|October, 2007 link archive
Monday, October 1, 2007Amid hints of a 'vast grim toll in Burma,' the government moves to keep evidence of its violent suppression of protests out of the public eye, as satellite images document a pattern of human rights abuses.
'Shifting Targets' In his latest piece for the New Yorker Seymour Hersh reports that the White House has reframed the case for hitting Iran, now focusing on surgical strikes to sell it, "gathering support among generals and admirals," and getting the British government on board.
P.W. Singer talks to Harper's Scott Horton about how privatization of the military is undermining political and legal accountability, while the Washington Post's Walter Pincus observes that Gen. David Petraeus makes "less than half the fee charged by Blackwater for its senior manager of a 34-man security team."
In Thomas Friedman's belated recognition that '9/11 is over,' Juan Cole hears "voice of the non-Libertarian business interests" sounding "the death knell for the Neoconservative use of 9/11," but War in Context's Paul Woodward still detects an unresolved case of "pathological optimism."
Nick Turse depicts how in New York City's 'Homeland Security State-let.' "security forces have eagerly embraced an Escape From New York-aesthetic -- an urge to turn Manhattan into a walled-in fortress island under high-tech government surveillance, guarded by heavily armed security forces, with helicopters perpetually overhead."
In John McCain's new ad "playing up his status as a former prisoner of war in Vietnam," Bag News Notes finds images that suggest "the foreshadowing of a wider war in the Persian Gulf," as the presidential candidate talks of "a Christian nation."
Rudy Giuliani also turns to the bible for support, but leaders of the religious right, frustrated by their apparent inability to influence the Republican presidential nomination process, consider going third party if he wins.
Russia's defeat of the rebellion in Chechnya is attributed to "extraordinary violence, followed by extraordinary investment," accompanied by minimal talk of human rights abuses, and now the region looks to "regain Soviet levels of tourism."
A new report from the Congressional Research Service finds that the U.S. has "maintained its role as the leading supplier of weapons to the developing world," including "nations whose records on democracy and human rights are subject to official criticism."
"How to spin nothing?" About a climate summit that was widely judged to offer nothing new, Kevin Drum writes, "When it's a real initiative they take the time to come up with a snappy name and a nifty acronym. This time, they didn't bother." Plus: 'Global Warming 101.'
With Texas slated to serve as "ground zero for the nuclear comeback," "On the Media" looks into the "PR makeover" of nuclear energy's image and Rachel's Peter Montague details how Uncle Sam has worked to "grease the skids for a nuclear revival," and asks why.
As the Supreme Court opens to 'a polarizing new docket,' including issues of detainee rights and a lethal injection case that has Texas itching to jump the gun, the best predictor, according to a New York Times op-ed, is to ask: "What outcome would a conservative Republican favor as a matter of policy?"
In his new memoir, whose "bitterness ... permeates every page," Clarence Thomas complains of "being pursued not by bigots in white robes but by left-wing zealots draped in flowing sanctimony," and lashes out at Anita Hill as "my most traitorous adversary."
Greg Grandin discusses how Che Guevara and John Kenneth Galbraith continue to impact Latin America, while Roger Burbach considers how a leftist election victory in Ecuador sets the stage for a rewriting of the country's constitution and helps cement an "anti-neoliberal axis."
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
As 'U.S. and civilian deaths decrease sharply in Iraq' during September, it's reminded that "2007 will almost certainly rank as the bloodiest year in terms of U.S. deaths during the entire war," and a U.N. report finds Afghanistan "suffering its most violent year since the 2001 U.S.-led intervention." Plus: "coalition of the willing" loses another one.
President Bush remains stuck at his lowest-ever approval rating in a Washington Post/ABC News poll, which also found that three times as many respondents favor increasing SCHIP funding by $35 billion over the next five years, as favor $190 billion in war funding over the next year.
And with 55 percent of respondents saying that congressional Democrats have not gone far enough in opposing the Iraq war, it's argued that they've "once again embraced their time-honored strategy of presenting themselves as kinder, gentler Republicans."
At the beginning of a House committee hearing on Blackwater, Rep. Darrell Issa said that "I'm not here to defend Blackwater, but I am here to defend General Petraeus and members of the military." The Justice Department asked committee members not to address the September 16 shooting incident involving Blackwater because the FBI has launched an investigation.
How Drunk is That? Among the reported 195 "escalation of force" incidents involving Blackwater over the last two years, is one in which an employee being investigated for killing a bodyguard of Iraq's vice president was so drunk that his loaded pistol was taken away by employees of Triple Canopy.
John Burns predicted that the situation in Iraq "is going to be extremely difficult and extremely painful to resolve," during a talk he gave in accepting an award for "courageous journalism," and by Bush administration standards, Defense Secretary Gates is said to be a 'Free-Speech Radical.'
"It's called the news business," said Seymour Hersh, in response to Dana Perino's comment that "Every two months or so Sy Hersh writes an article in the New Yorker magazine and CNN provides him a forum in which to talk about his article and all the anonymous sources that are quoted in it."
A radio listener describes hearing "The Invention of an Anti-Christ," an opinion piece in Scotland's Sunday Herald argues that it's 'Time to Stop Insulting Iran,' and a letter to the editor headlined 'Bombers drill at Eugene airport,' theorizes that the U.S. might be on the verge of adding injury to insult.
Marking the fifth anniversary of his 2002 speech denouncing war on Iraq, Sen. Barack Obama delivered a speech at DePaul University setting a goal of eliminating nuclear weapons. Obama's campaign is also giving off a 'Kennedy Vibe,' with the inclusion of former JFK adviser and speechwriter Ted Sorenson.
Lee Iacocca tells Details that "There's something wrong philosophically with how Bush's brain works -- I feel sorry for him. I used to think Gore was nuts in his worrying about global warming, but he was ahead of his time." And for the second time in two months Vanity Fair "attempts to dig deep into Goreworld," prompting the question: 'Did Hillary's Senate run cost Gore the White House?'
Last Friday Vice President Cheney addressed the super-secretive conservative movement group, Council for National Policy, in Salt Lake City, as did the editor of the Deseret Morning News, a former lobbyist and Republican state chairman who "promised council leaders he would not write about what was discussed."
Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus also spoke to the group, after the Prague Post reported that his anti-environmentalist campaign is being funded by the right-wing think tank in the U.S., the Heartland Institute. Klaus is among those cited in a comprehensive report about "Alternative Views on Climate Change.'
Cheney earlier attended a Las Vegas fundraiser at the home of a Freedom's Watch' co-founder and major contributor, casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. A New York Times' profile of the 'outsider' group quotes co-founder Mel Sembler, "a friend of Vice President Dick Cheney," as saying: A bunch of us activists kept watching MoveOn and its attacks on the war, and it just got to be obnoxious."
It's argued that 'Limbaugh's own caller knew "phony soldiers" was general reference to antiwar troops,' a call is sounded to 'Take Rush off Armed Forces Radio Network," and a Fox News guest labels Media Matters a "criminal enterprise."
And as Radiohead gives it up with their new album, a Nation article observes that "Going pop hasn't dulled the agitprop" of Against Me!, "a vehemently anti-establishment, anti-capitalist, anti-war musical project," adding that "The last time this band wrote a song about a girl, the girl was Condoleezza Rice, and the sentiments weren't pretty."
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
The State Department is seen as more "co-conspirator" than "enabler" in its relationship with Blackwater, which will reportedly 'guard FBI team probing it.' And following the testimony of Erik Prince, it's suggested that the "military-industrial complex" has become the "mercenary-evangelical complex."
As two former Blackwater security guards tell the Washington Post that "they believed employees fired more often than the company has disclosed," the New York Times reports on "a deadly cascade of events" that "began when a single bullet apparently fired by a Blackwater guard killed an Iraqi man whose weight probably remained on the accelerator and propelled the car forward."
To emphasize his point that 'We Count, They Don't,' Tom Engelhardt asks readers to imagine "that the Iraqi Parliament had voted a non-binding resolution to grant congressional representation to Washington D.C. or to allow California's electoral votes to be divided up by district."
Sen. Joe Biden defends his Iraq plan as 'Federalism, Not Partition,' in a Washington Post op-ed, and as Democratic leaders shoot down a war tax proposal, Iraqi Kurds sign "four more controversial oil deals."
A report that 'Political Satire Flourishes on Iraqi TV,' includes a show whose title is a pun that translates into "Help me, I'm dead," while one translation of another is "Sell-out of the Nation," featuring "The Chief." Most of this 'racy fare' is broadcast on the Dubai-based satellite channel Al-Sharqiya, which was permanently shuttered in Iraq last January.
One "cannot expect to have a dialogue" with the military head of Burma, says a Malaysian diplomat who served as a U.N. envoy, and as it's reported that "At least eight truckloads of prisoners were hauled out of downtown Yangon" hours after the departure of the current envoy, a report on his trip quotes a Western diplomat as saying: "You wonder what's going to happen to all these monks."
Pentagon documents obtained by the AP "show seemingly inconsistent decisions to release men declared by the Bush administration to be among America's most-hardened enemies," and the warrantless surveillance program is called "the biggest legal mess I had ever encountered," by Jack Goldsmith, who also said that it was his "recollection" that President Bush ordered the visit to John Ashcroft's hospital room.
It's rave after raves for Susan Faludi's "The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post-9/11 America," described as 'a scathing criticism of what passes for truth about the "war on terror."' Faludi discussed the book with the New York Times, following an op-ed in the paper on 'America's Guardian Myths.'
More critical is Salon's Rebecca Traister, who says that "Faludi has laid down a good strong drumbeat, but little melody to carry us through," in a duet review that includes Bruce Springsteen's "Magic," which "describes the creepy carnival tricksterism of the Bush administration and the sinuous ways it has distorted his vision of America."
