|October, 2004 link archive
Friday, October 1, 2004Reuters reports that September was one of the deadliest months for U.S. troops in Iraq, continuing the "steady increase in American deaths." The article quotes one analyst as saying, "We're losing slowly but steadily."
As Army recruiters announce that they will lower standards to meet recruiting goals, a member of the House Armed Services Committee warned that recruiting will be a tough challenge, saying, "You are wearing them out."
AP covers yesterday's nationwide series of attacks in Iraq that included two car bombs driven into a crowd of children in Baghdad. The Washington Post adds that the Iraqi National Guard "was responsible for securing the area."
Spinning Out of Control? The Christian Science Monitor rounds up press coverage of Pentagon attempts to "curtail" bad news from Iraq and generate more "uplifting accounts."
According to Juan Cole, Bush originally planned to "hand Iraq over" to Ahmad Chalabi, whom Cole describes as "an Iranian asset," within six months.
A New York Times reporter unloads on a Tennessean columnist over the claim that journalists covered up the slaughter of hundreds of women and children by supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr during the battle of Najaf. Scroll to "Tim, your piece is a disgrace." The claim was repeated in the Wall Street Journal's "Best of the Web."
The Boston Globe reports that in the first of three presidential debates, Kerry "succeeded in turning the roving spotlight of the 2004 presidential campaign onto President Bush's Iraq policies" while Bush's "body language -- sighing, clenching his teeth, rolling his eyes -- suggested a man on the defensive." Plus: hard work if you can get it and panel of "undecided" voters includes Republican political consulant.
Right Stuff? Daily Kos rounds up debate reaction from conservative bloggers as Kerry scores a trifecta with Gallup, ABC and CBS polls. In an interview on "NewsNight," Aaron McGruder said Bush "got his ass whooped."
Justin Raimondo stops just short of saying the ref should have stopped the fight, then warns that a President Kerry will "flatten Fallujah in a vain attempt to 'win' a war that we should never have fought to begin with."
"I'll take Darfur for 200!" Doug Ireland found no room for sustained argument in the "Jeopardy"-style format of the "corporate-controlled event" in Miami, "designed to shield both candidates from being probed in any depth." Plus: 'Two Candidates Committed to War.'
Slate's William Saletan writes that Bush repeatedly "framed the acceptance of bad news as moral failure" and that Kerry won't say that "Americans are dying in Iraq for a mistake ... because we don't want to believe it."
Democratic senators from Arkansas and West Virginia fired back at the Republican National Committee for a pamphlet suggesting that liberals seek to ban the Bible.
The EPA's inspector general accused the administration of making life easier for major polluters and called on the agency to consider -- "in an open, public, and transparent manner" the environmental impact of announced New Source Review rule changes.
Reuters reports that a federal judge has ordered the FBI to release 34-year-old documents that a California professor says may contain MI5 reports on John Lennon's political activities.
Monday, October 4, 2004
After the New York Times provided a detailed account of how the White House "embraced the theory that aluminum tubes bound for Iraq were for nuclear centrifuges despite contrary views from America's leading nuclear scientists," National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said she "did not know the nature of the debate" when she claimed in 2002 that the tubes could "only" be used for nuclear weapons.
"Condi was aware of the debate but not aware of its nature?" asks AmericaBlog, and "More to the point: what debate?" A Washington Post article on Rice's response makes no mention of the Times' report.
'Samarra Burning' "Why is it 'terrorism' when foreigners set off bombs in London or Washington or New York," asks Baghdad Burning's Riverbend, "and it's a 'liberation' or 'operation' when foreigners bomb whole cities in Iraq?"
The WSWS editorializes that "far from liberating the town from 'criminals' and 'anti-Iraqi forces,' as US and Iraqi spokesmen claimed," the purpose of the assault on Samarra was "to subjugate a hostile population through fear and intimidation."
The AP reports that Iraqi political parties dominated by U.S.-backed exiles, and held in low public esteem, are scrambling to form alliances with more popular groups, even with arch rivals, "in a bid to avert embarrassing defeat" in upcoming elections. And as its subject returns, enduring Friedman has just one question.
A Los Angeles Times story on record level opium production in Afghanistan notes that "the effort to combat drugs in Iraq is all but nonexistent," despite the existence of a vast network of experienced smugglers.
Italy is falling out of love with the "Two Simonas" after the two freed hostages speak their minds on the war in Iraq.
The Los Angeles Times reports that polls in 30 countries show that "a growing number of nations no longer look to the U.S. for leadership."
As a Newsweek poll shows Kerry in the lead and Gallup finds a dead heat, Ralph Nader says that although defeating Bush is a priority, "our problem is how to break up the two-party system, not how to concede to one or the other."
The New York Times reports on a "record surge of potential new voters" with registration "particularly high in urban areas of swing states, where independent Democratic groups and community organizations have been running a huge voter registration campaign." Plus: Kerry accuses Republicans of voter suppression in battleground states.
With aides to the president reportedly stunned by bad reviews of his debate performance, the Washington Post reports that the vice-presidential debate "has assumed critical importance, with Republicans depending on Vice President Cheney to halt the ticket's slide in momentum."
James Ridgeway writes that Senator John Edwards will be in "a very different kind of fight" from the one Kerry fought last week.
William Safire attacks Kerry from the left, calling him the "newest neocon," with "doctrines more hawkish than President Bush."
Women's eNews reports that Martha Stewart is joining "the fastest-growing segment of the population in federal penitentiaries and state prisons" -- women.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that several longtime operatives of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church are receiving federal funding under the Bush administration's "faith-based" programs.
'The Passion of the Bush' Frank Rich previews "Faith in the White House," which he says depicts "not merely a sincere man of faith but God's essential and irreplaceable warrior on Earth." The DVD, which inspired a hat, will be released on the same day as "Horns and Halos."
Tuesday, October 5, 2004
As a new CIA assessment "finds no evidence Saddam had ties to Islamic terrorists," Reuters reports that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who once called the evidence bulletproof, says he, too, has seen none, then later says he was misunderstood. Meanwhile, Tapped obtains a GOP talking points memo touting such a linkage.
A new USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll finds that 42% of respondents thought Saddam was involved in the 9/11 attacks and 32% said they thought he had personally planned them.
The Washington Post reports that former occupation head Paul Bremer now says publicly that coalition forces "never had enough troops on the ground" in Iraq, and that the Bush administration spurned his advice on the subject. Plus: David Hackworth says the draft is coming, for both males and females, in '05 or '06.
Tom Engelhardt writes that the idea of withdrawal from Iraq has "bubbled up, finally, into the mainstream, though not yet quite into the realms of policy-making."
A firefight in downtown Baghdad and continued aerial bombardment of Sadr City, population 2,000,000, are mentioned in a New York Times story focusing on the latest car bombs, "at least 35" of which the paper says exploded in September alone, although the Washington Post reports that U.S. officials counted "more than 70."
Spencer Ackerman sees trouble in a new poll which shows that 55 percent of Iraqis say "people in their city did not support the authority of the Iraqi police," given that the implicit premise of U.S. strategy is that "Iraqi control" of cities now controlled by insurgents will "provide legitimacy."
The U.S. is "fighting the most complex guerrilla war in its history," AP reports, citing a former Bush envoy as saying that "if we can't protect the population ... we ultimately lose the war."
Pat Robertson threatens a third party revolt should Bush dare to "touch" Jerusalem.
The Los Angeles Times reports that inquiries to the Wall Street Journal failed to resolve whether correspondent Farnaz Fassihi, author of a widely-circulated and very candid e-mail on the situation in Iraq, was told as a consequence not to write about Iraq before the election.
The Journal's managing editor tells Editor & Publisher that it's "a very sensitive situation," and War In Context's Paul Woodward asks, if Western journalists in Iraq "faithfully report the situation they're in, will they end up reporting themselves out of an assignment?" (scroll down)
An 'Election Week in Afghanistan' dispatch focuses on an unofficial U.S. appraisal of the performance of members of an International Security Assistance Force, who are said to "take their own protection very seriously" and who, confronted by a riot, "conducted reconnaisance" and "decided to go back another way."
The deputy commander of Gitmo tells the Financial Times that most of the 500 alleged al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters being held in Guantanamo Bay will either be released or returned to their own countries, and that "Most of these guys weren't fighting. They were running."
"Anonymous" warns of an 'extreme makeover' coming at the State Department "when Colin Powell departs in a second Bush term."
The Carpetbagger Report says President Bush's claim that he and Kerry "looked at the same intelligence" before the invasion of Iraq, is "not a bad argument, but it is a bogus one."
Wednesday, October 6, 2004
USA Today reports that chief weapons inspector Charles Duelfer's Iraq Survey Group has determined that Saddam Hussein's WMDs were destroyed "a dozen years before President Bush ordered U.S. troops to invade." Plus: 'Report discounts Iraqi arms threat.'
Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's maiden speech to the Iraqi National Assembly "was a sharp departure from the more optimistic assessment" he gave last month in Washington, reports the New York Times Earlier: White House helped write Allawi's U.S. speech.
Protesters interrupted a speech by former Iraq occupation head Paul Bremer, during which he tried to spin his troop comments as "retrospective wisdom," even though he asked for more troops in mid-2003.
