|September, 2007 link archive
Monday, September 3, 2007In the rollout of an Iran campaign, Michael Ledeen may be upstaged by Newt Gingrich, as the London Times reports on claims that the Pentagon is preparing a 'three day blitz' aimed at "taking out the entire Iran military."
With General Petraeus doing advance man work for Bush in Australia, and dropping Iran into what appeared to be a trial run of "the monologue he is working on for his Congressional appearance," Greg Sargent looks at how the success of his "aggressive PR surge" has been facilitated by the media.
Paul Krugman sees history repeating itself with the 'Snow Job in the Desert,' this time relying on Petraeus to play the Colin Powell role, and cheery "news articles" apparently filling the role of press releases.
'Iraqi civilian deaths climb again,' the GAO predicts that it might be 2015 before Iraq can generate enough electricity to meet demand, and a BBC reporter returning to Iraq applies his own benchmarks to find life there has become 'a claustrophobic jail.'
As one top British general calls U.S. Iraq policy "intellectually bankrupt," and another terms it "fatally flawed," Harper's Scott Horton concludes that "We are watching the demolition of the 'special relationship' in real time."
Although the departure of British troops is being billed as "part of the plan," Patrick Cockburn contends "In terms of establishing an orderly government in Basra and a decent life for its people the British failure has been absolute." And Bush drops in for a surprise visit.
"The pictures are what will stop the war," says Brian De Palma, whose new film "Redacted" draws on a variety of unconventional media, including graphic images of the war that "newspapers have failed to print," to tell the story of the "real-life rape and killing of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl by U.S. soldiers."
De Palma's film is part of a barrage of recent films about Iraq, Afghanistan and the war on terror, but it is not yet clear whether American audiences are ready "to see films about nasty, bloody, complicated wars that most wish would simply go away."
Amid concerns about the "public indifference" that has greeted the killing of children in Gaza, the New York Times spotlights West Bank boys who 'dig for a living in settler trash,' while the American Jewish community grapples with the question of recognizing the Armenian genocide.
"Buyer beware -- that is all I have to say," remarks the former head of Consumer Product Safety Commission's poison prevention unit, as concerns grow that "weakened industry oversight rules" have produced 'another batch of Brownies.'
China may turn a deaf ear to music piracy but indigenous rights activists charge that Western corporations turn a blind eye to biopiracy, which raises high stakes questions about "indigenous rights, intellectual property, environmental conservation, international treaties, and patents," and has already generated some "blowback."
In 'The Border Boondoggle' Andrew Cockburn details how "threat inflation" has funneled billions of dollars into a high-tech and likely ineffective militarization along the U.S./Mexico border, where, David Neiwert notes, new "sundown towns" have begun to emerge.
Following Albania's lead, Soviet stockpiles of chemical arms move 'closer to demise,' while an article in the Texas Observer charges that the U.S. military is foisting off its own VX disposal problem on "a dirty, derelict community with an air of disease and morbidity" with little notice and inadequate monitoring.
The New York Times paints a portrait of a rather "unreflective" but "guarded" Condoleezza Rice who, friends say, "rarely questions whether she is right or wrong," while the Washington Post tries to puzzle out what is in the 'Rice-Bush black box,' which at times took on the appearance of a "near-vaudeville routine."
Interviewed for a new book, President Bush says he has "God's shoulder to cry on," daydreams of running "a fantastic Freedom Institute" in the next phase of his life, and sparks speculation about 'Miers nomination intrigue.'
As Sen. Larry Craig (R-Bathroom) exits, leaving behind 3 decades of "voting the party line" and interest group ratings "as predictable as his hypocrisy," the New York Times is accused of facilitating an anonymous wiggle on the issue of double standards, and Rachel Maddow replays the party record.
Contemplating the 'growing peril' facing his party in '08, a GOP pollster quips "It's always darkest right before you get clobbered over the head with a pipe wrench. But then it actually does get darker," as McClatchy finds 'sour Americans hungry for change.'
Aug. 31-Sept. 2
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
After President Bush's comments in the book "Dead Certain" about dismantling the Iraqi military were met with "utter disbelief," L. Paul Bremer provided letters to the New York Times that 'Counter Bush on dismantling of Iraq army.'
As 'Another rabbit pops out of the Iraqi hat,' Newsweek reports on the sectarian-cleansing of Baghdad, dubbed Shiite "Manifest Destiny" by U.S. military officers, and cited as one reason why U.S. combat deaths dropped to their lowest level this year in August.
Michael O'Hanlon returns to the op-ed page of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Bush administration "is quietly moving toward a major shift in Iraq policy," and a Los Angeles Times review of elements pertaining to the current policy "reaches a dispiriting conclusion."
About Monday's Los Angeles Times' report that a KBR convoy 'was sent out despite threat,' Robert Greenwald says that "In working on 'Iraq for Sale,' this story of the 'Friday massacre' was one of the most devastating sections of the film." Plus: "Blackwater discovers the Internets!"
On Sunday, "60 Minutes" reran its extensive interview with Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, whose military court hearing began last week amid speculation "that no marine will be convicted for what happened in Haditha." More about how 'U.S. war scandals lead to few convictions.'
President Bush grabbed headlines for simply raising the prospect of eventual troop cuts in Iraq, during a "surprise" visit to a U.S. airbase in Anbar province, about which, the New York Times quotes Anthony Cordesman as saying, "We are spinning events that don't really reflect the reality on the ground."
Next stop Australia, which has built "The Great Wall of Sydney" and 'locked down' the city, and where 'Securing the President' includes "a blast-proof, heavily armoured vehicle surrounded by other blast-proof, heavily armoured vehicles." Plus: 'Pre-crime in Sidney.'
As 'North Korea opens up, a little,' a Guardian correspondent holds out hope for what "would be shockingly positive developments for east Asia watchers," but a Chinese photographer shows and tells about the continued difficulty of shooting in North Korea.
Reviewing the "controversy" surrounding the Gibran Academy, which Daniel Pipes has branded a "madrassa," one observer argues: "Claiming that the Arabic language is inherently Muslim makes about as much sense as claiming that English is inherently Christian," Earlier: 'Jewish Shootout Over Arab School.'
Jeffrey Rosen previews "The Terror Presidency," by Jack Goldsmith, who "led a small group of administration lawyers in a behind-the-scenes revolt against what he considered the constitutional excesses of the legal policies embraced by his White House superiors in the war on terror."
As Harper's Scott Horton addresses the possibility of 'Another Political Prosecution in Michigan,' one of four men said to be in line to replace Attorney General Gonzales, will be charged with cleaning up 'The Mess He Left Behind.'
'Going After Gore' Vanity Fair revisits the 2000 presidential campaign, interviewing Al Gore and his caricaturists in the media, and Paul Waldman offers up 'A guide to media manipulation, Republican style.' Plus: 'Book says Souter mulled resignation after Bush v. Gore.'
Reflecting on their now "inoperative" relationship, a Texas Monthly editor laments that after the 2004 election, Karl Rove "couldn't act like a normal person, even a normal political consultant (if there is such a creature). Everything he said was spin."
With Republicans having apparently "settled on a talking point," 'Idaho's original same-sex scandal' is recalled in an op-ed co-authored by the director of a new documentary, 'The Fall of '55," and a warning is issued about 'America's Toe-Tapping Menace.'
As a new study identifies a downside to rock stardom, the film "Too Much Future" documents 'Punk Under Socialism' in the former East Germany, where Japanese knock-offs were the "Rolls Royce of guitars."
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
White House counters release of GAO report by rolling out what President Bush's "senior advisers on Iraq" will recommend, one of whom, Gen. David Petraeus, "hinted" at a "troop reduction in March, if not sooner, to avoid a strain on the Army," and touted gains in Anbar province.
The 'GAO and Pentagon War Over Numbers,' Republicans who voted to mandate the GAO report rush to criticize it, and a CNN anchor asks of the report: "So does this really hold weight when everybody is really wanting to hear from General Petraeus and what he has to say?"
NPR details how "the Pentagon was cagey" in giving the impression that the surge "would only last a few months," and in an article headlined 'General: A troop cut is possible,' the No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq "offered vague echoes of remarks delivered by Bush a day earlier during an unannounced visit to Iraq."
As 'War Illnesses Fester,' the ACLU releases U.S. Army documents showing "repeated examples of troops believing they were within the law when they killed local citizens," and files a lawsuit requiring other military branches to comply with an FOIA request on the 'Human Costs of War.'
Barnett Rubin is interviewed on 'Selling War with Iran,' Fox News kicks off the predicted post-Labor Day push, and IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei tells Spiegel that "those in the West must realize that if all they expect is confrontation ... they should not be surprised if the other side seeks retribution."
With the Bush administration's failure to push back against "Dead Certain" -- reviewed and excerpted -- seen as a sign of its "current disarray," critics jump on Bush's comments that "I'll give some speeches, just to replenish the ol' coffers," and, "I'm playing for October-November."
