|November, 2005 link archive
Tuesday, November 1, 2005Democrats force Senate into closed session, "questioning intelligence that President Bush used in the run-up to the war in Iraq and accusing Republicans of ignoring the issue," reports the AP. It followed Minority Leader Harry Reid making what Sen. Trent Lott called "some sort of stink about Scooter Libby and the CIA leak."
As conservative activists celebrate "a combination of a wedding reception, Super Bowl party and bar mitzvah," Slate's William Saletan, citing efforts to label critics of judges who supported abortion restrictions as "anti-Catholic bigots," observes that "if Alito is confirmed, Catholics will hold five of the court's seats."
"[I]t was unclear how long Judge Alito would dominate the news of the capital," reports the New York Times, but "By Monday afternoon, six and a half hours after Mr. Bush made the announcement, most of the questions at the daily White House news briefing focused on the continuing leak investigation."
As the 'White House rebuffs calls for shakeup,' David Corn, asking 'Did Cheney know Plame was undercover?', finds it "not unreasonable to wonder if Libby was -- inadvertently or knowingly -- spreading classified information about an undercover officer with the tacit or explicit consent of his boss."
Following a White House 'Personnel Announcement,' Knight Ridder finds 'Cheney's new security adviser linked to bogus information on Iraq,' and his new chief of staff was "a principal author of the White House memo justifying torture of terrorism suspects."
Noting Patrick Fitzgerald's statement that if witnesses had testified when subpoenas were issued in August 2004, "we would have been here in October 2004 instead of October 2005," E.J. Dionne says, "Those dates make clear why Libby threw sand in the eyes of prosecutors ... and helped drag out the investigation."
According to a Google News search, the only other place that Fitzgerald's quote appeared, outside of the transcript of his news conference, was in a column by Robert Scheer. Although Arianna Huffington did say, "Thanks, Judy."
"'Regime change' in Syria is proceeding along lines suggested by the Iraqi template," writes Justin Raimondo, following Seymour Hersh's claim that the Mehlis Report on the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, is "built on the same anemic foundations" as Colin Powell's U.N. presentation.
U.S. planning for 'Cuba without Castro' has "entered a new stage," reports the Financial Times, with the Office for Reconstruction and Stabilization leading an "inter-agency effort" which "recognises that the Cuba transition may not go peacefully and that the U.S. may have to launch a nation-building exercise."
In 'The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,' Naomi Klein wrote of the State Department's Office for Reconstruction and Stabilization, "Fittingly, a government devoted to perpetual pre-emptive deconstruction now has a standing office of perpetual pre-emptive reconstruction."
With President Bush "booked for South America this week" where he'll be 'heading into den of leftists,' polls reportedly show that Evo Morales, a "self-confessed follower of Venezuela President Hugo Chavez," could become Bolivia's first Indian president.
Military authorities acknowledge that there have been 36 suicide attempts by detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo, including one by an individual said to have "timed his suicide attempt so that someone other than his guards would witness it."
October reportedly brought "the highest monthly total for roadside bomb deaths since the start of the war," and was "the fourth-deadliest month for U.S. forces since the Iraq war began." Plus: 'Inside the "Baghdad Bomb Squad."'
'The Real Reason' why "the strategic decision by the United States to nuke Iran was probably made long ago," is "just to demonstrate that it can do it," writes Jorge Hirsch, who earlier suggested that "The stage is set for a chain of events that could lead to nuclear war over chemical weapons in the immediate future."
Israel's defense ministry has "barred foreign journalists from entering the Gaza Strip," reports the Guardian, "in an apparent attempt to limit reporting on the killing of Palestinian civilians, the firing of artillery shells and the use of "sonic bombs" to terrify the local population."
The Observer interviews some 'Call center cyber coolies,' after an Indian government-funded study opened "an angry debate over conditions within the country's flagship service industry."
Bipartispin With "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price" set to premier, the company has mobilized a war room that includes "veterans of the 2004 Bush and Kerry presidential campaigns," reports the New York Times. More on 'The Wal-Mart showdown,' and why the recently leaked health care memo shows that "Wal-Mart still doesn't get it."
This Modern World explores 'How The News Works Now,' as Timothy Karr spotlights "the packing of the CPB with individuals more comfortable with selling U.S. propaganda than with honest journalism." Plus: A relationship "built on trust" as 'Ex-White House Favorite Finds New Outlet.'
Vanity Fair's press release quotes Mapes as writing: "We suddenly found ourselves in a war and the network didn't know how to fight wars. The CBS press office was used to creating timeless blurbs such as: 'Hear from Jennifer, the morning after she lost the Tribal Council tiebreaker.'"
Asked by Wolf Blitzer if he regretted posing with his wife for Vanity Fair, Joseph Wilson said: "you've asked me this question three or four times... I have never heard you ask the president about the layout in the Oval Office when they did the war layout. I've never heard you ask Mr. Wolfowitz about the layout in Vanity Fair."
Wednesday, November 2, 2005
When a lawyer defending a U.S. Army reservist accused of abusing Bagram detainees inquired as to the whereabouts of alleged victim Omar al-Farouq, he was told that the man "once considered a top al-Qaida operative" had escaped -- on July 10th, according to a Pentagon official.
In addition to 'hinting' at an increase in U.S. troop levels in Iraq, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld also defended the decision not to permit U.N. human rights investigators to meet with Guantanamo detainees, and said it was taken not by the Pentagon but by the U.S. government.
Rumsfeld has endorsed Dorrance Smith as his new chief spokesman, reports the Washington Post, Ignoring "Senate Democrats who are troubled by Smith's allegations of a 'relationship' between U.S. television networks, the al-Jazeera satellite TV channel and terrorist groups."
Knight Ridder reports that fatal casualties among civilian contractors in Iraq have "more than tripled in the past 13 months," in what is described as "one of the rare views in the corporate media into this phenomenon."
Less than 48 hours after a prayer breakfast at which he reportedly offered his "Nightstalker" battalion tearful assurances of safety, a California National Guard colonel became "the highest-ranking American officer to die since the war began."
In an interview with Larry King, Joseph Wilson gave props to Talking Points Memo and Left Coaster for their coverage of the Niger forgeries, including La Repubblica's series, which Justin Raimondo credits for helping to make "Neocon-gate ... bigger by the day."
After a "screaming temper tantrum," over a "cheap trick" that "worked brilliantly," Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, responding to a "stunned" journalist's observation that "Mr. Leader. I don't remember you being so exercised over something before," replied that "You've never seen me in heart surgery."
October Surmise Columns published on Tuesday by E. J. Dionne, Robert Scheer and Thomas Oliphant, are said to "make it very clear that Patrick Fitzgerald had the goods to indict White House aides for obstructing justice in the CIA leak case as of October of last year." Plus: Happy Anniversary!
There is now renewed interest in Lewis Libby's "The Apprentice," a "1996 entry in the long and distinguished annals of the right-wing dirty novel ... an outlet for ideas that might not fly at, say, the National Prayer Breakfast."
As a Washington Post analysis concludes that 'Nominee's reasoning points to a likely vote against Roe v. Wade,' a new Gallup-conducted poll finds that "if it becomes clear" that Judge Samuel Alito would vote to reverse Roe v. Wade, "Americans would not want the Senate to confirm him, by 53 percent to 37 percent."
With Bush claiming that his plan would "help our nation prepare for other dangers -- such as a terrorist attack using chemical or biological weapons," health experts are reportedly concerned that it would also "place the Department of Homeland Security ... in overall command of the government's response should a pandemic erupt."
Although the popular notion that former FEMA heads Joe Allbaugh and Michael Brown were college friends or roommates is not true, according to Allbaugh, the authors of two early stories that stated the two were college friends, tell the St. Petersburg Times that "Brown himself told them of the relationship."
With the Corporation for Public Broadcasting said to be looking "more and more like a parking lot for partisan bureaucrats," an organization that represents 153 public TV stations is reportedly "pushing for a legislative package that would change the composition of the CPB to 'de-politicize' the board."
As thousands vie to attend Rosa Parks' funeral, a CNN viewer sees "a hagiography filled with hypocrisy," whereby "all this rewriting can be translated to the crass thought, 'they don't make colored people the way they used to.'"
Responding to a report that Saddam Hussein agreed to go into exile in February 2003, but "Arab League officials scuttled the proposal," Flagrancy to Reason argues that based on Bush administration statements at the time, "It didn't matter what Saddam did or did not do."
An exiled Saddam could have brought star power to a Donald Trump development on one of the billion-dollar islands being built off the coast of Dubai. They're touted as "The perfect place to leave the world behind," but Reuters reports that "environmentalists say the Gulf's delicate marine ecosystem is paying the price for this perfect escape."
Thursday, November 3, 2005
Referring to "The latest story from the Dante-esque depths of this administration," which has found a world of takers, Bob Herbert predicts that "Ultimately the whole truth will come out and historians will have their say, and Americans will look in the mirror and be ashamed."