As 'Israel says it bombed Syria, but why remains a mystery,' to SyriaComment "it seems we were played by Cheney and crew on the nuclear-North Korea justification," but the Jerusalem Post cites a Washington Post report "that the target had been a facility involved in a joint Syrian-North Korean nuclear project," buttressing its authenticity by noting that it's "a claim backed by" John Bolton.
As Rush Limbaugh bombs in challenging a new VoteVets.org spot, Digby, citing a "wild-eyed defense" by Bill Bennett on CNN, sees Republicans "going into full defense on Rush, which is what any smart organization does when its valuable assets are threatened."
It's argued that President Bush 'Makes Republicans French Toast' by vetoing legislation expanding the SCHIP program, which occurred "behind closed doors without any fanfare or news coverage," and after his press secretary had met with reporters, one of whom asked: "Does the President pay for his own health care, around-the-clock doctors and nurses here?"
Al Giordano investigates 'The Clinton campaign's reckless race for big money donors,' and the "NewsHour" offers some serious face time to Mike Gravel, who addressed the money race by saying, "I have this interview. This is big money." Plus: McCain campaign appears indecisive about indecisiveness critique of Clinton.
Matt Taibbi launches his 'Year of the Rat' presidential campaign blog, and the namesake of Coulterspuwen Day says in an interview that "If we took away women's right to vote, we'd never have to worry about another Democrat president."
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Tortured Legacy The New York Times reports that two secret Justice Department opinions issued in 2005 after Alberto Gonzales became Attorney General, and which remain in effect, "show how the White House has succeeded in preserving the broadest possible legal latitude for harsh tactics."
Balkanization finds it "well worth asking how many other secret opinions the Justice Department has produced," and ThinkProgress asks: "Did Rice know about the 2005 memos before the Times revealed them?"
In a letter to the Attorney General nominee, Sen. Patrick Leahy said confirmation hearings would proceed "without the promise of the documents," and as House Democrats lose their sense of urgency on U.S. Attorneys' investigation, Senate Democrats give up on obtaining Bush's pre-Iraq war daily intelligence briefings, and Sen. Jay Rockefeller ignores Phase II pledge.
John Edwards is interviewed on "Countdown" about his proposal to limit the role of private security contractors, and Dana Milbank is applauded for having "told his readers something important about how government oversight works," in reporting on testimony by Blackwater CEO Erik Prince.
After pundits warmed to a 'Five-Year Plan for Iraq,' Gov. Bill Richardson, Democrats' "dream candidate" to run for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Pete Domenici, reiterates his call to "get all our troops out now."
As former State Department and Pentagon officials propose that Hamas be a participant in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, 'Where is the occupation?' asks a Ha'aretz editorial, calling "The de facto separation ... more similar to political apartheid than an occupation regime because of its constancy."
Dr. James Dobson is sent one message and delivers another, in a New York Times op-ed that is said to have been "fairly straightforward ... If Giuliani's the nominee, they'll walk." And referring to the issue of taking cell phone calls from his wife during speeches, Giuliani said: "If I had chased all of these frivolous issues ... I wouldn't have been able to handle Sept. 11."
Jon Stewart treats viewers to what Chris Matthews calls "the worst interview I've ever had in my life," Sen. John McCain 'says money not all that important,' now that he's raising about the same amount as Ron Paul, and a Texas high school student is sent packing for wearing an John Edwards T-Shirt. Plus: Are Bush enforcers off their game?
The Iraq war veteran featured in the VoteVets.org ad responds to Rush Limbaugh, whose hometown Clear Channel station rejected the ad, and while Fox's NPR contributors "appear opposite Republicans to present a 'liberal' counterpoint ... as employees of the strictly nonpartisan, government-funded NPR, they cannot endorse positions or take sides."
Jon Wiener argues that the "publication facts" behind the memoir by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas should be discussed by all presidential candidates, given that he received an advance of $1.5 million from the Rupert Murdoch-owned HarperCollins.
A review of a book about Jackie Robinson's civil rights letters, notes that his "work to advance civil rights in the political arena has been largely forgotten," and while "he often used his considerable influence as a national figure to support Republicans," he became disenchanted with both Eisenhower and Nixon. More on a 'Freedom Writer.'
A long-lost mural by Diego Rivera about U.S. intervention in Guatemala titled "Glorious Victory," is the centerpiece of an exhibit marking 50 years since his death, which follows an anniversary controversy over 'The artless branding of Frida Kahlo' by the corporation bearing her name.
As Time asks, 'Are mega-preachers scandal-prone?,' former megachurch preacher Carlton Pearson, whose fall from grace came in the form of a book, "God Is Not a Christian," is back preaching his "Gospel of Inclusion," which it's speculated, "might make even mainstream churchgoers a little uneasy."
A reporter explains why he dispensed with the "he said, she said" for his Pulitzer Prize-winning series on 'Altered Oceans,' and as a prominent questioner is accused of having "made up questions, after the fact," Jack Abramoff still has a "spokesman," and he's calling the L.A. Weekly's food critic a liar for saying that he was bullied by Abramoff in high school.
Friday, October 5, 2007
As the revelation of what is termed 'a new task order from the ministry of love' sparks demands for disclosure, John Dean calls for Congress to 'extend the statute of limitations on torture claims,' and it's reported that the "secret CIA overseas detention program" remains active.
One Guantanamo lawyer confronts an "attorney client relationship" without attorney-client privilege, while another observes the tragic ironies of a prison where "The immoral has become so mundane," as the Pentagon releases more 'anonymous victims of Guantanamo.'
During a Congressional hearing on corruption in the Iraqi government, Iraq's former top anti-corruption official testifies that many of his employees and their family members were tortured and killed, but the GOP goes after the messenger. His testimony also raises the question, 'Which U.S. Contractor Broke Crooked Iraqi Out of Prison?'
As the House votes 389-30 to give U.S. courts jurisdiction over contractors in Iraq, despite strong White House opposition, U.S. military reports on the Sept. 16 shooting conclude that Blackwater was at fault and, adding up the numbers, it appears that a surprising amount of Blackwater cash has 'gone to the dogs.'
With the real impact of current attempts to make contractors accountable unclear, an article in Foreign Policy notes that a growing reliance on Latin American security contractors in Iraq has widened the scope of the problem.
U.S. contractors of all kinds fan out and multiply across the globe, as a new report details how even contractors with "past histories of shoddy work and fraudulent practices" can still receive contracts from the federal government.
Although the Army is struggling to meet recruiting goals, it 'denies education benefits to National Guard troops who served 22 months in Iraq,' and NPR looks at how their extended deployment has impacted their families.
The New York Times profiles the "embedded scholars" of the newly expanded and controversial "Human Terrain" program, which the military views as "a crucial new weapon" for counterinsurgency, but critics, who call it "mercenary anthropology," are organizing a boycott.
With conservatives getting "unhinged" over a flag-less lapel, a new Fox News poll prays on war and flogs Democrats for wanting the U.S. to lose, while a Gallup poll finds that a majority of Americans favor rapid withdrawal from Iraq.
Surveying 'Pakistan at Sixty,' Tariq Ali notes that "One of the main threats to Musharraf's authority is the country's judiciary," and on the eve of his reelection bid, the Pakistani Supreme Court throws the legality of the general's candidacy into doubt.
Christian Parenti details how the 'fight to save Congo's forests,' runs up against the World Bank, whose own internal report now accuses it of encouraging foreign companies to "destructively log" the forest, endangering thousands, while "10,000 points of fire" shroud the the world's other great rainforest in smoke.
'Skin Cancer' A white supremacist group descends on Portland, Oregon to celebrate its 20th anniversary in a region it once dreamed would secede and form an Aryan homeland, as the Southern Poverty Law Center follows the 'Latvian Connection' to "a ferocious anti-gay movement in the western U.S."
In a report tracking botched executions in the U.S., Amnesty International notes that Texas has banned one of the chemicals involved in its own lethal injections for use in euthanising pets, "because it does not effectively mask pain."
The president's veto of an expansion of children's health insurance was obscured by explanations and proclamations, but Paul Krugman contends that "minimizing and mocking the suffering of others is a natural strategy for political figures who advocate lower taxes on the rich and less help for the poor and unlucky.
With a fine too large to pay and too small to shock legislators into reconsidering the law, the verdict in the RIAA music downloading trial is termed "the worst possible outcome," even if it did produce the 'playlist of the century.'
As the Space Age turns 50, Sergei Khrushchev meditates on 'how Russia lost the moon,' and Spectrum interviews Arthur C. Clarke, who hopes for progress beyond the "macho-nationalism that fuelled the early Space Race."
Monday, October 8, 2007
Reviewing the degeneration from "I am not a crook" to "This government does not torture people," Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell notes the delayed and "measured outrage" from the media, and Tom Hayden considers its Algerian precedent.
James Risen discusses the disingenuous glide from "not torturing" to "fully briefed," as a New York Times editorial asking "Is this really who we are?," is accused of forgetting the "extensive history" of U.S. torture and ignoring the question of a "reckoning for the torturers."
The top military prosecutor at Guantanamo, who compared "detainees challenging the trial system to vampires afraid of the harsh sunlight of American justice," resigns, as the Times also examines the erosion of a murder case in the Iraq war's "defining atrocity."
Power not reconciliation is the goal of top Iraqi politicians, according to a Washington Post survey, as the Iraqi government takes legal action against its whistle-blowing former anti-corruption chief, and those who help the Americans are forced to hide in a 'life of lies.'
Now accused of "deliberate murder," Blackwater faces new monitoring from the State Department, whose relationship to the well-connected firm so far is described as a virtual "license to kill," as a drunk Blackwater shooter gets another shot.
Apparently in for the long haul in Afghanistan, the U.S. expands what was once envisioned as a temporary base by nearly a third but, six years on, Patrick Cockburn contends that the "drip-drip of British losses underlines how little has been achieved."