As the Idaho Statesman reports that Sen. Larry Craig's latest move "stunned even supporters," a Politico article on how 'Craig reversal angers GOP colleagues,' fails to mention that Craig said only that "it is my intent to resign," and yet another commentator asks: 'Where's the GOP outrage about Sen. David Vitter?'
BlogActive's Mike Rogers appeared on "Hannity & Colmes," after telling the Washington Post that "I write about closeted people whose records are anti-gay," but Edward Wasserman argues that outing politicians because they're hypocrites "is a red herring."
Christopher Hitchens, who was asked by Catholic League president Bill Donahue if he wanted to "take it outside" during a recent "Hardball" debate on Mother Theresa, recounts his book tour for "God is Not Great," including when "Hannity wheels out Ralph Reed as a mourner" following the death of Jerry Falwell.
Ha'aretz reports that the Israeli government is preparing a plan to cut off services to Gaza if Qassam rocket attacks persist, one day after Israel's Supreme Court ordered the government to reroute a one-mile segment along the planned 490-mile route of its West Bank separation barrier.
As the 'Loss of Arctic ice leaves experts stunned,' with the Northwest Passage now fully navigable, the rush to lay claim to the region for commercial and military purposes is laid out in a spate of articles appearing in Harper's, the Economist and the Wall Street Journal.
In advance of Wednesday's strike by New York City cabdrivers over what they consider to be "intrusive new technology," NPR interviewed the author of "Taxi!," who spoke about the difficulty of organizing workers who suffer from "cabbyitis, which does indicate a loner quality."
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Syria says it fired on an Israeli military jet that violated its airspace, which, according to one Syrian analyst "was likely dumping ammunition in order to maneuver ...not carrying out a bombing raid." But what "could well be a one-off ... does send shockwaves across the region."
A New York Times review of "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," finds it "a little odd that so chilly a book should generate such heat," and Reuters reports on a study finding that "Young U.S. non-Orthodox Jews are becoming increasingly lukewarm if not alienated in their support for Israel."
"The first minutes after passing the border were overwhelming," writes Iraqi refugee Riverbend, now among the estimated 1.5 million Iraqi refugees in Syria, with another 800,000 in Jordan, and 719 in the U.S.
In 'Billions over Baghdad," Vanity Fair' reporters Donald Bartlett and James Steele investigate what happened to the $9 billion that went missing, and while they conclude that "The U.S. government never did care about accounting for those Iraqi billions and it doesn't care now," lawyers are finding work.
As the 'Jones Commission" recommends that that the U.S. "lighten its footprint in Iraq to counter its image of an 'occupying force,'" retired Lt. Gen. William Odom decries both "counterinsurgency and a governance policy of U.S. colonialism by ventriloquism."
A Washington Post report that 'Experts Doubt Drop In Violence in Iraq,' notes that "When Petraeus told an Australian newspaper last week that sectarian attacks had decreased 75 percent "since last year," ... MNF-I said that 'last year' referred to December 2006, when attacks spiked to more than 1,600."
Although the Iraqi government is 'near collapse,' according to a leaked report, President Bush, upon arriving in Australia, reportedly said, "We're kicking ass," and later "implied that those who argued against the war in the first place had no role in the current debate." Plus: Former CIA officials claim that 'Bush knew Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction.'
As 'Police arrest Australian comic dressed as Bin Laden at APEC,' Bush has an off-the-record meeting with opposition leader Kevin Rudd, who is still being hounded about a "Lap dance row" that hasn't hurt his popularity, and remembered for having spoken about the intimate relationship between Australia and China.
Jay Rosen observes that "Bush flew to Iraq on a propaganda mission that required the press to complete the mission for him," and Left I on the News points out the disconnect between a New York Times editorial and the paper's coverage of the trip, and finds that Reuters "can't even read its own article properly."
An article asking, 'Has Texas A&M Press become the Bush administration's mouthpiece?', notes the departure of Louis Fisher for ''an academic publisher of considerable cojones" that issued his "Military Tribunals and Presidential Power." Earlier: 'Busheviks go after Louis Fisher.'
As Dan Froomkin reviews 'What Addington Wrought,' an American Enterprise Institute fellow declares that 'Cheney doesn't tell me what to write,' and Larry Johnson wonders, "Did someone at Barksdale try to indirectly warn the American people that the Bush Administration is staging nukes for Iran?"
"This is really good TV," says one observer liveblogging the Republican debate, "Huckabee and Ron Paul go all Lincoln-Douglas on Iraq, Huckabee .... gets applause for mouthing the party line, but Paul cleans his clock." Plus: Dr. Thompson diagnoses Fred Thompson.
Bill O'Reilly issues a "Warning to the far left. Summer may be over but the heat is just beginning," and Jeff Gannon, interviewed about his book "The Great Media War," tells Editor & Publisher, "I'm a casualty of that conflict."
Friday, September 7, 2007
In a pair of "Countdown" segments, Keith Olbermann interviews Lawrence Wilkerson on the Bush administration's 'wait and switch' tactics for sustaining the U.S. presence in Iraq, and follows up with a check on the "fuzzy math" behind the claims of progress. And on the numbers, even McClatchy feels the heat.
As it's revealed that there will be something missing from the 'Petraeus Report,' its namesake says that he "could accept" the withdrawal of one brigade, while the Wall Street Journal notes that "the latest date that the Bush administration can sustain the surge without extending troops beyond their current 15-month duty tours is April 2008."
With Democratic "centrists" angling to put compromise on the table, Arianna Huffington wonders why the Democrats are already folding on Iraq, and Paul Krugman reminds that the "the lesson of the past six years is that Republicans will accuse Democrats of being unpatriotic no matter what the Democrats do."
A BBC poll finds that "Most people across the world believe US-led forces should withdraw from Iraq within a year," while the annual Transatlantic Trends survey shows that 'Europeans oppose attack on Iran, tire of Afghan war.'
One day after a grey-bearded 'Bin Laden' was arrested, a black-bearded Bin Laden appeared in a new video that had its own entry in Wikipedia even before being released. The transcript finds him ripping "neoconservatives like Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Richard Perle," and plugging Noam Chomsky for being "among one of the most capable of those from your own side."
Little 'Al' A Washington Monthly article concludes that 'The Myth' of al-Qaeda in Iraq is being systematically overblown, citing one analyst's estimate that it is really "a microscopic terrorist organization" numbering only 2-5% of the Sunni insurgency.
A federal judge strikes down the part of the USA Patriot Act authorizing national security letters, ruling that it "offends the fundamental constitutional principles of checks and balances and separation of powers."
As the Department of Homeland Security runs into a problem with benchmarks, James Ridgeway examines "how the government has let homeland security languish since September 11," in an on-going multi-part investigative series in Mother Jones on 'Homeland Insecurity.'
In an interview with "Democracy Now!," the U.N. human rights commissioner warns that the U.S. war on terror is becoming a model for justifying violations of human rights worldwide, and it is also seen as a tool for "terrorizing social protest" in countries like El Salvador, where death squads have resurfaced.
With 'drug barons and murderers' -- and a former dictator charged with genocide -- on the ballot, and more than 40 political activists murdered in the run up to Sunday's Guatemalan election, COHA spotlights accusations that an "American political campaign adviser" is "inciting violence" on behalf of a rightist political party.
With a new lawsuit aiming to compel recovery of 5 million missing White House e-mails, Ruth Rosen reviews how the Freedom of Information Act has been undermined since 9/11, in what she calls 'Soft Crimes against Democracy.' Plus: Justice Department comes out against 'Net neutrality.'
When Robert Greenwald takes aim at 'The Real Rudy' over mistakes made on 9/11, Giuliani's campaign responds by accusing him of being a "conspiracy theorist" and politicizing 9/11, prompting a clarification.
'Is Barbie above the Law?' Mattel's CEO unilaterally exempts the company from a law requiring timely notification to the Consumer Product Safety Commission of potentially hazardous products on the grounds that "the law and the commission's enforcement practices are unreasonable." Congress investigates.
Responding to a new study linking certain food additives to hyperactivity in children, "Fast Food Nation" author Eric Schlosser remarks, "The industrialization of the food supply has turned consumers into the unwitting subjects of a vast, ongoing scientific experiment."
'Fleece U' Barbara Ehrenreich considers the role of college in helping students "shake off the pointless freedom of youth and assume the burden of debt," a process accelerated, as a series in Business Week notes, by "sweetheart deals between card companies and the colleges" that encourage 'majoring in credit card debt.'
The Economist covers America's 'Atomic Renaissance' with a skeptical eye, noting unresolved questions about safety and economic viability, as information about a "safety incident" at a Tennessee plant is not disclosed "because of a secrecy policy that was itself kept secret that withheld the information for 'national security' reasons."
Monday, September 10, 2007
With a new poll indicating that a majority of Iraqis consider the surge a failure, McClatchy finds the promise of better security unmet, the number of internally displaced persons grows, and an exodus of refugees, arguably the key measure of security conditions, faces an uncertain welcome.
