|September, 2004 link archive
Wednesday, September 1, 2004Responding to a New York Times report saying that U.S. political plans "may already have been shaken more than American officials will admit by events in Najaf," Jerome Doolittle of Bad Attitudes writes, "The argument that it would be irresponsible to abandon Iraq now ... is nonsense. We will abandon Iraq."
Paul Krugman argues that the U.S. should drop its "persistent effort to avoid giving Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani his natural dominant role" and "realize that we could do a lot worse" in Iraq.
Voter registration cards are selling for $100 in Afghanistan, writes Matthew Yglesias, in a country containing only 9.8 million eligible voters, over 10 million of whom have already registered to vote.
Reviewing press coverage of mistreatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere, Under the Same Sun concludes, "They torture, we merely abuse."
USAToday reports that federal authorities say hackers successfully hijacked hundreds of computers at the Defense Department and the U.S. Senate, turned them into zombies, and used them to send spam.
Upwards of 1,500 people, including nearly 1,000 on Tuesday, have now been arrested for protesting the GOP convention in NYC, by Newsday accounts. Detainees include a Slate editor. Plus: My almost arrest.
The Washington Post reports that GOP officials assigned virtually all their top convention jobs to registered federal lobbyists, one of whom says, "We just make sure everything runs smoothly."
After Illinois Republican Senate candidate Alan Keyes said that Vice President Cheney's lesbian daughter is "by definition" a "selfish hedonist," the chairman of the Illinois Republican Party reaffirmed the party's support for him.
On Tuesday Ralph Nader got on the Florida ballot, dropped by the GOP convention and spoke at Columbia University, where he reportedly said that if Senator John Kerry "looked at our web site, he'd find ways to get more votes."
An Editor and Publisher story which briefly mentions Nader as saying that newspapers focus too much on the horse race and haven't reported "the dirty tricks of the Democrats" carries the headline, 'Nader Knocks Newspapers.'
The Hill reports that Mike Rogers of Blogactive, who triggered yesterday's resignation of Rep. Ed Schrock, is threatening to out more people who "say they are Republicans and then use sexual orientation to stay in power."
A New York Times campaign analysis says that the president's aides believe that "Bush almost certainly cannot win unless voters are convinced that they cannot vote for Mr. Kerry."
Hullabaloo's Digby writes that "the question nobody asks is how a Republican incumbent who stood at a 90% approval rating for more than a year is now below 50% and can't seem to put away the ... Democrats in the middle of a war."
In an interview on Democracy Now! "Bush's Brain" author Wayne Slater describes "the mark of Rove" in any campaign: target the opponent's strength and leave no fingerprints. Plus: 'George Bush the Peace Candidate?'
An IPS article by Jim Lobe reports that the FBI is "intensely reviewing" past counter-intelligence probes involving neo-conservatives Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith and Richard Perle. Lobe cites an earlier investigative piece by Stephen Green in CounterPunch.
Perle is also excoriated for his "flagrant abdication of duty" as a director during a time when newspaper firm Hollinger International was being run as a "corporate kleptocracy," in the words of a company report, which notes that "Perle's own description of his performance ... was stunning."
Thursday, September 2, 2004
'The Miller Moment' Andrew Sullivan calls Senator Zell Miller's appearance at the GOP convention "a classic Dixiecrat speech" that "was not merely crude; it added whole universes to the word crude." Plus: nostalgia for dueling, and picking up where the Swift Boat vets left off.
Sidney Blumenthal writes in Salon that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had earlier "offered a sexual identity panic speech" to the GOP convention, while Political Animal notes that Fox pundits gave low marks to Laura Bush and to Jenna and Barbara Bush's Karen Hughes-penned remarks. Plus: "What the hell were they thinking?"
NBC News reports that terror attacks are rising dramatically, while GOP convention speakers are said to "kick up dust from Ground Zero into the eyes of voters." Also: 'Voices from the convention floor.'
As 'Wall Street fetes its political stooges,' The New Republic recounts a Colorado congressman's discovery that the identities of GOP platform committee members could not be divulged, "even, in some cases, to other members of the platform committee."
Roger Simon writes that what most worries GOP insiders at the convention is not John Kerry but Kitty Kelley, whose forthcoming book on the Bush family is said to contain "at least five bombshells." Plus: 'High Plains Grifter.'
Asked whether she saw George W. Bush perform any National Guard service, an Alabama woman tells Salon, "Good lord, no."
Josh Marshall reports that although pressure to keep silent has "increased dramatically in recent days," former Texas official Ben Barnes will break his silence on 60 Minutes and "describe the strings he pulled to keep Bush out of Vietnam and apparently more."
The Billings Gazette reports that at least three vets whose names appear on a Swift Boat Veterans For Truth letter say their names were used without permission. Says one, "I don't agree with it and want no part of it and especially don't want my name on it."
Media Matters replays Rush Limbaugh's suggestion that funding for the Swift Boat ads is coming from Bill and Hilary Clinton.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that a new Zogby International poll finds U.S. esteem plummeting to a new low in the Arab world, with 98 percent of Egyptians viewing the U.S. unfavorably. The story cites analysts who question "whether U.S. objectives in the region ... are achievable when America's standing is sinking."
The Washington Post reports that the FBI has been conducting a counterintelligence probe for two years, looking into whether classified documents and materials were passed to Israel by the American Israel Political Action Committee. Plus: 'The Axis of Spies.'
'Red Alert' Writing in Mother Jones, Matthew Brzezinski calls the largest government agency in America "a premier example of how the administration's misplaced priorities -- and its obsession with Iraq -- have come at the direct expense of homeland security."
According to the Washington Post, Metro Transit has begun teaching customers how to cope with terror.
National Journal's William Powers argues that the networks and cable have switched roles, with networks the new home of "cheeseball television" and cable now "the place where serious news happens."
Friday, September 3, 2004
The Los Angeles Times reports that a new Chatham House scenario study, "Iraq in Transition," finds that the most likely outcome in Iraq is civil war and breakup, and that "Iraq could become the spark for a regionwide upheaval."
Writing in the New York Review of Books, Peter Galbraith sees a breakup as "more likely than ever" and that a strategy aimed at loose federation might create "a possible escape from our dilemma."
Slate's William Saletan grades President Bush's acceptance speech at the GOP convention and says it was "basically a plea for social promotion" and that Bush is running as though he wants to "start solving the problems some other president left behind." Plus: the CEO test.
The Nation's David Corn says that Bush framed the election as a referendum on a crusade, while WSWS asks, "where were the Democrats?" when hundreds of thousands protested Bush's war policies. Plus: 'Guantanamo On the Hudson.'
The New York Times reports that Senator John Kerry came "roaring back," calling Bush "unfit to lead this country." Cox News reports that the Kerry camp has moved to "quell speculation that a major staff shake-up could be in the offing."
Veterans groups tell Reuters that Bush and Kerry should debate Iraq, not Vietnam.
'Hour of the Generals' An American Conservative columnist argues that it is time for U.S. military leaders to "speak unpalatable realities to civilian officials who on the eve of an election campaign desire nothing more than to dodge the truth."
While the White House told reporters that President Bush would not see Friday's new jobs numbers before giving his acceptance speech, Kevin Drum writes that the failure to mention job creation suggested that the numbers weren't going to be so hot.
GOP senate nominee Mel Martinez, fresh from defeating a primary opponent he labeled "the new darling of the homosexual extremists," presented himself to the convention as "living proof of the greatness of our nation and the kindness of the American people."
As GOP leaders scrambled to distance themselves from Senator Zell Miller, the Boston Globe reports that "White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card said yesterday that President Bush views America as a '10-year-old child' in need of the sort of protection provided by a parent."
CJR Campaign Desk calls CNN's fact check of Miller "surprisingly excellent." As for convention coverage by the broadcast networks, "We've seen better political reporting on ESPN."
John Doyle of the Globe and Mail finds "watching the television media roll over to have its tummy rubbed by Republicans" disagreeable and says "nobody mentioned" that Arnold Schwarzenegger's native Austria has "better guarantees on health care and wages than any state in America."
'Tempest in a Vote-Tote.' The Palm Beach Post reports a tense recount standoff after Palm Beach election officials count 37,839 of 31,095 absentee ballots in a race for county election supervisor, then insist on a secret recount in a race eventually lost by Theresa LePore, designer of the butterfly ballot.
AP reports that the 9/11 Commission found that al-Qaeda's financial support does not come from Osama bin Laden personally, and that reports of bin Laden's vast wealth have been overstated.
American Progress investigates the administration's 'Misplaced Feith.'
Tuesday, September 7, 2004
As the New York Times reports on the growing list of no-go zones for the U.S. military in Iraq, the military's No. 2 man there says American forces are prepared to launch an offensive against the no-go zones, which may have to be bypassed in January's elections.