Glenn Greenwald examines how a trite anti-partisan mantra on the Washington Post editorial page attempts to deflect anger away from the GOP, John Cole challenges David Brooks on why the Republican party is in a shambles, and Fred Thompson hits the applause button.
Despite a soul-searching exodus of angry "loyal Bushies," and a religous right dismayed at where they stand now, Paul Krugman, borrowing a line from the Talking Heads, finds little evidence that President Bush has strayed from the path of true conservatism.
Although a key figure in the "conservative judicial project," Clarence Thomas is seen as careening "back and forth in this book between seeing himself as a victim or a self-actualized hero," as Frank Rich notes the "free pass" CBS gave him, and Maureen Dowd attempts to channel his rage.
Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey, who has already received the blessing of influential senators, is said to have "a distaste for people who voice skepticism about the government's motives in the war on terror."
As the flag flap gets pinned on Drudge, Fox News follows up its prayer poll by needling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the "issue," and Bill O'Reilly warns Tony Snow off the "pagan throne," while spouting "eliminationist rhetoric."
With campaigns approaching, McClatchy tracks GOP restlessness on Iraq in the House, but Matt Taibbi finds Sen. John McCain still "a prisoner of Vietnam, bravely taking a bullet for a commander in chief who betrayed him."
Although some churches try to turn on the youth by turning on the Halo, Oral Roberts University's "first lady" prefers a more personal approach, as the Christian right is found to be giving the religion a new image.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
As Turkey's prime minister reportedly gives the green light "for a possible military incursion into northern Iraq," two Iraqi women are 'Killed by convoy guards,' and it's argued that "The odds that Blackwater contractors will see the inside of an Iraqi courtroom are virtually zero."
About the Washington Post's report that Iraq's political leaders believe that reconciliation is unattainable, the Post's Rajiv Chandrasekaran predicts that "this is going to force a major reevaluation of the U.S. strategy in Iraq," and, 'Unable to defeat Mahdi Army, U.S. hopes to divide it.'
As Gen. David Petraeus again accuses Iran of military meddling in Iraq, it's reported that Defense Secretary Gates is "waging a subtle campaign to undermine the Cheney camp," and that the intelligence community is about to release three reports "to slow down what the president, most particularly the vice president, want to do in Iran."
Salon reports on 'Israel's rising right wing,' Bill Moyers profiles the group Christians United for Israel led by pastor John Hagee, and it's observed that in the Middle East, "even a peace concert can become a raucous political battleground."
As the U.S. Supreme Court rejects an appeal by Khaled El-Masri, Sen. Hillary Clinton is credited with having "shifted the terms of the debate" on torture, and Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson offers up a "Modest Proposal."
With House Democrats proposing a RESTORE Act to counter the Protect America Act, Bush administration officials are accused of jumping the gun on the release of a bin Laden video obtained by the SITE Intelligence Group, with company founder Rita Katz claiming that "Techniques that took years to develop are now ineffective and worthless."
On Tuesday, the White House updated its National Strategy for Homeland Security, warning that al-Qaeda "is expected to boost attempts to place agents inside the United States," which follows the release of a British think tank's report that the 'war on terror is fuelling al-Qaeda.'
Editor & Publisher profiles the Los Angeles Times' Baghdad bureau chief Tina Susman, one of the few mainstream reporters to cover the survey estimating that more than one million Iraqi civilians have been murdered since the 2003 invasion.
The New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg tells Radar that "it's much harder to damage your career by consistently supporting war and cruelty than by consistently supporting peace and love. The default position is 'bombs away.'"
Karl Rove, in Dallas for a meeting on the Bush presidential library, "seems to be putting a little light between himself and the man he helped make president," says "Bush's Brain" co-author Wayne Slater, and recent congressional voting records determine 'The Ultimate Bush Dogs.'
Maureen Dowd mines the "Journals" of the late Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and Vanity Fair excerpts his 'Scenes From a White House.' Schlesinger lashed out at what he called the "supine press" in a New York Review of Books essay on "The Making of a Mess."
Arianna Huffington told USA Today that Schlesinger was the first person invited to contribute to the Huffington Post, which, despite $10 million in start-up capital and 43 full-time employees, reportedly "has no plans to begin paying bloggers. Ever."
After Lynne Cheney received what was described as "softball" treatment on "60 Minutes" from a correspondent who is married to Cheney's literary agent, it's suggested that 'Maybe it's time for CBS News to hire a tough ombudsman.'
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
With 'Much still unknown about surveillance efforts,' Bruce Fein details his objections to FISA legislation introduced by House Democrats, including that it "does nothing with regard to trying to restrain the president's unfettered exercise of authority to gather foreign intelligence." Plus: 'Bush pushes for telecom immunity.'
Democratic rivals 'Rap Clinton on Iraq Vote' to mark an anniversary, legislation requiring troop withdrawal is "put on the back burner," and House Speaker Pelosi calls it "a waste of time" for antiwar activists to target Democrats.
During the Republican debate, where the candidates were said to be "each peddling the Big Lie that the only way to ensure economic growth is by cutting all the taxes ever created," it's was also observed that 'Rudy keeps telling same fib about Hillary -- because media won't call him on it.'
With debate claims by both Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani "subject to debate," including the latter's assertion that the U.S. has disrupted 23 terrorist attacks against the U.S. since 9/11, Romney calls for calling the lawyers to see if it's necessary to get Congressional authorization for military action against Iran's nuclear facilities.
In 'Iran, the Inflatable Bogey,' it's argued that "most Israeli strategists recognize that Iran represents ... no existential threat to the Israel, the U.S. or the Arab regimes," and a Ha'aretz review of "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," says that "Despite the accusations, this a not a hateful screed. Painful, yes. Prejudiced, no."
While 'Abbas wants return to pre-1967 borders,' the Israeli army's latest confiscation of Arab land in the West bank, "has to be seen as part of a timeline in which Israel wants to get all its development of the West Bank finished before Bush leaves office," says an Israeli geographer.
It Rakes a Village A McClatchy correspondent checks out what he describes as "easily the largest military land-power show in the United States," where "Some exhibits were designed to resemble Middle East villages," and, where Blackwater CEO Erik Prince was touting the "Blackwater Peace and Stability Operations Institute."
Mother Jones releases a "Blackwater Timeline," Hannah Allam describes how "our Blackwater pals wore out their welcome" following a number of outrageous incidents, and Michael Shaw looks at "the White House attitude that allowed a cowboy commando enterprise to run amok."
The Dubai-based, Australian-run and Singapore-registered Unity Resources Group, which has a separate Iraq division, said its guards were involved in the shooting deaths of two Iraqi women whose car was reportedly struck by at least 35 bullets.
Following last month's interview with Donald Barlett and James Steele on their Vanity Fair article, "Billions over Baghdad," Amy Goodman asked Alan Greenspan about the missing billions during his debate with Naomi Klein. On Tuesday, the reporters were back on "Democracy Now!" to respond to Greenspan, one day after the winners of the inaugural Barlett & Steele Awards were announced.
While American Electric Power 'faces the acid rain music' to the tune of more than $5 billion, one state sees an estimated three million pounds of explosives used every day in 'The government sanctioned bombing of Appalachia.'
Rewinding an 'Endless Summer of Distraction,' Robert Lipsyte suggests that "If the sports media ever decides to get serious about its ranting, the Pat Tillman case would be perfect," given this past summer's revelations, but ESPN.com is being lauded for it's 2006 coverage of the Tillman case and will receive a Galloway Award this week.
To explain the dominance of fake news events, Ezra Klein invokes the title essay of George Saunders' "The Braindead Megaphone," which Saunders didn't get around to plugging during an appearance on the David Letterman show.
While 'Uncertainty hangs over deal to disable North Korea's nuclear facilities,' and some may question if Kim Jong Il is the "Internet expert" he claims to be, there's little doubt that "Our Man in Pyongyang" is the "freelance diplomat" and rib joint proprietor, Bobby Eagan.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
As 'Iraqi provinces shut out internal refugees,' the Marine Corps reportedly wants its 25,000 marines moved out of Iraq, where 25,000 detainees are held in U.S.-run prisons, an increase of 10,000 in one year. The total includes some 860 under the age of 16, and only 280 non-Iraqis.
A legal team representing family members of slain Iraqis files a lawsuit against Blackwater, the 'U.S. military and Iraqis say they are shut out of inquiry' on Blackwater, with the FBI and State Department refusing to share information, the U.N. calls for "rogue security guards in Iraq to face prosecution," and 'Afghans crack down on private security.'
The Washington Post reports that 'Worried Iraqi officials urge calm as Turkish-Kurdish conflict escalates,' and 'Turkey plans long stay in northern Iraq,' as 'The Pentagon plans for a New Hundred Years' War.'
In an article published Wednesday, the New York Times presented an alleged Israeli air strike on Syria as fact, failing to note that on Monday, Syria had changed its story, telling a Times' reporter touring the site of the alleged strike, that the 'Israeli Raid Did Not Occur.' Plus: Was Israeli "strike" a "fake act of war"?
Time magazine's Cairo Bureau Chief reviews the foreign policy advisers of five presidential candidates for insight into their Middle East policies, but does not include John Edwards, whose views on Iraq and Iran are contrasted with those of Sen. Hillary Clinton, whose 'Cackle joins The Haircut and The Sigh.'
Jimmy Carter says that "the president is self-defining what we have done and authorized in the torture of prisoners," Sidney Blumenthal pens an open letter to Karen Hughes on torture, inviting her to see "Taxi to the Dark Side," and Sen. Clinton releases the full transcript of her remarks to the Washington Post concerning torture.
A 'House panel raises furor on Armenian Genocide,' but mainstream reports ignore candidate Bush's 2000 statement, as it's also noted that "in 1988, the first George Bush had the Armenian-American Governor of California ... on his short list for a running mate." Plus: 'Turkey recalls U.S. ambassador for talks.'