Pandagon's Jesse Taylor explains the $200 billion question: "We can't count the war as costing what it's going to cost because the money's been earmarked to be spent, but hasn't been spent yet. By that standard, my car cost $622."
The Center for Public Integrity says that "between 1998 and 2003, the Pentagon awarded more than $47 billion in contracts designated for small businesses to companies that have each earned more than $100 million from Defense Department contracts alone during that six year period."
The Washington Post's Pamela Constable suggests that it is increasingly likely that challenger Yonus Qanooni will force Hamid Karzai into a runoff in Saturday's Afghan election, and that the runoff "could take several months to arrange, leaving the country in a state of anxiety and political drift."
Asked during an "On the Media" interview, "Where do ordinary people get most of their information in Afghanistan?", Constable said: "That's a very good question. Unfortunately, the answer is -- they don't."
Feminist Majority reports that Secretary of State Colin Powell has announced that part of a $10 million grant to teach democratic skills to Iraqi women will go to the Independent Women's Forum, an organization Echidne calls "the gals' auxiliary to wingnuttery" and which Right Web says was "originally an ad hoc organization called Women for Clarence Thomas."
According to Stars and Stripes, all three military service academies are reporting a drop in applications for the coming year.
Empire Notes' Rahul Mahajan attributes the collapse of the antiwar movement to "the drive to get Kerry elected" and the "dumbing down of the message" and warns that while "the election will be over in a month ... the occupation is with us for years to come."
The Washington Post reports that according to a new book, France was "prepared to provide as many as 15,000 troops for an invasion of Iraq before relations soured between the Bush administration and the French government over the timing of an attack."
More Millions For Soros Vice President Cheney ended up inadvertently directing the audience for his debate with Sen. John Edwards to GeorgeSoros.com. Truthout's William Rivers Pitt called the misdirection "a fairly solid allegory for Dick Cheney's night at the desk," while Andrew Sullivan called Cheney "road-kill."
Cheney Hits Liefecta! Despite claiming that he had never met Edwards prior to the debate, the vice president had met him on at least three previous occasions.
Businesses in the U.S. file four times as many lawsuits as do individuals represented by trial attorneys, Public Citizen reveals in a new report, "Frequent Filers: Corporate Hypocrisy in Accessing the Courts."
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Air Force is spending millions pursuing the development of antimatter weapons.
Thursday, October 7, 2004
The 1,000-page Duelfer report "contradicts nearly every prewar assertion made by top administration officials about Iraq" and a Washington Post analysis says that despite a long list of foreign officials who helped Saddam's Iraq, the names of Americans were blacked out for "privacy considerations."
A Los Angeles Times story on the report says that Saddam "believed it was vital to his own survival that the outside world -- especially Iran" think he still had WMDs, and that he identifies with Santiago in "The Old Man and the Sea."
Youssef Ibrahim writes that the invasion of Iraq is having "huge consequences for economies around the globe ... as the price of everything related to petroleum rises" now that "the world has lost Iraq's oil."
CounterPunch co-editor Jeffrey St. Clair reports on the surfacing of a Pentagon videotape said to show the deliberate targeting of unarmed civilians in Fallujah by the pilot of an F-16.
A new French book claims that France discussed contributing up to 15,000 troops to the Iraq invasion and held them at the ready until January 2003.
ABC's "Nightline" reports that thanks to new body armor that saves lives by protecting the torso, but not the brain, more than 60 percent of injured troops returning from Iraq may suffer from traumatic brain injury, which often goes undetected. Army News flagged the issue in late 2003.
A Williamette Week story says that the Oregon Guard is "in a rough spot" in Iraq, and quotes one colonel as saying, "there was no plan to get this job done ... It's like we went to war and forgot the bullets. It's about that dumb." Scroll to bottom.
Knight Ridder's Hannah Allam concludes that U.S. anti-insurgent initiatives have had the effect of increasing support for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi among Iraqis, and Matthew Yglesias considers the implications after Andrew Sullivan posts "more great news from Baghdad."
New Standard reports that according to civil libertarians, House Republicans are using the 9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act as a vehicle to pass anti-immigrant legislation, eliminate numerous civil liberties, outsource torture and enhance government surveillance powers.
Reuters reports that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay called a late-night news conference after another ethics committee rebuke, and that some GOP lawmakers believe he is becoming a political liability. The Hill adds that DeLay and his lawyer spun the admonishment as a dismissal of complaints against him.
The New York Times chronicles the collapse of a "three-legged stool" of a case said to have been "a poster child for the Justice Department in the war on terrorism," and during which a Justice Department supervisor chortled that "the press gives us much more credit than we deserve."
Slate's Fred Kaplan examines how the Bush campaign lured CNN and MSNBC into airing "an hourlong free campaign ad" by promising a major policy address and delivering "a standard campaign stump speech before a Pennsylvania crowd that seemed pumped on peyote, cheering, screaming, or whooping at every sentence."
A Washington Post report on the speech says, near the bottom, that "many of Bush's charges were misleading." USAToday reports that Kerry "showed pleasure with his running mate's debate performance" by sending him out to counter Bush.
'The Opiate of the Electorate' On TomDispatch, Michael Schwartz argues that addiction to polling, like other addictions, is a hard habit to kick and that the negatives "outweigh the positives."
In what the author describes as a "resolutely non-partisan analysis" of the "sixteen most misleading statements" made in the vice-presidential debate, Stephen Zunes of Foreign Policy in Focus weighs 'Fact and Fiction in Foreign Policy.'
The New York Times reports that House and Senate negotiators, via "the cozy deal-making that often characterizes pork-barrel politics," have approved a $145 billion corporate tax cut and agreed to declare coffee roasting "a form of manufacturing."
After a senior aide to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon confessed to Haaretz that Israel's plan for disengagement "is actually formaldehyde" meant to "freeze" the peace process with Washington's blessing, "until the Palestinians turn into Finns," Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters that the U.S. does not doubt Sharon's commitment to the road map.
The Washington Post reports that airport officials responded to pressure from "an increasingly high-profile Virginia gun rights group whose members have taken to wearing firearms on their hips in public places" by allowing people to carry guns and other weapons "onto the grounds and parking lots of Reagan National and Dulles International."
Friday, October 8, 2004
Explosions in a Baghdad hotel, an Egyptian resort, and a city in Pakistan, signal the failure of President Bush's war on terror, argues Juan Cole.
As rockets hit the Sheraton Baghdad, where many journalists and foreign contractors stay, AP reports that an explosive device was found in a popular cafe inside the Green Zone and Reuters says the U.S. may have bombed a wedding party in Fallujah, killing 11 and wounding 17.
Saddam the Insurgent The New York Times reports that weapons inspector Charles Duelfer's team was told that Saddam Hussein instructed his top ministers and generals to "resist one week, and after that I will take over."
The BBC reports that former British cabinet minister Clare Short has likened Iraqi insurgents to French resistance fighters and says that "killing civilians is always wrong ... but I think the cause is just."
AFP reports that two U.S. aid experts have accused the Pentagon of delivering "a massive blow" to efforts to provide humanitarian relief in Iraq following the invasion, saying that it alienated aid workers, failed to control looting, and "sent out bureaucrats who only served to complicate matters."
The WSWS argues that what the Duelfer report proves is that both Bush and the Democrats lied to justify going to war in Iraq.
Reveal This! As the Washington Post reports on a new study revealing that very little of the money being spent on Iraq's reconstruction is filtering down to Iraqis, Under the Same Sun notes that "parts of the anti-war movement had long ago pointed out most everything that has been 'revealed' with great fanfare over the past year or two."
Josh Marshall writes that reading Paul Bremer's op-ed and "watching him try to gobble up his own words" brought to mind "the imagery of hostages, orange-jump-suited or not, reading out recantations or self-denunciations, on grainy film, on pain of their life."
The New York Times receives an answer to its question, "Is there a plan for Iraq?" as the Pentagon unveils a new "six-pronged strategy" that will entail bringing 20 to 30 towns and cities under control before elections can be held.
Newsweek's Howard Fineman writes that 'Bush is beginning to sound desperate' as the flow of news becomes his real opponent. David Kay responded to Bush's statement on the Duelfer report by saying that "the report is scary enough without misrepresenting what it says." Plus: Latest war rationale prompts Hullabaloo to stand corrected.
'Earth to Bush' David Corn, commenting on the president's response to the Duelfer report, writes that "On Planet Bush, facts don't matter. They are weightless." Plus: 'Bush Pushes Limit on the Facts.'
In a lengthy analysis of what he calls 'The Pseudo-Fascist Campaign,' David Neiwert writes that "the conservative movement controls all the reins of power now. It is not about to relinquish any of them willingly."
The Peking Duck has liberated 'Karl Rove in a Corner,' Joshua Green's Atlantic Monthly expose that was previously available only to subscribers. The article prompted the Anniston Star to editorialize on 'Rove in Alabama.' Plus: "we've got a couple of surprises we intend to spring."
The AP reports on Dick Cheney's push, when he headed Halliburton, to lift trade sanctions against Iran, the country he now calls "the world's leading exporter of terror."
In a TomDispatch essay, "Blood and Oil" author Michael Klare argues that the future of the U.S. military will increasingly be to function as a global oil protection service. In an excerpt from his book, Klare writes that "from its very inception ... Centcom's principal task has been to protect the global flow of petroleum."
