Sunday Mirror reporter claimed that he found security at the games to be "a terrorist's dream come true" and wandered around wearing passes with the names "Michael Mouse" and "Robert bin Laden," Greece's Public Order Minister advised him to read fewer detective stories.
USAToday reports that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has apparently survived a recall vote, setting off celebrations among his supporters and claims of election fraud from the opposition. In the Baltimore Chronicle, Greg Palast writes that it was Chavez's presidency of OPEC, not Venezuela, that "drives the White House bananas."
The Washington Post investigates the Bush administration's use of the regulatory process to "redirect the course of government," such as by canceling rules that protected 5 million people whose jobs put them at risk for tuberculosis. Plus: 'Out of Spotlight, Bush Overhauls U.S. Regulations.'
Media Matters counters statements about the Bush administration, the Kerry campaign and stem cell research that Charles Krauthammer made recently on a Fox News appearance, including an echo of First Lady Laura Bush's recent claim that her husband was the first president to fund stem cell research.
Media Matters also deconstructs a claim by Fox News host Bill O'Reilly that French President Jacques Chirac, the leader of the conservative movement in France, and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, whom 61 percent said should stay in office in a recent poll, are "very unpopular" and supported only by "left-wingers."
The Chicago Tribune reports that the city's South Side greeted Republican Senatorial candidate Alan Keyes with "a resounding chorus of jeers and boos that bordered on outright hostility" when he marched Saturday in a traditional African-American parade.
The New York Times reports that President Bush said "Thank you" when told by a supporter that "this is the very first time that I have felt that God was in the White House."
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
A New York Times editorial says a troop redeployment plan announced by President Bush is "certain to strain crucial alliances, increase overall costs and dangerously weaken deterrence on the Korean peninsula at the worst possible moment." Plus: hypersonic missiles, killer drones, giant blimps and lilypads.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated in May that restationing troops could cost $7 billion up front and would "produce, at best, only small improvements." The CBO also hinted that restationing troops in the U.S. could keep some bases open that might otherwise have been closed as part of the 2005 round of base realignments.
The Voice of America says that the U.S. is "withholding judgment" on the results of the Venezuelan recall election, with the State Department saying allegations of fraud should be fully investigated, while international monitors including Jimmy Carter say that President Hugo Chavez appears to have won fairly.
Under the Same Sun flags an Empire Notes commentary by Rahul Mahajan, who writes that Chavez has thus far weathered "a rolling three-stage coup attempt." Plus: Tariq Ali ponders the nearly 95 percent voter turnout in Venezuela.
Reuters reports that fighting continued in Najaf, despite appeals for peace, as the Mehdi Army set an oil well on fire in southern Iraq and thousands of protesters joined Moqtada al-Sadr in the Imam Ali Mosque, promising to act as human shields. WSWS reports that the protesters shouted, "Allawi you coward, you agent of the Americans. Allawi we don't need you."
'A bit like Iraqi rap.' The Christian Science Monitor highlights the importance of popular poetry to Iraqis, including a recent widely-circulated poem which extols the reader to "remember how the American armor melted" at Fallujah. The story also cites pop singer Kazem al-Saher, "the Iraqi Elvis."
MediaChannel's Danny Schecter argues that "most of our media ... still largely support the war including the government's rationalizations," adding that "support" can be measured in "what is covered and what is not, what experts we hear from and which we do not, and how many thoughtful Iraqis ... make it into our news."
Editor and Publisher's Greg Mitchell deems the Washington Post's "mea culpa" for its pre-war coverage "a day late and a holler short." Plus: "What do they pay you guys for, anyway?" and "a goldmine of contradictions and propaganda."
Earlier: Noting that Bush and Kerry "haven't gotten near" the point of admitting that they might have handled Iraq differently, the Oregonian's David Sarasohn writes that at least "newspapers don't usually try to claim that even though they were wrong, they were right."
According to the New York Times, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart says the company has no "hidden agenda" in announcing plans to award $500,000 in scholarships to minority students at journalism programs, and an official at one of the programs getting the money defends the company's right to ban the sale of publications it finds offensive or "uncomfortable." Earlier: 'Inside Clear Channel.'
In a commentary for the Independent Institute, Ivan Eland argues that despite its repeated terror alerts and homage to "national security," the U.S. government "really does not have many incentives" to actually make its citizens safer. Plus: 'The Ultimate Stupidity.'
Daily Howler wonders why most of the press corps pundits focused on Bush's clothing, Kerry's campaign jokes and "sensitivity" in a week when Nicholas Kristof twice reported that many experts predict a domestic nuclear attack in the next decade.
AP reports that, according to the census bureau, the income gap between the rich and everyone else is widening into a chasm.
The Washington Post weighs the environmental impact of a simple word change that enabled the Bush administration to transfer federal protection from Appalachian streambeds to the companies dumping mining debris into them.
