July, 2006 link archive

Monday, July 3, 2006

In 'Put away the flags,' Howard Zinn urges Americans to renounce nationalism for the 4th of July, citing evidence contradicting "the idea that our nation is different from, morally superior to, the other imperial powers of world history." Plus: Paul Craig Roberts on 'The reality beneath the flag-waving.'

"It's going Calderon's way," remarked an investment strategist, as markets rallied on reports of a one-point lead in Mexico's presidential election for the ruling party candidate, who also reportedly won the ex-pat vote.

Based on early polling results, the two major candidates both declared victory Sunday night in the tightest race in Mexico's history, a situation one observer predicted could be extremely volatile given the red bulbs "flashing all over Mexico's electoral map."

Where the New York Times see 'signs of a maturing democracy' in the relative peacefulness of election day, Reuters reports a nation haunted by "the specter of political chaos," amid charges of voter fraud and the arrest of agents of the database company ChoicePoint by the Mexican government.

Former Mexican president Luis Echeverria, who was placed under house arrest on charges of genocide on Friday, chose not to participate in the election, and many Mexicans living in the US "were disenfranchised by their fear of crossing the border as undocumented residents."

An 'unusual joint op-ed' by the editors of the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, 'When Do We Publish a Secret?,' provokes Jeff Jarvis to respond that the public not only has "the right to know more about your standards and your process," but that "we, too, have a voice that matters."

A Wall Street Journal editorial accusing the New York Times of failing to make credible "good faith" efforts to balance national security concerns with the public's right to know, is said to encounter problems differentiating the Journal's own front page report on the secret bank monitoring program.

On "Meet the Press," the Wall Street Journal's John Harwood defends the New York Times, and Dana Priest, sitting next to William Bennett, points out that "it is not a crime to publish classified information...some people would like to make casino gambling a crime, but it is not a crime."

'Can't Win the War? Bomb the Press!' Comparing the current vilification of the media with the controversy over the release of the Pentagon Papers, Frank Rich sees "another desperate ploy by officials trying to hide their own lethal mistakes in the shadows.

Glenn Greenwald tracks escalating right-wing blog responses to an alleged "Times' Travel Section assassination plot" against Bush administration officials, which culminated in the retaliatory posting of the home address of a photographer from the New York Times, prompting a discussion about 'the f-word.'

In response to the Hamdan decision, John Yoo complains that "What the court is doing is attempting to suppress creative thinking."

Laura Rozen highlights civil liberties concerns in reports about a domestic spying program by the California homeland security office, as protests by lawmakers from both parties lead Governor Schwarzenegger to grant the media access to some of the intelligence reports, after all "law-enforcement-sensitive information" is removed.

Arguing that "a free flow of information is fundamental for democracy," Jimmy Carter celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act by calling for its expansion to cover all branches of government and for sanctions for failure to adhere to the law.

Reporting about the status of military planning for an attack on Iran, Seymour Hersh details "the April Revolution" in which "the military leadership, headed by General Pace, achieved a major victory when the White House dropped its insistence that the plan for a bombing campaign include the possible use of a nuclear device."

As fears of a backlash at home grow, the BBC reports that 'British commanders in Afghanistan have 'asked for more equipment, amid fierce battles with Taliban militants,' and it's admitted that the country is set to produce its largest ever poppy harvest.

Matthew Rothschild writes that by responding in kind to Israeli provocations, Hamas and other Palestinian groups have played into Israeli hands, providing the pretext for a policy of collective punishment aimed at the civilian leadership and infrastructure.

Four U.S. soldiers are being investigated for the rape and murder of an Iraqi woman and the murder of her family, alleged to have been 'plotted for days,' but not many Iraqi media outlets have been willing to "broach the taboo topic of rape..." Update: 'Ex-G.I. charged in slaying of 4 and rape in Iraq.'

The American Embassy interprets a poll of Britons indicating that the majority "see America as a cruel, vulgar, arrogant society, riven by class and racism, crime-ridden, obsessed with money and led by an incompetent hypocrite" as a sign that they were "not successfully communicating America's extraordinary dynamism."

June 30-July 2

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Before Lopez Obrador took the lead, a Wall Street Journal judge awarded Mexico's election "a near 10," but the Federal Electoral Institute was urged to count the rest of the votes and publish the mysterious "archive of inconsistencies."

The failure of multiple missiles launched by North Korea was seen as "not exactly a good advertisement for sales."

With 'Bush's Foreign Friends Fading Fast,' including the "George Washington of Afghanistan," Italy arrests a spy director, accusing him of helping the CIA kidnap a terror suspect.

The Bush administration's "maddest gamble of all" in 'The Destabilization Game' is said to receive little attention, and "humanity may opt to let it happen."

Robert Parry provides context for Ron Suskind's disclosure of the CIA's conclusion that Osama bin Laden helped Bush gain a second term in 2004, while reviewers call Suskind's book "unnerving" and describe al Qaeda as being "like a think tank."

A Murray Waas report on what Bush told federal prosecutors he "directed Cheney ... to disclose" sparks the observation that "There's a whole lot of throwing under the bus going on." Earlier: 'Bush at Center of Intelligence Leak.'

A report that the NSA set up its domestic call monitoring operation seven months before 9/11 was made public "on the Friday before a four day weekend."

"More than any other White House in history," the New Yorker's David Remnick argues, "Bush's has tried to starve, mock, weaken, bypass, devalue, intimidate, and deceive the press," and the administration "knows very well what it is doing and in what climate."

David Corn maintains that "only someone who doesn't read the newspapers" could believe that 'The timid Times' is out to get the Bush administration, and Nicholas Kristof confesses that "in the run-up to the Iraq war ... we failed in our watchdog role, and we failed our country."

Deploring what he calls the "stupefying and typical ... refusal of newspaper editorial pages to protest above a whisper or support any kind of plan for withdrawal" from Iraq, Editor and Publisher's Greg Mitchell sees 'Blood On Our Hands.'

The Black Commentator notes "the lack of airtime and ink devoted to [the] exoneration" of Rep. Cynthia McKinney, and White House press secretary Tony Snow finds that all black Congresswomen do not look alike.

'Angry Democrats Dog Lieberman' at a Connecticut Boom Box Parade, where Sen. Joementum passed out kisses, while a homestate paper editorialized that "he doesn't even understand the conversation."

The Los Angeles Times reports on 'the Powers Behind the Democrats' Strategy' to take back Congress in 2006 -- "And they're not subtle" -- and Joshua Frank finds "a perfect neocon" for the top of the ticket in 2008.

While many Iraq vets come home to homelessness, Vice President Cheney participated in "an absolute orgy of conservative, nationalistic, male, southern and militarist imagery" over the 4th of July weekend.

Convicted Enron fraud conspirator Ken Lay, who pleaded that "his personal finances were ruined by the company's fall," has died of a heart attack at his house near Aspen, Colorado, where he "frequently vacationed."

Fox's Brit Hume 'catches a chill' from -- but doesn't challenge the premise of -- a report on America's "air-conditioned nightmare."

July 3-4

Thursday, July 6, 2006

As 'A Driven President' juggles multiple crises, a Guardian commentary eyes a middle way in the war on terror, 'Between cheese-eating surrender monkeys and fire-eating war junkies.'

Al Jazeera airs a report that the man touted as Zarqawi's successor, with a $5 million U.S. military price on his head, was recently seen not in Iraq but in an Egyptian prison, where he has spent the past seven years.

'Fort Apache, Iraq' Matt Taibbi concludes that Bush's war is "here to stay" after doing media duty where "two existential dead ends have come around in a circle to meet in an ... insane stalemate in the Mesopotamian desert." Plus: 'Military reviews "slant" for embed program.'

Recent examples of media spin are said to suggest that "little could happen on the national security front that the media would view as a loss for Republicans."

Larry Johnson argues that the information on tracking terrorist financial assets "divulged" by the New York Times and other papers "was not secret and was already in the public domain," and Gene Lyons writes, "quit kidding yourselves ... the next terrorist strike, should it happen, will be blamed on the enemy within: treasonous 'liberals' who dissent from the glorious reign of George W. Bush."

A new Gallup poll is said to reveal 'The racial explanation for Bush's precipitous decline' -- namely, that "white people have left him in droves" -- and racism is said to explain why Bush "will never be prosecuted in the United States" as a war criminal.

"Would that our own political leaders had such gifts," writes Dick Morris, hailing "the sense, perspective, balance, wisdom and maturity of the Mexican electorate," who he says "embraced free-market capitalism."

With Lopez Obrador's narrow lead steadily shrinking through the night, before vanishing, after Mexican election officials reportedly saved 'Calderon's "Best" for Last,' El Machete explains that "the physical ballots ... have not been opened yet," although some have reportedly been dumped.

As 'Cheato Lay' reportedly 'Cheats Justice' and 'prompts confusion on Wikipedia,' the New York Times editorializes that "an American symbol was extinguished in court; it was a man who died yesterday."