As 'Brand Petraeus' heads to market, Frank Rich surveys the media landscape, concluding that "What's surprising is not that this White House makes stuff up, but that even after all the journalistic embarrassments in the run-up to the war its fictions can still infiltrate the real news."
Although the D.C. establishment has, in Glenn Greenwald's view, spent the last several months glorifying the general, one poll finds that the public expects him to exaggerate, while another, which contained an "oversample" of the military, has the Bush administration rating "most trusted" with only 5% of Americans. And Democratic senators forecast 'spin.'
Even before the main event, the general urges delay, while the post-game show features an exclusive with Fox News, which is perhaps not so surprising given that he had earlier provided access to Hugh Hewitt, and that GOP operative Ed Gillespie is reportedly "hard-wired into Petraeus's shop."
Kevin Drum marks the transition from "pottery barn hawks" to "chaos hawks," as Sen. Lindsey Graham touts 'war as attitude adjustment,' and neocons roll out a 'surge-stravaganza.' Plus: A real "dog and pony show."
"Dyed and Alive" and likely broadcasting from a "comfy safehouse," Osama bin Laden strays outside his usual rhetoric in what one commentator suggests is an effort to expand brand appeal, but appears to have been mistaken for Kosama bin Laden by some pundits on the right.
With taunting and threats attending the rebirth of the 'Bush-bin Laden symbiosis,' McClatchy reviews how the al Qaeda leader 'benefits from U.S. focus on Iraq,' in advance of an expected encore performance.
AP reports that one legacy of the war in Iraq is "an epidemic of brain-damaged soldiers" who are hard to diagnose and treat and are sometimes "sent back to fight with their brain injuries undetected."
As Alexander Cockburn consults Noam Chomsky on the likelihood of a U.S. attack on Iran, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Pentagon is 'planning a base near the Iraq-Iran border,' and the 'U.S. pressures U.N. nuclear chief over Iran.'
Inside Norman Podhoretz's 'World War IV,' Ian Buruma finds Rudy Giuliani's new senior foreign policy advisor becoming "unhinged" by a "longing for toughness," in a manuscript that is, as Peter Beinart emphasizes, punctuated by "fantasies of civic violence." Plus: 'Rudy: Super-Sized For 9/11'
Taking 'The Terror Presidency,' to the media, Jack Goldsmith talks to Bill Moyers about "pushing the law" and the Ashcroft bedside lobby, and explains to Newsweek how he tried to draw the line in a White House that recognized no limits.
In an interview with GQ, an unapologetic Donald Rumsfeld talks up "big success" in Afghanistan, and "an American military that cannot lose," but says he doesn't miss Bush, as he prepares for a new job focusing on "post-Sept. 11 ideology and terror."
Writing in Foreign Service, former UK ambassador Craig Murray draws on his experience in Uzbekistan to illuminate how 'a short term approach' exacerbates conflicts between human rights and the "war on terror," as the CIA director 'flunks an interrogation test.'
FBI data mining reached beyond targets to their "community of interest," according to documents obtained through an FOIA request, as Charlie Savage discusses his book on the subversion of American democracy, and predictions are made about the state of 'privacy in 2020.'
Now that Norman Finkelstein has reached a private settlement with DePaul University over its controversial decision to deny him tenure and cancel his classes, he and his lawyer talk to "Democracy Now!" about how speaking out about the Israel-Palestine conflict politicized the decision.
"It's not just trickle-down that has been refuted," concludes Paul Krugman about an unprecedented "disconnect between overall economic performance and the fortunes of workers," as economic concerns "rival the war in Iraq as a top issue on the political agenda for the first time in four years."
'Pres. Magoo' has a bad day at the Sydney Opera House, confusing APEC with OPEC and Australia with Austria, before he wanders off stage, while Fred Thompson, who is struggling to get ready for prime time, gets an astronomy lesson.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Following a first round of testimony described as "an exercise of kicking the can down the road," Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker gave "A Briefing for America," sponsored in part by "Freedom's Watch."
Branding Monday as "mainly a disgrace," Slate's Fred Kaplan holds out hope that "Maybe Tuesday will be Congress' good news day," and Newsweek reports that an upcoming Pentagon report will "differ substantially" from Petraeus's recommendations.
As a call goes out to 'Tell the DC Establishment: Enough!,' Newsweek's Howard Fineman tells Keith Olbermann, of the "at least nine different rationales that have been offered for the war ... all have the same bottom line: the maximum number of troops in Iraq by the time George Bush leaves on January 20th, 2009."
'Envoy's upbeat tone glosses over Baghdad's turmoil,' concludes a New York Times analysis, and after finding 'Two big skeletons in Petraeus's closet,' Patrick Cockburn argues that 'The "surge" has failed to improve the bloody stalemate,' noting a breakdown in the food rationing system. Plus: 'Why Baghdad doesn't care (about Petraeus)'
Defending his group's Petraeus ad in a "Hardball" appearance with Markos Moulitsas, MoveOn.org's Eli Pariser said that "if we had run an ad in 2003 taking apart General Colin Powell's statement to the U.N ... we might not be in this mess."
The New York Times reports on a campaign headed by MoveOn.org's Tom Mattzie, one of the 'lobbyists' behind a national effort to defeat pro-war Republicans, but not pro-war Democrats, and anti-war protesters are kicked off a street by police in Fort Worth, after being booted from a set by CBS in Kansas City.
On the sixth anniversary of 9/11, which one-third of Americans still believe Saddam had a hand in, "Democracy Now!" interviews Georgetown law professor David Cole, co-author of the article, 'Why We're Losing the War on Terror.'
As 'The lasting losses of 9/11/01' are tallied, the author of one of several books that served as a basis for "The Path to 9/11," breaks a gag order to declare that "it's time for ABC to own up to the great disservice it did to this country in rewriting 'history' for its project."
The 'Pakistani press slams Sharif deportation,' but a Bush administration official tells the New York Times that it was "not necessarily the worst thing," coming as, reports the Asia Times, "Washington and Islamabad were putting the final touches to the formation of a consensus government," after which, "The real battle in the 'war on terror' can then begin."
The signing statements story was just the "tip of the iceberg" says Charlie Savage, whose book "Takeover" is called "a reproach of a press corps whose complacency greased the tracks for the dismantling of a balanced constitutional order," and another reviewer writes: "while Bush came to office in search of the next big idea, Cheney brought one with him."
"Why doesn't the New York Times just come out and say that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is a liar?," asks the public editor, and an AP report that ' Justice Department rejects request for Siegelman documents,' leads Harper's Scott Horton to conclude that 'There's No News in the Birmingham News.' Plus: 'Democrats see politics in a governor's jailing.'
Following Monday's pipeline attacks in the state of Veracruz, a Mexican defense and security analyst said of one group being fingered, the Popular Revolutionary Army, "It seems very strange that they only attack Pemex. They could be paid by some political interest to do this."
Right-wing media watchdog NewsBusters takes umbrage at the scant coverage afforded a new U.N. report finding that "Despite daunting challenges posed by global warming, water, energy, unemployment and terrorism...the world faces a brighter future."
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
McClatchy's Warren Strobel raises one question that Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker "couldn't, or wouldn't, answer," a Los Angeles Times editorial asks another, and The Nation's Ari Berman wonders if "the media and political class will fall for the Administration's PR trap?"
Sen. Joe Lieberman failed to get Petraeus to endorse the idea of U.S. troops in Iraq crossing the border into Iran, but amid "signs of a fast-developing confrontation," the Independent reports that "British forces have been sent from Basra to the volatile border with Iran."
A Bush administration official claims that "Israeli officials believed that North Korea might be unloading some of its nuclear material on Syria," and a Syria Comment entry headlined 'Israel hit Missiles - the U.S. Pleased,' links to a Jerusalem Post columnist who can't understand "how the Israeli media can be so docile, so obedient, in the face of such a reckless Israeli act," as 'Syria and Israel flirt with war.'
With Sen. Barack Obama reportedly set to call for the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. combat brigades from Iraq, he's also distancing himself from the book, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," after a New York Sun reporter alerted the campaign that a small ad for its Web site appeared as a 'sponsored link' on the book's Amazon.com page. (Scroll way down.)
Artvoice interviews Steve Kurtz, the bio artist and history professor who was accused of terrorism after the police showed up to investigate the death of his wife in 2004, and whose story is the subject of "Strange Culture," one of two new films said to show "how unprepared we are for a genuine bioterror attack."
Six years on, James Ridgeway opens 'The 9/11 Conspiracy File,' a case is made for 'Why Uzbekistan is something to think about on this day,' it's a 'Mixed Bag for Muslim Journalists,' and Rep. Dennis Kucinich stands alone in voting against a 9/11 anniversary resolution.
As a "Countdown" segment reviews "Rudy's 9/11 Legacy," Giuliani, after shuttering his Web site to commemorate 9/11, shared the bill with Ann Coulter at Sean Hannity's 9/11 "Freedom Concert," which also featured the award-winning Sen. Joe Lieberman.
