July, 2007 link archive

Monday, July 2, 2007

A U.S. military spokesman accuses Iran of using Hezbollah as a "surrogate" in Iraq, as officials announce the March 20 capture of a "top special operations officer," and President Bush hails the formation of "neighborhood watch groups" in Iraq.

With Bush "at the nadir of his presidency," and "in danger of losing control over a party that once marched in lockstep with him," the 'GOP Spin Wars' are said to have become a "full-time job" for White House Press Secretary Tony Snow.

As Russian President Putin visits the Bushes in Kennebunkport, with the war in Iraq "not expected to figure prominently," it's reported that "support is fading" for a missile shield in Europe, where, it's argued, "the U.S. clearly mismanaged this rollout."

After cable newscasts 'Go Ga-Ga' over amateurish car bombs in London and Glasgow, Larry Johnson issues the appropriate disclaimer, but ABC runs with a terror "spectacular" leak from a "senior official," and Britons are "warned of even greater disaster."

Snooperman Returns Sen. Joe Lieberman is seen "using the small-bore terrorist plots in the U.K. as a rationale for more domestic spying" and "cameras all over."

In a report on the 'Private Realm Of Intelligence-Gathering' in Iraq, a reference to the 'Mercenary King' prompts the question, "Didn't anyone Google him?"

While 'Flying Standby On Air Baqubah,' a reporter travels 37 miles in 46 hours in Iraq, but meets a "real Hollywood producer," with a famous mentor.

A report filed by Sahar al-Haideri, a 'Brave Woman,' who reported from Mosul before being gunned down outside her home, reveals the plight of women bought and sold as 'Iraqi sex slaves.'

As many as "100 or more" civilians are killed in an air assault in Afghanistan, where "those killed by national and foreign forces supporting the government appear to 'largely exceed' those killed by rebels," and where suicide bombers reportedly meet a common end.

A new survey conducted by the National Security Archive reportedly finds that numerous Freedom of Information Act requests that were filed during the Reagan presidency are still awaiting response.

With Sen. Barack Obama reportedly "shattering" a record for presidential fundraising, it's argued that "the biggest political event over the past three months in the Democratic presidential race" actually "originated with the Republicans," in Florida.

A "Reaganesque communicator," for whom lobbying is a 'Family Affair,' labels "the one group of Hispanics that leans Republican" as potential terrorists.

Robert Novak writes that Senate Minority Leader McConnell was accused of "dereliction of duty," after he "abandoned his post, staying off the floor during final stages of the debate," before switching his vote on immigration.

After Ken Silverstein went 'Undercover,' he came 'under fire' from some among "the group that attended the White House correspondents dinner and clapped for a rapping Karl Rove."

"Setting up these campaigns is easy," according to a Google sales pitch aimed at helping the health care industry combat "negative press" generated by Michael Moore's "Sicko," which passed a fact check by CNN, survived a 'hit job,' and brought a skeptical critic "to tears."

California Pleadin' A man released from prison, after DNA testing cleared him, is accused of being "partly responsible for his own wrongful conviction" -- because he accepted a plea bargain after being threatened with a life sentence.

As Bob Dylan's 1990 performance of "Masters of War" at West Point is posted on YouTube, Howard Zinn urges Americans to 'Put away the flags' this week.

June 29-July 1

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

After President Bush, in 'A Decision Made Largely Alone,' commuted the sentence of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby by proclamation, explaining his decision in a statement, a New York Times editorial accused him of being 'Soft on Crime,' despite "his Attorney General calling upon Congress to make every federal crime subject to a mandatory minimum sentence."

Bush's 'Easy Commute' was seen in one analysis as "the act of a liberated man," who "might as well do what he wants,' but the Wall Street Journal accused him of "evading responsibility" by "failing to issue a full pardon," and "All but a few Republicans were conspicuously silent."

With comparisons being drawn between Libby and Paris Hilton, Robert Novak sees 'Only Libby smiling today,' but it's the "constantly incredulous types who deserve the saucepan eyes."

With the call for impeachment growing, Pat Buchanan urges President Bush to "graciously accept" his "thumping" on amnesty, and "seize the leadership of the border-security coalition," for the sake of his legacy.

As 'Terror Takes Over' again in major U.S. media, CBS News cites anonymous British intelligence sources as saying that Al Qaeda in Iraq was 'Behind U.K. Bomb Plot' -- while right wingers suggest that "maybe Michael Moore has spawned an entirely new breed of suicide bomber."

As the Pentagon offers to trade troop cuts for long-term presence in Iraq, some generals reportedly see the U.S. Army as 'Focusing Too Much on Fighting Insurgents,' and it's suggested that the conditions under which U.S. diplomats are being asked do their jobs is an important 'Missed Story in Iraq.'

A U.S. Army report concludes that a Canadian soldier, "shot from behind by U.S. special forces," and a Vermont National Guardsman who was also shot in the back, were victims of friendly fire during a 2006 battle in Afghanistan -- where over 270 civilians have been "killed in military operations by international forces" in 2007.

"Suddenly we're buddies riding in the boat ... I don't get it," says one Russia expert, as the AP reports that Russian President Putin "appeared to leave Kennebunkport with the upper hand."

'On the Ropes' Big staff cuts in Sen. John McCain's "close to toast" campaign are seen as a sign of 'malaise,' as an ally suggests that a key strategist "could not run a bath."

When Bill Clinton touched down on his mission to Iowa, he reportedly found himself standing in 'Tall Corn.'

A Wall Street Journal report presents the fact that "many of the most popular talk-radio hosts are now posting on blogs," as evidence of "frequent collaboration of the two media," which is "creating a unified conservative voice that is likely to be an important factor in the 2008 elections."

'Meet the New Bosses' Daniel Schulman explores the transformation of gate crashers into an elite blogosphere, "as the medium is co-opted and incorporated into both Democratic and Republican hierarchies."

Surburban Guerilla mourns the death of James Capozzola, "one of the founders of the political blogosphere," who wasn't perhaps as well-known as his bulldog Mildred.

'The Assassination of a Poet' from El Salvador is recalled, after the assassin -- a neocon identified by translator Marc Cooper as a consultant on security -- turns up in The Nation, to support 'Big Oil and Big Media V. Hugo Chavez.'

With the Dalai Lama looking on, Tom Waits gets the Kronos Quartet and Greg Cohen "Way Down in the Hole."

July 2

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Independence Day!

The Los Angeles Times reports that 'Private contractors outnumber U.S. troops in Iraq' by some 20,000, and "even those mounting numbers may not capture the full picture," while the death toll for private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan has topped 1,000 with 13,000 wounded, according to a Reuters' tally.

'Is the U.S. mirroring Rome's fall?' asks a Toronto Star columnist, imploring readers to "Run, don't walk, to get a copy of 'Are We Rome?'" by Cullen Murphy, who recently discussed his book and the perils of privatization on "Ring of Fire."

"The president and his aides have been trending toward the margins of reality for some time now," writes Dana Milbank, "but with this week's commutation of Scooter Libby's prison term, the administration's statements dissolved into nonsense."

As it's suggested that "Bush's decision may have given birth to a new sort of legal document," what one criminal law professor calls "the Libby motion," Libby himself might not have to serve two years on "supervised release," according to U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton.

Digby casts about for an alternative to impeachment, Keith Olbermann j'accuses his way to one, calling on President Bush and Vice President Cheney to "Display just that iota of patriotism which Richard Nixon showed on August 9th, 1974," and Robert Stein finds the "resurrection" of Olbermann-regular John Dean "a little hard to take."

"We have lately been getting so many history lessons from the White House that I have come to think of Bush, Cheney, Rice, and the late, unlamented Rumsfeld as the History Boys," wrote the late David Halberstam, in his last article for Vanity Fair.

As Sen. Arlen Specter proposes legislation that "seeks to curtail the President from using a signing statement to rewrite the words of a statute or using a signing statement to selectively nullify provisions he does not like," Marty Kaplan weighs the media's interest in a 'Constitutional smackdown.'

The New York Times' Michael Gordon gets smacked down by Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell for "writing scare stories that offer ammunition for the growing chorus of neo-cons calling for a U.S. strike against Iran," as Paul Wolfowitz, 'Like Napoleon at Elba ...Finds Contentment at AEI.'

Security forces in Kurdistan "routinely torture detainees with beatings and electric shocks and hold hundreds of prisoners for long periods without charge," according to a report by Human Rights Watch. But the "Other Iraq" is open for business.

After being "handed over to officials of the Hamas administration," BBC reporter Alan Johnston said that "The kidnappers seemed very comfortable and very secure in their operation until... a few weeks ago, when Hamas took control of the security operation here."

As it's reported that young Saudis avoid travel in their own country and abroad for fear of being mistaken for terrorists, a mosque attack in Islamabad is said to be "the precursor to a major operation in Pakistan against the Taliban and al-Qaeda."

The judge in the trial of Jose Padilla admonishes the prosecution's "star witness" for speaking to CNN about the bomb investigation in Britain, on a day when the jurors showed up dressed in red, white and blue.

In response to the fundraising advantage held by Democratic presidential candidates, Fox News is 'Beginning to paint a picture of sinister Democrats trying to buy the White House.'

PR Watch samples the "organized industry response" to "Sicko," Dean Baker poses a "question for the insurance-industry-loving pundits," and one filmmaker tells the Los Angeles Times that there's "something Wellesian" about Michael Moore, who "has this preposterous, overblown persona that you can't help but get involved with."

The rise of the 'Light Greens' causes a fissure in the environmental movement, mainstream grocery chains forego "Food for Freaks," and an argument is made that "Americans surely have a right to know what country their food has come from."

