September, 2006 link archive

Friday, September 1, 2006

The Party of Ideas A Washington Post article quotes Republican strategists and GOP officials who "All predict one of the most negative midterm elections in memory, with virtually no positive advertising from the national GOP committees or individual GOP candidates."

The Pentagon issues a 'gloomy Iraq report,' UPI's Martin Sieff reviews 'benchmarks' during 'Dog days in Iraq,' and the U.S. military announces that 18 U.S. soldiers have been killed in the last five days, as a series of "coordinated blasts" kill at least 64 and wound hundreds more in Baghdad.

With people "lining up for hours" at Iraqi passport offices, and thousands of Iraqi Arabs flocking to Kurdistan, the U.S. military is expanding its force in Iraq to 140,000 troops and throwing $20 million at a public relations campaign "in an effort to promote more positive coverage of news from Iraq."

Responding to President Bush's latest "stay the course" speech on Iraq, Fred Kaplan points out that the real crisis "looming in the Middle East is not the threat to freedom and democracy but rather the threat to stability," as the WWII-era rhetoric continues to spread.

After challenging the president in the "the reddest of red states," Salt Lake City's mayor remarks to Keith Olbermann that "it's astounding how desperate these people are in avoiding a discussion on the merits," and rebukes Fox News for being "the ones who helped sell this war to the people."

Cataloguing the warmongering of Rupert Murdoch, Richard Neville notes the publisher's confession that media ventures are "not as important to me as spreading my personal political beliefs."

"In a state established on a founding myth" writes Jonathan Cook, "deception becomes a political way of life," so it is not surprising that post-war exaggerations of damage to people and infrastructure in Israel have been received as reported fact. Plus: Trial of Hamas lawmakers adjourned while diplomatic immunity arguments are prepared.

With Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador vowing to form "a parallel leftist government" in a racially charged post-electoral environment, hundreds of Mexican law enforcement officers have deployed around Congress to prevent protesters from disrupting President Vicente Fox's final national address. Update: 'Mexican lawmakers block Fox's speech.'

The Sandinistas' Daniel Ortega leads the polls in Nicaragua as the November presidential election approaches, despite increasingly pointed warnings by the U.S. ambassador, and Bolivia's President Evo Morales tells Spiegel that "Capitalism has only hurt Latin America."

In 'The Big Disconnect,' Paul Krugman looks at evidence that that ordinary Americans recognize the disconnect between economic growth and a decline in wages and real benefits over the last quarter century, and finds "as good an argument as you could possibly want for a smart, bold populism."

Thomas Frank observes that "Mounting a campaign against plutocracy makes as much sense to the typical Washington liberal as would circulating a petition against gravity," with New Democrats viewing economic dislocation instead after the fashion of the 19th century as a matter of "the fitness of the unemployed."

Responding to a new study finding defense and oil CEOs raking in salaries double and triple those of their counterparts in comparably sized businesses, industry spokesmen complain that "it's unfair to criticize CEOs for success in lifting a company's stock price."

Amid the ruined houses and broken infrastructure of New Orleans, Black Commentator finds a city "still in intensive care," while justice remains "simply unavailable" for thousands of prisoners still 'living on Katrina time,' many of whom "have never seen an attorney, never been arraigned, never appeared before a judge."

As Spike Lee's documentary "When the Levees Collapsed," comes online, Tom D'Antoni argues, now that "the news cycle has turned," it's time to "do something for the people of New Orleans."

Texas' Republican Party decries a British TV drama and film festival "hit" as "shocking" and "disturbing," but the director insists, "It is a serious and sensitive film. There is no way it would encourage anyone to assassinate Bush and usher in Cheney's America."

A Salon article underlines the irony and desperation in the GOP kissing up to 'liberal Chafee,' who is significantly behind his conservative Republican challenger in the polls, and Ann Coulter contends that "They shot the wrong Lincoln."

Pensito Review finds one conservative pillorying Katherine Harris "for not just being crazy and incompetent, but for being crazy and incompetent to hand the presidency to a possibly crazier, certainly more incompetent George Bush," as the Onion surveys reaction to her political theology.

As Tucker Carlson defends a recently captured fugitive cult leader who is on the FBI's 10 most wanted list, Alternet excerpts "The Sinner's Guide to the Evangelical Right, and Florida State Senate candidate Randall Terry's "inconvenient" family values are exposed.

August 31

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

As U.S. military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan surpass the number killed on 9/11, and Howard Zinn argues that "war is terrorism," Bush's "revival meeting" narrative is seen as offering "uncomplicated seduction."