With a report that the front-runner to replace Attorney General Gonzales is the former 'CEO' of the Arkansas Project, Richard Viguerie urges President Bush to 'Use the A.G. appointment to pick a fight,' and Sen. Patrick Leahy counters that 'The next attorney general should unite, not divide.'
Editor & Publisher reports the death of two of the seven active duty soldiers who wrote the New York Times op-ed, "The War As We Saw It," and following its Sunday premier, HBO has made "Alive Day Memories" available for screening online.
As a Politico writer tries to compare Code Pink and Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church, an AP interview with retired Army Gen. John Abizaid, who is now reunited with Rumsfeld at the Hoover Institution, says that "Abizaid was considered a straight shooter during his time as Centcom chief."
As a Guardian correspondent delivers photos and video footage to accompany his reporting from North Korea, the country's "mysterious" soccer team draws with the top-ranked U.S. team in the Women's World Cup, recalling the 1966 'Game of Their Lives.'
Thursday, September 13, 2007
As a compromise on an Iraqi oil law 'breaks down,' McClatchy reports that U.S. troop levels are 'likely to remain above 130,000' next summer, pointing out that "Petraeus never used the 130,000 figure that has been widely reported in the media," but "said that he would recommend leaving 15 combat brigades in Iraq."
The air war grinds on, with a "presser" at the National Press Club, an appearance on the "NewsHour," more face time on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC, and an NPR interview, in which the 130,000 figure is again mentioned, but not by Petraeus.
Move Over MoveOn During his first meeting with Petraeus in Baghdad last March, CENTCOM head Admiral William Fallon reportedly said "that he considered him to be 'an ass-kissing little chickenshit' and added, 'I hate people like that.'" Plus: 'An Offer He Couldn't Refuse?'
The New York Times offers up five government-related assessments of the Iraq war, George Packer goes in the tanks for six others, and in advance of President Bush's speech, Editor & Publisher reviews what he promised during last January's address, and John Edwards buys airtime on MSNBC to rebut Bush.
As it's reported that Freedom Watch's $15 million war chest could balloon to $200 million, thanks largely to funding from a Vegas casino mogul, a Washington Post article on the upcoming week of antiwar protests, says the ANSWER Coalition has signed up more than 1,000 people for Saturday's "die-in," a day that will also see a Gathering of Eagles.
Giving what was described as "his most extensive plan yet for winding down the war in Iraq," Sen. Barack Obama was accompanied by adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, who, according to Alan Dershowitz, is "the one person in public life who has chosen to support a bigoted book," referring to "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy." More on 'Smearing Israel's Critics.'
As Sen. John McCain tours Iowa with a new "No Surrender" bus and positioning, Mike Gravel, in a Democratic "mashup," agreed with Bill Maher's proposition that "Americans are getting fatter and dumber," after which he was ridiculed by one of the sponsors, who wrote that "They even had a hookup to whatever planet Mike Gravel lives on."
Newsweek reports that Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell "is withdrawing an assertion he made to Congress this week that a recently passed electronic-surveillance law helped U.S. authorities foil a major terror plot in Germany."
Democrats reject the notion of Ted Olson, Dahlia Lithwick sets forth 'A Model of a Modern Attorney General,' and Charlie Savage analyzes the "Bush-Cheney legal team's strategy of picking presidential lawyers to fill court vacancies," including the three "executive branch legal warriors" nominated for the Supreme Court.
"The deterioration of American power," according to a London think tank's Strategic Survey 2007, "had led to a 'non-polar' world in which other actors ... had been able to assert themselves." It also warns of catastrophic effects if the emission of greenhouse gases is allowed to continue unchecked, "on the level of nuclear war."
Hollywood is called on to reduce its 'Godzilla-sized footprint,' Brendan O'Neill likens a carbon-offsetting plan adopted by the head of the UK Conservative Party to "eco-enslavement," and despite this year's environmental theme, one attendee asks: 'How green was my Burning Man?'
Police in Atlanta cite the case of Sen. Larry Craig as one reason for fewer indecency arrests at that city's airport, Bill Maher calls on Republicans trolling for bathroom sex to "start utilizing smaller, regional airports," and a 'Prostitute's new claims complicate Vitter's life.'
Ben Stein, who was just named co-host of "America's Most Smartest Model," has another new project, reports Talk To Action, it's a "pro-intelligent design" documentary set to be released in February and titled, "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed."
Friday, September 14, 2007
In his eighth speech on the Iraq war, President Bush hails progress, and pitches 'Mission ... Evolving' to include a purported drawdown of troops -- although a White House official clarified that the number of troops to be left in Iraq is "not a fixed number, because things change over time."
Editor & Publisher surveys press reaction to a speech without surprises, a New York Times op-ed sums it up as 'no exit, no strategy,' and one analyst concludes, "What we're witnessing is not so much the shrinking of a presidency as the death of a presidency." Plus: CNN's "very questionable stunt."
'A Surge, and Then a Stab' With the oil money betting that the war is lost, and preparing for a Balkan solution, Paul Krugman suspects that Bush isn't seriously trying to win the war, but "looking forward to replaying the political aftermath of Vietnam," as a stab in the back narrative.
Although the assassination of Bush's 'beacon of hope' ten days after he met with the president in Anbar highlights, in Patrick Cockburn's view, "the bloody reality of Iraq as it is," Marc Lynch suspects that it will do little to dim the "Disney-esque fantasy of Iraq" the White House keeps pushing.
Freedom's Watch takes on MoveOn in a multimillion dollar ad campaign, 'Fox gets on it ... gratis,' and the New York Times becomes the target of "a major talking point for Republicans," but the Washington Post's media critic says it's okay for Fox News to be a Bush "cheerleader."
An article in Mother Jones unpacks 'Crocker's Fuzzy Economics,' and finds claims of economic progress hollow, while Matthew Yglesias adds that they may also be tainted by the "broken windows fallacy."
Commenting on reports of Gen. Petraeus' presidential ambitions, John Nichols notes that futile attempts to "rearrange the letters of the word 'quagmire' to spell 'victory'" are a rather inauspicious start for a would be "latter day Eisenhower."
In response to accusations that he had smuggled contraband speedos in to a detainee, a Guantanamo lawyer writes: "I composed a reply that contained every euphemism for underwear that I could conjure up, and relished reminding the officer that I am more concerned with legal briefs than the Under Armour variety."
Following the trail of faked interviews left by a former ABC News consultant and senior fellow at the Nixon Center, who was "a leading source in pounding the drumbeat for war in Iran," Laura Rozen asks 'What did ABC know and when did it know it?'
Rozen also interviews the 'Real-Life Lord of War,' as protesters bring "asymmetric warfare" -- and a tank -- to the door of an international arms fair in London, where two companies were ejected for promoting leg irons but cluster weapons were merely hush-hush.
Surveying 'a new landscape of Jewish dissent,' Tony Karon notes that, despite continuing attempts to provide Israel with "a carte blanche exemption from criticism," an increasing number of Jewish organizations and individuals disagree and "the ability ... to impose nationalist boundaries on Jewish identity is being eroded.
Although American multinationals have come under increased scrutiny for their 'tangled relationships' with Colombian paramilitaries, the Justice Department has decided to let Chiquita officials off the hook on charges that it was violating anti-terrorism laws.
"In wake of $20M gift from prominent Republican," a California law school reverses itself on its original choice for dean, because of controversy over his liberal politics and an op-ed he penned criticizing the Bush administration.
As the Senate fends off the Bush administration's proposed cuts to Amtrak, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters asserts that bike paths and trails "are really not transportation," setting off "an eruption of blogging."
Asked about the Terry Schiavo case, Fred Thompson says "That's going back in history. I don't remember the details of it," but his "lack of substance narrative" is being met with skepticism on the Christian right.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Although some conservatives are reportedly troubled that the White House's presumptive attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey is not the partisan they would prefer, a thumbs up from Bill Kristol is seen as "a sign that he would pass muster with them," but not a guarantee.
Glenn Greenwald reviews how, as a presiding judge in the Padilla case, Mukasey defied the White House, an opposition he reiterated in a recent Wall Street Journal editorial, and a Talk Left post concludes that despite some significant civil liberties concerns he's "about as much as we can hope for."
Picking through the rhetoric of a Bush speech that didn't quite add up, McClatchy's Leila Fadel finds 'Ordinary life hardly the norm in Baghdad,' while the phrasing of "a new benchmark" is turned around in a New York Times article, which observes that "The return on carnage is suspicion."
With the U.S. facing continued difficulty winning "hearts and minds" in Iraq, a deadly Baghdad shootout gets Blackwater ordered out, although whether they will go remains in question, especially given increased demand for contractors. Plus: 'Private Powell' on the "terror-industrial complex."
'It is the death of history' Robert Fisk previews a December appraisal by Lebanese archaeologist Joanne Farchakh, who concludes that "armies of looters have not spared 'one metre of these Sumerian capitals that have been buried under the sand for thousands of years.'" Earlier: Iraqi National Archive and Library's Final Entry.
