August, 2007 link archive

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

'Murdoch Wins His Bid for Dow Jones,' reports the Wall Street Journal, a former company executive and current shareholder calls the sale "a bad thing for Dow Jones and American journalism," and an unnamed reporter tells the New York Times, "It's sad. We held a wake. We stood around a pile of Journals and drank whiskey."

PEJ examines 'Murdoch's U.S. Track Record,' reporters reflect on his purchase of the Sun-Times and New York Post, Content Bridges calls it "the end of the Murdochian siege ... the end of one era, while the next hasn't quite begun," and Danny Schechter offers a 'View From Down Under.'

In an interview that aired last week, John Nichols said Murdoch's strategy is to use the Journal's global reputation to "create a massive new broadcast and cable 24-hour financial network," and "become the dominant voice in financial communications internationally." Plus: 'Ready for the Dow Jones Fox Average on the nightly news?'

"The silver lining of this takeover," argues Eric Alterman "is that when Murdoch destroys the credibility of the Journal -- as he must if it is to fit in with his business plan -- he will be removing the primary pillar of the editorial page's influence as well."

As Iraq's largest Sunni Arab bloc quits the government, senior U.S. military officers in Iraq tell McClatchy that "Shiite Muslim militias are a bigger problem" than al Qaeda in Iraq, "and one that will persist even if al-Qaeda is defeated."

Iraqi civilian deaths in July were reportedly up 33 percent over June, U.S. military deaths in July were the lowest in eight months, but higher than any July since the war began, and an Iraqi refugee camp meets aid workers' challenge: "to provide safe havens that do not invite permanence."

As it's reported that Pakistani President Musharaff "may hang up his army uniform to pave the way for a pact with former prime minister Benazir Bhutto," Sen. Barack Obama says that if elected president, he 'Might Send Troops Into Pakistan,' a headline that is said to distort "the speech of his life."

'Polls down, integrity questioned, Cheney hits airwaves,' and even Larry King casts doubt on his assertion that he doesn't recall having dispatched Alberto Gonzales and Andy Card to John Ashcroft's hospital room.

King doesn't bring up "Angler" in the interview, but he does mention Walter Mondale's op-ed accusing Cheney of a "near total aversion to the notion of accountability." Cheney also said he "agreed with the letter Eric Edelman wrote. I thought it was a good letter."

"One thing we learned last night," writes Josh Marshall, "is that not only is Dick Cheney a big liar, he's also probably lousy at poker. Because the guy has a classic tell."

Donald Rumsfeld returned to testify at a House Oversight Committee hearing on the 'Tillman Fratricide,' and said that "I know that I would not engage in a coverup and that no one in the White House would suggest such a thing."

With John Edwards in a 'Full-court press against media,' a New York Times report on his campaign's Internet strategy says that "listening to Mr. Edwards is often akin to reading the postings on an angry blog." And Joe Trippi, who Elizabeth Edwards credits for "The hair commercial," explains why "money draws so much attention by the press."

As CNN gives a tryout to a conservative advocate of voter hotline jamming, Eric Boehlert wonders "who at CNN is protecting the underperforming Glenn Beck, and why?"

In what is seen as an 'Escalation in the Kos/O'Reilly war," Mike Stark from the blog Calling All Wingnuts visited Bill O'Reilly at home, but got some negative feedback on the 'Accountability Moment.'

Oprah Winfrey is slammed by Joyce Carol Oates and publisher Nan Talese for her treatment of "A Million Little Pieces" author, James Frey. Earlier: 'Did Nan Talese Lie to Oprah?'

After shadowing New York's strap-hanging mayor for five weeks, a New York Times reporter discovers that Michael Bloomberg "spends a quarter of his ostensibly subterranean commute in an S.U.V. "

July 31

Thursday, August 2, 2007

As it's reported that "the American ambassador in Baghdad wondered whether this whole benchmark concept was a good idea to begin with," CNN's Michael Ware says that while sectarian violence in Baghdad is down, "Without America to act as the big baby sitter, this thing is not going to last."

'Casualties of War' Robert Stein asks, "How much safer would we be if some of those billions of dollars underwriting the carnage in Iraq had been devoted to modernizing our aging infrastructure at home?" Plus: 'Bridges Too Far.'

Have a look as 'Kucinich Grills Rumsfeld' at the House hearing into the Tillman fratricide, asking him if the Department of Defense worked with the Rendon Group to create an Iraq war press strategy.

The U.S. Marshall's service reportedly tried three times to deliver a subpoena to Lt. Gen. Philip Kensinger, who was said to be "confrontational and not willing to cooperate."

After reporting that a controversial NSA program "was part of a much broader operation than the president previously described," the Washington Post's Dan Eggen was asked in an online chat Wednesday, "Will we ever know the depth and breadth of the Bush administration's national spy program(s)?"

"The yes man has become the indispensable man," writes Sidney Blumenthal, since "Losing Gonzales would raise the curtain on this era's 'White House horrors.'" Blumenthal also wonders, "Why would a White House counsel act on a vice president's orders?" And, more on 'The Cheney-Edelman Connection.'

In an interview on "Ring of Fire," Harper's Scott Horton discusses the incredible case of the now-imprisoned Democratic former governor of Alabama, Don Siegelman, including allegations that Karl Rove was involved in the decision to prosecute, and Rove's history in Alabama politics. Plus: 'Brains behind dirty campaigns go global.'

Mitt Romney weighs "The Decision," in what is called "a ridiculously fraudulent family gathering," the New York Times reports that the 'Campaign puts Giuliani and Ailes in uncharted territory,' and John Edwards calls on "every Democratic presidential candidate to refuse contributions from News Corp. executives and return any they've already taken."

A statement issued by FCC commissioner Michael Copps on the Dow Jones/Murdoch deal says,"It's interesting to hear the 'experts' claim the transaction faces no regulatory hurdles. Not so fast!"

Synergy Smackdown? According to one analyst, "News Corp. will not be able to leverage the Wall Street Journal brand or content in launching the Fox Business Channel given the paper's agreement with CNBC, which lasts through 2012." And meet 'the media clan who sold out to Murdoch.'

"Marketplace" interviews economist Mark Weisbrot about 'Venezuela's social spending spree,' following a report that found, according to Weisbrot, "no obvious end in sight for Venezuela's current economic expansion." Plus: 'Pew draws questionable inferences about Venezuelan public opinion.'

After reportedly being told by Israeli Prime Minister Olmert that Hamas must "be kept out of the game," Secretary of State Rice, following her meeting with Palestinian President Abbas, "skirted the question" of how to deal with Hamas.

While the U.S. and Saudi Arabia are seen as having 'drifted apart,' the $20 billion arms agreement between the two countries is said to be a "done deal."

The recent spate of media attention being paid to Guinea Bissau as a gateway for cocaine shipments to Europe, does have one upside for the country.

The group Grassroots America gets some publicity for a video in which Rep. Earl Pomeroy calls President Bush a "clown," like the American Greetings card with Bush's picture and the words, "What's a birthday party without a clown?"

August 1

Friday, August 3, 2007

The I-35W bridge collapse provides an 'infrastructure wake up call,' as 25.8% of U.S bridges are deemed "structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and questions are raised about the adequacy of the federal bridge inspection program, and about the 'tax cut death toll.'

As President Bush turns from sympathy to blame, the politics of the disaster are highlighted by an organizing meeting for the RNC's '08 national convention in St. Paul, and by war opponents' introduction of a bill in the Senate, just hours before the collapse, to "fund massive improvements of American infrastructure."

With the Federal Highway Trust Fund "projected to run dry in 2009," "Democracy Now!" talks to James Ridgeway and Daniel Schulman about the privatization of the nation's roads, which is part of what Jim Hightower calls the "deliberate defunding" of U.S. infrastructure.

As an appeals court rules that Katrina victims "cannot recover money from their insurance companies for the damages," Bush's expected veto of a bipartisan flood control and coastal restoration bill is described as "merely the latest of a phonebook-sized list of broken promises." Earlier: Turning down international assistance.

Paul Krugman argues that the Democrats passed one test by facing down the insurance industry and expanding children's health insurance, but risk cementing a reputation as a party of special interests if they follow Sen. Charles Schumer's lead and reject closing an estimated $6.3 billion hedge fund loophole.

Rudy Giuliani rolls out what's termed a health plan 'with a tax break and a tiara,' but given the plan's lack of specificity, Ezra Klein argues that "the 'plan' is not the point. It's the pretext." And Kevin Drum considers an attempt to sweeten the health care narrative.

As soaring war costs underline 'U.S. economic vulnerability,' 'contractors earn record profits,' and the Philippines government launches an investigation into the use of forced labor in building the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

In what the New York Times calls a 'blunt review of progress in Iraq,' Defense Secretary Robert Gates admits, "We probably all underestimated the depth of the mistrust and how difficult it would be for these guys to come together on legislation, which, let's face it, is not some kind of secondary issue."

'Bush's non-exit exit strategy' "As the political structures in Iraq fall," contends Joe Conason, "the war's advocates cannot pretend that their strategy is working, either. The way to encourage compromise, if not reconciliation, among the Iraqis is to place our withdrawal on the negotiating table."

'The empty rhetoric of heroism" that makes every wounded service member a "hero," warns Rosa Brooks, doesn't just "mix up the idea of service -- or the idea of sacrifice and suffering -- with the idea of heroism ... It's part of the language of fascism."

"There's irresponsibility. There's demagoguery. And then there's Trent Lott," comments Spencer Ackerman, reviewing the threats the senator rolled out to rally support for the Bush administration's campaign to expand FISA, now that a secret court judge has apparently ruled some its surveillance activities illegal.

Sen. Partick Leahy accuses Chief Justice John Roberts of turning the Supreme Court into "an arm of the Republican Party," and an article in Slate investigates the "faux originalism" of Justice Clarence Thomas, but the Senate Judiciary Committee approves the nomination of another controversial judge.

Fair finds that much of the media coverage of the abortion ruling adopted language that ends up 'erasing women' from the equation, as the abstinence industry tries to make a point with "frozen waffles and a bowl of spaghetti." But the Dutch turn to hot air to promote safe sex.

With the YearlyKos drawing a "high-profile crowd' of Democratic leaders, and Howard Dean giving the keynote speech about "the restoration of democracy," Sen. Chris Dodd 'smacks down' another O'Reilly attack, and the Washington Post concludes that the event has become the 'Democrats' Other National Convention.'

As 'crude traders pump oil toward $100 level,' the dominance of oil in geopolitics is reconsidered, and Sierra provides an updated and "refreshing" guide to help 'pick your poison.'