President Bush will however "risk angering China" by attending a ceremony next week at which House Speaker Pelosi will award the Congressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama, and Minnesota's St. Thomas University reverses its decision to bar Archbishop Desmond Tutu from speaking at the school.
Among the finalists for the National Book Awards are the novels "Then We Came to the End," and "Tree of Smoke" by Denis Johnson, and in non-fiction, "Legacy of Ashes" and Christopher Hitchens' "God is Not Great."
Hitchens guested when the Freedom From Religion Foundation's radio show debuted on Air America, which prompted prayer poll purveyors' Fox News to ask if Air America was engaged in a "War on God?", running the words "Godless Programming" over a visual of Al Franken, who left the network last February.
'Journalism in the Twilight Zone' Reviewing former Time. Inc. editor-in-chief Norman Pearlstine's "Off the Record," Myra MacPherson, author of the I.F. Stone biography, "All Government's Lie," says of Pearlstine: "In the Plame affair, the corporate lawyer in him won out over the journalist," and "Today he is a comfortable company man as a member of the Carlyle Group."
Following this week's allegation by a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' whistleblower that 'key NOLA pumps are still faulty,' a Times-Picayune editor, discussing post-Katrina coverage, tells CJR that "he doles out stories not related to Katrina as a salve, worrying that his reporters will crack without a break."
A report describing the top 25 censored stories of 2007 as possibly the "scariest list in recent memory," quotes Robert Parry, whose article on the Military Commissions Act topped the list, as saying, "I have an ambivalent view about being recognized for being censored...It's a bit like celebrating a defeat." And Narco News' Al Giordiano said: 'Thanks... but No Thanks!'
"Whatever went wrong with the figure of Bob Woodward?", asks an article on the opening of a D.C. branch of Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. "He doesn't look like Woodward at all, he looks like a 1970s East German spy of dubious sexuality."
Friday, October 12, 2007
With Turkish warplanes and helicopters already attacking positions along the southern border with Iraq in preparation for a "cross-border operation," Patrick Cockburn looks at the dangers of destabilization in the one part of Iraq which is still at peace.
"I can assure you Turkey knows how to play hardball," comments an advisor to the Turkish prime minister, warning of further steps that might be taken if the U.S. Congress persists in attempts to recognize the Armenian genocide. And amid questions of timing, a Holocaust historian considers the denials of the ADL.
A new UN report, whose release had been delayed at U.S. request, details the "devastating consequences" to civilians of the continuing violence across Iraq, documents "more than 100 civilians allegedly killed by U.S. forces" over the last three months, and calls for an end to the indiscriminate use of force by contractors.
With Britain on a "glide path out" Defense Secretary Robert Gates talks up "improved conditions" in southern Iraq, but a McClatchy report notes that "In actual fact, fighting is increasing between rival Shiite factions for control of the oil-rich section of the country.
In an essay in the London Review of Books, Jim Holt explores some crude reasons why "the US may be stuck precisely where Bush et al want it to be," as the Kurdistan Regional Government tells international oil firms, "We have many opportunities to excite you."
Like their Iraqi counterparts, the first U.S. soldiers to arrive at the scene of a Sept. 16 Blackwater shooting report that it was a "criminal event," and the company drops out of a club it helped found, as problems facing any State Department attempt to phase it out are outlined.
PEJ notes that unlike the print media, 'talk hosts opt for bad blood over Blackwater,' as a Newsweek article illustrates the company's attitude problem with an incident in which the company's guards drew their weapons on U.S. soldiers, forcing them to lie on the ground at gunpoint.
Investigating the Investigator The CIA director orders an unusual inquiry into the conduct of the agency's own watchdog office which, it's complained, has launched "a crusade against those who have participated in controversial detention programs."
Rudy Giuliani stocks up on foreign policy advisors, one of whom scores 99% on TPM's "Scale of Pure Neoconism," Ari Berman follows the trail of 'Rudy's dirty money,' and the expanding legal nightmare of former Giuliani employee Bernard Kerik threatens to haunt his former boss.
Karl Rove is linked to the prosecution to former Democratic Governor of Alabama in a document that also suggests that he had "significant sway over the Public Integrity Section at DOJ in early 2005," when the Abramoff and CIA leak investigations were in full swing.
Al Gore comes out a winner in the 'Norwegian primary,' and picks up Jimmy Carter's endorsement, as Chris Mooney outlines what the scientific agenda might look like for a more "reality-based" president, and a new documentary follows the 'Refugees of the Blue Planet.'
Responding to her Nobel prize for literature, 'The Political Doris Lessing' remarks "You know, it's about 40 years since they sent one of their minions specially to tell me they didn't like me at the Nobel Prize and I'd never get it ... So, why? Why do they like me any better now than they did then?"
Fronting their alternative Nobel nominee, Gen. Petraeus, the New York Sun explains, "GI Joe and GI Jane always go overseas for reasons not of conquest but of liberation, to secure the hope of democracy, and always with the intent of returning home."
As David Horowitz "sets the bait" with his upcoming "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week," it's suggested that one good response would be devote the following week to raising awareness about the closer to home dangers of Christian fascism.
A John Edwards affair rumor sourced to the National Enquirer which had popped up earlier on the Huffington Post, and which is being heavily promoted by Slate's Mickey Kaus, presents Ann Coulter with a dilemma.
Bill O'Reilly conjures up an admonitory image of John Edwards' 'dark, leftist America,' in which there is "no coerced interrogation," while 'Hillary wins the Charles Krauthammer primary,' in part because of what he believes is her "obvious willingness to torture."
Monday, October 15, 2007
"A nightmare with no end in sight" is how the now retired former top commander in Iraq sums up the Iraq war and, as the press reports how he castigates U.S. political leaders, but largely glosses over his attacks on press, the messenger becomes a target.
With Al Qaeda in Iraq reportedly 'crippled,' a White House official contemplates declaring "mission accomplished," but hesitates before the question "How does this play out in terms of public opinion?," while an earlier Alternet article considers the symbiotic relationship between U.S. forces and AQI.
As part of a media blitz, Blackwater founder Erik Prince, tells "60 Minutes" he welcomes an FBI investigation into the Sept. 16 shootings in which he sees no egregious wrong, although with "no independent reports bolstering Blackwater's version of events," a negotiated exit may be in the offing.
Lawrence Wright reminds that the issue of when to leave Iraq is not all about America, as a Los Angeles Times article considers the extent to which American military contractors might fall into the category of "unlawful combatants."
Portajustice A portable tent city outfitted with latest in "trial technology," dubbed "Camp Justice," being set up at Guantanamo to host military tribunals, may be, the New York Times suggests, "the perfect architecture for the long-running limbo" faced by detainees there.
Frank Rich calls out 'The Good Germans among Us,' insisting that ignorance is no longer an excuse to stand idly by while "Our humanity has been compromised by those who use Gestapo tactics in our war," and Chris Hedges observes that by abandoning our ideals, the U.S. is becoming an "isolated and reviled nation."
As Turkey's top general warns "military ties with the U.S. will never be the same again," if the Armenian genocide resolution passes, it's argued that "the issue of Armenian genocide has become a proxy for Turkey's future disposition towards the Kurds."
Citing unnamed officials, the New York Times reports that 'Israel struck a nuclear project site in Syria,' claims echoed by ABC, as 'the phoenix of preventive war arises from Syrian ashes. Earlier: The Baku connection?
Amid talk of missiles on the Moon, the Bush administration is found to have misread Putin's soul, and Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice voices concern that "too much power is concentrated within the Kremlin."
Jumping the Gun? The Washington Post reports allegations by the former CEO of Qwest that the Bush administration was seeking to enlist telecommunications firms in surveillance programs without court oversight before 9/11, and then punished the company for its refusal to participate. And Ray McGovern asks 'What did Pelosi know?'
Reviewing the support for "the Telecom Immunity law that Congress seems well on its way to enacting," Glenn Greenwald indicts 'the Beltway Establishment's contempt for the rule of law,' while Jack Balkin frames the immunity debate in terms of the critical role of "public-private coordination" in the "emerging National Surveillance State."
A New York Times article on how the White House's increasing reliance on interim appointments to run the government rather than submitting nominations to the Senate is seen as the latest example of the way it plays "constitutional hardball."
As Al Gore's Nobel prize heats up George Will and others, and faces sniping at the margins, Paul Krugman traces the right's 'Gore Derangement Syndrome' to the fact that "the smear campaign has failed. He's taken everything they could throw at him, and emerged more respected, and more credible, than ever."
In an op-ed replete with scare quotes, Will also lashes out at "discrimination" against conservatives in Social Work, apparently taking his cue from an "anecdotal broadside against social work programs" produced by the National Association of Scholars.
CJR discovers what it takes to get Slate's Mickey Kaus to drop a story, Jon Stewart finds satisfaction 'Beating a Dead Kurtz,' the "long fundamentalist pedigree" of "perfection" is unearthed, and Stephen Colbert takes the helm at the New York Times.
Following the conviction of a dirty war 'priest who did the devil's work,' 'Argentina is converting its notorious navy school into a human rights memorial,' while Mexico turns to consider a case from its own 'dirty war' past, and human rights activists in El Salvador decry an amnesty law as a 'monument to impunity.'
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
As the 'White House forbids telecom companies from telling Congress about surveillance activity,' Verizon discloses that it turned over subscriber information to the FBI in emergency situations more than 700 times without court orders, and a Comcast manual reveals the cost of surveillance.
As 'Iran wins neighbors' pledge not to help U.S. attack,' a U.N. envoy suggests that the U.N. quit the Middle East Quartet, and it is said of Gaza, which "has been closed by the Israeli authorities to the Israeli media" for nearly a year, that "With the exception of Burma, not many places in the world are so closed off."
Retired Gen. John Abizaid says that "of course" the Iraq war is about oil, Reps. Waxman and Kucinich ask Hunt Oil to turn over all Iraq-related communication with the U.S. government, and it's reported that "the chief promoter of a victory declaration" over Al-Qaeda in Iraq, was also involved in pushing the storyline that Pat Tillman was killed by enemy fire.