As Bush administration officials are "buffeted by questions about the black sites," Human Rights Watch outs Poland and Romania as "likely locations," after the Washington Post "did not publish the names of Eastern European countries involved in the program, at the request of senior U.S. officials." And, the Red Cross wants in.
Joseph Galloway describes his trip to the "E Ring office of Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld where the great man waited to do battle with me." Galloway lunched with Rumsfeld, who used the term "people who go on a diet" when asked about the motivation of hunger strikers at Guantanamo.
House Republicans are reportedly pushing to "knock nearly 300,000 people off nutritional assistance programs."
Respondents to a CBS News poll give President Bush a job approval rating of 35 percent, Vice President Cheney an overall approval rating of 19 percent, and 36 percent say they've heard little or nothing about the CIA leak investigation. And as Bush descends into Nixon country, who's still backing Cheney?
"Bush's top advisers are considering whether it is tenable for Rove to remain on the staff," reports the Washington Post, amid "new indications that he remains in legal jeopardy."
At a press briefing held in advance of President Bush's trip to South America, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, asked about his September 9th, 2002, meeting in Washington with the head of Italian intelligence, "seemed to go out of his way to deny allegations that no one is actually making," writes Josh Marshall.
As 'Democrats intensify Bush slams,' the 'White House ducks prewar intel questions,' with spokesman Scott McClellan saying at a press gaggle that Democrats "might want to start with looking at the previous administration and their own statements."
Following an NPR segment in which NBC correspondent David Gregory said that when McClellan "says something that proves to be demonstrably false, it's important that he own up to it," the New York Times reports that "Mr. McClellan's reputation has been left dangling in the glare of the television lights."
A Los Angeles Times analysis concludes that 'Bush War Policy Is Now in Play,' and the Christian Science Monitor reports that "rarely is a senatorial disconnect as pronounced as this one" over "so-called Phase 2."
As Amy Goodman sees 'Dems (Finally) Take a Stand on War Intelligence,' the WSWS has another perspective on 'The short, noisy reign of Harry Reid' and "the glaring contradiction" in what Joshua Frank calls a 'Sham Behind Closed Doors.'
"More than 1,000 students" cut class "to protest the war in Iraq and the presence of military recruiters on campus," reports the Star Tribune, part of a national student walkout organized by Youth Against War and Racism.
'Dozens Die in Violence In Iraq,' including people trying to rescue survivors of a U.S. airstrike, most of whom died when "another plane came and bombed the house again," and two U.S. soldiers who brought the number killed in helicopter crashes to 126.
As rioting in France 'spreads to 20 towns around Paris,' one commentator calls the rhetoric from the country's interior minister "as polarising as it is simple: it threatens evildoers ('them') with jail sentences if they dare threaten the law-abiding citizens ('us')."
Heckuva Look! Newly released e-mails show that former FEMA director Michael Brown "discussed his appearance, his dog and his public image as the government's relief effort unraveled after Hurricane Katrina," reports Bloomberg.
CNN's Aaron Brown is "looking forward to some well-deserved time off with his family," according to a memo from network head Jon Klein, who "said the switch was done to build CNN's schedule around what he considers its hottest personality ... and hottest new show." And then there's this 'Shocker: Geraldo returns with a thud.'
Friday, November 4, 2005
In an interview with NPR, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson spoke of "a visible audit trail from the vice president's office through the secretary of defense, down to the commanders in the field," authorizing practices that led to abuse and torture.
The National Security Archive's Peter Kornbluh tells CJR Daily that the Washington Post is guilty of "the most important newspaper capitulation since [the New York Times] yielded to JFK's call for them not to run the full story of planning for the Bay of Pigs."
A Times report that the head of Italian intelligence named "occasional spy" Rocco Martino as the disseminator of the Niger forgeries, and which also revealed that the FBI exonerated the Italian government, prompts the question: "Did the FBI interview Martino before making a conclusive judgment about the forgeries?"
In an ABC News/Washington Post poll that finds 'On Iraq, Economy and Ethics, a Perfect Storm Bedevils Bush,' 55 percent say his administration "intentionally misled" the country on Iraq, while 58 percent 'question his integrity.'
A new Zogby-conducted poll commissioned by AfterDowningStreet.org finds that 53 percent of respondents want Congress to impeach Bush if he lied about the war in Iraq.
Mark Engler invites readers to "consider the possibility that the administration's 'war on terrorism' has been a major business blunder" -- despite the fact that 'Plastic surgery profits' are "booming in post-invasion Iraq."
AlterNet's Joshua Holland writes that a final report from the Volcker Committee confirms that "Oil-for-food is a scandal that hits close to this administration," and that "the United States' 'strategic class' was deeply involved."
"President Bush last week appointed nine campaign contributors, including three longtime fund-raisers, to his Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board," reports Newsweek, "a move the White House defends since panelists are not required to have significant intelligence experience."
Corporation for Public Broadcasting Board Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson has 'quit.' His 'removal,' announced by the CPB board, came within days after it was presented with an unreleased report by the CPB's Inspector General on his investigation into "deficiencies in policies and procedures" at the CPB.
Tomlinson remains head of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which, reports the Financial Times, has asked the State Department's Inspector General to investigate Al-Hurra, the U.S.- backed Arabic language satellite TV network. Earlier: President's ad man nominated to serve on BBG.
Iraqi officials are reportedly anxious over a 'Green zone security switch' from a British firm to Virginia-based Triple Canopy, whose "employees have been recruited mainly in Latin America," where its practices have helped to trigger a "scandal in Peru." More on the company, which was featured in a New York Times article on 'The Other Army.'
The "five miles of bomb-blasted road" from Baghdad to the airport, formerly known as the "most dangerous highway in Iraq," are said to be calmer now that "the enemy's just gone up the road."
'Bang! Bang! You're Deaf!' Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups are suing to force the Israeli Air Force to stop causing sonic booms over Gaza, citing psychological damage and calling the practice "collective punishment."
Although oil companies are enjoying record profits, a Wall Street Journal headline says 'Oil Patch Faces Rough Patch' when execs appear next week before a joint session of the Senate energy and commerce committees, "but don't shed any tears for the industry just yet."
After the Senate 'OK's oil drilling' in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge by a 51-48 vote, with three Democrats joining Republicans to provide the margin of victory, Jeffrey St. Clair sees 'Blood on the Tundra, Betrayal in the Rotunda.'
Sen. Frank Lautenberg has filed an amendment to change the official name of the "Deficit Reduction Omnibus Reconciliation Act 2005" to the "Moral Disaster of Monumental Proportion Reconciliation Act."
Cuts in Medicaid approved by the House Budget Committee, part of what the Washington Post describes as "an effort ... to demonstrate fiscal discipline," would reportedly "affect" an estimated 6 million children.
In a strategy memo on a gambling initiative, Jack Abramoff's former business partner wrote: "The wackos get their information through the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the internet and telephone trees ... we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them."
It was read at a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing, held before the AP reported that Rep. Tom DeLay's staff tried to help Abramoff win access to Interior Secretary Gale Norton, "an effort that succeeded after Abramoff's Indian tribe clients began funneling a quarter-million dollars to an environmental group founded by Norton."
The New York Times reports that e-mails from 2002, "which refer to 'Tom' and 'Tom's requests,' appear to be the clearest evidence to date of an effort by Mr. DeLay ...to pressure Mr. Abramoff and his lobbying partners to raise money for him." Plus: Fox News paid Delay $14,000 to cover travel expenses.
Kevin Drum finds Judge Samuel Alito apparently "going out of his way" to signal his "coded acceptance of Roe" and wonders "how long it's going to be before social conservatives ... turn on him."
A Washington Post columnist describes a "Katrina-like moment" after Howard University students were told that "if they wanted to eat they'd have to come back when the president and first lady were gone, then go to a service door at the rear of the dining hall and ask for a chicken plate to go."
As eight nights of 'Riots Put a Fear in the French,' and an immigrant writer and rap artist is quoted as saying that it "has the potential to become really dramatic," French officials say they see "no indication that fundamentalist leaders have encouraged" the growing violence.
One of five Muslims who were detained and questioned after they were seen praying in public at a New York Giants football game, "pointed out that football players often huddle and pray on the sideline."
Monday, November 7, 2005
"Four U.S. officials said the Italian military intelligence agency known as SISMI passed three reports to the CIA station in Rome between October 2001 and March 2002 outlining an alleged deal for Iraq to buy yellowcake from Niger," reports Knight Ridder, contradicting claims by Italian officials.
The FBI's "handling of the Chalabi investigation so far stands in contrast to the aggressive inquiry" conducted by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, reports the Wall Street Journal, while Chalabi's arrival in Washington is said to pose a dilemma for the White House.
"The occupation has ceased to be American," writes Baghdad Burning's Riverbend. "It is American in face, and militarily, but in essence it has metamorphosed slowly but surely into an Iranian one." Plus: "What better way to distance yourself from the Tehran government ...?"