In an interview with IPS, Tariq Ali makes the case that "war on terror served Iran's interests best," and Tony Karon contends that "the U.S. cannot stabilize Iraq without cooperation from Iran," as the French foreign minister warns the world to brace for possible war.
War in Context follows the familiar trail of alleged North Korean involvement in Syria 'from yellow cake to cement' as the mystery about Israel's recent air strike deepens, and a journalist's on-site investigation finds no smoking gun.
Corelli Barnett lays the blowback from "the first ideological war of the 21st century" at the feet of 'Bush the Jihadist,' former Mexican president Vicente Fox calls him "the cockiest guy I have ever met," and James Wolcott considers the potential ratings appeal of 'The Simple Life: White House Edition.'
Left I on the News analyzes media imbalance in the coverage of this weekend's anti-war protests, which resulted in nearly 200 arrests, and appeared to display a "general Petraeus post-game state of mind," while Mother Jones reviews campus activism "under the radar."
In his new book Alan Greenspan writes "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil," but in an interview with the Washington Post "clarifies" that this was "not the administration's motive."
Paul Krugman finds the former Fed chairman's criticism of the Bush administration's fiscal irresponsibility "six years late and a trillion dollars short," given his crucial role in tax cut debate, while the New York Times turns the spotlight back on his views on social "parasites" as a young Ayn Rand devotee.
Greenspan also suggests "the euro could replace the U.S. dollar as the reserve currency of choice," as the Los Angeles Times looks at how the once "almighty dollar," which has "lost more than half its value against the euro" since 2001, is turning into 'the American peso.'
Perennial GOP contender "Alan Keyes throws his straitjacket into the ring," and is expected to "make a splash" at Monday's 'Value Voters' debate, but promises to bolt the party if it nominates "some pro-abort at any place on the ticket."
The BBC interviews climate scientist James Hansen about climate change and the politicization of the way scientific knowledge is disseminated to the U.S. public, as its documentary about creationism on trial in the U.S. makes its way on to YouTube.
Although a German archbishop denies that his use of the term "degenerate art" was intended to pay tribute to "old ideologies," it's noted that "he has not repudiated the sense of his words," while in Argentina a priest testifies about the church's "complicity in the atrocities" committed during the "dirty war."
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Iraqi papers reportedly "trumpeted" the government's move to ban Blackwater from the country, and "Blackwater" author Jeremy Scahill debates the head of a private security trade group on the role of private contractors in Iraq. Plus: 'Shooting shines light on murky world of Iraq security.'
As Democratic Sen. Ken Salazar offers conditional support for cutting off war funding, it's reported that "a few Republican Senators are considering breaking ranks with their leadership and supporting Jim Webb's troop-readiness bill."
Sen. John McCain was caught distorting the words of retired Gen. James Jones during a "Meet the Press" debate with Sen. John Kerry, who seemed to reject his 2004 "flat statement: The United States of America has no long-term designs on staying in Iraq," by coming out in favor of an "enduring relationship."
Police have announced that they will release the Florida college student who was tasered after being restrained by police during the Q & A of a speech by Sen. Kerry, who said that "In 37 years of public appearances ... I have never had a dialogue end this way."
As the 'GOP goes crazy over a newspaper ad,' MoveOn.org's Tom Mattzie and Freedom Watch's Ari Fleischer go "On the Media," and MoveOn hits back at Rudy Giuliani for going "AWOL" from the Iraq study group.
IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei 'Fights off drumbeat for Iran war,' the Guardian quotes a UN official as saying that ElBaradei "sees this thing going out of control," and the New York Sun prepares the battlefield in advance of Iranian president Ahmadinejad's planned appearance at the UN next week.
Wait & Switch In a proposal that was "harshly criticized" by Pakistan's opposition parties, President Gen. Pervez Musharaff, who said earlier this year that his army uniform had become "part of my skin," promised to step down as head of the army after he is re-elected president.
As it's argued that a Nation article "raises the question of whether the 'terrorist threat' to USA isn't wildly exaggerated or an outright fabrication," the White House's long history of exaggerating the number of coalition partners in Iraq is recalled, and Vice President Cheney echoes the late Slobodan Milosevic.
'Dr. Greenspan's Mysterious Media Tour' veers into the Strait of Hormuz, and William Greider, presenting a laundry list of what Alan Greenspan claims he "did not" say or do, declares that "These are all lies."
Sen. Barack Obama tells Wall Street investors that it's time for a "reappraisal of values," and Danny Schecter calls on the media to "blow the whistle on this white collar crime wave," wondering "Where is NBC News' 'To Catch a Predator' program?" in the face of "big time predatory lenders."
As the Director of National Intelligence testifies before a House Judiciary Committee about the FISA law revision, the U.S. gets a new acting Attorney General, Slate reviews 'The litmus tests for Michael Mukasey's conservative critics,' and Sens. Leahy and Schumer vow to use his nomination "to extract information from a reluctant White House."
Although the U.S. Office of Special Counsel is facing a budget shortfall for its task force investigating the use of private e-mail accounts by White House aides, it is also reportedly investigating Rachel Paulose, the U.S. attorney for Minnesota, over allegations that include the mishandling of classified information.
David Brock responds to a Washington Times' editorial criticizing Media Matters' study on op-ed columnists, and an argument that "Media Matters failed in its quest to prove there is a conservative bias on the nation's op-ed pages," begins by questioning the designation of Morton Kondracke as "conservative."
Before reporting on the media's efforts to 'Squeeze More Juice Out of O.J.,' Howard Kurtz said in an online chat that "in a way Fox was censoring the news" when it bleeped Sally Fields' acceptance speech at the Emmy Awards.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
TomDispatch offers a sneak peek at Peter Galbraith's New York Review of Books' essay on 'The Iranian Conundrum,' CENTCOM head Adm. William Fallon 'Presses case against Iran' during a Middle East tour, Steve Clemons contends that 'Bush won't attack Iran,' and Gen. David Petraeus is said to have helped destroy Bush's "proxy war" claim.
An Iranian military official reportedly said that "We have drawn up a plan to strike back at Israel ... if this regime (Israel) makes a silly mistake," and France's defense minister denies "drawing up and preparing military plans regarding Iran," one day after France's foreign minister declared: "I do not want it to be said that I am a warmonger!"
As a 'Bomb kills anti-Syrian lawmaker' and 'Syria rejects claims of N. Korea nuke ties,' the New York Times reports on the degree to which 'Isolation of Gaza Chokes Off Trade,' and while Israel brands Gaza an "enemy entity," the U.S. reserves its "hostile entity" for Hamas.
McClatchy reports that the revocation of Blackwater's license is temporary until a joint committee of Iraqi and American officials investigate, and, interviews two survivors who contradict company claims that the shooters were responding to enemy fire. Iraq's prime minister also 'Disputes Blackwater Version.'
A U.S. civilian convoy freeze is called a "strong blow to the embassy's work," and accusations that the State Department's inspector general "repeatedly thwarted investigations into contracting fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan," include "Using 'highly irregular' procedures to personally exonerate the [Baghdad] embassy's prime contractor of labor abuses."
As 'Iraqis stream into Syria ahead of visa clampdown,' internal migration data obtained by the New York Times from the Iraqi Red Crescent, "indicate that in Baghdad alone there are now nearly 170,000 families, accounting for almost a million people, that have fled their homes."
Polls commissioned by USA Today and CBS News following the newshole-dominating testimony of Gen. David Petraeus, find virtually no change in the percentage of respondents favoring a timetable for withdrawal, and a report that 'Democrats won't temper Iraq legislation' is seen as one sign that their 'Autoshadowphobia could be in remission.'
As "significant inconsistencies" are found "between the numbers General Petraeus showed to Congress regarding civilian casualties and the numbers in the Pentagon's latest reports," a military wife accuses him of "using normal circumstances and turning them into some kind of big deal."
After bashing MoveOn, whose "betrayal of trust" theme is deemed a winner, Vice President Cheney moved on to Alan Greenspan, defending 'The Real Bush Record' in a Wall Street Journal editorial. Plus: 'Iraq, oil and Greenspan's Gospel.'
Former ABC News consultant Alexis Debat has been dropped by a D.C. think tank that was employing him to consult on a Pentagon-funded study, reports Laura Rozen. The think tank has raked in millions from conservative philanthropies and includes James Woolsey on its board of directors. More on the 'ABC-Debat scandal, unanswered and unasked questions.'
Regarding a 'Myth/Fact' release from the White House on FISA Amendments in the Protect America Act, Rep. Jerrold Nadler called for "some truth in advertising. The act gives the president almost unfettered power to spy without judicial approval -- not only on foreigners but on Americans." Watch video of hearing testimony.
'Enemy Within? Not Quite' That's what an NPR reporter argues in "The Jihad Next Door," which a Buffalo News review calls "a textbook example of the jihad recruitment threat that does exist in this country," and "a warning about what can happen when a government makes a rush to judgment in pursuit of political gains."