A "major rhetorical reversal" on Iraq by Vice President Cheney, "if you will," is seen as comparable to the use of the domino theory to "sell" Vietnam.

Following a conversation with Sen. John Warner, a column by George Will "suggests that, if it wasn't at the beginning, the Iraq war is now all about oil."

"One more drop in the polls," writes Frank Rich, and the Bush administration "may yet rebrand this mess War of the Worlds."

An Army investigor has recommended the death penalty for four U.S. soldiers charged with committing murder during a raid in Iraq, with the AP noting that the U.S. military has not executed a service member since the early 1960s.

Afghanistan's opium production is reported to have reached the "highest levels ever recorded," as a 'Symbol for Change Becomes a Symbol of Failure.'

McClatchy's Jonathan Landay cites diplomatic sources as saying that Pakistan has "bought peace" with Islamic separatists by "exporting the problem" to Afghanistan, where an Operation Medusa strafing by U.S. warplanes "isn't the first time that Canadian troops have died in so-called friendly-fire incidents."

Republicans have reportedly "all but abandoned" work on immigration, choosing instead to "play to their political strength" during "Security September"-- although an analysis of "the dark underside of the 9/11 experience" concludes that 'Katrina Started at Ground Zero.'

Former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke debunks an "incendiary claim" in an ABC docudrama, seen as part of a strategy of 'Hijacking 9/11.'

A new historical analogy by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, comparing critics of the war in Iraq to Civil War-era slavery supporters, is called "perhaps the most breathtakingly stupid remark ever uttered by a Bush administration official."

Israel's spy chief accuses Hezbollah of trying to "create a situation in Gaza similar to the one in southern Lebanon," and the Jerusalem Post reports that 'U.S may consider additional aid to IDF,' "if Israel asks," to help defray expenses.

'West Bank Construction Bids' are said to draw "pro forma American criticism," as 'Palestinian businessmen wonder why Israel wants them out,' and a human rights group accuses Israel of "total contempt for human life" in Gaza.

The decline in terror prosecutions to the pre-9/11 rate does not go unspun, although the FBI is reportedly having problems in separating "serious terrorist plotters from delusional dreamers," and white extremists in the U.K. are threatening to behead British Muslims in new terror videos.

With the "countdown clock" ticking in the White House, Robert Novak reports that Bush is "talking about trying to revive his tax and Social Security reform proposals after the 2006 elections."

As the New York Times reports that Karl 'Rove's Word Is No Longer GOP Gospel,' James Moore and Wayne Slater call on "The Architect" "and his political consort" to come out of their closets.

A new Quinnipiac poll finds that Democratic Congressional leaders are "neither well thought of, nor widely known, to most Americans," while the party's 2008 presidential hopefuls all rank behind Sen. Joe Lieberman.

A 'Fortune Teller's Parrot' and an essay on 'Bipartisan Disaster' help Alexander Cockburn explain why "the War on Terror is the only card the Bush crowd has ever had that worked for them, and the only riposte from the Democrats is that they could play the same card better."

September 1-4

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

The Bush administration claims that detainees of the U.S. military will now be "ensured humane treatment" and acknowledges the existence of secret CIA prisons in announcing the transfer of "14 high-value terrorism suspects" to Guantanamo.

A report that 'GOP Senators Differ With President on Military Trials' prompts Josh Marshall to ask, "Is the jig up?"

By Maureen Dowd's count, President Bush invoked Osama bin Laden by name "18 times in a 40-minute speech," quoting him repeatedly, albeit selectively, while a U.S. ally extended a hearty, 'Welcome, Citizen Osama!'

The newly updated "National Strategy For Combatting Terrorism" makes no mention of bin Laden by name, saying instead that "the enemy we face today in the war on terror is not the same enemy we faced on Sept. 11."

NBC's David Gregory reportedly mixed it up with White House press secretary Tony Snow, who "denied that the president's statement and report today on the war on terrorism were political in any way."

In an interview with NPR, the New Yorker's Lawrence Wright, author of "The Looming Tower," discusses the importance of a U.S. attack on Iran to al Qaeda's "20 year master plan" leading to "total apocalyptic war on unbelievers."

Reviewing Wright's book, Mark Follman maps 'The road to 9/11 and beyond,' and Martin Amis describes 'The real conspiracy' and "a festival of gullibility" as September 11 approaches again.

Before examining 'Osama's Bank Account,' "Ghost Wars" author Steve Coll participated in an e-mail correspondence with Wright on the relationship between Bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

A New Yorker panel surveys 'The World After 9/11,' in which a new Zogby poll finds that almost a third of all Democrats believe there was a link between Saddam Hussein and the attacks on New York and Washington.