The Liberty City 7, whose arrest was called "TV at its finest," have reportedly been denied bond in Miami, after testimony in which "the FBI admitted that two people working for the agency planted the idea of blowing up government buildings." Plus: 'The Real Terror In Liberty City' and 'Miami's Real Terrorists.'

A Washington Post report that virtually the entire FBI computer system was hacked by a consultant prompts the question: "have you guys considered an open source alternative?"

'Washington Babylon' A Vanity Fair article on the Duke Cunningham scandal is said to provide "colorful details" on "the only fellow who's been prosecuted in this mess," and to ask 'Who's next?"

As the Statue of Liberty is reportedly born again in Memphis, Western Union is reported to have blocked thousands of money transfers, "simply because senders or recipients have names like Mohammed or Ahmed."

With 'Senate Dems Picking Sides' in Connecticut, where an incumbent "may need another state," as well as another party, the Wall Street Journal reports that "the potential for swings in power may be greater at the state level than in Congress, where the struggle for control gets more attention."

'An Open Letter to Bono' demands that the U2 frontman explain his role in "unwittingly" bankrolling the makers of a violent video game in which players assume the role of mercenaries who invade Venezuela.

A CD on which Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards performs religious music "may be hard to find," unlike video of the Stones' 1969 Hyde Park performance of "Honky Tonk Women."

July 5

Friday, July 7, 2006

As Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador vows to challenge the official election results and his supporters demand a full recount "vote by vote, ballot box by ballot box," Felipe Calderon, the proclaimed winner of the Mexican elections, insists in an interview with the Financial Times that "the box must not be opened."

Eugene Robinson sees evidence that Lopez Obrador has "studied the playbook from the Florida debacle in 2000," Greg Palast remarks on some familiar discrepancies in the official tallies before booking a flight to Mexico City, and it's reported that bloggers and 'math geeks' are analyzing data for evidence of fraud.

Molly Ivins sees "an early warning sign that we're about to get an all-out immigrant-bashing campaign for the fall," Crooks and Liars tracks a fundraising scam for a border fence, and CorpWatch looks at how the privatization of border security is turning a fence into a trough.

Military recruiters, under increasing pressure to meet quotas, are "knowingly allowing neo-Nazis and white supremacists to join the armed forces," according to a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, as the VA rejects a memorial for a bronze star veteran killed in Afghanistan because he was a Wiccan.

A cousin and potential courtroom witness describes his gruesome discovery at a farmhouse in Mahmudiya where a young woman was raped and then murdered along with her family, as the U.S. Ambassador and the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq promise "an open investigation."

In 'The Treason Card,' Paul Krugman wonders at the widespread reluctance to acknowledge that a key aspect of the "authoritarian project" being advanced by the Bush administration and the movement it leads is to ascribe treasonous motives to all who "criticize ... or reveal inconvenient facts about its actions."

To counter the way Republicans use fairy tales of heroic masculinity to sell lethal policies, Ira Chernus urges Democrats to point out the real risks and find "the courage to trust that ordinary people will use hard-headed common sense to separate fact from fiction."

As a renditioned Algerian who was eventually released without charge recounts his 'Dark Term in U.S. Hands,' a Guantanamo inmate, in a rare contact with the outside world, tells his family of 'worsening conditions.'

A widening probe into an alleged CIA rendition in Italy uncovers an archive of "a deviant parallel intelligence service bent on manufacturing false information,"as the country's foreign minister acknowledges that the "former government probably knew." Earlier: 'The war they wanted, the lies they needed.'

In an interview on CNN, Peter Bergen assesses the significance of an Al Qaeda video of a London suicide bomber, argues that the organization is "reconstituting rather well on the Afghan-Pakistan border," and says that a report the CIA had disbanded its bin Laden unit, "blew me away."

In 'Israel's failed state strategy,' Juan Cole argues that the current offensive in Gaza by Israel, on which both the U.S. and Europe have signed off, is designed to render "the Israeli claim that 'we have no one to talk to' a self-fulfilling prophecy."

James Zogby contends that, "shielded from criticism by a compliant U.S. administration and press," Israel is getting away with murder while we sit around and watch.

After plagiarism detection software identified numerous instances of "textbook plagiarism" in an Ann Coulter book and in her newspaper columns, TPM Muckraker detected signs that the story is picking up steam, but Media Matters wonders if media outlets that host Coulter will ask about the charges.

The debate between Sen. Lieberman and Ned Lamont, ostensibly dominated by the Iraq war, is described as 'less Lincoln-Douglas and more Reagan-Carter.' Plus: 'As mad as Zell.'

After an article in the Boston Globe airs a controversy between the Daily Kos and the New Republic, Matthew Yglesias explains why some bloggers might consider calling the magazine, The Joe Lieberman Weekly, and Steve Gilliard catalogues a list of misunderstandings.

With an 'anti-regulatory zealot' poised for nomination to head a powerful public safety office, President Bush explains to People that he is "in the process of solving" global warming, and gets "a warm bath, not a hot seat," from a cowboy boot-clad Larry King.

On the first of a series of trips "to learn what's on Americans' minds," Bush held a "rare out-of-town news conference" standing in front of a large photograph of Chicago skyscrapers, underscoring, as the AP put it, "the lengths the White House went to to pose the president outside of Washington."

July 6

Monday, July 10, 2006

"For my money, that's a civil war," declares Juan Cole, summing up the news from Baghdad on "the worst wave of faith-based violence ever perpetrated by its sectarian militias in one day." And Colin Powell reportedly agrees that "we are in the middle of a civil war."

Reading over increasingly desperate correspondence from friends in Iraq, and observing as "the military futilely spins its giant wheels in the bloody sands of Iraq" Dahr Jamail asks "why stay in Iraq, Dick?" Plus: 'Architectural casualties of war.'

The Los Angeles Times reports on rampant brutality and corruption in Iraq's police forces, "with abuses including the rape of female prisoners, the release of terrorism suspects in exchange for bribes, assassinations of police officers and participation in insurgent bombings," in what was promoted as "the year of the police."

As four more U.S. soldiers are charged with the Mahmoudiya rape and murder, details begin to emerge about Stephen Green, the first soldier charged in the case, whose photo was disappeared from an Army News Service article titled 'Coalition forces keep streets of Iraq safe.'

A former TV producer for Reuters confesses, "I was a mouthpiece for the American military," and Newsweek's former Baghdad bureau chief tells Foreign Policy, "It's a lot worse over here [in Iraq] than is reported. The administration does a great job of managing the news."

Although President Bush insists "We got a lot of assets looking for Osama bin Laden," Michael Scheuer argues that the disbanding of the bin Laden unit, which he founded in 1995, robs the country of "a critical mass of officers who have been working on this together for a decade."

After conceding that "It is certainly the case that the very act of deployment into the south has energized opposition," the British defense minister is "expected to announce the deployment of a further 600-700 troops" to Afghanistan, where one commentator predicts "the war is only beginning."

A Talking Points Memo post challenges the assumption that apparent recent changes in the Bush administration's foreign policy signal a principled 'End of Cowboy Diplomacy,' arguing instead that "Bush has boxed himself in, frittering away lives and treasure, and leaving himself with few options."

Giving his reading of the Hamdan decision, President Bush proclaims, "they accepted the use of Guantanamo, the decision I made," as Newsweek quotes a Bush administration official recalling that the goal of White House hard-liners was always to "find the legal equivalent of outer space--a 'lawless' universe."

A letter written by Rep. Peter Hoekstra in May charging that "the administration might have violated the law by failing to inform Congress of some secret intelligence programs," raises concerns about about exactly what secret programs he is referring to and what his motives are are in making the complaint.

Frank Rich names the Wall Street Journal editorial page "the Bush White House's most powerful not-so-secret agent in the press," helping the administration "reboot its intimidation of the press, hoping journalists will pull punches in an election year," but journalism deans respond, 'When in doubt, publish.'

Although the FBI advertised it as "the real deal," other counterterrorism officials described the Holland Tunnel terror plot as "more aspirational in nature," and the New York Times notes concerns that "the government ... is forgetting an element central to any case: the actual intent to commit a crime," amid suspicions about the timing of the story.

Following a huge rally in Mexico City's Zocalo Square, Lopez Obrador filed a challenge to the results of the Mexican presidential election, and demanded a full recount, alleging numerous irregularities and warning that "If there is not democracy, there will be instability."

As Greg Palast reports on suspicious blank ballots and "negative drop off," Joshua Holland questions some of his earlier claims about exit polls and attempts to link ChoicePoint to the Mexican election. Plus: The double standards of journalists and election observers.

With the GOP appealing a federal judge's ruling that his name had to remain on the November ballot, Tom DeLay threatens to come out of retirement.

As 'The top ten power brokers of the religious right' are profiled, Fredrick Clarkson finds that what has been left out in coverage of the Left Behind video game is that it promotes "an ethic that demands the conversion of New Yorkers, and failing that, slaughtering them."

Some Germans discover just how to manipulate George W. Bush, and the Ask a Ninja on net neutrality video is mixed with an "infamous rant" by Sen. Ted Stevens to produce a song, which has at least one competitor.