The Washington Post reports that August had "by far the highest combat injury toll for any month since the war began." Betamax Guillotine attributes the rise to Iraqi resistance shifting away "from trying to engage the U.S. military in large groups," and having "reverted to opportunistic attacks" in urban settings. (scroll down)
Milan Rai says U.S. forces violated the ceasefire agreement they signed with Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, before the ink was dry.
As the AP's Matt Kelley delves into Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi's longstanding ties to the CIA and Britain's MI6, Knight Ridder's Hannah Allam reports that 'Saddam's Baath Party is back in business.' Plus: Saddam in the dock before U.S. elections?
Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski claims that there's a "conspiracy" of top U.S. commanders to blame her for the torture of Iraqi detainees, while Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller says he has discovered that treating detainees with "respect and dignity" yields greater success at intelligence gathering.
Appearing on "Meet the Press" alongside Pat Buchanan and Newt Gingrich, Sen. Bob Graham said that in February 2002, Gen. Tommy Franks told him that resources were being shifted from Afghanistan in preparation for invading Iraq.
The Miami Herald reports that in his new book, Graham also says two of the 9/11 hijackers had a support network in the U.S. that included agents of the Saudi government, and that the Bush administration and FBI blocked a congressional investigation into that relationship. More from Newsweek on Graham's "Intelligence Matters."
The Washington Times reports that leaks to the press may have derailed the FBI's Israeli spy probe, that is said to have expanded to include the Office of Special Plans. An author of two books on U.S.-Israeli relations tells the American Prospect what he learned about the investigation from his interview by the FBI.
"Whenever the neocons come under investigative scrutiny their defense is always that the investigations are a put-up by their bureaucratic enemies," writes Josh Marshall, referencing a New York Times article which "seems almost entirely devoted to their unsubstantiated claims of the same."
Time reports that "A second Bush Administration may prove more militarily aggressive than the first," according to some Democrats who say they were told by one-time OSPer, William Luti, that the Adminstration plans to continue a policy of "preemption" and that there are at least five or six foreign countries with traits that "no responsible leader can allow." Plus: 'Bush Wins, We Invade Iran.'
The day after President Bush touted Medicare reform in his convention acceptance speech, the Administration announced the largest ever Medicare premium increase, before "a holiday weekend and six weeks earlier than it is typically released," according the Wall Street Journal.
Fact-checking Bush's convention speech claim that in 1946, a New York Times journalist advocated that the U.S. cut and run from Germany, Maureen Dowd says, "The president distorted the columnist's dispatch... Mr. Bush Swift-boated her."
Bounced Out? A new USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll, has Bush/Cheney leading Kerry/Edwards 52% to 45% among likely voters, and by one point among registered voters. The trio's previous poll had Kerry/Edwards up by one point among registered's. Plus: Kerry launches initial attack.
"To win," writes Paul Krugman, "the Kerry campaign has to convince a significant number of voters that the self-proclaimed 'war president' isn't an effective war leader -- he only plays one on TV." Plus: Osama Road Show -- 'One Man. One Day. One Hundred Signs.'
In a New Yorker profile of Al Gore, titled 'The Wilderness Campaign,' Gore says Bush "projects himself as incredibly strong, but behind closed doors he is incapable of saying no to his biggest financial supporters and his coalition in the Oval Office. He's been shockingly malleable to Cheney and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and the whole New American Century bunch. He was rolled in the immediate aftermath of 9/11."
Reviewing "The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason," Natalie Angier writes that "Sam Harris presents major religious systems... as forms of socially sanctioned lunacy, their fundamental tenets and rituals irrational, archaic and, important when it comes to matters of humanity's long-term survival, mutually incompatible." More reviews and an excerpt at Samharris.org.
Jameswolcott.com debuts with 'An Ignoble Confession': "I root for hurricanes... Considering the havoc mankind has wreaked upon nature with deforesting, stripmining, and the destruction of animal habitat, it only seems fair that nature get some of its own back and teach us that there are forces greater than our own." More on extreme weather and the link between global warming and hurricanes.
Wednesday, September 8, 2004
As U.S. troop deaths in Iraq pass the 1,000 mark, with nearly 7,000 wounded, 1,000 in August alone, rebels are in control of important parts of the country. AP reports that the Marines have lately been taking more casualties than the Army, which outnumbers them 3-1. Plus: James Carroll on 'The Unwinnable War.'
Navy Times reflects on the struggle of family members to cope with the long road to healing for wounded U.S. troops.
UPI and CNN investigate a link between an anti-malarial drug and "a startling pattern of violence and suicide by America's most elite soldiers."
Journalism ethics prof Edward Wasserman finds it "hard to read the hand-wringing confessionals from news organizations that now realize that they got the prewar story wrong without concluding that the real problem was they were afraid to tell the truth."
In a New York Review of Books review, Elizabeth Drew calls the 9/11 Commission report "a powerful indictment of the Bush administration for its behavior before and after" the attacks, when the immediate focus was on Bush's "message" rather than on "taking charge of the nation's response."
The Center for Public Integrity says that Bush and Kerry now share four of the same 10 largest campaign donors.
The Los Angeles Times examines both candidates' proposals for dealing with the ballooning federal deficit and observes that neither has a plan for putting the budget back in the black
As 'Texans for Truth' challenge Bush on his National Guard service in a new ad featuring a man who actively looked for Bush at a base in Alabama but never found him, an AP lawsuit uncovers more records and the Boston Globe revisits the issue to report that Bush fell short on his commitment.
The Boston Globe story makes no mention of a Raw Story investigation that reached a similar conclusion and interviewed the same key source, former Reagan administration defense official Lawrence J. Korb, more than a month ago.
President Bush snorted cocaine at Camp David during his father's tenure in office, and First Lady Laura Bush was a pot-smoking drug dealer in college, according to an Independent summary of claims said to be made in Kitty Kelley's forthcoming book, "The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty."
The Washington Post reports that "gun manufacturers are gearing up" for the end of a 10-year-old federal ban on assault weapons, with one source predicting "an incredible buying frenzy" in the wake of what the NRA calls "a sad footnote in America's history."
Victoria, B.C.'s Monday Magazine updates the case of Tre Arrow, also known as Michael Scarpitti, and cites a civil liberties monitor who finds it "disturbing" that Canada's anti-terrorism forces are being brought to bear on a "garden variety criminal." Plus: 'The Rise of the Homeland Security State.'
Thursday, September 9, 2004
Gadflyer calculates the 2004 coalition casualty rate in Iraq to be more than double the 2003 rate, and AP reports that estimates range from 10,000 to 30,000 Iraqis killed since the invasion. Under the Same Sun wonders, "Who's counting?" while Left I asks, "Who counts?"
A new report from Foreign Policy in Focus finds Americans "more vulnerable rather than more secure" as a result of the Bush administration's "war on terrorism."
Discussing the situation in Iraq on PBS' "NewsHour," Lt. Gen. Bernard Trainor said, "Anybody that tries to put a good face on this situation ... they're just whistling in the dark," and Col. Sam Gardiner added, "The fix the administration has picked ... is to get it off of the newspapers ... there is no fix on the ground."
Knight Ridder reports on new techniques for taunting the Taliban employed by U.S. Army cavalry scouts in Afghanistan.
AP reports that Senator Bob Graham's new book, "Intelligence Matters," charges that the White House covered up Saudi involvement in 9/11 and its aftermath.
An AP report on a deadly bombing near the Australian Embassy in Jakarta notes that "Prime Minister John Howard claims that Australia's role in last year's U.S.-led invasion of Iraq has not raised the country's profile as a potential terror target."
Matt Taibbi calls last week's GOP convention protests "a colossal waste of political energy by a group of people with no sense of history, mission or tactics" and says that events have rendered marching "basically useless."
Salon's Eric Boehlert, recapping the independent research of Paul Lukasiak of the AWOL Project, concludes that "for the last decade, Bush and his advisors have done everything possible to distort, if not erase, the truth about Bush's service record in order to advance his political career."
Commenting on new documents discovered by CBS News, Kevin Drum reasons that "the difference between the Swift Boat controversy and the National Guard controversy [is that] the documentary evidence in the two cases is like night and day." Plus: 'Now it's Bush's turn to squirm.'
'Cheney Spits Toads' Maureen Dowd writes that Vice President Dick Cheney "finally simply spit out what the Bush team has been more subtly trying to convey for months: A vote for John Kerry is a vote for the terrorists."
The New York Times reports that White House operatives admit calling NBC News president Neal Shapiro in an effort to persuade the network not to broadcast interviews with Kitty Kelley, author of "The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty."
Haaretz reports that the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC is using allegations leveled against it in a Pentagon spy probe in its new fund-raising material, and Financial Times cites "sources familiar with the investigation" who report pressure from the White House to go slow on the inquiry.
A federal court is the latest to rule the so-called Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 unconstitutional and to ban the Justice Department from enforcing it.