As a New York Times analysis ponders 'Nuclear Deja Vu,' Iran's hardline president finds common ground with a U.S. campus crusader.

'The knife at Pakistan's throat' The Taliban are reportedly "in complete control" along the border with Afghanistan, while Balochistan protests the killing of a 'man in the mountains,' who figured prominently in 'India's Baloch Dream.'

A Canadian air show has dropped plans to feature a U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt, "identical to planes that killed a Canadian soldier and wounded dozens of others in Afghanistan," as Canadian newspapers report that Bush proclaims, 'Canada is terror threat.'

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani reportedly decides to "cease all political activity," but not before demanding a timetable for U.S. withdrawal and denouncing the "failure of the government" to protect the lives of citizens.

As the 'Army Tries Private Pitch For Recruits,' a want ad for one of the companies doing the pitching 'Says It All.'

Firedoglake rounds up reaction to David Corn's revelation that former CIA agent Valery Plame Wilson was "operations chief of the Joint Task Force on Iraq" -- which was "ramped up several months before 9/11 even occurred."

Revisiting the subject of "Peak Fascism," Rigorous Intuition's Jeff Wells wonders "what should we expect a minute past" the appearance of 'The Clown At Midnight.'

"Seriously bad news" A New York Times editorial goes 'In Search of Accurate Vote Totals,' and a Mother Jones report challenges citizens in '11 of America's worst places to cast a ballot' to 'Just Try Voting Here.'

A McClatchy report includes an mp3 sample of "Greetings, Hope of Lebanon," a song praising Hezbollah, which has brought "rock-star status" to a Palestinian band.

September 5

Thursday, September 7, 2006

The transfer of 14 terror suspects to Guantanamo reportedly creates division among Republicans over detainee rights and doubt among legal experts that the architects of 9/11 'will ever go to trial.'

President Bush's "big fat legal do-over" on Gitmo reportedly prompted calls for 'more info on secret jails,' as Ron Suskind tells Salon what was learned when "We tortured an insane man."

Eric Umansky chronicles 'Failures of Imagination' in torture coverage, then tries his hand at 'Deconstructing Bush' after a Hamdan maneuver shows that 'The Torturer's Apprentice' is "not about to take the hemlock."

Bush's Gitmo gambit "may have answered a political riddle," as it's noted that "anyone against his proposal would be denying him necessary tools to protect American security."

As President Bush attains star status, Sidney Blumenthal analyzes the 'Delirious Rhetoric' of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and her fascination with the Peace of Westphalia, aka the "peace of exhaustion."

Another poll finds that more than 4-in-10 Americans continue to believe that Saddam Hussein was "personally involved" in the 9/11 attacks, despite presidential disavowals -- creating doubt as to whether 'A Nation Remembers.'

Word gets around about President Bush's "visceral hatred" of Saddam, as detailed in Michael Isikoff and David Corn's "Hubris," and Katrina vanden Heuvel explains why the Democrats' current 'Focus on Rumsfeld Misses the Point.'

Clinton administration officials continue to protest "The Path to 9/11," Bill Clinton calls on ABC to "pull the drama" if no changes are made, and according to author James Bamford, an FBI agent who worked as a consultant to the film quit because he believed the writers and producers were "making things up."

As hearses roll in Ontario, prompting calls to 'rethink Afghan mission,' a new poll finds that 'most Canadians blame U.S. for 9/11 attacks.'

The Victoria Times Colonist editorializes that, under Bush, the world's longest undefended border has become "about as friendly as the Afghan frontier," after it's announced that "Anyone crossing illegally will ... be considered a terror threat."

A Pentagon report is said to reveal 'a deepening catatrophe,' but U.S. Commander General George Casey promises Iraqis during a "milestone" ceremony "that America's troops would not head home soon," and the Maine National Guard invites kids to meet the Flat Daddies.

UPI reports that a Pentagon strategic planner's proposed name change for the "global war on terror" is "being floated at a politically inopportune time."

A number of GOP primaries are described as 'Internecine Wars,' "pitting their party's conservative base against its moderates," but Sen. Joe Lieberman's "welcome back" is said to signify that "a Democrat is capable of anything."

Leilla Matsui offers a "dissident writer's job description ... performing cleanup duty for our coal-shoveling colleagues on Satan's payroll."

With Hezbollah's 'postwar PR machine' said to be in 'high gear,' 'Turning rubble into rhetoric,' Hassan Nasrallah tells interviewers that "he himself does not know his whereabouts."