As the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Gates and a U.S. Army major are 'Sued Over Mandatory Christianity,' the head of the group doing the suing "said the lawsuit would be the first of many his group intends to file against the Pentagon."
In Minneapolis, where a 'Loo is latest U.S. tourist attraction,' police target bicyclists in what is seen as a possible trial run for policing next summer's Republican National Convention. Plus: 'Fox gets pool coverage for 2008 DNC?'
"CNBC is a financial channel for Wall Street; we're for Main Street," said Rupert Murdoch, pumping his soon to be launched Fox Business Network, but according to a New York Observer report, most Wall Street Journal staffers "sounded none too thrilled about teaming with the new network. 'It's probably called FBN for a reason,' said one. 'As in, 'Fibbin' ...'"
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Movin' On Although President Bush said at a news conference that he "has yet to speak with" Iraq's prime minister about the Blackwater incident, the New York Times reports that the White House and the State Department would likely "seek to block any move by Iraq to force the company out."
The AP counts more than 180,000 private contractors in Iraq, including some 10,000 security types employed by the State and Defense departments, and a conservative commentator concludes that "If Blackwater and other private contractors are shut out of Iraq, Democrats in Congress and Iranian intelligence operatives may have stumbled on a way to end the Iraq War."
McClatchy reports on the "financial war" being waged against Iran, and after the NYPD claimed Port Authority involvement in rejecting a request by Iran's president to visit ground zero, WNBC reported that the Port Authority, "the only agency that could grant Ahmadinejad permission to go inside, said it never received such a request, contradicting the police statement."
Mitt Romney was reportedly 'Outraged' by the request, and speaking at a London fundraiser, the well-known Rudy Giuliani said of Iran: "If they get to the point that they become a nuclear power, then we will set them back five years. That is not a threat, that is a promise.'' Plus: Was Rep. Peter King's "too many mosques" quote taken out of context?
At his news conference, Bush also had no comment on the reported Israeli airstrike in Syria, but in an NPR segment, Joseph Cirincione called it "the most overblown story I've seen since before the buildup to the war in Iraq. There's precious little information available but it hasn't stopped people with political agendas from spinning it to absurd levels as if these claims are facts."
As the U.S. is warned off 'Diplomacy by temper tantrum,' following a report that it's opposed to Syria attending a planned November summit on the Middle East, 'Gazans fear worst after Israeli threat to cut supplies." Plus: 'It depends who is doing the torturing.'
The National Journal forecasts potential 'Game Changers' that are "brewing in an uneasy world," and Radar examines the "American tradition of counting on frenemies to help us get through tough times," which includes a photo of President Bush offering "flag treats" to a pre-stroke Ariel Sharon.
As doubt is cast on a claim by the director of national intelligence that the FISA Court required the NSA to obtain warrants before spying on Iraqi insurgents, Rep. Jane Harman says that Congressional Republicans and the Bush administration pushed a "bogus" terror threat in August to expand FISA.
Paul Krugman blogs on 'What I Hate About Political Coverage,' and with Senate Republicans having "successfully halted virtually anything worth doing with these EZ-Filibusters," Digby calls on Democrats to "Forget cloture. Make 'em talk."
Maine's U.S. senators get their signals crossed and fall out of lockstep on habeas vote, increasing the vulnerability of one to a re-election challenge, and the Miami Herald pens a "Note to the White House: Most Americans aren't on your clock."
A Republican house member ensures that being on CREW's just-released list of the 22 most corrupt members of Congress won't hurt his re-election chances, and a Republican Senator on the list is being hounded by a high-tech hillbilly. Plus: 'Judicial Watch Suing Freedom's Watch.'
As a 'Louisiana town prepares for onslaught of attention,' an observer on the ground laments that "coverage of the story on CNN has degenerated to ... 'Which is worse, Justin Barker's black eyes or nooses hanging from a white tree?,'" and reports spotting "Sharpton's string of stretch limos pull up to the take out window at McDonalds."
In These Times checks out the 'Freegan World,' which includes a former publishing exec who speaks of having "shopped for fairly expensive goods ... just for entertainment," and a defense of brand-name knock-offs is mounted in a review of "Deluxe: How luxury lost its luster." Earlier: 'Lux Populi'
Interviewed about his new album 'Civilians,' which includes "ruminations on the shaky state of our state," singer-songwriter Joe Henry says that "I think a big problem is that this country is so big that the idea of changing anything is a real abstraction."
If Dan Rather manages to "kick Viacom's puff-addled, celebrity-obsessed ass seven ways to Sunday in court," his attorney says that Rather "will donate much of the proceeds to the cause of promoting an independent press."
Friday, September 21, 2007
Cholera arrives in a Baghdad short of chlorine, and where insecurity is sending property values into "free fall. And as the U.S. military works with detainees to "bend them back to our will," an 'American-style casino opens' near the border with Iran.
With an Iraqi investigation concluding that "Blackwater is 100% guilty" for 'Baghdad's bloody Sunday,' Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki appears to get some bargaining room, but Blackwater and the U.S. embassy circle the wagons as the House Oversight Committee invites the company's founder for a chat.
As $6 billion worth of defense contracts come under criminal review, the "true blockbuster story," writes Rosa Brooks, is "the wholesale privatization of war and U.S. foreign policy," which has opened up "lucrative opportunities" for CEO's of defense contractors in what has become a $120 billion a year global industry.
As Democrats fall in line with the GOP narrative of betrayal, a New York Times editorial contends Democrats should have taken the risk of forcing a filibuster, since Republicans won't allow "a vote on anything beyond Mr. Bush's increasingly narrow agenda" anyway.
At the end of an almost "news" conference, which he prepped for with what Dan Froomkin calls "a 90-minute group grope" with conservative columnists, President Bush takes a "softball" from a friendly in the audience, "hiding behind the skirts," as Keith Olbermann puts it, "of the planted last question."
"How can you speak for the whole of the American nation?" asks Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as he is confronted by "60 Minutes" about his attempt to visit ground zero, amid threatening talk of a "welcoming party" and letting "construction workers" at ground zero "take care of him," as Fox goes about 'quietly conflating Iran and 9/11.'
On the campaign trail in London and posing with Prime Ministers, Rudy Giuliani proposes to expand Nato to include Israel, which is in Glenn Greenwald's view, "the single most extremist policy of any major presidential candidate," as Giuliani's own use of the term "extremist" comes under fire.
After a car bomb killed an anti-Syrian politician in Lebanon, fear of "assassination plots aimed at eliminating their razor-thin majority in the House" has members of the Lebanese governing party looking for refuge, as the country readies for an election none of the parties can afford to lose.
Highlighting the narrative of 'decadent perversity,' that emerges from the latest Bush biography, Sidney Blumenthal notes a peculiar presidential greeting, while Ira Chernus explores "the willing suspension of disbelief" in the "theater of war," and Robert Parry considers what kind of personality the president is imprinting on the nation.
The "Prince of Darkness" hosts Karl Rove at a pricey secret breakfast, and Bush counts himself a "strong asset" for Republicans, although some party faithful try to emphasize distance. And Bush aides past and present miss the welcome mat at Stanford.
On a day of 'activism and outrage' termed "one of the largest civil rights rallies in the South since the 1960s," tens of thousands gathered to demand justice for the Jena 6, despite 'white supremacist rage, lynching threat,' and a surprising silence in the progressive blogosphere. Plus: 'Trucks with nooses seen near Jena Six marchers; Teens arrested.'
With a new study finding that nearly 'one out of three Americans are uninsured,' President Bush frames himself as a committed supporter of the Children's Health Insurance program even as he threatens to veto expanding it, amid an outbreak of "surrender buzz" on single-payer care.
'Taser Nation' Calling the Florida incident "'an iconic moment' in the degradation of free speech during the Bush years," Chris Matthews stands in surprising contrast to commentators on Fox News who have voiced a more macho and expansive take on the event.
As "investors around the world dump the dollar," and even the Saudis jump ship, pushing it to new lows against the Euro and parity with the Canadian dollar, Paul Krugman wonders 'Is This the Wile E. Coyote Moment?'
"It's a Free World," a new drama by Ken Loach, examines the logic of exploitation behind Britain's culture of "flexible labor," and the director explains in an interview with the New Statesman why he considers Prime Minister Gordon Brown "enemy number one." Plus: 'Quality of Work Life.'
Monday, September 24, 2007
As 'Mahmoudapalooza takes over the right' and a debate at Columbia University fuels talk of Hitler, Juan Cole contends that the "real reason" for the controversy is that "the American right has decided the United States needs to go to war against Iran."
Facing what struck one observer as an "over the top" "60 Minutes" interviewer "catapulting" the Bush administration line, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad turns the tables on the question of Bush the "religious man."
In an interview with Jewish Journal, Seymour Hersh says of his own reporting, "With these stories, if they slow down or make people take a deep breath before they bomb Iran, that is a plus. But they are not going to stop anybody. This is a government that is unreachable by us."