Among the 'Chiquita Secrets Unpeeled' by stories in the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal are consultations with the Justice Department about dealings with paramilitaries that it admits involved "breaking the nation's anti-terrorism laws." Plus: Is Paraguay 'A Laboratory for Latin America's New Militarism'?

Aug. 2

Monday, August 6, 2007

See how our Media Transparency helps dozens of progressive media outlets like Alternet, Daily Kos, Media Matters and ThinkProgress, follow the money fueling the right-wing movement. And please consider helping us to continue helping them, as we urgently need your support.

Jane Mayer takes a detailed look inside 'The Black Sites,' where the CIA instituted an interrogation program, "remarkable for its mechanistic aura," employing techniques described as "tantamount to torture," and using psychologists' theories to skirt international prohibitions. But does it amount to 'a case that could be used against Cheney'?

As Congress passes and Bush signs into law a bill broadly expanding the government's ability to eavesdrop without warrants, with apparently minimal debate, and minimal resistance from Democrats, Glenn Greenwald looks at the 'Democrats' responsibility for Bush radicalism,' and joins Marjorie Cohn for a discussion of the politics of "Warrantless Surrender."

On the president's agenda when Congress returns in September is "the important issue of providing meaningful liability protection to those who are alleged to have assisted our Nation following the attacks of September 11, 2001."

In a mea culpa in the New York Times, Michael Ignatieff now confesses that he was wrong to support the Iraq war, while Frank Rich finds the last of the unreconstructed hawks still "hiding behind the troops."

The GAO estimates that 30% of weapons given to Iraqis by the US are missing, and corruption is so high that another U.S. government report calls it a "second insurgency."

As power and water fail across Iraq, the AP blames Saddam Hussein, and signs at a U.S. army base direct Iraqis to use a separate latrine.

A State Department spokesman asks and answers the question, "Is she planning on sticking around?," on a day that "she" welcomed a new "Public Diplomacy Envoy" into the government. Plus: "The Second Coming of Karen Hughes."

Early stories of a July decline in U.S military deaths in Iraq evaporate, as a growing number of U.S. papers call for withdrawal, and a veteran reporter speaks out about the impact of "a Katrina moment" on war reporters.

Even as they 'delicately try to separate' themselves from Bush, all but one of the candidates at Sunday's Republican debate insist that the surge is working, calling the alternative "surrender."

Looking at what current presidential candidates are saying about policy, Paul Krugman finds the entire GOP field failing "the substance test," and Sen. Hillary Clinton "showing an almost Republican aversion to talking about substance" in her reticence to specify how she would cover the uninsured.

With the Democratic party 'growing more liberal,' Hillary Clinton, who is reportedly bringing her stance on the Iraq war "much more in line with Democratic primary voters," defended some other unpopular stands to mixed response at the "YearlyKos" convention.

A journalist finds 2,000 "news junkies" and not a paper in sight, but the convention got coverage in the mainstream media, and even the Washington Times notes how 'Kossacks' whip up Democrat enthusiasm,' as Jay Rosen reviews 'questions political journalists asked themselves' as they confronted the liberal blogosphere.

In a new database tracking the "earmark frenzy" attending the passage of the 2008 military spending bill, Rep. John Murtha comes out at the top of the trough, although left out of the analysis are the $31.9 billion devoted to "black" programs and the funding for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Facing a host of problems as he prepares to meet President Bush, Afghan President Hamid Karzai admits that the situation in his country has "definitely deteriorated," as "a record poppy crop ... cements its status as the world's near-sole supplier of the heroin source," and a British commander in Afghanistan says victory "could take 38 years."

As Guatemala's elections approach, the mounting body count is attributed to drug gangs maneuvering for political power in what has become a key corridor for smuggling cocaine into the U.S., and one presidential candidate is accused of murder. Plus: '1,200 letters against Genocide.'

A different kind of "Patriot Act" introduced into Congress would reward corporations for not outsourcing, while an article in the American Prospect details how loopholes in the H1-B visa and lax supervision help make high-tech, low-paid guestworkers part of the outsourcing problem. Plus: Extreme outsourcing tackles life and family.

An outed NBC mole runs for the exits at a underground hacker convention in Las Vegas, where presenters demonstrated how to pick high security White House locks, and rewire security cards to gain unauthorized access to buildings.

Aug. 3-5

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The 'Iraqi Crisis Deepens,' with the government described as both 'paralysed' and 'unraveling,' but a USA Today/Gallup poll 'shows growing support for Iraq war policy.'

As the U.S. troop level in Iraq surpasses 160,000, Vice President Cheney, in a speech to the national convention of the Marine Corps League, said that "The main battle in Iraq today is against al Qaeda."

"There is no al-Qaeda or Taliban safe haven in Pakistan," according to a Pakistani spokeswoman, and Afghan President Karzai said the Taliban are "not posing any threat" to his government, during a press conference at which President Bush falsely asserted that Iran "has proclaimed its desire to build a nuclear weapon," and blamed the Taliban for civilian casualties in Afghanistan.

With Arabs again having "followed democracy and voted for the wrong man," Israeli Prime Minister Olmert pledges to push for a Palestinian state as "fast as possible," Holocaust survivors describe as "laughable" the Israeli government's offer of $20 monthly stipends, and the U.S. State Department agrees 'to revise website over Holocaust complaint.'

About "The Confidante," a forthcoming biography of Secretary of State Rice that reportedly contains a 'Let Them Eat Cake' anecdote, a former diplomatic correspondent writes: "I can't think of a single thing she's accomplished on her watch. And it's time for the press to catch on."

Two new polls show Sen. Hillary Clinton leading the race for the Democratic nomination by 22 points, but Jonathan Tasini reminds that the Wall Street Journal recently said John Edwards was "dictating the debate," as he reviews a new trade proposal from Edwards, profiled in Esquire by Charles Pierce.

With Democratic candidates set to debate at an AFL-CIO forum, Clinton is reportedly "facing a backlash over the business ties of a top campaign aide who has angered the labor movement," and it's argued that 'bloggers ran a better debate than "pro" journalists.' And in a 'YearlyKos postscript: The impeachment=sex analogy you've been waiting for.'

It's reported that the top Republican presidential candidates are being advised by Neocons, and on the same day it was revealed that Jeri Thompson is not a lawyer, her husband went on the record to clear up any confusion. Plus: 'Gay Blowback (But In A Good Way).'

As it's argued that George Packer "does his readers a disservice by trying to construct a parallel between conservative reaction to Scott Beauchamp and liberal reaction to O'Hanlon/Pollack," FAIR finds 'Military atrocities less newsworthy than right-wing fantasies.'

An AP article dares to ask the obvious question, and a New York Times report on how the 'Bridge disaster revives question about spending,' notes that Minnesota's governor, who "twice vetoed legislation to raise the state's gas tax to pay for transportation needs.... appears to have had a change of heart."

As the White House accuses the Times of making an "unfounded claim," it's asked if the paper is the 'Next NSA Leak Target?' And a civil liberties advocate notes that while the new FISA law "expires in February unless Congress acts to extend it, any surveillance orders that are in place when it sunsets can last up to a full year." Plus: 'The Fear of Fear Itself.'

Bill Clinton reportedly calls the Wall Street Journal's editorial page "even more right wing and irrational than most of the commentators on Fox News," and the Dow Jones sale is said to be "a very sad day for journalists at the Wall Street Journal, except those who dance to the Fox News Channel beat."

The New Yorker's Steve Coll identifies what "ultimately laid the company bare for Murdoch," and Edward Wasserman argues that "It's not Murdoch's politics that has the potential to corrupt The Journal; it's his business."

"Union baristas could not be happier that Starbucks has chosen to go to trial," writes Daniel Gross, who told Business Week that "Starbucks has been the paragon of socially responsible marketing, and if it's fake at Starbucks, it's very likely fake in general." And after blanketing Britain, the chain 'goes to Tijuana, finally.'

Children tend to say that food wrapped up in McDonald's-branded paper tastes better than the same food wrapped in plain paper, according to a study by researchers at Stanford, one of whom wants to ban all advertising aimed at children under the age of eight.

August 6

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Detailing how the Bush administration has gone about 'Data-Mining Our Liberties,' Aziz Huq calls the passage of the Protect America Act, "the most recent example of the national security waltz, a three-step Administration maneuver for taking defeat and turning it into victory."

"Democracy Now!" interviews the New Yorker's Jane Mayer about her 'Black Sites' article, and the WSWS notes that "Despite the sensational character of Mayer's revelations, there has been relatively little comment on the subject in the American media." Plus: 'When "Torture" Is the Only Way to Describe It.'

The defense rests in the trial of Jose Padilla without calling any witnesses, the British government asks the U.S. to return five UK residents being held at Guantanamo, and the Pentagon appoints a former New Jersey prosecutor who served in Iraq to defend bin Laden's driver.

Following a mid-July report that the U.S. military was planning to send tribal forces to Baghdad, it's now said to be "conducting 'accelerated' operations to arm Sunni tribes in the areas surrounding Baghdad."

In a special report on "the surge," Patrick Cockburn gives his take on why the U.S. is "looking to these Sunni fighters for succour," Juan Cole examines the 'surge of phony spin on Iraq,' and the Washington Post reports that following "repeated appeals" by the Bush administration, 'a wary U.N. now plans larger Iraq role.'

After the Post's Howard Kurtz reported that the 'Army concludes Baghdad Diarist accounts untrue,' a conclusion that was news to the New Republic, Josh Marshall asked, 'So what's up here?'

As the stage version of "Get Your War On" plays Edinburgh, David Rees gets on Michael Ignatieff's war.

While Operation Straight Up "appears as a traditional entertainment troupe that brings cheer to American troops around the globe," writes Max Blumenthal, it "promotes an apocalyptic brand of evangelical Christianity to active duty U.S. soldiers serving in Muslim-dominated regions of the Middle East."

As the Israeli 'Cabinet meets on prospect of conflict with Syria,' it's reported that "The Israel Defense Forces will no longer conduct reserves training exercises which involve the 'capture' of populated villages in the West Bank," as opposed to the unpopulated one, a "fake Arab town" called Chicago.

The "Gallup Guru" offers 'A hint of more positive news for the Bush administration,' whose namesake was called out by AFP for leveling an "inaccurate accusation" against Iran, or as the Times of India charitably headlined it, 'Dubya goofs again.'

