|November, 2004 link archive
Monday, November 1, 2004A Los Angeles Times report on the final push describes the Bush campaign as "engineered mostly by a single top-down organization," while Kerry's "depends on a conglomeration of party, labor and issue organizations that use multiple messages to target divergent audiences." Plus: 'Unprecedented efforts to mobilize voters.'
Early Returns A Des Moines Register poll showing Kerry leading by 48% to 45% among likely voters, also found that Kerry leads by nine points among the 27% of respondents who said they had already voted. A Gallup poll found Kerry leading by eight points among the 30% of Floridians who said they had voted.
Kos writes that Gallup's final poll smacks of "a CYA attempt to bring its numbers closer to what other pollsters are reporting," and Donkey Rising' notes that Kerry leads by 8 points among independents in the poll, and that no modern Republican has won without carrying independents.
Staying Put A Kerry volunteer in Florida whose "job is to get people to the polls and, more importantly, to keep them there," describes "one of the most moving, meaningful days of my life." Plus: 'Palm Beach Deja Vu?'
Smile! Pandagon says it "looks like amateur hour for the Florida GOP" after two alert witnesses discover that "the trick with Republican staffers running dirty tricks ... is to turn cameras on them." Scroll down for the transcript of a "This American Life" segment on voter fraud, and find more examples here and here.
The founder of Land's End took out a full-page ad in a Wisconsin paper, which read: "I have been a Republican and voted Republican most of my life. But in my opinion, this administration has high-jacked the Republican Party I knew and is taking Wisconsin and the United States in dangerous directions."
Bin Laden has "abandoned the role of Islamic true believer (and of course mass murderer) to take up the bloodless role of rational critic," writes Tom Engelhardt. "Osama as pundit... What a bizarre way to complete a three-year cycle of global madness." Plus: Bin Laden not the only one to resurface before the election.
Walter Cronkite told Larry King that "I'm a little inclined to think that Karl Rove... probably set up bin Laden to this thing," and Slate's Chris Suellentrop asks: 'Has Rove brought too many new people to politics?'
Maureen Dowd refers to Dick Cheney as "our demented vice president" after he said the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan will be "studied for years for their brilliance." Last week, Cheney also said: "You'll notice there haven't been any bin Laden tapes on the air... we think he's probably in a deep hole some place, in hiding."
Interviewed on CNN about the bin Laden tape, Peter Bergen was also asked about Tora Bora. He said, "There were more American journalists, by my counting, at the battle of Tora Bora than American soldiers." More from Bergen on the tape and 'what really happened' at Tora Bora.
Knight Ridder reports that "Military and intelligence officials had warned [Gen. Tommy] Franks and others that the two main Afghan commanders, Hazrat Ali and Haji Zaman, couldn't be trusted, and they proved to be correct.."
As 9 Marines die in the "deadliest incident involving U.S. forces in nearly nine months," the New York Times reports that 15 top U.S. "generals, admirals and embassy officials" are "speaking more candidly" about the situation in Iraq.
Newsweek reports that Secretary of State Powell has acknowledged privately to friends that the insurgents are winning in Iraq. The article also says that Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi blames the situation on the "lenient and accommodating" U.S. approach. Atrios calls the Powell comment "an authorized leak."
American Leftist notes that in a recent appearance on Canada's "Question Period," Richard Perle attributed the U.S. troubles in Iraq to not following his advice and "turning things over to the Iraqis immediately after the war."
"60 Minutes" reports that while U.S. troops ride in "cardboard coffins" and fight without armor, radios and even bullets, $2.8 billion that was earmarked to support U.S. troops has been raided by Congress to pay the pork bill, according to Winslow Wheeler, whose book "The Wastrels of Defense" was excerpted by CounterPunch.
Secret Toll One of the authors of the study released last week that found the war has killed at least 100,000 Iraqis, says "the Pentagon is collecting figures on local casualties in Iraq, contrary to its public claims, but the results are classified."
The London Sunday Times reports the rebels in Fallujah claim to have obtained chemical weapons and are threatening to use them if attacked.
A narrow win by a progressive coalition's Socialist candidate has brought the left to power for the first time in Uruguay.
Tuesday, November 2, 2004
'Supreme Disenfranchisement' Steven Rosenfeld weighs the 2004 implications in the Supreme Court's 2000 ruling in Bush v. Gore that "the individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote" in presidential elections.
Noting that 45% of respondent to a recent New York Times poll still don't believe Bush won legitimately in 2000, David Neiwert argues that we still haven't gotten over it -- but that we're about to. Neiwert has also been busy updating his election 2004 'Thug Watch.'
The Center for Public Integrity estimates that Kerry has a $24.8 million advantage over Bush in money available to spend on recounts, if needed, which "stands in sharp contrast to the situation four years ago."
Harold Meyerson looks at field operations in Ohio and Florida and sees "something I've never before seen ... an effective, fully functioning American left," but Lee Sustar asks, why is the left pretending that Kerry is less devoted than Bush to advancing U.S. imperialism?
Ralph Nader ended his campaign by inflating a giant pig on Wall Street, shouting over hecklers that "the only vote you ever waste is a vote for someone you don't believe in." Afterward, Patti Smith performed for a more accepting crowd at a Nader event at Cooper Union. Plus: Ich bin ein Naderite.
'Twilight of the Liberal Hawks' Reason's Tim Cavanaugh surveys the field of left-leaning thinkers who enthusiastically supported Bush in the prelude to Iraq "and have now paid the president back with withering criticism and endorsements for John Kerry." Plus: 'Cracks in the Empire.'
A Los Angeles Times analysis finds that the election offers "not much choice" with regard to the war in Iraq, and the Cato Institute's Doug Bandow argues that 'Withdrawal is the only honorable way out.'
American Leftist finds Osama bin Laden's latest pronouncement "much more coherent than a boiler-plate George W. Bush foreign policy speech," and the full transcript urges U.S. media to help convey "the reasons for our fight against you" by broadcasting one of his interviews with Robert Fisk -- who tells Democracy Now! that 'Bin Laden's Vote is For Bush.'
Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair report that, according to an intermediary between the Taliban and both the Clinton and Bush administrations, Bush "could have had Osama bin Laden's head handed to him on a platter on his very first day in office, and the offer held good until February 2 of 2002." Plus: 'Osama loves Kazaa.'
Nothing Personal CIA Director Porter Goss is said to have asked the agency's inspector general to modify a two-years-in-the-making draft report on the 9/11 attacks "to avoid drawing conclusions about whether individual CIA officers should be held accountable for any failures," reports the New York Times. Earlier: 'The 9/11 secret in the CIA's back pocket.'
Baghdad Burning's Riverbend meets "some terrorists" on the run from Fallujah and writes that Zarqawi is "like the WMD ... he's even better than the WMD -- he has legs."
A New York Times summary of continuing violence in Iraq quotes Iraqi President Sheik Ghazi al-Yawar on the situation in Fallujah: "I completely disagree with those who see a need to decide the matter through military action. The coalition's handling of this crisis is wrong. It's like someone who shoots at his horse's head just because a fly has landed on it. The fly escapes and the horse is dead."
'The Pitch Is In' New Yahoo! Local spokesperson Howard Dean, following in Bob Dole's footsteps, may also be blazing a trail for today's loser.
Observing Wal-Mart's election mask slipping, Matt Stoller asks: "broadcasting Fox News throughout all their stores on election day is just another high quality service they provide to the communities they serve, right?"
Wednesday, November 3, 2004
'Who to Blame This Time?' Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, in an election post-mortem, write that "You can already hear the Democratic Leadership Council cranking up its message that you can only beat the Republicans by outflanking them on the right."
'It's Not Dark Yet, But It's Getting There.' Carpetbagger writes that "election analysis on four hours of sleep sounds easier than it is," on the morning after DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe celebrates "the best election night in history," and hours before Kerry concedes. Greil Marcus has the final word.
'Moving Through the Stages of Grief' argues Gadflyer's Paul Waldman, requires acknowledging that "every man, woman and child in America could tell you the one thing Bush wanted you to know about him and about Kerry: he's strong, Kerry is weak," while virtually no one can name "the one thing Kerry wanted you to know about him and about Bush."
The San Francisco Chronicle's Mark Morford writes that "Apparently we must hit some sort of new low between now and 2008, attain some sort of seriously vicious status in the world before we will snap out of it. You think?" Plus: 'Four More Fears'
Failing the Global Test International election monitors in Florida told the International Herald Tribune that they "had less access to polls than in Kazakhstan, that the electronic voting had fewer fail-safes than in Venezuela, that the ballots were not so simple as in the Republic of Georgia and that no other country had such a complex national election system." Plus: 'Foreign monitors barred from some US polling stations.'
'Moral Minority' In his White House Briefing column, Dan Froomkin notes that "Exit polls showed 21 percent of voters said moral values were the most important issue -- and 78 percent of them voted for Bush."
'The Kids Aren't All Right' The tradegy in under-30 set coming out to vote "in our typically paltry numbers," writes Matthew Yglesias, "is that in an era marked by an extremely sharp divide over cultural issues, the young are one of the largest demographic blocs that find themselves unambiguously on the liberal side." Plus: Party like it's 1959.
As voters in eleven states gun down gay marriage, Eric Umansky finds a small, bitter bonus for staying up all night when Fareed Zakaria tells ABC that on core cultural issues the U.S. is "much closer to Nigeria and Saudi Arabia than it is to Europe and Japan."