With questions being raised about 'whether a self-contained bunker is the best approach to diplomacy,' "Baghdad Express" author Joel Turnipseed identifies a "disgusting bit of nastiness" relating to the Iraq war, and, the 'Coalition of the Willing....Ain't Too Proud to Beg.'
Reviews of "Cheney's Law" promise "hair-raising revelations" and the weaving of a "breathtaking narrative," and while it's said that Bush administration supporters may find the stylistic approach "heavy-handed and manipulative ... the information relayed appears grim in its particulars and pattern."
The director of a new Hollywood movie about rendition, says that "The problem with the current situation is we're trying to have it both ways. We don't torture but don't ask us about our techniques. That seems very un-American to me. That's the language of Third World dictators, as I knew growing up in South Africa."
Following "a glum weekend on Planet Gore," CBS News is caught plagiarizing World NetDaily in an online article about Ann Coulter, even lifting the "Democrat" slur in referring to Media Matters as "a pro-Democrat media lobby," and a report that Air America talker Randi Rhodes was assaulted is apparently not true.
As 'Limbaugh, Boehner & Friends' are reminded that 'Republicans pushed Turkish "genocide" resolution in the U.S. House in 2000 and again in 2005,' Democrats are called out for 'Whitewashing S-CHIP,' and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's spokesman keeps changing his story about his dealings with reporters concerning Graeme Frost and his family.
Republicans warm to a draft, a report that Sen. John McCain and Rudy Giuliani have "formed an unspoken alliance to try to torpedo Mitt Romney," quotes McCain as saying that "It's important to be honest with people," and a new Web site by former ABC political director Mark Halperin is described as "all horserace, no substance."
Editor & Publisher interviews a former Wall Street Journal editor who is heading up the non-profit investigative journalism project, ProPublica, which was created by major Democratic party contributors Herb and Marion Sandler, who are part of the 'Democratic Philanthocracy.'
As Ron Rosenbaum calls investigative reporters "sociopaths for truth," a case is made for publicly supported media, and New Press founder Andre Schiffrin argues that "Newspapers and book publishers that belong to independent, not-for-profit foundations or cooperatives may be the best way to preserve political and cultural autonomy."
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
With a poll finding that "59 percent of voters reject amnesty for phone companies that may have violated the law by selling customers' private information to the government," Jonathan Turley writes that "If the Democrats allow this immunity bill to go through, it will be the final proof that civil liberties ranks somewhere below soybean subsidies in their priorities."
As Attorney General confirmation hearings begin for Michael Mukasey, Democratic Senators demand that President Bush withdraw his nominee to head the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, who told the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2006 that "the president is always right."
Explaining 'How Osama Bin Laden Beat George W. Bush,' Peter Bergen notes that "there were probably more journalists at Tora Bora than the 50 or so Delta and Green Beret soldiers who participated in the fight." Read how a military marriage spawned a 'Bin Laden Blast,' and watch a clip from the documentary, "Afghanistan - Bin Laden??"
With "reports of a new massacre in Darfur," David Morse writes in 'The Coming Collision in Sudan,' that "Neither Darfur, nor South Sudan can be understood in isolation," and American scientist James Watson is said to be "embroiled in an extraordinary row" over his claim that 'Africans are less intelligent than Westerners.'
'Support wanes in House for genocide vote,' with one of the defectors saying that he "was swayed by Gen. David Petraeus," but lawmakers claim that it's not because there are 'More U.S. lobbyists talking Turkey."
With Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki reportedly "insisting" that Blackwater leave the country, the U.S. State Department is said to be resisting Pentagon efforts to have armed security contractors fall under a single authority, and Blackwater CEO Erik Prince declares that "We will not let our people be taken by the Iraqis."
The U.S. military confirms a surge in non-combat deaths among U.S. troops in Iraq, Dexter Filkins and Lara Logan describe their experiences in Iraq, where four reporters for Iraqi newspapers were shot to death on Sunday, in addition to Washington Post correspondent Salih Saif Aldin.
Following the opening of a Marine Corps High School in Chicago, Rep. Rahm Emmanuel pledged that he would "start getting our funds for the air force academy, so we'd be the only school system in the country that has all military branches represented in our public school system."
As a 'Pray For Peace' concert is held at the National Cathedral, and peace is prayed for at Majority Leader Pelosi's office, Transcendental Meditation proponent David Lynch, in what was described as an "appropriately bizarre" visit to Jerusalem, "said all Israel needed was 250 TM experts serving as 'a lighthouse of coherence.'"
Secretary of State Rice says that her visit to Bethlehem served as a "reminder that the Prince of Peace is still with us," and Tony Karon explains why there remains "in the case of U.S. Middle East policy ... what playwright Bertolt Brecht might have called an epic gap between some of the actors and their lines."
Sen. John McCain tells AP that "I keep praying every night that we will avoid a conflict with Iran," and USA Today diplomatic correspondent Barbara Slavin discusses her book "Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies," in which she contends that "Instead of dividing our enemies by negotiating with Iran, the Bush administration has united them."
The Las Vegas Review-Journal's most widely-read columnist filed for bankruptcy after a two-year legal battle with Sheldon Adelson, the casino mogul who is also a major funder of Freedom's Watch, which is now targeting Iran.
About another Freedom's Watch' money man, John Templeton Jr., Barbara Ehrenreich writes that his Templeton Foundation "has become a serious force in the academic world," and notes that in 2004, Templeton Jr. started Let Freedom Ring, aimed at getting out the evangelical Christian vote for George W. Bush.
"Election" author Tom Perotta says the idea for his novel "The Abstinence Teacher" emerged from the role of evangelical voters in the 2004 presidential election: "I was surrounded by people who kept saying, 'Who are these people?'"
As it's reported that "Scores of Bush Pioneers and Rangers ... remain on the sidelines in 2008," with one who contributed to Sen. Barack Obama saying that "It's the first time I'm really a bit confused about what I should be doing, or where the country should be headed," Rep. Dennis Kucinich empties his deep pockets for Stephen Colbert.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Senate Democrats and Republicans have reached an agreement with the Bush administration to grant full immunity to telecom companies after a review of classified documents convinced them that the companies had "acted in good faith."
It's said that in granting retroactive legal immunity for telecom companies, "the Senate has apparently justified the ACLU's worst fears," and Glenn Greenwald encourages Sen. Chris Dodd to place a hold on any bill containing telecom immunity, but one FISA 'expert' contends that "we have to look at people's e-mail."
As Newsweek's Richard Wolffe asks the president for his definition of torture, it's suggested that the White House press corps "try its hand at enhanced interrogation techniques to pry information out of its high-value source, George W. Bush." (Scroll down to see Jeff Gannon's threat to sue Cranberg for calling him a "phony reporter.")
The House fails to override Bush's SCHIP veto, and the Louisville Courier-Journal editorializes that Sen. Mitch McConnell "will object to any suggestion of lying, but what else is it when you knowingly misrepresent facts?"
Although '89 House Members Tell Bush: No More Money for Occupation,' the Pentagon is reportedly set to alert National Guard units that they will be shipping off to Iraq beginning late next summer, and in a recent interview with Spiegel, military historian Gabriel Kolko said that "Many in the US military think Bush and Cheney are out of control."
Rep. Dennis Kucinich presents a post-inaugural vision, and Sen. Barack Obama, echoing John Edwards, said in an appearance on "The Tonight Show," that "Hillary is not the first politician in Washington to declare mission accomplished a little too soon."
With a report that Blackwater is 'Likely to Be Out of Iraq, but not until its contract expires next May, it's argued that "Blackwater and the rest do not represent Washington's authority, but rather its crisis of authority." Plus: Blackwater, qu'est-ce que c'est?
As a Freedom's Watch-inspired investigation 'reveals revolving door on Iraq PR,' APCO, the PR firm duped by Harper's Ken Silverstein into pitching Turkmenistan's business, is awarded the Kazakhstan account, and Sen. Claire McCaskill has "no problem with lobbyists being in hearings, but they shouldn't be able to buy a seat."
Among the subjects discussed in a "Democracy Now!" interview with Paul Krugman are the growing gap between rich and poor, Alan Greenspan and "Gore Derangement Syndrome." More from Krugman on 'The Media Conscience of a Liberal.'
A report that the head of the FCC "has circulated an ambitious plan to relax the decades-old media ownership rules," quotes Sen. Byron Dorgan as saying that "If the chairman intends to do something by the end of the year, then there will be a firestorm of protest and I'm going to be carrying the wood."
HBO premieres "Run, Granny, Run," and Ben Affleck says that "Gone, Baby Gone" is "really about how people get whipped into a frenzy over the headlines about a little girl being abducted instead of people looking around at what's going on in their own living rooms."
A Regent University student who was "suspended pending a psychiatric evaluation," says no evaluation of him until "Regent forces Pat Robertson to undergo one," and a clue to the identity of the reporter that Rush Limbaugh claims to have threatened, is found in Limbaugh's comparison of the reporter to publisher Al Goldstein.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Thursday's deadly bomb attack in Pakistan is seen as the first shot in "the battle that Islamists have vowed to wage against the Washington-inspired and brokered attempt at regime change," and may signal "a new level of integration of the politcal arena of Afghanistan and Pakistan."
As criminal probes open into the construction of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, and the supplying of food to the U.S. military in Iraq, Defense Secretary Gates looks into repurposing military contractors, "because the objective of ... delivering a principal safely to a destination" has led to the mistreatment of Iraqis "to put it mildly."
As his confirmation hearings draw to a close, Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey refuses to 'rule out expansive action in war on terror,' giving what Human Rights First describes as 'troubling answers on torture,' and says the president can 'go beyond the laws.'