The New York Times reports that charter school students often lag behind students in public schools, according to a national comparison of test scores that were "buried in mountains of data the Education Department released without public announcement."
In 'New York Vs. the Protesters' the Washington Post reports that NYC authorities expect some 250,000 war protesters to march past Madison Square Garden this Sunday, a week before the GOP convention opens. Also: New York Vs. the most-reviled media figure on the NYC subway system.
Bob Herbert of the New York Times detects "the vile smell of voter suppression" in news of armed police officers showing up at the homes of "randomly selected" elderly black voters in Florida, ostensibly to investigate allegations of voter fraud. Also: Florida gets a message.
"I'm Vernon Robinson and I approve this message because Akhtar didn't come here to live the American dream. He came here to kill you." So says an ad for a North Carolina congressional candidate, which calls a Pakistani man arrested for videotaping Carolina skyscrapers a "terrorist."
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
'We just did it.' According to a story in the New York Times, the Marine commanders at Najaf who turned a firefight into an eight-day pitched battle acted without approval of the Pentagon or senior Iraqi officials, and with little planning.
Residents of Najaf tell Reuters that they "don't really care who is winning," and that between them, the Mehdi army and the Americans have turned the holy city into a no man's land.
Members of a peace mission left Najaf "at speed" after failing to meet with Moqtada al-Sadr, who was said to have regarded them as "messengers," Aljazeera reported that several hundred delegates to the Iraqi national conference threatened to walk out over voting procedures, and two explosions rocked the convention center.
The Wall Street Journal reports that members of what is perhaps Iraq's only heavy metal band say their music is about "feeling powerless and lonely and wanting to scream out because no one else is paying attention to what you're feeling."
In a Salon essay, Robert Bryce writes that "the bitter reality is that America is losing the war in Iraq," in large part because insurgents understand that "America's Achilles' heel in Iraq is oil."
In an interview with Jim Lehrer on PBS's "News Hour," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld used a line of argument he had used earlier: "We're in a war, and he who would tear down what is [incurs] the responsibility of recommending something better and putting something better in place and knowing that it will work." As before, he was referring to the 9/11 Commission's recommendations.
"For God's sake, Bush was ... warning us that unmanned Iraqi drones were going to spray poison gas on the continental United States. The whole thing ... was [as] transparent as a cheating husband's excuse. And I don't know a single educated person who didn't think so at the time," writes Matt Taibbi, who says that the Washington Post still doesn't get it.
Karen Kwiatkowski writes that "George W. Bush, John Kerry, and most of the Congress appear quite pleased with the current no-fault security strategy. I wonder if the average American is as delighted."
The New York Times reports that Michael F. Scheuer, the senior CIA officer also known as "Anonymous," has written a letter to the 9/11 Commission accusing it of, among other things, failing to "hold anyone accountable," and adding, "you know that on at least one occasion the sale of F-16's to an Arab government was considered more important than acting to protect American lives."
Interviewed on Democracy Now! in defiance of Israeli government restrictions, nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu describes his 18 years behind bars and his reasons for exposing the extent of what he calls Israel's "holocaust factory," the nuclear weapons program that he says "made Israel free not to make real peace with the Arabs ... free not to solve the Palestinian refugee problem."
A Financial Times article previews Senator John Kerry's remarks to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, setting out his opposition to President Bush's recently announced troop redeployment plan, which is said to be already causing political problems for the German government.
Seattle Times guest columnist Walter Williams revisits an April 2004 report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities called 'Tax Returns' which he says "should be one of the key documents informing the upcoming election."
Politech flags a 9th Circuit ruling that the homeless have no right to such postal services as p.o. boxes.
American Leftist says that, immediately following an interview with a woman questioned by the FBI regarding any plans to protest at the GOP convention, CNN's Mike Galanos made reference to "knowledgeable sources" who believe al-Qaeda is trying to recruit women and non-Muslims.
War and Piece flags a Salon article by Husain Haqqani, who says Pakistani leaked the name of al Qaeda computer wizard Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan, and then blamed the U.S. as the source, with Washington "hardly in a position" to say much about the disaster.
However, writes Juan Cole, "Although the efficient cause of the naming of Khan was a Pakistani official speaking to the NYT, I would argue that the final cause of the naming" was the press conference held by Homeland Security head Tom Ridge on August 1.
According to IPS a UN report estimates that global military spending will approach one trillion dollars this year, while the Washington Post reports that President Bush touted missile defense at a Boeing plant, accusing doubters of living in the past.
Thursday, August 19, 2004
A Los Angeles Times story on Moqtada al-Sadr's offer to disarm his militia and leave the Imam Ali Mosque reports that "U.S. military planners said they had no plans to scale back or change direction" in Najaf "unless instructed by the Iraqi government."