Smoking Gun? That's what Editor & Publisher asked about the February 2002 intelligence document showing that a top Al Qaeda operative, whose information Bush administration officials later repeatedly cited as "credible" evidence that Iraq was in cahoots with Al Qaeda, was probably "intentionally misleading the debriefers."
"If Democrats want to argue that the administration misrepresented and distorted the prewar intelligence, OK, that's one thing," says Charlie Cook. "But if they push the argument that they have been duped, fooled and victimized - well, to a lot of voters, they're just going to come across as weak."
A letter from the I.R.S. followed a 2004 pre-election antiwar sermon, described as a "searing indictment of the Bush administration's policies in Iraq." Then came an offer of a "settlement" allowing the church to keep its tax-exempt status, "if there was a confession of wrongdoing."
As U.S. and Iraqi troops fight insurgents "house-to-house," in what is claimed to be "one of the largest offensives ... since the storming of Falluja last year," Iraq's tourist board is planning to build a luxury hotel in the Green Zone and turn Saddam's former palaces into a "themed tourist destination." Plus: 'Stuck in Baghdad'
"Five to one, they had me surrounded," said Knight Ridder's Joseph Galloway, discussing his lunch with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, who "seemed to be enjoying it when I got into it with one of the other guys. He would lean back in his chair with a grin and watch us go at it."
Revisiting 'The Mysterious Death of Pat Tillman,' Frank Rich finds "a repeat of the same pattern that drove the Valerie Wilson leak ... Faced with unwelcome news ... this administration will always push back with change-the-subject stunts (like specious terror alerts), fake news or ... smear campaigns."
The New York Times reports that Kenneth Tomlinson is "the subject of an inquiry" by the State Department's Inspector General, "into accusations of misuse of federal money and the use of phantom or unqualified employees," in his role as head of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.
'The Karl & Ken Show' The article notes that "investigators have seized ... e-mail traffic between Mr. Tomlinson and White House officials including Karl Rove," who "played an important role in Mr. Tomlinson's appointment as chairman of the broadcasting board." It also refers to a report that Al Hurra is under investigation.
According to a translation of an article from Argentina's El Clarin, President Bush's Summit of the Americas detail included 2000 security and other staff, three airplanes "loaded with arms," four AWAC spy planes, Sikorsky helicopters and U.S. Navy ships. His remarks on Sunday that were 'seen as a jab at Chavez,' followed a 'Massive rebuke of Bush.'
Describing a "failed summit" that "strengthened the influence of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez," the Wall Street Journal quotes Chavez as saying of Bush that "The man left beat-up... Didn't you see it?"
The nonprofit National Association of Evangelicals is "circulating among its leaders the draft of a policy statement that would encourage lawmakers to pass legislation creating mandatory controls for carbon emissions," a position one GOP senator calls "something very strange."
"Tortuous Route" A "livid" secretary of Health and Human Services reportedly "wanted to know why the [flu] pandemic plan wasn't finished" -- at a meeting originally scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001. Kentucky Fried Chicken is also reported to be preparing a plan.
Corporate efforts to keep pace with domestic surveillance activity by the government, include the creation of "a shelf display that can automatically change the price of various products depending on who's looking at them."
Observing "the 15th anniversary of the creation of the first Web page," an Internet regulation pioneer explains why "we probably would not create it, or any technology like it, today. In fact, we would be more likely to cripple it, or declare it illegal."
Tuesday, November 8, 2005
A "short rap sheet on the man" begins with former Secretary of State Powell's quote that "I can't substantiate [Chalabi's] claims. He makes new ones every year."
'President Cheney' "When the historians really get digging into the paper entrails of the Bush administration," predicts Daniel Benjamin, "those who have intoned that phrase will still be astonished at the extent to which the Office of Vice President Dick Cheney was the center of power inside the White House."
James Carroll sets about 'Deconstructing Cheney,' and the New York Times editorializes on his "remarkable set of priorities: his former chief aide was indicted, Mr. Cheney's back is against the wall, and he's declared war on the Geneva Conventions." Plus: Times taken to task for editorial's 'Good Cop, Good Cop' stance.
With the Bush administration's 'torture policy increasingly under fire,' The New Yorker's Jane Mayer asks, 'Can the CIA legally kill a prisoner?", and a Federalist Society event sets a columnist to wondering, "Should we shun or debate torture memo lawyers?"
Democrats reportedly "want the right to interview top policymakers or speechwriters" for the Senate's "Phase Two" investigation, arguing that "comparing public statements with what the intelligence community published does not alone tell the story."
'Declare War' Despite what "even the most credulous of Washington insiders had to know before our 2003 invasion," Leslie Gelb and Anne-Marie Slaughter argue that "a transportation bill gets more deliberation than a decision to send American troops to war." Plus: 'Who Had the Real Intel on the War.'
As the French government prepares to take "even more effective" measures after 12 nights of rioting, despite reports that police are "bereft of authority," Lenin's Tomb goes behind "the Muslim scare" to survey how press and politicians spread 'Fear and Loathing in France.'
A counter-terrorism analyst sees an "insurgency" mounting an "open source war" in France, but the Washington Post quotes a street vendor in Paris as saying that "these kids are doing what most French people have wanted to do for the past 10 years."
A former French defense official said on PBS' "NewsHour" that "it is mainly an issue of employment. Today a French Muslim has one-eighth to one-tenth the chance of a non-Muslim French national with a non-Muslim name to get a job."
"Fallujah: the Hidden Massacre," a documentary to be broadcast on Italian TV reportedly "provides graphic proof that phosphorus shells were widely deployed in the city as a weapon," despite a U.S. claim that they were used only "for illumination purposes." Nur al-Cubicle has more, including a link to video from the documentary.
Dahr Jamail, who last January wrote about 'Odd Happenings In Fallujah,' notes that November 8 marks the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the assault on the city, and offers up an Iraqi journalist's first-person account from the area where operation "Steel Curtain" is currently taking place.
After "an apparent slip" revealed that the annual U.S. intelligence budget is $44 billion, the man behind Secrecy News was said to express "amused satisfaction." Plus: Report claims Bush Administration has "compiled dossiers on more than 10,000 Americans it considers political enemies."
The Hill reports that FBI and Capitol Police are investigating the baseball-bat beating of a top staffer for Sen. Charles Grassley, "known for his aggressive oversight of the public and private sector," including the "use of nonprofit groups related to former lobbyist Jack Abramoff."
"What's the sound of a good story smothered?" writes Dave Zirin. "Ask Sheryl Swoopes," whose story "hasn't been ignored so much as reframed."
Wednesday, November 9, 2005
I'll Be Blanked At a Trader Vic's in the same hotel where Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger addressed supporters after all of his ballot proposals failed, "giddy nurses" reportedly "formed a conga line and danced around the room, singing, 'We're the mighty, mighty nurses.'"
Before the referendum, Craig Crawford wrote from California that President Bush "is so unpopular here that it wasn't enough for Schwarzenegger to simply avoid being seen with him."
Visiting Iraqi deputy prime minister Ahmad Chalabi gets two endorsements, one from Tehran and another from the Wall Street Journal, in an editorial calling official Washington's embrace of Chalabi "a sign of maturity."
Seen "fuming with outrage" early in the day over Chalabi's visit, Sen. Dick Durbin later appeared stunned during a "NewsHour" debate on 'torture rules,' when a Republican colleague charged that "Durbin is the one who most recently compared our troops to the Nazis, the Soviets and their gulags, or the mad regimes of Pol Pot..." Plus: 'McCain, Israel and Torture.'
As the 'Senate rejects 9/11 style commission to review prison abuse,' a 2004 classified report by the CIA's inspector general is said to have warned that post-9/11 interrogation procedures appeared to constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
The Washington Post's report on Republican leaders' call for a bicameral investigation into the disclosure of classified information to the Post about a web of secret prisons, ignores Sen. Trent Lott's claim that a GOP Senator was behind the leak.
The Pentagon's classified "black budget," which USA Today reports has increased by almost 50 percent since 9/11, is called "a beautiful way to hide something" -- such as "a $23 million classified program" that "the Pentagon didn't ask for."
As Democrats challenge President Bush to rule out a pardon for Lewis Libby, a New York Times report that Libby has established a defense fund, describes a fund solicitor as "a Republican communications strategist," but doesn't mention that she was the chief spokeswoman for the Department of Justice in 2002 and 2003.
'Latin America's 9/11' Tony Karon notes that "many of the same leaders with whom Bush met at the summit ... were fighting dictators backed by the United States" at the time the president referred to when he told them that "only a generation ago, this was a continent plagued by military dictatorship and civil war."
The Guardian's George Monbiot accuses the media of minimizing war crimes in Iraq, and outgoing "Nightline" anchor Ted Koppel is quoted as saying that "the programming that is put on between those commercials is simply the bait we put in the mousetrap."
As a question of 'accuracy' is raised about the White House's version of a press conference transcript, the airwaves are awash with the claim that Congress and the White House saw the "same intelligence" on Iraq.