The U.S. Senate 'rejects limits on cluster bombs," with Sen. Ted Stevens arguing that a proposed amendment to a Pentagon budget bill would restrict "the ability of our military to use these munitions to protect our people."

The successful debut of "Modern Times" makes Bob Dylan "the oldest living person to go straight into the chart at number one" -- aided by an edgy TV ad and a dead poet -- but 'That's Not Bob Dylan!'

September 6

Friday, September 8, 2006

Discover the Network Max Blumenthal reveals that "The Path to 9/11" is "produced and promoted by a well-honed propaganda operation consisting of a network of little-known right-wingers working from within Hollywood to counter its supposedly liberal bias," and whose "godfather" is David Horowitz.

Read the letter from Bill Clinton's lawyers demanding that ABC yank 'Path,' and watch an interview with the former FBI agent who quit his job as a consultant on the film.

The Path From 9/11 Saddam Hussein "regarded al-Qaida as a threat rather than a possible ally," and his government "did not have a relationship, harbor or turn a blind eye toward" Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, according to a Senate Intelligence Committee report. Last month President Bush implied that Saddam "had relations with Zarqawi."

As military lawyers balk at the use of secret evidence in military tribunals, a constitutional law professor tells the New York Times that Bush's two track system of interrogation "would appear to legalize one set of war crimes that are currently unlawful."

Questioning the need for secret prisons, the head of Europe's human rights watchdog assails "the King John of the USA," while Amnesty international Magazine's account of 'Dirty Secrets of the War on Terror' provides further evidence that 'the US does torture.'

As Robert Parry sees it, the president has turned the next election into a referendum on "whether to commit the nation to fighting World War III against large segments of the world's one billion Muslims," even though that will mean "the end of the United States as a democratic Republic."

After Nato's top commander in Afghanistan calls for reinforcements, admitting that he was "taken aback" by the ferocity of violence in the south of the country, "the deadliest suicide bombing in Kabul since the fall of the Taliban" highlights an increase in attacks in the capital.

As a suppressed UN Document detailing the role of a number of high level Afghan government officials in past atrocities comes to light, Robert Scheer finds Afghanistan 'High on opium, not democracy.'

The Baghdad morgue is expanding following a surprising recalculation of the final August death toll, and the president of Military Reporters and Editors returns from his fourth trip to Iraq reporting that "the violence is the worst he has ever seen there."

Patrick Cockburn reports that with its people pushed to the edge of starvation by the Israeli siege, "Gaza is dying," as policies described as "ethnic cleansing" are implemented in East Jerusalem, and hundreds of Palestinians take out an ad declaring "Tony Blair is persona non grata in our country."

The release of an al Qaida video "as if on cue" just before the U.S. midterm elections and "smack in the middle of Bush's Tour of Terror" inspires several commentators to explore the 'Bin Laden to the rescue' theme.

Tom Engelhardt examines how proliferating Cold War "previews" of apocalyptic destruction distorted American perceptions of what really happened on 9/11, and concerns are raised that 'the most politicized crime in modern history' may have changed Canada's basic character.

After getting one letter from Bill Clinton's lawyer and another from top Democratic legislators, ABC is reported to be considering pulling "The Path to 9/11," which is starting to look "a lot like 'The Reagans,' Part II."

Danny Schechter goes "off the reservation," asking why, amid all the "infotainment" we are being fed every day, this particular piece has "risen to the level of such apocalyptic outrage."

"Synergy!" Billmon points to media consolidation as a plausible explanation for how "The Right Wing Path to 9/11" made it into ABC's prime-time lineup, as Clear Channel pleads for more radio stations and Rush Limbaugh 'Brings His Claptrap to CBS.'

Confronted with ever shrinking vacation time since the Reagan revolution, American workers are found to be "willing collaborators in their own existential demise."

In 'Whining over Discontent,' Paul Krugman follows efforts by right-wing commentators to explain away rising inequality in the U.S., with increasingly contorted attempts to paint the "economy's winners as a large group," even as evidence of inequality continues to mount.

Republicans pull the plug on the Bolton confirmation hearing, perhaps permanently, despite attempts to "conflate the question of Israel's interests and this Bolton vote."

Southern women are reported to be 'breaking up with Bush,' while Christian conservatives complain that they are being ignored by the GOP.

Noam Chomsky meets Robert Trivers in the Seed Salon to discuss the nature of deceit, Paul Craig Roberts suggests that 'the more artificial reality becomes, the more we need books,' and it's payback time for publishers of "A Million Little Pieces."