It's suggested that Minnesota's Republican governor is in "serious danger of taking mortal political damage from the bridge collapse," which accounted for 25% of all news coverage last week, and 69% of cable coverage over three days, according to PEJ. Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church reportedly plans to protest funerals of the victims.

As 'Unions go slow in backing a Democrat,' Marc Cooper observes that in Tuesday's debate, John Edwards, "who has aggressively courted labor and taken a series of populist stances, found himself at times upstaged by Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich." Plus: 'Phoney fears grip America.'

A new book details the efforts of one U.S. family to go an entire year without purchasing anything "Made In China."

China "may use its $1.33 trillion of foreign reserves as a political weapon to counter pressure from the U.S. Congress," reports the Telegraph, noting that "Shifts in Chinese policy are often announced through key think tanks and academies," not unlike in the U.S.

One year before the 2008 Olympics, China 'pulls out stops,' as does NBC, touting 3,600 hours of coverage, Reporters Without Borders, calling China "the world's biggest prison for journalists and cyber dissidents," Human Rights Watch, warning that 'You will be harassed and detained,' and the Committee to Protect Journalists, which says China is 'Falling Short.'

August 7

Thursday, August 9, 2007

McClatchy reports on two studies finding that suicide bombers in Iraq are overwhelmingly foreigners, and that the number of suicide bombings there "has now surpassed those conducted worldwide since the early 1980s." One study is by the author of "Suicide Bombers in Iraq" and the other is by Robert Pape.

With roadside bomb attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq reaching an all-time high last month, a U.S. military spokesman predicts "a surge in enemy operations ... to make it look like this isn't working at all."

Editor & Publisher compares Michael Gordon's reporting on Iran to that of other news outlets, and President Bush goes on Fox News and promises that any Iranians "caught going into Iraq ...will be brought to justice." Complete interview, parts one and two.

Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf avoids a move that would have reportedly resulted in his "complete political isolation," and 'Forget Hillary: Obama's Musharraf Matchup.'

During a segment on "Hardball," an Iraq "Truth Tour" participant and Move America Forward board member, told the head of, "I am so happy you're not serving in Iraq right now, stabbing your fellow men and women in uniform like you do back in the states."

'Will the real Colin Powell stand up?' Sidney Blumenthal says that Richard Armitage's "debut" in "No End in Sight," "has the White House fuming and fretting that it somehow signals Powell's emergence as a full-throated critic in the middle of the September P.R. offensive." Plus: 'The Broken Record on "the Next Few Months."'

Powell donates to John McCain "after learning that the senator's campaign was low on funds," and Mike Huckabee responds to the "What's wrong with America?" question asked by Steve Skvara at Tuesday's Democratic debate.

NPR's Alix Spiegel visits "Scenic Trails," and reports on being 'Stuck and Suicidal in a Post-Katrina Trailer Park.' The segment ends with one suicide attemptee telling her, "I know y'all have other news, but peek in every once in a while, just peek in."

Spiegel said she got the story idea after reading a report on the health status of "internally displaced persons" living in trailer parks in Louisiana and Mississippi. A new survey of displaced Louisianians also found a "significant level of depressive symptoms" among trailer park residents. Plus: U-2 spy planes watching more than Katrina aftermath?

Federal investigators find a possible design flaw in the collapsed Minneapolis bridge, President Bush dismisses raising the federal gas tax to pay for repairs, a 'Bridge hero says "nope" to Bush photo-op,' and, 'Why are these people so happy?'

As a federal appeals court rules that online vote-swapping is legal, a Los Angeles Times reporter discusses his article about how California GOP operatives are pushing for a ballot initiative that would apportion the state's 55 electoral votes by congressional district. More from the New Yorker on 'Votescam.'

Robert Novak says that "the adjournment for the August recess found the GOP in high spirits thanks to winning the anti-terrorist eavesdropping bill."

An AP report on challenges facing the U.S. as it 'Struggles to Downsize Guantanamo,' includes sending detainees to countries where they "will not be tortured or face other treatment that violates international law." More on "a painful Guantanamo Bay irony."

As Business Week reports on former KGB agents who are now "serving as foot soldiers of capitalism, representing American corporate interests in the Motherland," the Wall Street Journal is criticized for giving editorial page space to a "rusty apparatchik ... to chastise Bush's critics for exercising their constitutionally protected rights."

A media analyst "says he's never heard of a mid-sized daily eliminating its in-house editorial voice," quoted in an article about Montana's Missoulian relying on guest editorials since the departure of its lone editorial writer. It's owned by Lee Enterprises, the country's seventh largest newspaper chain. Earlier: 'Lee Who? '

August 8

Friday, August 10, 2007

Markets fall across the globe in response to a liquidity crisis, which the New York Times' Floyd Norris compares to the bank runs of a few generations ago, while CEPR looks at the factors that led up to the recent instability, and Danny Schechter asks: 'Subprime or Subcrime?'

Noting that "when liquidity dries up, the normal tools of policy lose much of their effectiveness," Paul Krugman warns of the possibility of "a chain reaction of debt defaults," as Nouriel Roubini predicts "a hard landing," and another analyst comments, "we all need to get used to days like yesterday."

A 'false new media meme claims that war critics across the board see progress in Iraq,' ignoring analysts like Anthony Cordesman whose pessimistic assessment of the situation in Iraq gets far less play than that of his more optimistic travel companions.

Robert Parry contends that a change in tactics is 'spinning the Iraq war death toll,' and it's suggested underreported contractor deaths are not "the most forgotten deaths in Iraq."

The curious nom de guerre of an insurgent in a story on Sunni fighters aligning with the U.S. raises suspicions that the Washington Post is being played.

The army is "leveraging all available assets" and rolling out a "buffet" of new recruiting incentives along with looser rules on "age and weight limits, education and drug and criminal records" to try to meet recruitment targets, as the rhetoric softens on "don't ask, don't tell."

As fear of ambush makes getting internet service connected in Baghdad dicey, independent journalism in Iraq dwindles, and a security ban on cars, motorcycles and even bicycles, sends residents of Fallujah, a city of 300,000, 'back centuries.'

Although AT&T claims that censoring Pearl Jam's anti-Bush lyrics was just 'an error,' critics charge that it was no coincidence and argue that such "spin needs to be held up to the light of ... AT&T's history of breaking trust with their customers."

Britain issues a 'gag order' prohibiting military personnel from speaking about their service, while journalists confront a German government investigation of publications which have reported on Germany's role in extraordinary rendition.

With the British clearing out of Basra and looking toward what Foreign Secretary David Miliband calls 'the long haul' in Afghanistan, a British commander asks the Americans to leave his area "because the high level of civilian casualties they had caused was making it difficult to win over local people."

As neocons peddle a recipe for regime change in Iran, George Bush lectures Afghans about their neighbors and Iranians about "their rightful place in the world," and McClatchy reports 'Cheney urging strikes on Iran' "if hard new evidence emerges of Iran's complicity in supporting anti-American forces in Iraq."

"Support for the Afghanistan deployment has weakened across Canada but it has collapsed in Quebec," according to the Economist, as Canada's military is accused of spying on a liberal war critic.

A newly declassified report shows that Canadian intelligence officials suspected that the U.S would deport Maher Arar for torture, and a Canadian broadcaster talks to "Democracy Now!" about 'Arar, the North American Security and Prosperity Partnership, Canadian Healthcare, and Argentina's Worker Run Factories.'

The new FISA law, which Marjorie Cohn calls a 'blank check for domestic spying,' faces a constitutional challenge, but John Dean suggests that an even more serious problem than the danger it poses to civil liberties is how it advances 'executive aggrandizement.'

'Where have all the "big, beefy" "every-way big guy" Democrats gone?' laments MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who later devoted a three-minute monologue to the "great neo-conservative mind" of George W. Bush, who's "on track to become the vacation president."

At the HRC's forum on gay rights issues, which drew only one protester, the Democratic front-runners back civil unions but not gay marriage, and Bill Richardson, in the view of at least one commentator, simply "self-immolated."

What's remarkable about Newsweek's history of the global warming denial industry, according to Grist, is not so much that it provides new information, but that it gathers all the information together in one place and presents it without the usual attempts at 'faux balance.' Plus: 'Mad Scientists vs. Global Warming.'

Amid reports of "simply incredible" shrinking of the arctic ice, an article in the New Statesman looks at how 'plunderers count on climate change for help' in the scramble for the region's oil and gas.

In a cover story asking 'Is America Turning Left?' the Economist concludes that even if the country does shift left, it "will still be a conservative force on the international stage," noting that "on virtually every significant issue" Sen. Hillary Clinton is "more right wing" than her conservative European counterparts.

Not listed in the Village Voice's compendium of 'Rudy Giuliani's Five Big Lies About 9/11,' is his new claim that "I was at ground zero as often, if not more, than most of the workers. ... I was there working with them. I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to." Plus: Worse than Bush?

Aug. 9

Monday, August 13, 2007

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove announces that he will resign at the end of the month "for the sake of my family," ending what has been termed 'The Rove Presidency,' although Oliver Willis maintains that President Bush remains "the ultimate 'architect' of his own darn failure."

Politics TV compiles a 'video hall of shame' to commemorate Rove's departure, as President Bush makes it official, and questions are raised about whether this will improve chances of getting Rove to testify in the U.S. attorneys scandal.

By passing the "Protect America Act," Congress "shredded the Fourth Amendment," writes Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, interpreting the capitulation as a "classic case of fear trumping principle." Will Bunch calls it Rove's "crowning achievement."

Charlie Savage reports that Homeland Security is "funneling millions of dollars to local governments nationwide for purchasing high-tech video camera networks," raising concerns that it is "accelerating the rise of a surveillance society," as U.S. firms help China expand high-tech surveillance of its citizens.

Mitt Romney comes out on top of the GOP heap in the Iowa straw poll, although apparently lagging in popularity behind a buttery Harry Potter.

In a New Yorker article tagging Rudy Giuliani as 'The Mayberry Man,' Peter Boyer considers the possibility that "All the things that a lot of New Yorkers ... hate about this guy are the things that are actually fueling his campaign." Plus: The language czar?

Paul Krugman finds signs that the GOP is grooming another "narcissist in chief" in the candidates' "unintentional moments of self-revelation," like Romney's suggestion that his sons' help in getting him reelected is a an act of national service, or Giuliani's padding of his ground zero resume.

After his interview with Michael O'Hanlon, Glenn Greenwald concludes that his answers "demonstrate rather conclusively what a fraud [his] Op-Ed was, and even more so, the deceitfulness of the intense news coverage it generated." And Frank Rich notes that public relations strategies for the war ... are again gathering steam.