The Telegraph reports that the fate of a crippled submarine, adrift in high seas off the west coast of Ireland, could sink the Canadian government.
Lynne Lights a Fire The Los Angeles Times has a lengthy investigation into how the Education Department destroyed 300,000 copies of a history guide after the vice-president's wife objected to its content.
Monday, October 11, 2004
Florida Before Fallujah The Los Angeles Times reports that a senior administration official says that "when this election's over, you'll see us move very vigorously" against rebel-held cities in Iraq. Plus: 'Violence Persists as Rumsfeld Visits Iraq' and puts boots on the ground.
The Star-Ledger's Borzou Daragahi, reporting on life in the streets of Baghdad, is told that Saddam Hussein "was one of the most hated people in the history of Iraq. And I was against him more than anyone else. But if he runs for election, I'm going to vote for him."
The New York Times reports on the potential for a Sunni boycott of Iraq's elections, and the possible consequences.
Interviewed by a Washington Post reporter, U. S. Marines in Iraq "expressed in blunt terms their frustrations with the way the war is being conducted and, in some cases, doubts about why it is being waged," with one saying, "We're basically proving out that the [U.S.] government is wrong. We're catching them in a lie."
The Telegraph reports that an "old guard" faction within the CIA, angry that the agency has taken all the blame for intelligence failings prior to the invasion of Iraq, has declared war on the White House.
Writing in the Boston Globe, Laura Rozen says that Washington arguments in favor of destabilizing the regime in Iran have a familiar ring.
'Which Terrorist Is Kerry?' As the Bush campaign trots out the "He can run, but he cannot hide" line, Bush is said to have been talking in code when he brought up the Dred Scott case during Friday's debate.
The 'mystery bulge' story goes mainstream, with reports in the New York Times and Washington Post, and a former interpreter for the president claims that "The 'let me finish' comment made by Bush in the debate was only confirmation of something I already knew." More from Is Bush Wired?
'It's About the Middle East, Stupid' In the Guardian, Peter Preston writes, "Is that it, then? Has St. Louis put a lid on foreign debate so far as this U.S. election goes?"
'Nuclear Fiction' "We face a choice now," writes Maureen Dowd, "between a president who rolled us on Iraq and a senator who got rolled by the president on Iraq." Meanwhile, Paul Craig Roberts writes that both candidates are "encapsulated" in a lie "too big to be acknowledged," and Charlie Kaften finds "total unanimity" on the fundamental issue.
The Washington Post reports that an exec of Sinclair Broadcasting, which ordered its 62 stations to run an anti-Kerry documentary two weeks before the election, accused the major networks, who rejected the film, of "acting like Holocaust deniers."
Sid the Fish looks up the film's producer and writes: "Karl Rove, take a bow. This is classic. The former minister of propaganda for the Homeland Security Secretary just happens to produce a right-wing hit piece that will run on TV in just about every swing state, days before the election."
"Brace yourself: it's happening again." Newsweek investigates the return of the Florida voting virus.
The Los Angeles Times reports that among the challenges facing Black voters in Florida is the fact that in Volusia County, the size of Rhode Island, the only early voting site is "in a predominantly white community, a location inaccessible by public transportation, 30 miles away from black neighborhoods." Plus: "fighting against liars and demons."
USA Today warns that, in the words of one election official, "Provisional ballots could be the hanging chads of 2004."
Continuing his Orcinus series on 'The Rise of Pseudo-Fascism,' David Neiwert charts the coming of 'The Apocalyptic One-Party State.'
'Rethinking Columbus Day' In CounterPunch, Patrick Gavin reconsiders the only individual other than Martin Luther King, Jr. to have his name attached to a federal holiday.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
According to Reuters, the International Atomic Energy Agency says that "equipment and materials that could be used to make nuclear weapons are disappearing from Iraq but neither Baghdad nor Washington appears to have noticed," even though "entire buildings ... have been dismantled."
TNR's "Iraq'd" examines why a U.S. general's requests for additional troops in Iraq have been denied, given "the Bush administration's mantra" that the generals on the ground say they have the manpower they need.
"At least 11 al-Qaida suspects have 'disappeared' in U.S. custody, and some may have been tortured," according to a new Human Rights Watch backgrounder on the fate of the CIA's long-term "ghost detainees."
The Happy Homeless A Telegraph article which quotes a U.S. military spokesperson in Najaf as saying that "even though we've destroyed their houses, the people are happy with us" invokes an adage from another war.
The New York Times reports that some items collected in a Sadr City weapons surrender deal went immediately back on sale, with Iraqi security officers guarding a weapons-disposal site tempting a reporter to spend "just $150 for a Kalashnikov."
The Independent notes that "the officials with the money failed to turn up, so hastily written IOUs were being handed out to deeply unimpressed fighters" who had been promised cash for their weapons.
Iranian-American Knight Ridder reporter Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson tells Newsweek that "there is no sense of safety anywhere in Baghdad" for journalists, but David Hackworth writes that "despite a hogtied press corps" and efforts to muzzle troops, grunts are e-mailing an "electronic tsunami of truth." Plus: 'Get Me Rewrite. Now. Bullets Are Flying.'
An Intellectual Conservative columnist argues that 'Conservatives Must Face Iraq Facts' and stop allowing Bush to "soft-pedal" doubts "and, worse, conflate the war aims with its actual results."
An AP-Ipsos poll finds that more than two-thirds of people living in Australia, Britain and Italy "believe the war has increased the threat of terrorism."
AP also reports that an Israeli think tank has concluded that the war in Iraq "distracted" the U.S. and "created momentum" for terrorists. The story quotes a retired Israeli general as saying that "the war in Iraq is hurting the war on international terrorism."
The New York Times reports that federal money for domestic security grants "continues to be distributed by a formula that places a higher value on spreading the wealth among states" than on assessing risk, with Alaska receiving $92 per resident and California $22.
Tom Engelhardt investigates the use of "anonymous" attribution by the press to protect "not its sources, but its deals."
Calling it "a major setback for health care advocates," the Washington Post reports that House Republicans left FDA regulation of cigarettes "on the cutting room floor" while passing a corporate tax cut bill, which a Post editorial terms "monstrous in every way."
"Can you spot the trend?" Kevin Drum charts crude prices and says that by late 2005 we may "look back fondly on the days of $50 oil."
The Los Angeles Times says that while Bush "goes national" in his ad strategy, concentrating on national cable channels, the Kerry campaign is "thinking local."
Paul Krugman, who writes that "it's not hard to predict what President Bush ... will say tomorrow," offers an advance fact-check for the final presidential debate.
After the Los Angeles Times reports that an attempt to criminalize adultery may harm Turkey's chances of being admitted to the European Union, Elisabeth Eaves writes that "Sharia may not be getting any traction in Brussels, but it's alive and well in Virginia and the 23 other states that ban adultery."
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
'Inside the Mind of al-Qaeda' A Christian Science Monitor report on the need to "red-team" al-Qaeda cites RAND terroristm analyst Brian Jenkins, who warns that the goal is "war until judgment day," and "Anonymous," who urges the U.S. to listen more carefully to Osama bin Laden's words.
Haaretz reports that the CIA has established a top-secret interrogation facility in Jordan, where al-Qaeda higher-ups, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, are being held. The story notes that a new briefing paper from Human Rights Watch mentioned a location "so secret that U.S. President George Bush asked the CIA heads not to report it to him" and that prisoners were subjected to "severe torture."
The Nation's Christian Parenti tells Democracy Now! that Afghanistan's election was a "farce" marked by "massive fraud and intimidation," with village elders in one province told to "vote Karzai or their houses would be burned down." Read Parenti's 'Postcard From Kabul.'
"The real serious problem" is that President Bush "believes what he's doing," says Seymour Hersh, and "no amount of body bags is going to dissuade him." Tiny Revolution describes Hersh's account of a phone call from a U.S. soldier who said that after witnessing a massacre of Iraqi civilians, he was told by the company captain: "No, you don't understand. That's a kill. We got thirty-six insurgents."
As the Washington Post reports that the 'Insurgent Alliance Is Fraying In Fallujah,' Pentagon officials tell the New York Times that the bombing there is aimed at the civilian population: "Do they want to harbor the insurgents and suffer the consequences... or do they want to get rid of the insurgents?"
King of Zembla points to the "Pentagon's new paradigm" in David Talbot's 'How Technology Failed in Iraq,' wherein the Battle of Objective Peach illustrates that "in this war, one key node fell off the U.S. intelligence network: the front-line troops." Earlier: Frontline interviews the battalion commander at Objective Peach (scroll down).
Writing in the Guardian, Naomi Klein accuses President Bush's special envoy, James Baker, of working both sides of the street on Iraq's debt situation, urging debt forgiveness while employed by a company trying to help Kuwait collect debts from Iraq. Plus: 'Allawi presses effort to bring back Baathists.'
The Financial Times reports that Germany's defense minister made "a gesture that appears to provide backing for John Kerry" by hinting that Germany might deploy troops to Iraq if circumstances change.
"Sinclair is shamelessly doing its part to corrupt and pervert the political process in this country," writes Josh Marshall. "And they (and the puppeteers behind the scenes) should be held to account." Rory O'Connor calls Sinclair's actions political service journalism "at its worst." Plus: You may be an owner of Sinclair Broadcasting.