July 3

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Poor Terrorists? "Each time we have one of these attacks and the backgrounds of the attackers are revealed, this should put to rest the myth that terrorists are attacking us because they are desperately poor," says the author of "What Makes a Terrorist," blurbed by Larry Johnson as "a book that even George Bush could understand."

"The public realm in Britain is in rampant retreat before terrorism," declares the Guardian's Simon Jenkins, "largely because politicians and the media feast on any story involving actual or potential violence." Plus: 'Most Druids are crazy, so why don't they attack us?'

As Iran launches Press TV, its English-language 'antidote to Fox,' the Kansas City Star's television critic calls Al-Jazeera English "everything our cable news isn't: global, meaty, consequential and compelling in the best sense of the word. And I'm not the only one who thinks so."

A McClatchy report detailing 'How U.S. policy missteps led to a nasty downfall in Gaza,' quotes U.S. officials who "say the Bush administration has repeatedly underestimated Hamas and failed to recognize how dysfunctional its Fatah ally had become." Plus: 'Iraq, the new Israel.'

George W. Howard "Australia cannot afford to wait until security threats reach our shores," said that country's prime minister, who was accused of having been "fundamentally dishonest with the Australian people" after his defense minister said the country's Iraq deployment was 'linked to oil.'

One day after the Los Angeles Times reported that the number of private contractors working for the U.S. government in Iraq was "more than 180,000," a New York Times article on combat-related mental health problems faced by private contractors, puts the number at just "up to 126,000."

The 'Ups and Downs in Iraq Violence' include a 41 percent increase since January in the number of unidentified bodies found on the streets of Baghdad.

An AP report on war tax resisters quotes the spokesman for Move America Forward as saying, "They're showing the terrorists that America is not committed."

Although the National Guard is touting recruitment gains, the U.S. military is seeing a dramatic decrease in enlistment among Blacks, only 11 percent of whom are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S., according to a new Gallup poll.

As Rep. Maxine Waters speaks at the inauguration of the Los Angeles "Impeachment Center," a Rasmussen survey finds President Bush within one point of Richard Nixon as the country's least popular president. The Secret Service reportedly plans to hire 103 new agents to protect Bush after he leaves office.

One Democratic presidential candidate is raked over the coals for his 'nuclear ambitions,' while another is celebrated for being "the avant garde of the new artpolitical era." And, on 'July 4, 2011: What will be different?'

A misleading Washington Post article on John Edwards' hair stylist draws the ire of most commenters, an observation that "The hair just attracts attention all on its own," and launches a new attack meme.

I'll Be Backed! The Los Angeles Times reports that the tab for much of Governor Schwarzenegger's high-flying overseas travel is being picked up by an obscure non-profit closely associated with the California Chamber of Commerce, whose "expenditures have exploded since Schwarzenegger began relying on it."

"Chief Justice John Roberts's court is emerging as the Warren court's mirror image," editorializes the New York Times. "Time and again the court has ruled, almost always 5-4, in favor of corporations and powerful interests while slamming the courthouse door on individuals and ideals that truly need the court's shelter."

Jim Lobe challenges the mainstream media's "pervasive use of the word 'conservative' to describe the administration's (and Libby's) core supporters," and Sen. Joe Biden calls President Bush "brain dead" for commuting Libby's sentence.

July 4

Friday, July 6, 2007

Breaking with the president, Sen. Pete Domenici, "a party loyalist and staunch war supporter," joins a growing list of GOP senators who advocate a change in Bush's Iraq policy, while an "archconservative" Republican congressman whose career is under a cloud considers an expedited exit from the "quagmire" in Iraq.

The failure of the media to go beyond PG 13 in reporting the Iraq war is seen as key to its continuation, while Gen. William Odom contends that Democrats will never make progress toward ending it until they challenge the president's definition of "supporting the troops."

By making al Qaeda the "icon of jihad," the Bush administration is apparently not just attempting to bamboozle American public opinion but, Marc Lynch contends, also effectively "shutting down discussion of the political goals of the insurgency factions" at a time when the need for dialogue is paramount.

At the other end of the information war, a new video by al-Qaida's deputy leader is reportedly "trying to replenish the Islamic State brand," in the face of admitted divisions among Sunni militants over "the usefulness of the alternative regime that the Islamic State of Iraq claims to offer."

The connections between the recent terror attacks in London and Britain's role in Iraq are, it's argued, a central part of "Blair's legacy" that his successor has yet to fully confront, and John Pilger adds, silent acquiescence makes them 'Brown's bombs, too.'

A "whirlwind of activity" creates the appearance of progress as the 'Iraqi cabinet sends oil law to parliament,' but the founder of the Iraq oil workers union explains to "Democracy Now!" why he views the U.S.-backed law as "robbery."

With an upsurge in civilian deaths at the hands of Western forces fueling political disillusionment in Afghanistan, and Canadian casualties raising questions about that country's mission, a gallows rope of opium foreshadows some of the challenges and contradictions of eradication policy encountered in Afghanistan's Uruzgan province.

"Where's the Texas flag so I can spit on it?" comments one guest at the U.S. embassy's Fourth of July party in Cairo, as Glenn Greenwald ties 'the tragic collapse of America's standing in the world' to policies and values promoted over the last six years.

Investigating the case of Prisoner 345, the only journalist known to be detained at Guantanamo, Columbia Journalism Review's Rachel Morris finds that the central question is the continued lack of any mechanism to determine guilt or innocence after six years of incarceration.

The standoff at Islamabad's Red Mosque is seen as a "microcosm" of the government's escalating conflict with Islamist religious parties, but some observers suggest that the order to dismantle the radical seminary is boosting President Musharraf's image, if not his safety.

Freed BBC reporter Alan Johnston attributes his release to Hamas' "law and order agenda," one of several messages the organization hopes will help make clear that 'Hamas is the address for doing business.'

"It's an airtight coverup made possible by the administration's willingness to bend the law," writes E. J. Dionne, summing up the ways in which the Libby pardon fails to measure up to "equal justice under law," as 'fallout' already begins to accumulate.

'Sacrifice is for Suckers' Looking at the pardon, the rewarding follow-up careers of the architects of the Iraq war and a pardoned Iran-Contra hanger-on, Paul Krugman concludes that "obstruction of justice when it gets too close to home is a family tradition."

Now that a recent sheaf of new material has fleshed out the portrait of 'The Darksider,' Gary Leupp examines 'the cracks in Cheney's world,' and Robert Greenwald's Brave New Films uses the vice president's record to make the case for impeachment.

Ezra Klein reviews "how the supposed 'uniter' consolidated his power by fostering division," and the ACLU obtains a redacted copy of the White House playbook for making dissent invisible.

A commentator on Fox News who suggests that 'universal health care breeds terrorists' gets outed, Ted Nugent lashes out at the Summer of Love, and even Mr. Rogers gets taken to the woodshed.

July 5

Monday, July 9, 2007

In a potentially "historic" editorial, the New York Times calls for the U.S. to leave Iraq "without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit," although the "epiphany" appears to come rather late and the withdrawal urged is not unequivocally total.

With its benchmarks unattainable, the Bush administration is reportedly "marshaling alternative evidence of progress," and preparing for what it calls a "post-surge redeployment" in which "the idea of any grandiose transformation of Iraq" becomes "We're there to fight Al Qaeda."

As more GOP lawmakers edge away from the president on Iraq, Joe Conason tracks a revival of interest in the Iraq Study Group report, but wonders how well its new advocates understand its recommendations, while the Wall Street Journal decries the 'Republican Retreat.'

As the U.S. military reaches on-the-ground limits in Iraq, downsizing is likely to be accompanied by an intensified air war, the civilian consequences of which, Tom Engelhardt contends, have yet to be faced.

A 'weekend of death and destruction' in Iraq prompts prominent Iraqi politicians to call on civilians "to take up arms to defend themselves," professors are offered insurance and bodyguards, and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki may face a no confidence vote.

With "unfiltered" reporting methods apparently building a 'pro-war fan club' for the New York Times, the paper's new public editor takes it to task for uncritically abetting the Bush administration's "drive to make al Qaeda the singular enemy in Iraq." Plus: Where's the improvement?

Sen. Hillary Clinton is diagnosed with a case of 'blame the puppet,' while Cindy Sheehan threatens to challenge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unless she "moves to oust Bush," a measure now backed by nearly half the U.S. public.

It looks like the honeymoon's over for Fred Thompson, who is campaigning as a pro-life Republican, but appears to have lobbied for family planning, while Rudy Giuliani talks Nascar but not Iraq.

The New York Times hears a change of tune on clemency, Pat Buchanan contends that the only reason 'Scooter skated' was cronyism, and Frank Rich uses the pardon to put the final touches on the portrait of a presidency as 'A Profile in Cowardice.'

In the pantheon of presidents "it is likely that Bush will be seen as a bottom feeder," concludes one historian, as his unpopularity eats away at tourism in Crawford, Texas, and the president ruminates about his legacy.

Bob Novak, who still maintains that outing Valerie Plame was a good thing, contends in his new book "The Prince of Darkness" that Richard 'Armitage purposefully leaked Plame's name,' but suggestions that Armitage is "the real leaker" appear to ignore the other leaks.

A 25 year DOJ veteran goes on the record charging that the Bush administration has turned the government into "into a veritable Augean stable on issues such as civil rights, civil liberties, international law and basic human rights."

War in Context inquires into whether Washington's ally intervened to prolong the captivity of kidnapped BBC journalist Alan Johnston, amid concerns that his ordeal may scare the media away from covering Gaza.

The shooting of a wounded Palestinian cameraman, who later had to have both legs amputated, drew condemnation from media advocacy groups, but a spokesperson for the Israeli army said it wasn't clear who shot him, that he was a "legitimate target," and that there were no plans to investigate.