A Womens eNews story claims that 'Poor Women Gave Chavez His Win in Venezuela.'
A report that Rush Limbaugh is dating a feminist has Pandagon's Ezra Klein worried.
Friday, September 10, 2004
Among the 18 new posts at Cursor's Derelection 2004: allegations that CBS bought into forged docs, Eric Boehlert on how ABC News, CNN and the AP put themselves 'In the same league as Fox,' filmmaker John Sayles assesses the quality of 'Infotainment at the RNC,' and Will Bunch wonders if divine intervention was at play when lightning struck the broadcast tower of a swing state CBS affiliate during Wednesday's "60 Minutes II" broadcast.
'Hiding the Bodies' While "the amount of combat that U.S. soldiers are seeing is going up ... the amount of combat the American public is seeing is going down," says GlobalSecurity.org's John Pike. "Iraq has almost turned into the forgotten war -- it's just faded into the background."
The Washington Post reports that lawmakers at a Senate hearing were stunned to learn from an Army general that the CIA hid up to 100 "ghost detainees" from the Red Cross and continues to withhold related documents from investigators.
On TomDispatch, Alfred McCoy explains that Abu Ghraib is just the tip of the iceberg, and that the infamous photos of abuse are a record of CIA torture techniques that have "metastasized like an undetected cancer inside the U.S. intelligence community over the past half century."
AP reports that Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War, is appealing to government insiders to follow his example and possibly "save many Americans from being lied to death" in Iraq.
Al-Jazeera aired a new videotape in which Ayman al-Zawahri predicts a U.S. defeat in both Iraq and Afghanistan: "In both countries, if they continue they will bleed to death and if they withdraw they lose everything."
The Wall Street Journal profiles one U.S. soldier, fluent in Arabic, who depends on his wits as well as his linguistic skills to hunt insurgents in Iraq, and reports on another, whose blog has caught the eye of Army censors.
Naomi Klein argues that the real legacy of 9/11 was "the Likudization of the world," casting the U.S. in "the same role in which Israel casts itself ... fighting a never-ending battle for its survival against irrational forces that seek nothing less than its total extermination." Plus: is Israel a swing state?
'I feel like I'm in Paris, not in Washington' In a memo obtained by Forward, neocons in the Pentagon say they are victims of an antisemitic smear campaign by the CIA and the State Department and accuse the White House of failing to stop it.
Reuters reports that Ralph Nader is back on the Oregon ballot after a judge reverses a decision that disqualified him on technicalities. Said a Nader lawyer, "This is America, not Bolivia." However, AP reports that Nader is "well on his way to being kicked off the Florida ballot."
'Democrats say the Darndest Things' Daily Howler reviews a "Hardball" appearance on MSNBC by former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers, in which "Asked to respond to a list of silly attacks" on Senator John Kerry, "Myers replied by adding another."
Todd Gitlin writes that, if Bush wins a second term, he "would not be surprised to see outbursts of political violence the likes of which we haven't seen since the Weather Underground of the 1970s." Earlier: Weather Underground historian Ron Jacobs on Gitlin's role in 'Redbaiting the Antiwar Movement.'
A U.S. News and World Report story says that a new examination of payroll records and other documents "does not appear to support" the conclusion that Bush fulfilled his military obligations.
Doug Ireland writes that "60 Minutes" neglected to inform viewers "what Lt. Bush was doing while he was dodging his military commitments -- namely, serving a political apprenticeship in sewer politics."
TNR's Norm Scheiber argues that such controversies as Bush's military service and Kitty Kelley's forthcoming book constitute diversions that enable Bush to run out the clock on Kerry.
The Washington Post's Dana Milbank calculates that the Bush campaign is massaging the numbers and "inflating its crowd counts by 45 to 75 percent."
Molly Ivins says, 'Forget Bush' and remember the Cork theory.
Monday, September 13, 2004
Reuters reports that at least 110 people were killed across Iraq on Sunday, including an Al-Arabiya journalist who was shot dead while reporting live, when a U.S. gunship fired on a Baghdad crowd that had gathered round the burning wreckage of an American Bradley fighting vehicle.
After initially claiming that the vehicle had been destroyed "to prevent looting and harm to the Iraqi people," the U.S. military issued a statement saying the helicopters had "received small-arms fire from the insurgents in vicinity of the vehicle." But the Washington Post reports that "witnesses, including a Reuters cameraman who was filming the Al-Arabiya journalist when he was shot, disputed that account and said the crowd was peaceful."
As U.S. and Iraqi officials announce the official dissolution of the "Fallujah Brigade," the outgoing U.S. Marine Corps general in charge of western Iraq says he opposed the Marine's assault on Fallujah, and the subsequent decision to withdraw from the city and turn over control to the 'Brigade.'
The governor of Najaf estimates that as least 1,000 Iraqi rebels and civilians were killed during the three-week battle there.
The attack by U.S. and Kurdish forces on the Turkmen city of Tal Afar, "shows how the U.S. can capture any city in Iraq," writes the Independent's Patrick Cockburn, "but it must also pay a high political price for using its great firepower in the middle of heavily populated areas." Earlier: 'The uselessness of airstrikes as a counter insurgency method.'
The Los Angeles Times reports that the Pentagon's failure to reconstruct Iraq's power grid exemplifies how "an effort that was supposed to provide jobs, stability and democracy has instead produced a deep reservoir of confusion and anger that feeds the country's deadly insurgency." Plus: 'The Iraq Jobs Crisis.'
The New York Times reports on allegations in Seymour Hersh's "Chain of Command: The Road From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib," that "Senior military and national security officials in the Bush administration were repeatedly warned by subordinates in 2002 and 2003 that prisoners in military custody were being abused." The Pentagon attempts to pre-empt Hersh.
In an excerpt from the book, which Hersh discussed on "Meet the Press," he writes that in May 2004, Vice President Cheney "telephoned Donald Rumsfeld with a simple message: No resignations... This was a political call -- a reminder that the White House would seize control of every crisis that could affect the re-election of George Bush." Plus: Is HarperCollins slow-walking "Chain of Command?"
Defense Secretary Rumsfeld mixed up Osama bin Laden with Saddam Hussein twice in a speech Friday at the National Press Club. Responding to a question about a Financial Times editorial urging the U.S. to 'consider Iraq withdrawal,' Rumsfeld said: "Who put that question in? He ought to get a life." Plus: White House failing to honor Costa Rican demand that it be removed from list of coalition partners. (scroll down)
Aid workers evacuate Afghan city of Herat, after demonstrators ransacked and burned at least four U.N. office compounds to protest the central government's removal of Gov. Ismail Khan. Earlier: 'Day of reckoning for the emir of Herat,' and 'In Afghanistan, selling war as peace.'
Greg Palast tells what you "ought not to know" about 9/11, Jim Lobe says the "war on terrorism looks like a loser," and Craig Unger writes that "if Bush wins in November it will be because of the fear factor. Yet the truth is that Bush is actually soft on terror." Plus: Buying into the "man on horseback" mentality.
Project Censored releases its "Top 25 Censored Media Stories of 2003-2004," warning that "Perhaps no other time since the 1930s have we been so dangerously close to institutionalized totalitarianism."
A New York Times editorial raises doubts about the reliability of electronic voting machines, pointing to the financial ties between state and local officials promoting their use and the companies making the machines. In "November Surprise," CorpWatch reports that in 14 of 20 swing states, at least one county will be using electronic voting, many for the first time.
When asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer, "are you suggesting [Kim Jong Il] would like to see President Bush defeated?", Sen Pat Roberts said, "Well, I think that's probably the case." And without saying who, CNN's Dana Bash reported that "at least one expert says that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il may see Senator Kerry as somebody who would be perhaps more flexible." (scroll down)
The Washington Post reports that "the president and his aides have been less than fully candid about unexplained gaps in his military service, and have made misleading and sometimes inaccurate statements, while U.S. News says "the White House used an inappropriate -- and less stringent -- Air Force standard in determining that he had fulfilled his duty."
The Boston Globe reports that while President Bush first used the "flip-flop" label only last week to describe Sen. Kerry, "preparations for that moment had been underway for many months... And the strategy dates back nearly a decade -- to the 1996 Senate race... when strategists now advising Bush first began studying Kerry's weaknesses and honed in on fickleness as a potentially devastating line of attack." Plus: Kerry's two audiences on Iraq.
'I Dream of Jenna' Alexander Zaitchik explains how "a Texas sorority girl become the Moby Dick of a tourist-choked ex-communist capital."
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
'It's Worse Than You Think' Back to Iraq's Christopher Allbritton writes, "I don't know if I can really put into words just how bad it is here some days... what was once a hell wrought by Saddam is now one of America's making." At least 59 dead as insurgents target police in car bomb blast and shootings.