Reactions -- and outrage -- continue to roll in on Michael Ignatieff's belated acknowledgment that the humanitarian case for the Iraq war he helped promote is a shambles, with Helena Cobban providing a running commentary on how he is 'still getting Iraq wrong,' and questions raised about how wish-based policy keeps getting a platform.

Continuing his Washington Post series on private armies in Iraq, Steve Fainaru looks into the 'millions in cost overruns' for private security, amid continued concerns about "what -- if any -- laws apply."

With fatigue driving U.S. troops to Red Bull to make it through the day, the "war czar," in his first interview since he was confirmed by the Senate in June, floats the possibility of a draft, a measure the Pentagon hastily denies considering.

Responding to a New York Times report that most Democratic presidential candidates are "hoping to tamp down any expectation that the war would abruptly end if they were elected," Chris Floyd sees 'no light, just tunnel,' as Craig Crawford outlines the partisan temptations of a September defeat.

In a critical report on London's Middle East policy, a parliamentary committee concludes that the U.S. surge is likely to fail, an eventuality for which the Rand Corporation warns the U.S. needs to start planning now, as Walter Pincus tallies up the 'discomforting specifics' of "secure withdrawal."

A New York Times retrospective on the Bush administration's failure in Afghanistan focuses on the diversion of "scarce intelligence and reconstruction resources to Iraq, but fails to mention the perhaps ameliorating role of the U.N. or the counterproductive role of ideology. Plus: 'Fight less, win more.'

Although he is now leading the charge for expanding the war, in 1994 Dick Cheney warned that invading Iraq would lead to "quagmire," as documented in a video that has surfaced on the net but has received little play in the mainstream media.

After the vice president dedicates a new visitor center at Grand Teton National Park, "Cheney" gets toppled by a spirited crowd of protesters marching on his Wyoming home.

OMB Watch looks at how its response to infrastructure failures dramatizes the Bush administration's transition from 'compassionate to cruel conservatism.' as the U.S. slides down to 42 in life expectancy, and Left I on the News looks behind the excuses.

Aug. 10-12

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Although 'Democrats continue to seek testimony from Rove,' it's suggested that "his resignation will almost certainly not make his appearance more likely," but John Dean explains why "two old seasoned hands" like Sen. Leahy and Rep. Conyers, "might be more inclined to go after Rove," who "talks a lot about Ahab and Moby Dick."

The Washington Post's White House reporter finds it "not entirely surprising" that Rove announced his resignation via the Wall Street Journal's editorial page: "[Paul] Gigot got the scoop and wrote a piece that let Rove largely frame his decision on his terms."

With 'Rove's "Generation of Peace" to Finally End,' read a liberated version of Joshua Green's much discussed but subscription-only Atlantic article on "The Rove Presidency," and see what was missing from reports on Rove's resignation.

Sidney Blumenthal calls "Rove's saga ... a rags-to-riches success story of a political serial killer," said to be "the direct link between Watergate and W.," and who, in 1994, writes Lou DuBose, "found religion, even if he didn't find Jesus. And it was a foxhole conversion at best." Plus: Jay Rosen on 'Rove and the Religion of the Washington Press.'

A State Department spokesman asks and answers the question, "Is she planning on sticking around?," on a day when "she" and Karen Hughes named a "Special Sports Envoy." Plus: Hughes' "Second Coming."

After a parliamentary committee report called for the British government to "urgently consider ways of engaging politically with moderate elements within Hamas," Hamas militiamen engaged violently with protesters in Gaza, where four people were also reportedly killed in Israeli raids on "terror targets."

Responding to a report that 'Major attacks decline in Iraq,' CNN's Michael Ware said, "the surge has shown some successes, but the real success is coming from ... America cutting deals with its former enemies," and sowing the seeds for "a much broader, more entrenched civil war that America will leave behind."

Citing Pentagon figures that at least 118 U.S. military personnel in Iraq have committed suicide since April 2003, Greg Mitchell wonders, 'Why Isn't the Press on a Suicide Watch?' He also points to a finding that "The suicide rate among all veterans is now about twice the national average among nonveterans."

Twenty members of the U.S. military who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are calling on the NFL to ask President Bush to release all documents related to the death of Pat Tillman.

On a long-term 'Fiscal Wake-up Tour' and armed with a new report, the Comptroller General warns that the U.S. should 'Learn from the fall of Rome.' And Jonathan Tasini argues that the U.S.'s main economic challenge is 'Guns Versus Butter,' citing a recent Gallup poll finding that "the public is ready to significantly cut military spending and reduce the size of the military."

With the Justice Department banking on a "built-in feature" to shield the warrantless wiretapping program from lawsuits, the Washington Post reports that the outcome of a hearing on Wednesday "could determine whether the courts will ever rule on the legality of surveillance conducted by the NSA without judicial oversight between 2001 and January 2007."

As the ABA calls on Congress to override Bush's executive order allowing "enhanced" interrogation methods, a headline twists statements made by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer in an address to the ABA's annual meeting, to make it appear that he was defending the 'Court's Rulings' instead of the system that produced them. Plus: 'Why do Fox News viewers distrust all other news sources?'

With Dan Rather's "The Trouble with Touch Screens" airing Tuesday, the Washington Post's Anne Kornblut is asked in an online chat: "How could you write about the 'Seinfeld election' of 2000 without acknowledging the role of the media (i.e., you) in setting the agenda for that election?" More on Kornblut from the Daily Howler: 'Slick Annie's new toy.'

As MSNBC's Chris Matthews is branded "a pig," part of Anderson Cooper's "smarts is an awareness that you don't get anywhere in today's mainstream without 'branding' yourself," writes David Ehrenstein, bringing word that the CNN anchor may be reconsidering an offer to have a cologne created for him.

"As it is now, my geographic limitations are not conducive to a massive book tour," said Conrad Black, interviewed by the Chicago Tribune about the U.S. publication of his biography of Richard Nixon.

August 13

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Get Your Wars On Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey, in addition to predicting that "In a decade or so, [Iraq] will be a remarkable country, if we stick with it," forecasted "persistent conflict" in the coming decades, and his Vice Chief of Staff told the AP that a larger U.S. combat force will be required for "the next two decades."

A Los Angeles Times article on possible troop proposals by Gen. David Petraeus, notes that his September report will "actually be written by the White House," and while "U.S. officials say the number of civilian casualties in the Iraqi capital is down 50 percent... statistics gathered by McClatchy Newspapers don't support the claim."

About the bombings of the Yazidis -- Iraqis say more than 200 died, the U.S. military says 60 -- Juan Cole suspects that those and an earlier one "are not just an attempt to spread fear and intimidation," and "that the Sunni Arabs will wage a major war with the Kurds over the oil fields of Kirkuk."

Bill Kristol, back from Iraq, is diagnosed as being 'One Sick Puppy,' following an appearance on "The Daily Show" in which he said that invading Iran was "not a bad idea."

The Bush administration "has decided" and is "preparing to declare" that Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps is a foreign terrorist organization, under a post-9/11 executive order designed to obstruct terrorist funding. Will Bunch has a theory on 'What's really behind Bush's Iran move.'

Gary Leupp imagines "the sort of 'heart to heart' talks Bush has with his puppets" about Iran, one "merely the mayor of Kabul," and the other "not even mayor of Baghdad," and an AP fact check backs up Sen. Barack Obama's much-derided statement about the killing of civilians in Afghanistan.

In its August 2 "airpower summary," the U.S. Air Force said that a "B-1B Lancer dropped guided bomb unit-31s on enemies hiding in a tree line near Baghran. The bomb drop was reported to have good effects."

A U.S. decision to 'Expand Domestic Use Of Spy Satellites,' "is likely to heat up debate about the balance between civil liberties and national security," reports the Wall Street Journal, "Coming on the back of legislation that upgraded the administration's ability to wiretap terrorist suspects without warrants."

Israel's "media-savvy arch-hawk," Benjamin Netanyahu, wins the Likud primary elections over a "religious settler" who is said to have "generated curiosity mingled with concern, not to say fear," and the 11-year-old star of Hamas television's best-known children's show, 'says she's ready for martyrdom.'

As 'New questions arise about mine stability,' Arianna Huffington asks: 'Why are the New York Times and so much of the MSM neglecting a vital part of the Utah mine collapse story?' She quotes Times' publisher Arthur Sulzberger as having said to her: "I'm told that 324 violations are not a lot."

Karl Rove gives an interview to The Politico's Mike Allen, and James Carville predicts that "If the trends hold ... Mr. Rove's political grave will receive no lack of irrigation from future Republicans."

Fox cancels its "right-wing answer" to the "Daily Show," and is caught editing the Wikipedia entry of Al Franken and others. The staff of possible Franken opponent, Sen. Norm Coleman, earlier admitted to changing his entry, including a description of the collegiate Coleman from "liberal" to "activist." More 'Shameful Wikipedia Spin Jobs.'

Reviewing the Broadway runs of "Frost/Nixon" and Eric Bogosian's "Talk Radio," Lucy Komisar calls both plays "intrinsic criticisms of U.S. journalism," which "expose how the media and its stars, at both the high and the low end, manipulate politics to turn news stories into emotional confrontations."

Albania's "sworn virgins" are the subject a new documentary by journalist and fiction writer, Elvira Dones, and an earlier book by Antonia Young, who shows and tells more about these "virgjinesha."

Faced with a choice to 'Forget Communism...or Sell It,' Albania chooses the latter, with one tourism official citing "interest for this paranoid, psychotic regime," which built an estimated 750,000 bunkers. But in July, Albania reportedly became the first country to destroy its entire arsenal of chemical weapons.

August 14

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Jose Padilla and two co-defendants are found guilty of "conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim people overseas," and "Alice meets 1984" is the description given to Wednesday's federal court hearing on lawsuits stemming from the government's warrantless wiretapping. Plus: 'How lawyer navigates sea of secrecy in bizarre case.'

Following up on the Wall Street Journal's report that the Bush administration is expanding its domestic use of spy satellites, the Washington Post quotes the director of the Center for National Security Studies as saying, "They are laying the bricks one at a time for a police state."

Mark Benjamin reports "intense infighting" within the American Psychological Association, over whether to condemn specific interrogation techniques, or, ban psychologists from participating in detainee interrogations altogether. This weekend's convention includes eight sessions on "Ethics and Interrogations."

As an 'Atrocity casts spotlight on U.S. policy' in Iraq, "the fix is already in," says a letter to the editor, about news that the White House will write the report that it described, 'Again and again ... as solely the work of Petraeus.'