September 7

Monday, September 11, 2006

"Democracy Now!" hosts a debate between filmmakers who question official accounts of 9/11 and debunkers from Popular Mechanics, Alexander Cockburn finds incompetence, not conspiracy at the heart of 9/11, and Media Channel offers a special online screening of '9/11: Press for Truth.'

Frank Rich highlights the refusal to consider real sacrifice as the signature failure of the Bush administration since 9/11, its "selfish agenda" there from the start in the combination of tax cuts and fearmongering, while Gore Vidal meditates on a dangerous continuity between "the little president" and his predecessors.

In 'Promises Not Kept' Paul Krugman contends that the Bush Administration's "refusal to consider the possibility that things wouldn't go exactly the way they hoped" has led to a "strategic defeat" in the war on terror.

A one-time Bush administration National Security Council official warns that his former employer has "exploited the war in Iraq and fears about terrorism to stampede the American people into accepting an astonishing curtailment of their freedoms and growing lawlessness by the government." and that if the war expands, democracy will be the casualty.

"60 Minutes" investigates "the health effects and fallout from the toxic dust inhaled by first responders at Ground Zero," who had been told the air was safe, and for whom a second memorial might be needed, while the Guardian asks 'Whatever happened to ... the anthrax attacks?'

Despite some editing changes, "The Path to 9/11" airs with contested scenes "essentially intact," including falsehoods about a dead FBI agent and American Airlines, after ABC's reputation was deemed to have already become "a smoking ruin."

Bill Clinton is said to have "made the choice that most Americans made" concerning 'Path,' after telling a St. Louis audience that "In today's climate," Harry Truman, who as a U.S. Senator criticized some government wartime policies, "would be facing ads back home questioning his patriotism."

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist admonishes critics of the ABC film to "simmer down," but alternative channels respond with screenings of "The Best War Ever" and "The Propagandists."

A Washington Post report that the 'Bin Laden Trail' is 'Stone Cold' seems to provide evidence that, "even after 9/11, the Bush administration didn't take terrorism seriously."

The DNC takes the Bin Laden question to the public, some on the right are said to be trying to reframe "known facts," and it's asked: 'Does anyone even have the faintest idea where he is?'

Questioned by Tim Russert on Iraq, Afghanistan and WMDs, Vice President Cheney persists in linking Iraq and al-Qaida, and dances around some pointed questions, lashing out at war critics, but there is one critical question he hasn't been asked. Plus: On the draw with Cheney.

The Senate Intelligence Report provides an account of 'how torture extracted a confession,' but Billmon thinks the real surprise is that any damning conclusions managed to appear, "given the implacable hostility of Chairman Roberts and most of the committee's GOP members towards anything resembling the truth."

The London Times charges that, despite denials, the CIA is still holding dozens of 'ghost captives,' the German Chancellor calls such secret detention centers "not compatible with my understanding of the rule of law," some CIA officers take out torture insurance, and Eric Umansky discusses press coverage of torture and asks, 'So, who else is at Gitmo?'

With what Chris Floyd calls the "pro-war, pro- Bush" Telegraph detailing fresh allegations of torture at Abu Ghraib shortly after authority for the prison was transferred to Iraqi authorities, 'U.S. patrols try to weed out militias posing as Iraqi police.' Plus: Iraq vs. the world.

McClatchy finds U.S. officials redefining death in Baghdad, and the Los Angeles Times reports on how the strategic use of imprecision to create the right impression for the media is bolstered by "a change in morgue policy."

A secret report by the chief of intelligence for the Marine Corps concludes that Anbar province in western Iraq, where U.S. forces are taking "significant casualties," is 'lost politically,' as fraying support for a deal on support for a new constitution is said to "jeopardize Iraq's fragile governing coalition."

As the assassination of an Afghan governor raises concerns about destabilization of the eastern part of the country, a top British soldier quits, calling a campaign in southern Afghanistan "a textbook case of how to screw up a counter-insurgency." Plus: The return of the religious police.

President Bush warned the editor of the New York Times, "You will have blood on your hands," in an attempt to discourage revelations about warrantless wiretapping, according to a feature in New York Magazine, and it's revealed that the Bush administration paid journalists for anti-Castro stories.

Editor & Publisher reports on MSNBC's firing of Eric Alterman, who will be setting up shop here.

A lawsuit brings Halliburton's Super Bowl of Corruption to light, but details of other lawsuits remain closed to the public, as a creative imagination proves useful in milking the homeland security bonanza.

With the campaign by conservative Christian groups to vet judges moving to the state level, Son of Sam finds a new voice and a flock to follow him.