A Guardian columnist and freelance photographer, injured when U.S. helicopters fired on a crowd of unarmed civilians in Baghdad on Sunday, shows and tells. Plus: 'Motive for massacre remains a mystery.'
The Los Angeles Times' David Shaw heaps praise on James Fallows for the three articles that he has written for the Atlantic Monthly on President Bush and Iraq, including his latest, "Bush's Lost Year." And Fallows inspires Richard Reeves to ask, "What if we had not gone into Iraq?"
The Times also reports that internal investigations at the CIA and the Justice Department of their performance leading up to 9/11 have resulted in disciplinary actions for no one.
A Sunni guerrilla tells the Observer that black U.S. troops are a particular target of insurgents and that "sometimes we aborted a mission because there were no Negroes" available to kill.
The Guardian reports what it says are the first allegations of routine torture of Iraqi detainees by American soldiers in the northern city of Mosul, "renewing fears that abuse similar to that inflicted in Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad has been systematic and widespread."
Robert Dreyfuss agrees with the Financial Times that it is time for the U.S. to leave Iraq, and "Anonymous" writes that "If we insist on staying longer, we run the risk of being forced to leave at a later date under conditions that weaken us militarily and politically."
Secretary of State Colin Powell tells lawmakers that it is "unlikely that we will find any stockpiles" of WMDs in Iraq. Plus: 'Putin uses war on terrorism to tighten grip on democracy.'
Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern relays a 'Call to Patriotic Truth-Telling' among government and military officials from the newly-formed Truth-Telling Coalition.
'Bin Laden Votes Bush' argues Pepe Escobar, because "from a business point of view" al-Qaeda is a major success: "three years after September 11, it is a global brand and a global movement" against imperialism, which is widely understood to be centered in Washington.
'$3 Trillion Price Tag Left Out' A Washington Post analysis reveals that the cost of the Bush agenda exceeds what Bush claims the Kerry agenda would cost by a trillion dollars, not counting Iraq. And USA Today reports that data withheld by the White House shows that seniors "can expect to spend a large and growing share of their Social Security checks on Medicare premiums and expenses."
Introducing an interview with Kitty Kelley, in which she says the Bush family looks "like The Donna Reed Show,' and then you see it's 'The Sopranos,'" Salon's David Talbot writes that "despite her flaws, Kelley has vigorously pursued leads about the powerful American dynasty ... that the rest of the media should have." Plus: 'Kitty Cornered.'
Editor and Publisher's Greg Mitchell writes that columnist Robert Novak flexed his principles last weekend when he called on CBS reporters to reveal their sources. Meanwhile, Novak envisions a scenario where success in keeping Ralph Nader off the ballot in non-battleground states could end up hurting Democrats.
Florida's elections chief says that Hurricane Ivan forced her to take action to put Nader's name on the ballot, despite a court order.
Democrats are "incompetent and Bush will be reelected," writes Paul Craig Roberts, after Nader says that Kerry has already lost and "Bush is mocking him." Plus: Michael Tomasky confronts 'The Pathetic Truth.'
High voter turnout among Navajos may hold the key to the White House, according to a report in the Telegraph.
Sticker Shock The Decatur Daily interviews an Alabama woman who says she was fired over a Kerry-Edwards bumper sticker after standing up to a factory owner who put pro-Bush material in employee envelopes. Earlier: such firings are perfectly legal in America.
'Driving While Muslim' A U.S. Marine Vietnam vet with a clean record loses his commercial driver's license and his job after being informed, without explanation, by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that he is a security threat.
The Washington Post reports that the Justice Department is probing the role of both the FBI and federal prosecutors in the case of Oregon lawyer Brandon Mayfield, a Muslim, who spent two weeks in jail after a faulty fingerprint analysis linked him to the Madrid bombings.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
100,000 Sunni Insurgents? Knight Ridder's Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel report that the anti-American insurgency in Iraq is "growing larger, more sophisticated and more violent," and that many experts believe "the best that can be hoped for now is continued chaos that falls short of a civil war." Plus: "We've lost this war."
Robert Parry examines the consequences of 'Bush's Bloody Flip-Flop' in Fallujah, "another example of Bush and his civilian advisers thinking they knew better than the military commanders on the ground."
Josh Marshall writes that Bush is ahead in the polls because his campaign has managed to "take Iraq out of the election debate." Molly Ivins notes that Iraq is sliding out of the news, too, and Brian Knowlton says that in recent weeks, Americans have seemed more preoccupied with hurricane coverage.
David Swanson checks in on the Society of Professional Journalists' annual convention, at which he says Dow Jones CEO Peter Kann, citing the "all-volunteer army," told a panel that the media paid too much attention to the death of the 1,000th U.S. soldier in Iraq.
Derelection 2004 "Journalists find before them, with 50 days left, a campaign overtaken by Vietnam, by character issues, attacks, and fights about the legitimacy of various actors -- including the press itself," writes PressThink's Jay Rosen."How did we get here? A campaign full of 'campaign issues' when there are so many real world issues going unaddressed."
In an interview with "Democracy Now!," Seymour Hersh discusses the road to Abu Ghraib, how he worked the story as CBS sat on it, and General Tommy Franks' botching of "Operation Anaconda" in Afghanistan -- "this was Katzenjammer Kids stuff what he did." Read a lengthy excerpt from Hersh's "Chain of Command."
Jim Lobe writes that a new report by Amnesty International calls racial profiling in the U.S. wrong, counter-productive and pervasive: "thirty-two million Americans, a number equivalent to the population of Canada, report they have already been victims."
"The weapons industry has bought the incumbent and the voters are unable to dislodge him or her," writes Chalmers Johnson, focusing on one California district in which "constituents have been misrepresented in Washington for the past fourteen years by a wholly paid-for tool of the military-industrial complex."
CNN reports that the founder of Texans for Truth, declaring the controversy over documents obtained by CBS irrelevant, is offering a $50,000 reward to anyone who can prove Bush met his service requirements in the Alabama National Guard.
"President Bush's paramount problem with his National Guard years is not that he took shortcuts in 1972," writes Nicholas Kristof. "The problem is that he still refuses to come clean about it." Plus: The Nation's Russ Baker investigates 'Why Bush Left Texas.'
Media Matters finds that news outlets have been largely ignoring the claims of Yoshi Tsurumi, a professor of Bush's at Harvard Business School, who tells Kristof that Bush "said his daddy had good friends who got him in [the Guard] despite the long waiting list."
'Kitty's Litter' Matt Taibbi calls Kitty Kelley's new book on the Bush family "a surprisingly tender portrait of a small, loyal group of vicious undead fiends, persevering against all odds in a world of the callous, uncomprehending living."
The Village Voice's James Ridgeway advises Kerry's "dweeb team of advisers, now reinforced by a rescue squad straight from hell," to "just go ahead and let Kerry be Kerry."
Slate reports that the Alabama woman fired over a Kerry-Edwards bumper sticker was offered her old job back, but turned it down for a better offer.
The Boston Globe's Joan Vennochi says Senator John Edwards "and his economic message are receding into the background," as "the pitbull wins the headlines."
A CounterPunch essayist writes that Senator Zell Miller so "regaled the mob of Babbitts in New York" as to earn himself the accolade of 'The Peckerwood Pericles.'
Thursday, September 16, 2004
The New York Times reports that the pessimistic tone of a classified National Intelligence Estimate's dark assessment of prospects for Iraq, prepared for President Bush in late July, "stands in contrast" to recent White House pronouncements of progress. Plus: Red flags on Green Zone security.
'Far Graver Than Vietnam' Sidney Blumenthal writes that "most senior US military officers now believe the war on Iraq has turned into a disaster on an unprecedented scale," and quotes former National Security Agency head Gen. William Odom as saying that "Bin Laden could argue with some cogency that our going into Iraq was the equivalent of the Germans in Stalingrad."
UPI claims that most press accounts of U.S. casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan are about 17,000 short when all troops who have been medically evacuated are counted. The report adds that "among veterans from Iraq seeking help from the VA, 5,375 have been diagnosed with a mental problem," including "800 soldiers who became psychotic."
'Unfriendly Fire' The New York Times reports on a press conference in which an American general "spelled out the challenges faced by American soldiers in Iraq as they try to carry on in densely populated areas where civilians and insurgents are often impossible to tell apart," leading Under the Same Sun to comment that "you're in the wrong country" if civilians are indistinguishable from "enemies."
Baghdad Burning's Riverbend, who survived a hellish August and record-breaking heat to spend 9/11 in Baghdad watching a bootleg copy of "Fahrenheit 9/11," writes that in Iraq, "We have 9/11's on a monthly basis."
Appearances by Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi before a joint session of Congress and the UN General Assembly next week will be part of a "sustained media effort" to reframe the U.S. occupation of Iraq "in terms of accomplishments rather than problems," U.S. officials tell the Washington Post.