July 7-9

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

'Terror Tuesday' More than 160 people were reportedly killed when seven bombs hit the commuter rail network in Mumbai. Additional coverage from Indian papers.

The Bush administration now says that all detainees at Guantanamo and in U.S. military custody everywhere are entitled to protections under the Geneva Conventions, with spokesman Tony Snow insisting that "It's not really a reversal of policy."

A new report from the Center for Constitutional Rights, detailing "systematic" abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo, is said to describe a Canadian teen "being carried into Guantanamo Bay interrogations on a stretcher, dangling from a door frame for hours and used as a human floor mop to clean his own urine."

As 'Military Lawyers Prepare to Speak on Guantanamo,' retired officers question the president's nomination of a Pentagon general counsel to the federal bench.

Ralph the Impaler crashes a coming out party for Sen. Joe Lieberman, and USA Today columnist DeWayne Wickham, arguing that the senator's 'divisive actions don't deserve support,' presents evidence suggesting that "the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party is increasingly hard to find these days."

Although The Hill sees 'No big rush to support Lieberman,' Needlenose finds one columnist engaged in a "save Lieberman crusade," and Glenn Greenwald examines the "ideological realignment" which "accounts for the intense passions ignited by the Joe Lieberman Senate seat."

Characterizing the GOP electoral strategy as "Let's forget about global warming and talk about flag burning and gay marriage," Bill Clinton also says that "pulling out of Iraq would be a mistake," but Daniel Ellsberg urges voters to pledge 'No More War Candidates.'

Staying Alive The AP reports on Baghdad's booming business in fake IDs, and Alexander Cockburn can see "no light at the end of the tunnel" for an "entire country ... transfixed with terror."

Danny Schechter marvels that participants in a "News Hour" segment "managed to avoid discussing the role played by the U.S. in creating the crisis in Iraq but instead suggested that Iran is behind the mounting violence there."

In a recent Stars and Stripes interview, President Bush explained why he won't attend funerals of troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan by asking, "Which funeral do you go to? ... if I go to one I should go to all."

'It's a Classified War,' raging over "the big castle of press authority," as the Wall Street Journal is accused of having "declared war on another American newspaper" with a "cowardly shot."

A call to 'Save Patrick Fitzgerald' is heard on the right, together with an appeal for 'Full Disclosure' by the media from Christopher Hitchens.

With the media still 'Blaming the Victim in Gaza,' Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery analyzes 'A One-Sided War' in which "one side (the stronger) enjoys all the rights of a belligerent party, while the other (weaker) side has no rights at all."

Comparing 'The Palestinian Catastrophe, Then and Now,' Sandy Tolan commemorates "the obscure anniversary ... little known outside of Palestinian memory," of al-Nakba.

'Mexican Stand Off' As Newsweek hears "echoes of Florida 2000," the U.S. media "continues to do a hatchet job" on a "leftist" candidate seen as being "in the mold of that evil Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez."

A Jeb Bush ally is said to express his opposition to the building of an Islamic Center in Florida in "language eerily similar to the 'love the sinner, hate the sin' rhetoric used against gays."

If a 'Racist slur' reportedly hurled during the World Cup final "turns out to be more of the anti-Black, anti-Muslim, garbage that has infected soccer like a virus," writes Dave Zirin, then "the Italian team should forfeit the cup."

Ann Coulter's publisher finds "no merits to the allegations of plagiarism," after a radio host helped the columnist with her tight schedule.

Fox is first in line with a rave review of Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center," and Michael Moore breaks his "Sicko" silence with an update on "a comedy about the 45 million people with no health care in the richest country on Earth."

'Go Ask Alice' A "landmark" study of the effects of psilocybin, funded in part by the federal government, is said to focus on the chemical process which a lead researcher says "could be the basis of ethics and morality."

July 10

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Brad DeLong sorts out 'Newspaper vs. Birdcage Liner' in evaluating a White House claim -- echoed by the Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore on "The News Hour" -- that President Bush's "tax policies have worked to revive the economy."

'Hold Your Applause' NPR's Ron Elving is among those who find that "The new $296 billion figure sounds best of all when you remember what we were all told about the deficit in February. That was when it was going to be $426 billion, some 42 percent more than it turned out to be in this week's 'Midterm Assessment.'"

Robert Novak's account of 'My role in the Plame leak probe,' hailed on the right as "the final nail in Joe Wilson's political coffin," is described elsewhere as a 'tell-all [that] doesn't tell all.'

Esquire's 'One of Us' profile of Sen. John McCain hits a nerve with one of "those people."

Billmon finds evidence in new polling data that "the Bush base is coming home," a Justice Department lawyer testifies that "The President is always right," and Reuters sheds light on a long-standing controversy.

'He Let The Dogs Out!' says Maureen Down of President Bush's pick for a federal appeals court, as a key GOP senator argues that "The question is whether enough things went wrong on [Haynes's] watch that he needs to be held accountable."

A review of U.S. coverage of the raping and killing of an Iraqi child by U.S. troops asks, 'When Is a 14-Year-Old Girl a "Woman"?'

Baghdad Burning's Riverbend comments on the rape case and writes that she "lost a good friend" in the recent "killings in Jihad Quarter," while Editor & Publisher notes that "While she once expressed divided feelings about the American occupation, she now simply asks us to leave."

"Dissent is all but dead in D.C.," writes Joshua Frank, while 'Sectarian Flames' rage in Iraq, illuminating the "sticking points" in what Mike Whitney terms 'Bush's Scatterbrain "Reconciliation" Plan.'

'The Rotarian Menace' Jonathan Schwarz examines the roots of a "peculiar Islamist fixation," while the New York Times probes 'U.S. Terror Targets' "whose criticality is not readily apparent."

The Army will reportedly discontinue a multibillion dollar no-bid logistics support deal with Halliburton, and it's argued that "this should signal to everyone that the administration is shifting its approach in Iraq."

After "My Name Is Rachel Corrie" finally gets a New York opening date, the WSWS predicts that the play is "bound to raise the ire of those who sought to prevent its performance in the first place."

Although Time reports that Al Qaeda is not among the suspects in the India train bombings, the Times of India reports that "Many commentators are concluding that the blasts bear the imprint" of a group "with possible links to Al Qaeda."

Although reported to be 'Putting on Presidential Airs,' Mexican conservative Felipe Calderon 'Says He Would Accept Partial Recount' -- but that "a complete recount would be 'absurd' and illegal."

A corporate sponsor sets up a ''"Thank you" site for Zidane,' whose head-butt victim now says: "I did insult him ... but I categorically did not call him a terrorist ... I'm not cultured and I don't even know what an Islamic terrorist is."

As it's argued that "in a neoliberal universe ... the impact of success by the Gates Foundation ... will be to increase the numbers of people subject to starvation," other commentaries pit 'Charity vs. Philanthropy' and Buffett vs. Lay.

Anger drives a Kinky Friedman supporter out of retirement to proclaim that "Kinky is not a joke ... The Republicans and Democrats are the joke."

A Los Angeles Times article profiles "an unlikely consigliere to hip-hop's elite," who dispenses "The 48 Laws of Power."

July 11

Thursday, July 13, 2006

As 'Israel Orders More Strikes,' a Jerusalem Post analysis positions Israel as having been "dragged into conflict on a new front" after having been "brought ... back into the Gaza Strip," where a Fox News crew was "shot at on live television."

A Rapture Ready message board thread asks, "Is it time to get excited?", and managers at a Wal-Mart in Canada order employees to form a bomb squad.

With President Bush 'Swaggering to Nowhere'-- other than to 'The World's Most-Expensive BBQ' -- Sidney Blumenthal reasons that "What the president doesn't know and when he didn't know it remain pertinent."

A new report on Iraq from the Government Accountability Office is said to state "unequivocably that we have no plan for success and that we are unlikely to be successful." Plus: Rep. John Murtha on 'What the Iraq War is Costing Us.'

As links between 'Militarism and the Corporate Welfare State' are probed, Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell recalls that few editorial pages 'Raised Alarms on Key War Resolution' in 2002.

Mikhail Gorbachev diagnoses Americans as suffering from "a severe disease -- worse than AIDS," with one form said to involve 'Highly Contagious' delusions.

After Russian president Vladimir Putin equated Western demands for "democratization" with colonial-era arguments touting "the particular role of the white man, the need to civilize 'primitive peoples,'" an op-ed by Mayakovsky's daughter calls on the U.S. to 'Give Putin a break.'

A newly rediscovered antiwar poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley, "which no one has read since 1811," contains the poet's "direct response to the arrest and imprisonment of a radical Irish journalist who had dared to report the horrors of war in the national press."

An audience of 83,000 reportedly attended Bob Dylan's concert for peace in the Basque Country on Tuesday.

A man filming an anti-Minutemen protest in Los Angeles was beaten and then charged with lynching, and the WSWS follows up on a Los Angeles Times report on California Homeland Security's use of a private firm to track antiwar groups.

Remarks comparing Ken Lay to Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesus, and hate crime victim James Byrd, Jr., were reportedly "met by hearty applause" at Lay's funeral in Houston, attended by former President George H.W. Bush.