Race To the Finish The Scotsman reports on the U.S. military's "consequence management" system in the Iraqi city of Rawah, where "payments are made according to a sliding scale. A damaged high-value car or dead family member brings $2,500."
The Iraqi High Tribunal is said to be "trapped in a crisis," with eight people now having been "slain in connection with the court" and officials refusing to move the trial of Saddam Hussein and his co-defendants to a location outside Iraq.
"Baghdad Express" author Joel Turnipseed charges that his book was used for part of the movie "Jarhead," telling the New York Times that "this is not something that is based on a scene I did; it is verbatim dialogue."
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a discrimination suit against Fox News Channel, charging that the head of its promotions department regularly used obscenities and vulgarities and that the network retaliated against a female employee who objected. Scroll down to read the complaint.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
According to Ha'aretz, there is no truth to its earlier report that Jordanian security forces evacuated Israelis before the synchronized hotel bombings in Amman, Jordan, where "the economic resurgence fueled by Iraqi refugees is coming at a steep price."
The U.S. military has admitted to killing Iraqi civilians, saying Marines were "unaware that civilians were in the house" which was said to have been taken over by rebels before a "Marine aircraft bombed it on Monday, reducing it to rubble." Earlier: 'U.S. Army admits use of white phosphorus as weapon.'
As 'At least 40 die in Iraq bombings,' Knight Ridder reports that the terrorist group headed by Abu Musab al Zarqawi "has broken with local Sunni Muslim Arab insurgent groups in central Iraq, in some cases resulting in gun battles on the street."
"As for the fact that I deliberately misled the U.S. government, this is an urban myth," said Ahmad Chalabi in response to a question from David Corn during Chalabi's "circus-like appearance" at the American Enterprise Institute. Plus: Iraq's VP "not averse" to a permanent base for U.S. troops.
Chalabi, whose next stop is New York, also met with Secretary of State Rice and national security adviser Stephen Hadley, "although neither would be photographed with him," reports Knight Ridder's Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay.
Strobel and Landay remind that an INC-produced defector's account of having "visited 20 nuclear, chemical and biological warfare sites," first appeared in the New York Times, in December 2001, and was later cited in a White House background paper.
"There are still several shoes left to drop," says one observer, while The New Republic's Franklin Foer predicts that "she will surely continue to embarrass the paper," even after receiving what he suspects was a "massive" severance package. Plus: 'The reporter's last take.'
As Editor and Publisher's Greg Mitchell asks, 'Should George W. Bush Take a Cue from Judy Miller?", Media Matters documents the "evolving claims" of Fox News analyst Paul Vallely, who has asserted that Joseph Wilson disclosed his wife's CIA employment to Vallely in 2002.
With the White House reportedly planning to increase its "hit back" in response to allegations that the administration twisted intelligence, 57% of respondents to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll say that President Bush deliberately misled people to make the case for war.
The poll also found "that Republicans have lost the upper hand on a series of issues they've counted on to preserve their congressional majorities in 2006," including, "handling taxes, cutting government spending, dealing with immigration and directing foreign policy."
Despite White House pressure, House GOP leaders delivered "a blow to president Bush" by taking plans to permit drilling in ANWR back out of a budget package.
Lobbyist Jack Abramoff reportedly wanted $9 million from Gabon's president to set up a meeting with President Bush, that the White House characterized as "part of the president's outreach to the continent of Africa." President Omar Bongo is described as "one of the wealthiest heads of state in the world," due "mainly to oil revenue and corruption."
While David Brooks opines that "what we are seeing in France will be familiar to anyone who watched gangsta culture rise in this country," an Australian commentator says that "If only Jacques Chirac could speak with such strength, idealism and sense of leadership" as the French rapper, Disiz La Peste. Scroll down to have a listen.
Liquid History "Blogs have made my life difficult," says Maureen Dowd, "because with everyone trying to have an opinion, it's hard to think of anything original to say when you have to wait three days for your column to be published."
Friday, November 11, 2005
President Bush embarks on the promised "hit back," in a Veterans Day speech in which he said: "It is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how the war began. More than 100 Democrats in the House and the Senate who had access to the same intelligence voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power."
National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley 'Fires back at critics' during a press briefing in which he challenged "the notion that somehow the administration manipulated prewar intelligence about Iraq." Plus: 'About That NIE'
Analyzing the "two-pronged argument" from Bush and Hadley, "that Congress saw the same intelligence the administration did ... and that independent commissions have determined that the administration did not misrepresent the intelligence," Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus conclude that "Neither assertion is wholly accurate."
John Prados offers up a road map for the Senate Intelligence Committee's "Phase Two" investigation, arguing that its "mandate must be to probe into the heart of the cabal."
As Bush racks up another 57 percent, the Nelson Report hears what "sounds like a pretty solid case for an impeachment proceeding, were there anything resembling either a sense or shame, or national ethics, in the Leadership of the House of Representatives and Senate. Something to be argued out in the 2006 ... campaigns?"
The Nation declares that, because "everything that needs to be known is now known ... we will not support any candidate for national office who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq" a major campaign issue.
In an amendment passed by the U.S. Senate that is described as "an end-run around" a 2004 Supreme Court decision, Guantanamo detainees are denied the right to challenge their detentions with habeas corpus petitions in federal court.
'A Felon For Peace' Foreign Service officer Ann Wright, who resigned before the invasion of Iraq, says that she was "not a heckler, I was a protester," when she shouted at a Senate committee hearing: "Stop the killing! Stop the war! Hold this woman accountable!"
'A slap in the face on Veterans Day' as "Ahmad the Thief" -- aka "Dr. Chalabi" -- makes a 'Curtain Call' that included playing "To a packed house -- so packed, in fact, that AEI pointedly disinvited your humble correspondent..."
Needlenose reviews a report suggesting that "Yep, he's still Karl, all right -- cranking up the anonymously-sourced Wurlitzer..." Rove also "railed against judicial activism" at a Federalist Society event, where Massachusetts' governor was introduced as the head of a state run by the "KKK ... the Kerry, Kennedy Klan."
"New details" in the case of Rep. Tom DeLay are said to "reveal the unusual lengths to which DeLay and his lawyers were willing to go to avoid charges that would force him to leave his powerful post -- and how it was DeLay's own words that ultimately got him in trouble with the prosecutor."
Trade Wars As the U.S. trade deficit hits a new high, a terror analyst who says Iraq has been a "net importer of jihadists ... worries the attacks in Jordan indicate Iraq will eventually become a net exporter of terrorists."
'The Myth of Zarqawi' The author of "Insurgent Iraq" examines how a "small town bully" fulfilled a "prophecy" -- from which "Americans also had much to gain" -- and turned the creation of his myth into "chilling reality."
The Los Angeles Times details the close relationship between the CIA and Jordan's General Intelligence Directorate, "so close, in fact, that ... one former CIA official said he was allowed to roam the halls of the GID unescorted."
The article cites a State Department human rights report, which states that "students must obtain a good behavior certificate from the GID to qualify for admission under the university quota system."
Amira Hass delivers what "sounds like the selfsame news report being recycled over and over: a road tarred for a checkpoint, truncation, isolation, enclave, stranglehold. But that is what the IDF does day in and day out..."
Fox News accused of 'liberal bias' by a conservative think tank over a global warming show that includes Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as a "special correspondent," with a senior fellow saying that "it is important to expose this disgraceful excuse for journalism, particularly by the so-called 'fair and balanced' crowd."
As Bill O'Reilly 'opens new front in "war" on Christmas,' San Franciscans respond to his warning that "if Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it." Earlier: "We got another nut on the air."
After a "chastened" Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pledged cooperation and collaboration, a leader of California nurses said that "if he had won, there would be no talk of compromise," and the editor of a nonpartisan election guide said that "his problem right now is people think he is full of hot air."
Paul Krugman warns of "the doughnut hole" in Medicare's new prescription drug benefit, through which "if your cumulative drug expenses reach $2,250 ... you'll suddenly be on your own ... unless your costs reach $5,100." Plus: Krugman takes five.
Alan Greenspan gets soul and President Bush scarfs it up, as a White House ceremony leaves an observer wondering if a conscientious objector was making a political statement or just psyching out the challenger. Earlier: The 'darker side' of the champ who scored a unanimous decision against the United States.
Monday, November 14, 2005
A New York Times article on the 'Heavy Hand of the Secret Police' in the Arab world reports that in Jordan, "intelligence agencies vet the appointment of every university professor," while monitoring such "security threats" as poetry recitals.
As the Wall Street Journal 'defends torture,' AFP reports that in an interview on CNN, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley 'declines to totally rule out torture.' The article notes that according to a Newsweek survey, "Americans at large don't seem to have a clear-cut position on the use of torture."
In a column headlined "'We do not torture' and other funny stories," Frank Rich refers to Jane Mayer's New Yorker article on the 'Deadly Interrogation' of an Abu Ghraib detainee. Time reports that inquiries into his death suggest a coverup. Plus: 'Spain looks into CIA's handling of detainees.'