'They may be dumb, but they're not stupid' Commenting on a New York Times story which cites Senate Republicans as viewing a request to divert $3 billion from reconstruction to security as "a sign that the American campaign in Iraq is in serious trouble," Left I notes that "the flow of members of Congress over to Iraq to witness the 'progress' ... has completely dried up."
In an analysis for Pacifica, which invokes Korea and Vietnam to examine why the U.S. decided to intensify the war in Iraq, Franz Schurmann concludes that a truce may be brought about as an October Surprise.
Paul Lovinger of the War and Law League writes that the main issue separating Bush and Kerry "seems to be who can better conduct unending presidential war," while Robert Dreyfuss accuses both Bush and Kerry of going AWOL on Iraq.
A FAIR media advisory urges journalists looking into Bush's service record not to cover the sideshow and ignore the center ring, and Media Matters says media attention could focus less on whether the CBS memos are authentic, and more on the fact that witnesses say their content is accurate. Plus: Abu Ghraib as a DNC plot.
Maureen Dowd writes that "After a five-minute report on the CBS memo controversy, CNN spent about 30 seconds reporting that two more marines had been killed in Iraq." Dowd adds that "Iraq is a vision of hell, and the Republicans act as if it's a model kitchen," and Josh Marshall says that Iraq has "dropped off the campaign radar."
Senator John Edwards drew a standing ovation in West Virginia when he said, "There will be no draft when John Kerry is president."
Ralph Nader's on again, off again battle to get on the ballot in Florida is on again pending a final ruling by the Florida Supreme Court, which according to Reuters may rule by Saturday, the deadline for mailing overseas ballot papers.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that the war on terror is taking a serious bite out of business at Middle Eastern restaurants across the U.S.
The Telegraph calls the trial of three Americans convicted of torturing detainees in Kabul a "shambolic" and "farcical" affair with "a court translator advising the judge, the American defence lawyers explaining the concept of presumption of innocence, and the prosecution presenting press cuttings as evidence."
In USAToday, Walter Shapiro writes that with "easily-panicked Democrats hearing the ominous theme from Jaws," "Kerry needs to ..." has been "probably the most common phrase uttered by prominent Democrats this month." The Village Voice's Wayne Barrett says Kerry needs to run 'The Ad That Beats Bush.'
The Wall Street Journal reports that the latest Harris poll shows that Bush's post-convention bounce has vanished and that Kerry has a one-point lead among likely voters.
A Washington Post story says that some in diplomatic circles were stunned by the arrest of a former top advisor on China to Secretary of State Colin Powell on charges of concealing a trip to Taiwan and passing documents to the Taiwanese.
David Sirota and Jonathan Baskin examine Vice President Dick Cheney's proclivity for undermining American foreign policy, as evidenced in 1998 when he went abroad "to attack his own country's terrorism policies for being too strict." Plus: the eBay White House.
Friday, September 17, 2004
After warnings that U.S. forces can no longer "guarantee the security of the perimeter" around Baghdad's "Green Zone," Jim Lobe surveys a "growing media chorus of despair" on Iraq. Plus: 'This Is Bush's Vietnam.'
Kofi Annan calls the invasion of Iraq illegal, and John Pilger, writing in the New Statesman, says that the media present the occupation of Iraq as "a mess" rather than "a systematic, murderous assault on a civilian population" for lack of a language to describe state terrorism.
Financial Times reports that the Iraqi ministry of health has tallied 3,186 Iraqi civilian casualties killed either by insurgents or occupation forces since April 5, while the New York Times observes that "more than 100 foreigners have been abducted since April," including three construction contractors taken Thursday in a "brazen dawn raid" in Baghdad's upscale Mansour neighborhood.
In TNR, Spencer Ackerman addresses the conceit that "the administration neoconservatives led by Paul Wolfowitz are somehow 'different' from President Bush."
UPI's Arnaud de Borchgrave, after off the record conversations with five European intelligence chiefs, writes that "the 'war on terror' is a misnomer that is tantamount to rhetorical disinformation."
Noam Chomsky's new afterword to the paperback edition of "Hegemony Or Survival" appears (shortened and slightly adapted) as a TomGram describing how Bush's "elevation of force as a principle above all else has driven up the levels of terrorism, of violence, and of danger to our long-term survival."
The Rocky Mountain News reports that hundreds of soldiers from a Fort Carson combat unit claim they were told to re-enlist for three more years or face deployment to Iraq.
'The Al Qaeda Candidate?' Karen Kwiatkowski tallies the Bush team's "achievements" in the war on terror and finds that they "match -- word for word -- the oft-stated goals of the Wahhabist Sunni radical Osama bin Ladin."
Reviewing the Schlesinger and Fay reports on prisoner abuse for the New York Review of Books, Mark Danner writes that "the delicate bureaucratic construction now holding the Abu Ghraib scandal firmly in check rests ultimately on President Bush's controversial decision, on February 7, 2002, to withhold protection of the Geneva Convention both from al-Qaeda and from Taliban fighters in Afghanistan."
According to AP, a report from Charles Duelfer's Iraq Survey Group will conclude that Saddam Hussein had no WMD stockpiles but hoped to revive dormant programs "at a later date."
The New York Times reports that after Afghan President Hamid Karzai was chased away from a campaign rally when a rocket narrowly missed his helicopter as it was trying to land, spectators were informed that "the explosion was celebratory."
Joanne Mariner goes 'Inside Darfur' with a photo essay.
Jimm Donnelly scoops up a story in the St. Paul Pioneer Press in which the former EPA head under Nixon and Ford, questioning "why the environment hasn't played more of a role in this year's presidential campaign," calls the Bush environmental record "appalling and filled with paybacks to special interests."
AP reports that a federal judge has ordered the Pentagon to find and release any unreleased files pertaining to President Bush's Air National Guard service.
Gadflyer's James Devitt catches Kitty Kelley telling the truth about a game of golf with former president Bush that NBC "Today" show host Matt Lauer denied ever having played.
AP covers a report by the Philadelphia Daily News on claims by employees of the Republican-controlled Philadelphia Parking Authority that they were threatened with loss of their jobs if they refused to contribute to the GOP.
'Overrun By Assassins' MediaChannel's Timothy Karr writes that although the presidential debates are the major media's "last chance" to return their election coverage to issues, "network executives are still weighing whether to show up at all," and History Wire suggests that Kerry may want to go ahead and throw the Hail Mary that Hubert Humphrey waited too long to call.
A new Pew report announces 'Kerry Support Rebounds, Race Again Even' and states that "the size of the swing vote has increased slightly since the summer, rather than contracting as it typically does as the election approaches." However, the Gallup poll shows Bush with a double-digit lead among likely voters.
In 'The Women of Wal-Mart,' Geri Dreiling describes how a manager stuggling up the career ladder learned that "lap dances, massage parlors and invitations to a threesome would be the least of her problems."
According to the New York Times, Hurricane Ivan dropped a record number of similes on Pensacola, Florida.
Monday, September 20, 2004
CBS says it cannot prove the authenticity of the National Guard documents and that airing the story was a "mistake," issuing a statement that former Texas Guard official Bill Burkett "admits that he deliberately misled the CBS News producer working on the report giving her a false account of the documents' origins to protect a promise of confidentiality to the actual source." Plus: PressThink on "the CBS surrender."
As a Christian Science Monitor report finds a 'Classic guerrilla war forming in Iraq,' American Leftist notes that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in a recent appearance that "At some point the Iraqis will get tired of getting killed."
The New York Times reports that the military command in charge of training and equipping Iraqi security forces is having trouble staffing its own headquarters, and that Senator Joseph Biden Jr. says that "This is a damn joke."
Analyzing coverage of the 'Incident on Haifa Street,' Tom Engelhardt writes that "parts of Iraq began blinking off the map of American reportage long before they disappeared from the military map of the country. Now our reporters, unless embedded with American forces, are largely trapped in restricted parts of Baghdad, waiting for the war to come to the Green Zone."
In a New Yorker commentary, George Packer writes that support for Bush's handling of Iraq increased as page one coverage of the war decreased, and that even though Bush "has made defeat there more likely," Kerry "seems unable to point any of this out, let alone exploit it."
Reuters reports that on the Sunday talk shows GOP senators Chuck Hagel, Richard Lugar and John McCain, respectively, said the U.S. is in "deep trouble" in Iraq, charged the administration with "incompetence" and said that President Bush has been "perhaps not as straight as maybe we'd like to see."
'D. C. Dubya?' As Editor and Publisher's Greg Mitchell "fact checks" a Bill Maher gag, Andrew Sullivan writes, "What I worry about is a country that re-elects a president on the basis of denial about Iraq, and then turns on him with a vengeance when things get far worse."
Mommy Fearest Maureen Dowd asks: "How did the president who has caused so much insecurity in the world become the hero of security moms?"
Philip Gailey of the St. Peterburg Times writes that " Kerry appears to be finally pulling out of Vietnam and engaging the president on Iraq."