Iranian exiles open a new think tank in DC that aims to "reeducate the American public" about the necessity for overthrowing the Iranian regime "with air strikes, if necessary," but Ahmad Chalabi takes a softer line, as the leader of "an al Qaeda-linked group in Iraq" threatens Iran over its support for the Iraqi government.

As Paul Krugman puts the over-the-top "scare tactics" being deployed by the "medical-industrial complex" to counter "Sicko" into context, Business Week concludes that the French really do get better health care for less money.

Diana Johnston surveys the court of 'King Sarko the First,' whose deft use of symbolism she sees as "another step in the crippling of political democracy in the age of images," and whose rejection of a traditional Bastille Day pardon to prisoners sparks fears of inmate riots.

July 6-8

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Six months after President Bush announced plans to escalate the war in Iraq, a USA Today/Gallup poll finds that opposition to the war "has reached a record high" and that "More than seven in 10 favor removing nearly all U.S. troops from Iraq by April," but Bush is thought to be 'Resolute Amid the Wreckage.'

Iraq's foreign minister 'warns of chaos if U.S. troops leave' and the U.S. ambassador 'Offers grim prediction on Iraq pullout' in an interview with the New York Times in which he "compared Iraq's current violence to the early scenes of a gruesome movie."

Robert Dreyfuss poses some questions that reporters should be asking about Iraq, and the editor-in-chief of Broadcasting & Cable advises network newscasts to "get a lot more aggressive in their coverage" and "never shy away from the gruesome toll the war is taking."

One day after Sen. Richard Lugar was enlisted to fact check statements made by Tony Snow, the White House spokesman, responding to an AP report that the Iraqi government "has not met any of its targets for political, economic and other reform," said that "What Congress will get this week is a snapshot of the beginning of the retooling of the mission in Iraq."

As 'A handy guide to all the Democrats' plans to end Iraq War' is offered up, Bob Herbert introduces a Nation article co-authored by Chris Hedges and based on interviews with 50 Iraq combat veterans, in which "the authors address what they describe as frequent acts of violence in which U.S. forces have abused or killed Iraqi civilians ... with impunity."

The Washington Post is called out for again having "conflated war support with support for the military," and after it was reported that the National Guard bought gains in recruitment, the U.S. Army falls short of its goals for the second straight month. Plus: 'Ex-convicts and addicts may get DoD clearance.'

Despite having assured the Senate intelligence committee in 2005 that "There has not been one verified case of civil liberties abuse" by the FBI, Attorney General Gonzales reportedly received "at least half a dozen reports of legal or procedural violations... in the three months before he made his statement."

AFP reports on the 'Uproar' that ensued after Germany's interior minister floated policy proposals in an interview with Spiegel that included indefinite detention and "targeted killing" of terror suspects. Plus: What will have to happen for the U.S. to be safe from terrorist attacks?

With the final siege on Pakistan's Red Mosque and the killing of Abdul Rashid Ghazi, an Asia Times report predicts that "It is only a matter of time before the US-led 'war on terror' formally crosses the Pakistani border."

"It's a shame that 'The Trap' is littered with so many unlikable characters," writes Alexander Zaitchik, because "there are some really good chunks of social and economic history here."

Zaitchik, an editor at the Moscow-based Exile, recounts his trip to "The most radiation-poisoned spot on Earth" in the paper's 10th anniversary issue.

Fox News' clips on climate crisis naysaying are coupled with a challenge to Home Depot, and "On the Media" interviews John Stauber about how "corporate advertisers are greenwashing themselves like crazy," and, talks 'Mad Science' with George Monbiot. Earlier: 'Op-Ed Or Op-Lie?'

As Vice President Cheney descends into Quayle Country and 'Cheney fatigue settles over some in GOP,' a just-launched video has already attracted hundreds of thousands of viewers to a cause that may take flight before baseball's all-star game in San Francisco.

Al Franken has reportedly out-raised incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman, who is now being targeted in two separate TV spots for his support of the Iraq war. More on the 'Rumble in Minnesota.'

Following his rumble with Wolf Blitzer, Michael Moore challenges CNN's reporting on "Sicko," and Mother Jones cuts to the chase, quoting the wife of Sen. David Vitter as having said: "I'm a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary. If he does something like that, I'm walking away with one thing, and it's not alimony, trust me."

July 9

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

During President Bush's Cleveland speech, in which he used the words "believe" or "believer" more than 70 times, Frad Kaplan notes that Bush also "pulled out the Sept. 11 gambit more blatantly than ever (and that's saying a lot)."

An article headlined 'Bush says a pullback will occur "in a while,"' quotes White House spokesman Tony Snow as disputing "this panic mode thing that I've heard reported. That's bunkum. That's just flat wrong," adding, "This is a war ... not a political game."

As the Green Zone comes under what is described as the "most intense mortar attack to date," the Los Angeles Times reports that "U.S. forces so far have been unable to establish security, even for themselves," and it's argued that "even an all-out civil war in Iraq doesn't look that bad for U.S. security."

Detailing 'The impossible task set for an embattled government,' Patrick Cockburn says that the benchmarks "were never realistic and have more to do with American than Iraqi politics." Plus: 'History as an Alibi.'

Introducing Nick Turse's 'Planet Pentagon,' Tom Engelhardt finds it "strange that we Americans can garrison the planet and yet, in this country, bases are only a topic of discussion when some local U.S. community suddenly hears that it might lose its special base and an uproar ensues."

As Sen. Olympia Snowe signs on as a co-sponsor to legislation withdrawing troops from Iraq by April, 2008, it's reported that the three leading GOP presidential contenders "have been quietly backing away from any commitment to continue the buildup." And Jim Lobe asks if Rudy Giuliani is "the Likud Candidate?"

The U.S. stands with Hamas in opposition to an international force in the Gaza Strip, dismissing a call by Palestinian President Abbas, who also claimed that "thanks to the support of Hamas, al-Qaida is entering Gaza."

According to ABC's Brian Ross, "new intelligence suggests a small al Qaeda cell is on its way to the United States, or may already be here." Asked "how hard and how specific is the intelligence?", Ross said it was "Not hard, but good." His report coincided with Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff expressing his "gut feeling."

Andrew Sullivan says "It's time to out-Cheney Cheney," and the Seattle Post-Intelligencier reminds "America, you are the boss of Gonzales' boss. You can have the attorney general -- a civil officer -- impeached." Plus: 'What Special Project Lives in FBI HQ Room 4944?'

Sen. Charles Schumer used the fact that former White House political director Sara Taylor "answered some questions about views in the White House" during her testimony, to argue that "this broad claim of privilege" is "weak."

Following Tuesday's testimony by former Sugeon General Dr. Richard Carmona, Digby observed that "the most important theme that's emerging these days about the lawless Republican rule of the past decade is their manipulation of non-partisan government agencies for political gain."

Mapping out Robert Novak's 'complex game,' Robert Parry advances "the idea that Armitage was part of the Plame leak operation ... not just some loose-lipped gossip."

A second madam claims that Sen. David Vitter visited a Canal Street brothel several times beginning in the mid-1990s after they met at a "fishing rodeo," David Corn unearths a 1998 'Blast from Vitter's Past,' and a Louisiana Republican official tells Vitter to resign or "join the Democratic Party where they think that kind of behavior is OK."

As it's noted that Hustler magazine 'cleared the way' for Vitter before catching him, Larry Flynt said in a recent interview "that it is only the Iraq quagmire that has spared the porn industry from Bush's worst intentions."

Editorial cartoonist and novelist Doug Marlette died in a car crash in northern Mississippi on Tuesday. In a 2003 article in the Columbia Journalism Review, Marlette wrote about the controversy surrounding his "What Would Mohammed Drive?" cartoon.

July 10

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A classified draft of the NIE "makes clear that the Bush administration has been unable to cripple Osama bin Laden and the violent terror movement he founded," reports McClatchy, and Newsweek quotes a U.S. intelligence official as saying, "Clearly, they are resurgent." Plus: 'AP's illogic on Al Qaeda report.'

Bob Woodward reports that in a November 2006 meeting, CIA Director Michael Hayden told the Iraq Study Group, "the inability of the government to govern seems irreversible," and that he could not "point to any milestone or checkpoint where we can turn this thing around."

Woodward says Hayden listed the main sources of violence in this order: "the insurgency, sectarian strife, criminality, general anarchy and, lastly, al-Qaeda." On Wednesday, Tony Snow began his press briefing by saying, "the number one enemy in Iraq is al Qaeda," before calling the White House press corps 'defeatists.'

Another new intelligence report "repeats a January intelligence assessment that the conflict is a 'self-sustaining sectarian struggle between Shia and Sunnis,'" reports McClatchy, "for which al Qaida in Iraq attacks have served as 'effective accelerants.'"

"Democracy Now!" interviews Iraq war vets about 'Attacks on Iraqi Civilians,' according to "escalation-of-force statistics," U.S. soldiers 'shot 429 Iraqi civilians at checkpoints' in the past year, and an extrapolation of Lancet study numbers leads to an estimate that 974,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the U.S. invasion.

As it's noted that a bank heist in Baghdad that netted $282 million, "would fund less than one day of U.S expenses for operations in Iraq," President Bush, speaking at a press conference, said that "There are still car bombs, most of which have the Al Qaida signature on them. But they're declining, you know. So there's some measurable progress."

While a "broadly worded legal opinion" from the Justice Department says the White House can 'Ignore Congress,' an e-mail sent to Talking Points Memo says 'Felony.' Plus: 'Bush and Cheney's Tortured Secrecy,' and how a 'Bush Appointee Could Thwart Congress.'