Prem Panicker explains why Bush waited before deciding not to make a victory speech Tuesday night: conceivably, Ohio could have been hanging in the balance for the next 11 days.
The AP reports that Hungary will withdraw its troops from Iraq by the end of March, with the country's prime minister saying that "to stay longer is an impossibility."
As the plot thickens in Fallujah, War in Context comments that "John Kerry could have taken George Bush's Iraq problem off his hands. Now Bush has no easy way out. Even as early as Inauguration Day it may already be clear to more than a few of Bush's few thoughtful supporters that they have little to celebrate."
In 'Four Decades of Imperial Hubris," David Hackworth writes that both major presidential candidates reacted to Osama bin Laden's latest message with "canned sound bites, choosing to respond only to the medium, not the inconvenient message." Plus: 'bin Laden's Game Plan' and 'What's up, CNN?'
Iraqi insurgents observed election day in the U.S. by blowing up a major Iraqi oil pipeline near Kirkuk, dealing "a severe blow to the national economy," the New York Times reports.
CNN's Larry King strokes a new theory to explain Ralph Nader's candidacy to Wolf Blitzer.
Satan-Edwards carries Baghdad, but the Kurds are sticking with Bush.
Thursday, November 4, 2004
As from 100 to 1000 protesters hit the streets in Portland, the Guardian's Jonathan Freedland writes that, "put plainly, the US is moving steadily and solidly to the right." Plus: a global 'What Now?'
Lebanon's Daily Star surveys "disillusioned" Arab response to the U.S. election and reports that analysts believe that "the next Bush administration needs to re-engage more thoroughly with the Arab world, rather than treating the region as part nexus of terrorism and part convenient gas station."
Can't We All Get a Bomb? Army Reservists and National Guardsmen tell the Los Angeles Times that they witnessed looting at al-Qaqaa in late April 2003, with one saying, "On our last day there, there were at least 100 vehicles waiting at the site for us to leave" so looters could come in and take munitions, adding "It was complete chaos. It was looting like L.A. during the Rodney King riots."
Scripps Howard's Dale McFeatters is among the first to bestow a new accolade on President Bush: "Republican congressional leaders won't say this to your face, but now that you're a lame duck, they consider themselves your co-equal." Plus: neocon "flex players" waiting in the wings.
CNN reports that Senate Minority Whip Harry Reid, consistent opponent of abortion rights, says he has the votes to replace Sen. Tom Daschle as Senate Minority Leader.
Harold Meyerson writes that "the Democrats did a lot of things right in this year's campaign. They nominated the strongest candidate in their primary field. They waged the smartest, best funded, and most effective ground campaign in their history. They were more unified than they've been since Lyndon Johnson's 1964 run against Barry Goldwater. And they got their clock cleaned."
Wampum's Dwight Meredith argues that the "reality-based community" would be wise to accept that "the election results are valid and legitimate ... until otherwise shown" and that "the electorate is not to blame."
No Bloc Is An Island? David Neiwert argues that progressives "need to start by going back to their rural roots," while Doug Ireland, writing on 'Why Kerry Lost,' explains "why we can expect, not four more years of Republican rule, but 12."
Slate's William Saletan endorses Edwards, William Bennett calls for a culture war, and after Nicholas Kristof urges Democrats to "to work more with religious groups," Carl Remick calls upon the left to "stop sucking up to the religious worldview."
Justin Podur writes that on Tuesday the American people "lined up behind their killer leaders when they could have rejected them," but Hullabaloo's Digby predicts that as absentee ballots out west are counted, Bush may not get the margin that has "all the gasbags breathlessly proclaiming his glorious mandate."
A Broad 1 About Cheney's claim of "a broad, nationwide victory," Josh Marshall writes that "A single percentage point over 50% is not broad... And yet [Bush] plans to use this narrow victory as though it were a broad mandate, starting right back with the same strategy that has already come near to tearing this country apart."
Robert Borsage argues that Bush's "victory will produce a second-term president with a mandate for little beyond patriotic and pious posturing." Plus: Sen. Arlen Specter warns Bush on Supreme Court nominees, and 'The "Fruits" of Victory.'
Maureen Dowd says the notion that Bush wants to reach out to the whole country is "humbug. The Bushes are always gracious until they don't get their way." Plus: 'Majority win could make second term more partisan.'
Noting that conservatives comprised about 34 percent of Tuesday's electorate versus 29 percent in 2000, TNR's Noam Scheiber writes that "Anyone anticipating a conciliatory second Bush term should stop and consider how much Bush owes his base."
"Rove spread fear and fused its elements," writes Sidney Blumenthal. "Fear of the besieging terrorist... was joined with fear of the besieging queer." Plus: 'A Vote for Fear,' running Alan Keyes' numbers and Virginia Postrel on 'God and the Electorate.'
"In the age of terrorism, fear and insecurity are powerful political forces," writes Gary Hart in the Independent. "Americans prefer a simpler leader whom they perceive to be 'strong' to a more nuanced leader who sees the world in more complex terms." And the Mirror fronts a reelection question.
A review of the BBC's 'The Dirty Race for the White House' notes that undecided voters interviewed couldn't find Iraq or Afghanistan on the map. "Asked to identify Britain, one man pointed to west Africa. Another, with his finger on North Korea, said: 'Afghanistan is over here, where Russia used to be.'" Read another review of 'Dirty Race.'
Following an Internet broadcast of the 18-minute bin Laden video that Al-Jazeera excerpted, Raw Story references an unconfirmed report that Al-Jazeera may have two more videos, with bin Laden issuing "Congratulations" to Kerry in one, and "a clear threat and warning" to the U.S. for re-electing Bush in the other.
Halliburton shares jump more than seven percent to highest mark since June 2001, and the Concord Coalition calculates a $1.3 trillion deficit gap resulting from Bush's spending and fiscal plans, with $1.24 trillion coming from proposed tax cuts.
"The Bush administration announced Wednesday that it will run out of maneuvering room to manage the government's massive borrowing needs in two weeks," reports the AP, "putting more pressure on Congress to raise the debt ceiling when it convenes for a special post-election session."
New Sheriff In Town Reuters reports that an openly gay Hispanic woman is the first Democrat to be elected sheriff in Dallas County, Texas, in 30 years, and Molly Ivins describes how to cure a chicken-killin' dog.
Friday, November 5, 2004
Eric Umansky posts excerpts from "Perfect Soldiers," in which Terry McDermott writes that "Al Qaeda itself was never the huge organization its opponents sometimes portrayed," and that over the years many of its plots have seemed "almost comical in their haplessness: boats sank, cars crashed, bombs blew up too soon. Some of the men virtually delivered themselves to police."
In an excerpt from her Sydney Peace Prize lecture, Arundhati Roy describes "a war in which a band of rich nations, armed with enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world several times over, rounded on a poor nation, falsely accused it of having nuclear weapons, used the United Nations to force it to disarm, then invaded it, occupied it and are now in the process of selling it."
The Los Angeles Times cites witnesses to a "mercy killing" being prosecuted as premeditated murder as saying that two U.S. soldiers who shot a wounded Iraqi "to put him out of his misery" treated their victim "as if he were an animal struck by a car."
As Doctors Without Borders pulls out of Iraq, citing "escalating violence," Knight Ridder reports that in the battle to retake Fallujah, Marine officials are bracing for casualties at "levels not seen since Vietnam."
Jim Lobe writes that, according to a new Human Rights Watch report, the U.S. has failed to safeguard not only weapons stockpiles but also evidence of human rights abuses that would be crucial to the prosecution's case in trials of Saddam Hussein and his former officials.
Egypt's Al-Ahram Weekly reports from Latifiya, a formerly quiet town in "The Red Point," an area south of Baghdad that the occupation has turned into "a launch-pad for radical Sunni groups."
Baghdad Burning's Riverbend offers up condolences to those in the blue states, and tells voters in the red states that "Red really is your color."
David Corn sees 'Dark Days Ahead,' and Rahul Mahajan says that "Mandates are not given, they are taken. Bush has the power, therefore he gets to decide if he has a mandate." Plus: Putting the man in "Mandate," and what is claimed to be the 'last word on Bush's bulge.' (scroll down)
Taking exception to the conciliatory tone of a New York Times editorial urging Democrats to "accept the will of the majority," the WSWS says that while "Republicans are relentless, give no ground, and seize every opportunity...The Democrats and the 'liberal' media are perpetually on the defensive, ready to throw in the towel at the first sign of a conflict, and always careful not to offend." Plus: 'No Surrender' and 'Buck Up, You Lefties!'
"Al Gore grew a beard. Kerry will probably enter the Tour de France," predicts Ddjango, who is in "no mood for conciliation or reconciliation" and believes that "trying to change the Democratic Party is a total waste of time."
The Wall Street Journal says that should cancer-striken Chief Justice William Rehnquist retire, President Bush "could do worse than elevate Antonin Scalia to Chief Justice and nominate Miguel Estrada as an Associate Justice," because "Mr. Bush's voters do not want another David Souter."
Carpetbagger speculates on who might succeed John Ashcroft as Attorney General, and a Bush adviser tells the Washington Post that "the Cabinet does not need a new face because it has no face. The function of the Bush Cabinet is to provide a chorus of support for White House policies and technical expertise for implementing them. It's like the Nixon Cabinet, without the scandal."
"This election was not stolen," writes Arianna Huffington, and "it wasn't gay marriage that did the Democrats in." Rather, it was "the fixation on undecided voters" that produced a "timid, spineless, walking-on-eggshells strategy."