As the Washington Post notes that "It is not uncommon for Kerry to use some variation of 'dishonesty' more than a dozen times in a 30-minute appearance now," the Washington Monthly's Paul Glastris writes that the strategy of "tracing the president's policy failings to his character flaws is the right one. But to make it work, Mr. Kerry is going to have to show some character himself."
Insurgents For Kerry? Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage claims that insurgents have stepped up their assaults in Iraq because they want to "influence the election against President Bush," and CNN's William Schneider says al-Qaeda "would very much like to defeat Bush," while Juan Cole says that 'bin Laden Doesn't Care Who Wins.'
'Counted Out' Anne-Marie Cusac examines the likelihood that Republicans "may use a variety of tactics to suppress the vote of racial minorities in swing states." Plus: 'ACLU warns of continued voter disenfranchisement.'
The Washington Post reports that New Mexico's chief elections official says that Justice Department anti-voting-fraud efforts "may well be aimed at trying to keep people away from the polls."
Reviewing the status of Ralph Nader's struggle to get on the ballot in various states, WSWS claims that in the case of Virginia "the Democratic Party challenge to Nader had the active assistance of the Washington Post."
Eric Umansky receives confirmation from the Pentagon that the military censors service members' access to non-government Web sites that compile casualty figures for the war.
Slate's Chris Suellentrop unleashes the observation that while Vice President Dick Cheney is "an attack dog," Senator John Edwards is "the smiling tail-wagger you take to the park" so you can meet people.
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
After Senator John Kerry accused President Bush of creating a "crisis of historic proportions" in Iraq, the Bush campaign responded by accusing Kerry of advocating a "policy of retreat and defeat." A Newsday analysis looks at Kerry's tactic of trying to 'Split Iraq, terror issues.'
Responding to a Robert Novak column citing "well-placed sources in the administration" as saying that Bush will probably get the U.S. out of Iraq quickly if he wins re-election, Josh Marshall calls the column a leak and a wink signaling that "the president realizes his policy has failed."
The New York Times reports that CIA nominee Rep. Porter Goss told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday that prewar statements by Bush administration officials "might well have overstated available intelligence about the threat posed by Iraq."
David Hackworth writes that the U.S. command in Iraq has "other priorities" than protecting female soldiers from rape by male soldiers. Hackworth quotes Brig. Gen Janis Karpinski as saying that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez's attitude is, "The women asked to be here, so now let them take what comes with the territory."
After questions were raised by the Los Angeles Times, Army investigators have opened a new probe into allegations of murder, torture and possible cover-up by U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan.
An Iraqi woman who was held in solitary confinement and abused at Abu Ghraib prison describes her ordeal in the Guardian.
The New York Times reports that Iraqi officials say that U.S. plans to divert billions from reconstruction to security will cripple efforts to provide people with water and electricity, with one official saying, "Nobody believes this will benefit Iraq."
In 'Three Years and Three Lessons since 9/11,' Jeffrey Sachs, economist and special advisor to Kofi Annan, argues that the military might of a divided America has "little capacity to enforce [U.S.] political will on others."
Newsweek reports that when the CIA and DIA war-gamed the consequences of a U.S. pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, "No one liked the outcome."
David Corn wonders whether Senator John McCain will give Bush an October Surprise.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that screenings of Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" are "one sign of a discernible countercurrent among U.S. troops in Iraq," with one soldier saying that "[For] 9 out of 10 of the people I talk to, it wouldn't matter who ran against Bush - they'd vote for them."
AP reports on a slip of the tongue it says Bush has now made more than 10 times: confusing the names of two terrorists.
A Wall Street Journal story says that the 2004 presidential race "may be the toughest election in memory for anyone to track."
The International Herald Tribune reports that according to Italian media Britain's ambassador to Italy called Bush "al-Qaeda's best recruiting sergeant." Plus: Salon says influential Saudis view a Bush reelection as "catastrophic."
In 'What Is Bush Hiding?' E. J. Dionne writes that "Dan Rather fessed up" after "CBS messed up" and "Now it is Bush's turn."
'Your Media is Killing You' William Rivers Pitt argues that mainstream television news is entertaining us to death.
The Houston Chronicle reports that Nigeria has effectively shut Halliburton out of its oil industry in a dispute over the disappearance of radioactive materials.
Molly Ivins writes that it's not easy to be in the political minority in a non-swing state like Texas, where some think Osama bin Laden has "two first names, like Jerry Jeff or Billy Bob."
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Predicting an upsurge in positive press for Sen. John Kerry, Robert Sam Anson writes that "If there's one thing that terrorizes political journalists almost as much as missing the plane, it's being stuck with a loser campaign." Links to that and 15 more winners at "derelection 2004."
The Los Angeles Times reports that President Bush's address to the UN was followed by a pointed rebuke by Secretary General Kofi Annan, who said that "those who invoke international law must themselves submit to it." Plus: 'Bush's Lead Balloon.'
During a photo-op with Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, Bush said that the CIA was "just guessing" when it warned him in a National Intelligence Estimate that Iraq could slip into civil war.
Juan Cole calculates that if the U.S. were Iraq, 3300 Americans would be dying violent deaths every week, with "veterans of militia actions at Ruby Ridge and the Oklahoma City bombing ... brought in to run the government on the theory that you need a tough guy in these times of crisis."
Time's Tony Karon says that discreet talks with Syria lend credence to columnist Robert Novak's claim of inside info that the White House may be planning to seek an early exit from Iraq following the elections.
Paul Krugman writes that "if the media play along, Mr. Bush may be able to keep the Iraq disaster under wraps for a few more weeks [and] conceal the fact that he has led America into a major strategic defeat." Plus: 'Speaking of Phony Documents' ...
The Atlantic Online interviews James Fallows, who calls the Iraq War a case study in "deliberative dysfunction," which "started with the president's own personality and intellectual traits and radiated out from there." Read the full text of Fallows' 'Bush's Lost Year.'
The New Yorker's Philip Gourevitch, who recently profiled Sen. John Kerry and wrote about the vernacular style of President Bush, explains their respective positions on Iraq in a "NewsNight" interview. (scroll down)
The WSWS editorializes that Kerry's latest speech on Iraq was aimed not at gratifying antiwar sentiments but at showing that his candidacy "offers a means of avoiding disaster in Iraq" through "more effective prosecution" of the war.
As a new poll shows that Washington is no longer a battleground state but is now solidly in the Kerry column, Wonkette suspects that 'Someone's been reading The Art of War or something.' Plus: 'How It's Done.'
The Nation's David Cole finds Attorney General John Ashcroft batting 0-for-5000 in seeking domestic terrorism convictions since 9/11.
Wild World! A flight carrying peace activist Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, was diverted from Washington, D.C., to Maine after the singer's name turned up on an FBI watch list barring him from entering the U.S.
Three men with close ties to House Majority leader Tom DeLay have been indicted in Texas along with eight companies, including Westar Energy, for illegal fund-raising activities in a case said to involve "an effort to use corporate contributions to control representative democracy in Texas." Plus: 'Sessionisms,' courtesy of Texas redistricting.
Media Watch covers a contract uncovered by the Project on Government Oversight, for infiltrating nuclear power plants to check their readiness against potential terrorist attacks. The contract was awarded by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to Wackenhut Corporation, the same company that supplies the private security forces guarding almost half the plants.
Writing in Mother Jones, Michael Scherer says the U.S. is outsourcing at least one contract in the Iraq war effort to a company linked to notorious arms trafficker Victor Bout, known as "the Merchant of Death."
The Washington Post reports that a new University of Chicago study finds that President Bush's proposal to privatize Social Security accounts would hand Wall Street a $940 billion windfall over the next 75 years.
'Kitty Galore' Reviewing media reaction to Kitty Kelley's book on the Bushes, John Powers describes her interviews with Matt Lauer, Chris Matthews and Aaron Brown as follows: "You may think I'm low, Kelley's whole manner said, but it's amazing how many of your colleagues use my services." Plus: Driving Miss Kitty.
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Member of Congress have been told that the path to elections will be a violent one in Iraq, according to the Washington Post, while the New York Times reports that Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani is increasingly concerned that elections will be either delayed or illegitimate.
Ret. Air Force Col. Sam Gardiner accuses the White House of treating the American people as adversaries by using "strategic information operations," such as information denial, deception and psychological warfare, against them.
In the Toronto Star, Richard Gwyn writes that although Kerry has "started" telling the truth about Iraq, he is still unable to tell voters "that they've lost the war and the sooner they turn their backs on it the better." Plus: 'Why We Must Leave Iraq.'
In a coda to "High Plains Grifter," his series of CounterPunch articles on "The Life and Crimes of George W. Bush," Jeffrey St. Clair glances at how "Bush's path to war was cleared by the Democrats, who were passive at best and deeply complicit at worst."