September 8-10

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

"There I was, happily watching war pornography with my family," writes the Philadelphia Inquirer's Daniel Rubin, "when they interrupted to bring us a speech from our president. It had the Orwellian vibe that we've come to enjoy so much at our house."

Bush's "particularly forceful, even ominous" argument that 'Safety of U.S. Hinges on Iraq' prompted Sen. Edward Kennedy to declare that "the president should be ashamed of using a national day of mourning to ... seek support for a war in Iraq that he has admitted had 'nothing' to do with 9/11."

The State Department's Karen Hughes wonders, 'Where's the outrage?' while Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper also reportedly 'uses 9/11' to rally support for the Afghan mission.

As President Bush is urged to 'Play Politics' with the war on terror, a '9/11 standoff' brings a vote on "a resolution to commemorate the day" -- on 9/13.

In a 'hole in the ground' commentary, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann attacks those who would dare to "spin" the attack on the twin towers, and Bush goes toe-to-toe with NBC's Matt Lauer over secret prisons and torture.

Publius compares and contrasts 'The Two 9/11s,' while the WSWS finds the New York Times filled with "a perverse nostalgia for September 12."

"Outraged" American Airlines executives issue a statement denouncing ABC for an "inaccurate and irresponsible" depiction of the "Path to 9/11" -- and say they are "looking at possible legal actions."

The Wall Street Journal's reviewer takes a shot at a movie he says "devalues the difference between real and false" -- but although "Death of a President" faced 'tough questions' in Toronto, it was picked up by the same U.S. distributor as "The Passion of the Christ."

"No one predicted just how radical a president George W. Bush would be,' argues Sidney Blumenthal, in the intro to "How Bush Rules," his new book on "the first, elected Southern conservative in the White House."

Rigorous Intuition Jeff Wells rounds up reports suggesting that "America's still on the road, with much of the rest of the world strapped in the backseat."

Glenn Greenwald analyzes the "Abbott and Costello routine" that "passes for serious foreign policy analysis in our national dialogue."

With a new video from al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri warning Americans that "your leaders are hiding from you the true extent of the disaster which will shock you," the New Yorker puts Lawrence Wright's 'The Master Plan' online. Earlier: Wright discusses the article.

'Iraqi elections ... have worsened divisions,' according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office, which notes that despite "a sharp increase in Sunni-Shiite violence ... attacks on U.S.-led coalition forces are still the primary source of bloodshed in Iraq."

The Washington Post reports on the perils of dating in Iraq, as one commentator asks, "should we not consider surrendering?"

A South Carolina barbecue honoring Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo is said to have marked "the first time the congressman has appeared at a hate group event."

A "commanding lead" vanishes in Virginia, as 'George Allen's Nightmare' pulls virtually even, but a new ad campaign delivers the message: vote right or die. Plus: Allen holds an "ethnic rally."

With an eye on the coming congressional elections, Craig Crawford reckons that "if downplaying expectations is the strategy," then the 'Grand Old Possums' may have "deployed it brilliantly."

September 11

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A Marine general in Fallujah, "called in to rebut" an intelligence report said to conclude that Anbar province "has been lost," tells reporters that "U.S.-led military operations are 'stifling' the insurgency ... but are not strong enough to defeat it."

CNN's Michael Ware calls Anbar "a black hole in President Bush's global war on terror," where "al Qaeda at its very heart has been found, identified, yet is not being struck at" by U.S. forces supposedly committed to fighting them over there.

As 65 more bodies were being found after being "tortured, shot and dumped" in Iraq, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki enjoyed the hospitality of Iraq's "great and good neighbor."

"We still have no idea why 9/11 happened," writes Matt Taibbi, arguing that "we were screwed the moment Fareed Zakaria wrote his infamous 'The Politics of Rage: Why Do They Hate Us?' essay for Newsweek a few weeks after the attacks."

"In the immediate wake of 9/11," writes Tom Engelhardt, "our President and Vice President hijacked our country, using the low-tech rhetorical equivalents of box cutters and mace."

As Maureen Dowd urges "Vice" to "break out the Wet Wipes," White House press secretary Tony Snow 'Continues Pointing Press' to a link between Saddam Hussein and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi ,and Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson reconstructs 'the Cynical Tragedy of Zarqawi.'

"What Mueller says is Heresy" was among the messages crawling "across the bottom of the screen like a series of Burma Shave signs along the highway," during a "Fox and Friends" interview with an author who calls the global terror threat "grossly overblown."