The AP reports that "An error with an electronic voting system gave President Bush 3,893 extra votes in suburban Columbus," and that "officials did not immediately respond to requests... for more details about the voting system and its vendor, and whether the error, if repeated elsewhere in Ohio, could have affected the outcome." Plus: Greg Palast on the role of "spoilage" in deciding Ohio.
In a piece extracted from Salon, Janet Sullivan argues that it is Nader voters, not Democrats, who don't know to "reach out" to the "heartland." As for whether Democrats should try it, she writes, "Yeah. Then boil your hand till it's sterilized." Plus: 'the once and future hope?'
Antonia Zerbisias writes that the media are conducting a premature autopsy on liberalism, but says don't count on them giving "progressives and dissenters the microphone they have been denied since those planes ripped through the heart -- and fearful heartland -- of America."
Whatever It Is, I'm Against It reports that Alabama voters constitutionalized shrimp promotion while Alaska and Maine preserved pizza and donut rights for hunters. And California's governor brands the "girlie men" in his state, "losers."
Monday, November 8, 2004
Monday on derelection2004 Twenty-three new posts, including: Black Box Voting alleges election fraud, gay journalism in red states, scoring the "conventional wisdom" of campaign coverage, Karl Rove meets the press, Bush resurrects "some" straw man, the administration's "hammerlock" on the Washington press corps, and Bob Herbert on 'Voting Without the Facts.'
U.S. forces demolished one hospital, says the BBC, and selected another as an "early target" in the renewed assault on Fallujah, according to the New York Times, "because the American military believed that it was the source of rumors about heavy casualties."
Blitzklieg An AP article advances the notion that "insurgent leaders holed up in Fallujah will defend the city by combining scrappy fighting with a media blitz designed to provoke a worldwide outcry." It also quotes a U.S. Army Maj. as saying, "He wants to make it as painful and costly as he can. He's testing us," but gives no indication if "he" is the likely suspect or a bigger player. Plus: 'Spreading the Word.'
'No Carrots, All Stick' Dilip Hiro argues that plans to flatten Fallujah show that "there is no sign yet that the Bush administration's disastrously flat learning curve has risen even by a fraction of an inch."
William Polk sees three 'American Options in Iraq' -- stay the course, which "has never worked anywhere"; "Vietnamization," at best "a fig leaf to hide defeat"; or leave by choice rather than being forced.
The U.S. military embeds 70 journalists with a Marine unit near Fallujah, and Reuters reports that most of the Marines there have no major combat experience. The New York Times finds that back in the U.S.A., with the election over, 'The Antiwar Right is Ready to Rumble.'
The CIA official formerly known as "Anonymous" tells the Times that "the Bush administration has failed to recognize that Al Qaeda is now a global Islamic insurgency, rather than a traditional terrorist organization, and so poses a much different threat than previously believed."
Friends of a Georgia man say they believe his Ground Zero suicide was a political protest against President Bush's reelection and the war in Iraq.
Arguing that terrorism trumped gay marriage, Paul Freedman writes that "Terrorism was cited by 19 percent of voters as the most important issue, and these citizens gave their votes to the president by an even larger margin than morality voters: 86 percent for Bush, 14 percent for Kerry." Plus: Evangelicals claim to have led rather than followed Bush campaign.
During an appearance on "Fox News Sunday," Karl Rove said Bush will again push for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, so that we can have a "hopeful and decent society." Plus: 'Ralph Reed's Other Cheek.'
A Los Angeles Times survey of Democratic strategy ideas quotes a South Carolina Democrat complaining that "white guys" like him are "alienated" because the party is dominated by various interest groups, like "the African American caucus, the Asian American caucus, the Pacific American caucus ... where's the white guys' caucus?"
Rural Legend Kevin Drum compares exit polls from 2000 and 2004, and finds that this year Bush was up by 10 points in urban areas and down by 9 in small towns.
Haaretz's Gideon Levy writes that "the United States has re-elected an enemy of Israel as its president," one whose "first four years will go down in history as a calamity."
Finding cause for concern in a Financial Times report that many currency traders believe "the dollar could slide still further," Needlenose writes that "the sharp increase in interest rates that these trends imply would make the stagnant economy of the past couple of years seem like the peak of the dot-com boom."
Reelected Without Revealing An article on Democrats' vow to protect Social Security notes that Bush has "yet to say how he would pay for" his plan to allow younger workers to establish private accounts, and that he "has given few details of his tax plan." Plus: Study finds 'USA in a fragile state of health.'
Matthew Yglesias explains why "contrary to much of the breathless reporting we've been seeing lately," replacing Chief Justice William Rehnquist "won't be a big deal" after all.
The New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg, who is kind of blue, writes that "this is not a center-right country. It is a center-right country and a center-left country, but the center has not held." Plus: How he won.
Tuesday, November 9, 2004
Tuesday on derelection2004 New posts include: the news media's lazy reporting on gay ballot initiatives, who cleaned up on campaign spending, Robert McChesney on an election marked by a "staggering amount of voter ignorance," TV news gives short shrift to stories about voting irregularities, the "media elites" at Fox, and a call for reporters to begin 'Pressing the President.'
The Washington Post reports that a ruling by a federal judge, who found that detainees may be prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions, and who said that "the president is not a tribunal," brought an immediate halt to special "military commission" trials at Guantanamo Bay.
As insurgents in Fallujah invite journalists to embed, a Tunisian fighter tells a Guardian reporter that "We are here not because we want to liberate Iraq, we are here to fight the infidels," and an Iraqi says he realized that "I can't do any thing but jihad as long as the Americans occupied my country."
Jerome Doolittle writes of Fallujah, "Again, we are destroying the village in order to save it. Again we return to the insane business of using high explosives to spread democracy, defined once more as submission to America's will."
A former Australian diplomat says that the assault on Fallujah has 'All the Makings of a War Crime' and that "it will sow seeds of deep anti-Western hatred in the Middle East for decades to come."
In an AlterNet essay calling for "a transition to a new generation of leadership," Tom Hayden writes that "from an anti-war viewpoint, it was unforgivable that Kerry and other Democrats assented to this pending assault" on Fallujah, and the WSWS calls the U.S. media and the liberal establishment "accomplices" in an unfolding massacre.
After aides said Kerry is "fired up," wants to play a "highly visible role," and may run again in 2008, a former Kerry campaign strategist tells the Washington Post, "I can't imagine people are going to say, 'It worked pretty well last time. This is what we need next time.'" The next Adlai?
Jakob Neilsen finds that one reason Bush beat Kerry was better newsletters, which Bush used to help turn out the vote, while Kerry bombarded supporters with money pitches.
Victory Lapdog Carpetbagger notes that Karl Rove spent 20 minutes on "Meet the Press" without getting a single question from Tim Russert about his role in the Valerie Plame case or his recent appearance before a federal grand jury.
Washngton Post reporter Mike Allen fields questions about Rove, including: "How do you think Rove's Norwegian heritage influences his political thinking and attitude on particular issues?"
The Black Political Consensus held firm in the election of 2004, says Black Commentator, despite the Bush juggernaut rolling over it and an assault from an army of "Christians from hell," which now "acts as a mass citizen militia for Karl Rove."
Also appearing on "Meet the Press," Maureen Dowd said Condoleezza Rice "never did her job as national security adviser... and now, they're talking about putting her in charge of defense. So a lot of people who didn't do their jobs are going to get better jobs." The Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes writes, "To keep Rice, Bush might have to elevate her to secretary of state. He'd be smart to do it."
In his latest "Letter From Iraq," the New Yorker's Jon Lee Anderson analyzes the effects of de-Baathification on fueling the insurgency, an approach Paul Bremer's spokesman Dan Senor continues to defend.
As Reuters reports on Halliburton's post-election disclosure that bribes may have been paid to Nigerian officials to help a company subsidiary win a multibillion dollar contract, Dana Milbank asks: 'Halliburton, the Second-Term Curse?'
Los Angeles Times' reporters encounter sticker shock in Georgia science classrooms, seventy-nine years after the Scopes monkey trial. Plus: 'Texas textbooks to reflect anti-gay, anti-safe sex attitudes.'
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Wednesday on derelection2004 Twenty new posts include: debunking allegations of fraud in Florida's opti-scan counties, how financial value trumped "moral values," PR industry sees value in values, the lurching news media, the leeching red states, Sean Hannity's post-election blues, spoofing a Timesman, and "a kick-ass reporter who asks questions no one else does."
This time it's for real.
The Independent reports that as U.S. troops reached the city center, "it appears that many of the insurgents who had been based in Fallujah slipped out of the city and moved to other parts of Iraq before the offensive." "Boy... Who could have predicted that?"
With "body parts everywhere" in Fallujah, Financial Times reports that "the attack carries the risk of a political and military backlash that could make swathes of central Iraq virtually ungovernable."
The New Standard's Brian Dominick probes the war on hospitals and ambulances that the U.S. is conducting in Fallujah, and Dahr Jamail reports outrage over Fallujah in Baghdad, where a $500 car is said to be worth $3,000 as a bomb. Plus: 'The Fire is Spreading..."
"Attention, attention, terrorists of Fallujah!" An AP story on the battle for Fallujah describes a U.S. military psy-ops bombardment meant to draw out gunmen.
Three members of Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi's family are said to have been kidnapped by gunmen.
Materiel Girl "I just don't want American troops to be in Iraq, period," said Madonna on BBC Radio. "My feelings are 'can we just all get out?'"