With Blackwater reportedly 'caught on tape,' and under investigation for weapons smuggling, Iraq's prime minister terms the shootings 'a challenge to his nation's sovereignty,' and Jeremy Scahill makes the case against 'hired guns, above the law,' in testimony before Congress, and reviews recent events on "Democracy Now!"
John Nichols turns to the broader story of "imperial excess" in 'Blackwater, Oil and the Colonial Enterprise,' while Tom Engelhardt puts the extraterritorial freedoms conferred upon 'Iraq's Dirty Harrys' under Order 17 into historical context.
A new GAO report concludes that the war on drugs is not working, but recommends 'more of the same,' and a marijuana eradication campaign spins its wheels, as outside contractors, including Blackwater, bid to get in the game.
In a media blitz, former world chess champion Gary Kasparov talks to "60 Minutes" about his political ambitions, and gets an in-depth profile and audio interview from the New Yorker's David Remnick, who notes the double-edged nature of his push for democracy, and some neocon connections.
"Welcome to the wonderful world of umbrage." Time's Michael Kinsey highlights the melodramatic response by some on the right to an ad that they are obviously pleased to have the chance to rail against, particularly insofar as it gives them an opportunity to turn "discussions of substance into arguments over etiquette."
'I'm Truman, You're Ike' suggests the president in a meeting with Sen. Hillary Clinton, as an editorial with "an intended audience of one" casts the president as a prophet, and a presidential picnic draws a "freeper" crowd. But despite protestations to the contrary, Bush remains 'unwelcome on the campaign trail.'
With GOP presidential candidates jockeying to demonstrate their support of Guantanamo, and detainees' access to lawyers cut off, evidence emerges that Attorney General Nominee Michael Mukasey favored enhanced interrogation techniques and approved holding suspects indefinitely without charge.
Busy with his intensifying pre-election crackdown on dissent, Pakistan's president has been forced to "scale back his government's pursuit of Al Qaeda," according to intelligence officials quoted by the Los Angeles Times.
'Alan Greenspan debates Naomi Klein on the Iraq war, Bush's tax cuts, economic populism, crony capitalism and more,' while Dean Baker asks about the housing bubble, if he "saw this train wreck coming, why didn't he do anything to stop it while he was chairman of the Fed?"
'Why believe Greenspan now?' Although he suspects that it "would almost be reassuring if the war had a rational cause like oil," Ian Williams suggests that "Bush was listening to God, not to the chairman of the Federal Reserve." More on how Greenspan rates on energy and climate change.
Among the reasons young people are drowning in debt, according to a new report from the Center for Responsible Lending, is that banks "fleece nearly $1 billion" a year from them in questionable overdraft fees, although a billion is no longer enough to secure a spot on Forbes list of richest Americans.
A red white and blue fashion spread in the New York Times Travel section is seen as not only exposing 'a president well heeled,' but also revealing how in post-9/11 America "politics Is fashion... shopping is patriotism... and... war is accessorizing."
The New York Observer follows 'Models for Christ' down the runway, In These Times investigates how faith-based dolls help fill in the "religious matrix," and Sen. David Vitter tosses some pork to "a bizarre Louisiana creationist group."
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Following Monday's 'Unreality Show' by a "dictator" and "war leader," who is said to have "scored major points among the target audience that really matters: worldwide Muslim public opinion," Columbia University's president is invited to Iran.
During a speech to the U.N. General Assembly in which he made "scant mention" of Iraq and "barely mentioned Iran," President Bush declared that "Americans are outraged by the situation in Burma," as "Many in the crowd wore orange jumpsuits in solidarity with the Guantanamo detainees."
A challenge is mounted to the official version of events concerning Israel's reported air strike on Syria, and Israeli Prime Minister Olmert floats the prospect of withdrawal "from specific territories that will be under Palestinian control," and the U.S. announces that it will invite Syria to what Olmert insists is not a "peace conference."
Rudy Giuliani' adviser Norman Podhoretz, who is said to have 'secretly urged Bush to bomb Iran' during a meeting that included Karl Rove, also reportedly "believes that 'Bush is going to hit' Iran before the end of his presidency. His assumption is based on intellectual instinct." Plus: 'Cheney's New War Plans.'
Bob Herbert envisions "a million angry protesters marching on the headquarters of the National Republican Party," a 'White supremacist backlash builds over Jena case,' and fifty years after the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School, Vanity Fair looks 'Through a Lens, Darkly.'
After the UAW walked, the AP quoted a worker at a GM plant in Janesville as saying, "This is horrible, but we're die-hard union, so we have to," adding, "We got a mortgage, two car payments and tons of freaking bills."
As Rep. Henry Waxman accuses the Bush administration of having "organized a stealth lobbying campaign, with the auto industry's help, to oppose California's effort to set fuel economy standards," a proposal for a general strike on election day 2007 garners support.
An FBI report of "the first steady increase in violent crime since 1993" is said to present "a significant political challenge for the Bush administration," and the author of an upcoming book on presidential appointments asks, 'How badly has Bush damaged the federal government?'
"Countdown" reports on Rep. Jane Harman's accusation that an August "intelligence claim" used by Republicans and the Bush administration to expand FISA was "bogus," and although he was admonished by Sen. Patrick Leahy at the beginning of a hearing on Tuesday, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell couldn't stop himself.
The Washington Post makes news with its report that some U.S. military snipers in Iraq were encouraged to "target suspected insurgents by scattering pieces of 'bait,'" and the paper's female "ombudsman" concedes that a "story did not say that the antiwar protest was exponentially larger than the pro-war demonstration."
After theTimes' public editor called MoveOn's 'Gen. Betray Us' ad "a particularly low blow when aimed at a soldier," it was countered that "having any one person at the New York Times decide how a public body can properly address a United States general is a particularly low blow to free speech."
Rep. Tom Davis calls for hearings into the "scandal" surrounding the Times' decision to give MoveOn a preferred rate, and Sen. Norm Coleman gets in on the act with a full-page ad in the Star Tribune saying it's time for Al Franken "to stand up to MoveOn.org instead of standing with them."
About his cover story in the "left-wing" Maclean's, freelance journalist Patrick Graham says that the U.S. "basically created a home grown insurgency in Anbar, which they've now won over, and now they're not admitting to themselves what they're doing -- which is taking up where Saddam left off."
In addition to calling President Bush "a huge liability" who "is going to have to do a big, big hiding act if a Republican is going to win," Donald Trump said of the Bush presidency, "the whole thing's been a big lie," even including claims that Bush reads 60 books a year. And about Iraqi war deaths Trump said: "a million people probably if you really think about it."
Sen. Hillary Clinton, whose campaign reportedly killed a GQ article, is described as "Bush's ticket to posterity," and as Edwards and Giuliani lead in swing state matchups, Obama takes a Democratic candidate "mashup" and a 'Giuliani $9.11 event comes under fire.'
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
A senior U.S. military official tells the Washington Post that the Blackwater incident is "a nightmare" that "may be worse than Abu Ghraib," after Rep. Henry Waxman accused Secretary of State Rice, who refuses to testify before his committee, of blocking congressional inquiries into Blackwater and Iraqi government corruption.
"We had been expecting it," said a U.S. military spokesman about a surge of violence in Iraq, as the New York Times reports on a "systematic campaign" of assassination by Sunni insurgents, and Defense Secretary Gates conflates Iraq and the "war on terror" in requesting $190 billion from Congress, which will make 2008 'The Most Expensive Year of the War.'
Asked in an interview about his book "Violent Politics" if what Gen David Petraeus is doing in Iraq can work, former U.S. diplomat William Polk said, "The short answer is no." Read an account of Polk's lonely testimony to Congress last week.
Under the headline 'Bush astounds activists, supports human rights,' McClatchy quotes a representative of Amnesty International USA as saying: "The gap between the rhetoric and the actual record is stunning. I can't help but believe many people in the audience were thinking, 'What was this man thinking?'"
An Independent reporter reveals the 'script for Bush's mangled words,' after the White House staff "mistakenly allowed a few journalists to glimpse a draft of the President's address complete with phonetic spellings in brackets." And for [sar-KO-zee], it's 'Back to Les Banlieues.'
Following Pakistani President Gen. Perez Musharaff, Bolivian President Evo Morales became the second sitting head of state to appear on "The Daily Show," which preceded his hour-long interview on "Democracy Now!"
As it's reported that "Iran carries out more gender change operations than any country in the world besides Thailand," NPR interviews the executive director of the IRanian Queer Organization, and Glenn Greenwald notes that "Right-wing warriors who crave war with Iran have suddenly developed an extremely profound and sincere concern for gay Iranians and their rights." (scroll down)
"New York's hot blast of nastiness, jingoism and xenophobia toward its guest, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, only served to pump him up for his domestic audience," observes Maureen Dowd, and as 'Antiwar protesters decry handling of Iran,' it's asked: "how do you fear monger without getting wrapped up by the sticky web of Iraq and Al Qaeda?"