"Sicko" producer hits back at Republican presidential candidates, including 'Urban Legend' Rudolph Giuliani, who, along with John Edwards, is said to be 'Longing for Iraq.'

Claiming to be pursuing more than 20 leads on alleged congressional sex scandals from a Washington Post ad that promised a reward of up to one million dollars, Larry Flynt told reporters: "You guys always know, [from] the past, I deliver. And if I fail to, the mainstream media will crush me like a bug."

Releasing his third tape in seven days, and confusing CNN, Ayman al-Zawahri called on Pakistanis to wage holy war against their government. And, take your pick between 'Mosque crisis may boost Musharraf's hand,' and 'Pakistan siege may fuel Musharraf's rift with religious parties.'

Efforts at 'Keeping Talk Radio Pro-Israel' are outlined, and McClatchy's Hannah Allam describes 'Haggling with Hezbollah,' which "is now on a virtual media blackout," amid speculation about 'a summer war in the Levant.'

Undercover congressional investigators were reportedly fast-tracked for a license "that enabled them to buy enough radioactive material from U.S. suppliers to build a 'dirty bomb,'" and an AP "survey of servers" found 'Military files left unprotected online.'

As the U.S. Army chooses Azerbaijan for war gaming its "force of the future," the WSWS examines the reporting of New York Times' Moscow correspondent C.J. Chivers, following a recent "flurry of articles" in the paper on two energy-rich former Soviet republics of Central Asia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.

As new "anti-extremist" legislation in Russia is criticized by watchdog groups, Garry Kasparov tells NPR's "Day to Day" that his broadcast exposure in Russia is limited to one radio station, Ekho Moskvy, whose editor-in-chief says that "Allowing Ekho to remain open gives the Kremlin a showpiece to present to foreign leaders."

The discovery of 'A conservative's mother lode' of anti-communist era artifacts now housed in the Huntington Library, includes "a 1962 handbill warning shoppers to avoid such communist products as Polish hams." Plus: The flip side of the 60s with Janet Greene and "The Goldwaters."

July 11

Friday, July 13, 2007

"Grading Iraq on a curve," the Bush administration trumpets "satisfactory" progress, but a fact check comes to a rather different conclusion, and Patrick Cockburn notes that "the six failures are on issues critical to the survival of Iraq." Plus: O'Reilly sours on Iraq.

Although the "House votes to withdraw troops," the Washington Post concludes that "no matter how battered he seems, no matter how unpopular he may be in the polls, President Bush still holds the commanding position in his showdown with Congress over Iraq."

"The act that really revivified al-Qaida was the invasion of Iraq," remarks Lawrence Wright, as a New York Times reporter apparently gets the memo and discusses the way 'critics assert' the president has been conflating the 9/11 attackers and the insurgents in Iraq.

As a leaked Army report shows 'Iraqi police collaborated in ambush of U.S. troops' in Karbala, the effort to get biometric data on Iraqi civilians intensifies, and a report concludes that the Iraqi military's readiness has decreased since January.

Returning from Iraq, Dahr Jamail finds life in the U.S. a disorienting 'Disneyland,' far removed for the horrifying day to day realities of life in Iraq, where 'even babies learn to duck snipers,' and nearly three months have passed since anything has been heard from Riverbend.

"We did not want to show grisly things" explains a Pakistani army spokesman, about a quick cleanup designed to ensure that "the public wouldn't see one drop of blood, one scrap of tissue" from the battle at the Red Mosque, as the 'Bush-Musharraf Alliance' comes under growing attack.

Aiming to debunk the myth of America's "special relationship" with Saudi Arabia, "America's Kingdom," writes Tariq Ali, effectively depicts the relation of Aramco to Saudi society as "a microcosm of the colonial order at home and abroad."

With the EU calling for an investigation of its role in secret CIA detentions and worried about blowback from its increasingly controversial involvement in Afghanistan, Germany is told "The old categories no longer apply" in the fight against terrorism.

Artists pursue Argentina's disappeared as a police chaplain stands trial for human rights abuses committed during Argentina's dirty war.

"The mental atmosphere that seeps out of the Oval Office" is infused with "tautological assertions," according to George Packer, the Washington Post tracks a "precipitous" turn of phrase, the administration takes "fair and balanced" out for a spin, and the president props up his image as 'the bomb.'

Testimony about the politicization of public health information by former Surgeon General Richard Carmona, who was "ordered to mention President Bush three times on every page of his speeches," inspires a revision of the Hippocratic Oath and a rewrite of the law.

Insisting that people do have access to health care in America, President Bush says "After all, you just go to an emergency room," and Barbara Ehrenreich takes his "principled stand" for private insurance to its logical conclusion.

Watching "Senate Democrats waffle over ... whether managers of private equity funds and hedge funds should be subject to the same taxes as ordinary working Americans," provokes Paul Krugman to reconsider the relevance of the label "Republicrats."

John Edwards' support for closing the hedge fund loophole provides a New York Times' reporter with an opportunity to revisit his haircut, advancing what Greg Sargent calls the paper's 'twisted jihad' against the presidential candidate.

A new report details how global warming will impact the Northeast, with long-term severity linked to near-term choices, as the U.S. and Canada vie over sovereignty in the increasingly navigable "Northwest Passage."

Concerned that the wrong prayer might usher in the apocalypse, Christian Right activists disrupt Hindu Senate invocation, the Vatican asserts exclusive rights to the term "church," and a Time poll considers who's the most faithful of them all.

Facing South tracks the twists and turns of some scandal ridden weeks for the South, and one commentator finds a wealth of contenders 'if hypocrisy were an Olympic event,' but Tucker Carlson insists that the media not dwell on such things.

"Man-eating badgers" enter the Basra rumor mill, "Little Green Men have become Big Green Dollars" in Roswell, and 'Australian top cop warns of cyborg crime wave.'

July 12

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Mahdi Army may be 'Enemy No. 1' for U.S. forces in Baghdad, but a new poll shows that 'More believe that Al Qaeda is biggest problem in Iraq,' and Frank Rich says 'Don't laugh at Michael Chertoff' because at least his "gut feeling" was focused on "the Qaeda not in Iraq."

The Los Angeles Times reports that only 135 of the 19,000 in U.S. detention facilities in Iraq are foreigners, and nearly half of those are Saudis, while the Daily Star adds that of the suspected foreign fighters held by the Iraqi Interior Ministry, nearly half are from Egypt, another U.S. ally.

As a flak jacket and kevlar helmet are added to the Green Zone dress code, hot ticket mine resistant vehicles help keep armament stocks soaring, but a USA Today investigation finds that policy preconceptions have led the Pentagon to drag its feet in getting these safer vehicles to U.S. soldiers.

Petraeus, Scapegoat? With opposition to Bush's Iraq strategy escalating, Thomas Ricks notes increased attempts by the president "at least rhetorically, to transfer some of the burden of an unpopular war to his top general in Baghdad," recalling earlier predictions that the general was being "set up."

In a lively debate over Iraq with an "animated" Sen. Lindsay Graham, Sen. Jim Webb contends it's not a war but "a botched occupation," in which "the people in al-Anbar are not aligning themselves with the United States. It's 'The enemy of the enemy is my friend.' ... It's been a redneck justice."

With "no easy options left," the final report of the bi-partisan British Iraq Commission calls for a "clear exit strategy" and recommends that the UK "actively and urgently ... pursue changes of policy from our allies," as Prime Minister Gordon Brown orders his cabinet to 'toe the line on U.S.'

The U.N. working group on the use of mercenaries for violating human rights investigates subcontracting by U.S. firms in Chile, as "On the Media" discusses why privatization of the Iraq war is "slipping through the media cracks."

"Away from the headlines ... the Air Force has quietly built up its hardware inside Iraq, sharply stepped up bombing and laid a foundation for a sustained air campaign in support of American and Iraqi forces," the AP reports.

As morale erodes among military families and desertion rates rise, one soldier allegedly hires a hit man to wound him to avoid another ten-month "tour of drama and devastation" on the front lines.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman predicts that future historians will smile upon Bush, while Bill Kristol touts, and the Washington Post teases, the "remarkable -- and often ignored successes" of the Bush administration, but Peggy Noonan complains that the president is in just too good a mood.

As the "public relations campaign for war" with Iran builds, the Guardian identifies Vice President Cheney as head cheerleader, quoting "a well-placed source in Washington" as saying "Bush is not going to leave office with Iran still in Limbo," and activists respond by confronting Sen. Lieberman.

In response to Alexander Cockburn's suggestion that the lack of "direct solidarity with Iraqis fighting the US presence in Iraq" is weakening the anti-war movement, Katha Pollitt advises a little closer look at "the nature of the resistance."

Talking to Bill Moyers about impeachment, Bruce Fein argues that the Bush administration has pursued policies that are "totally anathema to a democratic society, as Tom Engelhardt reviews the mistakes of a president "more relentlessly wrong" than any American leader "short, perhaps, of Jefferson Davis."

After being ordered by officers to "crank up the violence level," a Marine corporal testifies that his unit began routinely beating Iraqis in the run up to the slaying of a civilian in Hamandiya.

As an article in the Washington Post documents how a presidential intelligence oversight board has become a 'A Mute Watchdog,' Fred Hiatt, writing on the Post's editorial page, insists that the Bush administration has invoked the state secrets privilege only "sparingly."

According to a declassified version of a House Intelligence Committee report, the committee itself is "embarrassingly entangled" in the Randy "Duke" Cunningham bribery scandal, and neither party seems willing to release the full results of their investigation.

As President Bush threatens to veto a bipartisan bill expanding child insurance, Paul Krugman finds opponents of universal health care "out of honest arguments" and falling back on "horror fiction about health care in other countries, and fairy tales about health care here in America."