The White House is denying a report that it wanted September appearances by Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker limited to private congressional briefings, and a review of statements by Senate Republicans prompts the question: "So, did the White House lie to you, or did you lie to the American people?"

After multiple FOIA requests, the AP and Reuters finally get their hands on Donald Rumsfeld's resignation letter, dated the day before the election, in which he cuts and runs from "Iraq."

Norman Solomon describes how Eason Jordan, who ran CNN's news operation during the invasion of Iraq, is doing 'Backspin.' Jordan, now CEO of the company that publishes IraqSlogger, inserted himself into a review of Solomon's film "War Made Easy," to defend comments he made about CNN vetting its analysts with the Pentagon.

New York City's police commissioner calls the Internet "the new Afghanistan," while in the old Afghanistan, there's 'A stumble over the "W" word,' and U.S. troops show up at Tora Bora. Plus: Pakistani 'Drag Queen Defies U.S..'

Newt Gingrich declares "war here at home," says "even more deadly than the war in Iraq and Afghanistan."

After last week's "Hardball" encounter, the head of is back for more, debating yet another representative of Move America Forward, Sal Russo, and telling him: "The difference between you and I is real simple: You're a Republican communications strategist; I'm an Iraq war veteran."

SourceWatch is watching a group called Vets for Freedom, which will be part of Move America Forward's cross-country 'Fight for Victory Tour,' ending in Washington D.C. in mid-September, and is also running cookie-cutter 'Thank You' ads for Sens. Norm Coleman and Joe Lieberman.

Washington D.C. officials are threatening to levy a $10,000 fine against the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition if it doesn't remove posters advertising a September 15th rally, saying that they were stuck on with adhesive that did not meet city regulations, which the group denies.

The New York Times reports that Karl Rove "intensified his unusual attack on Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton," during interviews with Rush Limbaugh and Reuters, and Bill Berkowitz finds the 'Hillary Hunters' locked and loaded, but wonders, 'Has she already taken their best?'

The executive editor of the Seattle Times follows up on his admonition on politically based cheering in the newsroom, that resulted from some people applauding the announcement that Rove had resigned. And Joe Scarborough says that the 'MSNBC newsroom booed Bush State of the Union.'

Bill O'Reilly, who failed in his attempt to get Rudy Giuliani to bash the New York Times, 'heaves more hate' at DailyKos, and laments that "Right now there's more propaganda than truth floating around in the press."

After Americans United complained to the IRS about a Southern Baptist pastor endorsing Mike Huckabee on church letterhead, the pastor called on supporters to use "imprecatory prayer" to curse Americans United and its leaders, for "attacking God's people."

Travelocity is fined $183,000 for booking trips to Cuba, Sen. Chris Dodd is applauded for demonstrating what an "Adult Foreign Policy" would look like, it's argued that 'Weary Cubans want radical change,' and a 107-year-old Canadian heiress 'lives in Cuban poverty.'

The Guardian surveys post-Katrina literature, a New Orleans music legend is feted with new gold, and after Peter Guralnick complained that Elvis is being "turned into a racist" by black people, David Vest invoked Lee Atwater and Lester Maddox.

August 15

Friday, August 17, 2007

After little more than a day of deliberation, and with at least one juror having all but made up her mind in advance, a federal jury pronounces Jose Padilla guilty, earning President Bush's gratitude but invalidating, in Glenn Greenwald's view, the Bush administration's rationale for keeping him imprisoned for three and a half years without charge.

'What should've gone on trial were the administration's tactics in detaining the one-time "dirty bomber" suspect,' charges one critic, as Padilla's lawyers, who are vowing to appeal, are urged to demand declassification of each and every gruesome detail of how he suffered during confinement.

"Democracy Now!" talks to dissident members of the American Psychological Association about the organization's refusal "to bar its members from participating in interrogations at military and CIA prisons," as they protest at the annual APA meeting this weekend. Plus: A call to 'Release the ICRC Torture Report.'

A Wall Street Journal profile of anthropologists who have embedded with brigades in Iraq and Afghanistan and collaborated on the army's new counterinsurgency manual envisions a rapprochement between academe and the military, although a majority of scholars admittedly still find such a relationship repugnant.

Although Michael Gerson tries pitching Karl Rove as "the opposite of a cynical political operator," Bill Moyers sees a manipulative skeptic who "turned religion into a weapon of political combat," and in whose hands "crony capitalism became a biblical injunction."

Adding up Rudy Giuliani's time at ground zero, the New York Times comes up with only 29 hours in three months, while Slate's Fred Kaplan takes stock of some of the "bizarre" things 'Rudy, the Anti-Statesman' has to say about foreign policy, as he "cuddles up to Bush's legacy."

With the coalition death toll in Iraq reaching 4,000, a new poll finds the public skeptical about progress in Iraq and 'mistrustful' of the upcoming Iraq report, which has even Chris Matthews wondering, "Is the White House going to pull a Lucy again?"

The Washington Post digs into the 'construction woes' plaguing a number of U.S. embassies, unearthing the sketchy track record of the man behind the embassies, who now faces questions beyond the 'waste, fraud and abuse' at the Bagdad embassy, about which he testified last month.

The new alliance backing Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's 'shaky government' is conspicuously lacking Sunnis, and Marc Lynch concludes that "What's left is a government stripped to its sectarian base - the two Kurdish parties and the two major Shia parties - and a world of political hurt."

A heavily redacted version of FBI Director Robert Mueller's notes back up his contention that the "Intensive Care Showdown" with a "feeble, barely articulate, clearly stressed" John Ashcroft, was focused on the legality of the government's wiretapping program, apparently contradicting the testimony of AG Gonzales.

As it's revealed that CIA and FBI computers were used for Wikipedia edits, Fox News responds to revelations that it was editing content on the on-line encyclopedia by going after the messenger.

With optimism about the world's oil supply growing harder to maintain, Michael Klare warns that "in an era of tough oil, the odds tip toward tough luck as well. Buckle your seatbelt. Fill up that gas tank soon. The future is likely to be a bumpy ride toward cliff's edge."

In Alaska where, as the Los Angeles Times puts it, 'scandal flows like crude,' the FBI is looking into the awarding of a federal contract to a company that oversaw renovations on Sen. Ted Stevens' home, and the maritime patrons of the senator's son raise further questions.

As an article in the Nation cheers the slow exit of "the most lamentable Speaker of the House in the chamber's history," Tony Snow says it's time to go -- "for financial reasons," and predicts a couple more to follow.

Amid 'rapid plunges -- and sudden rallies,' the 'odds grow for recession,' and Paul Krugman proposes using 'workouts, not bailouts,' to try to ameliorate the financial troubles of thousands of individuals without "letting the parties who got us into this mess off the hook."

Arguing that 'the old Iran-Contra death squad gang' is taking aim at Hugo Chavez to discredit the rise of "popular democratic movements" in Latin America, John Pilger prepares to answer questions of democracy raised by his new film. Plus: Venezuala tests a low tech approach to spreading the word.

Away from the 'bloody campaign trail' to speak at an international conference in Cancun, Nobel prize winner and Guatemalan presidential candidate Rigoberta Menchu is mistaken for a bag lady, highlighting, it's suggested, "the irony of upmarket resorts discriminating against real Maya while trying to attract tourists with fake Mayan architecture and spectacles."

Aug. 16

Monday, August 20, 2007

As academics and politicians take flak for whirlwind tours of Iraq in 'green zone blinders,' seven active duty U.S. soldiers write in a New York Times op-ed that "the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day" is being neglected in the press. And 'A Vietnam vet recognizes Iraq frustrations.'

The PEJ Quarterly Report finds the news focus shifting from the war in Iraq to the election, and war coverage getting more of an election frame, as the director of the project notes, "It's a lot easier to cover it as a political debate in Washington than to cover it on the ground in Iraq."

Academic advocates of "soft partition" for Iraq -- from Michael O'Hanlon to Amitai Etzioni -- are warned that Iraq is no Bosnia and that such a policy has little support south of Kurdistan.

Visiting a Baghdad prison camp, where he promised better treatment for detainees "packed into tented wire-mesh cages," Iraq's Sunni Arab vice president tells them, "You are lucky to be here. At least you have security. Those outside do not even have security."

Despite a pledge earlier this year by the CIA director to cut outsourcing by 10%, the DIA is proposing to outsource more than $1 billion in intelligence tasks, reports the Washington Post's Walter Pincus, who in a separate article looks at how the use of contractors has deferred difficult policy decisions.

Amid reports that "the Army has nearly exhausted its fighting force and its options," and that guardsmen are being asked to turn on a dime, bullets for war leave U.S. police short of ammo, and a Navy vet is told to buy his own purple heart.

The New York Times public editor's tentative criticisms of his paper's Iran coverage are found to be still a bit too timid, as Iran is accused of "training insurgents to attack American forces," although no one has been caught smuggling arms across the Iran-Iraq border, and Iran seems unintimidated.

His freedom agenda in tatters, Bush the "dissident" only gets "a C for execution" from his erstwhile mentor, while John McCain promotes himself as "the greatest critic of the Iraq war," and the "sole superpower in decline" faces some tough adjustments.

Responding to criticisms of the "lefty blogosphere" by the managing editor of Foreign Affairs, Glenn Greenwald notes that, beyond the false analogy between "the netroots and the neocons," "there is no such thing as placing oneself outside of the mainstream of the [Foreign Policy] Community through excessive warmongering."

Upon closer examination, revisions to FISA may have granted the government far more power to conduct spy operations than previously thought, and set up far fewer reporting requirements, as the FISA court directs the Bush administration to "explain its abnormal demands for secrecy."

Scott Horton looks beyond 'the battle to spin Padilla,' to the threat of politicized justice and conspiracy charges that one law professor concludes are "one step away from a thought crime."

As part of its extensive coverage of the convention, "Democracy Now!" reports that the APA has rejected a blanket ban on participation in military interrogations, instead passing a resolution that the association opposes torture and specifying practices it finds inhumane, but the impact of the resolution, submitted at the last minute, remains unclear.

McClatchy reports on the unprecedented leveraging of government officials and resources for GOP campaigns, coordinated by Karl Rove's "asset deployment teams," in apparent violation of the Hatch Act, and as part of what Rep. Henry Waxman called an "effort to make the federal government a subsidiary of the Republican Party."

As Rove plays victim in the New York Times and dodges questions on the Sunday morning talk circuit, Juan Cole reviews his 'poisonous rhetorical legacy,' and Frank Rich contends that the face he created for the party may be "indelible enough to serve as the Republican brand for a generation."