Following up on a Raw Story report on a "war on terror" contract awarded to a company in which Sinclair is a major investor, Sid's Fishbowl investigates Sinclair's subsidiaries and connections, and finds that Karl Rove "left too many tracks this time." Matthew Yglesias identifies another Sinclair company active in the federal contracting business.
'Honor' System Raw Story also reports that "the owner of the company which provides rental space and handles checks" for the film Stolen Honor, "was appointed by President Bush to serve on a multi-year, multi-million dollar celebration committee."
The New York Times analyzes how a new tax bill turned into "the biggest free-for-all in corporate lobbying that Congress has experienced in nearly 20 years," in what one observer called "a perfect storm for pork."
'Weirdness in Kentucky' Mary Jacoby explores "the increasingly strange behavior of Republican Sen. Jim Bunning." Responding to the report, James Wolcott says "It's becoming more and more difficult to draw a clean distinction between Republican demagoguery and the onset of dementia."
'Dubya Shameless' Bill Kaufmann writes that "a Bush campaign rally is pure escapism," and that for the president, "showing his face in public" after Iraq somehow isn't "hard work." Plus: Has Bush written off Pennsylvania?
'Kerry 2, Bush 0' Michelangelo Signorile explains why Fox pundits, following the first two debates, were "straightforward and honest, defying the spin," while CNN's commentators admittedly withheld judgment, "waiting to get spun by the campaigns."
Likely debate strategies tonight, writes Ron Brownstein, include an attempt by Bush to "pivot as quickly as possible" from defending his record toward his plans for the future, and an effort by Kerry aimed at "untying himself from big government." Plus: Debate prebuttal and 'The race right now.'
Thursday, October 14, 2004
As six more U.S. soldiers are killed in Iraq, AP reports that a cash-for-weapons program aimed at disarming Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army is regarded as a "mirage" and that militants are said to be likely to buy new weapons with cash obtained by turning in old ones.
'Maimed But Not Mute' A Salon article says that "the obvious political ad that has just been waiting to be made," was produced by "a group of Iraq war veterans, most in their 20s, operating on a shoestring budget."
As Ramadan "takes on new meaning" in Iraq, AP reports that "many Muslim scholars argue that an occupying army should get no respite."
In Consortium News, Robert Parry writes that "the Bush Doctrine and its shifting standards for waging war have unnerved people far beyond the Middle East."
'Babylon A Go-Go' Matt Taibbi tallies the greatest hits of the "Christian nerd factor" in Iraq.
L.A. Weekly reports that "just a day after the actor's death, one or more Republican senators put a surprise hold on the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Act," with an unnamed source quoted as saying "it was because Chris has been too outspoken on the stem-cell issue ... it would have passed if Chris hadn't died."
The Transportation Security Administration reportedly spent half a million dollars on an awards ceremony and doled out the highest bonuses of any federal agency to senior executives while shortchanging lower-level employees. Meanwhile, Cal Thomas is outraged by TSA's refusal to profile travelers.
President Bush was on the defensive during last night's debate, according to the AP's Ron Fournier, "desperate to convince voters to vote against Kerry, even if they were reluctant to vote for him." A Republican consultant is quoted as saying, "If you don't want to focus on your own record, you focus on the other guy's. He really doesn't have much of a choice, does he?" William Rivers Pitt: 'Game. Set. Match.'
An AP fact check says "Bush overlooked a flip-flop of his own when he boasted Wednesday about launching the Homeland Security Department: He was against it before he was for it." Plus: Bush battles addiction.
Assume the Positions A CBS poll of uncommitted voters found that 59 percent said "Kerry has clear positions on the issues. Before the third debate, only 29 percent of the same voters said Kerry had clear positions." Kerry won the CBS poll by 39-25 percent, a USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll by 52-39 percent, and an ABC poll had it a draw.
A New York Times analysis finds that Bush's "appealing presentation" in the third debate was "so at odds with his others that some voters might be left puzzled by the inconsistency." Plus: Bush gets Gored.
'Look at Mother Nature on the Run' Mark Goldberg writes that the debate featured "not a single question about the environment," and Knight Ridder reports that 9 of 14 "pollution-oriented indicators" have worsened, demonstrating that "on Bush's watch, America's environment deteriorated in many critical areas ... and gained in very few."
Lynne Cheney says Kerry is "not a good man" because he brought up daughter Mary Cheney's homosexuality during the debate, and Fox panelist Morton Kondrake accused Kerry of "a low blow designed to weaken the Bush-Cheney team with right-wingers who might not know that Dick Cheney has a lesbian daughter." Plus: 'Something About Mary.'
A revered political cartoonist whose name translates as The Peeper nominates 'George Bush, The Worst Mexican President Ever.'
'Political Prisoners' In a Village Voice article, Chisun Lee writes that "the battle over felon disenfranchisement is shaping up to be the greatest contest over race and democracy since the end of the Jim Crow era."
A group of Nashville music industry professionals, calling themselves Honky Tonkers for Truth, say they are "Takin' My Country Back."
Bill O'Reilly is accused of sexual harassment in a lawsuit filed by a producer on his TV show. "In the end... we'll see who's left standing" blustered O'Reilly, who filed a countersuit against the woman and her attorney accusing them of trying to extort $60 million.
Friday, October 15, 2004
A double suicide attack inside Baghdad's Green Zone killed at least 6 and wounded more than 18. The Los Angeles Times reports that a Green Zone restranteur "complained that security became more lax after the U.S. military began to hand over control to Iraqi security forces, whom he said were not as rigorous in searching visitors."
At least three of the dead were employees of DynCorp, which was just rebuked by the State Department for the aggressive behavior of security guards the firm supplied to guard Afghan President Hamid Karzai, after one was observed slapping the country's transport minister.
The Independent reports that Britain has withdrawn its ambassador to Uzbekistan after the diplomat wrote a "furious memo" in which he denounced the use of information passed on to MI6 by the CIA but "originally obtained in Uzbek torture cells."
An entire 17-member Army Reserve platoon is reportedly under arrest in Iraq for refusing orders to undertake what the soldiers called a "suicide mission." More: 'U.S. probes if GIs refused Iraq mission.'
The New York Times calls the mysterious "sudden emptying of whole towns before unannounced raids" a new phenomenon that has been repeating itself, leaving U.S. troops "just doing whatever we want."
Plans to pin a 4th star on Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the top commander in Iraq when the abuses at Abu Ghraib took place, must await Bush's reelection, given that Sanchez is said to be politically "radioactive."
The Washington Post reports that "the highest-ranking intelligence officer tied to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal" has been praised by her superior, who believes she ought to be put in command of the Army's intelligence school.
Ralph Nader "is emerging as just the threat that Democrats feared," reports the New York Times, noting that candidate Kerry "has adjusted his stump speech ... to appeal to potential Nader voters."
'Kerry Attacker Protected Rev. Moon' Robert Parry examines the work of Carlton Sherwood, the producer of the anti-John Kerry film to be featured on Sinclair stations, and the author of "Inquisition: The Prosecution and Persecution of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon."
The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth "have known the truth all along," writes Kevin Drum, following a "Nightline" report on Vietnam villager's recollections about what happened 35 years ago, which also revealed that someone connected to the SBVT had interviewed the same villagers six months ago.
Tom Engelhardt writes that the U.S. "now finds itself in a mad arms race of one," leading Nick Turse to put out a call for 'Captain America: Superhero of the Military-Industrial Complex.'
"The awful truth is that global warming is just the tip of the melting iceberg," writes Kanny Ausubel, citing Alexander Zaitchik's earlier observation on the Pentagon's rooftop installation of photovoltaic panels: "if a solar-powered Death Star isn't the perfect symbol of humanity's two possible futures, then I don't know what is."
A new Reuters/Zogby poll shows that Bush opened a four-point lead over Kerry the day after their final debate, with Bush improving among undecideds and "worrisome" signs that Kerry, in John Zogby's words, "needs to close the deal with his fellow Democrats."
The Boston Globe reports that the National Rifle Association, after endorsing Bush, is "running an aggressive campaign" against Kerry in several battleground states. Plus: 'Oregon Police Fire on Protesters.'
In a story on the closing themes of the campaign, the Washington post reports that Bush "ventured to the back of the plane" for the first time "since the early days of his presidency." Arianna Huffington analyzes 'Why Bush Is Still Standing' and writes that it's about "our collective amygdala."
The Post also reports that the Government Accountability Office says the Justice Department is unprepared to handle a flood of complaints about voting rights violations and that "new problems crop up daily."
In a column examining attempts to 'Block the Vote,' Paul Krugman writes that a forthcoming Harper's article by Greg Palast, "reveals that few of those wrongly purged from [Florida's] voting rolls in 2000 are back on the voter lists."
Monday, October 18, 2004
Ron Suskind analyzes the president's adversarial relationship with what an administration spokesperson calls "the reality-based community," leading Matthew Yglesias to proclaim that the anti-Bush coalition has at last found a unifying theme and to lament "the creeping Putinization of American life."
Newsday reports that the White House rejected a UN plan to send Muslim peacekeepers to help organize elections in Iraq because the special force would not have been under U.S. command. An unnamed spokesman blamed the Iraqi government for scuttling the plan because it "did not want troops from neighboring countries to be deployed inside Iraq."