As the New York Times is accused of "rooting for the homosexual revolution" and "doing everything in its power to help the terrorists launch another attack," George Will defines Roveology as "the art of using what Republicans embrace, marketing information and what they theoretically are wary of, federal power, to elect more Republicans."

'The Sins of Ralph Reed' GQ's Sean Flynn recounts how 'The Right Hand of God' came to "end up chasing a second-tier office in a down-ballot race in an off year in Georgia," a race "he might lose." Plus: The Religious Right's new Top Ten.

An advisor to Sen. Joe Lieberman has reportedly "detected what he calls a 'growing strain of anti-Semitism on the far left,' which he believes is in part fueling the strident opposition to Mr. Lieberman."

Bringing Up Arrears Among the 16 House Democrats who have yet to pay dues to the DCCC, "despite leaders' repeated urging and occasional threats," The Hill reports, are "several members who have been at odds with leaders," including Rep. Cynthia McKinney, the star of "American Blackout."

Let The Fund Begin The trail of a former Wall Street Journal editorial writer, accused of battering his ex-girlfriend, is seen as 'Awkward PR, to put it conservatively.'

July 12

Friday, July 14, 2006

"Nothing is safe" warned Israel's military chief of staff, as Israel continued bombing and blockading Lebanon, and Hezbollah "loosed a hail of rockets" into Israel amid fears that "events in the Middle East are designed to spiral out of control, right into Persia."

Neo-conservative pundit Robert Kagan imagines, "just for the sake of argument," what President Bush would do if he planned to ride failed diplomacy into a war with Iran and finds "he might be doing exactly what he is doing."

Robert Fisk is convinced that Damascus is the key, but Hezbollah's secretary general remained focused on prisoner exchange, and concerning the role of Iran and Syria insisted "I don't wait around for them to tell me what to do. The ball is in Israel's court. But Hezbollah is prepared for any eventuality."

As the war continues to escalate, and entire families are wiped out, Israel vows to destroy Hezbollah.

Before destroying the home and office of Lebanese Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, Israel threatened to eliminate him, with the justice minister quoted as saying that Israel would fight Hezbollah with the "same means used by the Americans against Osama bin Laden."

Secretary of State Rice is rumored to have been told to "back off," after she asked Israel "to exercise restraint," and Sen. Chuck Hagel tells Larry King that "at the most dangerous time maybe we have seen ever in the Middle East," it's a job for Colin Powell, not Rice. Plus: Noam Chomsky warns of "extreme disaster."

U.N. Ambassador John Bolton casts a lone veto against a resolution condemning Israel for the current violence in Gaza, pronouncing it "unbalanced," and Dan Froomkin catches 'Bush the bystander,' who was in Germany to meet a friend, replying to a question about Lebanon with "I thought you were going to ask me about the pig."

As the Iraqi government "for the first time took over security responsibility for an entire province," on what the prime minister called "a great national day," the London Times reports from Baghdad that "in the past few days all restraint has vanished in an orgy of ethnic cleansing," that has led hundreds to abandon their homes.

The Agonist's Sean Paul Kelley takes a peek at what quality of health centers $145 million bought in Iraq, as Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld deflects a soldier's question about the age of his equipment, and the 'Rise and fall of a war profiteer' is chronicled.

Salon reports that Rumsfeld has until 5 p.m. Friday "to hand over a raft of documents to Congress that could substantiate allegations that U.S. forces have tried to break terror suspects by kidnapping and mistreating their family members."

WIth accusations that Pakistan had a hand in the Mumbai bombs delaying peace talks with India, Sepia Mutiny outlines three reasons for political blogs to break their silence on the tragedy.

Sen. Arlen Specter's 'compromise' on warrantless wiretapping leads Glenn Greenwald to object that it "repeals each and every restriction on the President's ability to eavesdrop, all but forecloses judicial challenges, and endorses the very theory of unlimited executive power which Hamdan just days ago rejected." Plus: Monitoring political opponents?

As Valerie Plame and Joseph Wilson hold a press conference to publicize their suit against Vice President Cheney, Karl Rove and I. Lewis Libby for leaking her identity as a CIA agent, Talk Left considers possible legal reasons for the timing of the suit.

Snakes on a Plame Jon Stewart takes on one of Robert Novak's recent attempts to explain his role in outing Valerie Plame, commenting, "They don't understand why it's such a big deal and that's why they've been covering it up for the past two years..."

Congress renews the Voting Rights Act without amendment, despite the opposition of 33 Republicans, one of whom is said to have recently drawn an analogy between immigrants and livestock.

In 'Left Behind Economics' Paul Krugman argues that despite the education myth, "it's a great economy if you're a high-level corporate executive or someone who owns a lot of stock. For most other Americans, economic growth is a spectator sport."

As Michael Schaivo hits the campaign trail in support of Democratic candidates, the Freeway Blogger offers a short tutorial on 'How to reach 100,000 people for under $1.00.'

The holy ghost is credited for protest at a military funeral that never materialized, but accrued a $5,000 fine, and Bill O'Reilly explains that "they still have people in Brazil running around with their little darts, hitting you in the head with the poisoned darts, with the loincloths."

July 13

Monday, July 17, 2006

The 'Pace of Israeli attacks steps up' following a rocket attack on Haifa, and Hezbollah's leader 'vows more surprises' during a television appearance in which he said that "As long as the enemy acts without limitations, it is our right to act similarly."

As it's reported that 8 Canadians were killed in an Israeli air strike in Lebanon, where an 'exodus gathers pace,' Dahr Jamail relays accounts from refugees deluging border points between Syria and Lebanon of 'indiscriminate bombing' of civilian neighborhoods and civilian infrastructure.

Amid the "largely black and white view of the current crisis in the Middle East, with U.S.-backed Israel as the righteous party," Editor & Publisher highlights the reporting of Anthony Shadid and Megan Stack for making the civilian victims and the asymmetrical nature of the conflict more visible.

Billmon sees a 'blood discount' in U.S. media coverage of the civilian death toll, and Eric Boehlert documents the absence of Lebanese civilian deaths on CNN, but on the left of the dial one observer hears more of the same.

An editorial in Beirut's Daily Star warns that "each disproportionate act of 'self-defense' amounts to a provocation that only puts more and more Arab -- and Israeli -- lives at risk," but does "nothing to diminish the resolve of militants." Plus: 'The need for a single set of standards.'

Rejecting the idea that the kidnapping of the Israeli soldiers was planned well in advance, an American mediator with Hezbollah finds hope that both sides can "climb down off the ladder," but some critical differences between now and 1982 are seen to make a resolution more difficult.

Secretary of State Rice finds the notion that the Iraq war contributed to regional instability 'grotesque,' while the American consumer's demand for gasoline is said to remain 'insatiable.'

Gunmen in Iraq kill 41, and kidnap 30 at a meeting of Iraq's Olympic committee, and also kidnap an Iraqi oil company head, and the U.S. Comptroller General tells Congress of "massive corruption" and "a lot of theft going on" in Iraq's oil industry, amid signs that democracy promotion is coming to an end.

The G8 leaders issue a joint statement on the Mid-East crisis that is subject to varying interpretations, after President Putin zinged his U.S. counterpart by declaring that "We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy as they have in Iraq," adding that Russia would not take part "in any crusades, in any holy alliances."

Despite some confusion about the number of the war, Newt Gingrich insists that 'it's WWIII,' and sees the language of world war as a way of nationalizing the mid-term elections, but some of his evidence appears dubious, and a few inconvenient facts may get in the way of the strategy.

William Kristol's declaration that 'its our war' is seen as an attempt "to provide ex post facto justification for the war in Iraq," and provokes a review of his record, as Juan Williams charges "You just want war, war, war, and you want us in more war ... Where has it gotten us, Bill?"

In 'The March of Folly' Paul Krugman marshals a series of contrasting quotes highlighting the depth of the gap between the initial rhetorical bluster of the Bush administration's promotion of war in the Middle East and what actually happened.

John Dean points out that the executive branch still refuses to reveal the number of presidential signing statements, a memo purporting to affirm the Geneva conventions seems to leave 'wiggle room on cruelty,' and Bob Herbert contends that the president has met the definition of tyranny.

Frank Rich argues that the "Bush era has not been defined by big government or small government but by virtual government," with its attendant "foreign policy of empty gestures" and that the goal simply is "a wish and a prayer that the apocalypse won't arrive before Mr. Bush retires to his ranch."

At a rally in Mexico City attended by 1.1 million, according to police estimates, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador urged "peaceful civil resistance" to press for a vote by vote recount.

The New York Times describes Sen. Joseph Lieberman as "a creature of the political center" whose campaign "gives the impression of being caught off-guard, a bit shell-shocked and on uncertain footing," and whose fate may be 'sealed with a kiss.'

Building on the discussion of political journalism at the YearlyKos, an article in the Nation finds that the goal of the left blogosphere, unlike its right wing counterpart, is not "to destroy journalism as an institution" but "to remedy its failures."