Among the "richest of the rich," the New York Times surveys the sentiments of a proud new Gilded Age, while Ezra Klein considers the possibilities of collective action for loosening summer neckties and expanding vacation time.

July 13-15

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The release of the key judgments of the National Intelligence Estimate prompts 'Two Simple Questions' and a hope that the entire report is "way more meaty that the unclassified version." Plus: 'The NIE and Iraq: What's Missing from this Picture?'

As Al Qaeda 'ramps up its propaganda,' with Ayman al-Zawahiri having issued 10 audio and video messages since January, the co-author of a report on the Iraqi Sunni-based insurgency's media network, tells "On the Media" that "if you look on a monthly basis, it's almost what a multimedia conglomerate would produce."

'Days of Rage' A New Yorker article on opposition movements in Pakistan, where 'protesting goes a cappella,' says the fall of Musharraf's government "now seems more likely than ever."

As concerns are raised about a U.S. plan to pour $750 million of aid into Pakistan's tribal areas, it's reported that a suicide bomber killed 12 people at an Islamabad rally for Pakistan's suspended chief justice.

With 'Hamas left in cold as Bush backs Abbas,' it's argued that the 'U.S. approach to the Palestinian territories is inviting disaster,' and that "the Israeli gestures are still inadequate." Earlier: 'Fading U.S. democracy agenda evokes Arab scorn.'

The Iraq policy debate 'Returns with a Vengeance,' reportedly accounting for 20 percent of last week's news coverage, and ABC News airs video footage shot by a Guardian photojournalist that includes one soldier's challenge to "anybody in Congress to do my rotation."

Reuters calls on the U.S. military to investigate the killing last week of two of its staff in Iraq, following conflicting reports about their death, and Reuters' editor-in-chief asks of the news organization's continued presence in Iraq, 'Why do we do it?'

Bob Schieffer has a 'Walter Cronkite Moment,' and newspapers editorializing for the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq include the Richard Scaife-owned Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, which calls staying the course "a prescription for American suicide." Plus: 'It's time to stop accepting Bush's failures.'

A USA Today investigation finds that "The Pentagon approves disputed costs on Iraq contracts at a much higher rate than on military contracts as a whole," Harper's Ken Silverstein introduces the Pentagon's 'New Spin Unit,' and a political consultancy offers up "Professional Blog Warriors."

'Cheney Speaks' in a new biography, which, according to one reviewer, "makes no energetic effort to get inside the workings of the Bush administration and leaves out much of what is already known." Earlier: 'Is Cheney Evil or Just a Weasel?'

John Edwards launched his "Road to One America" tour in New Orleans, declaring that "We are not the country of the Superdome in New Orleans after Katrina," before traveling to Canton, Mississippi, about which a local judge is quoted as saying, "You would not believe you are in the U.S. It looks like its been bombed out."

Glenn Greenwald wades into 'The Politico sewer,' as campaign finance reports reveal that antiwar Rep. Ron Paul "received nearly 50% of the money donated by employees of the US military," and Sen. Hillary Clinton 'Has more campaign cash on hand than all GOP candidates - combined!'

Anna Quindlen implores Clinton to "persuade Barack Obama to be your running mate," he addresses what Bob Herbert calls "an agonizing issue that has been largely overlooked by the national media," and it's reported that Obama reached a "record 258,000 contributors" by "counting sales of $5 speech tickets or $4.50 Obama key chains as individual contributions."

Sen. John Kerry calls out "flip-flopper" Mitt Romney, an AP poll finds a new leader in the GOP presidential contest, and inquiries to Republican senators up for reelection prompts the question: 'Is Bush's support worse than no support?'

With News Corp. reportedly reaching a tentative deal to buy Dow Jones & Co., Danny Schechter says that the "media crime story" of Conrad Black, "points to a bigger crime that none of those covering the case mentioned... the criminal sabotage and dumbing down of the media itself."

As it's observed that "Sports metaphors have become a pervasive way for Bush and his team to describe almost anything," ESPN is ripped for "the kind of athlete-centric idol worship that seems more like the province of Us Weekly."

July 16

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Physicians for Human Rights calls on the Bush administration to 'Prohibit psychologists from involvement in interrogations,' following the publication of Vanity Fair's 'Rorschach and Awe.' More on 'Bush and psychologists who abet torture,' which Salon's Mark Benjamin also reported on in 'The CIA's torture teachers.'

The author of a Council of Europe report on secret prisons claims that "dissident officers within the upper reaches of the CIA" helped to expose renditions, and that "There were huge conflicts between the CIA and Rumsfeld." And a Fox chyron asks: 'CIA undermining War on Terror?'

As the Washington Post reviews various Iraq 'Exit Strategies,' accompanied by a graphic on 'How Not to End a War,' IraqSlogger relays an Arabic-language news report of a U.S. plan "to move Sunni tribal militiamen into troubled areas of Baghdad to participate in American military operations."

Claiming that the U.S. military has captured "the most senior Iraqi in the al-Qaida in Iraq network," a spokesman said that "In his words, the Islamic State of Iraq is a front organization that masks the foreign influence and leadership within al-Qaida in Iraq."

"Two pages add up to one message" for Maureen Dowd: "The Bushies blew it." She adds that "Fran Townsend, the president's homeland security adviser, did her best to put a gloss on the dross but failed."

Fred Kaplan, noting Bush's mantra-like contention about fighting terrorists in Iraq so we don't have to fight them here, points out that "the NIE reveals that the opposite is the case - that because we're fighting them in Iraq, we are more likely to face them here." Plus: 'Some News Bad for GOP?'

As 'Reid Yanks Defense Authorization Bill To Force GOP's Hand,' Robert Parry, looking askance on "all-night debates about resolutions that will go nowhere," offers up his prescription for what Democrats should do if they "really want to prevail." But they're also defended for 'At least ... being men about filibusters.'

David Corn rebuts William Kristol in a Washington Post op-ed on 'Why Bush Is A Loser,' and the Washington Note's Steve Clemons packages two recent examples of listening in on neocons, a group he describes as "a reality-denying cult."

As the 'White House endeavors to con the Americas,' a New Statesman report on Venezuela describes a "cold civil war," in which the population has been "polarised into two ferociously hostile camps." On Monday, RCTV returned to the air as a cable and satellite channel.

McClatchy looks at "a small and shadowy Marxist guerrilla group," with a Web site, that reportedly claimed responsibility for blowing up several natural gas pipelines in Central Mexico this month. Plus: 'Iraqis being smuggled across the Rio Grande'?

A "former White House official" leaked the list of who Vice President Cheney's energy task force met with to the Washington Post, which reports that according to "some energy experts," the task force's final report "appears better balanced than the administration's actual policy." See the list and a graphic of 'Who Was at the Table.'

With Rep. Henry Waxman charging 'Politicization of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy,' the Post reports that in the "in the three months immediately leading up to the 2006 election," the head of the office or his deputies "held events almost exclusively with GOP officials, many of whom were embroiled in tough reelection campaigns."

VA Watchdog reports that "everyone seems relieved" that VA Secretary Jim Nicholson is leaving, and the head of an organization called Vets for Freedom tells Military.com that he's trying to shore up "our exposed domestic flank," and denies that the group is political.

As the 'Blogosphere responds to O'Reilly's baseless attacks on the Netroots,' watch a forum put on by a Seattle radio station, with Thom Hartmann, Stephanie Miller, Cenk Uygur, Mike Malloy and Ed Schultz.

A Guardian blog post that asks, 'Why is Tinseltown suddenly making all its villains French?, cites a Paris Match article which "fumes that the Frenchman has 'come to embody the depraved morals of old Europe as evoked by George Bush.'" But it's also argued that "four years after the feud over Iraq, the tide is turning."

July 17

Thursday, July 19, 2007

As "Sadirist" and Sunni blocks return to parliament, al-Sadr himself has reportedly "re-emerged with a shrewd strategy," that includes "opening storefront offices across Baghdad and southern Iraq that dispense services that are not being provided by the government," a la Hezbollah and Hamas.

Tony Karon goes 'On the Middle East Catwalk with the Bush Administration,' and in interviews with NPR, Secretary of State Rice repeatedly dismisses the idea of talking with Hamas, while her predecessor says that "I think you'd have to find some way to talk to Hamas." Rice also admits to being "a terrible long-term planner."

Reporting that the Bush administration has "threatened to launch attacks into Pakistani territory if it sees fit," McClatchy refers to an editorial in Pakistan's Dawn newspaper headlined 'Musharraf's moment of truth,' which says that "most people in the country believe whatever action he is taking is under American pressure."

In an interview with Keith Olbermann, the Washington Post's Thomas Ricks discusses the war games he reported on and the possibility that Gen. David Patraeus could be scapegoated by President Bush. And Ricks says that if the U.S. left Iraq, "you wouldn't have an al-Qaeda takeover of the country by any stretch of the imagination."

The Right Strategy? About Patreaus going on Hugh Hewitt's radio show (transcript and audio), Andrew Sullivan writes that "we now know whose side Petraeus seems to be on: Cheney's. Expect spin, not truth, in September."

"Abu Omar Baghdadi, the supposed leader of an Al Qaeda-affiliated group in Iraq, was declared nonexistent by U.S. military officials," reports the Los Angeles Times, adding that "There was no way to confirm the military's claim ... the latest in a series of statements from U.S. officials here blaming foreign elements for Iraq's violence."

In the nine days before the invasion of Iraq, Tony Blair had three conversations with Rupert Murdoch, reports the Independent, and on "The day after two of the calls, The Sun launched vitriolic attacks on the French President Jacques Chirac."

As it's reported that 'Murdoch's Arrival Worries Journal Employees,' French journalist Anne Nivat details the two weeks she spent in the "The 'red zone': that is to say, all of Baghdad outside the fortified American enclave."