"Being in the minority is less fun," complains one retiring congressman who appears to be part of a building wave of GOP lawmakers heading for the exits in the face of a bleak outlook for 2008.

Noting how a "21st-century version of bank runs" have put pressure on "a growing number of unregulated bank-like institutions," Paul Krugman warns that "the growing complexity of our financial system is making it increasingly prone to ... crises that are beyond the ability of traditional policies to handle."

At the intersection of religion and politics, CNN prepares to air a multi-part documentary on 'God's Warriors' and Bill Maher borrows from Borat to create 'Religulous,' while critics tackle the "Christianization of pro-sports" by events such as "Faith Day."

August 17-19

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

As a "surge" survey prompts the question, "Why are we being given pundits by the corporate media, instead of experts?," Dan Froomkin wants to 'hear from someone besides the neoconservatives about Iran,' and Tony Karon argues that as with Iraq, the press is 'Asking the wrong questions on Iran.'

Other than some local TV stations, coverage of the trial of Lt. Col. Steven Jordan, the only ranking U.S. military officer charged in the prisoner abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib, is mostly the domain of non-U.S. media outlets. Tara McKelvey, author of "Monstering," tells AFP that "These court-martials ... are one of the few venues where things are out in the open."

A parsing of the APA's 'Torture Resolution,' concludes that "what it offers with one hand, it takes back with the other," and Mark Benjamin reports worries among some psychologists that "the APA's latest position will still allow the abuse of detainees psychologically, so long as the pain doesn't last too long."

Calling the reading of "Poems From Guantanamo" -- which were cleared for release by the U.S. military -- "a bizarre experience," one reviewer "can't help suspecting that this entire production is some kind of public relations psych-out, 'proof' that dissent thrives even in the cells of Guantanamo." Earlier: 'Prison poets of Guantanamo find a publisher.'

With U.S. military deaths in Iraq from IED's on a pace to triple the number in previous years, the AP reports on the effort to 'defeat' IEDs, which has spawned a multi-billion dollar industry that includes an IED Expo, but the military entity tasked with addressing the problem is said to be "mired in organizational chaos." Guess who was picketing the IED Expo?

Bob Herbert previews an HBO documentary titled "Alive Day Memories," in which "James Gandolfini, of all people ... steps out of his Tony Soprano persona to quietly, even gently, interview 10 soldiers and marines who barely escaped death in combat." Plus: 'Suicides in Iraq; It's Worse Than You Thought.'

As most traditional media outlets 'ignore skeptical op-ed by U.S. troops,' Robert Parry looks at what was 'Behind Rummy's Bum Rush,' and a book pitch by Rumsfeld reportedly 'Can't Gin Up Big Bucks,' with publishers said to be "skeptical of a book that simply served as a justification for the Iraq War."

In a letter to Sen. Patrick Leahy, Vice President Cheney's office "acknowledged for the first time yesterday that it has dozens of documents related to the administration's warrantless surveillance program," reports the Washington Post.

With a date set for Gen. David Petraeus to testify before Congress, the New Republic's John Judis examines 'How political psychology explains Bush's ghastly success,' invoking the work of three psychologists who co-authored the book, "In the Wake of 9/11," and "American Roulette," an article about the 2004 re-election campaign of President Bush.

Say Who? Bush will attend a fundraiser Tuesday for Sen. Norm Coleman at the Twin Cities home of a "hearing-aid magnate" and his wife, reports the Star Tribune, adding that the couple is "virtually unheard of in political circles." Next week they will host a fundraiser for the "still-undeclared" Fred Thompson.

In an interview about his book, "You Have No Rights," Progressive' editor Matthew Rothschild refers to a "Presidential Advance Manual," which was obtained through a deposition in a lawsuit filed by Jeff and Nicole Rank, arrested before a July 4, 2004 speech by Bush in West Virginia, for wearing anti-Bush T-shirts.

Last week the Ranks were awarded $80,000. Watch them discuss the suit and read an interview with their attorney. And reviewing the "Presidential Advance Manual," Slate's Dahlia Lithwick writes that "There is so much that is entertaining .... it's hard to know where to begin."

As it's reported that 'Miners saw "warning signs" at Crandall Canyon Mine,' Arianna Huffington ties 'Karl Rove's politics uber alles strategy' to the 'Utah mine disaster.'

"The Bush administration and China have both undermined efforts to tighten rules designed to ensure that lead paint isn't used in ...children's products," reports McClatchy, as a new Chinese export is described as something that would "probably make Richard Reid salivate," and China launches a television campaign titled, "Believe in Made in China.''

As the AFL-CIO names the winning entries in its "My Bad Boss" contest, the Los Angeles Times reports that "Lawmakers across the country are considering legislation that would give workers grounds to sue their superiors for being, basically, jerks."

August 20

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A report that was kept "under wraps for two years" and only "reluctantly released" now, is said to pull back the curtain on the CIA's 'Wizard of Oz Act.' But it's also reminded that "To date, no CIA employee has been reprimanded for any failings related to the Sept. 11 attacks."

As 14 U.S. soldiers are killed in a helicopter crash in northern Iraq, the country's Red Crescent now says that more than 500 Iraqis died in the bombing of two Yazidi villages last week, making it "the deadliest coordinated assault since the 2003 invasion by a factor of three."

Also last week, "events in Iraq" dropped off the radar of both cable TV and radio, according to PEJ's news coverage index, and that was before Hurricane Dean stormed the airwaves, leaving even a devotee of Anderson Cooper to remark that "cable news is a really cold business." Plus: Deepak Chopra and Glenn Beck -- together again!

NPR follows the Los Angeles Times to Sinaloa, home state of two of the trapped Utah miners, Michael Winship says that advances in mine safety have "only been achieved by frog marching the owners, kicking and screaming, to reform," and the Times also reviews a new book on The Ludlow Massacre.

In 'Bulldozers and Blasphemy,' Sierra magazine's Marilyn Berlin Snell details how Latin American Catholics are 'standing up to those who covet their gold and timber,' part of a "liberation ecology" movement, although the jury's still out on whether the now eco-friendly Vatican will encourage or stifle it.

As gas station owners in California sue Shell, Chevron and Saudi Refining for price fixing, claiming that the three owe each of 23,000 station owners across the U.S. at least $240,000, the Los Angeles Times, echoing a recent Rolling Stone article, declares in a lengthy editorial that the U.S. is 'Drunk on ethanol.'

Reviewing "The Argument" by Matt Bai, Alternet's Don Hazen calls it "the first attempt at a comprehensive history of the current Democratic insurgency, along with a major critique. Bai has a big problem with all this progressive insurgency activity." John Stauber explains why it should have been titled "The Gift," and Joan Walsh asks: 'Are Democrats really so lame?'

The mainstream media is said to be "playing up the notion that Democrats have gone soft on the 'surge,'" and interviewed by Amy Goodman, Nir Rosen was asked, "What do you think of Senator Levin calling for Maliki and the whole government to disband?" Rosen said, "it's stupid for several reasons."

TPMuckraker gets a look at the $495 report on Iraq's bridges by IraqSlogger, which will begin charging readers $59.95 per month in September, drawing a response that "No one is worth that ... especially you Eason Jordan."

A New York Times article on Sen. Barack Obama's speech to the annual VFW convention, mistakenly said that Obama referred to protesters at military funerals as "anti-war activists," after the paper last year corrected an op-ed referring to them as "anti-war protesters."

Before President Bush spoke at the VFW convention, a Los Angeles Times article called both the pre-speech release of lengthy excerpts and the analogy to Vietnam, "unusual," and USA Today quoted historian Stanley Karnow as saying, "Vietnam was not a bunch of sectarian groups fighting each other ... Does he think we should have stayed in Vietnam?"

The USA Today article notes that a new conservative group called Freedom's Watch is launching a $15 million advertising campaign, based on the notion that "It's time for Americans to take action to fight the efforts of anti-victory groups that are undermining the war on terror." Freedom's Watch is fronted by a veteran frontman.

As a Harris Poll finds that 'Memories may not be what they were on Iraq,' Sidney Blumenthal visits 'Fantasy Island,' and Bruce Fein reasons that "Just as President Bush should not be a king, Speaker Pelosi should not be our queen."

Before The Disney Channel's "High School Musical 2" became the "most-watched basic-cable telecast on record," the Boston Phoenix reported that Disney's "golden synergistic touch" had been in "blitzkrieg mode," with the movie "hyped nonstop on all of the company's myriad properties."

With the Library of America issuing a volume of four Philip K. Dick novels, The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik writes that "The gift of Dick's craziness was to see how strong the forces of normalcy are in a society, even when what they are normalizing is objectively nuts." And what might Dick be up to today if he was still around?

August 21

Thursday, August 23, 2007

As 'Historians question Bush's reading of lessons of Vietnam War for Iraq,' Juan Cole draws parallels between the invasion of Iraq and Napoleon's invasion of Egypt.

Time looks at what's behind 'Bush's Risky Vietnam Gambit,' and as 'George Bush meets Graham Greene,' Greg Mitchell is left wondering, "what the hell does Bush mean by all this?" Plus: 'History, by George.'

With Bush's war rationale changing "Year-by-year, month-by-month, now even day-to-day," Alabama's Anniston Star editorializes on 'Bush's Propaganda," and in an interview with Adbusters, Seymour Hersh says of Iraq: "The end will be pretty brutal. In the end the embassy will crumble. It will all fall down."

As Bill Berkowitz wonders if Freedom's Watch is the 'Last stand for Bush's "stay the course" crowd?,' its frontman stumbles, unable to name the wounded Iraq vet appearing in the group's ad, about which he's also asked: "How many Iraqis do you figure were on that plane that you showed the shot of flying into the World Trade Center?"

The head of Freedom's Watch is Brad Blakeman, a former White House staffer who was also a vice president at the lobbying firm of Barbour, Griffith and Rogers. IraqSlogger reports that the firm has been retained by Ayad Allawi, the former Iraqi interim prime minister, who is calling for the ouster of Prime Minister al-Maliki.

Previewing the Bush administration's release of "Prospects for Iraq's Stability," the New York Times said the document expressed "deep doubts" that al-Maliki's government "can overcome sectarian differences." The Times also reports on the degree to which militias are 'seizing control' of Iraq's national electricity grid.

Although Karl Rove, as Newsweek points out, 'played a key role in the selling of the Iraq War,' Ray McGovern speculates that Rove resigned after having "lost the battle with Cheney over the merits of a military strike on Iran." And as Fox Attacks connects the dots between Iraq '03 and Iran '07, it's Moyers vs. Rove: Round 3.