July 14-16

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The substance of a Bush-Blair exchange leaves Juan Cole "shaken and trembling," although the story centered on what "an irritated Bush said with his mouth full as he buttered a piece of bread," during what was seen as "yet another 'Pet Goat' moment."

With Prime Minister Blair again 'mocked as US poodle,' Slate's Fred Kaplan urges President Bush to 'Get Condi on a Plane' and "drop the moral posturing; resume diplomatic relations (not the same thing as friendship) with all parties."

CNN is accused of 'Helping Hezbollah,' Robert Dreyfuss sees 'Neocons Rise From Mideast Ashes,' and Robert Parry warns that 'The Abyss Beckons.'

Americans stranded in Lebanon are reportedly told that "they can't board a ship unless they've signed a contract agreeing to repay the U.S. government for the price of their evacuation," and one U.S. citizen left behind gets a whiff of "the same smell that haunted NYC in the months after 9/11."

With Israelis now saying that their 'offensive could last weeks,' they're urged to hold fire and start the war over, as cartoons 'rain down on bemused Lebanese.'

One of "our own terrorists here in America" is attacked on the right for being "real happy ... that Jews are dying," and on the left for suggesting that a "war criminal" be sent as part of a diplomatic team to the Middle East.

Add at least 53 to the AP's count of 617 Iraqis, mostly civilians, killed in war-related violence in July, which has "raised doubts about the effectiveness of the U.S. strategy of handing over large areas of the country to Iraqi control."

In contrast to neocon dreams of 'The Big Iraq Candy Mountain,' the London Times reports that "Baghdad is now verging on total collapse."

The Taliban have reportedly seized two towns in Southern Afghanistan, where "for the first time, U.S.-led troops ... are up against fierce resistance."

Foreign service political reporting is seen to suffer as 'Privatization Marches Disastrously on,' and new research suggests that some U.S. efforts in public diplomacy are "making matters worse."

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday that President Bush personally blocked a Justice Department investigation of his warrantless eavesdropping program.

A study released by Rep. Henry Waxman reports that federally funded pregnancy resource centers told investigators who posed as pregnant 17-year-olds that abortion leads to infertility, mental illness and "a 50% or greater increased risk" of breast cancer.

Countering the concept of 'Punishment For Pregnant Women' and a federal 'Breast-Feed or Else' campaign, the "Motherhood Manifesto" explains 'What Moms Really Want.'

As the 'G.O.P.'s Bid for Blacks Falters,' Jesse Jackson warns that Democrats didn't lose in 2000 and 2004 "because of the lack of a high faith profile. They lost because the fix was in."

As voting gets underway in a GOP primary, it's argued that "Georgia needs Ralph Reed," whose campaign fliers reportedly describe him as a "successful small businessman."

In a Los Angeles Times op-ed, Atrios makes the case for 'Why the Left Is Furious at Lieberman,' and Dave Johnson reports that 'The Swiftboaters Are Back in the Water.'

July 17

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

With Iraq 'Spinning Out of Control,' and the U.N. reporting that "more than 14,000 civilians have been killed" in 2006, and more than 100 per day last month, a commentator for a government-owned newspaper is quoted as saying that "all we have is bad news."

As Israeli tanks roll into a refugee camp in central Gaza, the AP reports that although "the fighting in Gaza has been largely overlooked ... people continue to die daily in the territory."

Israeli girls were encouraged to send a message to Hezbollah, and the U.S. is reported to have given Israel a window of "a week to inflict maximum damage," while Pat Buchanan wonders, 'Where Are Bush's Critics Now?'

Although 'Few Editorials Find Fault with the Bombing of Beirut,' it's argued that "Israel is in violation of U.S. arms control laws for deploying U.S.-made fighter planes, combat helicopters and missiles to kill civilians and destroy Lebanon's infrastructure."

As 10,000 people rallied in "one of the largest Muslim communities in the United States," the FBI was reportedly "trying to ferret out possible Hezbollah agents in the U.S."

After leaving 'thousands stranded in Lebanon,' the U.S. government waives a requirement to "force fleeing Americans to promise to pay for their own rescue."

Responding to the charge that the left is "advocating a global U.S. defeat," Michael Klare confesses that he's indeed 'An Imperial Defeatist -- And Proud of It.'

'Cell Phony' As President Bush prepared to cast his first veto, David Corn reviews "an evolution in Bush's position" on embryonic stem cells research. Plus: 'After the Veto.'

Marveling at Bush's ability to "make even a global summit meeting seem like a kegger," Maureen Dowd finds that "the really weird thing is his sense of victimization. He's strangely resentful about the actual core of his job."

Bush reportedly sees an appearance at the NAACP's annual meeting as an opportunity to "tout his civil rights record," but the Eugene Register-Guard urges Bush to "note that the U.S. Department of Justice has had to invoke the Voting Rights Act hundreds of times since it was last reauthorized in 1982."

The Progressive's Matthew Rothschild reports on the ACLU's documentation of the role of Homeland Security in helping the Pentagon spy on student antiwar groups in California.

"The vote shepherd of Southern evangelicals" lost his Georgia primary race to "a no-name state senator," proving to one Georgia voter's satisfaction that "despite what some people may think, we are not all crazy down here." Plus: 'Reed vs. Lieberman.'

Rep. Cynthia McKinney was forced into a run-off election by an opponent who boasted of his national media coverage, although some of McKinney's supporters reportedly saw their "votes flipped before their very eyes on Diebold machines."

Bill Berkowitz reports that Sen. George Allen, who is 'Sitting On The Hot Seat,' is "bringing out a major league media hit man," said to be "cut from the same cloth as the legendary Lee Atwater."

A USA Today report explores who the Christian Right might back in 2008, as a new Gallup poll turns up trouble for Sen. John McCain.

The New York Times appeared to be in no special hurry to issue a correction, after reporting that Sen. Hillary Clinton blasted not Republicans but Democrats for "wasting time" on "issues that arouse conservatives."

July 18

Thursday, July 20, 2006

"I understand that racism still lingers," said President Bush, combining his appearance before the NAACP with a pitch to repeal the estate tax. And the Black Commentator's Bruce Dixon argues that 'It's Time to Think the Unthinkable.'

A Republican state representative who forwarded his Colorado constituents an article entitled '"Black Culture" Blamed for Hurricane Katrina Woes,' defended himself by saying that "Some of my good friends are different colors."

Lebanon's prime minister demanded compensation from Israel for "unimaginable losses" to his nation's infrastructure, Ottawa shrugged, and U.S. Marines "sloshed through waves to carry women and children" away from a 'Second Saigon.'

As major media outlets fail to take note of 'Israel's Coming Free Fire Zone,' CNN's Lou Dobbs marvels that "while the United States provides about $2.5 billion in military and economic aid to Israel each year, U.S. aid to Lebanon amounts to no more than $40 million."

Paul Craig Roberts monitors 'The Unfolding Horror Show' as "U.S. television reporting explains the news from the Israeli perspective," and one commentator argues that "Israel is to America what Serbia was to Russia" in 'The Summer of 1914.'

Norman Solomon strips away "the righteous rhetoric, media manipulation and routine journalistic contortions" surrounding 'The Most Dangerous Alliance in the World,' while Tony Snow, White House press secretary since April 26, is 'still waiting for security clearance.'

With 'Civil War All but Declared' in Iraq, and congressional Republicans "shifting their message," Truthout's William Rivers Pitt struggles to "stay abreast of the continuing carnage."

Our Man In Baghdad In a "sharp break" with President Bush, Iraq's prime minister 'Denounces Israel's Actions,' and thereby "calls into question one of the rationales among some conservatives for the American invasion of Iraq."

To James Bovard, "the 'treason' stampede" signifies that "today's conservatives are eager to trade freedom for security," while Robert Parry hears the drumming of 'A New War Frenzy.'

The House of Representatives passed a bill to defend the Pledge of Allegiance against the federal judiciary system of the United States.

Sen. Joe Lieberman has lost his lead in Connecticut, but help is pouring in from big donors -- and from a big dog who says it's simply "wrong for Democrats to challenge one of their own."

An unrepentant Ralph Reed's camp is said to blame Sen. John McCain for Reed's Georgia primary 'Comeuppance,' as the 'Christian Right Wins.'

The targets of a PR offensive described as coming "right out of the Swift Boat playbook," counterattack by spotlighting "the key right-wing operatives involved in the Wal-Mart war room."

The Council of Canadians reports that CBS News had a change of heart about interviewing its chairperson, an expert on the global water crisis, citing possible "negative reaction" to Maude Barlow's previous criticisms of the Bush Administration.

CNN's Nancy Grace was left smarting after her interview with a kidnapping victim who appeared in support of a national sex offender registry bill. Earlier: Grace 'does one thing well.'

If her narrow lead holds, Patricia Todd, who campaigned openly as a lesbian, will have won her race for a seat in the Alabama state legislature, and a more famous Alabamian says: "I was a Republican -- until they lost their minds."

July 19

Friday, July 21, 2006

"The Lebanese have awoken to find themselves cockroaches," concludes Juan Cole, rounding up news of the humanitarian catastrophe in southern Lebanon, where hundreds of thousands are warned to "clear out immediately or risk death" as Israel readies to call up reserves and 'paves way for ground offensive.'