Freshman Senate Democrats call for an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate wartime profiteering in Iraq, and the editor of Military.com asks 'What to make of a poll?' conducted by the site, which found a majority of respondents favoring "an immediate withdrawal or precipitous pullout within the next year or so."

As John Edwards bets the farm on Iowa, Bill Richardson takes to Iowa's airwaves with a TV spot reiterating his call to get all troops out of Iraq, and Max Blumenthal interviews some college students about their military priorities.

Hitting Republicans for having "laughed off the all-night debate as a 'slumber party' of 'twilight zone' theatrics by the Democrats," the New York Times editorializes that "In fact, Bush loyalists seem trapped in the twilight zone."

As an 'Ex-Cheney aide gets 10 years in prison in spy case,' the vice president is back in the Executive Branch, and Nicholas Kristof wonders: "Could Dick Cheney and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad be twins separated at birth?"

Noting President Bush's objection on "philosophical grounds" to a Senate plan to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program, the Daily Howler points out that "Bush, a deeply philosophical man, has pondered these matters before."

Joshua Frank interviews Joe Bageant, author of the book "Deer Hunting With Jesus," which was not the working title.

NASCAR Nation Photographers express outrage over a new NFL rule requiring them to wear red vests emblazoned with Canon and Reebok logos, which was reported in an article about how "Sports leagues impose more rules on coverage."

July 18

Friday, July 20, 2007

"Executive Privilege Trumps All" With "a bold new assertion of executive authority," the White House insists that "the Justice Department will never be allowed to pursue contempt charges," which the House is now contemplating against Josh Bolten and Harriet Miers.

Following his article in Slate on additional tools to rein in executive privilege, and his discussion of impeachment with Bill Moyers, former Reagan Justice Department official Bruce Fein talks to Thom Hartmann about steps necessary to restore constitutional law, beginning with taking some of the "Alice in Wonderland" out of the government.

President Bush also issues a broad new executive order 'blocking property of certain persons who threaten stabilization in Iraq,' a measure Fein says is "so sweeping it's staggering," but a Treasury Department spokesperson says that those not "actively abetting" the insurgency have nothing to worry about.

Congress is pushing through a law that would penalize international companies with a presence in the U.S. for doing business with Iran, but it's argued that sanctions, whose legality is disputed, could "threaten US diplomacy toward Tehran." And is the U.S. 'stumbling towards war'?

As the DEA continues to seize property over medical marijuana, Sen. Hillary Clinton 'promises to end federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries.'

Apparently searching for a "scapegoat for Iraq," Under Secretary of Defense Eric Edelman, who first suggested leaking Valerie Plame's identity, pens what Keith Olbermann terms a "Dark Missive," rebuking Clinton for "reinforcing enemy propaganda."

Valerie Plame's lawsuit gets dismissed, but is perhaps not dead yet, as Patrick Fitzgerald, after being "unprofessionally grilled" about his views on "commuting" in an upcoming appearance on NPR's "Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me," finally gets his scooter.

As the House votes 357-72 to reject President Bush's plan to eliminate the $420 million federal subsidy for public broadcasting, a new report 'busts telco myths about the internet.'

'All the President's Enablers' Finding Bush's show of confidence as unsurprising as it is uninformative, Paul Krugman turns his attention to "people who understand the folly of his actions, but refuse to do anything," marking time for Gen. Petraeus, who has provided evidence that he is as much an enabler as any.

With the security variables nearly all headed in the wrong direction, and the bills piling up at an unexpectedly high rate, Timothy Garton Ash suspects that 'America is just starting to wake up to the awesome scale of its Iraq disaster.'

The Iraqi government uncovers a secret prison in Baghdad, as the fear that grips Iraq manifests itself in a "grim tattoo subculture."

As Turkey prepares to head to the polls, tensions with Kurds are ratcheted up with heavy shelling of targets "just inside the border of Northern Iraq," sparking fears that the region could become 'the next front in the Iraq war.'

Although the escalating Russia-UK standoff is ostensibly about a murder, Steve Clemons suspects that "the underlying crime no longer matters," as Russia accuses Foreign Affairs of "Soviet-style censorship." Plus: 'Satanic Panic in Russia.'

An Oversight Committee hearing discloses that FEMA responded with what Chairman Henry Waxman decried as "official policy of premeditated ignorance," to the discovery of "formaldehyde levels at 75 times the U.S.-recommended workplace safety threshold" in trailers provided for Katrina refugees.

'Once again, an Argentine first lady seeks presidency," perhaps putting the "penguin" model of governance to the test, if scandals can be kept from dragging the campaign into the toilet.

A new book attempts to explain why millions of American expect to 'Have a Nice Doomsday,' Trinity Broadcasting funds a makeover for the "Holy Land," and a t-shirt attempts to bridge the divide over "God, guns and gays."

Although Sen. David Vitter's wife 'stands by her man,' he's lost Sean Hannity, and faces the prospect of further investigations in a town with 'more escort services than there are McDonald's.'

July 19

Monday, July 23, 2007

As a federal court orders the government "to turn over virtually all its information on Guantanamo detainees who are challenging their detention," the president signs an executive order ostensibly banning torture, although critics charge that it is "full of loopholes," and the Intel Committee Chair wants to know more.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the U.S appears to be 'bending rules on Colombia terror' by turning a blind eye to the dealings of American multinationals with "paramilitary death squads," whose use of chain saws in torture has become a signature. Plus: A model democracy?

In an attempt to rebrand the war in Iraq, the Pentagon considers "Enlisting Madison Avenue," but a Republican who "wrote the book on PR" gives the Bush administration's record on PR two thumbs down and warns "you can't pour perfume on a skunk." And McClatchy's Steven Thomma adds that 'Bush is a lousy salesman.'

Amid confusion about whether attacks in Iraq are 'up or down,' a starting line that won't stay put, and ever receding goal posts, conflicting accounts of an American helicopter attack on a cluster of Iraqi homes conclude that either 'enemies or innocents' were killed.

As Ambassador Ryan Crocker issues an urgent plea to grant visas to "all Iraqis employed by the U.S. government in Iraq," families fleeing violence in Iraq set up their own "improvised displacement camps," and the consequences of U.S. withdrawal are weighed.

Although it is the only pending legislation before the Iraqi parliament, MPs acknowledge that the draft oil law, which has provoked vows of "mutiny" from Iraq's unions, will likely not be passed before the benchmark report is issued in September. Plus: From actor to hangman.

Casting about for options, the Bush administration floats the idea of using military force to pursue al Qaeda in Pakistan, but the Pakistani foreign minister angrily warns that "any incursion would alienate opinion in the predominantly Muslim U.S. ally against terrorism."

An Israeli columnist finds Bush's recent 'farewell speech' on Middle East peace "as hollow as a church sermon on Monday," and BAGnews adds that the accompanying visuals showcase "a miniature and thoroughly-isolated Bush as if on display in a museum."

With the Senate tied in knots by what's projected to be a bumper crop of filibusters, the game plan for House Democrats, according to Congressional Quarterly, is "to chip away at President Bush's Iraq policy rather than halt the war outright."

Sen. Russ Feingold proposes censuring President Bush "for his management of the Iraq war and his 'assault' against the Constitution," but his Daily Kos diary entry explaining why he won't go further angers proponents of impeachment.

Bill Moyers interviews the partners of "Triglyceride Investments" about the advantages of media conglomeration, while a reporter finds that the religion beat is not an answer to his prayers.

For Frank Rich, "the case of the fallen senator from the Big Easy can stand as an epitaph for a third lost war in our 43rd president's legacy: the war against sex," as talk of decolletage on the campaign trail displaces the traditional menu served up by "the GOP's increasingly marginalized cultural warriors."

Salon considers the exploits and expectations of Rebecca Gomperts, 'the pro-choice pirate,' just back from lobbying for legalizing abortion in Portugal, while David Neiwert reviews "Harry Potter and the Cauldron of Thumpers."

With private prisons overflowing, and 'more than 10% of Texans currently wanted by the police,' an article in the Boston Review attributes the dramatic rise in the prison population in the face of decreasing violence to the excesses of the punitive spirit and to the race factor.

A new FT/Harris poll finds a backlash against globalization, with large majorities in the U.S. and Europe who favor "higher taxation for the rich and even pay caps for corporate executives to counter what they believe are unjustified rewards," but an earlier poll found rather different results.

Looking into why the U.S. has fallen behind Europe and Japan on the Internet, Paul Krugman again turns to the example set by the French, "who can take a pragmatic approach because they aren't prisoners of free-market ideology, [and] simply do things better."

As iPhone meets iHack, Kurt Nimmo finds reasons to suspect that a more serious problem may be that the popular device is an iSnoop.

July 20-22

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Juan Cole warns that the signs of Al-Qaeda's "resurgence are everywhere, but there is little reaction from an American public that has everything to fear from the group." And 'With Iraq on fire, rest of world on hold.'

Following a series of car bombings in 'One of Baghdad's safer neighborhoods,' a McClatchy report describes how an "already frenzied scene spiraled into pandemonium."

With the U.S. 'Seen in Iraq Until at Least '09,' IraqSlogger reports that "Despite official Iraqi and U.S. statements to the contrary, the number of unidentified bodies in the capital has risen again to pre-surge levels over the last two months." And Glenn Greenwald "tests the ideological waters" by requesting an interview with Gen. David Patraeus.

New Yorker editor David Remnick profiles a former Speaker of the Knesset who "managed to inflame the Israeli public (left, right, and center) with little more than an interview in ... Ha'aretz, promoting his recent book 'Defeating Hitler,'" which Remnick describes as "a despairing look at the Israeli condition."