Before defense lawyers rested their case in the court martial of Lt. Col. Steven Jordan, Dana Milbank asked, "With a prosecution like this, who needs a defense?"

In an interview last week with the El Paso Times, National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell said that "some Americans are going to die" because of the public debate over the Protect America Act. Plus: 'FBI's release of ferry passenger photos resented.'

Walter Pincus reports that 'Foreign Aid Groups Face Terror Screens' under a Bush administration plan requiring USAID fundees to provide extensive personal information about key personnel, described in a Federal Register notice as the Partner Vetting System.

The outgoing UN Middle East envoy 'says concerned Israel hasn't done enough to help Abbas,' and in what is described as a "rare" interview, held in Damascus, Hamas's political director, Khaled Mashaal, tells McClatchy that until the occupation ends, "The Palestinian people will never stop the intifada."

As 'West Bank poverty spawns child beggars,' the Jerusalem Post reports that "IAF air strikes on Gaza over the last three days killed 13 Palestinians, and that "Western diplomatic officials" have "lowered expectations" for a peace conference to be chaired by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

After Pat Tillman's widow told an Arkansas audience that "We are in need of authentic leadership on many levels: social, economic and political," her hometown newspaper reported that "Marie Tillman has been so reserved in public that most people don't even know that Tillman was married."

As 'Texas shrugs off critics,' Johnny Lee Connor is executed in Huntsville for the 1998 murder of a Houston convenience store owner, Kathyanna Nguyen.

A Washington Post editorial that refers to a report from last week about how Attorney General Gonzales 'could get say in states' executions,' argues that "No attorney general should be making these decisions -- especially not Mr. Gonzales."

Esquire makes news with its takedown of "To Catch a Predator," which focuses on an episode that resulted in one suspect, a former district attorney in Texas, committing suicide. His sister is suing NBC Universal for $105 million and ABC's "20/20" is also working on a story about the episode in Murphy.

August 22

Friday, August 24, 2007

CNN reports on the "powerhouse Republican lobbying firm with close ties to the White House," that "has begun a public campaign to undermine the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki."

Iraq Slogger inspects the $300,000 contract, for what is said to have the makings of a 'thoroughly modern coup.'

Joe Conason examines 'Ari Fleischer's misleading message,' and finds the former press secretary's pro-war PR group recycling discredited connections between Iraq and 9/11, that press reports are failing to challenge.

The New York Times sums up the NIE update as depicting "a paralyzed Iraqi government unable to take advantage of the security gains achieved by the thousands of extra American troops dispatched to the country this year," but apparently Sen. Joseph Lieberman didn't get the memo.

With soaring numbers of fleeing Iraqis "accelerating the partition of the country into sectarian enclaves," and conditions for the displaced deteriorating, a new word enters Iraqi slang "to explain the corpses that show up in the streets."

According to a report in USA Today the Baghdad embassy is on track to be completed next month, but the Washington Post finds that the Pentagon's effort to revitalize Iraq factories is failing to link up to hoped for opportunities in the U.S. market.

While Sen. John Warner wants what the Washington Post calls "a symbolic fraction" of the troops home by the holidays," Gen. Peter Pace, according to a Los Angeles Times report, "will call for nearly half of the roughly 160,000 U.S. troops in Iraq to come home by 2008."

As attempts continue to piece together the meaning of Bush's newly drawn analogies between Iraq and Vietnam, Scott Horton looks into the "peculiar provenance of the argument that Bush brandished," and finds the trappings of "The Weimar President."

With Congress poised to "turn its investigative powers on questions regarding the Bush Administration's politicization of operations in the Executive Branch," John Dean wonders 'Will a dark cloud will follow Karl Rove back to Texas?'

"His aides are jumping ship, his inner circle is torn apart by feuds and his orders are being ignored," so the New Statesman asks 'Is the president imploding?, and even a Texas senator looks for some distance from Bush on the campaign trail.

With the 'role of telecom firms in wiretaps' moving from "state secret" to confirmed fact, and the process of getting FISA warrants apparently keeping the government rather busy, the DNI launches "SpySpace."

In the Canadian government's handling of the protesters and 'provocateurs' at the SSP summit in Quebec, where the right to dissent was guaranteed -- via video link, Naomi Klein finds the idea of "surveillance as the new participatory democracy" gaining further momentum.

Following up reports that an inexperienced John Galt was behind some botched '9/11 demolition work,' the New York Times' "City Room" blog rummages through the literature for an appropriate "corporate credo."

As the lid goes down on one coal mining tragedy in which federal safety procedures and oversight were implicated, the Bush administration's plan to legalize and expand "mountaintop removal" coal mining is denounced as tantamount to "a declaration of war against the Appalachian people."

Under attack on immigration, Rudy Giuliani picks up a controversial image firm, and Paul Krugman looks at how the GOP's "history of cynicism" prevents it from taking account of demographic changes and moving beyond a "race-based electoral strategy." Plus: Sweet on Rudy.

As Sen. Hillary Clinton takes the bait on Cuba and endorses a continuation of Bush administration policy, Steve Clemons warns "she may lose more votes than she gains by pandering to a cabal that has kept US-Cuba ties frozen in a 1960s cocoon."

It's 'a season for Cassandras' according to Business Week, raising the stock of analysts once derided as "perma-bears," and headlines suggest that the credit crunch in the financial markets remains severe.

A "homemade submarine packed with bales of cocaine" is seized as radar planes drive drug runners underwater, while the ABA urges the sentencing commission to make planned crack cocaine penalty reductions retroactive.

Aug. 23

Monday, August 27, 2007

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigns, amid speculation about who will be named to fill his shoes, but the ACLU comments that the exit of "one of the worst attorneys general in U.S. history" does not pardon the 'president's abuse of power.'

Glenn Greenwald contends that Democrats face "a moment of truth," and "must not confirm anyone, such as Michael Chertoff, who has been ensconced in the Bush circle," and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insists that the nominee "cooperate with ongoing congressional oversight into the conduct of the White House."

In a CNN interview, Iraq's former interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi confirms that he is paying Washington lobbyists $300,000 to work on his behalf, amid speculation about where he is getting the money. And Spencer Ackerman notes that this lobbying contract is 'just one among many.'

His isolation growing, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki fires back at Democratic critics, as Fred Barnes raises the specter of the U.S.-backed assassination of South Vietnam's President Ngo Dinh Diem, and Michael Ware discusses 'the Musharraf option.'

Hanoi piles on, decrying Bush's use of the Vietnam analogy "to extricate himself from the Iraq debate," and he remains, in Andrew Bacevich's view, "oblivious to the history that actually matters." And Juan Cole presents 'Lessons from past Western incursions in the Middle East.

With AP reporting that the Iraq body count is running at "nearly double the pace from a year ago," and the number of detainees soaring, a graph of the self-confessed identity of captives shows little allegiance to al Qaeda.

President Bush announces that new offensive operations in Iraq are just in their "early stages," and the New York Times' Michael Gordon concurs, previewing an article in which he will hail progress under the surge, as the goal posts redeploy and the time horizon expands.

Michael O'Hanlon bemoans the public's failure to appreciate all the hard work he and other experts have done on Iraq, but Matthew Yglesias just sees more of the same, and Talk Left says "It's the dishonesty, stupid."

Going back to the original O'Hanlon/Pollack report, Kevin Drum is struck by the absence of metrics to substantiate claims of improvement, and Gregory Djerejian finds the stuff of parody, as questions are raised about O'Hanlon's contract with "the U.S. government's propaganda network, Alhurra."

McClatchy's Hannah Allam reports that Iraqi insurgents have been taking a cut of U.S. rebuilding money, which is doled out by inexperienced U.S. soldiers who "do their best to scrutinize millions of dollars in contracts and monitor projects they don't fully comprehend" in an atmosphere where whistleblowers are vilified.

The Los Angeles Times finds that "many soldiers are increasingly disdainful of the happy talk" about the war coming from commanders on the ground and White House officials, 'troops cheer call for Iraq withdrawal,' and a soldier 'in the twilight of his deployment' provides a bitter and cynical perspective.

With the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime reporting that Afghanistan, led by Taliban-controlled Helmand Province, is again breaking opium production records, the BBC goes 'inside an Afghan opium market,' and Informed Comment Global Affairs goes in depth on the counter-narcotics effort (part one and part two).

Noting that Osama bin Laden can't have really vanished 'Into Thin Air,' a Newsweek cover story digs into the one that got away, in part perhaps because "bombing caves is not something that counts," even as 'fighting rages around Tora Bora once more,' and Osama's bodyguard reminisces.

In a gun-wielding performance, Wall Street Journal op-ed contributor Ted Nugent goes off on presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but Sean Hannity rides to his defense, perhaps unfamiliar with the rock star's record as a draft dodger.

To dispel the idea that providing free health care to children is some kind of 'socialist plot,' Paul Krugman draws a parallel with education, arguing that the urgency of guaranteeing every child equal access should trump over-hyped concerns about 'the middle class welfare kid next door' and "free market solutions."

An article in the Chicago Reader about recent efforts to clear the name of the controversial philosopher Leo Strauss, which are being spearheaded by well-funded political scientist Nathan Tarcov, recalls a letter that appears to reveal the philosopher's fascist sympathies.

The Guardian considers 'how three Swedish geeks became Hollywood's number one enemy,' bolstered by growing "European enmity towards the Bush administration," as the founders of Pirate Bay discuss the secrets of their success.

Aug. 24-26

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

'The house lawyer departs' and 'Bush's herd of loyal Texas advisers continues to thin,' leaving the 'Lame-Duck President' with 'fewer tools to advance his shrinking agenda.'

Reflecting on Attorney General Gonzales's legacy, Jonathan Turley says that he "brought in these characters who had no resume, no qualifications, except a kind of Baathist Party loyalty." Gonzales is also faulted for having "timed his resignation to make sure that it maximally disrupted the department's work."

Slate handicaps possible replacements, but about its top choice, "A congressional source .... told CNN that the successor will not be Chertoff and that senior administration officials are 'playing you guys,' referring to the media." Plus: 'Did Chertoff lie to Congress about Guantanamo?'

As Gonzales is also remembered for being "the handmaiden of torture," it's reported that military lawyers have informed U.S. senators that President Bush's recent executive order on the treatment of CIA prisoners "could allow abuses that violate the Geneva Conventions," and Harper's Scott Horton updates 'Psychologists and the Torture Question.'