A new Pew Research Center poll finds that "for the first time since the Vietnam era" foreign affairs and national security may outweigh the economy in a presidential election. The poll also finds that a growing number believe that "U.S. wrongdoing in dealings with other countries might have motivated the 9/11 attacks."
A Washington Post summary says the poll contains "a number of danger signs for Bush," and the New York Times reporter covering President Bush's campaign says that his "standing among voters on national security matters is not what he and his advisers had hoped it would be."
The vice chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, a Republican, tells his constituents that the war on Iraq was a mistake and is a "dangerous, costly mess." Rep. Doug Bereuter, who is also a senior member of the House International Relations Committee, is leaving Congress after 13 terms. Read Bereuter's letter.
An entry on Bad Attitudes calls the contrast between Bereuter's "eminently reasonable" position and Senator John Kerry's "easy to mock and hard to explain" position "mysterious."
However, Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria calls Kerry's "the most defensible position" and says the belief that "Iraq would have been a disaster no matter what" is "thinly veiled racism."
'Who else have you got?' Helen Thomas writes that by defending his vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq, "Kerry has blown it big time, rising to Bush's bait and throwing away his ace in the hole -- Bush's shaky credibility on the profound question of war and peace."
The New York Times plumbs the depth of the Democratic Party's fight to deny Ralph Nader a fighting chance, with the anti-Nader effort said to have consumed "easily in excess of 10,000 hours" in Pennsylvania alone.
The Times story quotes an expert on ballot access laws as saying, "There is no other country in the world that has free elections that forces a candidate for chief executive to have to wrestle with 51 separate sets of laws." Earlier: a Democratic strategist tells AP that "The key is keeping his name off the ballot."
Appearing with Michael Massing on PBS's "News Hour," the Washington Post's Leonard Downie defended his paper's prewar coverage by saying that "there were a lot of things going on," such as the Columbia Shuttle disaster, and that "sometimes people confuse motive" with "workload." Plus: Atrios searches for evidence to support Downie's claim that the Post "truth-squaded" Sec. of State Powell's U.N. presentation.
Tom Engelhardt looks beyond the mea culpas to stories that seem to have gone MIA in Iraq, such as the U.S. military's increasing use of air power as the "weapon of choice" in heavily populated urban areas.
The Washington Post reports that a critic of Kerry's war record has been contradicted by his own war records. The report and a Los Angeles Times article prompts FactCheck.org to modify its earlier assessment of the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" ad. Plus: Kerry hits back, says President Bush wants front groups to "do his dirty work."
The Gadflyer argues that two ads held up as examples of negative campaigning are not equal: "Every word of the MoveOn ad is true. The Swift Boat ad, on the other hand, is filled with false insinuations and unsubstantiated charges." Plus: the ad the Minneapolis Star Tribune wouldn't run.
'Import the policy, not the drugs.' Noting in the Boston Globe that "cheaper Canadian drugs are the same ones sold at higher prices in the United States," Robert Kuttner cites health policy expert Deborah Stone, who wrote in 2003 that "what we are really importing from Canada is effective government regulation."
Halliburton Watch reports that the Army has reversed its decision to withhold 15 percent of future payments to Halliburton because of "suspicious bills," leading Senator John Edwards to ask, "Did somebody make a phone call?"
Friday, August 20, 2004
Tapped's Mark Goldberg recalls an anniversary forgotten, at least on major U.S. editorial pages: the deaths of Sergio Vieira de Mello and 22 colleagues at UN headquarters in Iraq, "a harbinger of the unrelenting calamities to come."
AP summarizes a report in The Lancet, excerpted by Under the Same Sun, which charges that U.S. military doctors were active collaborators in the abuse at Abu Ghraib prison, covering up homicides and reviving an unconscious detainee for further torture. Plus: 'Abu Ghraib Probe Points to Top Brass.'
The Christian Science Monitor's Scott Baldauf goes inside the Imam Ali Shrine after being warned by a U.S. Army officer, "That shrine might not be around much longer."
The Independent's Donald Macintyre reports seeing "Sadr's soldiers dig in for the final assault," while the BBC says U.S. warplanes are bombarding Najaf, and Juan Cole asks, 'Could Najaf Cost Bush the Election?'
An AFP story says that Iran's defense minister has threatened to launch a preemptive strike against U.S. forces in the region to protect its nuclear facilities.
Spiked's Brendan O'Neill ponders a paper by David Rapoport, editor of the Journal of Terrorism and Political Violence, which argues that WMDs have historically been less destructive than conventional weapons.
Sports Illustrated finds that a midfielder on Iraq's Olympic soccer team objects to the mention of Iraqi athletes in a Bush campaign ad, and says President Bush should "find another way to advertise himself." A teammate asks, "How will he meet his God having slaughtered so many men and women?" and adds that if he were home he would be fighting in the resistance.