White House officials rolled out the big guns to 'break up surveillance, tribunals deadlock' in Congress, prompting CNN's Jack Cafferty to ask, "Should Congress pass a law that would prevent members of the Bush administration from being prosecuted for war crimes?"

As the Washington Post's Dana Milbank heralds "the arrival of Treason Season ... right on schedule," Tom D'Antoni argues that 'Job One is Not Iraq.'

A primary win in Minnesota's 5th by State Rep. Keith Ellison puts him "on the verge of becoming the first Muslim elected to Congress," after a race that made him "everyone's favorite target."

'The Ralph Nader of Connecticut' -- thanks to a "bipartisan love-in" that "didn't turn out quite as Lieberman planned" -- reportedly got 'Run Over in the Middle of the Road.'

After it was previously reported that "Israel fired several hundred cluster rockets and cluster bombs" in Lebanon, an IDF commander now says that 'We Fired More Than a Million' cluster bombs, in addition to phosphorus weapons.

The Bush administration is reportedly gearing up for life after Castro, after creating five interagency groups -- "some of which operate in war-room-like settings" -- to monitor 'Cuba's Slow Motion Change.'

As Cuba's "Operation Miracle" expands 'free eye surgery to Asia, Africa,' U.S. commanders continue to wage 'The battle for Guantanamo.'

In videotapes obtained by ABC News, U.S. "government scientists stage real terror attacks" on "dummies, posing as diplomats," and the White House is also apparently videotaping "no-cameras-allowed" press briefings.

A CJR roundup of reaction to news that 'Journalist Inspires DHS Investigation,' includes the headline, 'In commemoration of Sept. 11, U.S. government captures ... Greg Palast.'

As a 'Battle Cry' is sounded for 'Billionaires, Broadcasters, and Bloggers,' Think Progress reports that Air America Radio "will announce a major restructuring on Friday, which is expected to include a bankruptcy filing."

September 12

Thursday, September 14, 2006

As President Bush works a "tough crowd" on the Hill, Glenn Greenwald concludes that "the Senate Judiciary Committee essentially passed on responsibility to the full Senate to save the Bush administration by enacting the Specter FISA bill."

"Outrageous and dishonest" U.N. inspectors object to a House committee report on Iran's capabilities, "written by a single Republican staffer with a hard-line position," whose mentor's nomination is said to be "dead as far as the Senate is concerned."

Syed Saleem Shahzad reports that Osama bin Laden is 'on the move again,' and that Tuesday's attack on the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, for which various parties were suspected, "could be a tangible result."

A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll finds that 'Bush Gets a Lift From Emphasis On Terror, Iraq,' although his rhetoric comparing war critics to Nazi appeasers "did not resonate with the American people." Plus: The low down from Little Richard.

As the WSWS reports that the 'Pentagon concludes U.S. defeated in key Iraqi province,' Billmon explores whether it wouldn't be better to fight "the near enemy rather than the far."

Amid White House reminders that "it's not just the president who has said Iraq is the central front" in the war on terror, Helen Thomas finds a 'Lame Justification' hanging by a "slender thread."

Nick Turse outlines the Pentagon's 12-step program to transform U.S. ground forces into "a motley mix of underage teens, old-timers, foreign fighters, gang-bangers, neo-Nazis, ex-cons, inferior officers and a host of near-mercenary troops, lured in or kept in uniform through big payouts and promises."

"Troops Home Now. From where?" Third Estate Sunday Review implores independent media to stop treating Iraq as an "Issue of the Month."

Web videos that 'mock U.S. war deaths' are said to show that "insurgent propaganda ... has seeped in the mainstream of American popular culture," as Vogue Italia finds a "State of Emergency' to be all about style.

The excitement of Judith Miller may be missing from today's New York Times, but the spirit lives on, as "even bombs cannot stop the rotisserie chickens."

After 'Novak Slams His Source' on Plame leak, and is seen to be 'digging one heckuva hole,' Robert Parry describes how prominent opinion leaders rallied to the defense of "the real victim," only to 'Screw Up, Again.'

A Minnesota Muslim reportedly "ran an old-fashioned, shoe-leather campaign" through a "gauntlet of enormous obstacles" to victory in a House primary election, where his GOP opponent said that he was "personally offended that this person is a candidate for U.S. Congress."

A Princeton University team of researchers has reportedly demonstrated that "a vote for George Washington could easily be converted to a vote for Benedict Arnold" by hacking and implanting a virus in Diebold voting machines.

Alongside reports that Arctic ice is melting 'Even in Winter,' comes a Memphis Flyer columnist's analysis of a 'September Surprise.'