"Black Site" Island? A British parliamentary committee is set to investigate claims of its government's complicity in a secret CIA prison for terror suspects on, or off the coast of, the island of Diego Garcia, following up on long-standing allegations by intelligence analysts and human rights groups.
In the face of Democrats' 'wiretapping woes,' Sen. Chris Dodd fights back against immunity by putting FISA on hold, Sen. Ron Wyden appears to have spiked the bill with a poison pill, and John Dean explains why the bill is a threat even for those with "nothing to hide."
The 'FCC takes another swing at the cross-ownership ban,' Comcast ignores net neutrality, and big and small media combine in what one critic describes as a "copyright cartel," as a recording industry website is boarded by pirates.
Phoenix New Times executives, who had been arrested by a "controversial" sheriff on charges of revealing information about a secret grand jury proceeding, are now released from jail and vowing to fight what they view as retaliatory targeting of the publication and its readership.
When President Bush raised the specter of WWIII, it's noted that "not a single representative of the 'fourth estate' chose to ask a follow-up question on the subject," as attention is drawn to a shift of the goal posts, and some interpretive ambiguities.
After the hookers testify, the prosecution rests in a corruption trial that has drawn in former Speaker Dennis Hastert, who is reportedly to resign his House seat later this year, although no specific reason has been given for his early retirement.
As Senate subcommittee looks into cleanup delays at the 517 Superfund sites across the country, the Texas Observer offers 'a scenic tour of Harris County's 11 best toxic attractions,' and superfund365 aims for the national picture, but at least Norilsk is not on the list.
With a new poll showing that three quarters of U.S. consumers plan to shun toys made in China this holiday season, Mark Schapiro, in a cover story for the Nation, sheds light on some of the toxins in imported plastic toys that are banned in Europe but perfectly legal in most of the U.S.
With corporate donors opening their wallets for Democrats, and Hillary Clinton picking up dollars from the agriculture lobby and the defense industry, Paul Krugman worries that electoral success may leave Democrats "too dependent on lobbyists' money to seriously confront the excesses of our new Gilded Age."
Amid suspicions that Guatemalan "death-squads are prowling freely once again," the murder of five labor leaders is seen as proof that labor protections negotiated with the U.S. under CAFTA are too weak.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Under U.S. pressure, Turkey holds off for now on sending troops into Iraq after Kurdish rebels who killed at least 12 Turkish soldiers in an incident that, in one analyst's view, "seems to show that key players ... are simply not telling the truth." Meanwhile, 'aid agencies prepare for displacement.'
In its account of a failed raid on Sadr City targeting an "Iranian linked insurgent," the U.S. military gives a kill count triple that of Iraqi sources, and claims only "criminals" were killed, contradicting Iraqi witnesses who say the dead included children.
In an interview with Bill Moyers, Jeremy Scahill contends that Blackwater heralds the emergence of a "parallel national security apparatus," to which the U.S. military itself is "essentially a subservient player," and which is only the tip of the iceberg.
Out of a meta-review of '12 Books in Search of a Policy,' Chalmers Johnson harvests elements for moving public debate on the Iraq war toward a "decision to dismantle both the empire that has been created in their name and the huge, still growing military establishment that undergirds it."
In 'War and Deliverance,' Newsweek's Christopher Dickey brings out the banjo music behind American attitudes toward the invasion of Iraq, while Tom Engelhardt considers whether "the urge to confess" may have already produced 'Bush's Pentagon Papers.'
Tony Blair moves the "rhetorical point" from WWIII to "rising fascism in the 1920s," and upping the ante, Vice President Cheney accuses Iran of "direct involvement in the killing of Americans," and "strongly implies that Washington continues to seek 'regime change.'"
"There's no question that the Syrian target hit by the Israelis last month was a nuclear facility designed by North Korea," insists an anonymous "senior U.S. official" in an ABC News "exclusive", although an earlier report sees 'Cheney's hand' behind "leaks of misleading stories" about the issue.
Riverbend returns with a description of the shocks and relief of life as a refugee in Syria, where she discovers, "No matter how wealthy or educated or comfortable, a refugee is a refugee. A refugee is someone who isn't really welcome in any country- including their own... especially their own."
The Observer reports on a controversial study by an Israeli psychologist into the violent behaviour by the country's soldiers, one of whom is quoted saying, "The most important thing is that it removes the burden of the law from you. You feel that you are the law ... You are God."
A Washington Post article aimed at dispelling the 'myths about rendition' fails to reassure critics that rendition isn't potentially for everyone given the extraordinary powers this administration has given itself in the name of fighting terrorism.
Pentagon pressure for "sexy" Guantanamo convictions in advance of the '08 elections is seen as a familiar modus operandi, as the FBI works to reconstruct cases against detainees that may have been tainted by CIA interrogation methods.
The New York Times Magazine profiles the 'Gitmo insider who leaked the names of detainees,' and remains "the only United States serviceman to be convicted and imprisoned for an act of insubordination directed at the Bush administration's detention policies."
Defending the press as an equal opportunity disseminator of political attacks, Washington Post media critic and blogger Howard Kurtz draws an equivalency between "Abu Ghraib and secret CIA prisons" and "stories about Edwards and his hair and Hillary and her cold, calculating cleavage."
Although the Fox News promoted 'Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week' will be "performing under the tent of something called the "Terrorism Awareness Project," Danny Postel notes that "one of the carnival's acts, it turns out, is rather fond of the Islamo-Stalinist-terrorist cult group" called the MEK.
At Sunday's Republican debate, candidates stalked 'The Hillary' as they beat around the Bush and traded barbs over "conservative purity," and the only thing that appeared to be missing was an actual Neanderthal.
'GOP hopefuls woo social conservatives,' but the environment is MIA, as Rudy Giuliani, who had hoped to pick up some credentials in Texas, bottoms out, and of Mitt Romney it's said, he sells himself as 'a true convert': "He not only shifts positions; he often claims to be the most passionate advocate of his new stances."
As the 'Future Dries Up' in the American West, one scientist predicts "In the best scenario ... There's a two-thirds chance there will be a disaster," while the most critical drought in a century fuels a battle over water rights in the Southeast. And then there is the worst case scenario.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Sadr City reportedly "seethed with anger" as U.S. officials "continued to insist that no civilians were among the 49 people killed during the bloody sweep," and the U.S. military said that on Tuesday it killed 11 people in an air strike, including five women and one child, which followed a USA Today report that the "U.S. military has increased air strikes in Iraq fivefold this year."
As 'Iraq says it will cooperate with Turkey on Kurds,' Turkish protesters chant "we are ready for war," and it's argued that "With so many other problems in Iraq, the Bush administration apparently thought it could ignore this one."
IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei reportedly told LeMonde that Iran "would need between another three and eight years" to acquire a nuclear bomb, while the America Enterprise Institute's Joshua Muravchik, a 'bomb now' advocate, conceded on "Hardball" that "I don't mind if we bomb next month, or the month after."
As 'Reports Assail State Department on Iraq Security,' tax evasion is added to the list of charges against Blackwater, over the "independent contractors" it employs, while the company makes a 'run for the border,' but it's not Iraq's border.
A report that the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program "only has enough funding to cover 16 percent of the 38 million poor households eligible for the program," sets off CNN's Jack Cafferty and threatens to exacerbate 'The heat or eat dilemma.'
While 'Living paycheck to paycheck gets harder,' it's argued that compared to a century ago, "the inequality debate is positively polite, as if the gap between rich and poor were a minor matter to be considered by statisticians and policy-makers."
As a chronicle of Richard Mellon Scaife's 'Low Road to Splitsville,' wonders "Why a billionaire would shack up at Doug's Motel, of all places," it's reported that "Clinton and her chief Republican rival Rudolph Giuliani spent a fortune on five-star hotels, spa retreats and chartered jets," and Chuck Norris enters the fray, endorsing Mike Huckabee.
A report on "the odd dalliance going on between Hillary's campaign and Matt Drudge," concludes that "the Drudgification of our media proceeds apace," and it's argued that "Drudge is pushing Clinton so she'll win the nomination -- and lose the election."
Marty Kaplan predicts "a new Fox-wide onslaught on George Soros," in previewing an 'Orwell Comes to America" conference sponsored by Soros' Open Society Institute, and according to one observer, "It's the men of Fox Business who look like bimbos," while another asks if it makes sense for Fox to "paint CNBC as Pacifica Radio?"
As the House Judiciary Committee hears testimony about 'Allegations of Selective Prosecution,' "Countdown" interviews the fired former U.S. attorney who said on Friday that a report from department's Inspector General "likely will include recommendations for criminal prosecutions of Gonzales and maybe others."
A Washington Post report on how "Las Vegas has embraced the twin trends of data mining and high-tech surveillance," cites a 2003 "data sweep" that followed a warning that terrorists were about to attack Las Vegas, which was also covered -- text and video -- in the "Frontline" documentary "Spying on the Home Front," that aired earlier this year.
Britain's long history of IRA attacks is said to have "helped imprint the potential benefits of closed-circuit television on the popular imagination," and Nobel laureate Doris Lessing said that "September 11 was terrible, but if one goes back over the history of the IRA, what happened to the Americans wasn't that terrible," in an interview with El Pais.
As the 'Nobel Prize makes Gore a target of angry readers,' one reviewer says of CNN's "Planet In Peril," airing Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, "Its immediacy can be measured in the blood flowing through the veins of one of its reporters."
National Geographic's editor introduces a cover story on "Memory," which contrasts a woman who "might have the best memory in the world," with a man who "could very well have the worst," after "the herpes simplex virus chewed its way through his brain, coring it like an apple."
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
The new Joint Chiefs' chairman gets an earful from Army captains who "pelted" him with 'Blunt questions about Iraq,' and the CBO offers up a new cost estimate of $2.4 trillion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which adds $705 billion in interest, as "the conflicts are being funded with borrowed money."