As 'Mob wars hit new heights in Israel,' Sheik Hassan Nasrallah claims that Hezbollah's rockets "could absolutely reach any corner and any point in occupied Palestine," where it's said that 'Tony Blair is not our friend.'

The Washington Post reports that 'Diplomats Received Political Briefings,' and an argument that Secretary of State Rice's 'star is fading,' reveals that there were no takers for an op-ed she co-authored on Lebanon, that was said to be "littered with glowing references to President Bush's wise leadership."

With a House committee set to 'vote on contempt,' Cindy Sheehan was arrested on Monday for disorderly conduct and taken into custody inside the office of Rep. John Conyers, where she was reportedly "imploring him to launch impeachment proceedings against Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney."

As it's speculated that $100-a-barrel oil "may be only a few months away," Halliburton reports that its net income more than doubled in the second quarter due to the sale of KBR, whose stock price has nearly doubled in value since debuting last fall.

A "Meet the Press" appearance by the director of national intelligence raises further questions about the involvement of physicians in CIA interrogations, and a class-action lawsuit accuses the VA and other government institutions of "shameful failures" in caring for veterans.

Among the defendants in the case is Attorney General Gonzales, who may have confirmed "the existence of a new administration spying program" during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Plus: 'An Indictment of The Birmingham News.'

Following an "8 hour pre-game show," CNN aired 39 of almost 3,000 questions submitted via YouTube, during a 'surprisingly entertaining' debate that may have seen John Edwards winning by a hair.

As Venezuelan President Chavez threatens to expel foreigners who criticize him or his government, during an installment of his "reality show," a supporter responds to a depiction of Chavez as going 'From hero to tyrant.' But in Argentina, Chavez is popular enough to be featured in a presidential campaign video.

The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz fields questions about his report that conservative 'Bloggers Raise Red Flags' over an article in the New Republic, which also prompted a "brief word of contrition" from Bill Kristol.

Land of Opportunity Following up on a Los Angeles Times article, Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell asks: "Where else could a young exile end up appearing with George Clooney in a Hollywood movie -- and then, thanks to the man in the White House, get a chance to return to his native land to serve as official hangman?"

July 23

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Asking "At what point does someone lose so much credibility that he should no longer serve in public office?," the Washington Post editorializes that "In the case of Mr. Gonzales, we believe that time has come and gone."

Following Tuesday's hearing, the transcript of which ends with (PROTESTERS SHOUTING), Sen. Arlen Specter said he also plans to review the Senate testimony of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.

On a 22-17 party-line vote, the House Judiciary Committee urges the full House to consider contempt charges against Josh Bolten and Harriet Miers.

Iraq's largest Sunni bloc bails on the coalition government, NBC's Richard Engel debunks the notion "that the violence in Iraq is a fundamental struggle between two opposing teams: Freedom Lovers and Freedom Haters," and U.S. News reports that "Most members of al Qaeda in Iraq, say commanders on the ground, are local Iraqi outcasts."

After President Bush invoked "al Qaeda" 95 times in one speech, it was suggested that an "incantatory repetition of Al Qaeda and bin Laden is a classic symptom of a thinking disorder that should be examined by a specialist like Dr. Frist." And, what one more point will get Bush.

An article on the Pew study that found a drop in Muslim support for violence against civilians, quotes Mike Davis, author of 'A brief history of the car bomb,' attributing the decline in support to the sectarian violence in Iraq, where 'Bombs kill celebrating Iraqi soccer fans.'

As an Arab League delegation begins an "historic visit" to Israel, a Guardian interview with an Arab Israeli who resigned from the Knesset and is facing possible treason and espionage charges, cites a recent poll finding that racism against Arabs in Israel is rising. Earlier: 'Why Israel is after me.'

The New Yorker's George Packer writes about his play on Iraq, and the New York Times' public editor again dismisses complaints by FAIR about the paper's review of the play "Fallujah."

While the 'Senate slumber party wakes up news media,' cable TV was more interested in the 2008 presidential campaign, which is attributed "in part, to CNN's extensive pre-event coverage (or promotion) of the July 23 YouTube debate," which had fewer viewers than a previous debate, but is still dominating YouTube.

"Television personality" Paula Zahn to exit CNN, with her time slot going to Campbell Brown, who teams up for speaking engagements with her husband, Dan Senor, a former Coalition Provisional Authority spokesman.

Although the 'Clinton campaign clobbers O'Reilly,' Arianna Huffington was woefully unprepared for her encounter with Sean Hannity, who repeatedly criticized her for flying on private planes, while she failed to point out his hypocrisy.

After Ward Churchill was shown the door by the University of Colorado, his lawyer mixed it up with Hannity, who said he didn't think Churchill's case was "worthy of going before a jury."

Never Too Early! A "former Tennessee senator better known as an actor" is reportedly "shaking up his still-unofficial campaign," replacing the acting campaign manager with a duo that includes former senator and energy secretary Spencer Abraham. Plus: Nader/McKinney to head '08 Green Party ticket?

Acknowledging that an earlier effort was widely mocked, the New York Sun is still pushing Vice President Cheney for president, reasoning that "If Iowa and New Hampshire Republicans start receiving copies of "Cheney" in their mailboxes, Mr. Cheney's popularity may yet begin to climb."

The Los Angeles Times spiked a column advocating a CD giveaway like a British newspaper did with Prince. And following a Vanity Fair profile that was twelve years in the making, "the Howard Hughes of rock" takes the stage in the U.S. and Europe, with one reviewer concluding that his "heart is not in it. Never mind his soul."

July 24

Thursday, July 26, 2007

As a 'Bipartisan group slams NSA wiretaps,' four Senate Democrats ask the Justice Department's solicitor general to "immediately appoint an independent special counsel ... to determine whether Attorney General Gonzales may have misled Congress or perjured himself in testimony before Congress."

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy has issued a subpoena to Karl Rove, as a New York Times editorial urges Congress to go about 'Defying the Imperial Presidency.'

'Operation Iraq Betrayal,' Sidney Blumenthal describes how the Bush administration is searching for "an enemy within," and in a letter to the editor, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid accuses the Washington Post's editorial writers of being "eager cheerleaders for the Bush administration's flawed Iraq policies."

The House votes to bar permanent military bases in Iraq, and following a two-month debate, the commanding general at Fort Lewis says that individual memorials will continue.

The once-pseudonymous author of a controversial New Republic article reveals that "I am Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp... my character, my experiences, and those of my comrades in arms have been called into question, and I believe that it is important to stand by my writing under my real name."

With Hollywood set to release a spate of movies about the Iraq war, Salon interviews the director of "No End in Sight," or, as one review is headlined, 'Surge This.'

It's suggested that a drop in approval ratings for Sen. Norm Coleman -- five points in one month and ten points since April -- "could be directly related to his status as a proud member of the WINO caucus."

Bill Moyers responds to a complaint by PBS's ombudsman that his show on impeachment lacked balance. One of the guests was Bruce Fein, who talks impeachment with Keith Olbermann.

As 'Experts question U.S. strategy in Pakistan,' including funding a local paramilitary force called the Frontier Corps, a Pentagon official tells a House hearing that "This is going to be a long-haul process. I don't think we'll have any demonstrable change within (a) three-year time frame."

'Agency of Rogues' Chalmers Johnson reviews Tim Weiner's history of the CIA, "Legacy of Ashes," which has received one rave after another, as well as prompting the observation that "Somewhat oddly, the book is framed as a 'warning.'"

As it's revealed that Fred Thompson has "an affinity with one of the Republican Party's perennial targets, trial lawyers," a protester is removed from a Houston event for Thompson after screaming at him that "you're not a real conservative, sir," and a traveler finds "Red Meat Conservatism" during a stop for barbeque in South Carolina.

"The Murdoch empire, operating as the Fox News Channel, has mounted a crusade against DailyKos.com," writes Joe Conason, adding that "The occasional outburst on a liberal blog ... cannot compare with the daily outpouring of vitriol on Fox."

As the freshness of cable news is called into question, CJR Daily's Paul McCleary, arguing that less is more in "he said-she said" newspaper articles, identifies a prime candidate for "editorial liposuction."

'Staffs gutted. Secrets stolen. A traitorous publisher forced to defend his actions in court,' all that and more!

After violinist Nigel Kennedy offered up 'Melodic jazz, a few laughs and a pox on capitalism' in Beirut, he performed in East Jerusalem, and told a Ha'aretz interviewer where he comes down on the wall.

July 25

Friday, July 27, 2007

In the face of pressure to look on the bright side of the "surge" in Iraq, it's lights out for electricity reports, a sense of urgency goes missing in the Iraqi legislature, and bombs punctuate claims of "significant security success."

"I believe these men were kidnapped by First Kuwaiti to work at the U.S. Embassy," a witness tells the House Oversight Committee, adding "I've read the State Department Inspector General's report on the construction of the embassy. Mr. Chairman, it's not worth the paper it's printed on." More on 'charges of human trafficking.'

The New York Times reports on the Bush administration's "increasing anger" at "Saudi Arabia's counterproductive role in the Iraq war," but Steve Clemons contends that the Saudis, no longer willing to play "good vassal ... see weakness, they see a void, and they're going to fill the void and call their own shots." Plus: 'U.S. set to offer huge arms deal to Saudi Arabia.'

With few politicians and fewer presidential candidates willing to talk seriously about ending the war, Tom Engelhardt takes a skeptical look at the mainstreaming and repurposing of the word "withdrawal."

Expressing regret that "discussion went astray," but defending his aide Eric Edelman, Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he is "personally engaged in developing contingency plans for a drawdown of U.S. troops from Iraq."

Documents obtained by the AP in response to a FOIA request, note medical examiners' suspicions that Pat Tillman was killed deliberately by his own men, something that his mother, who remains harshly critical of the investigation, has long suggested may have been the case.