Under the Same Sun says the New York Times would be "well-advised to tone down its level of sucking up to the Pentagon" after the paper centers its online Iraq war coverage around a photo captioned, "Protecting the Islamic cultural center in Falluja was one of the U.S. objectives today."
Whatever It Is, I'm Against It, reviewing Attorney General John Ashcroft's resignation letter, deems it "a masterpiece of hyperbole: under Bush, evidently crime has disappeared, drug use among young people has declined ... and 'corporate integrity has been restored.'"
AP reports that a former Ashcroft aide said "the decision to leave came only after discussions with the president" and that "he would have been pleased to consider staying in the Cabinet."
War and Piece flags a TNR story by David Armstrong which suggests that Pakistan's new envoy to the U.S. may have a proliferation problem.
As The Hill reports that the tide is running against Sen. Arlen Specter, Carpetbagger says that "Republicans have a choice -- throw their weight behind a pro-choice moderate Republican from a Blue state or listen to their far-right base," which feels that it won the election for Bush and that the party "owes them one."
'Is gay marriage the new Nader?' In the Village Voice, Laura Conaway writes that for gays, "with Bush, you could almost decide his homophobia had been a ploy. With Kerry, you knew that he liked you, he just lacked the courage to say so."
The Nation's John Nichols warns that "Democrats can spend the next four years trying to make themselves acceptable to the social-conservative voters who, election after election, cite 'Moral Values' as their top issue. But it won't win them Alabama."
Writing on apocalypse denial for TomDispatch, Mike Davis interviews four horsemen grazing on the White House lawn.
The Return of 'Scottie & Me' "Scott, the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health last month estimated that the war in Iraq has resulted in 100,000 Iraqi deaths. The administration has said in the past that it doesn't do body counts, but do you consider 100,000 to be in the ballpark of number of Iraqis killed as a result of the war?"
Thursday, November 11, 2004
'Arafat's Legacy' The Christian Science Monitor quotes Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery as saying, "Who cared about the Palestinians before him?" More at Electronic Intifada and Arafat in his own words
In an editorial penned before Arafat's death, Ramzy Baroud wrote that while "the absence of Arafat, even as a living symbol, is a matter of great consequence ... we must not indulge in misrepresenting the Palestinian struggle by reducing it to the legacy of one man.
Taking Fallujah was "the easy part of the operation," military analysts and former coalition officials tell the Financial Times; "the hard part will be holding it." Thomas Friedman writes that "Iraq has still not been fully liberated. In fact, as the fight for Falluja shows, it hasn't even been fully occupied."
Reuters reports on the growing humanitarian crisis in Fallujah due to lack of medical attention, as the Red Crescent waits for permission from the U.S. to enter the city.
In an article headlined '150 Marines vs. 1 Rebel Sniper,' a Lt. Andy Eckert is quoted as saying, "The idea is, he just sits up there and eats a sandwich and we go crazy trying to find him."
Brendan O'Neill reviews the 'Theatre of war' in Fallujah, a scene that James Woolcott calls a prime example of "theatrical micromilitarism," as defined in Emmanuel Todd's "After the Empire," in which he writes of "America's military leaders for whom the term 'theater of operations' has ceased being a metaphor." Earlier: "U.S. has been on its way out for the last decade."
Iraq vet Jimmy Massey tells WSWS that 'We're Committing Genocide in Iraq,' and using an economic draft to do it. Massey says that many Marine recruits "are just thankful that they've got some health care -- for a lot of them, the first time they even went to the dentist is when they joined the Marine Corps."
"Democracy Now!" interviews UPI investigative reporter Mark Benjamin, who discusses his finding, first published in September, that 17,000 U.S. troops, wounded or stricken with illness seriously enough to be flown out of theater in Iraq and Afghanistan, don't appear on public Pentagon casualty reports. Read more of Benjamin's groundbreaking investigations.
According to AFP, the Bush administration after devastating Fallujah has set aside $90 million to rebuild it, with "99 U.S.-sponsored projects ... scheduled to start ... before January 31, 2005."
The New York Times reports that U.S. diplomats appear to have put pressure on Halliburton to ignore exorbitant prices and keep using a Kuwaiti subcontractor to deliver fuel to Iraq, at "more than double the cost of available alternatives." Plus: 'Waxman seeks new Halliburton inquiry.'
Sore Winner The Financial Times reports that President Bush has yet to return Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's post-election courtesy call, but Bush invited his predecessor to the White House where they chatted privately for 40 minutes.
A Boston Globe story describes allegations of voter fraud as "Internet-fueled conspiracy theories" and says that "Kerry campaign officials and a range of election-law specialists agree that while machines made errors and long lines in Democratic precincts kept many voters away, there's no realistic chance that Kerry actually beat Bush." Something smells funny.
The Washington Post reports that New Hampshire has apparently granted Ralph Nader's recount request, pending payment of the cost, with a Nader spokesperson saying "either it will allay people's fears about the results, or it will open the door to looking at other states."
Walter Shapiro says Democrats must decide which of the party's four factions can revive their electoral prospects, and the Rev. Jerry Falwell attempts a resurrection. Plus: Josh Marshall on America's "mullahs" and "radical clerics."
Stateline reports that 2004 was no 'year of the woman' where statewide races are concerned.
As John Ashcroft exits, stage right, Under the Same Sun recalls cast replacement Alberto Gonzales' 1997 opinion that "the State of Texas was not bound by international treaties signed by the United States." Plus: 'Goodbye, Mr. Tits.'
Maureen Dowd writes that "With the F.B.I. investigating Halliburton and the second-term scandal curse looming, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney want a dependable ally - and former Enron attorney - at Justice."
Based on comments Gonzales made to a group of editors two years ago, Editor & Publisher says don't expect him to be press friendly.
Friendly Persuasion. WWDT offers the podium to a Bush supporter, for the sake of illustrating of what the Democrats need to do to win future elections.
Friday, November 12, 2004
New posts on Cursor's derelection2004 include: calls to de-ghettoize fact-check stories and to do away with "false equivalence" reporting, Fallujah as post-election strategy, Consortium News takes on the Washington Post, the bulge is back, recounting Ohio, and Stirling Newberry says the question is 'Not "Was It Stolen", but "Was it Stealable".'
As Iraqi resistance forces launch counter-offensives in the heart of Fallujah to coincide with the "Night of Power," the Independent reports on "Waves of devastating violence" that swept through Iraq, and correspondent Dahr Jamail writes about and discusses the situation on the ground in Baghdad.
Fallujah insurgents substitute black flags for two-way radios.
An Iraqi journalist told Al-Jazeera that "almost half of the city's mosques have been destroyed," and the BBC that "Many are dying from their injuries because there is no medical help left in the city whatsoever." Plus: 'This Night in Fallujah' and 'A Thousand Fallujahs.'
As Iraq's interim government warns news organizations about distinguishing between civilians and insurgents in Fallujah, Eric Boehlert wonders if Al-Jazeera's restrained coverage shows that the U.S has tamed the network. Lacking embeds, the Iraqi resistance turns to releasing its own footage.
John Pilger argues that mainstream media coverage of the U.S. assault on Fallujah "normalizes the unthinkable," and Tom Engelhardt writes of the "American exceptionalism" underlying the coverage, "the deep belief that our motives are uniquely pure, our goals singularly above reproach."
As Yasser Arafat is laid to rest at what's left of his Ramallah compound, the cause of his death remains a mystery, leading his physician to demand an autopsy. The PLO replaced Arafat with Mahmoud Abbas, described in a New York Times article as a "pragmatic negotiator and a critic of the intifada."
"With Arafat gone," writes the Electronic Intifada's Nigel Parry, "the television screens of America are filled with 'Middle East experts' who tell us that it was Arafat who was the obstacle to peace and that a new dawn is now upon us."
Under the Same Sun says that nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu's "real crime is that he wasn't broken by the prison, by the solitary confinement... It's obvious that what they are afraid of is not some alleged secrets that he possesses, but his brave voice."
The New York Times reports that the nomination of Alberto Gonzales to be Attorney General may be a Rovian ploy to prepare his way to the Supreme Court, and the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights issues a report criticizing the legal arguments put forward by Gonzales to justify torture. Plus: 'Loyal to a Fault?'
As Reuters reports on Amnesty International's condemnation of what it calls "summary executions by police, serious human rights abuses and an alarming number of illegal detentions in Haiti," journalist Kevin Pina tells "Flashpoints" that the story has been mainstreamed because the violence "has reached such a level that no one can continue to deny it."
Scroll down for a debate between author Gerald Posner and Jimmy Walter, a multi-millionaire who has launched an ad campaign to re-open the 9-11 investigation, and who claims that there is no evidence of a plane crashing into the Pentagon.
As tanks pay a friendly visit to an anti-war protest in Los Angeles, the Department of Homeland Security designates President Bush's inauguration a "national security special event," and the CIA announces "the most extensive deployment of intelligence officers on domestic soil in the spy agency's history."
Halliburton Watch Just-released U.S. State Department documents include a memo alleging that the Middle East chief for Halliburton's Kellogg, Brown & Root subsidiary, demanded that Kuwaiti Hilton staff get his wife a diamond-encrusted Cartier watch in the middle of the night: "Get off your f&^%ing ass, put my wife in a car, and go get her a watch."
Monday, November 15, 2004
Reuters may have been referring to this rare unembedded reporter when it said one of its correspondents in Fallujah "saw utter destruction. Bodies lay in the streets. Homes were smashed, mosques ruined." Plus: 'No embeds at Landstuhl.'