With the House voting 410-8 to support Israel, Marc Cooper argues that "Democrats' policy on Israel mirrors the Republican policy on Cuba," in that "both derive primarily from domestic political considerations," Tom Hayden confesses 'I was Israel's dupe,' and a Forward reporter finds a surprising silence of the blogs.

As Alexander Cockburn conducts "a perilous excursion" into a pre-history of Lebanon that is beyond the horizon of memory inscribed by the U.S. media, a reporter for Al-Jazeera is 'Watching American TV in Beiruit,' and Jon Stewart notes MSNBC's packaging of the violence as a musical montage.

The civilian toll, not attacks on Israel, is seen as the central issue in both Arab and European media, and 'Zapatero breaks the taboo,' but the "axis of pro-American dictators" appears to be implicitly aligning themselves with the U.S. and Israel "in the face of clear public opposition."

Looking at a picture of a huge Hezbollah rally in Beirut after Syria's departure last year, Tony Karon expresses skepticism that this movement can be uprooted by pummeling Lebanon, and it's announced that the Lebanese army, once touted as the key to a peaceful settlement, may join the fight against Israel if it invades.

'Whose war is it?' War in Context cautions that "Washington's loose hold on the reins" should not be mistaken for the "posture of a passive bystander," and observes that use of the expression "premature peace," a term with a hawkish history, is a sign that "this war is America's just as much as Israel's."

President Bush sees "an opportunity to really grind down Hezbollah ... even if there are other serious consequences that will have to be managed." Plus: An "umbrella" of the willing?

In 'The Price of Fantasy,' Paul Krugman observes that the neo-conservative "crazies," retreating "even further into their fantasies of omnipotence," are militating for a war on Iran, and what remains to be seen is whether "the war president... has the maturity to stand up to this kind of pressure."

Sarah Posner explores a possible connection between the recent uptick in the rhetoric of world wars and the evangelical lobbying group Christians United for Israel, whose leader, Pastor John Hagee, believes that a war with Iran "is foretold in the Bible as a necessary precondition for the Second Coming."

Newspaper accounts of a pro-Israel demonstration, headlined by Hagee and a number of Republican politicians, are found to use crowd estimates provided by the organizers, reversing their usual practice, as a survey of editorials across the country finds almost no objections to the extent of Israeli bombardment.

The Mexican press may call him crazy, but it's observed that "even the cops are in solidarity with Lopez Obrador's fight for electoral justice," as 'The Michael Moore of Mexico' talks about how covering the election "kind of in a spy way" helped document apparent voter fraud.

Reporters Without Borders condemns government pressure that led to censorship of an interview with Subcomandante Marcos, whose "Other Campaign" has been a particular focus of controversy since the election.

Although U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell warns that insurgents are streaming in for "an all-out assault against the Baghdad area," Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte is reportedly blocking an update of the National Intelligence Estimate that would describe the situation in Iraq as "civil war."

In 'The Minister of Civil War,' Ken Silverstein traces the career of Iraqi Interior Minister Bayan Jabr, whose rise to power coincides with the emergence of death squads, and illustrates the degeneration of order from the Coalition Provisional Authority into the current "war of all against all." Plus: Lapsed novelist is writing again.

An organization of what were termed "the most dangerous academics in America," line up to defend Ward Churchill, who has been threatened with firing on charges of research misconduct, charges they reject as "unreasonably broad" and a threat to academic freedom. Earlier: Churchill on 'My Trial by Media.'

After a federal judge denies the government's motion to dismiss an NSA wiretapping suit against AT&T on state secrets grounds, Glenn Greenwald contends that the Specter bill is the front line in the administration's attempt to evade judicial review of its behavior, and that there is a good chance to derail it. Plus: 'Presidential Power on Steroids.'

As a "Fox News anchor dukes it out" with a confrontational evangelist, Rep. Phil Gingrey proclaims that support for traditional marriage "is perhaps the best message we can give to the Middle East," and Editor & Publisher reports Ann Coulter's lament "that all of South Lebanon hasn't been obliterated."

July 20

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Daily Star's editor-at-large explains why Secretary of State Rice's "birth pangs" tour is likely to be no more than a "fantasy ride," and Democracy Now interviews Dahr Jamail on the growing humanitarian crisis for hundreds of thousands of refugees.

With many Lebanese refugees trying to flee across its border, and "anger spilling over against the U.S. government -- and its citizens," Syria warns Israel that a major ground incursion would draw it into the conflict, and a U.S. plan to peel Syria away from Iran, is seen as facing a non-negotiable obstacle.

A New York Times report on the rush delivery of "bunker buster" bombs to Israel, that notes concerns about "the appearance that the United States is actively aiding the Israeli bombing campaign," is illustrated with what's described as a "wonderfully distracting and playful photo of Israeli propaganda leaflets falling from the sky."

Commenting on a San Francisco Chronicle report that 'Israel set war plan more than a year ago,' Juan Cole finds it scary that "Cheney and Rumsfeld don't appear to have let W. in on the whole thing."

According to Jane's, "Hezbollah is proving a tough opponent for Israel because of their Viet Cong-style network of tunnels," and the AP quotes an Israeli soldier as saying, "It's hard to beat them ...They're not afraid of anything." Earlier: 'Hezbollah rides wave of popularity across Mideast.'

Alan Dershowitz seeks out a new vocabulary in which not all civilians are equally innocent, echoing a distinction made earlier by Ambassador John Bolton, and prompting questions about the role of "democracy" in driving the war.

Bolton, whom many diplomats are said to consider "a stand-in for the arrogance of the administration itself," faces renomination hearings this week, with one Democrat promising a "bruising fight" and the White House accused of exploiting the Mid-East crisis in attempts to line up support.

Kurt Nimmo predicts that the "temporary detention center" Israel is building for "prisoners that will be captured during army operations in Southern Lebanon" will in fact be a torture center for abducted Lebanese, based on reports about the Khiam prison from the last Lebanese war.

"U.S. military commanders in Iraq regularly authorized torture and abusive interrogation practices even in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal," according to a new report by Human Rights Watch, and an Amnesty International study charges that Jordan cooperated with the U.S. in the 'systematic torture of political suspects."

Patrick Cockburn writes that "While the eyes of the world are elsewhere, Baghdad is still dying and the daily toll is hitting record levels," adding that "Iraqis are terrified in a way that I have never seen before, since I first visited Baghdad in 1978."

The Christian Science Monitor reports that the "war in Iraq, in particular, has worn out the Army's arsenal," leading to 'belt tightening' at U.S. bases, as Billmon explains how logistical difficulties in a "war with Iran could result in the loss of the 140,000 man army America currently has bogged down in Iraq."

Greg Sargent finds more evidence for mind reading than meaningful decisions in a Newsweek reporter's account of 'how President Bush handled the biggest foreign challenge of his second term,' and the Tour de France winner says he'd hang up if Bush called.

In 'The Passion of the Embryos,' Frank Rich contends that "Mr. Bush's canonization of clumps of frozen cells" constitutes a landmark defeat "for the faith-based politics enshrined by Mr. Bush's presidency," as the White House Chief of Staff struggles to clarify what the meaning of "murder" is.

The reason African-Americans distrust the president's political party, Paul Krugman argues, is not just economic issues but the way "the nasty racial roots of the G.O.P.'s triumph live on in public policy and election strategy." Plus: 'They Don't Call It the White House for Nothing.'

The AP reports on protesters suing authorities for arrests at Bush political rallies, as federal air marshals admit that some innocent passengers are 'placed on watch lists to meet quota,' and the Society of Professional Journalists denounces a policy prohibiting interviews with Hurricane Katrina victims in FEMA trailer parks.

The federal government moves "to eliminate nearly half the lawyers at the IRS who audit tax returns of some of the wealthiest Americans," while President Bush is reportedly advised "to beef up his counsel's office for the tangle of investigations that a Democrat-controlled House might pursue."

A new Neil Young video visits 'An Inconvenient Truth,' Jackson Browne gives a thumbs up to an anti-war video set to the music of his "Lives in the Balance," and the New York Dolls return from the grave to teach creationists how to "Dance Like a Monkey."

July 21-23

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A letter from Senate Democrats to Iraq's visiting prime minister questions "your failure to condemn Hezbollah's aggression and recognize Israel's right to defend itself," as Baghdad residents express fear that "more Americans in the street means more terrorist attacks."

As President Bush and Prime Minister al-Maliki hold a joint news conference, the speaker of the Iraqi parliament is quoted as saying that the U.S. invaded his country to carry out "a pure Zionist agenda."

In private talks, Bush and al-Maliki reportedly "confront the dispiriting reality" of Iraq, while Billmon chronicles a 'Revolt of the Puppets' in the region.

Following Secretary of State Rice's surprise visit to Beirut, during which she expressed what was described as "witless optimism about the Middle East," it's argued that "The real surprise would be if there were no secret visit up the administration's sleeve."