A Times op-ed describes how "Pentagon officials turned to the closest thing on their organizational charts to a school for torture" and "signed off on a strategy that mimics Red Army methods" designed to "force compliance to the point of false confession."
An Australian report on 'The Italian Job' asks: "Can you imagine the outcry here if just before the ASIO and police raids earlier this week, the CIA arrived in town, snatched one of the alleged terrorists ... and whisked him off out of the country to be tortured - without telling a soul!"
As President Bush gets one 36 percent approval rating after another, Josh Marshall reviews the Bush administration's "mendacity with regards to the war," and suggests that "What this country will end up needing is something like a Truth and Reconciliation Commission."
That suggestion was prompted by RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman's appearance on "Meet the Press," where he, along with Bush administration supporters on other Sunday talk shows, "rolled out a new talking point." Plus: 'Define "imminent."'
Crooks and Liars captures video segments that aired last week on "Hardball," one of which reviews the overall war sell, another the linking of Iraq and 9/11, and a third in which Vice President Cheney is tripped up.
"Even some White House aides privately wonder whether Libby was seeking to protect Cheney from political embarrassment," reports the Washington Post. And with Libby's testimony seen as 'key to Rove inquiry,' a Niger forgeries finding goes from Left Coaster to La Repubblica.
After Sen. John Edwards explained that he "never would have voted for this war" had he known "the whole story," a Washington Monthly poster asked, "Why didn't Sen. Edwards know? Why didn't he ask Bob Graham?"
Bob Burnett calls on Democrats to "cease their doubletalk about fighting a smarter war in Iraq ... and begin telling the truth: the occupation is a quagmire, a moral black hole. We should withdraw our troops."
No change of venue for Saddam Hussein, although his defense team is said to be 1,100 lawyers lighter.
George McGovern says in an interview that he has "trouble remembering from one day to the next what 'blue' and 'red' mean. They used to call us Democrats 'reds' because they thought we were too liberal, too pink. I'm glad the Republicans have assumed that label now."
A Black Commentator columnist observes 'Imus And Andy' holding forth "on how black people choose to refer to themselves."
As the U.S. denies a visa to a prize-winning Cuban scientist, the Dalai Lama gives a nod to science at a neuroscience conference and in a New York Times op-ed, writing that "science and Buddhism share a search for the truth and for understanding reality."
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
The Senate "defeated a Democratic effort to pressure President Bush to outline a timetable for a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq," reports the AP. "It then overwhelmingly endorsed a weaker statement of U.S. policy in Iraq."
A new USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll finds that nine percent of respondents "say they prefer a congressional candidate who is a Republican and who agrees with Bush on most major issues."
"So to use his words, bring it on," says Josh Marshall. "The facts indict him. And his White House's ferocious desperation in response shows they know it." Plus: "Mr. President, it won't work this time."
'Decoding Mr. Bush's Denials,' the New York Times editorializes that "It's obvious that the Bush administration misled Americans about Mr. Hussein's weapons and his terrorist connections. We need to know how that happened and why."
In 'rediscovered testimony,' George Tenet "told Congress in February 2001 that Iraq was 'probably' pursuing chemical and biological weapons programs but that the CIA had no direct evidence that Iraq had actually obtained such weapons," reports Raw Story. Earlier: "This odd story begs for analysis."
Going Dark Both Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney met with Ahmad Chalabi on Monday, but "the Pentagon did not allow television cameras" and "Cheney's office would not provide details," reports Reuters.
As 'Policymakers on torture' are advised to 'remember Pinochet,' two Iraqi plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Rumsfeld tell ABC News that they were "repeatedly tortured by U.S. forces," with one claiming that "U.S. soldiers at one point threatened him with live lions."
A report on the motivation of a failed suicide bomber, who lost three brothers in Iraq, mentions that the CIA "recently warned that a new generation of jihadists was being trained in the Iraq war, and that these fighters could soon take their cause to other countries."
A GAO report finding that FDA officials apparently decided to block over-the-counter sales of the Plan B contraceptive months before completing a review of the application, "describes an appalling level of manipulation and suppression of the science," said Rep. Henry Waxman.
Roberto Lovato describes how Halliburton and its subcontractors turned hundreds of undocumented Latino workers into 'Gulf Coast Slaves' after Katrina. Lovato earlier covered 'The Latinization of the New New Orleans.'
Reconstruction Watch reveals the 'Secrets of the Katrina Goldrush,' and asks, what happened to "All of those no-bid contracts, we are going to go back and rebid"? Plus: 'Bush cronies continue to hurt country.'
'Monkey See, Monkey Do' "We used to cover poverty," writes David Shipler in a Columbia Journalism Review essay, but Katrina exposed what's wrong with the view that "what government fails to do is usually not defined as news."
Michael Massing cites CJR Daily editor Steve Lovelady as saying that "newsrooms are in a state of 'growing panic'" over developments that may portend 'The End Of News.'
A eulogy on the 'Death of the Jailhouse Press' quotes the author of "Jailhouse Journalism: the Fourth Estate Behind Bars" as saying that "if you talked to a prisoner today, they wouldn't even know these things existed."
Los Angeles Times' readers weigh in on the paper's dropping of Robert Scheer and editorial cartoonist Michael Ramirez, as Scheer, who was interviewed on "Democracy Now!", claims "the main reason they got rid of me was O'Reilly and Limbaugh made a living out of attacking me..."
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
One day after the Village Voice's Sydney Schanberg wrote that he wondered "what Woodward's newsroom colleagues at the Washington Post think of his put-down of this investigation," two of those colleagues report that 'Woodward was told of Plame more than two years ago.'
While a statement from Woodward said he testified that "I told Walter Pincus ... without naming my source, that I understood Wilson's wife worked at the CIA as a WMD analyst," the article quotes Pincus as saying, "Are you kidding? I certainly would have remembered that."
Pincus tells Editor & Publisher that Woodward, who has apologized to the Post, "asked me to keep him out of the reporting and I agreed to do that." More from the Washington Note on "This new theatre in the Plame case..."
"I'm not going to be insulted by your question," said Judith Miller, after being asked by "On The Media's" Bob Garfield, "were you played for a chump by these sources, Ahmad Chalabi in particular?" Garfield also challenged Miller's assertion that she never intended to identify Lewis Libby as a "former Hill staffer."
Former Corporation for Public Broadcasting Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson repeatedly broke federal law, according to what the New York Times describes as "a scathing report" by the CPB's Inspector General that "described a dysfunctional organization." More from NPR and PBS, the latter at "kenny_11-15.html."
Media Citizen finds something missing from the report: "e-mail traffic between Tomlinson and White House political advisor Karl Rove... This evidence, which may reveal the White House's hand in manipulations of PBS and NPR programming, is still under lock and key at the heavily partisan CPB."
"No wonder Senator Stevens was so adamant about not placing the oil executives under oath," says one observer in response to a White House document obtained by the Washington Post that says 'Oil Chiefs Met With Cheney Task Force' on energy policy.
As 16 former CIA and military intelligence officials call on President Bush to suspend Karl Rove's security clearance, Vice President Cheney is heckled once again, prompting a prediction of "even more Cheney heckling in the future."
What, Me Warry? Defense Tech's Noah Shachtman sees a recent Washington Post article on the Secretary of Defense and an earlier Esquire profile, as attempts to "separate Donald Rumsfeld from the Iraq war."
Sen. Chuck Hagel declares that "the Bush administration must understand that each American has a right to question our policies in Iraq and should not be demonized for disagreeing with them," in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations.
With much of the press seen as advancing the idea that Sen. John McCain is "the last honest man in government," a former Kerry campaign staffer says McCain is "trying to run as the closest thing to George Bush." Earlier: 'The Mark of McCain.'
A Wall Street Journal columnist argues that "Republicans would benefit if Tom DeLay stepped aside" and accepted "what no one is willing to tell him, that he has been neutered."
Bernard Kerik has been accused of taking "tens of thousands of dollars" in the late 1990s, while serving as NYC corrections commissioner, from a construction company said to have "ties to organized crime." The article notes that Kerik "is now a consultant to the government of Jordan."
Abu Musab Zarqawi is said to be winning the 'Battle of Wits' with U.S. forces, because "his network has a much better intelligence-gathering operation than they do."
A Washington Post article looks at why Marseilles, "a city more than 2,600 years old," which "long predates France, not to mention the Roman Empire," remained "largely quiet as riots raged in other French cities." Earlier: He Googled while Paris burned.
Andrew Lam ponders the growing number of environmental refugees, and predicts that "being displaced by natural disasters may very well become the central epic of our time."
A Sony BMG recall of millions of CDs with copy protection schemes that "altered the deepest levels of a computer's systems," caused one analyst to wonder, "At what point do you think it is a good thing to surreptitiously put Trojans on people's machines?"
A New York Times obituary for the writer known as "the Pope of Native America" notes that he once called the Battle of Little Big Horn "a sensitivity-training session." He also predicted that "within the next generation, if the trend continues, a large portion of the American population will eventually be related to Powhattan."