Pepe Escobar writes that "Asia Times Online sources, bloggers in Baghdad, they are all saying more or less the same thing: Iraqis are suffering collective punishment. With a media blackout fully enforced, the Bush administration and its appointed courier Allawi are effectively tying "collective punishment" to "regrettable necessity."
Empire Notes references reports on other un-Conventional behavior, such as "keeping noncombatants from fleeing, making a hospital a military target, and flattening buildings that might have one or two fighters and dozens of civilians." Alexander Cockburn adds denying civilians water: "Let Them Drink Sand!"
As Knight Ridder reports that "the political repercussions of the six-day offensive are likely to haunt the interim Iraqi government for months to come," Iraq's deputy prime minister for the first time indicates that elections may not happen in January, potentially jeopardizing a campaign pledge. Plus: 'Falluja and the Erosion of American Power.'
The Bush administration announces a plan to attack drug-trafficking in Afghanistan, but Christian Parenti says the U.S. cut a deal with warlords that allows them to traffic drugs in return for their support of President Hamid Karzai, whose cabinet has ordered the country's TV networks temporarily off the air.
"God Willing?" author David Domke argues that the Bush Administration has "converged a religious fundamentalist worldview with a political agenda," creating a "modern form of political fundamentalism."
As the head of the Family Research Council characterizes Sen. Arlen Specter's political career as being "full of positions more suitable for the likes of John Kerry or Ted Kennedy than a Republican senator from Pennsylvania," Majority Leader Bill Frist threatens the "nuclear option."
First Things First Editorial argues for saving First Amendment as well as 'Private Ryan,' and Campaign Desk chides CBS for firing a senior producer for cutting into a prime-time program to report the death of Yasser Arafat.
American-Arab group decries the "alarming hostility expressed by media commentators towards the Palestinian people" following Arafat's death, including Don Imus' description of him as "stinky" and a "rat" with "beady eyes," and Joe Scarborough's labeling of Arafat as "the godfather of September 11." Plus: 'Imus in the Mourning.'
The Washington Post reports on the battle between the U.S. government and attorneys for Islamic charities that have been declared "specially designated global terrorists."
Following a Post article depicting the CIA as "in turmoil" under Director Porter Goss, Newsday reported that "The agency is being purged on instructions from the White House," according to a former senior CIA official who says "Goss was given instructions... to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats." Plus: 'GOP lawmakers back new CIA director.'
David Brooks says President Bush must stand up to the CIA, apologizes to Sen. Kerry for mischaracterizing his comments about Tora Bora, and uses Times' column to hawk his book. Plus: Did Bush let something slip during debate?
The Secret Service was called in to investigate after parents and students objected to "Masters of War" being performed at a Boulder high school talent show, and U2 has a 'Catharsis in the Cathedral.'
November 12 to 14
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
An NBC pool reporter watches a U.S. Marine kill an unarmed wounded Iraqi inside a mosque, and American Leftist says that an "operational update" on Fallujah accidentally and indirectly provides an estimate of the number of Fallujah's mythical foreign fighters -- fewer than 25 out of more than 1,000 detainees.
The WSWS says "the Bush administration's propaganda that Fallujah was being held 'hostage' by foreign terrorists has crumbled," and that "the overwhelming majority of Fallujah's fighters -- and the prisoners the U.S. has taken -- are city residents."
In 'Fallujah 101,' Rashid Khalidi writes that the city of Fallujah is deeply familiar with foreign troops on its soil.
Radio Free Europe reports that Iraqi police are fighting on the side of the insurgents in Mosul.
A newsgroup poster observes that mainstream news stories from Fallujah all "contain a similar structure: it's all over, we've killed them all -- well, all except for the guys who just blew up that tank and the ones we're trying to bomb to atoms in that mosque over there who, by the way, are very, very good fighters."
According to the New York Times, 2,000 former U.S. soldiers are fighting callbacks to the Army, and "tensions are flaring between the Army and some of its veterans."
In what she calls a "requiem," Helen Thomas notes that President Bush shunned Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat while calling Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon a "man of peace," which "stunned much of the world, and probably some Israelis, too."
George Bisharat writes that new Palestinian leaders may prove to be "far less yielding" than Arafat, who "by repeatedly signaling that Palestinian refugees' rights of return need only be to the new Palestinian state ... gave up their truest remedy: return to the homes and communities from which they had fled or been expelled." Earlier: Bisharat visited his ancestral home in Jerusalem, only to be assured that "the family never lived here."
In an introduction to a new companion volume to his legendary "People's History of the United States," Howard Zinn listens for 'The Missing Voices of Our World.'
A Washington Post analysis says that in designating National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice as Powell's replacement, "Bush is signaling that he is comfortable with the direction of the past four years and sees little need to dramatically shift course." Plus: Arlen Specter, "women's new best friend."
The Post also editorializes that "it is a measure of the stunning absence of accountability under Mr. Bush that it is Mr. Powell who leaves, while the architects of the failed and even disastrous policies he opposed, from postwar Iraq to Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, remain in office." Earlier: "I want Condi."
Yes, Mr. President "So is Bush moving to the right or the center in term two?" asks Josh Marshall. "Wrong metric. He's moving to exert greater control."
Got Privatization? The Teamsters' pension fund fared better when Jimmy Hoffa used it as a slush fund than it did when prominent Wall Street firms began to administer it under federal supervision, according to a New York Times article.
An AP story reporting that the Pentagon "has agreed to warn military bases worldwide not to directly sponsor Boy Scout troops" refers to the Boy Scouts of America -- which bans openly gay scout leaders and atheists, but makes room for convicted felons, including murderers and sex offenders -- as "a venerable organization."
The Hill reports that senior Kerry-Edwards adviser Mike McCurry was working both sides of the street during the presidential campaign, and cites ex-Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile as saying, "I don't see a problem with it ... I know people who cross the street a lot, but they don't get caught."
After supporting Bush for re-election, Sen. John McCain now calls evidence of climate change "alarming" and White House performance on the issue "terribly disappointing."
Bob Harris reports that the U.S. is on the verge of starting a trade war with Canada over softwood lumber, with British Columbia's Forest Minister warning, "You can't steal $4 billion from a country and not expect that there would be repercussions."
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Although the U.S. military commander in Iraq says that "Fallujah is no longer a terrorist safe haven," the Washington Post's Anthony Shadid interviews a prominent Sunni insurgent -- in Fallujah -- who vows to "turn Iraq into one big Fallujah," and "a series of bloody attacks and counterattacks" erupt across Mosul after "several days of mayhem."
Editor and Publisher's Greg Mitchell says that how the press portrays the 'Landscape After Battle' in Fallujah, where "a glorious victory to some may look like Bush's Guernica to others," could determine "what happens next" in Iraq, while WSWS finds the U.S. media applauding "the systematic leveling of a city of 300,000 people." Plus: Get me rewrite!
The Red Cross in Baghdad tells IPS that "at least 800 civilians" perished in the U.S. assault on Fallujah, and that "at least 50,000 residents remain trapped within the city," many of whom were "too poor to leave." The claim that 800 civilians died is not ready for prime time in the U.S.
As video of the shooting of an unarmed wounded insurgent enrages Iraqis, and an Amnesty International spokesman tells the Los Angeles Times that the incident reflects an attitude that has "filtered downward" through the ranks from the Bush administration, "many Marines interviewed by various press people defend the killing," with none expressing "outrage of even the mildest sort."
NewStandard accuses reporters of "bending over backwards to explain and dismiss apparent executions of Iraqis in Fallujah," noting that after a correspondent found "27 bodies of men apparently executed at point blank range," AFP did not question a Marine captain's speculation that the insurgents executed their own.
Iraqi novelist Haifa Zangana mentions an Aljazeera report that suggests the execution-style killing was one of many, and says that most of the 'Fighters in Flip Flops' are Iraqis who are "outraged to see their country's resources robbed while they live in slums, drink water mixed with sewage and have no say in the political process." Plus: 'Rebels, Residents Starving.'
Gearing Up? As Texas becomes the second state to lose 100 service members in Iraq, the McAllen Monitor takes a look at a draft registration memo put out by the Selective Service director a few days before the presidential election. Earlier: Louisiana registers 16-year-olds.
New CIA head Porter Goss has given agency employees their marching orders, telling them that their job is to back Bush. The New York Times quotes a former intelligence official as saying, "that's not what people ... signed up for." Ivan Eland writes that Goss is "off to a rocky start." Plus: 'Spy vs. Spy' on Page One and top to bottom at State.
After the Palm Beach Post quoted CNN's Candy Crowley as saying that a green tea incident in Dubuque seemed to define Sen. John Kerry's run for president, Media Matters determined that "green tea may not be quite the highbrow delicacy Crowley seems to think." And Hullabaloo says that "asking John Kerry why he liked green tea ... would make her a reporter instead of a tabloid entertainer."
Power Point "The agenda on which Bush intends to spend his political capital is not privatization of Social Security or making the tax cut permanent or even reversing Roe v. Wade," argues Empire Notes' Rahul Mahajan, but rather "the consolidation of the right wing in power to the point that it cannot be challenged."
DeLay Of Game. The Hill reports that the House GOP Caucus is putting aside its rule requiring leaders to step down if indicted, in order to protect Majority Leader Tom DeLay should criminal charges be brought against him in the Texas redistricting scandal. And 'The Ghost of Gingrich Past' hovers over the senate.