Consortium News' Robert Parry says that prospects of an enduring "convervative hegemony" if Bush is re-elected "should not be underestimated."
In 'McCain and Powell: Honk if You Love the Status Quo,' Mark Greuter charges that in continuing to "back their bumbling commander-in-chief," the "two men represent all that is vile and contemptible about American politics."
The Los Angeles Times reports that many House Democrats are expected to vote to extend three of President Bush's tax cuts, which will cost about $146 billion with no provisions to pay for them, giving the president a victory to trumpet on the campaign trail.
It's now the norm for the Bush administration to get caught putting language supplied by the coal industry into EPA mercury regulations, notes Carpetbagger, after a Washington Post article reports it happening for the third time.
Writing in the International Herald Tribune, Jonathan Power argues that "the way to deal with Iran is to prove to its leadership that nuclear weapons will add nothing to its security, just as they add nothing to Israel's," although to make that argument the U.S. would have to acknowledge formally that Israel has nukes.
Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin pleaded with a half-empty UN General Assembly to return "common humanity" to its agenda and respond more quickly to disasters such as the situation in Sudan.
After Yusuf Islam, formerly Cat Stevens, was "branded a terrorist supporter and thrown out of the United States," British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw reportedly protested the singer's treatment, which the Muslim Council of Britain called a "slap in the face of sanity."
Bad Attitudes says never mind that CBS was tricked into using forged documents: "The pack should be on the trail of the forgers, and the question that should guide them is, Cui bono?"
National Enquirer set to publish "bombshell charges" against elected official who is said to have been "out of control since college."
Friday, September 24, 2004
derelection 2004 As Republicans fess up to mailing campaign literature warning that "liberals" seek to ban the Bible, Dana Milbank says they're also testing "the conventional bounds of political rhetoric" with charges that Kerry and other Democrats are giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Those stories and 15 more, including the growth of a "new fake fact," are just a click away.
Newhouse News reports that although analysts say an Israeli strike against Iran could "send oil prices skyrocketing and jeopardize the global economy," the U.S. is moving ahead on the transfer to Israel of 5,000 heavy, precision-guided bombs.
Richard Beeston reports that in Baghdad DVDs of beheadings are selling by the thousands.
Bombs Over Baghdad Under the Same Sun unearths an AP story in which military officials appear to be saying that the U.S. is providing security in Sadr City by bombing it with warplanes.
A New York Times report attributes an outbreak of virulent Hepatitis E in Sadr City and Mahmudiya to collapsing water and sewer systems and a "dangerous security situation." The virus is said to be "especially lethal for pregnant women."
The Los Angeles Times reports that Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's address to a joint session of Congress "echoed -- both in tone and content -- key themes of Bush's reelection campaign," making no mention of the fact that in Iraq he must "conduct business in fortified compounds guarded by tanks, blast walls and barbed wire." Plus: 'Parallel Worlds.'
The New Standard reports that American legal investigators, led by Michigan attorney Mohammed Alomari, say there are "tons of acts of torture, abuse, rape" at some 25 U.S.-run detention centers throughout Iraq, "most of them so far not publicly mentioned as being embroiled in the Iraq torture scandal."
The Nation's David Corn writes that Senator John Kerry's plan for Iraq amounts to a recognition that "Bush has created a predicament in Iraq with no obvious solution."
Jason Epstein reviews and Molly Ivins quotes from Thomas Franks' book "What's the Matter with Kansas?" which portrays "sturdy blue-collar patriots reciting the Pledge while they strangle their own life chances [and] small farmers proudly voting themselves off the land."
John Nichols reads the yard signs in the Upper Midwest and finds an 'Ominous Pattern.'
'What happened to that Bush lead?' wonders Gadflyer's Paul Waldman.
Salon's Sidney Blumenthal writes that Bush's campaign "depends on the containment of any contrary perception of reality" and that his true opponent is not Kerry but events.
'Poor, Black, and Left Behind' Mike Davis writes that the standard-bearer of a party that refused to "shelter the poor in a hurricane" is showing "patrician disdain" for his party's "most loyal and fundamental social base."
Congressional Quarterly reports that, when asked about a disclosure form revealing that Homeland Security head Tom Ridge had investments in a number of companies doing business with his agency, DHS spokesman Brian Roehrkasse shouted a string of expletives.
The Independent reports that "envoys of the Dalai Lama are in Tibet discussing his possible return," and cites one western diplomat who says that the rise of Hu Jintao means that "for the first time you have a Chinese leader who knows Tibet."
The Christian Science Monitor tells the story of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service efforts to fire an employee because his efforts to save the Florida panther from extinction are "too tough on developers."
Monday, September 27, 2004
Double Down In yet another Iraq scoop by Knight Ridder, it obtains Iraqi Health Ministry statistics showing that twice as many of the 3,487 Iraqis who died from April to September were killed by U.S.-led forces and Iraqi police as by insurgents. A New York Times correspondent finds that "Business is booming at the Baghdad morgue."
The Washington Post cites unpublished Kroll Security reports that place most of the violence against U.S. and Iraqi forces over the past two weeks -- about 70 attacks per day -- outside the three provinces that Iraq's interim prime minister apparently had in mind when he said 15 of 18 provinces are "good for elections." Plus: 'Meet Ayad Allawi,' President Bush's 'own Mini-Me.'
Beyond Fallujah A security analyst who calls Iraq the world's "most hostile environment," told an Iraq investment seminar that "Sunni extremists have moved out of their traditional strongholds of Fallujah and Ramadi and are operating all over west and central Iraq with increasing boldness."
Reuters fact checks President Bush's claims of progress in Iraq, from police training and reconstruction to election preparations.
Asked by CNN's Paula Zahn, "Is the world a safer place because of the war in Iraq?," Pakistani President Musharaff said: "No. It's more dangerous. It's not safer, certainly not." And Sen Edward Kennedy contends that "war in Iraq has made the mushroom cloud more likely, not less likely."
The New York Times reports that the arrest of an Iraqi National guard commander by the U.S. is "raising concerns about the loyalty and reliability of the new security forces just months before general elections are scheduled."
'Baghdad Year Zero' In Harper's Naomi Klein tells how a 21 year-old Young Republican went from driving an ice-cream truck to "assisting Iraqis in the management of finances and budgeting for the domestic security forces," among other tales of "pillaging Iraq in pursuit of a neocon utopia." Plus: "the Blue Bolshevism of neo-conservatism."
"Unbelievable" says Sen. John Kerry, in response to President Bush telling Fox New's Bill O'Reilly that he "absolutely" would put on a flight suit and declare "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq if he had it to do over again. Earlier: "Mission Has Been Accomplished"
Brad Friedman lays the context for Secretary of State Powell's assertion that President Bush has "no plans" for a draft.
The New York Times reports that a landslide election victory could mean a loss of credibility for Afghan President Hamid Karzai, if the U.S. is perceived as having rigged the outcome. Earlier: Burning down the house?
As U.S. government agencies launch what the Washington Post calls an "aggressive and unusually open" counterrorism offensive in advance of the election, a Harvard University risk analyst argues that the 'Steady drumbeat of fear creates a threat to public health.'
Tom Engelhardt writes that "it took almost to the moment Jeanne hit Florida" for our media to mention possible links between hurricanes and global warming -- most often to deny "that there were any connections at all."
The WSWS accuses Washington of turning its back on Haiti. An initial U.S. offer of $60,000 in disaster relief "drew a shocked response from around the world. Foreign government officials and directors of humanitarian aid agencies rubbed their eyes in disbelief at the minuscule figure."
Carlos Fuentes on what the Bush administration is giving Latin America.
Ted Rall argues that the U.S. should bring back literacy tests, of a sort.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
A Christian Science Monitor report on the beginning of the new school year in Iraq, cites one principal's fear that "maybe half the children won't come" because "parents are too afraid."
The Los Angeles Times notes that with U.S. warplanes bombing Fallujah and the densely-populated slums of Sadr City, a senior military official called reports of civilian deaths in Fallujah "propaganda" and "suggested that local hospitals had been infiltrated by insurgent forces."
The New York Times reports that the National Intelligence Council, which produced the National Intelligence estimate characterized by President Bush as "just guessing," also warned in January 2003 that the "invasion of Iraq would increase support for political Islam and would result in a deeply divided Iraqi society prone to violent internal conflict."
War in Context says that a Times report that hundreds of thousands of hours of "terrorist-related" audio remain untranslated is clear evidence that "the Bush administration has much more interest in 'fighting' terrorism than in actually catching terrorists," in stark contrast to a more productive European approach as laid out in the Boston Globe.
After a Pentagon panel concludes that the U.S. must either significantly increase troop levels or scale back its commitments, USAToday reports that fewer than two-thirds of the Army's "ready reservists" are reporting on time after being reactivated.