Naomi Klein writes in the Guardian that since the fall of Saddam, Iraqis have been forced to pay $1.8 billion in reparations, 78% of it going to multinational corporations. In the words of one diplomat, the UN is now engaged in a new mission of "retrieving lost corporate assets and profits."
'Remember him?' Six months after the al-Qaeda leader's last communication, an article translated from El Mundo claims bin Laden is in China and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi issues a pledge of allegiance which Juan Cole calls a worrying sign.
According to the New York Times, a platoon's last stand shows that "the military has yet to solve the lack of training, parts and equipment that has riddled the military operation in Iraq from the outset."
The Washington Post obtains an official document in which the top U.S. commander in Iraq warned last winter that "his supply situation was so poor that it threatened Army troops' ability to fight." The letter was leaked after repeated pledges by President Bush that U.S. troops fighting in Iraq will "have all that they need."
In an article headlined 'Post-war planning non-existent,' Knight Ridder reports that the Bush administration "invaded Iraq without a comprehensive plan in place to secure and rebuild the country," and "failed to provide some 100,000 additional U.S. troops that American military commanders originally wanted to help restore order and reconstruct [the] country..."
A Washington Post Iraq roundup says that "a mortar round hit a soccer stadium where a weapons buyback program was underway" in Sadr City, killing three Iraqis moments before Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi was to arrive, evidently for a photo-op "underscoring progress."
'Iraq's Barbed Realities' Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran, leaving Iraq after 18 months there, recalls a kebab restaurant in Fallujah and "reflects on how the U.S. got caught in a trap of its own making."
Under the Same Sun finds the "now shamefully standard practice among all major papers and wire services that all torture by us is always called abuse, no matter how severe -- or even fatal," to be exemplified by an AFP story on "highly abusive" treatment of prisoners at Gitmo.
'Follow the Money' Esther Kaplan writes in The Nation that while conducting an "assault on liberal nonprofits," the Bush administration has "turned over tens of millions of public dollars to the Christian right to distribute as it sees fit."
The New York Times surveys preparations for the election after the election, for which Democrats have hired 10,000 lawyers and Republicans have "established the most extensive legal operation in their history." Plus: organizing the strip club vote.
The Washington Post profiles 8 races the Democrats must win to regain control of the Senate, including South Dakota, where Minority Leader Tom Daschle is "holding on by a thread." Plus: Daily Kos on 'The Big Senate Picture' and C-SPAN televises the debates.
Philadelphia's voter registration administrator accused Republicans of "trying to suppress the vote" after last-minute GOP requests to relocate 63 polling places, most of them in predominantly black neighborhoods. In the words of one white GOP ward leader, quoted by the Philadelphia Daily News, "I'm just not going in there to get a knife in my back."
Miserable Failures Approximately Perfect introduces Jon Stewart's appearance on "Crossfire," during which he told the hosts that "you have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably."
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
"So we've entered the final run to the November 2 election and, remarkably enough, we're still inside the American bubble," begins the latest TomDispatch, "with much of the grimmer news of Bushworld largely happening offshore of American consciousness." Plus: 'Bush changes context for war.'
'My Friend, the Kidnap Victim' Back to Iraq's Christopher Allbritton writes that the kidnapping and subsequent release of Australian journalist John Martinkus "shows that journalists' plans for 'security through obscurity' has been blown out the window."
"The insurgency was not inevitable," the chief intelligence officer for the Iraq land war command tells the New York Times, "but we did not have enough troops."
A Christian Science Monitor story describes "ordinary Fallujans," 80 percent of whom have fled by one estimate, as "torn between their wish for peace, their opposition to the US presence, and their disgust for the tactics of terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi."
The Telegraph reports that U.S. marines at a barracks near Fallujah call it "Camp Poison" and are "convinced that many, perhaps most, of the 140 members of the Iraqi National Guard (ING) they share the camp with are double agents working on behalf of the insurgents holding Fallujah."
The UN has only 5 election experts in Iraq, compared with 266 in Afghanistan, reports the Washington Post. Both U.S. and UN officials cite "the U.S. failure" to assemble an international protection force, and the paper says "a seven-member Iraqi election commission is now largely in charge."
In a story noting that Iraqi deaths are "an increasingly delicate topic," the New York Times tallies 208 in the past week.
'A Letter Home From Camp' is said to be "the first uncensored first-hand account by a Guantanamo Bay detainee released to the public during the detainee's incarceration." Earlier: the former School of the Americas and the Honduras-Baghdad connection.
'Operation Desert Fraud' New York investigates mercenary Keith Idema's marketing of an "imaginary Afghan war," which may have included foisting seven hours worth of fake al-Qaeda training camp videos on CBS. Idema was formerly known as a Fox News analyst and 'the George Clooney of Kabul.'
AFP reports that analysts believe U.S. "triumphalism" is masking "mission unaccomplished" in Afghanistan.
The Independent profiles Kandahar's "No. 1 lady detective" who ignores death threats from fundamentalists to fight crime under a burqa, which conceals the pistol with which she "killed three would-be assassins in a shoot-out."
The Nation's John Nichols warns that "If you want to see the Orwellian media future that the Bush administration envisions, pay close attention to Sinclair ... its model could well come to be dominant."
Russian President Vladimir Putin says that the goal of international terrorism is to prevent the reelection of Bush, though he declined to state his own preference because "I don't want to spoil relations with either candidate." Plus: Kerry's Florida secret weapon or an attack ad in the making?
Media Matters calculates that Bush's false claim during the third debate that he never said he wasn't worried about Osama bin Laden received less than half as much media coverage as Kerry's reference to Mary Cheney. Plus: White House scrubs video of Bush saying he's "not that concerned" from Web site. (scroll down)
Carpetbagger takes stock of the fact that "while many realize that Bush's job creation record is the worst in 70 years, it's easy to forget that stock market performance under Bush is among the worst of any president since the days of Herbert Hoover."
The authors of a Houston Chronicle op-ed piece, noting that "under Bush, the decade-long trend of declining abortion rates appears to have reversed," argue that "economic policy and abortion are not separate issues ... we need a president who will do something about jobs, health insurance and support for mothers."
In Slate, Richard Hasen argues that the chances of post-election problems are greater now than before the Florida debacle in 2000, and analyzes five nightmare scenarios in which the election could end up in court after November 2. More from the increasingly in-demand Hasen at his Election Law blog.
Daddy's Boys A former Bush Sr. campaign adviser says that GOP moderates "are in a position to supply Democrat John Kerry with the 3-5% points he needs to win an extremely close presidential election." Plus: 'Snowcroft is critical of Bush.'
A London Sunday Times reviewer calls Bob Dylan's "Chronicles" "an extremely good book indeed, actually a great one. If you are not weeping with gratitude by the end, then, frankly, the age has passed you by."
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
As the number of U.S. troops wounded in Iraq tops 8,000, more than double what it was six months ago, the U.S. general in charge of Baghdad says he is about 10,000 short of having enough Iraqi police in his area, and gunmen kidnap the head of CARE in Iraq, prompting the organization to suspend operations.
In an interview on CNN, Pat Robertson said he told President Bush in March 2003 that he should prepare Americans for the likelihood of casualties in Iraq, but Bush said, "We're not going to have any casualties." White House press secretary Scott McClellan says Bush "never made such a comment."
A Marine sergeant tells the AP that his troops have a 50/50 chance of getting hurt or killed when they go out on patrol, and a corporal says, "All we are doing around here is getting blown up." Plus: 'Better mutiny than suicide.'
The New Jersey Star-Ledger reports that U.S. soldiers 50 and older are being deployed by the thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Nicholas Kristof writes that President Bush's policy of trying to "manage" genocide rather than stop it "has led Sudan to kill fewer children and to kill more humanely" by allowing them "to die of starvation, instead of heaving them onto bonfires."
The Washington Post reports that flu shots are hardly scarce on Capitol Hill, and that federal guidelines effectively don't apply. Plus: "One 'flu' over the campaign trail" and the Selective Service is reported to have been updating plans for a health care draft.
Vice-President Cheney questions whether Sen. John Kerry can get his mind around the concept of terrorists bombing U.S. cities with nuclear weapons, and says the mission in Afghanistan is now "three yards and a cloud of dust."
As President Bush accuses Kerry of trying to "scare people going into the polls," Joe Klein believes that Bush's "liberal" taunt may have hurt him more than Kerry. Plus: Robert Parry on the Bush' family pattern of playing the 'traitor' card.
Empire Notes reckons that "the unlearning of the lessons of Vietnam is now complete," thanks to "Nightline's" village visit.
'Whom Hack Would Sack' King of Zembla doubts that Bush will get an endorsement from David Hackworth, judging by his 'Memo for the President-Elect.'
Don't Mensa Nit A poll of Tennesseans finds that on four of five issues, "only about half of a given candidate's supporters hold opinions consistent with those of the candidate" while "sizable chunks of each candidate's supporters favor positions held by the opposing camp." Plus: The great divide.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Reuters reports that "at least eight civilians were killed and 11 U.S. soldiers wounded in clashes in Samarra, a northern town the U.S. military said it had pacified following an offensive earlier this month."