'Hey-hey, it's Camo Day' AP reports that a Texas school district has answered parental objections to "cross-dressing day" by encouraging pupils to dress in military camouflage instead.
With 6,100 votes yet to be tallied, Republican Dino Rossi held a 19 vote lead over Democrat Christine Gregoire in a governor's race that may require a hand recount of Washington state's 2.8 million votes.
Thursday, November 18, 2004
A "brutally honest" Marine intel report, which the New York Times calls "a stark counterpoint to more upbeat assessments voiced by military commanders in the wake of the Falluja operation," warns commanders that reducing forces in Fallujah as planned will allow insurgents to "rebound from their defeat."
'Insurgents Not Giving Up' AP reports that both U.S. and Iraqi assessments are that "the recapture of Fallujah ... may not pay the big dividend U.S. planners had hoped -- to improve security enough to hold national elections in Sunni Muslim areas of central Iraq."
AP's Jim Krane says the U.S. "will have a tough time making friends among Fallujah's surviving residents" and quotes one military official as predicting that Fallujah will "probably wind up like Baghdad, a city under ineffective government control where insurgents have little problem mounting attacks."
In a new TomGram, accompanied by a collage of eyewitness accounts, Jonathan Schell examines 'The Battle for Minds (Forget the Hearts)' in Fallujah, and Matthew Barganier says "we're looking the real thing right in the face" as conservative web posters target Sites.
Baghdad Burning's Riverbend asks, "And what will happen now?" after the shooting of an unarmed wounded Iraqi in a Fallujah mosque. "A criminal investigation against a single Marine who did the shooting? Just like what happened with the Abu Ghraib atrocities? ... What people don't understand is that the whole military is infested with these psychopaths."
The Guardian ponders 'Who Killed Margaret Hassan,' citing a negotiator on the emergence of "rogue terrorist groups" who "don't play by the rules of kidnapping." Robert Fisk notes that "the combined resistance groups of Fallujah" -- including Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- "demanded her release," and Sam Hamod asks, cui bono?
Nicholas Kristof writes that "having crushed the resistance in Falluja, President Bush is now trying to do the same at the State Department and the CIA."
'Colin and the Crazies' Sidney Blumenthal finds that Powell's fall and Rice's rise signal "a neocon night of the long knives" in which "the dictation of a political line has conquered policy-making."
John Nichols calls Condoleezza Rice 'A Politician, Not a Diplomat,' who "began campaigning for the secretary of state post before the 2000 election."
"Sometimes, as a news consumer, you need to look hard to pick up the almost-subliminal subtext of a reporter's story," writes Campaign Desk's Brian Montopoli. "And sometimes they just hit you on the head with it."
War in Context, noting the fact that new National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley has written that the U.S. must continue to possess nuclear weapons "to deter their acquisition or use by others," says this means "nothing less than being willing to launch a nuclear strike against Iran's nuclear facilities." Plus: 'Powell caves' on Iran and nuclear missiles, but "could not verify the accuracy of the reports."
Chris Bowers of MYDD writes that a U.S. invasion of Iran may be only a terrorist attack away.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia drew loud boos at the University of Michigan when he cut off an audience query about his decision in Gore v. Bush, telling his questioner to "Get over it."
David Sirota says 'Good Riddance' after catching Sen. Joe Lieberman "shamelessly using his hometown paper" to lobby for a Bush Cabinet appointment, but Carpetbagger frets that if Lieberman takes his Joe-mentum to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, the Dems will lose another Senate seat.
CBS reports that the GOP is threatening to "go nuclear" and change the Senate rules to prevent Democrats from blocking confirmation of judicial nominees.
Rep. John Dingell calls a proposed House rules change, intended to benefit Majority Leader Tom DeLay by allowing him to remain in a leadership post if he is indicted, a "work release program for the ethically challenged." "With this decision, we have gone from DeLay being judged by his peers to DeLay being judged by his buddies," the New York Times quotes Democracy 21's Fred Wertheimer as saying.
The Washington Post reports that the FDA found serious problems at a flu vaccine plant 16 months before the issue hit the front page, was nine months late in giving the plant a report, and then "overruled its inspection team and made its fixes voluntary rather than mandatory."
Mouse That Moose! A Texas-based Web site hopes to offer remote controlled hunting via the Internet, allowing hunters to "sit at their computers and blast away at animals."
Friday, November 19, 2004
"It's too late. It's too late for everything" in Iraq, writes James Wolcott, responding to predictions by Martin Van Creveld and William Lind that "Iraq will end as Vietnam did," namely in "ignominious withdrawal and defeat," and arguing that "failure may not be an option but it damn well may be the outcome, and quicker than anyone contemplates."
'Fallujah Fluff and Fold' The Wall Street Journal presents "not one but two exculpations" of the shooting of an unarmed wounded insurgent in a mosque by a U.S. Marine, while Omar Barghouti writes that "the majority of humanity, including most Americans, have a lot to lose from the outbreak of such an anarchic, take-no-prisoners type of war," which he calls a "fatal race into the abyss."
Not In the House? In a story headlined 'Insurgent Base Discovered in Fallujah,' the Washington Post cites military officials as saying that "it was unclear when, if ever," Abu Musab Zarqawi had been there, adding that "a U.S. intelligence source said Zarqawi apparently did not use Fallujah as his base of operations."
Knight Ridder's Hannah Allam recalls celebrating her 26th birthday this time last year in Iraq with her four closest Iraqi friends, only one of whom is still alive, having fled the country after receiving death threats.
'Bush in Canada' Justin Podur explains why Canadian MP Carolyn Parrish showed more spine than imagination in stomping on a Bush doll on a comedy show -- when she "ought to have assembled a half-dozen naked effigies of Bush and built a human pyramid out of them" -- and why she "had to be punished" for her act. Plus: coming soon, Fox in Canada.
Writing in The Progressive, Frida Berrigan extends an invitation to 'Meet the New COs,' three U.S. soldiers who chose Canada over Iraq.
"The fear that Afghanistan might degenerate into a narco-state is becoming a reality," says the director of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, introducing the 2004 Afghanistan opium survey, which says that "opium cultivation has spread to all of Afghanistan's 32 provinces" and reached "the highest levels in the country's history and in the world."
Off Wisconsin Carpetbagger liberates the gist of of a subscriber-only TNR piece on 'wacky undecided voters,' the majority of whom "couldn't name a single issue that was important to them," with the exception of those who said "they were voting for Bush, but who named their most important issue as the environment." More from Hullabaloo: 'Decidely Different.'
Under friendly fire, Sen. John Kerry has reportedly agreed to donate "a substantial portion" of the more than $15 million left over from his presidential cmapaign to other Dems, while AP cites a member of "Kerry's inner circle" as saying that "the failure to spend the money cost the senator victory in a close election."
Rep. Dennis Kucinich is the first high-profile Democrat to come out in support of a recount in Ohio, according to the Augusta Free Press.
There will be a mandatory recount -- and probably a coin toss in the event of a tie -- in the Washington state governor's race, as Republican Dino Rossi finishes with a 0.0093 percent lead of 261 votes (out of 2.8 million cast) over Democrat Christine Gregoire.
Did He Or Didn't He? The Washington Post reports that White House officials told European diplomats that Sec. of State Colin Powell "misspoke in releasing information that had not yet been verified" regarding Iran's nuclear capabilities and intentions, and that the State Dept. says "the secretary did not misspeak"
Media Matters reports that media outlets are helping the GOP falsely smear Ronnie Earle, the Texas District Attorney who is investigating House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
New York Times columnisty Bob Herbert writes that in 'Bush's Echo Chamber,' "no less than in your average youth gang, loyalty is everything ... It's as if the children have taken over and sent the adults packing."
Left i's 'Bizarre Moment of the Day' is U2's Bono singing "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" to at the dedication of the Clinton Presidential Center, while the president's Bush turn a deaf ear. Observing MSNBC's Chris Matthews report on the opening, Slate's Dana Stevens writes that "the duller the event he's covering, the further out he gets."
An FDA scientist tells a Senate hearing that the nation is "virtually defenseless" against risky pharmaceuticals and that "the FDA, as currently configured, is incapable of protecting America against another Vioxx," listing five other drugs with potential safety problems.
According to American Leftist, the tone was mightier than the pen in getting cartoonist Ted Rall dropped from first the New York Times and now the Washington Post.
Monday, November 22, 2004
Monday on derelection2004 Twenty new posts, including: how the media paved the way for Bush's victory well before 2004, Walter Cronkite says the next four years should be great for journalists, Campaign Desk wonders if the gloves will come off, a look at behind-the-scenes efforts to litigate the election, Matt Bai asks 'Who Lost Ohio?,' Playboy heats up the red states, and Michael Massing on 'Iraq, the Press and the Election.'
As Iraq circles the date for January elections, the Los Angeles Times reports on the latest fatwa from the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, part of his Shiite get-out-the-vote campaign, and Arab ministers say not so fast.
Reconstruction teams arriving in Fallujah encounter a few problems: sniper fire, explosions throughout the day, and hostile Fallujans.
Xinhuanet reports that, according to "eyewitnesses who managed to sneak out of the city," insurgents still control 60 percent of Fallujah.
Lew Rockwell writes that the Wall Street Journal's editorial page has become "the capitalist equivalent of a Stalinist propaganda machine," as evidenced by happy talk about Fallujah.