As 'Heady U.S. Goals For Iraq Fall By Wayside,' the Washington Post quotes Anthony H. Cordesman, strategic analyst for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, as saying that the overall number of Iraqi police is not rising but dropping "in part because of desertions and purging of low-grade personnel."
Boing Boing displays a "visual language survival guide," with drawings showing coalition troops searching for weapons how to instruct prisoners to remove their toupees.
In Slate, Christopher Hitchens accuses Democrats of "rooting for bad news" in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Editor and Publisher's Greg Mitchell wonders what has to happen before editorial pages take a stand on the Iraq War?
'Saddam Solution' Zaman reports that Saddam Hussein's lawyer says that his client plans to regain power by offering himself as a candidate in Iraq's elections, and Juan Cole finds Time guilty of using sexist language in its report that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi "came unglued" upon learning of a CIA scheme to aid Iraqi candidates favored by Washington.
As crude oil slops over the $50 per barrel mark, the Washington Post reports that terrorists are increasingly targeting what one analyst calls the West's "soft underbelly," the oil industry. Plus: gasoline prices vs. oil prices.
Keep an eye on Florida, Former President Jimmy Carter tells the BBC, warning that a repeat of 2000 "seems likely," and a federal appeals court revives a lawsuit demanding paper receipts for touchscreen voters. Plus: the top 5 risks for eligible voters.
Paul Krugman fears the media will "revert to drama criticism" in covering the presidential debates, while Ron Reagan tells the Sunday Herald that "it doesn't really matter how many people watch the debates" because "the American media is not healthy."
After reading a Slate piece on Bush and inevitability, Hullabaloo's Digby says the White House may be running their political campaign like their military campaign: "lots of happy talk about 'winning' and 'mission accomplished' when the results are anything but clear."
Yusuf Islam, the former Cat Stevens, says 'he hasn't changed but the U.S. has.'
Newsweek interviews Bob Dylan, who recalls in an excerpt from "Chronicles" how "the big bugs in the press" promoted him as the voice of a generation that "I had very little in common with and knew even less about."
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
In an analysis of 'America's New Strategy in Iraq,' which involves threatening both economic and military attacks on entire cities, Michael Schwartz writes that "what the US may have gained ... is the apathy of the world to escalating violence against Iraqi civilians."
The Washington Post reports that a "growing number of professionals" within the CIA, State Department and officer corps believe the situation in Iraq is worse than the White House acknowledges, with one CIA official quoted as saying, "We're just trying to give them information. Of course, we're telling them something they don't want to hear."
In a story citing a private security company's report that says Iraqi insurgents have launched more than 2,300 attacks in the past 30 days, about 1,000 in the Baghdad area, the New York Times quotes a "senior American military official" who boasts that "we have had zero tactical losses. We have lost no battles."
'Optimist Club' Matthew Yglesias sums up "Bush's case for Bush": "the president wants us to re-elect him because he's a flawless leader whose mistake-free policies have created a lovely situation in Iraq, where freedom is blossoming and the war has made Americans safer."
Atrios adds that "it isn't just Bush" but much of the media as well who are "living in a May 2nd 2003 world, where the mission has been accomplished, the 'schools' are being rebuilt, electricity is being restored, and progress is being made."
"We're in the Twilight Zone of Wonderland," writes Molly Ivins, who argues that the situation in Iraq is "grim, but not necessarily fatal. What is fatal is ignoring the reality and doing nothing to stop the hemorrhaging. We can't win a war by pretending it's going well when it's not."
At the U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, where almost 16,000 wounded, injured or sick soldiers have been taken since the invasion of Iraq began, the Toronto Star finds the chief surgeon reduced to tears and compassion fatigue widespread among the staff.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that with another Ramadan approaching, assurances of safety and progress don't quite "capture the mood" in Baghdad's Green Zone, where one official asks, "What if [insurgents] were able to take 200 Americans hostage, and announced they would kill one a day until they got what they wanted?"
Salon's Eric Boehlert reviews efforts to silence Al Lorentz, the nearly 20 year veteran NCO now serving in Iraq who has questioned U.S. prospects for success in that country and could face 20 years in prison if prosecuted for disloyalty.
King of Zembla provides substantial excerpts from Benjamin DeMott's 'Whitewash As Public Service' in Harper's, saying that it shows why the 9/11 Commission Report was a "tank job."
The Washington Post reports on the administration's determination to deploy its missile defense system, whose likely effectiveness the Pentagon's chief weapons evaluator puts at less than 20 percent, before the election.
As the U.S. Supreme Court quashes Ralph Nader's quest to get on the ballot in Oregon, where he carried 5 percent of the vote in 2000, AP reports that Nader found more bad news in Ohio and Wisconsin but fared better in Maine and New Mexico. Plus: 'Niggling Over Paper Thickness in Ohio."
The New York Times reports that "tens of thousands" of U.S. voters who live overseas may not be able to vote because officials in 8 of 15 swing states failed to mail their ballots in time.
President Bush's hometown newspaper, the Lone Star Iconoclast has endorsed Senator John Kerry for president, calling Bush a part-time president who duped the country into following a privileged agenda. Plus: 'Local paper snubs favorite son.'
President Bush tells Fox's Bill O'Reilly that if family connections helped him get into the National Guard, "I'm not aware of it." Read the "edited for clarity" transcript of the interview: parts one and two.
New Standard reports that a Families USA study finds health insurance premiums for families rising three times faster than worker wages.
Media Channel's Danny Schechter warns that former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, one of two outside investigators appointed by CBS in the 'Lather over Rather,' "may be a Ken Starr in the making."
Thursday, September 30, 2004
Jim Lobe provides the results from a new survey by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, which found that both average Americans and public leaders reject George W. Bush's post-9/11 foreign policy views by wide margins.
The Daily Pennsylvanian reports that among the comments made at a symposium on war journalism was this one by Philadelphia Inquirer photographer David Swanson: "As a photographer, I couldn't find one positive image in Iraq. Isn't it obvious that there were no positive outcomes to this war?"
The Los Angeles Times reports that Iraqi President Ghazi Ajil Yawer compared U.S. airstrikes on Sadr City to Israeli attacks on the West Bank and Gaza Strip and used the phrase "collective punishment" in his comments, leading Juan Cole to see a diplomatic crisis looming.
Newsweek's Christopher Dickey looks back to the week the war was lost and ahead to four more years of "hallucinatory rhetoric."
Obsidian Wings reports that a provision in a House intelligence reform bill would legalize extraordinary rendition, allowing U.S. officials to break international laws it signed 20 years ago and send people "suspected" of terrorist connections to third countries where they might be tortured. A Washington Post story says that the White House supports the measure, and the Los Angeles Times looks at other provisions.
In a no-longer private e-mail to friends, a Wall Street Journal correspondent offers a stark assessment of the situation in Iraq, where she's "a security personnel first, a reporter second."
Newhouse's David Wood writes that while "most experts" think the U.S. needs 100,000 new soldiers, and quickly, costing upwards of $10 billion a year, both Bush and Kerry have been loath to address either the need or the cost on the campaign trail.
Stateline reports that the first votes in the 2004 election will have already been cast before the first presidential debate gets underway, which the Christian Science Monitor says could mean that "Senator Kerry's much-vaunted tendency to pick up steam in the final weeks of a race, if it happens, could now come too late to make a difference."
The most recent Harris poll shows Bush with a narrow lead among likely voters and suggests that "strange things seem to be happening, making this something of a topsy-turvy election."
FAIR urges media commentators to remember that fact-checking, not telling the audience how to react, is their main job after tonight's debate, while the Center for American Progress pre-dates the check. Plus: what they don't want you to know about the debates.
In a TomDispatch 'Memo to Kerry From Europe,' Bruno Giusanni writes that while European voters would elect Kerry in a landslide if given the chance, they regard his invitation to "share the burden" of Iraq as funny talk.
A Democracy Now! discussion reminds listeners that third party candidates, excluded from the debates, are "responsible for the abolition of slavery, women's suffrage, public schools, public power, minimum wage, direct election of Senators, Social Security, unemployment compensation, the child labor laws."
Reuters reports that a federal judge struck down key surveillance provisions of the Patriot Act in a decision hailed by the ACLU, which filed the suit, as a "landmark victory" against "unchecked power."
The Washington Post connects Bush administration efforts at "battling negative perceptions" of the war in Iraq to some speechwriting by federal and Bush reelection campaign officials for Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.
Sen. John Edwards charges Vice President Cheney with having been "against getting bogged down in Iraq before he was for it."
The New York Times reports that a new study by the Center for Public Integrity shows that half of all Pentagon spending goes to contractors, most of it on a no-bid basis, and that the Pentagon hired a contractor to determine how many contractors it had employed.
The Black Commentator writes that although the GOP is "being out-organized" by Democrat-led drives and African-Americans are registering to vote in record-breaking numbers, it is still Iraqis who "hold the key" to victory in the election.
There are 408 link-paragraphs in this archive.