With McClatchy reporting that 'Bush is the biggest spender since LBJ,' an article on 'entitlement hysteria' prompts the question: "How many Washington pundits understand that the entitlement problem is largely a Medicare problem? Five percent?"
As 'Bush offers to bomb Kurds,' according to a Murdoch-owned tabloid, it's reported that Turkish warplanes and helicopter gunships did bomb Kurdish rebel positions just inside Turkey, along the border with Iraq.
A report that 'Bush risks falling off Turkish-Kurd tightrope,' quotes the author of "Beyond Suspicion," a new [free!] book on U.S.-Turkey relations, as saying the U.S. hasn't seriously addressed Ankara's concerns about the PKK, whose PJAK offshoot is having a go at Iran, a conflict which, "like the Turkish one, has explosive potential."
As the 'Weather begins to offer some hope' to Southern California, response to the wildfires 'Sparks criticism in local papers,' reports Editor & Publisher, which earlier described how the Los Angeles Times had at least 70 reporters covering the story.
Glenn Beck responds to criticism -- derided as "More battlespace preparation efforts from the Media Matters crowd" -- of his comment that "I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today."
With the White House said to have "eviscerated" global warming testimony by the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Danny Schechter asks: "So where should we start in combating these many superbug menaces?"
Sen. Chris Dodd reiterates his intention to place a "hold" on any FISA bill that includes telecom immunity, as his growing netroots support prompts comparison to Howard Dean, while Sens. Clinton and Obama are said to be 'Running for Caveat-in-Chief.'
After Mitt Romney said to "look at what Osam -- uh -- Barack Obama, said just yesterday. Barack Obama calling on radicals, jihadists of all different types, to come together in Iraq," a spokesman for Obama replied that "Apparently, Mitt Romney can switch names just as casually as he switches positions."
Get out your slanguage dictionary for Variety's review of "Robert Redford's first helming chore in seven years, and his most directly political pic yet," which "doesn't look likely to roar its way to significant B.O. gains."
Jesus in Seven? Dave Zirin responds to an article on how the 'Rockies Place Their Faith in God, and One Another,' after it was reported in 2005, about their competition, that 'Faith binds many on Sox.'
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Turkey's prime minister says that the 'U.S. will not stop Iraq incursion,' Spiegel reports on growing bewilderment in Turkey over the aims of the PKK, and it's noted that while a flurry of diplomatic activity appears tied to that crisis, "somewhere in the near background, there is the lengthening shadow of the Iran question."
After announcing new sanctions against Iran, Secretary of State Rice testified to Congress about corruption in Iraq, where tension over the Blackwater shootings reportedly "continues to rise" between the U.S. embassy and Prime Minister al-Maliki.
As the New York Times reports on the bunker reality of Blackwater's Green Zone compound, the Kuwaiti contractor being blamed for flaws in the construction of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, "is still winning lucrative new contracts to build U.S. diplomatic installations overseas," reports McClatchy.
"There is now a 'strong and credible possibility' that satellite photographs reveal the target of Israel's strike on Syria," observes War In Context. "Which is to say, the photographs reveal where Israel hit -- not what Israel hit."
In a Wednesday hearing that was interrupted by Code Pink protesters, Secretary of State Rice said that a "two-state solution" was in jeopardy, as Israel unveiled a plan to incrementally cut off Gaza's electricity "every time rockets hit Israeli territory."
Rice also admitted that the U.S. mishandled the case of Maher Arar, but offered no apology, and claimed that "We do absolutely not wish to transfer anyone to any place in which they might be tortured." Plus: 'The Right Confronts Rice Over North Korea Policy.'
A "fearless" Rudy Giuliani 'Leaves door open to waterboarding,' and Jonathan Turley, who said in a Los Angeles Times op-ed that Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey's 'evasive remarks on "waterboarding" should disqualify him from the job,' again forcefully argues his case in an appearance on MSNBC.
Seduced by a four-year old memo described in an article linked to from the Drudge Report, 'Fox anchors spread fears of al Qaeda link to California fires.' More on 'Fanning Fear's Flames,' which includes a clip that inspired the observation: 'Bush's demagoguery knows no bounds.'
As 'Ill-Equipped Soldiers Opt for "Search and Avoid,"' Bill O'Reilly exploits a prime-time window of opportunity to advance his claim that MSNBC and CNN "are not going to report stories that reflect well on the American military."
A New York Times editorial points out that being a journalist in Iraq is so dangerous that one of the recipients of the International Women's Media Foundation's "Courage in Journalism Awards," six Iraqi women who work in McClatchy's Baghdad bureau, couldn't risk being photographed in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Plus: 'Summer Internship in Iraq.'
As a doctor tells IPS of "the deadliest attacks he has seen in his 20 years" in his city in North Waziristan, on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, Marc Herold discusses the concept of "Afghanistan as an Empty Space" in a talk given in Madrid to coincide with the Spanish-language edition of his book, much of which was originally published here.
'Ink-Stained Marx' In a liberated, subscriber-only Nation article, James Ledbetter looks at the newspaper dispatches of Karl Marx, who was a London correspondent for the New York Tribune from 1852 until the early 1860's.
As the Huffington Post takes another hit for not paying contributors, it's argued that the handoff from old media to new has been "fumbled very badly," while one publication is said to owe "much of its success to low-tech attributes readily available to any paper but nonetheless in short supply: candor, irreverence, and a willingness to offend."
With Sen. Barack Obama, reported to be 'luring ex-Bill Clinton aides' to his campaign, Obama said of Clinton's vice president: "I can promise you that as president I will have him involved in our administration in a very senior capacity." And a new campaign spot suggests that Sen. John McCain and the GOP are 'Trapped in the 1960s.'
The New Yorker's James Surowiecki says that the interesting question wrestled with in "The Warhol Economy," is that since "Globalization and the Internet ... were supposed to usher in an age in which people could live and work wherever they wanted.... why, more than ever, do people in the culture industry all want to live in New York?"
Friday, October 26, 2007
As Sen. Hillary Clinton throws her support to sanctions against Iran, Juan Cole pokes holes in some of the justifications for the new policy, and Russian President Vladimir Putin suggests that "Running around like a madman with a razor blade, waving it around, is not the best way to resolve the situation."
Secretary of State Rice concedes that "there is a hole" in U.S. law that has prevented prosecution of contractors, as Rep. Henry Waxman sums up her testimony, saying "I think there was a huge gap between what she said and reality." Plus: 'The fat cats of war.'
As some Marines in Iraq take aim at hearts and minds by picking up garbage, others are trained to fancy themselves as 'big game hunters' operating in what appear to be near 'free fire zones,' amid concerns about the rising power of Iraqi militias.
In a pair of dispatches from a PKK stronghold in northern Iraq, Patrick Cockburn notes that the guerillas "would welcome a Turkish military invasion of northern Iraq because it would embroil Turkey with the Iraqi Kurds and the Iraqi army." More from the Guardian's Michael Howard.
The president and the governor -- and even "Brownie" -- offer a hand in dealing with the California wildfires, which are seen as 'a taste of what's to come,' as the White House talks up the benefits of global warming.
Showing what it learned from Katrina, FEMA fakes a press conference about the fires, with staffers posing as reporters and tossing up softball questions for their boss, in apparent "violation of several laws."
Part of what's different about the U.N.'s gloomy new sustainability audit, according to a BBC report, is "the way it explores the links between social trends and environmental decline," as conservationists look at primates 'on the the edge of oblivion.'
As House Democrats push children's health insurance back on the agenda, the White House highlights the fact that 'over half the families in America are not poor,' and an essay in the New Yorker probes 'the great lie of supply-side economics.'
Although there are signs that the 'professional intolerance movement' is fading, Bill O'Reilly continues to come out against "tolerance" of homosexuality, and "universities and colleges" come up second on a list of 'the ten most dangerous organizations in America.'
It may be experience that counts as 'Rudy goes waterboarding,' while Senate Democrats suggest that the confirmation of a new attorney general hangs on an answer to the torture question, and Digby interrogates the 'pop torture' constituency.
Donald Rumsfeld, who is slated to be honored with a "statesmanship award" at an event to be emceed by Pat Sajak in mid-November, gets hit with a lawsuit charging that he ordered and authorized torture as he touches down in France.
Cashing in on a lock of Che Guevara's hair at a Dallas auction, a former CIA officer involved in the revolutionary icon's execution is apparently happy to turn a profit because "He feels that Che was a murderer and a bandit and it was appropriate to hunt him down." Plus: But is it art?
Responding to a speech by President Bush in which he calls Cuba "a tropical gulag," and claims that the hidden horrors of the regime will "shock the conscience of humanity," the Cuban foreign minister calls for "the immediate closure of the torture center ... on the Guantanamo Naval Base."
McClatchy reports that the U.S. is ignoring the angry Afghan reaction to a secret 2004 poppy spraying test in its push to use real herbicide against what's expected to be another record opium crop, an approach that, Barnett Rubin contends, fails to take the issue of providing "alternative livelihoods" seriously.
With Ecuador conditioning participation in the U.S. drug war on "equal bases," a survey of recent books on Hugo Chavez in the London Review of Books concludes, that "Like Pericles in extending the popular democracy in Athens, he has woken a tiger that he has at present no choice but to ride alone."
Monday, October 29, 2007
In Basra, now patrolled by death squads and rife with the "language of the apocalypse," British troops strike a deal to "stay out in return for assurances that they will not be attacked," while U.S. troops return from Baghdad "tired, bitter and skeptical," and State Department officials get their marching orders.
Glenn Greenwald gets a 'bizarre, unsolicited email' assailing his writings on the politicization of the military, apparently from Gen. Petraeus' spokesman, Col. Steven Boylan, who seems coy about acknowledging that he sent it, but whoever the author, signs indicate that he's 'one arrogant prick.'