In an 'Open letter to Devil Dogs of the 3.1,' reporter Kevin Sites explains his own account of the marine shooting the wounded insurgent and "why we must report stories like this at all." A New York Times story says that Sites' account raises new questions about the actions of other marines at the mosque.
Noting that what he characterizes as "today's antiwar position -- it was a terrible mistake and it's a terrible mess, but we can't just walk away from it -- was actually the pro-war position during Vietnam," Michael Kinsley argues that "Anyone who opposes the war [in Iraq] but isn't ready to demand peace needs an answer to the question, 'Why on Earth not?'"
15,000 troops, or "the same number ... deployed in the Fallujah offensive," will be on hand to guard President Bush during his visit to Colombia today, after Bush ("wearing the expression that some critics call a smirk") and Chile scuffle with security.
GOP leaders accused critics of misreading their motives after members of both parties voiced outrage over a provision inserted into a 3000 page spending bill by Rep. Ernest Istook giving two committee chairman and their assistants access to people's income tax returns.
Josh Marshall weighs Rep. Istook's after-the-fact claim that "Nobody's privacy was ever jeopardized" against the actual text of the inserted measure.
A spokesman for Ralph Nader says that preliminary results in a New Hampshire recount appear to rule out a problem with voting machines, suggesting that "the problem was probably the Democrats," who should undertake "more soul-searching ... to figure out why they lost to the worst president in history."
A Globe and Mail story on the U.S. election says that 'No one cheated (but they could have),' and quotes an expert as saying, "We're playing Russian roulette with electronic voting machines and the gun is still loaded." Earlier: 'Greens Shame Dems.'
Appearing on CNN "Late Edition," in which Al Franken told Wolf Blitzer that "the press bears a responsibility" for Bush's reelection and the Democrats' defeat, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said that by "putting our focus on the media and not focusing on the party's leadership, we just fumble the ball."
The New York Times reports that federal civil rights enforcement "dropped across the board in President Bush's first term in office," according to a new study, one of whose authors says that "collectively, some violators of the civil rights laws are not being dealt with by the government."
The International Herald Tribune reports that according to both Dems and GOPers, opposition by Defense Sec. Donald Rumsfeld was key to sinking the intelligence reform bill, with GOP Sen. Pat Roberts blaming the White House for working to defeat the legislation while publicly endorsing it.
The Danbury News-Times floats a rumor that Sen. Joe Lieberman could yet end up in the Bush Cabinet -- as Head of Homeland Security.
A new Gallup poll finds that almost half of Americans believe that God created human beings "in their present form" about 10,000 years ago, and that only one third think Darwin's theories are "supported by evidence."
Single download theory. On the 41st anniversary of his death, a new video game, developed by people claiming to have "nothing but respect" for JFK, invites players to simulate his assassination, although they risk losing points for "errors" like shooting the first lady.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Writing on Aljazeera.net, Scott Taylor says that a resistance which has "already taken on mythical proportions" may have recast Fallujah as the Alamo. Taylor, editor of Esprit de Corps magazine, previously wrote about his 'Five days in Hell.'
The New Yorker's Philip Gourevitch describes the battle for Fallujah as a microcosm of the "over-all Iraqi predicament," as "marines kept killing and getting killed while trying to mop up neighborhoods that they thought they'd mopped up the day before." Plus: 'Next Stop Kirkuk.'
In a Guardian commentary, Rana Kabbani writes that "a billion Muslims watched as Americans forbade families from burying their dead, and allowed stray dogs to gnaw the corpses of pregnant women and toddlers on the mean streets of what was once Falluja, during Id al-Fitr, Islam's Holy Feast."
Inquiring about progress in Iraq, David Corn is advised to keep an eye on the place where the rhetoric meets the road: the six-mile stretch that "runs straight from the airport to the entrance of the Green Zone. And it's not secure. That says it all." Plus: 'World's most expensive taxi ride.'
The AP reports that new screening measures were in effect at Baghdad International after a homemade bomb was found on a commercial flight inside Iraq. The story adds that "aircraft flying into and out of Baghdad have been fired on frequently by insurgents."
In 'The Path of Occupation,' War in Context's Paul Woodward writes that the shootings of a 13-year old Palestinian girl in Gaza and an unarmed insurgent in Fallujah "bear a striking similarity."
'With Deepest Sympathy' David Hackworth reports that KIA letters to parents and spouses from Defense Chief Donald Rumsfeld, and according to several parents, letters from President Bush as well, appear to be machine-stamped rather than signed by hand.
The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty urges Texas to halt the execution of Frances Elaine Newton, set for Dec. 1, saying that "her trial counsel was egregiously incompetent, she has a strong innocence claim and her conviction rested in large part on the results of ballistics testing conducted by the now-discredited Houston Police Department's crime lab."
A man out hunting deer in Wisconsin with a cheap Chinese-made assault weapon was arrested in Wisconsin after six people were gunned down by semiautomatic fire in the woods. Other local hunters were said to be undeterred by the incident. Plus: 'The group effect of one man's act.'
CBS reports that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay "appears to have dodged a bullet" and is unlikely to face indictment by a Texas grand jury, although Travis County DA Ronnie Earle hands down 'A Moral Indictment.' Plus: putting out an APB for Rep. John Sweeney's vote on the DeLay Rule.
Profiles in Blurrage. The Washington Post reports that after Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist referred to a controversial tax provision as "the Istook amendment," and after congressional aides "said it had been inserted at his request," Rep. Ernest Istook himself issued a statement saying, "I didn't write it; I didn't approve it ... I had nothing to do with it."
Carpetbagger says it's odd that Congress finds it necessary to "condemn criticism" of the Boy Scouts for banning openly gay leaders and requiring a belief in God but shows "no interest in defending the kids" when "right-wing activists attack the Girl Scouts."
The FBI says that 7,400 hate crimes were reported in 2003, with race the motive in more than half of them, but a spokeswoman for the Southern Poverty Law Center tells the AP that the true number may be more like 50,000.
The Economist urges Democrats to forego "comfort-food explanations" and to realize that "the Republicans didn't just beat them on fear. They clobbered them on hope."
Majikthise notes that the president "and his bouncer entourage can't attend a state dinner in a friendly nation without getting into a brawl," and concludes that the U.S. delegation to Chile was "seriously outclassed by the security presence at ODB's funeral."
'George W. Bush: Our leader' celebrated on Orlando billboard in a "political public service message brought to you by Clear Channel Outdoor."
Paul Krugman finds bright spot in four more years, telling Reuters that "I do believe at some point there is going to be a popular tidal wave against what has happened."
Web page at Swarthmore.edu offering examples of disclaimer stickers for scientific textbooks, suggests that "If you really want to get other parents' attention, print the page onto a t-shirt and wear it to school board meetings, especially if they are filmed -- school boards just hate national scrutiny."
Eat your heart out, Louisiana! Grits for Breakfast swells with pride after learning that the mayor and bookkeeper of a small Texas town spent $53,700 in federal housing funds on a psychic, "including but not limited to tarot card readings."
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
A Guardian report describes the resistance movement in Ukraine as "an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in western branding and mass marketing that, in four countries in four years, has been used to try to salvage rigged elections and topple unsavoury regimes." Plus: 'The facts on the Ukrainian melodrama.'
Sidney Blumenthal goes behind the scenes at the dedication of Bill Clinton's presidential library, offering up some choice quotes from the current president and his top political adviser.
As U.S.-led forces begin a new offensive in the "triangle of death," the New York Times describes a ride-along in the region with a police captain who "had never gotten out of his car or even talked to anyone on the street because it was too dangerous." Plus: Iraq by the numbers.
Refugees from Fallujah tell the Independent that U.S. forces killed unarmed civilians, aimed sniper fire at children, targeted hospitals and "refused repeated calls for medical aid."
'Medics Testify to Fallujah Horrors,' telling the Washington Post that injuries suffered by troops in the assault were "unusually devastating, most of them the result of close-range explosions."
Reuters covers an operation that began with U.S. troops "busting through the doors of the wrong house" and ended with soldiers "apologizing for the inconvenience" after missing their target, but back at base, the operation was "declared a success."
Charlie Company? Knight Ridder reports that frayed nerves on the streets on Baghdad have produced "helter-skelter gunfights" between U.S. troops, Iraqi police and "friendly foreign-security contractors," including "guards who daub greasepaint on their faces, don checkered kerchiefs around their necks and ride around the nation like Desert Rat and Rambo wannabes."
As European diplomats detect a softening of the U.S. position on Iran, a New York Times story on a new CIA report says that "Iran's nuclear program received significant assistance in the past from the proliferation network headed by Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan."
The Times article quotes from a tape of an off-the-record effort to turn a buck by former CIA head George Tenet in which he called Khan "at least as dangerous as Osama Bin Laden."
The AP reports that Congress served up pork for Thanksgiving again this year, with Sen. Richard Shelby stuffing enough "special items" in the Omnibus spending bill "to fill 20 press releases" and Sen. John McCain bemoaning a "no shrimp left behind" provision. Plus: 'Lawmakers' Pet Projects' and 'More lumps of coal buried in the Omnibus.'
Sen. Ted Stevens claims that a handwritten note from an IRS employee proves that no GOP senator had anything to do with the language of a provision that allowed congressional staffers to examine individual tax returns, and Josh Marshall asks, "Four days later and they can't figure out who put the thing in the bill?"