In Mother Jones, Tom Engelhardt says the media are still using language on Iraq that "might have been taken from Bush press releases."
According to the Los Angeles Times, the CIA will release a report next month speculating on what Iraq's WMD capabilities might have looked like in 2008 had the U.S. not invaded last year.
Media watch group FAIR has called on reporters involved in the Valerie Plame and Wen Ho Lee cases to reveal their sources, since the sources were "not revealing government wrongdoing, but committing government wrongdoing."
The New York Times charts and chronicles 'The Birth of An Anti-Kerry Ad,' pointing out that "several of those now declaring Mr. Kerry 'unfit' had lavished praise on him, some as recently as last year."
In a PBS "News Hour" segment on the controversy over attacks on Kerry's war record, host Jim Lehrer introduced John O'Neill, co-founder of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, as the author of "Unfit for Command." Neither Lehrer nor O'Neill mentioned the existence of O'Neill's co-author.
A Salon article on the book mentions a remark on CNN by Republican Congressman Christopher Shays: "I don't think the Swift Boat Veterans are helping the Republican cause or helping the president. I mean, John Kerry served in Vietnam. He's a war hero."
The Nation's David Corn recaps the fight thus far, and Paul Waldman of Gadflyer writes that the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell probed the Swift Boat issue with him both during and after a Fox News "O'Reilly Factor" segment.
Oliver Willis rounds up coverage of Michelle Malkin's appearance on MSNBC's "Hardball" in which she suggested that Chris Mathews should ask Kerry whether he shot himself on purpose in Vietnam, and her subsequent claim that she is a victim of ambush journalism.
Molly Ivins writes that "Sooner or later, someone is going to ask Kerry the question he so famously asked about Vietnam: How do you ask someone to be the last man to die for a mistake? He'd better have an answer ready."
AP reports on the controversy in Venezuela over a U.S. firm's exit poll, which wrongly predicted a defeat for President Hugo Chavez. The poll was based on field work by a group that received a $53,400 grant from the congressionally-funded National Endowment for Democracy.
The Washington Post reports that a Bush-Cheney campaign advisor on Catholic issues resigned shortly before the publication of a National Catholic Reporter investigation into allegations of sexual harassment. Earlier: hands-off church membership directories.
A New York Times story calls anarchists the wild card of the GOP convention, and AP reports that NYPD plans to deploy ear-splitting acoustic weapons, which the military is already using against insurgents in Iraq, against protesters at the GOP convention, but promises to use them "only to communicate."
Monday, August 23, 2004
A USA Today analysis finds Iraqi insurgency unslowed by the transfer of sovereignty and quotes one expert as saying, "I could see this going on for 10 years."
Asking 'Who is in charge in Iraq,' William Pfaff argues that the U.S. "should simply get out, cutting its losses now."
The Telegraph's Toby Harnden interviews child soldiers preparing to face U.S. tanks at the Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf, the Christian Science Monitor's Scott Baldauf says that for Najaf police, "the thin blue line has never been blurrier," and Knight Ridder's Hannah Allam finds Iraqi national guardsmen reluctant to fight the Mahdi Army.
'What Went Wrong in Iraq.' Writing in Foreign Affairs, Larry Diamond argues that the consequences of U.S. blunders are "just now becoming clear" and doubts that the new Iraqi government will be strong enough to demobilize the country's heavily-armed militias. Plus: plans to fire 30,000 police, and al-Sadr secures the release of a kidnapped journalist.
CorpWatch's Pratap Chatterjee follows the money, hot on the contrail of 'The Thief of Baghdad.'
Pat Buchanan writes that if the neocons "can ignite a new war [in Iran], the country may forget how they bungled the old war." In "Where the Right Went Wrong," Buchanan says that after 9/11, neocons told Bush that "if he did not follow their war plans, he would be publicly charged with a 'decisive surrender' to terrorism."
A military attorney assigned to defend one of four suspects at military trials set to begin this week at Guantanamo Bay tells the Washington Post that "These commissions are a lie behind the claim that all men are created equal, that we are innocent until proven guilty, that we as a society believe in the rule of law above all else."
The Denver Post investigates the routine military practice of allowing troops accused of abuse and human rights violations to avoid trial by simply dismissing them from the service, even in cases involving prisoner death.
A CIA report will not forecast what Iraq's WMD programs might have looked like if the U.S. had not invaded, the head of the CIA's weapons search team tells the Los Angeles Times, contrary to a previous report.
The Los Angeles Times investigates the threat of agroterrorism, which would turn animals into weapons, and quotes on expert as saying, "The expertise needed to mount a serious attack is quite small."
The White House was shocked and the Kerry campaign was pleased, says a story in the Washington Post, by a plan to reorganize national intelligence put forward by Senator Pat Roberts and eight other Republicans.