Patrick Graham writes that his three visits to Fallujah have helped convince him that as soon as U.S.-led forces try to take the city again, "the area will once more erupt, and it will take everything the Americans have to control the surrounding villages." Plus: 'Journalism by Remote Control.'
A New York Times analysis says the decision to abolish the Iraqi army, which "still casts a shadow over the war," was made despite the fact that "senior U.S. generals were privately urging a dramatically different course. "
Net Save! An Australian journalist, released unharmed after his abductors Googled his name to check out his work, says he "was actually across the road from the Australian embassy when I was kidnapped," and not someplace he had been warned not to go, as Australia's foreign minister claimed.
As Pat Robertson's claim that President Bush pooh-poohed the possibility of Iraq casualties goes into heavy rotation, the New York Times notes that Robertson also reversed himself on an earlier prophecy that "I really believe I'm hearing from the Lord it's going to be a blowout election in 2004," saying on Tuesday, "I think it's razor thin now." Plus: Robertson told casualty story in June on "Hardball."
Jim Lobe writes that "the widespread impression that the military is indeed overstretched and that something will have to be done ... could well provoke a strong turnout by younger voters to pre-empt a military draft."
'What Would Jefferson Do?' In an omnibus book review, focusing on Susan Jacoby's "Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism," which "lays out the history of the often lonely battle to protect religion from government, and vice versa," Robert Kuttner writes, "if there is to be a clash of civilizations, let it be our pluralism versus their dogmatism, not a clash of dogmas."
In an excerpt from her book, Jacoby writes that "Lincoln, who refused to join a church even though his advisers argued that some affiliation would help his election chances, could well be unacceptable as a major party presidential candidate" today. Earlier: Jacoby was interviewed by Beliefnet and on "Now."
Kuttner elsewhere offers "a flat prediction: If neither candidate wins decisively, the Bush campaign will contrive enough court challenges in enough states so that we won't know the winner election night."
A Knight Ridder analysis finds that President Bush has delivered on about 46 percent of the promises he made during his 2000 campaign, and "has at least tried to follow through on nearly all of his commitments," although "nearly a third of his agenda stalled or died in Congress."
In a wide-ranging interview, Senator John Kerry tells Rolling Stone that he plans to do away with color-coded terror alerts if elected and "find some more thoughtful way of alerting America."
Shrum Dumb Are Americans really as stupid as Kerry's top adviser seems to think they are?
Riding High A Bangladeshi immigrant paid a record $360,000 at a city auction for a New York taxi medallion.
Friday, October 22, 2004
In a lengthy Washington Post analysis of what happens when 'Two Wars Collide,' Barton Gellman and Dafna Linzer detail the "opportunity costs" of the decision to invade Iraq.
'This Futile Fundamentalism' William Pfaff argues that although "Islamic fundamentalism has nothing to offer contemporary Islam... hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Muslims now fear that what is going on in the Gaza refugee camps and in Iraq is what, ultimately, may be in store for them." Plus: Jonathan Schell on 'Bin Laden's Illusions and Ours.'
The New York Times reports that U.S. officials now believe that Iraq's insurgency "has significantly more fighters and far greater financial resources than had been estimated," and that "80 percent of the violent attacks are criminal in nature ... with no political motivation."
An Iraq election poll finds the U.S.-backed interim government "losing serious ground," while the Bush administration's "worst-case scenario," victory by Iraq's religious parties, would come true if the election were held today.
A previous poll conducted by the same organization, the International Republican Institute, had claimed Iraqis were "much stronger supporters of democracy than many news reports would lead you to believe."
Bob Harris reads Senator Carl Levin's report on misrepresentations of pre-war intelligence by the Pentagon's Douglas Feith, as recently as last January, and finds further evidence that the Bush team "didn't misunderstand. They weren't misinformed. They lied."
Feeling lonely? Terrified? Lie Girls of mass seduction are standing by to take your call. And, don't forget Poland!
The Independent reports that a court martial has revealed that as many as 2300 British soldiers who failed their weapons tests, or were trained by people who hadn't passed the test themselves, have been sent to fight in Iraq.
In 'Dying for a Job with the ING,' Gary Brecher writes that Iraqis killed in the Iraq National Guard, or while standing in line to join it, "don't even make it onto the casualty lists."
The director of PIPA says recent polling shows that many Bush supporters suffer from "substantial cognitive dissonance," leading them to "suppress awareness of unsettling information about prewar Iraq." He discussed the poll on NPR.
The Sideshow says this means that "58% of Bush supporters believe we should not have invaded Iraq if Saddam did not have WMDs or links to Al Qaeda. But, somehow, they have managed to block out the fact that he didn't, and we still did." More from The Gadflyer's Paul Waldman on 'The non-reality-based community.'
Conflator-in-Chief The AP reports that in an interview on Telemundo, President Bush "expressed gratitude to Hispanic families that lost loved ones in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq," saying: "I would tell them the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the war against those who caused the deaths on 9/11 is necessary."
Orcinus' David Neiwert writes that Florida 2000 wasn't a debacle, it was a tea party, compared to Team Bush's plans for 2004, aided by a crucial ruling from Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit, author of two books praising Bush v. Gore. Plus: Gore to campaign in Florida for Kerry, who drew a crowd in Minneapolis estimated at more than 30,000.
Alexander Cockburn checks the deck and finds that "history has dealt Kerry all the high cards, save the one that bears his own face ... This card still lies on Bush's side of the table."
Media Matters charges that CNN has "repeatedly favored Bush" by citing polls that show him leading and excluding polls that favor Kerry. Plus: Bush turns the wolves loose in new ad that draws laughter from "Crossfire" audience.
Socialist Worker interviews Jeffrey St. Clair, who analyzes the myth of the "regular guy" running against the "war hero" in 'Skull vs. Bones' and finds "no difference between the two of them on Iraq" in an election where "the antiwar movement is nowhere to be seen."
Pennsylvania election officials tell would-be Ralph Nader write-in voters that they must write in not only the candidate but his running mate and all 21 electors as well, "correctly and legibly" in the tiny space provided. Plus: 'Whither Pennsylvania?'
Take Him Out of the Ball Game: The AP's Nedra Pickler claims that for Kerry, watching the Red Sox is "part of an effort to win over swing voters," and the Washington Post reports that the Bush campaign "carpet-bombed reporters with an e-mail that accused John Kerry of 'sports pandering.'"
Monday, October 25, 2004
The IAEA has confirmed a New York Times report that almost 380 tons of "the greatest explosives bonanza in history" vanished from Al Qaqaa, an Iraqi weapons complex that U.S. forces had been warned to guard. "This is the stuff the bad guys have been using to kill our troops," said an administration official, "and you would be correct to suspect that politics ... played a major role in delaying the release of this information."
James Wolcott writes that the Iraq insurgency shows that "the Enemy isn't afraid of us anymore, if it ever was ... It knows that the overstretched American military is tearing at the seams." Plus: $500 million in unaccounted Saddam dollars and the guerilla entrepreneurs.
A USA Today review of prewar intelligence shows that "the insurgency began not after the end of major combat in May 2003 but at the beginning of the war," with U.S. troops first encountering it "at precisely 9 a.m. on March 22, 2003."
Analyzing the "misjudgment, disagreement and shifting strategy" that have made Fallujah a losing battle, the Los Angeles Times says U.S. errors have spread the Sunni insurgency "far beyond the city's borders." Plus: when smiles work better than guns.
After a Justice Department memo reportedly lets the CIA take detainees out of Iraq for interrogation, Sen. John McCain expresses concern because "The thing that separates us from the enemy is our respect for human rights," leading War and Piece to ask, if senators are so concerned, why is it up to Seymour Hersh to investigate these issues?
Three years after Bush administration officials devised a "new system of justice for the new war they had declared on terrorism," reports the New York Times, "not a single terrorist has been prosecuted."
The Pentagon's Halliburton deals battle with the Greenhouse effect, as whistle-blower Bunnatine Greenhouse, chief contracting officer of the Army Corps of Engineers, seeks protection from retaliation after daring to question no-bid contracts. Earlier: Greenhouse questioned the "unbelievable" cost of insuring Pentagon contractors.
The BBC reports that Satan is now a registered member of the Coalition of the Willing.
Bob Woodward lists the Iraq questions he would have asked Sen. Kerry if he had agreed to Woodward's request for an interview.
President Bush says America's safety is "up in the air," adding, "I don't want to alarm anybody because there's nothing specific at this point in time -- a kind of general intent."
A Los Angeles Times report on the surge in new voter registration cites two recent polls showing new registrants favoring Kerry by "double-digit margins," while quoting James Carville, who said: "You know what they call a candidate who's counting on a lot of new voters? A loser."
A Washington Post analysis says the "biggest mobilization in modern presidential politics cannot answer the big question." Plus: The Mystery Pollster addresses questions about likely voters, and, can 'political platforms' make a difference?
An analysis of newly-registered Colorado voters finds that 39% are between 18 and 24, with the majority having no party affiliation, and a poll of undergrads shows Kerry leading Bush 55% to 38% on college campuses in 14 swing states. Plus: Does Google offer a clue on independents' preference for one or the other?
As Republicans in Ohio get set to place 3,600 paid recruits inside polling places on election day to challenge voters' qualifications, Rick Hasen at Election Law interprets a Federal appeals court's ruling on provisional ballots in Ohio, and a Scripps Howard report says to 'Prepare for litigation-filled post-election.'