Thursday, November 17, 2005
With '5 Marines Dead and 11 Hurt in an Ambush,' their commander says his forces are facing "a new kind of fighter," and that "it's not your average insurgents running around because they have nothing better to do."
Although "the 3rd Armored Cavalry last detained a foreign fighter in June," Anthony Cordesman tells the Washington Post that "both Iraqis and coalition people often exaggerate the role of foreign infiltrators" because it "links what's going on in Iraq to the war on terrorism."
As the Pentagon admits that U.S. forces used white phosphorus in Fallujah, Baghdad Burning's Riverbend writes, "We've been hearing the terrifying stories of people burnt to the bone for well over a year now. I just didn't want it confirmed."
The London Times evaluates the 'Propaganda nightmare of chemical hypocrisy' through which the U.S., "in using a weapon notorious in Vietnam, with effects on the human body straight from a science fiction film ... has given a gift to its enemies."
As an Iraqi Interior Ministry official tries to dampen Sunni outrage by saying that abused prisoners included all Iraqi sects, the fact that they were discovered by U.S. troops has reportedly "sent a jolt of optimism through Baghdad's disaffected Sunni minority."
The article says that "Little information was immediately available" about indictee "Philip H. Bloom," but a "Philip Bloom," described as "at the center of the Iraq Reconstruction effort," is said to be "possessed of an uncanny knack for finding business, almost psychic in nature ... he can smell opportunity in the air."
Following Vice President Cheney's speech, President Bush was asked if he agreed with Cheney or with Sen. Chuck Hagel, who said that it was patriotic to question the government during a war. The Washington Post reports that "Bush's face tightened and he answered sharply, 'The vice president.'"
A Knight Ridder article describing Cheney's remarks as "rough-edged," finds that "in accusing Iraq war critics of 'rewriting history,' Bush, Cheney and other senior administration officials are tinkering with the truth themselves."
"An unrepentant Ahmad Chalabi" was "greeted with loud applause and a cry of 'Next Year in Baghdad,'" reports Newsweek, following a speech which also echoed the charge that war critics are "rewriting history."
Michael Klare reviews 'Crisis Scenarios for Deflecting Attention from the President's Woes,' including the Syria, the Iran and the North Korean "options."
Slate's Jack Shafer wonders "What sort of journalist publishes a "statement" in his paper as opposed to writing a story?" A statement that "included the fact that he submitted questions for VP Cheney for pre-screening by 'Scooter' Libby."
Further chronicling 'The Decline of Bob Woodward,' Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair note that June 23, 2003 was "all in all ... a bad leak day for Scooter." More from Howard Kurtz on 'The Woodward Bombshell.'
A "tentative agreement" on the Patriot Act reportedly "ensures the extension of all 16 provisions of the law that were set to expire in six weeks."
The auctioning off of "A Righteous Man's Reward," a serial killer's sketch of Jesus Christ kneeling in a desert, has set off a debate on the free speech rights of prisoners, reports Reuters, quoting an "expert" on serial killer art.
Friday, November 18, 2005
Marc Cooper predicts that "the duplicitous behavior of the administration and its Congressional supporters at this moment of national crisis is going to haunt Republicans for years to come."
"The American people don't believe this president," said Rep. John Murtha in a "NewsHour" interview, after the White House took the "unusual step" of invoking the name of Michael Moore to dismiss Murtha's criticisms. Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell invoked another name.
The 'Unlikely Lonesome Dove' also said, "I like guys who've never been there that criticize us who've been there. I like that. I like guys who got five deferments ... and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done." Plus: what a difference a day makes.
"It's not like it was beyond these guys to hydroseed the reasons for their future invasion," writes the Left Coaster, about a claim that Valerie Plame was outed as payback for the CIA Counter-Proliferation Division having "prevented the shipment of binary VX nerve gas from Turkey into Iraq in November 2002."
A Pentagon inspector general's probe is expected to look at whether "a main architect of the Iraq war" and his staff "bypassed the CIA by giving the White House uncorroborated intelligence that sought to make a case for war in the months leading up to the 2003 Iraq invasion." Plus: 'Ideology of Information'
The death toll is reportedly "as high as 100" from bombings at two Shiite mosques and a Baghdad hotel housing journalists, although "at first the target appeared to be an interior ministry building where U.S. troops on Sunday found about 170 detainees."
'House of Horrors' "I guess the lucky ones go to Abu Ghraib," writes Baghdad Burning's Riverbend, adding that "this is hardly news for Americans in the Green Zone."
Our Man In Iraq The list of charges against a comptroller and financial officer hired by the CPA despite having served time for felony fraud in the 90's, "does little justice to the astonishing brazenness of the accusations described in the complaint," reports the New York Times, one day after introducing the other main character.
Quoted in a Washington Post article on the pair, Rep. Henry Waxman "said that while the Republican-controlled Congress has held 13 hearings on the U.N. oil-for-food scandal... it has held only one hearing on the spending of reconstruction funds."
As 'UN experts cancel Guantanamo visit, citing US block,' former CIA director Stansfield Turner takes a page from the Post, saying that "I'm embarrassed the United States has a vice president for torture."
As 'Vital Military Jobs Go Unfilled,' a GAO report questions "how can DOD components continue to effectively execute their mission" -- as the military continues to offer "enlistment bonuses to people who signed up for jobs that were already overfilled."
The Christian Science Monitor follows "the latest adventure of the Methboub family," complete with 'Toy guns, a burned taxi, and daily life in Baghdad' -- which includes an 11-year old boy caught in U.S. laser gun sights.
Following more leaks and another day of denials, the list of Bob Woodward's possible sources narrows, although National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and Vice President Cheney are letting others do the denying.
Jeff Wells has "seen a lot of good journalists die prematurely in recent years. Typically they've worked independently, pursuing trails most editorial boards have decided to leave cold. But there's another kind of journalist sometimes spotted suspiciously close to crime scenes ..."
Media Matters fingers news outlets that repeated as fact an inaccurate claim by Lewis Libby's attorney, that Woodward's disclosure contradicted what Patrick Fitzgerald said at his October 28 news conference. Marty Kaplan also takes note in 'Journalism: R.I.P.'
"In filings obtained by Reuters on Friday, Fitzgerald said 'the investigation is continuing' and that 'the investigation will involve proceedings before a different grand jury than the grand jury which returned the indictment' against ... Lewis 'Scooter' Libby."
Calling the new Medicare drug benefit "an example of gratuitous privatization on a grand scale," Paul Krugman compares it to a GOP senator's effort to protect private companies from competition with "the government's free weather service."
The first female soldier to take a stand against war in Afghanistan and Iraq by seeking conscientious objector status, appeared at Fort Benning in conjunction with a School of the Americas protest. She's stationed there, and fighting deployment to Afghanistan after losing a court battle last week.
In a "NewsHour" segment on 'Afghanistan Violence,' Ray Suarez notes that "Until two months ago, suicide bombings were relatively rare ... Since then, at least nine such attacks have taken place," including two this week. Earlier: RAWA responds to an election observer's claim that "I have witnessed firsthand the 'miracle' of Afghanistan."
Lebanon's Daily Star profiles "the latest in a string of writers" attempting to fill Afghanistan's "constitutional prescription" for a new national anthem, which "must be in the Pashto language, must contain the words 'Allahu Akbar' (God is great)," and should list the country's 14 major ethnic groups.
Monday, November 21, 2005
President Bush cited "fine Democrats like Senator Joe Lieberman," and Defense chief Rumsfeld "appeared on four talk shows to rebut" the views of Rep. John Murtha, who described himself as trying to "open the door" for Bush, in what one observer called "the best appearance by a Democrat on a Sunday talk show in years."
Arguing that 'A "Loyal Opposition" Won't End the War,' Jeremy Scahill notes that Rep. Murtha "was quickly blasted by the White House and simultaneously disowned by powerful Democrats like John Kerry. Occupation lovers together again."
Democratic aides who tell reporters that their party "doesn't have a position on the war" are "idiots," according to David Sirota.
Frank Rich argues that "Bush may disdain timetables for our pullout, but, hello, there already is one, set by the Santorums of his own party ... Election Day 2006" -- which should not obscure "the other war we are losing."
The Los Angeles Times investigates 'How U.S. Fell Under the Spell' of the Iraqi defector code-named Curveball -- "the chief source of inaccurate prewar U.S. accusations that Baghdad had biological weapons."
In an op-ed, former senator Bob Graham lays out 'What I Knew Before the Invasion,' which led him to "apply caveat emptor" and vote against giving the president authority to go to war against Iraq.
As "a politically weakened Bush returns home without anything high-profile to brag about," his Asia trip is said to have met low expectations. But "before the trip, human rights advocates' expectations were high."
As a former associate of Jack Abramoff reportedly agrees to cooperate with prosecutors after being indicted on charges of conspiring with Abramoff to bribe government officials, the Weekly Standard recounts the 'sordid tale' of Abramoff's 'casino deal gone bad.'