The Los Angeles Times reports that "Democrats in Congress and on the campaign trail have begun to adopt some of the language and policy goals of the antiabortion movement," in part because "Democratic strategists warn that emphasizing birth control gives voters a bad impression."

"Netroots hot, DLC not." Even with Bill Clinton delivering the keynote address, none of the major Democratic presidential hopefuls are expected to be in attendance at the DLC's annual meeting, a snub that may have more to do with its agenda than the candidate's "tunnel vision."

Testimony by the FBI director that appears to contradict earlier sworn statements by Attorney General Gonzales has John Conyers asking for the notes, amid suggestions that his testimony might have been part of a broader effort to conceal surveillance. Plus: Sen. Charles Schumer pledges to 'fight new Bush high court picks.'

Tallying up the federal lawmakers under investigation "from coast to coast," the New York Times finds that all but two are Republicans, while the GOP presidential candidates -- for the most part -- keep their distance from the party's upcoming "Machine Gun Shoot" fundraiser.

GOP candidates also appear to be backing away from a proposed YouTube debate, but Lady Thatcher continues to be a major draw. And 'Edwards chides Clinton and Obama' over "spat" about meeting with leaders of "rogue nations," and declares that "They want to shut me up."

With children's health care caught up in a proxy war for universal health care, Barbara Ehrenreich suggests at least getting kids pet health insurance, and it's noted that the president raised no objections when it came to free government-run health care for his own needs. Plus: Time to play the 'SiCKO' card?

As Wall Street takes another plunge, Paul Krugman chalks it up to the "sum of three fears," surprised only by how long it took for reality to pop "the peculiar conviction," endemic among some right wing analysts, "that the housing bubble was a myth and that the real bubble was in oil prices."

WIth a new poll showing 'overwhelming support for stronger fuel economy standards,' it's suggested that "pay-as-you-drive insurance" is an unfairly ignored path to conservation, and recent success stories are said to highlight the economic as well as environmental benefits of 'fare-free public transit.'

As Bill O'Reilly continues his campaign against what one of his guests calls "the fetid little orchard" at the Daily Kos, and cuts the mic on a Fox contributor, Brave New Films spearheads a 'Fox Attacker' campaign targeting the networks' advertisers. Plus: FoxNews.com buries Gonzales and Rove stories.

At the 'Rapture Ready' conference of Christians United for Israel featuring "the mainstream, sane, serious Joe Lieberman" as keynote speaker, Tom DeLay explains, "we have to be connected to Israel to enjoy the second coming."

On Earth as it is in Cyberspace The Jesuits follow the latest web trends and eye establishing a mission in Second Life, while Bob Novak looks forward to a heaven devoid of blogs.

July 26

Monday, July 30, 2007

Despite a growing and underreported toll of Iraq vet suicides and flagging recruitment and retention efforts, calling the army "broken" can still raise hackles, and the reenlistment of a still wheelchair-bound soldier is considered a recruitment photo op.

As a fellow soldier disputes a chaplain's account of Pat Tillman's final moments, an Iraq war veteran raises questions about whether Tillman might have been killed for his political views.

With the demand for replacement limbs reaching 3,000 a year in northern Iraq alone, and the number of amputations among U.S. troops twice as high as in previous wars," the 'war is fueling a research blitz in prosthetics industry.' Earlier: At a prosthetics workshop for Iraqi refugees in Syria.

According to an anonymously-sourced report in the New York Times, President Bush talks to Prime Minister Maliki about sharing faith in God, although perhaps not in Gen. Petraeus, whom Frank Rich finds acquiring responsibilities that might warrant a new job description.

As 'defense earnings continue to soar,' an inquiry into growing U.S. investment in military installations in Iraq leads Walter Pincus to wonder about the difference between "enduring" and "permanent," and an official U.S. report notes that the Iraqi government is "refusing to take possession of thousands of American-financed reconstruction projects."

A pair of articles in the Washington Post detail some of the questionable practices of a "media-friendly" military contractor that is now "banned from U.S. bases," and explore some of the complex motivations of its employees, four of whom were kidnapped last November and remain missing.

Despite reported tensions between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia over Iraq, a $20 billion advanced arms sale package is in the works, one of several such packages the Bush administration would like Congress to approve for its Arab allies and Israel.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Hamas is poised to reveal some secrets now that it is in control of the intelligence and military infrastructure created for Fatah with U.S. help, while a new marketing campaign aims to show that Gaza is 'Safe, clean and green,' and perhaps a good place to surf.

A new British government report on extraordinary rendition concludes that U.S. policies posed some "ethical dilemmas" for the British government, but Craig Murray calls it a 'whitewash,' and an Iraqi recounts in an interview with the Guardian how he was betrayed to the CIA by MI5.

A U.N. investigator proves to be a little coy about mentioning abuses by Western countries as he suggests that "soldiers from countries whose armies are suspected of engaging in torture or other abuse should not be considered for peacekeeping duty."

The New York Times moves data mining to center stage in the narrative of the Ashcroft hospital room showdown, and Marty Lederman suspects that "it was not so much the data mining itself, but instead what NSA did with the mined data that caused the legal uproar."

Based on the thicket of anonymous sources cited in the Times data mining article, Glenn Greenwald suspects it was a 'leak designed to save Alberto Gonzales,' albeit an ineffective one, as a decade of "misstatements" culminates in calls for his impeachment.

Sen. Patrick Leahy says President Bush "must go back to the rule of law," as Democrats confront the question of how and whether to challenge widening executive privilege claims in court, and presidential candidates consider how it might affect them.

For a growing number of Americans, the Supreme Court has become "too conservative," according to a new poll, and Sen. Chuck Schumer pledges in a speech before the American Constitution Society (text/video) that "I will do everything in my power to prevent one more ideological ally from joining Roberts and Alito on the Court."

The looming showdown over children's health insurance has, Paul Krugman contends, exposed the core of the president's philosophy: "the government must be prevented from solving problems, even if it can. In fact, the more good a proposed government program would do, the more fiercely it must be opposed."

In an article on the surge in U.S. sales of non-fiction designed to "undo the abracadabra of official spin in Washington," a Guardian blog notes that the New York Times is apparently "happy to profit from Chomsky; they just won't print him."

Vanity Fair profiles 'Giuliani's Princess Bride,' as Germaine Greer hits a nerve in Australia with an unsentimental portrait of "the people's princess."

July 27-29

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

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As the Iraqi parliament avoids committing an "unconstitutional" act, the country is said to be in the throes of a "second insurgency," and an Oxfam report finds that 8 million Iraqis "need urgent aid," with 43 percent of Iraqis in "absolute poverty."

"I was 24, and suddenly I was the eyes and ears for some of the world's top journalists," says an Iraqi teacher, describing how he became a "fixer" following the invasion of Iraq. Earlier: 'Strung-out stringers.'

As Gen. David Petraeus again signals a 'Big U.S. presence in Iraq until mid-2009,' communiques from Iraq's largest Sunni insurgency faction are said to reinforce the notion that "once a binding commitment to withdrawal has been made, they're ready to come to the table." Plus: Does 'Withdrawal from Iraq = Second Holocaust?'

The terms "sustainable security" and "sustainable stability" are being employed by a host of U.S. officials, as well as two of 'Bush's Enablers,' whose op-ed is at the heart of Robert Parry's accusation that the New York Times is advancing 'New Pro-War Propaganda.'

Kenneth Pollack tells CNN that he disagrees with the title that the Times chose for the op-ed, which George Packer says, "raises more questions for me than it answers." And while Packer refers to the authors as longtime "critics of the war," that characterization is disputed.

As 'Lieberman escalates attack on Iraq critics,' Sen. Hillary Clinton critic Eric Edelman is said to be the congressional point man for possible U.S. military action in Turkey, where he served as U.S. ambassador.

With one analyst concluding that the Bush administration is pursuing a 'New Cold War' with Iran, a Jerusalem Post article headlined 'Reports: Iran to buy jets from Russia,' mentions said "reports" three times, without identifying their source. Plus: 'Arms for Arab authoritarians, as U.S. turns back clock.'

Smuggling into Gaza from Egypt is reportedly 'slower under Hamas,' which conducted a "highly selective" tour of Gaza for foreign journalists that was also described as "colorful and revealing," and during which former Palestinian Authority PM Ismail Haniyeh said: "This is not a day for public relations."

A 'Buttoned-up Brown plays it straight as Bush extols his great British virtues,' during a "press availability" at which the prime minister was seen as being 'More Bulldog Than Poodle.'

With House Democrats set to 'Introduce Gonzales Impeachment Resolution,' "Bush's Brain" co-author James Moore identifies "Karl Rove as the key determinant in Gonzales' future." Plus: 'Democrats vs. President Bush: To the courts or not, and how?'

As Senate Republicans reportedly consider a "rebranding" effort, John Nichols writes that "The last thing the Senate GOP leadership needed was trouble in Alaska. But with the Stevens investigation expanding, they've got that trouble."

With paid attendees liberated from Sean Hannity's "Freedom Concert," did Bill O'Reilly deliver on his threat to "destroy" Daily Kos? Plus: "Great American, Roger Ailes."

As the Chicago Tribune embarks on what its publisher calls "a program to present high-quality advertising messages" at the bottom of its front page, a call goes out to 'Ground those TV choppers.'

Late-night talk-show host Tom Snyder is remembered for his conversational interview style, providing a rare early-80s venue for numerous new wave and punk bands, and having "made TV just a little more weird."

Sweden honors Ingmar Bergman, described as "a surgeon who operated on himself," and the Guardian offers up clips of his 'greatest scenes.'

July 30

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