A GOP official described the mood at the top of the Bush campaign as apprehensive, according to the Washington Post, which quotes the official as saying "'Grim' is too strong. If we feel this way a week from now, that will be grim." The article notes that Kerry has been getting laughs by mocking Bush over his "hard work" comment.
Did Bush P.U.L.L. a Fast One? Introducing a Knight Ridder report, David Neiwert writes that "It seems George W. Bush has been less than forthcoming about some completely-out-of-character inner-city volunteer work he performed in 1973."
Hunter S. Thompson asks, "Where is Richard Nixon now that we finally need him?"
Sen. Jim Bunning said he was unaware that a Reserve platoon in Iraq had refused orders to deliver a shipment of fuel, adding: "Let me explain something: I don't watch the national news, and I don't read the paper ... I watch Fox News to get my information."
WSWS argues that when the New York Times, endorsing Kerry, painted "a picture of an administration that functions as a criminal conspiracy," it omitted one detail: "its own complicity."
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
As the White House tried to play down the disappearance of hundreds of tons of high explosives in Iraq, describing it as "stuff you can buy anywhere," a spokesman said the Pentagon was unsure whether the material vanished before or after U.S. forces took control, "if those weapons did exist at that facility."
A New York Times follow up quotes Bush campaign spokeswoman Nicolle Devenish as saying that Kerry "can't prove" the material was there when U.S. troops arrived, and Josh Marshall has a few problems with the "it was gone when we got there" hypothesis. (Scroll up for much more.)
Juan Cole contrasts a "complete lack of interest ... in actually securing dangerous materials" with "Bush's stated concern with Iraq's alleged weapons as a pretext for the war."
American Prospect's Michael Tomasky writes that "in this campaign's final week, watching where this story goes will be fascinating," adding that "holding a government's feet to the fire over such unforgivable errors" as the failure to guard the al-Qaqaa weapons complex "is exactly what journalism was invented to do."
In 'A Culture of Cover-Ups,' Paul Krugman refers to a Wall Street Journal article on the Bush administration's rejection of pre-Iraq war plans to take out a training camp run by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and Newsweek's seconding of Robert Scheer's column on 'The 9/11 secret in the CIA's back pocket.'
The White House reveals a new "legal opinion" that foreign fighters captured in Iraq are not subject to the Geneva Conventions after all and can be taken out of the country, which the Washington Post says means that "practices at odds with basic American values continue -- even if there are no sensational photos to document them."
'Chaos, Murder and Mayhem' Iraqi-born novelist Haifa Zangana writes that "the 'sovereign' interim government has, like the Iraqi Governing Council before it, proved to be the fig leaf shielding the occupying forces from Iraqis' frustration and outrage."
With the U.S. seemingly "poised to descend into post-election chaos," the Independent's Andrew Gumbel sees a country "on the verge of a nervous breakdown."
Arab News reports that there is "much official nail biting in Arab capitals over the threat of instability in the United States," regardless of who wins the presidential election, with one Arab diplomat saying, "What we are witnessing in the United States is their second civil war."
Responding to a Paul Waldman piece on Bush's practice of contrasting people from Massachusetts with "real" Americans, Matthew Yglesias writes that "Virtually all of the globally competitive sectors of the American economy ... are concentrated in Blue America. The Reddish portions of the country are living off federal subsidies, tariff barriers, and military spending."
"In Wisconsin, Ohio, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Oregon and other key states, Democrats and Republicans seem convinced their opponents are bent on stealing the election," reports the Los Angeles Times, while an AP poll finds that 6 of 10 Americans say "it's likely there will not be a clear winner in the presidential race by Nov. 3 ... and fear the results will be challenged in court."
Disclosure that Chief Justice William Rehnquist has thyroid cancer injected talk of a possible Supreme Court vacancy into the presidential campaign, concretizing the stakes following the longest stretch without a vacancy in modern history.
As consumer confidence falls for the third straight month, Nomi Prins writes in Newsday that "bad news keeps coming, but Bush and Kerry refuse to examine the systemic problems," instead preferring to cut corporate taxes and ignore "gross misconduct" and "runaway fraud."
Calling him a first-round draft pick, The Hill ducks into the bidding war being waged by K Street lobbyists for the services of retiring Sen. John Breaux, who has hired a top lawyer to "negotiate his career options."
55 percent of likely voters in a Washington Post/ABCNews poll, which shows Kerry with a one point lead, say that the country is "pretty seriously off on the wrong track."
Thomas Schaller writes that "the unwritten story of this campaign is that Kerry is proposing adding a new division (40,000 troops) and doubling the special forces, while Bush is sneakily planning to bail" on Iraq. "But to hear the rhetoric that goes through unfiltered, Bush-Cheney would have you believe they're the stay-the-course ticket and Kerry-Edwards is the cut-n-run ticket."
The Washington Post issues a detailed scorecard on counter-proliferation efforts by the White House, reporting that one "participant" in talks with North Korea called the policy there "no carrot, no stick and no talk," and quoting one former arms control official as saying with regard to Russia's unsecured nuclear stockpiles, "If tomorrow morning we lost a city, who of us could have said we didn't know how this could happen."
A top NASA climate expert tells the New York Times that the Bush administration "has ignored growing evidence that sea levels could rise significantly unless prompt action is taken to reduce heat-trapping emissions from smokestacks and tailpipes" and risks disaster by "discouraging scientists from discussing unwelcome findings."
In a Salt Lake Tribune op ed, a former high school classmate describes Karl Rove, "who thinks of the Second Coming as the re-elect-Jesus campaign," as "the only 17-year-old I'd ever met whose dreams were limited to being a political operative, period." And in a column that doesn't mention Rove, Harley Sorenson writes that "never in history have so many been fooled by so little," while Doug Ireland says do pay attention to that man behind the curtain.
AFP reports that a French co-producer says that "American stations are not interested" in airing his documentary that asks, "What if Saddam Hussein were to have a genuinely fair trial?"
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
A Knight Ridder report on the weapon of choice for Iraq's insurgents -- homemade bombs, or "improvised explosive devices" -- quotes an Iraqi police official as saying that "the terrorists took all the explosives they would ever need" when the coalition failed to guard ammunitions depots.
White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card accuses Sen. Kerry of "dwelling on the past" by talking about the explosives missing from al-Qaqaa, which Bush found out about within the past 10 days, and which Card calls "yesterday's news." David Morris calls the missing 380 tons "only the tip of the iceberg."
Kevin Drum finds Kerry also accused of "vilifying the U.S. military and cozying up to the UN" for criticizing the failure to guard al-Qaqaa.
"I find it ironic that all summer long I was bombarded with e-mail from Republicans denouncing John Zogby as an unreliable Democrat," writes Votemaster, "but now that he is the only one showing Bush ahead in the key swing states, the e-mail has abruptly ceased." Plus: 'CBS/NYT hiding a Florida poll?'
Commenting on press coverage of 'The Civilian Toll of War,' War in Context's Paul Woodward writes that deaths from convoy traffic accidents may outnumber incidents of innocent Iraqis gunned down at checkpoints: "I have been told that drivers working for Halliburton are instructed to drive their trucks down the center of the road in order to avoid roadside bombs."
The top U.S. drug man in Afghanistan tells USA Today that a record opium crop is "financing terrorism" and is "a direct threat to the national security interests of the United States."
The Washington Post reports that while Israelis saw the vote to pull out of Gaza "as historic, many Palestinians and some Israeli Arabs criticized the disengagement plan, noting that Israel would continue to control all access to the Gaza Strip after the withdrawal." Plus: Settlements emptied -- for a day.
Amy Sullivan goes bananas after unpeeling a U.S. News report that the White House is "quietly considering" replacing Chief Justice William Rehnquist with a recess appointment.
Greg Palast obtains a Florida GOP "caging list" of 1,886 predominantly black voters from georgewbush.org's dead letter office, and a Tallahassee elections supervisor says the only possible reason why they would keep such a thing is to "challenge voters on election day." But Salon argues that "Palast's evidence for this theory is quite thin, and it's premature to conclude that the list is suggestive of any kind of wrongdoing."
After a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed on behalf of Floridians whose voter registration forms had been rejected as incomplete, the Advancement Project, a plaintiff in the case, announced that it will appeal the decision affecting 14,000 potential voters. Plus: Long lines, busy signals and 58,000 missing absentee ballots in Broward County.
Hordes Hold Sway? A Dayton Daily News report that a Ohio law allowing lawyers to challenge a voter's registration at the polling place does not allow voters to challenge the on-the-spot decision of the poll worker, leads Jesse Taylor to write that "a few bad decisions by poll workers pressured by hordes of Republican attorneys could sway this election."
A USA Today story on the national shortage of poll workers, half a million fewer than the two million needed to run a national election, quotes one official as saying, "The people we hire for the most part are elderly, undereducated, and frequently unemployed."
The Boston Globe's Tom Oliphant writes that "GOP politicians believe Bush is not his own best supporter down the stretch," and in several of the most closely contested states "his appearances tend to gin up the local Democrats as much as they do Republicans." E. J. Dionne concurs that Bush is mobilizing the base -- both of them.
The Los Angeles Times checks in on Ralph Nader's Florida campaign and finds that while some former supporters are turning away this year, others are standing by their man.