The New York Times cites estimates that the GOP convention could attract 250,000 protesters and reports on GOP plans to "turn any disruptions to their advantage, by portraying protests by even independent activists as Democratic-sanctioned displays of disrespect for a sitting president."
David Neiwert finds "a chilling harbinger of what awaits us if Kerry wins the presidency" by investigating "dirty tricks operation" Citizens United's role in recent attacks on Kerry.
Time's Joe Klein wants to know why Kerry keeps offering "nostrums" that "sound distressingly like market-tested pap" instead of "hammering Bush on his conduct of the Iraq war." Left I On the News seconds that emotion.
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
The Telegraph reports that in Najaf's Wadi al-Salam cemetery, U.S. troops are under orders to frisk the dead in their coffins.
Iraq's Olympic soccer coach says his team is no symbol of freedom, because "We do not have freedom in Iraq, we have an occupying force."
Western diplomats tell the New York Times that Pakistan is "turning a blind eye" to efforts to disrupt the Afghani election from its soil.
Editor and Publisher's Greg Mitchell demonstrates, by quoting from an editorial and four columns from February 6, 2003, that if the Washington Post's news coverage leading up to the war was one-sidedly hawkish and pro-administration, the paper's editorial page "was even worse."
The New York Times reports that a panel appointed by Donald Rumsfeld will issue a report that implicitly criticizes the Defense Secretary for "not exercising sufficient oversight" over U.S. detention centers in Cuba, Afghanistan and Iraq.
An Australian radio transcript from Guantanamo details rigid restrictions on journalists covering the trial of David Hicks, which a military spokesperson defends by saying, "We don't know that there's a credible threat, but certainly not something we'd take a chance on."
A Chicago Tribune editorial joins the chorus urging reporters to reveal their sources in the Valerie Plame case.
The Washington Post reports that Rep. Porter Goss, President Bush's nominee to head the CIA, sponsored legislation calling for larger cuts in intelligence than those the White House called "deeply irresponsible" when proposed by Senator John Kerry.
Andrew Sullivan writes, "How the president turns this around is not easy to see," and a Guardian analysis says that Bush "needs good news on the economy and he needs it fast." However: 'economic models predict Bush win.'
'Vote early, vote often.' A New York Daily News investigation finds that 46,000 New Yorkers are registered to vote in both New York City and Florida.
After President Bush again denounces all 527 campaign ads, but "singles out" none in particular, Tapped's Nick Confessore writes that "if President Bush is opposed to 527s, somebody better tell his senior campaign staff, and quick."
American Prospect's Michael Tomasky writes, apropos of Sunday's swift-boat story in the Washington Post, that "You'd think a press corps that has now officially acknowledged that it was had by this administration on the pre-Iraq war propaganda would think twice before letting itself get used one more time."
Mathew Gross writes that Bush campaign adviser Matthew Dowd walked right into one when he said that for Bush not to mention 9/11 at the GOP convention "would be like Roosevelt not talking about Pearl Harbor."
The New York Times magazine looks at the pharmaceutical industry's success at marketing depression in Japan.
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
The Los Angeles Times examines the Bush administration's aggressive efforts to remove what one official calls "impediments" such as "deer, elk, sage grouse" and open up western wildlife habitats for oil and gas development.
USAToday reports that the EPA has issued its highest ever warning level for mercury contamination in U.S. lakes and rivers. Earlier: 'Mercury Emissions Rule Geared to Benefit Industry.'
Revisiting a WABC report on NYPD's 24-hours-a-day surveillance, with one supervisor and six cops assigned to each of "56 primary anarchists," WSWS warns of "the danger of violent confrontations sparked by agents provocateurs" at the GOP convention.
Eric Margolis writes that President Bush has "done more to electrify the international Left and give it a sense of common purpose than anyone since Che Guevara," who a Knight Ridder report called "the Osama bin Laden of his day."
The Dreyfuss Report amplifies an analysis by CIA veteran Raymond Close, who argues that the Bush administration's gambit in Iraq might end with a doomsday scenario involving an Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.
On Dissident Voice, M. Shahid Alam probes the logic of the "clash of civilizations" thesis as a rationale for the war on terror.
On an ice cream run to the Imam Ali Shrine, Back to Iraq's Chris Allbritton observes that "the long-feared outburst of Shi'a anger just isn't happening," and the Independent reports that Iraq's Defense Minister says the battle for Najaf is "in its last hours."
Human Rights Watch says the report of the Schlesinger Panel on abuse of detainees "talks about management failures when it should be talking about policy failures," and a Washington Post analysis says that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's leadership has been "weighed by a jury of his peers and found somewhat wanting."
The Government Accountability Office says that "soldiers sent to Iraq and Afghanistan have had to spend a year or more straightening out problems affecting their pay, allowances and tax benefits."