"It's finally Wizard of Oz time in America," says Tom Engelhardt, describing how "Bush administration officials find themselves thrust ... into an anti-universe where everything that once worked for them seems to work against them."
Doug Ireland's analysis of 'France After the Riots' notes that "no curfew was invoked, no riot police sent for," when bottle-throwing white students at a wine festival in Grenoble injured 30 people, "half of them police."
"Big Boy Club" With the 'Costliest Part of Gulf Rebuilding Yet to Come,' one expert predicts that "The companies that were awarded the big contracts with Iraq, they're going to be getting contracts this time around, too."
Bare shelves and declining donations at food banks around the U.S. are said to be "pretty much a direct result of Katrina."
An essay "On the stigma of the second abortion" searches for answers to a clinic director's question: "In what endeavor is a one percent failure rate not acceptable?"
A Muslim-American running back says he was sidelined by winless New Mexico State football coach Hal Mumme, who "regularly has players recite the Lord's Prayer," and who is alleged to have "questioned Mr. Ali repeatedly about Islam and specifically, its ties to Al-Qaeda."
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
As the White House changes tack, Eugene Robinson finds that "the president is all but sprinkling Murtha with rose petals," while the Los Angeles Times reports that Vice President Cheney is lashing foes with an olive branch.
Although only 32 percent of Americans believe that Iraq will be able to develop a stable democratic government, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton -- with "the greatest respect" for a new "antiwar symbol" -- says that failure in Iraq is "too dangerous for America."
Challenging "the jingo-narcissism that defines the war as a problem mainly to the extent that it harms Americans," Norman Solomon cautions that 'Getting Out of Iraq' "could be accompanied by even more use of U.S. air power that terrorizes and kills with escalating bombardment."
"The political premium on being identified as 'against the war'" is said to have "moved down the field," rendering "John Kerry's comprehensive new strategy ... completely fatuous in light of what Murtha proposed."
Joshua Holland believes that "what we're seeing is the uniformed military saying 'enough,' and Murtha's the messenger."
A ceremony "highlighting the increased capability of the Iraqi government to administer and govern itself," attended by Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and U.S. commander Gen. George Casey in Tikrit, was interrupted by mortar fire.
'Big oil has crude designs on Iraq wealth,' according to a new report, which describes the "production sharing agreement" which gives oil companies "huge returns on investment, but deprives Iraq of up to $194 billion." Earlier: Newsweek with "a sense of how these deals operate."
Despite a Pentagon denial, amplified by the New York Times, Think Progress finds proof that "the Pentagon does refer to white phosphorus rounds as chemical weapons ... if they're used by our enemies."
A comment by Bob Woodward on CNN's "Larry King Live" is said to suggest that "someone in the Bush administration changed Valerie Plame's job affiliation with the CIA, possibly to convince reporters that it was OK to report on her."
Comparing Plamegate to "The Mother of All Constitutional Crises," Judith Coburn writes that this time, "when the President waves the 9/11 voodoo doll, Congress, the media, and the public flinch," while "instead of the Woodward/Bernstein team, we have Judy Miller (and the reborn Bob Woodward)."
A guilty plea by a former spokesman for Rep. Tom DeLay and ex-partner of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, is said to have implications for "half a dozen members of Congress," as 'Threat of federal charges against DeLay grows.'
"Analysts immediately questioned whether the plan was enough," after General Motors announced 5,000 more job cuts "on top of 25,000 previously announced."
Scorned in the U.S.A. After senate GOP leaders blocked a resolution honoring Bruce Springsteen, Steve Benen recalled another recent symbolic resolution which led to words over a "great American hero."
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Murray Waas reports that President Bush was informed 10 days after 9/11 in a classified briefing that there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks, and that the Iraqi leader viewed al-Qaeda as a threat to his regime, despite administration statements to the contrary.
Sen. John McCain is reportedly backing Democratic calls for "Senate investigators to interview senior administration officials about their statements regarding the threat posed by Saddam Hussein before the war."
Charges of violating the Official Secrets Act have been brought against a British civil servant accused of leaking a memo purportedly describing a threat made by President Bush against Al-Jazeera headquarters.
Linda Heard poses a hypothetical question: had Al-Jazeera headquarters been bombed, "Would the U.S. have confessed to its role in the aftermath or would the mythical Abu Musab Al Zarqawi have been set up to take the fall?"
A Washington Post editorial asks, "If an American pilot is captured in the Middle East, then beaten, held naked in a cold cell and subjected to simulated drowning, will Mr. Goss say that he has not been tortured?"
Charges brought against Jose Padilla, after President Bush ordered him "released from detention by the secretary of defense and transferred to the control of the attorney general," make no mention of the "dirty bomb" plot of which he was originally accused.
The 205th U.S. soldier to die in Afghanistan was reportedly killed, along with an Afghan interpreter, when "a roadside bomb tore through an ... armored vehicle."
In a Guardian commentary, George Monbiot argues that the use of chemical weapons by U.S. forces against Fallujah was "a war crime within a war crime within a war crime." Plus: A "test-case biosphere."
Former Congressman and now Fox commentator, Martin Frost, finds the administration's caveat emptor stance, that "Members of Congress should not have been so foolish as to rely on Dr. Rice's presentation," to be "more harmful to our nation than anything that has happened in Iraq in the past three years."
An Ohio blogger says Rep. Jean Schmidt is now claiming to have been "made a scapegoat by a media," and that "she's now trying to spin the vote of the resolution that was a complete joke to begin with."
Scroll down for an excerpt of Schmidt's maiden speech to Congress on September 6, in which she pledged to "refrain from name-calling or the questioning of character," cautioning that "It is easy to quickly sink to the lowest form of political debate."
The New York Observer examines why networks gave Vietnam -- "the television war" -- twice the minutes allowed to "the television-crawl war: a scrolling feed of bad-news bits, pushed to the margins by Brad and Jen, Robert Blake, Jacko and ... other anesthetizing fare."
According to the Office of Public Affairs at Homeland Security, coming in at Number One on the list of "the top FY05 FEMA accomplishments" is "the response to Hurricane Katrina."
City Pages profiles 'Mad Scientist' PZ Myers, one of the "fiercest, most public critics of the intelligent design movement," who recently saluted Fox News for taking "one small step into the twentieth century."
Robert Jensen says 'No Thanks To Thanksgiving' -- "the day when the dominant white culture ... celebrates the beginning of a genocide."
Monday, November 28, 2005
With news that the Pentagon is 'Expanding Its Domestic Surveillance Activity,' one observer finds it "a little unsettling to hear that the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee ... is out of the loop" on proposals to enhance the power of CIFA.
Looky Who Last February a blogger investigated "yet another government office I didn't know existed," after discovering "fingerprints" suggesting that someone at the agency known as Counterintelligence Field Activity was looking into him.
A lawyer for Jose Padilla says he was told that "the government still asserts it has the power to hold his client ... regardless of the outcome of the criminal case against him," and a New York Times review of six prominent terrorism cases quotes a law professor as saying that "The position of the executive branch is that it can be judge, jury and executioner."
'Cut Our Losses' Bob Herbert revisits Rep. John Murtha's argument that "there is nothing more the military can accomplish in Iraq," and Alexander Cockburn examines how the 'Democrats Undercut' Murtha.
"A key element of the drawdown plans, not mentioned in the President's public statements, is that the departing American troops will be replaced by American airpower," writes Seymour Hersh, who tells Wolf Blitzer that "We don't know how many bombs are dropped, where. Nobody reports publicly as they did ... in Vietnam."
As a Tory MP offers to publish 'Wartime Secrets' and Al-Jazeera staffers launch a blog called "Don't Bomb Us," the Observer reports on 'The leak that revealed Bush's deep obsession with Al-Jazeera,' and the Times of London notes that 'Rumsfeld's Al-Jazeera outburst' came the day before Bush met Tony Blair at the White House.
Amid a 'New crisis for Blair's War,' Frank Rich writes that "it's a losing game to ask what lies the White House told ... A simpler question might be: What was not a lie?" He cites a Harris poll finding that 64 percent of Americans believe the Bush administration "generally misleads the American public on current issues to achieve its own ends."
As it's suggested that Vice President Cheney's "mind seems to have slipped its moorings and is drifting out into the sea of fantasy," Sidney Blumenthal illuminates 'Cheney's shadow play,' noting that "The origin of Cheney's alliance with the neo-conservatives goes back to his instrumental support for Team B."
A Washington Post report that 'Some veterans feel lives enlarged by wartime suffering,' prompts War In Context to ask: "Where is a culture heading when it idealizes the experience of the dismembered warrior and starts to suggest that the trauma of war can become a rite of passage?"
A "trophy" video posted on the Internet has reportedly sparked concern that "private security companies ... could be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent Iraqis," and the Los Angeles Times investigates "an apparent suicide" in a trailer near the Baghdad airport.