Israeli columnists are said to be getting worried about the war, as a Haaretz op-ed contributor argues that 'Morality is not on our side,' and with the 'Official Justification for Israel's Invasion on Thin Ice' as well, Ashraf Isma'il analyzes 'Why Israel Is Losing.'

As Lebanon's president accuses Israel of using "Phosphorous Weapons" on civilians, Dahr Jamail reports that as 'Lebanon Bleeds, Iraq Burns, People Flee,' but not all refugees are equal, and not all victims are worthy.

Israeli missiles have reportedly "blunted the zeal" of Red Cross volunteers, and as for a multinational force, the New York Times quotes a European official as saying that "Everyone will volunteer to be in charge of the logistics in Cyprus."

Philip Gordon questions the logic of Israel's "strategic bombing fallacy," a theory "almost as neat as those that postulated that an American show of force in Iraq would bring peace and democracy throughout the region," and welcomes 'The End of the Bush Revolution.'

Analyzing 'Five Myths that Sanction Israel's War Crimes,' Jonathan Cook recounts his radio debate with an opponent whose "response to every question" was "They want to drive the Jews into the sea," and Bill Maher explains why "I LOVE being on the side of my president."

FAIR is unconvinced as 'CBS Responds' to its criticism of a Bob Schieffer commentary it says "comes perilously close to blaming violence on ethnicity."

A new Harris poll reportedly finds that half of Americans now believe that Iraq had WMDs, "up from 36 percent last year," while "64 percent say Saddam had 'strong links' with al Qaeda." But 'Look Out Gallup, Harris and Zogby -- It's Sean Hannity!'

Hundreds of Taliban fighters mounted an assault on government buildings in a western Afghanistan town, and a British military spokesman is quoted as saying that civilian refugees in southern Afghanistan are "probably having a moan."

The Washington Post reports that the Bush administration's knowledge of a new Pakistani nuclear reactor was "kept from Congress," with a former Pentagon official quoted as saying that "We lack imagination if we think that this is no big deal."

World trade talks collapse over farm trade barriers, with the Doha round said to be "somewhere between intensive care and the crematorium," and trade negotiators described as "notorious drama queens."

As 'An Inconvenient Summer' turns brutal, a GOP senator accuses people concerned about global warming of using Third Reich tactics, but the bottled water industry is called "a prime example of why P.T. Barnum, not Adam Smith, should be anointed as capitalism's patron saint."

At a conference down under, at which Mikhail Gorbachev warned that 'Saving the environment is saving ourselves,' another Nobel Peace Prize laureate was reportedly cheered when she said, "Right now, I would love to kill George Bush."

July 24

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

"Welcome to democracy," said one GOP representative, as Democrats accused Republicans of providing a platform for "supporters of Hezbollah" by inviting Iraq's prime minister to address Congress, where a heckler interrupted the "grovelling game of leapfrog."

Juan Cole explains why it is unlikely that a Dawa prime minister would support Israel and condemn Hezbollah.

Former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinksi is quoted as saying that "what the Israelis are doing today ... in Lebanon is in effect ... the killing of hostages." Plus: Human shields in Gaza.

War in Context's Paul Woodward, analyzing the rhetorical Trojan horse used to justify Israel's war on Lebanon, finds that it conceals "the lie ... that by killing hundreds of Lebanese civilians and destroying the country's infrastructure, Israel is engaged in nothing more than an act of self-defense."

After an "apparently deliberate" Israeli hit killed four U.N. observers, Secretary-General Kofi Annan was quoted as saying that the Israelis had directed 14 incidents of gunfire at the U.N. post, and that "the firing continued even during the rescue operation."

According to Maureen Dowd, 'The Immutable President' -- who yesterday announced the formation of "a joint committee to achieve Iraqi self-reliance" -- sees Lebanon as "a test of macho mettle," and Paul Waldman has learned to dread each new 'Bush Gut Check.'

By Carpetbagger's count, an article detailing a neocon revolt against Secretary of State Rice is "the ninth Insight article since November that casts the Bush gang in an unflattering light."

As 'White House Sticks To Wiretap Argument,' a federal judge in Chicago has dismissed, albeit with "great antipathy" for doing so, a class-action lawsuit against AT&T for turning over phone records to the NSA. Among the plaintiffs: 94 year-old Studs Terkel, a recent winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Earlier: 'The Judiciary Strikes Back.'

'9/11 cash for what?' New York City is said to be spending "a big slice of the $1 billion it got from the feds post-9/11 to fight first responders who claim they got sick on the site," while the U.S. Conference of Mayors reports that "8 in 10 cities say their emergency responders still can't communicate with each other."

Take Me Out A "perspective-enhancing" detail in an Air Force press release reportedly equates all the wounded Americans and coalition forces evacuated from Iraq and Afghanistan with "the approximate seating capacity of Fenway Park."

Federal air marshalls, who claim that "retaliation is part of the culture" at their agency, are reportedly more afraid of managers than of terrorists.

As Sen. Joe Lieberman calls in the heavyweights, Joe Conason confronts "the silly myth" that Lieberman's re-election campaign has become the victim of "the miasmic and unwholesome blogosphere [which] now threatens to swallow poor Joe in a cloud of angry, buzzing bytes."

A GOP candidate emerges from 'Republicans Anonymous' to accept his "scarlet letter," but Molly Ivins implores Bill Moyers to show Democrats what courage looks like.

Losing Ground A new environmental report warns that twelve of the most famous U.S. national parks are at risk from global warming.

After 'FEMA media rule sparks fury,' FAIR finds it "almost beside the point whether Katrina victims' access to the press is being restricted by official policy or unofficial practice."

"It's a charity" Jay Rosen's proposal for "journalism without the media," with startup money from Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, provokes the observation that "something like this will eventually have to arise to supplant the ever-skimpier MSM contributions to enterprise and in-depth reportage."

July 25

Thursday, July 27, 2006

After a 'Rome talk-fest' that was variously viewed as "designed to fail" and "intended to lend the appearance of diplomacy in order to forestall it," a senior Israeli cabinet minister concluded that "the world has given Israel permission to press ahead with its military offensive in Lebanon."

Tony Karon finds Secretary of State Rice in 'Diplomatic Disneyland,' where "misguided revolutionary rhetoric" is first on the list of her mistakes, and the editor of Middle East Report considers the implications of a "robust mandate" for a proposed "international stabilization force," in which U.S. forces may have a role.

With the U.S. blocking 'a U.N. statement condemning Israel for strike on observer's post,' and some on the right celebrating the deaths that resulted, possible motives for shelling the site "accidentally on purpose" are considered.

A Globe and Mail account of an assault on a Hezbollah stronghold is examined for signs of 'The Return of the Israeli Military Censor.' Last week an Israeli media adviser boasted that "Israelis have been interviewed by the foreign press four times as much as spokespeople for the Palestinians and Lebanese."

Eric Boehlert observes that "perhaps the only institution better represented on FNC than the Israeli government has been the Israel Defense Force," and Margaret Kimberley marvels that "Not only are the Lebanese being killed by Israeli bombs, but CNN won't even mention it to their viewers."

ABC News quotes one Israeli soldier commenting on the fierce fighting, "Over here, everybody is the army ... "Everybody is Hezbollah. There's no kids, women, nothing," and another adds "We're going to shoot anything we see."

Pondering the plight of the "eleventh class" under 'Israeli Apartheid,' the Black Commentator's Bruce Dixon argues that "The ugly and racist realities of Israeli society and life under Israeli occupation are rarely discussed anywhere most consumers of media might find them."

Laying out evidence that "war with Iran has been in the works for the last five years," James Bamford quotes an arms expert saying, "The neoconservatives are now hoping to use the Israeli-Lebanon conflict as the trigger to launch a U.S. war against Syria, Iran or both."

Asked "what it's going to take to stop the Bush onslaught," Gore Vidal replies, "economic collapse," but for Jonathan Schell the convergence of "misconceived war abroad and constitutional crisis at home" are a sign that it's 'too late for empire.' Plus: 'Global teens growing indifferent to "Brand America."'

A U.S. soldier in Baghdad tells the Washington Post that "Honestly, it just feels like we're driving around waiting to get blown up," as the Wall Street Journal profiles military bloggers who "complain that the mainstream media tends to overplay negative stories."

The Carpetbagger Report considers signs that the Bush administration had a hand in writing a speech to the U.S. Congress by the man Howard Dean labeled an "anti-semite."

With confirmation hearings beginning today, Tom Barry predicts that 'Republicans will stand behind Bolton, using war as a cover,' and his spokesman threatens to blast Think Progress out of the water if it publicizes the fact that the ambassador has not attended U.N. Security Council trips. Plus: 'Lincoln Chafee shoves John Bolton around.'

According to Talk Left, a draft bill designed by the administration "to circumvent the Supreme Court's Hamdan decision ... would permit secret trials, secret even from the detainee, ... allow convictions to be based on hearsay ... and evidence obtained by coercion to be used against the detainee."

After unveiling "a mathematical case for a full recount of the July 2 presidential vote," Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador tells Univision that "I am already president" and vows "vigorous, radical actions" if there is no recount. He has also filed suit against the election commission for allowing illegal ads.