The Guardian reported that Palestinian leaders are accusing the U.S. of "destroying hopes for peace in the Middle East by giving its covert support to Israel's expansion of controversial settlements in the West Bank." Plus: Asking Israel to 'let us know what it is they are doing.'
The Independent's Andrew Buncombe covers a civil action in California in the case of the murder of El Salvador's Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, 24 years after his death.
'Tide? Or Ivory Snow?' In a recent talk featured on Democracy Now!, Arundhati Roy says that "underneath the shrill exchange of insults, there is almost absolute consensus. It looks as though even if Americans vote for Kerry, they'll still get Bush. President John Kerbush or President George Berry." Plus: 'Whoever wins ... We lose.'
John Marshall digs up a quote from last December's Financial Times, attributed to a "senior Republican": "By the time the White House finishes with Kerry, no one will know what side of the (Vietnam) war he fought on." Plus: 'Got DD-214?'
The Washington Post reports that Jamie Rubin, a top national security adviser to Kerry, now says he made a "mistake" in saying that Kerry, had he been president, "in all probability" would have waged war against Iraq.
Larry Sabato writes that, like the Civil War before it, the Vietnam War "will shadow national politics until generational replacement" has removed all the participants, and David Broder says that only the fact that the boomers are now in their sixties will "save the country" from the ongoing '60s culture war.
Carpetbagger responds to a New York Times report on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce-backed November Fund, set to attack Senator John Edwards' career as a trial lawyer, by saying "the Republicans haven't thought this one through."
Brad DeLong argues that a Kerry idea to help health care work better as a market would be a good Bush idea, too.
In an Editor and Publisher article, William E. Jackson Jr. muses that since contempt charges against Time's Matthew Cooper have now been dismissed, New York Times reporter Judith Miller may now receive even more attention from investigators.
Thursday, August 26, 2004
Reuters reports that 1.3 million Americans slid into poverty, health care coverage dropped and incomes were stagnant in 2003. "What ever could have given us that idea?" writes Carpetbagger, in response to official denials that politics played any part in the Bush administration's decision to change the date, location and source for the release of the data.
A Mother Jones analysis by Bradford Plumer finds "a common theme in all of Bush's health proposals," namely "incentive for businesses to drop their current employees."
"Don't shoot the mosque." With U.S. troops "almost at the gate" of the Imam Ali Shrine, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, back in Iraq, calls for march to "save Najaf." Juan Cole writes that Sistani's return raises many questions.
In a PBS "News Hour" interview, New York Times correspondent John Burns said that U.S. forces were in a race to try to effectively control the shrine before Sistani's arrival. Plus: 'No legitimacy in Iraqistan.'
The Christian Science Monitor finds loyalty to Moqtada al-Sadr growing as Sistani returns, while a new PINR spotlights the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq, the group it says would likely emerge as an alternative should al-Sadr "fail."
An Uruknet report says that Sunni volunteers from Fallujah have been teaching Shia men and women how to fight.
Back to Iraq's Chris Allbritton, hauled at gunpoint to a "press conference," finds Najaf's finest to be "just like the old regime, only less disciplined."
According to the Los Angeles Times, investigators who charge in a new military report that the CIA played a large role in the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison were "blocked from pursuing allegations against CIA employees."
The CJR Campaign Desk writes that the Swift boat vet ad story was kept afloat in August in part by the fact that "in June and July, the press hardly moved the story an inch" although the Swift boat vets "virtually declared war on Kerry" in May.
In a column on the persistence of myth and misinformation, Editor and Publisher Greg Mitchell asks, "Has the press done enough" to inform people about the war in Iraq, or "is there only so much it can do?"
'The Church of Liebling' Slate's Jack Shafer writes that if A. J. Liebling "didn't invent press criticism, he might as well have," and that he "didn't take press criticism to hell with him when he died, but he might as well have." Earlier: 'Reporting it All.'
The Seattle Times describes NBC Universal's approach to news of Olympic doping and judging scandals: don't cover it.
The Bush campaign's top outside lawyer, Benjamin Ginsberg, resigned, saying his role with Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was making sure coordination didn't happen. David Corn finds Ginsberg still spinning for the Swift boat vets during an appearance on ABC's "Nightline." Plus: escaping without a scratch.
As the BBC reports on the mission of Arun Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi's grandson, to encourage Palestinians to launch non-violent campaigns against the Israeli occupation, Haaretz's Amira Hass says "it is a discussion that we Israelis should also conduct. As occupiers."
'Have you ever been to Israel?' According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Illinois Senatorial candidate Alan Keyes owns a 9mm Glock semi-automatic pistol and a .38-caliber "six-shooter" and favors legal machine gun ownership because citizens are on "the front line of the war against terror."