Incidents of violence in Afghanistan are said to "increasingly mimic insurgent tactics in Iraq," and demonstrate "unusual levels of coordination, technological knowledge and blood lust."
Citing a "senior Washington bureau staffer" for the New York Times, the New York Observer's Gabriel Sherman reports that in the run-up to Iraq, "the editorial climate inside the Times shifted from questioning the rationale for military action to putting the paper on a proper war footing."
'The Enemy Within' Michael Massing examines the political pressures that "breed in journalists a tendency toward self-censorship" -- as when "the abuses that U.S. troops routinely commit in the field ... are viewed by the American press as too sensitive for most Americans to see or read about."
A question on "Meet the Press" about 'The man with the inside scoop,' is said to have "provoked anything but the customary adulation," and the subpoenaing of Time reporter Viveca Novak is taken as "a sign that prosecutors are still exploring charges against" Karl Rove.
Raw Story reports on what it calls "perhaps the most significant evidence Fitzgerald has obtained suggesting Rove deliberately sought to mislead investigators."
Wondering what happened to Scott McClellan, ThinkProgress refers to a PR Week article in which a former White House correspondent said: "I've been through a lot of press secretaries. There are some really good ones ...some average ones ... And there are a few who have no business there. And I would put Scott in that last category."
As homeless Katrina victims compete against 1.5 million families who were already sitting on local waiting lists for scarce federal housing aid, Reconstruction Watch probes 'FEMA's Contracting Disaster.'
Heeding the wise counsel of a magazine and a minister, we spent "Black Friday" reorganizing and updating the standing links to your left and right. Feel free to tell us what's missing -- email@example.com -- and please continue sending links to articles that you think other readers might be interested in.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
With 700 Sunni men said to have "disappeared" recently, and reports of "Iraqi authorities ... torturing and abusing prisoners in jails across the country," a Los Angeles Times investigation quotes a U.S. military officer as saying: "The Mahdi army's got the Iraqi police and Badr's got the commandos. Everybody's got their own death squads."
The Guardian reports on an article by Martin van Creveld, "one of the world's foremost military historians," who argues that "Bush deserves to be impeached" for "launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost them."
Take Your Pick! Former Colin Powell aide Lawrence Wilkerson said that Vice President Cheney must have sincerely believed that Iraq could be a spawning ground for new terror assaults, because "otherwise I have to declare him a moron, an idiot or a nefarious bastard." Is Wilkerson suggesting that Cheney face war crimes charges?
Reporting on Center for Public Integrity research, which found that 'Cheney sidesteps travel disclosure rules,' the Washington Post notes that "Cheney has given 23 speeches to think tanks and trade organizations and 16 at academic institutions since 2001 -- apparently all at taxpayers' expense."
In an excerpt from "With Every Mistake," Gwynne Dyer recalls what he describes as "the most shaming moment in the modern history of American journalism," when Cheney praised journalists' contribution to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, saying that "You did well. You have my thanks."
NPR's Anne Garrels discusses the risks of reporting from Iraq and says that U.S. TV networks do a "very bad job" of covering the war, and the Washington Post's Robin Wright, describing her three trips to Baghdad, writes that "On this latest trip ... the bubble shrank even more. No roaming the Green Zone."
'Our Troops Must Stay,' said Sen. Joe Lieberman in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, after returning from Iraq to report "real progress" and denounce those who would "seize defeat from the jaws of the coming victory."
The New York Times previews a GAO report finding that more than four years after the 9/11 attacks "officials at the State and Treasury Departments cannot even agree on who is supposed to be in charge" of cutting off the supply of money to terrorists.
The AP quotes Miami's Deputy Police Chief as saying that "We want that shock. We want that awe," as the department announces that it "will stage random shows of force at hotels, banks and other public places to keep terrorists guessing and remind people to be vigilant."
The San Diego Union-Tribune has comprehensive coverage of Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham's resignation from Congress after pleading guilty to what a U.S. attorney called "a crime of unprecedented magnitude and extraordinary audacity."
Josh Marshall looks at what other politicians "Co-conspirator #2" was "in deep with," and Think Progress asks: "Why did the White House hire MZM, a 'defense and intelligence firm,' to buy office furniture for the White House?"
'Villains Honoring Villains' Reviewing recent "incremental steps" at national parks, Bill Berkowitz asks, "Is total privatization coming down the pike?" Berkowitz also looked at how Rep. Richard Pombo 'steers public lands to private hands.'
A report on the governor of a Nigerian state who fled money-laundering charges by "donning a dress and a wig to match forged travel documents," quotes a Nigerian lawyer who calls the "sordid saga" of the governor "a new low. And in Nigeria that is saying something." Plus: 'I will eat your dollars.'
In an interview with Broadcasting & Cable, Bill Moyers says, "We were biased, all right...," adding that "The people at PBS told me they were getting excruciating pressure because of our reporting, including threats to de-fund public television unless 'Moyers is dealt with.'" Earlier: 'What we don't know about Karl.'
Out of Whack Polls debunk notion advanced by "Hardball's" Chris Matthews that "Everybody sort of likes the president, except for the real whack-jobs, maybe on the left." Plus: tinfoil hats or fedoras?
'CPR made easier' The American Heart Association issues new guidelines for cardiopulmonary resuscitation: "Call for help. Push the chest. Don't stop."
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
As part of "Today's Presidential Action," the White House unveiled its "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq," President Bush gave a speech in which he reportedly "did not break new ground or present a new strategy," and First Lady Laura Bush predicted a "very great ending" and "a really free Iraq" during a televised Christmas tour of the White House.
According to the 35-page document, described as "Less of a strategy and more of a pat on the back," victory is defined in the "longer term" by Iraq's becoming "a full partner in the global war on terrorism." And a survey of recent presidential speech venues finds Bush 'Still hiding behind the military.'
At a Tuesday press briefing, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld dismissed Iraqi abuse claims, and said he had "an epiphany" over the Thanksgiving weekend, that "This is a group of people who don't merit the word 'insurgency.'"
Rumsfeld also touted Iraq's "free media," but the Los Angeles Times reports that "the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops." The Lincoln Group "helps translate and place the stories" in outlets including Al-Mutamar, run by Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress.
Robert Dreyfuss argues that "the Bush-Cheney team was informed, well in advance, that by toppling Saddam there was a strong possibility they would be installing a Shiite theocracy," and that 'The Path To Peace' requires the U.S. to "sit down face to face ... with the Iraqi Baath party."
A Washington Post report on U.S. efforts to 'Engage Sunnis In Talks,' spotlights bad translations at "a town hall meeting in Ramadi," and a candidate for office who says that "the people of Fallujah love Cindy Sheehan."
Citing former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's recent claim that "people are doing the same as Saddam's time and worse," the WSWS, argues that "nothing remotely resembling a democracy is emerging in Iraq."
Juan Cole says the U.S. may also be on trial with Saddam, given that when the issue of his use of chemical weapons arises, "it will be difficult for Donald Rumsfeld to avoid sharing the docket, at least symbolically."
A new Gallup poll finds that although 74 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. has used torture in Iraq and elsewhere, most people oppose the practice -- with the exception of 51 percent of Republicans.
A European official tells the New York Times that "The mood in Europe is one of increasing concern over what people call the American 'gulag' and the reports of all these stopovers in Europe for prisoners."
Dubbing Sen. John McCain 'The Bush Hugger,' Slate's John Dickerson writes that McCain "can embrace Bush without being hurt by the affiliation because voters think he's winking as he does it," and that he is "so candid he can't possibly be telling the truth."
'Where's Hillary on Iraq?' After reading a mailing from the Clinton campaign, Jimmy Breslin concludes that the candidate "today holds the new North American record for fakery," but The Politicker detects "a subtle, important advance." And, the Daily Howler explains why "every liberal should be preparing for the coverage of Campaign '08.
While attempting to account for a sudden dearth of Bush/Cheney bumperstickers, Dave Lindorff pauses to ask, "What's missing from this picture? Oh yeah. The Democrats."
While it's predicted that with Michael Scanlon's guilty plea, "We could be on the verge of one of the most rancid tales to course through our political veins in a long time," CNN's Anderson Cooper doesn't know Jack. Plus: "Does the Times buy into this mumbojumbo?"
Congressional Republican advisors are reportedly urging GOP lawmakers linked to the Abramoff-Scanlon scandal "to consider resigning long before the 2006 midterm elections," while former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham "will keep his government pension and could retain the privileges enjoyed by other former members of Congress."
CJR Daily describes how numerous media outlets took the bait in hyping "Cyber Monday," the brainchild of an association representing online retailers, that reportedly "dreamed up the term just days before putting out a Nov. 21 press release touting Cyber Monday as 'one of the biggest shopping days of the year.'"
Eighty-one-year-old banjo legend Earl Scruggs, who just suffered a nasty stage tumble, has been described as 'a heroic musician' who protested at the 1969 Vietnam War Moratorium because "I was afraid they'd take my kids." Plus: Is Joe Lieberman channeling John Lennon?
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