'A Truly Lame Duck' "We take Mr. Bush at his word when he says he lobbied hard to get the [intelligence reform] bill through," editorializes the New York Times. "But if that's the case, his lieutenants had a peculiar way of respecting the election mandate that they keep insisting he's won."
Human Rights Watch calls on Caterpillar to 'Suspend Bulldozer Sales' to the Israeli military, but Caterpillar's CEO says the company lacks "the practical ability or legal right to determine how our products are used after they are sold." Plus: Juan Cole gloves a SLAPP shot from MEMRI.
In a new TomGram, Chalmers Johnson discusses 'How to Create a WIA -- Worthless Intelligence Agency,' and government spooks try their hand at children's programming. Results include the CIA's Homepage for Kids.
Under the Same Sun ponders what it looks like when people "actually challenge possibly fraudulent election results," and the White House says it is "deeply disturbed by extensive and credible indications of fraud."
The New York Times previews a "harshly critical" report from the Defense Science Board, a Pentagon advisory panel, which says that while "the nation's institutions charged with 'strategic communication' are broken... America's negative image in world opinion and diminished ability to persuade are consequences of factors other than the failure to implement communications strategies."
The Hill reports that Sen. John Kerry's aggressive participation in the fight over who chairs the DNC is being seen as "the latest of several clear signals that he does not plan to fade into the political horizon," but a Congressional Black Caucus member asks: "Is anyone going to listen to him after the way he ran his own campaign?"
"In our view, those who seek to center their political assessment of the 2004 elections on charges of fraud are clutching at straws," says the WSWS, and "shying away from the bitter truth."
Farm Team Prospects. In The New Yorker, Ben McGrath spotlights "a half-dozen ambitious young Council members" bent on turning New York City Hall into an "incubator for a national progressive revival." Meanwhile, 'Turn your back on Bush' prepares for Inauguration Day.
Monday, November 29, 2004
Dahr Jamail writes that "while Iraq appears to be conveniently slipping off the radar of the mainstream media, the failed occupation continues to grind on towards an end which nobody here can see." Plus: 'Which War Is This, Anyway?'
With two months to go before elections, followers of Moqtada al-Sadr are engaged in a "full-time return to street politics," says an AP report, and "appear to be succeeding in rekindling the zeal their supporters felt ... a year ago."
An audit reportedly shows that Halliburton has lost track of a third or more of the government property that the Coalition Provisional Authority hired it to manage in Iraq.
The Washington Post reports that European negotiating efforts have produced both an agreement by Iran to "fully suspend its nuclear programs" and an International Atomic Energy Agency resolution in which the Bush administration is said to be "disappointed," with one U.S. official quoted as saying, "People here are very unhappy about all this, but we have to go through the motions."
In 'Many Types of Isotopes,' physicist Gordon Prather writes that the neocons "lied to you last year about Iraq's 'nuclear programs,' and this year they're lying to you about Iran's."
James Fallows writes up the results of The Atlantic's "classic Pentagon war game," which found, in the words of one participant, "no military solution for the problems of Iran."
The London Sunday Times hears a "growing chorus of conservative commentators" who want President Bush to sack Donald Rumsfeld as Defense chief.
The Boston Globe reports on the strategic targeting of working-class public schools by military recruiters, who according to Rumsfeld's recruiting director, like to "go where the low-hanging fruit is."
The Los Angeles Times reports that new recruits are finding that basic training "wasn't exactly what they expected when a bus deposited them at the gate nine weeks ago. The plan for many had been to learn an Army trade ... Instead, before they knew it, they were learning to avoid landmines, survive an ambush and spot roadside bombs disguised as cans of Coke."
Just a Bump in the Beltway rounds up three soldiers' stories -- a 43-year-old single mom, an over-50 woman with back pain, and an honorably discharged "deserter" -- in 'This Is Your Individual Ready Reserve.'
Amid reports that 'Bush's Social Security Plan Is Said to Require Vast Borrowing,' anonymous sources tell the Washington Post that Bush and Karl Rove, while determined to "implant their DNA throughout the government," will "go outside" in revamping the White House economic team to find "people who have not been drinking the Kool-Aid."
As the Washington Post reports on the toll that checkpoints are taking on Palestinians and Israelis, the image of soldiers focing a violinist to play at a roadblock is said to have "prompted revulsion among Israelis not normally perturbed about the treatment of Arabs."
Writing in the New York Review of Books, Henry Siegman warns against expecting Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to "transform himself into an Israeli De Gaulle," arguing that "Sharon is not about to agree to the minimal conditions for a workable Palestinian state." Juan Cole adds that Sharon's "real goal is to permanently forestall such a state."
The Chicago Tribune reports on growing White House concern over a Sandinista resurgence in Nicaragua.
The Progressive's Barbara Ehrenreich welcomes visitors to 'FleeAmerica.com,' asking, "Would you loiter at a party where gross drunken acts are being performed and, on top of that, people are dissing you everywhere you turn?"
Mel Gilles, examining 'The Politics of Victimization,' sees dejected post-election liberals as battered spouses: "As victims we can't stop asking ourselves what we did wrong. We can't seem to grasp that they will keep hitting us and beating us as long as we keep sticking around and asking ourselves what we are doing to deserve the beating."
WSWS comments on Dan Rather's 'Inglorious Exit', arguing that "both the liberalism and intransigence of Rather and CBS have been vastly overrated. Only from the warped standpoint of the U.S. ultra-right -- which considered even the conservative 'New Democrat' Bill Clinton a crypto-communist -- could such leading lights of the American corporate media be considered figures of the left."
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Canadian protesters prepared to roll out the Unwelcome Mat and to "say no to Bush" in Ottawa, where 'Simmering Trade Disputes' will also greet him, and where "even the Canadian Parliament wasn't considered a safe enough ground by White House officials."
The Council of Canadians lists five things that it hopes Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin will tell President Bush while he's in Ottawa.
'Noisy protests may greet Bush in Halifax' as well, where a local surfer poet mused that with "that amount of belligerence, aggression and hostility," Bush is "either not getting enough sex or he's not surfing."
The city of Portland, Oregon, will fork over $300,000 to victims of excessive police force during anti-Bush protests, as the city's police chief defends an officer "who was present at each demonstration," saying that "a genuine interest in history and in World War II" might explain why he "collected Nazi memorabilia and uniforms with swastikas and wore them to World War II re-enactments."
Noam Chomsky writes that the 2004 U.S. elections "conferred no mandate for anything, in fact, barely took place, in any serious sense of the term 'election.'"
American Leftist provides salient excerpts from a Pentagon advisory panel's "oddly reality-based report" which concludes that the Muslim world hates our policies, not our freedoms, while Ayman al-Zawahiri tells Americans that "You can elect Bush, Kerry or Satan himself, it doesn't matter to us. What's important to us is the U.S. policies toward Muslims."
'How to Market a Siege' Mike Whitney reviews seven days of CBS' Fallujah coverage, which presented "the battle from different angles, but always the same perspective," and argues that "the real story of Fallujah is nowhere to be found in American media."
A Washington Post report on the continuing "withering insurgent assault on Iraqi police, army and National Guard forces" also quotes residents as saying that U.S. forces bombed a house near Fallujah, "killing nine people, including two women and a child."
A New York Times story on lack of progress in training Iraqi forces quotes from a Marine slide presentation on the arrival of 150 new Iraqi police recruits by helicopter: "2100: Clown Car arrives ... 2101: Be ready for negligent discharges ... Recommend 'Duck & Cover.'"
An Antiwar.com blog post referring to the Interim Iraqi Prime Minister as Comical Allawi, notes that as he claimed violence was decreasing, "the British Embassy announced Monday that its staff would no longer be permitted to travel" on the road from Baghdad to the airport.
Baghdad Burning's Riverbend writes that the situation in Fallujah is "worse than anyone can possibly describe," and that "the situation in Baghdad isn't a lot better," except for "the window guy" who has become "a virtual millionaire" replacing bombed-out windows.
Green-Lighting Saddam The AP reports that some of the 40 Iraqi judges preparing for Saddam Hussein's trial "haven't handled anything more complicated than a traffic case," and that they are working with experts selected by the U.S. Justice Department after the U.N. "refused to train the judges because they could apply the death penalty if Saddam is convicted."
The New York Times obtains confidential Red Cross reports that charge the U.S. military with abuse "tantamount to torture" of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay.
'Gray listed' The Christian Science Monitor reports that "hard-line elements" in China are moving to muffle independent scholars and activists after a popular magazine lists China's "Top 50 Public Intellectuals."
Woe-Mart? Writing in Slate, Daniel Gross says that a poor early Christmas shows that "the Beast of Bentonville seems suddenly vulnerable -- from rivals, from the economy, from its own missteps," and cites an analyst who says "the stores are dowdy. The aisles are ugly ... It feels almost Soviet in its selection and presentation." Plus: $18b worth of "made in China."
Bush aides call secretary of commerce nominee Carlos Gutierrez's sales background a "crucial credential," since Bush has used his economic team primarily to promote the White House agenda rather than to make policy," and confide that "the White House has found it harder to attract a top-flight team because some candidates are unwilling to give up lucrative posts to come to Washington to be White House cheerleaders."
'Terror Town USA' The Palm Beach Post reports that the former Playas, New Mexico, is about to become "the first U.S. community devoted wholly to the war on terror," after the U.S. government helps a subcontractor buy the town, "root and branch."
A recount showed that Republican Dino Rossi has become Washington's governor-elect by a 42-vote margin, out of 2.8 million cast, unless Dems can come up with money for a hand recount by Friday.
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