In an article reporting on how the "one time Bush administration favorite Ahmad Chalabi ... has re-emerged as a central figure in the latest U.S. strategy for Iraq," McClatchy quotes Col. Boylan as saying that he "is an important part of the process ... He has a lot of energy."
'The Mega-Bunker of Baghdad' goes on-line at Vanity Fair, as the State Department reviews ties with the Kuwaiti company building the embassy, and "6,000 contracts worth $2.8 billion issued by an Army office in Kuwait" identified as a "hub of corruption" come under intensive investigation.
With the Bush Administration between sanctions and 'Trash Talking World War III,' David Ignatius argues that talk of war is doing little to deter the Iranians but is "scaring the heck out of America's allies in the region," and if carried out, it "would lead absolutely to disaster," adds IAEA chair Mohammed ElBaradei.
The Washington Post tries to untangle the fate of "ghost prisoners" who fade into obscurity from CIA jails, as the U.N. prepares to investigate alleged U.S. extrajudicial killings' in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the recent Blackwater case.
Amid escalating tensions and Kurdish defiance, Turkey faces 'a minefield larger than it looks,' and a Nov. 5 meeting in Washington sets the countdown for what Pepe Escobar suspects may be "the preview screening of the Battle of Kirkuk."
As 'GOP candidates run hard to the right' for the primary, Paul Krugman looks at how Republicans "have made unreasoning, unjustified terror the centerpiece of their campaigns," taking as a key example Rudy Giuliani advisor Norman Podhoretz's calls to start bombing Iran asap.
Witnessing the apparent 'Evangelical Crackup' triggered by the success of 'Rudy the Values Slayer,' Frank Rich is confident that "reigning ayatollahs of the American right," have lost their purchase on the levers of power.
'Edwards plans big for presidency,' promising "a New Deal-like suite of programs to fight poverty and stem growing wealth disparity," and asking Americans for sacrifices, including paying higher taxes. He also promises a '2-year ban on new drug ads.'
PEJ's 'The Invisible Primary -- Invisible No Longer' details the media focus on "fundraising, tactics and polling," with Hillary Clinton dominating campaign news to the extent that it almost seems that she's the incumbent everybody is running against, and the question of Iraq receding into the media background -- for now.
As Spain prepares to enact a "law of historical memory" that would ban public symbols that commemorate the country's erstwhile dictatorship, and the 'church-state battle goes to class,' fights break out in Rome over the beatification of Franco's martyrs.
Power is "handed from husband to wife" in Argentina, where the election of 'President Cristina' follows a campaign in which the government was accused of "blatantly throwing the resources of the state behind its candidate," and which leaves behind "several key unanswered questions."
The New Yorker profiles 'Neptune's Navy,' which is captained by pirate environmentalist Paul Watson, whose "wild crusade" to protect the ocean's marine life flies in the face of the Law of the Sea, a treaty which right wing Republicans vehemently oppose for their own reasons.
A UN expert on "the right to food" calls turning food crops into fuel "a crime against humanity," and there may be more trouble brewing on the horizon thanks to ethanol, which is boosting 'The Corn Supremacy,' to new heights.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
The White House claims that 'Iran seeks nuclear weapons,' Norman Podhoretz debates Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria, and it's suggested that perhaps the real target of the Israeli strike on Syria "was not a nuclear facility: it was the IAEA inspections process -- a troublesome log that the neocons are eager to clear off the road leading to Tehran."
As the Iraqi government approves draft legislation that would lift immunity for foreign private security companies, the Washington Post reports that "The largest dam in Iraq is in serious danger of an imminent collapse," which "could lead to as many as 500,000 civilian deaths."
On Monday, Israel was prohibited from cutting off electricity to parts of the Gaza Strip, but it's "tightening the screws" in other ways, even as it's argued that "The Israel Defense Forces' tactical advantage over Hamas in Gaza is shrinking." And Jim Lobe looks at how hostility to engaging Palestinians is a family affair.
As 'Worsening violence strangles Afghan aid,' the New York Times reports that Afghanistan is seeing the largest influx of foreign fighters since 2001, and "60 Minutes" is "surprised" to hear that "while the enemy has killed hundreds of civilians this year, a similar number of civilians have been killed by American forces."
Reviewing last week's mistrial in the prosecution of the Holy Land foundation, Chris Hedges points out that while "the government has closed seven Muslim charities in the United States and frozen their assets. Not one of them, or any person associated with them, has been found guilty of financing terrorism."
As Wired profiles a "suburban counterterrorist,' the New Yorker talks to 'Condi's Party Starter,' a State Department adviser "on 'counter-radicalization,' youth, and education" who authored the just-published book, "Children of Jihad," and a German state sets about 'Fighting Jihad with Comics.'
Spiked invites the authors of 'Five books on terrorism you aren't allowed to read' to review their books, which have been banned in the UK because of libel suits filed by Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Mahfouz. One of the five authors claims to be the only one to have stood up to bin Mahfouz.
As President Bush announces his nominee to head the VA, it's reported that two VA hospitals in the Tampa Bay area, the first and fourth busiest in the country, "turn away critically ill patients for huge chunks of the year because of an overloaded veterans' health care system."
Tom Engelhardt argues that "the Washington Consensus today has next to nothing to do with the American one," and a columnist explains why he "wasn't ready to write about Paul Wellstone on the fifth anniversary of his death," and says of his 2002 vote against the Iraq war resolution: "in retrospect, it made the diminutive Wellstone a giant who stands head and shoulders above the posers he left behind."
As Sen. Barack Obama 'Steps It Up' over character and Social Security, Sen. Hillary Clinton 'launches preemptive debate strike,' and one observer asks: "Why are the Republican presidential candidates the only ones going after their opposite numbers in the other party?"
Obama also issued a statement saying that he "cannot support" Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey, and a conservative radio talker claims that "there's a lot of people who believe that in fact, Lindsey Graham should be the one waterboarded."
Right-wing bloggers call for boycotting the New Republic's advertisers over the Scott Thomas Beauchamp affair, and Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell describes his e-mail exchanges with Army Col. Steven Boylan.
As serious flaws are seen in Pro Publica's model for investigative journalism, Center for Public Integrity founder Charles Lewis says that his "single worry is that journalism - especially investigative journalism -- will become further marginalized," and touts the value of nonprofit journalism, about which we recently wrote and studied.
Before writing about how the U.S. has come "full circle on government surveillance," the 95-year-old author of a new memoir "apologises repeatedly" during an interview "for not being strong enough to take me downtown for dry Martinis."
A spokesman for Arnold Schwarzenegger claims the governor was joking when he said that marijuana "is not a drug," a reporter visits a farming town in Ohio whose "white buffalos" are "Mecca" for meth addicts, and, 'Are rising obesity rates linked to U.S. farm aid?'
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
As 'U.S. troop losses plunge in Iraq,' a GAO report says that the 'U.S. hasn't taken advantage of Iraq's drop in violence,' and FAIR shows how NPR's Anne Garrels 'treats torture-based confessions as news.'
Attorney General nominee Mukasey says in a letter to Senate Democrats that while "certain coercive interrogation techniques" are "on a personal basis, repugnant to me ... hypotheticals are different from real life, and in any legal opinion the actual facts and circumstances are critical."
Talk of torture makes a mere cameo appearance in the Democratic debate, during which 'Edwards, not Obama, hits Clinton hardest, smartest,' and as "The Politics of Hope" gets worked over, is the handwriting on the wall for Obama?
Rep. Dennis Kucinich also warned the mainstream media to dial it back on Iran, and a report that Karen Hughes is leaving her State Department job, notes that "Polls show no improvement in the world's view of the U.S. since Hughes took over." Plus: 'GOP Launches Free Harriet! Effort.'
As a Zogby poll finds that 52% of likely voters would support a U.S. military strike to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon, a reviewer says that Frontline's "Showdown with Iran," while "occasionally refreshing ... faithfully recycles the official U.S. line on Iran's nuclear program without ever questioning it."
Candidates' "scheduling conflicts" force postponement of a planned November 4 GOP debate on Fox News sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, and about Stephen Colbert's candidacy, Eric Boehlert finds "The mainstream Beltway press ... basking in the entertainment industry glow that his act brought to the White House campaign trail."
Following a report that "Clear Channel has sent an edict to its classic rock stations not to play tracks from 'Magic,'" it's noted that some of the network's "adult oriented" stations are playing it, but also argued that "Clear Channel isn't giving it the kind of exposure a #1 record would normally get." Plus: 'Eagles travel down "Long Road" with Wal-Mart.'
Magazine editors announce their covers of the year, homage is paid to B-list magazines, and Editor & Publisher picks its photos of the year, with the grand prize winner being a Boston Globe photographer for a series of articles on veterans' care, titled 'A Promise to Keep.'
A CounterPunch investigation charges 'Pilfered Scholarship' in "The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual," particularly a chapter co-authored by anthropologist Montgomery McFate. Earlier articles on the field manual from Tom Hayden and George Packer, and a Wired post on 'When Anthropologists Go to War.'
The documentary "Meeting Resistance" goes into limited release after "no network would air it," but it does attract a trade audience, and a review which notes that it was shot before "working around resistance groups became markedly harder for Western journalists."
"The World" interviews one of the Iraqi women who won a "courage in journalism" award last week and was the subject of a New York Times' editorial, and a former "fixer" who now lives in Philadelphia, says that "the world doesn't care anymore. If I were to return and got killed, the sacrifice might be in vain, for nothing."
Slate's Dahlia Lithwick reviews arguments in a Supreme Court case in which the defendant "decided to play a game of kiddie-porn chicken with an undercover agent in an Internet chat room," and New York magazine assesses the fallout from a controversial 2005 article on teenage-porn star Justin Berry, by former New York Times' reporter Kurt Eichenwald.
San Francisco Chronicle reporter Don Lattin, who has written extensively about alternative religious movements, discusses, in print and on video, his new book "Jesus Freaks," which updates the story of the Children of God cult.
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