With 'Air Fleischer still confusing Iraq and September 11,' a "prosecutor's brief " is brought forward for the position that "the Iraq War is largely about oil," and comparing new books by Alan Greenspan and Naomi Klein, it's said that "One is Prophetic, One is Pathetic."
As monks in Burma are attacked and the UN sets a meeting over the crisis, the WW4 Report, arguing that "the Rangoon junta has manifestly outlived its usefulness to the U.S. elites," asks: 'Will Burmese democracy movement become pawn in pipeline wars?'
With various accounts addressing the White House's effort to saddle a Democratic president with Iraq, Hitchens Watch picks up on its namesake's speculation about Al Gore running for president if he wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
The White House is accused of leveling "bizarre criticisms" against Sen. Barack Obama over his "intellectual laziness," and Matt Taibbi, after crashing 'The War Party,' sets his sights on a 'Make-Believe Reagan' and "human snooze button."
As 'NPR rebuffs White House on Bush talk,' which ended up airing on "the administration's favorite television network," Bill O'Reilly goes on the offensive to try and contain a spreading controversy over his comments about a Harlem restaurant.
The winners of the news & documentary Emmy awards include a local TV station's feature on an artist who paints portraits of fallen soldiers, and about two war-themed exhibits, a reviewer writes that "the actors in these denatured dramas seem always to be gazing into a void, confronting not some mortal peril, but nothingness."
Thursday, September 27, 2007
After delivering a "fervent antiwar speech" on Monday, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday "invited the audience in the room to join him in heckling the witnesses," reports Dana Milbank, but after Gen. Peter Pace was challenged "on his view that homosexuality is immoral, the hearing collapsed as the hecklers shouted down the nation's top military officer."
Defense Secretary Gates sees a "long-term" U.S. presence in Iraq of five combat brigades, but "no permanent bases," the Army Chief of Staff says that "current demand for our forces exceeds the sustainable supply," and about a U.S. figure on "militants" killed in Iraq, USA Today points out: "The numbers of enemy killed and detained would exceed the estimate given last year of the size of the insurgency."
As the New York Times reports that 'Shootings by Blackwater exceed other firms in Iraq,' Gates expresses his concern that private security contractors are luring away soldiers, and a new study by Peter Singer calls military outsourcing an "addiction that is quickly spiraling to a breakdown."
According to Transparency International's 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index, which looks at perceptions of public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories, tied for the most corrupt are Somalia and Myanmar, followed by Iraq.
A UPI analysis about a push by France and the U.S. for EU sanctions against Iran, refers to a report in Spiegel that Germany's foreign minister has 'data showing that leading French and American companies are conducting large amounts of business with Iran.'
"The problem is that Chirac thinks he's Mister Arab," said President Bush to Spain's prime minister in February 2003, according to one translation of a transcript published by El Pais, which is also said to reveal that 'Bush Was Hell-Bent On War,' and that Saddam "was willing to go into exile as long as he could take with him $1 billion and information on weapons of mass destruction."
As it's suggested that Dan Rather might "call the president as a witness" if his "magnum opus" proceeds to trial, Sidney Blumenthal argues that it "may turn into one of the most sustained and informative acts of investigative journalism in his long career," and cites a "little noticed" article, "The Flawed Report on Dan Rather."
A federal judge rules that two provisions of the Patriot Act are unconstitutional, a controversial Bush administration FEC nominee slips out of committee, McClatchy reports on new laws in Florida and Ohio that could facilitate "vote caging," and a new study claims that in 2004, more than half a million voters were targeted in "voter caging" campaigns.
During a segment of the New Hampshire Democratic debate, Rep. Dennis Kucinich dismissed Sen. Joe Biden's power-sharing plan for Iraq, and about her vote for the Kyl-Lierberman Amendment on Iran, Mike Gravel told Sen. Hillary Clinton, "I'm ashamed of you."
The Wall Street Journal calls the deal between General Motors and the UAW "the most striking example of a bigger trend sweeping U.S. health-care," and a reporter goes inside a union-busting seminar at which participants are told, "The labor board doesn't really care if people are lying."
The cover story in the September issue of Fast Company, "Working With the Enemy," is said to read "like a rehabilitation of [Adam] Werbach, a San Francisco environmental icon who became a liberal pariah last year after taking a job to help Wal-Mart burnish its green image."
As ZNet asks "Do Capitalists Fund Revolutions?', part two here, a new biography tells the story of "The Billionaire Who Wasn't," secret philanthropist Chuck Feeney, and a former advertising executive who was canned from his job writes of finding redemption at Starbucks.
Following up on its article about 'Prisons purging books on faith from libraries,' the New York Times reported that "outrage" over the Federal Bureau of Prisons' decision "has come from both conservatives and liberals." More on the 'Rare unison chorus on banned books.'
After last week's report by Living Tongues and National Geographic that nearly half of the estimated 7,000 languages spoken in the world today are in danger of extinction, it's observed that "Unlike extinctions of the past, today's cultures are dying of their own apathy rather than by the swords of their enemies."
Friday, September 28, 2007
As a 'deadly crackdown intensifies in Burma,' and the shooting of demonstrators by police in the capital city of Rangoon spurs calls for U.N. action, an article in the Asia Times profiles the man behind the madness.
Among those killed was a Japanese journalist gunned down by Burmese troops, as efforts to keep the 'foreign press at bay' are challenged by "a stream of blogs and mobile phone videos" that have so far "maintained the flow of communications to the outside world." But the government is moving to cut off access.
'No Going Back' At the end of an in-depth examination in the Boston Review of the dire situation facing millions of displaced Iraqis, Nir Rosen concludes "Iraq's human capital has fled, its intellectuals and professionals, the educated, the moneyed classes, the political elite. They will not return."
In an interview with Spiegel, Seymour Hersh argues that "The surge means basically that, in some way, the president has accepted ethnic cleansing," as historian Roger Owen details how U.S. policy has undermined sectarian cohesion and fostered warlord rivalry and chaos.
In regard to Senate passage of a resolution calling for the partition of Iraq 75-23, Reidar Visser comments, "It does not bode well for the future that the challengers to President Bush seem to converge on a scheme that would be even more unpalatable to the Muslim world than Washington's current policy."
As McClatchy tries to catalog the "astounding amount of violence attributed to Blackwater," a State Department tally has the mercenary group responsible for 56 shootings while guarding American diplomats, substantially more than other security outfits, and a Congressional report faults Blackwater for Fallujah ambush.
Following the September 16 shootings, Blackwater has, Jeremy Scahill notes, become so well "known (and hated) throughout Iraq, the bodyguards themselves are likely to become targets of resistance attacks, perhaps even more so than the officials they are tasked with keeping alive." Plus: 'Blackwater's Man in Washington.'
Rush Limbaugh calls anti-war troops "phony soldiers" -- although in what sense is not clear -- sparking a response from the objects of his contempt and from Democratic lawmakers, as well as meditations on 'the tragedy of asymmetric umbrage.'
As 'Anti-Iran Hawks Win Partial Victory in Congress,' Tony Karon considers whether the "careless and infantile scripts being penned by politicians in the U.S., Iran and Israel" will acquire the inevitability of a 'Chronicle of a war foretold,' and Scott Ritter warns that the urgency of stopping it overshadows even Iraq.
A new report from Kabul University paints a dire picture of Afghanistan, highlighting "increased poverty, widespread corruption, a breakdown in the rule of law" and a continued dependence on opium, for which Barnett Rubin contends, there is no simple law enforcement solution.
In response to Tim Russert's hypothetical "Jack Bauer torture question," at the Dartmouth Democratic Debate, Sen. Hillary Clinton appeared to back "an anti-torture policy under all circumstances," but she may have left herself some wiggle room, as it's argued that more health care professionals facilitate torture than assist in recovery.
'Four empty lecterns' at a Republican presidential debate at a historically black college had the candidates who did show up "embarrassed" and calling the absence of the front-runners "a disgrace," as excuses are rallied on Fox News.
After two key consultants quit over money and disclosure woes, a GOP initiative to split California's electoral vote appears to be a "shambles," although a Democratic consultant cautions, "We want to to make sure this is not the Freddy Krueger of initiatives."
John Dean, who recently completed a series of articles on the 'Impact of Authoritarian Conservatism on American Government,' laments the reluctance of Democratic candidates so far to raise "process issues" that speak to what has become of "the machinery of democracy," as Daniel Ellsberg cries "coup."
With a new poll showing trust in the federal government below even the Watergate era, 'the lame duck goes a-hunting his legacy,' and a Vanity Fair article finds the president, "Like a character in one of the 'Left Behind' novels ... confident that he will be saved, validated, the unpleasant earthly realities of the moment be damned."
Although a new poll finds Americans willing to do something about climate change ... "but not if you call it a tax," Business Week forecasts 'talk, but no action,' at Bush's surprising climate summit, which has critics suspicious of his motives.
As Verizon reverses itself on a pro-choice text messaging program that it had claimed the right to block as "controversial or unsavory," it's suggested that the company has plenty of other "'dusty internal policies' that need some brushing up."
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