AP reports that the South Carolina state Democratic Party is offering potential new voters a choice: sign up to vote or be drafted and sent to Iraq.
Friday, August 27, 2004
On Gadflyer, Thomas F. Schaller observes that the number of Americans killed in Iraq in 2004 now exceeds the 482 killed in 2003.
Reuters reports that confusion reigned at a U.S. military tribunal as translators openly disagreed on what was said in testimony, and the presiding officer asked a Yemeni man facing war crimes charges, "Is your understanding of our culture sufficient to make things that appear strange appear not so strange?"
The Washington Post reports that a deal with Moqtada al-Sadr shows that Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani can "force both Sadr and the interim government to yield to his middle-ground approach."
The Toronto Star's Haroon Siddiqi says that after Najaf, "regardless of how this battle ends, America has already lost the war," because the U.S. "thought nothing of violating the sanctity of a sacred Muslim site."
On Empire Notes, Rahul Mahajan writes that the problem in establishing a body count in Najaf is that "if only Arabs have reported it, to the United States it hasn't happened."
'Hush hush, keep it down now, voices carry.' With a massive march set for Sunday in New York City, Tom Hayden disputes "the spreading assertion that anti-war protests at the Republican convention will help Bush." Plus: 'Bring Najaf to New York.'
'I'll Be Backed!' The New York Times reports that California Gov. Schwarzenegger's trip to New York to address the GOP Convention is being financed by no less than 15 major corporations, including the parent companies of every major U.S. television network. Plus: 'The Big Media Back Story.'
The Washington Post spotlights a new report by the NAACP and People for the American Way which details a GOP "campaign to keep African Americans and other minority voters away from the polls this November." Also: 'What Bush has planned for America if he wins.'
'Ashcroft Hits the AstroTurf' The Austin Chronicle reports that a prewritten op-ed piece touting mandatory minimum sentences has been turning up in local newspapers, signed by local U.S. attorneys.
Earlier: Jason Leopold writes that reams of evidence that makes Vice President Dick Cheney "look like Ken Lay's twin brother" is collecting dust instead of attracting mainstream media attention.
'Ah, we did? I don't think so.' The New York Times says that during an interview Bush "appeared unfamiliar" with a new report on climate change in which the administration apparently changed its position on what causes global warming.
'It's the IQ, Stupid.' Howell Raines writes that Senator John Kerry and his running mate "keep talking about what the White House wants them to talk about" instead of forcing Bush outside his "one-trick comfort zone."
"Any student of Bush family campaigns could have seen the swift boat shiv shining a mile away," writes Dick Meyer for CBS. "The big question is why John Kerry didn't."
Monday, August 30, 2004
The Los Angeles Times reports that a truck bomb killed at least seven people and left a crater at the Kabul headquarters of DynCorp, the U.S. company that supplies bodyguards for Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the leading candidate in elections set for October 9.
The New York Times reports that a "roaring, two-mile river of demonstrators" estimated at half a million strong and "packed as dense as broccoli florets" marched past Madison Square Garden, where "no one was at home to hear it." A Slate dispatch says the march "had the air of a goofily partisan parade" with a "free-rider problem."
King of Zembla has 'Fun with Numbers,' noting that while the Voice of America reports that the protesters numbered in the tens of thousands, Reuters says that they numbered in the hundreds of thousands.
GOP leaders vowed to "seize on street demonstrations to portray Democrats as extremist."
Writing in the Toronto Sun, Eric Margolis says that while anti-terrorist precautions make New York City "look like Damascus during a military coup," Bush and Kerry are "arguing furiously about the 30-year-old Vietnam War -- at a time when the U.S. is losing the wars it is now waging in Iraq and Afghanistan."
The San Francisco Chronicle's Mark Morford asks, 'Is the Nation Drunk?'
'Iran-Contra II?' A Washington Monthly investigation says the case of Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin, suspected of passing classified documents to Israel, may be part of a rogue operation "not approved by the president's foreign policy principals or even the president himself."
American Leftist says "The story is about a conspiracy to hijack the U.S. government on behalf of foreign powers," while Hullabaloo's Digby sees "the earmarks of a John LeCarre novel" about what happens "when you have a stupid and easily manipulated man at the head of the government."
In a pair of commentaries, Juan Cole calls the espionage scandal "an echo of the one-two punch secretly planned by the pro-Likud faction in the Department of Defense" and says that suspect Lawrence Franklin is "clearly a lamb being fattened."
Antiwar's Justin Raimondo charts the growth of the story from a late Friday night CBS report, through anonymous official claims that Franklin "was preparing to lead the authorities to contacts inside the Israeli government when the case became publicly known." Was the leak a "controlled burn"? Plus: 'Why Would They Bother?'
In an essay for Esquire, Ron Reagan states 'The Case Against George W. Bush.'