Although the candidate is said to think "talking about transition is a jinx," the National Journal's Carl Cannon provides a lengthly list of who might serve in a Kerry administration.
In 'Ashcroft's Dances With Death,' Julia Reynolds investigates the Attorney General's attempt to nationalize the death penalty, which includes spending "an awful lot of money prosecuting cases that that had already been charged and dispensed with at the state level," according to one defense attorney.
Molly Ivins writes that "the great triumph of the political right in this country has been the creation of a network of alternative media. There are people who listen to Rush Limbaugh for more hours every day than the Branch Davidians listened to David Koresh." Tom Tomorrow can see the point.
"Roger Ailes claps his hands and the monkeys go into their little dance," writes James Wolcott, who wonders whether Fox News is "pre-rationalizing a Bush defeat."
As Eminem's anti-Bush "Mosh" goes online, its director says, "Now, it's up to the broadcasters. Will they ban the top selling musical artist for being anti-establishment while they allow other propaganda to air?" Moby, who has had his differences with Eminem, calls it the "best thing I've seen all year." Plus: 'Eminem makes a convert out of me!'
Thursday, October 28, 2004
In an op-ed for the Boston Globe, Peter Galbraith, who supported the invasion of Iraq, says he saw looters in Baghdad carting away live HIV and black fever virus, and given that nuclear sites were also not secured, "we would be a lot safer if we hadn't gone to war."
Al Qaqaa 3.0 Josh Marshall reviews the story so far, following "the White House's third rendition of what happened at al Qaqaa," and provides a link to witness' descriptions of post-invasion looting. And David Corn explains why, "On the al Qaqaa front, Bush remains 0 for 2."
A top Iraqi science official contends that "not even a shred of paper" was looted from al-Qaqaa before the fall of Saddam Hussein, and David Kay said, "I find it hard to believe that a convoy of 40 to 60 trucks left that facility prior to or during the war, and we didn't spot it on satellite or UAV."
'Charges Gone Wild' After President Bush said, "For a political candidate to jump to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as your commander-in-chief," blogger Whatever It Is I'm Against It wrote, "Oh lord, it's just too easy; the man has no self-awareness at all." Plus: 'Finish the Mission.'
A New York Times report on the chaotic conditions in Ramadi quotes a Marine captain as saying, "The insurgent activity is everywhere. It's at our firm bases here. It's among women and children, those cowards." The story adds that "insurgents even killed the man who cleaned the portable toilets at the base."
Eric Umansky writes that a story in the Iraqi daily Al-Mada appears to indicate that Interim Prime Minister Allawi has at least one insurgent in his cabinet, and President Bush and his campaign manager float the idea of changing tactics in Iraq.
Coalition of the Reluctant Although polls show that almost two-thirds of Bulgarian voters oppose the war in Iraq, a member of the country's governing coalition tells the International Herald Tribune that the cost of not sending troops to Iraq "would have been failure to gain NATO membership" because the U.S. and Great Britain "had the casting vote."
The "war mentality" in the U.S. government led to torture and abuses of human rights, and was "due to a failure of human rights leadership at the highest levels of government -- sadly predictable" says a new report from Amnesty International.
In an interview with the Boston Phoenix, Seymour Hersh calls the management of the Abu Ghraib story "one of the great successes of the Bush administration" and warns that if Bush is re-elected "there'll be a sense" among Europeans that "that they have to mobilize against America. They've had it with Bush, big time."
John Pilger finds a "surreal quality" in a campaign about a war where "the degree of censorship by omission is staggering," of which "the coming atrocity in the city of Fallujah ... is a case in point."
Socialist Worker says it already knows who is going to win the November 2 election, and Jeffrey St. Clair says it's 'One for Oil and Oil for One,' with the Bush administration "infested top to bottom with oil operatives" and Kerry putting "a shark-like grin" on the boss of the Teamsters union by vowing to "drill everywhere, like never before."
John Dean warns that a close election could lead not just to a game of litigation chicken but to a Twenty-first Century civil war, fought by attorneys, with neither side likely to back down.
Carpetbagger says Bush's coattails are a nuisance in the north, where GOP candidates down-ballot are "anxious to keep their distance" from the president.
Robert Parry of Consortium News outlines GOP Plan B -- a hardball strategy to suppress the Democratic vote, which relies on past observation that "Democrats are hesitant to call them to account for campaign abuses."
Tapped's Nick Confessore unpacks a Republican poll to uncover the rationale behind GOP efforts to suppress the minority vote. Bottom line: "Even reasonably high minority turnout = really bad for the president."
Ohio Republicans responded to a court order that effectively killed plans to challenge 35,000 voters via election board hearings by vowing to step up their election day challenges and blaming long lines on the judge. WSWS notes that "long lines will especially impact working class voters, who will not have time to wait hours to cast a ballot."
Sidney Blumenthal, citing Thucydides, writes that "the 'wartime president' has fallen victim to his own hubris," but Bush beats out Doctor Octopus and Leatherface to win "Movie Villain of the Year" for his performance in "Fahrenheit 9/11," with one voter saying, "He was absolutely terrifying in that film." Plus: 'White House of Horrors.'
'From Villain to Visionary?' The Guardian's Chris McGreal reports that Israeli supporters and opponents of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon have swapped places in the wake of his Gaza disengagement plan, while Palestinians fear that his plan will lead to "a homeland without control of its airspace, water resources, borders or foreign policy." Plus: Yasser Arafat to receive treatment in Paris.
While Americans ponder the polls, polar bear patrols will be hauling uninvited trick-or-treaters to bear jail in northern Manitoba.
Friday, October 29, 2004
A study published in The Lancet calculates that the U.S.-led invasion has killed 100,000 Iraqis, with researchers writing that "most individuals reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and children." TNR interviews one of the peer-reviewed study's co-authors, and Juan Cole says the study suggests that the U.S. is gaining ground on Saddam.
Russ Baker reports that George W. Bush's ghost writer, Mickey Hershkowitz, says Bush told him in 1999, "If I have a chance to invade [Iraq] ... I'm not going to waste it," and that Republicans "felt that Jimmy Carter's political downfall could be attributed largely to his failure to wage a war." Earlier: 'Cheney Task Force Had Eyes on Iraq Oil.'
Phillip Carter writes that the first steps on 'The Road to Abu Ghraib' were taken in the White House, and that "historians may look back to April 28, 2004," when CBS broadcast the first photos from the prison, as "the day the United States lost the war."
Knight Ridder's Jonathan Landay quotes a senior U.S. military official as saying that al Qaqaa "was one of numerous times when Iraqis warned us that ammo dumps and other places were being looted and we weren't able to respond because we didn't have anyone to send," and cites a senior intelligence official's belief that "insurgents are firing looted weapons at U.S. troops."
The Independent cites Iraqi witnesses who say that al Qaqaa "was looted after U.S. troops left the area refusing requests to protect the site," and says that an "armed Islamic group" claims to have "cooordinated" with U.S. intelligence officers to get "a huge amount" of the explosives.
As the FBI expands a probe of Halliburton contracts, new documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times show that "U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commanders awarded a lucrative contract extension to Halliburton ... by circumventing the organization's top contracting officer, who had objected to the proposal." Plus: 'Kerry Campaign Seizes on Probe.'
The Columbia Jounalism Review publishes "a full slice" of Wall Street Journal' Middle East correspondent Farnaz Fassihi's 'Baghdad Diary,' which, "raises a question: How could she work there and not have an opinion?"
The Los Angeles Times calls Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's exodus to Paris for medical care "the likely end of his longtime grip on power."
Raw Story counts nine images of the burning World Trade Center in a last-minute Bush campaign ad mailed to Pennsylvania voters, and the Bush campaign admits to doctoring a photo used in a TV commercial. Plus: "Azzam the American v. Bruce Springsteen."
New Donkey says the GOP's voter suppression strategy in Ohio fits 'The Rove M.O.' "like a glove," given that "every Republican hack and pundit in the universe started singing like a cicada about 'voter fraud' about a week before the Ohio story got into the national news."
'Should I Stay Or Should I Go?' Dan Gougherty predicts that this is the song many will be singing if Bush wins, or if an apparent Kerry victory is thrown to "the lapdogs at the Supreme Court" by Rove and company -- "Either way, these guys are not going." Plus: Phone from home!
Alexander Cockburn argues in CounterPunch that "voting for John Kerry now is like voting for LBJ in 1964 with full precognition of what he was going to do in Vietnam for the next four years."
The Village Voice's James Ridgeway covers a Ralph Nader press conference in D.C., at which the candidate called Democratic Party chairman Terry McAuliffe a "jungle fighter," complained about efforts to keep him off the ballot, and warned Democrats that "You are not going to get away with this."
'Corporate Colonization' David Sirota says corporate America has found a new way to shape public policy: by eliminating the middle men and becoming the government.
Writing in The Nation, Ruth Rosen says that both Bush and Kerry have left 22 million single women, 20 percent of the electorate, 'Really On Their Own,' while pandering to "security moms" in their campaigns.
The Big Picture looks at a Wall Street Journal article that suggests big business is bailing on Bush.
A tax expert calls an IRS probe of the NAACP's tax-exempt status for criticizing Bush "amazing," and tells USA Today that "Usually you would look for some activity other than disagreeing with policies."
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