The Columbia Journalism Review details how a variety of newspapers have made life easy for the campaign to green up the image of nuclear power by omitting essential facts about industry spokespeople, while Greenpeace takes to giant megaphones to alert commuters in London to the timetable of nuclear waste transports.

A polar researcher objects to the misuse of his research by Michael Crichton and Ann Coulter "as 'evidence' against global warming," and Orcinus looks at a case where the nastiness of right wing attacks escalates to a horse head in the pool.

CNN examines portents of apocalypse with a co-author of "Left Behind," an Australian reporter 'comes on' to Fred Phelps Jr., and Media Needle Theater presents the filmstrip 'Facing Reality.'

July 26

Friday, July 28, 2006

The New York Times reports, about a week behind the curve according to Billmon's calculations, that Arab governments are concerned that the victory Hezbollah is achieving simply by holding out this long will "further nourish the Islamist tide engulfing the region."

An article in Salon attacks the "hiding among civilians myth" that the Israelis are using to justify a bombing campaign which has killed as many as 600 civilians, a policy of 'criminalizing civilians' that now apparently extends to all of South Lebanon, prompting concerns that "a war crime of a different magnitude" may ensue.

"Lebanon has now become Condi's war," writes Eugene Robinson, arguing that "she took personal ownership of the bloody, escalating war" by failing to act and by trumpeting fantasies "of somehow making the world's tinderbox into something 'new.'"

With Israel promising to investigate itself in the attack on the UN Post, the EU rejects as "a gross misinterpretation" the notion that a failure to reach agreement in Rome "amounted to a green light for Israel to continue its offensive."

Spiegel depicts a holiday-like atmosphere at Israel's 'Club Med for Refugees,' but an editorial in Ha'aretz warns "those who are drunk with patriotism" that the "the reversal will come, when all the experts will begin competing for first place in revealing the failures of the war."

The Belgravia Dispatch contends that "the narrative cannot be simply distilled to Israel as torch-bearer of freedom, along with benevolent pan-regional hegemon Uncle Sam, ever at the ready to preside over rosier times but for the bad guys trying to spoil the party."

With Israel said to be backed by 'army of cyber-soldiers,' Marc Lynch reviews the conservative roster of guests at the government funded American Arabic-language TV station, al-Hurra, and Paul McLeary lifts 'the cover of the Hezbollah PR effort.'

Asked by some cable networks if they were going overboard in their coverage of Lebanon, Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell replied that the amount of coverage is not the problem, it is the failure to explain "our own deep involvement in that war," in particular, the amount of arms we supply to Israel.

The Conservative Voice reports that a private U.S.-Israeli company Security Solutions International is "sponsoring "training missions to Israel for U.S. law enforcement and security officers," and a Montgomery, Alabama SWAT team is learning Israeli tactics.

As Gen. Peter Pace insists that the Taliban "cannot take over" again, an article in American Journalism Review on 'The Forgotten War' argues that sparse coverage has failed to make Americans aware that this has been a bad year in Afghanistan.

Glenn Greenwald flags an essay by neoconservative David Frum, who now concedes that the invasion he so desperately wanted "has delivered control of Iraq into the hands of our arch Iranian enemies," and Media Matters reviews the record of the "Pollyanna pundits."

Ezra Klein tours the 'op-ed dojo' of Times Select, where each writer has a signature style, technique and finishing move, Eric Alterman attempts to puncture the anti-ideological affectations of "high class news folk," and Matthew Yglesias wonders what it means when The New Republic repeatedly gets "ruthless" about Iran.

Fearing prosecutions under the War Crimes Act of 1996, which provides for criminal penalties in the U.S. for violation of the Geneva Conventions, the Bush Administration is reportedly seeking "to insulate American operatives and military personnel from interrogations that fall just short of outright torture."

Dismayed but not surprised by how effectively the propaganda machine continues to work, Paul Krugman takes a look at how the current administration rewrites history.

The media is accused of 'already getting the Bolton story wrong' by framing the opposition as about style and bullying, as a protester disrupts the hearings, the ambassador is grilled about his commitment to ending genocide, and Sen. Joe Lieberman faces a test.

Democrats are seeking legislative changes allowing Medicare to negotiate the price of drugs in an effort to plug what's been called "the doughnut hole" in the program's coverage, but lack of information is seen as an obstacle in making this an issue in the fall elections.

A dismal GDP report leads one analyst to predict a recession by the end of the year, and a former chief economist at the IMF says "the odds of a U.S. recession next year have doubled to 25% or 30%, mainly due to rising energy prices."

Wonkette finds 'I'm a Republican, I Just Don't Play One on TV,' a more honest campaign slogan for Rep. Michael Steel, while an ad for Rep. Mark Kennedy, which was produced by "the 'Hitler' media guy," makes no mention of Kennedy's Republican party affiliation.

July 27

Monday, July 31, 2006

After a deadly Israeli air strike on the Lebanese village of Qana, an attack which Arab leaders denounced as a 'war crime,' Israel suspended air raids, but its prime minister said there will be no cease-fire in coming days.

Electronic Intifada surveys the reaction of Lebanese bloggers to the strike, Mark Perry analyzes the decision-making that led to it, and Dahr Jamail reminds that it is only one of countless lethal attacks on civilians in Lebanon. Plus: An 'Index of Illegal U.S. Weapons in Lebanon.'

The New York Times chronicles environmental 'Casualties of War' in Lebanon, where one oil spill is said to have created 'the biggest environmental catastrophe in the history of the country.'

"It's as if Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been possessed by the deranged spirit of Donald Rumsfeld," writes Paul Krugman, decrying Israel's resurrection of the failed strategy of "shock and awe," which once again " is having the opposite of its intended effect."

A Ha'aretz report suggests that "the large number of fatalities" in Gaza since fighting began in Lebanon is a sign "the IDF is engaged in indiscriminate killing under the cover of the war in the north."

Spiegel details how Israel provides foreign journalists with 'News on a platter,' while Jonathan Cook, in 'The lies Israel tells itself (and that we tell on its behalf),' discusses how the words "apparently" and "reportedly" are used to evade confronting acts of "deliberate barbarity."

"Talk about loss of moral authority," comments Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell in a retitled critique of a David Brooks' column, that appeared on the same day as the Qana massacre and which rejected a cease-fire on the basis of what Glenn Greenwald calls 'The "terrorist" trick.'

Modeling a "new enemy," the New York Times cites concerns of U.S. officials "that they are not prepared for Hezbollah's style of warfare," and a New Republic profile of Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah says the head of Hezbollah is "becoming like bin Laden -- a star."

Tony Karon asks whether Israel is fighting a proxy war for the U.S., quoting Nasrallah as saying "Israel has recognized reality and is ready for a cease-fire in Lebanon ... but it is the U.S. that insists that it fight on," while Josh Marshall cites "ominous indications" that the U.S. is pressing for expansion of the war.

McClatchy reports that the bipartisan "congressional support for Israel reduces the political risk to Bush," but Juan Cole warns that the U.S. ignores Ayatollah al-Sistani's demand for "an immediate cease-fire in Israel's war on Lebanon" at its peril.

Fears of kidnapping and murder are said to keep Iraqi Sunnis away from the morgues, and Chris Matthews warns that the war is uniting "the disparate pieces of Shia radicalism into a Frankenstein monster."

On "day 1,229 of the war in Iraq," Frank Rich observes that time devoted to Iraq on the major U.S. TV networks has fallen drastically even as "the latest American plan for victory is ... tantamount to treating our troops as if they were deck chairs on the Titanic."

A New York Times/CBS News poll shows partisan divisions over the Iraq war greater than any conflict in modern times, which is seen as 'not a good thing.'

An "accounting shell game" was reportedly used "to hide ballooning cost overruns" on Iraq reconstruction projects, Halliburton is deprived of its "major cash cow" in Iraq, but remains open to opportunity, and Bechtel loses a model project.

NATO takes over in Afghanistan, amid fears of "a defeat for the U.S. and a catastrophic relapse into chaos for the Afghan people."

Karen Armstrong argues that Bush's fondness for the "grim eschatology" of the Christian right is courting disaster at home and abroad, CBS's Public Eye defends apocalypse talk, and CounterPunch profiles Rev. John Hagee, 'The Manchurian Clergyman.'

"Is Lieberman really a tragic figure?" asks Matt Stoller, as the New York Times endorses Ned Lamont and Stirling Newberry passes along word that "either the Lieberman campaign, or his proxies, are blanketing African-American churches with fliers that imply ... Ned Lamont is a racist."

After "the largest demonstration in Mexico's history," thousands of supporters of Lopez Obrador, who are demanding a recount, set up encampments that "caused commuter chaos by closing off Mexico City's business district to traffic on Monday."

David Letterman and Jay Leno respond to Ann Coulter's claim that Bill Clinton is gay, Stephen Colbert nominates John Bolton for U.N. Secretary General, Betty Bowers discovers a 4 point plan for peace in the Middle East, and a ban on foreign words by Iran's president turns "pizzas" into "elastic loaves."

July 28-30

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