Former Texas House Speaker Ben Barnes confirms that he is "more ashamed at myself than I've ever been" for getting young George W. Bush into the National Guard.
Greg Palast connects a billion dollar no-bid deal for a client and a $23 million dollar fee to 10 years of silence by Barnes. Josh Marshall notes that White House spokesperson Scott McClellan dismissed Barnes as a "longtime partisan Democrat," even though Barnes endorsed McClellan's mother in a 2002 election.
A Wall Street Journal story argues that while the GOP convention may showcase moderates, mobilizing conservative Christians, not attracting swing voters, is the strategic focus of the Bush reelection campaign.
The New York Times says it was wrong -- about the Electoral College.
The Toronto Star's Haroon Siddiqui writes that "The sins for which Lyndon Johnson quit, and Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush were defeated, were minuscule by comparison" with the problems facing President Bush, yet Senator John Kerry has "shied away" from issues that Americans appear "ready and even eager to confront."
A new NRP poll has Bush's approval rating hovering below 50 percent, while Reuters reports a four-point Kerry lead in a new Zogby/Williams survey, with the Tin Man beating the Scarecrow by 35 points among undecideds.
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
The Los Angeles Times reports that U.S. forces in Iraq are now being attacked 60 times per day, with one analyst saying, "They are just hitting us hard and everywhere." Meanwhile, President Bush is said to tone down talk of "winning" the war on terror, before quickly toning it up again.
"Don't most families in America keep a weapon?" an aide to Moqtada al-Sadr tells the New York Times, explaining that it would be unreasonable to expect Sadr's army to give up their privately-owned rifles.
In a commentary for Uprising Radio, Rahul Mahajan of Empire Notes says that the likely outcome of the siege of Najaf is that people will be talking about Moqtada al-Sadr's exploits "decades from now, and little boys being born all over the world will be named Moqtada."
The New Standard reports that interviews conducted by Michigan-based lawyer Shereef Akeel have turned up fresh evidence of ongoing torture and abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. personnel, including a 15-year old Iraqi boy who says he was raped last month at an American facility.
In The New Yorker, John Cassidy writes that in downplaying the president's economic message the media is "missing one of the biggest domestic stories of the 2004 campaign," Bush's coded signals of a far more radical agenda. Plus: the economics of "proportional" coverage.
AP reports that some GOP delegates called Senator John McCain a "sore loser" but "screamed their lungs out" for former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani. The Nation's David Corn reviews 'The McCain Fizzle' which was enlivened mainly by a jab at Michael Moore. Plus: reaching out to RINOs.
A new Zogby poll finds that half of all New York City residents believe that U.S. leaders had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks and that they "consciously failed to act."
Ongoing probes into the conduct of Defense Department officials are baseless and politically motivated, Pentagon adviser Richard Perle assures the Boston Globe: "It's pretty nasty, and unfortunately the administration doesn't seem to have it under control."
Juan Cole reasons that news of the investigation was leaked to make sure that everybody clammed up and shredded everything."
War and Piece updates a Ha'aretz bio of Larry Franklin, the Pentagon Iran analyst suspected of passing documents to Israel, while Karen Kwiatkowski, who worked with Franklin in the Pentagon and remembers him as "an interesting and kind person," writes that "It must be exciting these days to be a neoconservative."
Robert Dreyfuss cites an intelligence pro who calls Franklin an "incompetent fool way out of his depth" and adds that "Israel has penetrated the United States so completely that it probably doesn't even call it spying anymore. It's business as usual." Uggabugga maps the territory.
Analyzing how swiftly three unaffiliated swift boat crewmen who all came forward supporting Kerry disappeared down the memory hole of a "Potemkin" press corps, Daily Howler concludes that "Increasingly, your national 'press' is a screaming joke -- and so, therefore, is your democracy."
Jim Boyd, deputy editorial page editor for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, writes that "We are in the middle of an important national event: the real-time confrontation of a political smear," and that he is "sick to death of being played for a chump by the likes of Karl Rove."
AMERICAblog calls the decision of Virginia Congressman Ed Shrock to drop his reelection bid, after blogACTIVE posted allegations that the co-sponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment was cruising for men on phone sex lines, "a huge success for bloggers, and the outing campaign in general."
The Virginian-Pilot adds that "no mainstream newspapers, television stations or Web sites published the allegations."
The St. Petersburg Times takes back its endorsement of Senate candidate Mel Martinez after his campaign calls opponent Bill McCollum "the new darling of the homosexual extremists."
The New York Times reports that Fox News refuses to run an ad for The Nation despite the fact that the magazine has carried several of the network's ads. The Nation's Arthur Stupar says, "I find it ironic. They are the GOP cable station, a champion of free markets, and they got spooked at the thought of running an ad that doesn't publish spin or serve the agenda of corporate conglomerates."
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