Before the jury delivered a 'Split verdict for officer at Abu Ghraib,' Sam Provance wrote that "Although I was at Abu Ghraib for the entire time Lt. Col. Jordan was there, for some reason the Army does not seem interested in my testimony."

With 'A million pilgrims told to leave Karbala,' CBS's Lara Logan recalls the "spectacular theatrical flourish" with which a slain Iraqi translator would announce "Breaking news!", and it's reported that a hunger-striking Al-Jazeera cameraman held at Guantanamo "for more than five years without charge is in failing health."

As a former college history teacher sets about 'Grading Bush's History Speech,' "Countdown" interviews MIT historian John Dower, who told Politico that Bush "misrepresented" his views about the U.S. effort to bring democracy to Japan after World War II, and that the "uses of history" by war supporters "are really perverse."

Sen. Larry Craig, who in 1999 called President Clinton "a bad boy, a naughty boy," says he "should not have pled guilty" to a charge of disorderly conduct following a 'toilet arrest,' about which it is asked: "why are Minneapolis tax dollars being used to have plainclothes police officers lurking idly in airport restroom stalls?"

The arrest 'reopens questions' about Craig, reports the Idaho Statesman, and the Washington Post notes that Craig's leading Democratic challenger "already is campaigning aggressively, bailing hay and laying pipe as part of his 'Working for the Senate' campaign tour." Plus: "the video Mitt Romney doesn't want you to see."

Democratic presidential candidates vow to renew a war that President Nixon declared in 1971, Lance Armstrong keeps an 'arm's-length' from John Edwards, a complaint is lodged about 'The infinite election,' and Marc Cooper contends that "We've got a serious case of Debate Fatigue before they've ever really begun."

Philip Weiss's profile of the "shadowy" man who "rules our world," notes that journalists "cater to" him, and quotes Glenn Greenwald as saying: "He is the center of personality-obsessed, attack-based politics."

An Israeli Rabbi generates across-the-board outrage for saying that the reason soldiers died during last summer's Second Lebanon War was because they weren't ritually observant Jews, and Palestinian police rescue an Israeli soldier who mistakenly drove into Jenin, "and was surrounded by a mob that later burned his car."

A report that 'Madison Ave. Warms to Climate Change,' coincides with word that an organization founded by Al Gore may spend more than $100 million on advertising next year, with one agency already pitching hard, while two 'BBC news chiefs attack plans for climate change campaign.'

As the 'Olympics air-quality countdown' begins, the conclusion drawn by a New York Times' report on China's "epic pollution crisis," is that "China cannot go green ... without political change," and the author of "The River Runs Black," asks if the country is taking 'The Great Leap Backward?'

Following her initial response to the question of why one-fifth of Americans can't locate the U.S. on a map, Miss Teen South Carolina is given a second chance.

August 27

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

As President Bush speaks of "Tehran's murderous activities" and the prospect of Iran putting the Middle East "under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust," Jim Lobe reports that Michael Ledeen's "The Iranian Time Bomb" will be rolled out on September 10 by the American Enterprise Institute, as it continues 'agitating against Iran.'

Colin Powell's former chief of staff, Larry Wilkerson, tells IPS that 'Israel warned the U.S. not to invade Iraq after 9/11,' saying that "Iran is the enemy...If you are going to destabilize the balance of power, do it against the main enemy." But Israel's Strategic Affairs Minister now says, 'Sanctions best option on Iran.'

Juan Cole assesses 'The war against Iraq's prime minister,' and IraqSlogger reports that Ayad Allawi's new lobbying firm "will likely be in violation of U.S. law unless it discloses the identity of the anonymous Iraqi supporter" underwriting Allawi's U.S. campaign, speculating that it might be a Dr. Mashal Nawab, who financed Allawi's 2004 lobbying effort.

The Washington Post reports that 'Bush wants $50 billion more for Iraq war,' one day after revealing that Gen. David Patraeus had the security judgments in the recent intelligence assessment on Iraq, "softened."

Freedom's Watch head Brad Blakeman complains to MSNBC and CNBC about their refusal to run the group's "educational advertisements." A recent "NewsHour" interview with Blakeman was labeled, 'Freedom's Watch Promotes Iraq Strategy,' and one with's Tom Matzzie was titled, ' Defends Anti-Iraq War Ads.'

Assessing 'Bush's Hurricane Damage,' the Washington Post's Dan Balz writes that while "the storyline of a bungling administration was far from fully realized before Katrina hit the coast... By now this is a fully developed critique." Plus: 'Mining Rove's Katrina Legacy.'

"Democracy Now!" interviews a former Times-Picayune reporter whose 'Storm Warning' series was just published in Mother Jones. And after John Edwards proposed a "Brownie's Law," its namesake called that "one of the most hollow cheap shots that anybody can take."

The Post-Katrina Portrait Project is a relief worker's 2,000 sketches of returning survivors, relief workers and rebuilders, which he has turned into a self-published book. For talking portraits, see Voices from the Gulf.

As a 'Slow recovery goes on in crime-weary New Orleans,' the U.S. rings up big numbers in small arms, reportedly accounting for 30 percent of the word's 875 million known firearms.

Attorney General Gonzales tells a supportive columnist that "Maybe I was naive in terms of how government should work," and recalling 'One of Al's Claims to Fame,' Amy Goodman concludes that "Whoever Bush appoints will have a heckuva job before him."

A new census report finding that the national poverty rate dropped .3 percent, also showed 'Meager Income Gains' and 'Bleak Findings on Health Insurance,' according to two New York Times' editorials that call the report 'sobering.'

After thanking the press for "coming out today," 'Senator arrested in toilet says he's not gay.' CNN's Jeffrey Toobin said that "of the many bizarre statements that politicians have made over the years, this certainly has to rank among the strangest." And, 'How did news outlets miss Senator's arrest for nearly three months?'

The Idaho Statesman's coverage includes a response to Sen. Craig's statement and the transcript of an interview with a man who claims to have had a sexual encounter with Craig at Washington's Union Station. Plus: 'Craig vs. Vitter' and 'Craig's bathroom behavior and the right wing -- then and now.'

As the GOP is urged to 'abandon the culture war,' a party strategist tells the New York Times that "The real question for Republicans in Washington is how low can you go, because we are approaching a level of ridiculousness," and a former resident of the "Don't-Show-Me State" says that "Idahoans are in no mood to forgive Craig."

Media Matters finds that the Times and each of the nightly network newscasts ignored Sen. Craig's record on gay and lesbian issues, and it also runs the numbers on Fox News' coverage of Craig, about whom Rep. Barney Frank was asked by Bill Maher last October: "What does your gaydar tell you about him?"

August 28

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A report that the 'Pentagon won't make surge recommendation to Bush' is said to suggest that "military commanders want to be able to distance themselves from Iraq strategy," and officials familiar with an upcoming GAO report tell the AP that at least 13 of 18 surge benchmarks are unmet.

The Washington Post obtained a copy of "The strikingly negative GAO draft ... from a government official who feared that its pessimistic conclusions would be watered down in the final version." And one lawmaker back from Iraq warns of $9 per gallon gas if the U.S. withdraws, while another speaks of "a physiological phenomenon ... called Green Zone fog."

As 'Sadr suspends his militia's military operations' there's 'UK relief,' but an NPR correspondent says that what the British call an "ordered redeployment" is "looking more and more like a rout." He also quotes a "ringleader" of prospective looters near a soon-to-be-evacuated palace as saying, "we're waiting to see what God will give us."

Following what's described as the "last act in a systematic cover-up," the New York Times editorializes that "The verdict was a remix of the denial of reality and avoidance of accountability that the government has used all along to avoid the bitter truth behind Abu Ghraib."

In a reviewing "A Poisonous Affair" by Joost Hiltermann, Andrew Cockburn writes that "Victims of one war fomented and supported by the United States ... were soon unwittingly recruited to play their part in promoting another. George Bush started invoking the gassing of the Kurds in October 2001, and never stopped."

Pakistani newspapers respond to word from exiled former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto that she has almost sealed a power-sharing deal with Pakistan's president Gen. Perez Musharaff, but a spokesman for Musharaff says that he has 'yet to decide on uniform.'

Another former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, who was overthrown in a Musharaff-led coup, announced on Thursday that he would return home in September in an effort to block Musharaff's re-election. The New Yorker's Steve Coll discussed the implications of Sharif's return on the "NewsHour," which is reporting from Pakistan this week.

The Los Angeles Times reports that 'Idaho sees red over Craig,' Sens. McCain and Coleman answer the Vitter question by hanging their hat on the fact that Sen. Craig pled guilty to a crime, and Rep. Barney Frank said that "What he did, it's hypocritical, but it's not an abuse of his office in the sense that he was taking money for corrupt votes."

An Idaho Statesman editorial calls on Craig to resign, the editor and reporter Dan Popkey discuss the paper's investigation, and in a CNN appearance, Popkey speaks of a May interview with Craig, in which he responded to a gay man's allegation that Craig cruised him at a Boise REI store.

Tabling Impeachment At a town hall meeting in his Michigan district, Rep. John Conyers said, "Nancy Pelosi has impeachment 'off the table,' but that's off her table, it is not off John Conyers' table," but earlier in the day he said on "Democracy Now!" that "there isn't the time here for it." Conyers will however hold a hearing next week on FISA legislation.

As the Washington Post and Time are implicated in helping 'ABC bury treatment of Kucinich,' the netroots is accused of "caring more about horseraces than issues," and a MyDD poster agrees, declaring that "The degree of spin has gotten out of control."

Left I on the News points out how media outlets twisted Fidel Castro's words to make it seem as if he was handicapping, or even taking sides in, the U.S. presidential race, about which it's said that "Elizabeth Edwards echoes the Master by attacking Hillary Clinton while pretending to defend her."

As actor Jim Carrey was launching a Free Aung San campaign via a YouTube video, Myanmar's "military rulers sought to crush a rare wave of dissent by pro-democracy activists protesting fuel price increases." Plus: 'Inside Myanmar's secret capital.'

New Zealand's Hell pizza chain 'gives Hitler the boot,' the head of Germany's far far-right NPD party proposes Rudolf Hess for a Nobel Peace Prize, and Heinrich Himmler's great niece discusses her book on "The Himmler Brothers."

As the claim that "Hitler was a crazed Wagnerian" is disputed, the just-published "Das Reichsorchester" describes how the Berlin Philharmonic "lent its gloss to the Nazis," and 'German critics mock wrinkled rockers on tour trail,' with one writing: "The fondness for travel by the senior citizens has nothing to do with art."

August 29

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