Josh Marshall experiences a chill upon reading a report that Google is "courting Republicans in Washington" and has hired the DCI Group.

As Air America's bankruptcy denial hits the wires, a critic guesses that "an internal faction that is attempting to gain (or regain) control of the network 'leaked' this 'news' to a major liberal blog site (knowing it would be taken seriously there) so as to immediately depress Air America's value."

A Billboard reviewer finds that there's "nothing so intriguing as contradiction," but the New York Times asks, 'Who's This Guy Dylan Who's Borrowing Lines From Henry Timrod?'

The death of a "true Texas hero" evokes a telling memory.

September 13

Friday, September 15, 2006

A Senate committee rejects the president's military tribunal proposal in favor of one of their own, with Democrats "rapt spectators" on the sidelines, as Republicans lead the opposition, and an attempt to strong-arm top military lawyers generates some blowback.

Sen. McCain reportedly tells aides that "he was willing to risk the presidency," by voting against the president, but one critic wonders how a torture victim can support immunity for CIA agents who torture suspects, and another sees the substitute bill as basically a "blank check" for executive detention authority.

Tony Snow, who is said to be a hoot compared to his predecessor, spars with reporters about "adding definition" to the Geneva Convention, "Democracy Now!" discusses extraordinary rendition with the authors of the upcoming "Torture Taxi," and the "great debate over the rule of law" begins.

Hezbollah is accused of war crimes during the conflict with Israel for "deliberately targeting Israeli civilians with its rockets," in a report by Amnesty International, but a Hezbollah lawmaker defends the right of reprisal.

Responding to an interview in which former IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya'alon charges that Israeli soldiers in the Lebanon war were 'sacrificed for spin,' Ha'aretz editorializes that Ya'alon is "not a voice in the wilderness," and that he "makes several claims of unsurpassed gravity" in the interview.

Apparently reversing course again, President Bush is reported to have confessed that capturing Osama bin Laden is not "a paramount goal of the war on terror," as he offered his philosophy on how to win the war.

The number of "failed states," identified as "a breeding ground for global terrorism," jumps from 17 to 26 according to a report by the World Bank, as the Bank's president Paul Wolfowitz seeks to downplay a recent controversy over the way conditions are attached to funding poor countries.

"So wedded is Blair to Bush's policies," Chris Floyd observes, "that he's now led his country into what many say is rapidly becoming Britain's Vietnam -- not the Iraqi quagmire ... but the 'good war' in Afghanistan." But what about Poland?

Sen. Kerry accuses Bush of a "cut and run" strategy in Afghanistan, while many are said to consider the war "a lost cause," and the value of "talking to the Taliban" is considered.

With Rep. Bob Ney facing time in prison following a guilty plea on corruption charges, Tom Delay turns his post-congressional clout to swaying votes on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," in favor of a one time "Republican BABE of the Week."

FAIR issues a call to action over former FCC Chairman Michael Powell's reported attempt to bury a study he commissioned about how media consolidation affected local news reporting, former CPB head Kenneth Tomlinson survives another ouster attempt, and President Bush taps a 'sitcom nominee' for a position on CPB's board.

Surveying the 'rampaging progress of electronic surveillance, Jonathan Raban finds that "we're building a world that resembles an airport security area," while the Electronic Frontier Foundation launches a project for watching the watchers.

John Pilger presents a guide to how "the news value of whole societies was measured by their relationship with 'us' in the West, and Brad DeLong catches CJR Daily practicing what it critiques, by "ignoring genuine expertise" and stubbornly insisting "on splitting the middle and poxing both houses."

PBS puts previews online of three upcoming Bill Moyers investigations that will examine "key issues facing democracy" that Moyers believes should be at the center of debate this fall: political corruption, Christians and the environment, and net neutrality.

Focusing on how the debate over the condition of the middle class has changed over time, Paul Krugman asks, "why technological and economic progress has done so little for most Americans, and what changes in government policies would spread the benefits of progress more widely."

Words Without Borders offers a selection of 'literature from the Axis of Evil,' J.G. Ballard explores "the pathology of everyday life" in "Kingdom Come," a new novel set in the "commercial dream space" of a mall, and the Washington Post finds that an extra day at the mall leads the pious into temptation.

Kinky Friedman, currently polling in the 16-23% range, says he'd legalize pot in Texas, and tells voters he wants to be a "good shepherd," not a "hired hand," in an off beat campaign commercial from Bill Hillsman, who also created ads for Ned Lamont and worked on a spot targeting Sen. George Allen.

September 14

Monday, September 18, 2006

In 'King of Pain,' Paul Krugman contends that the Bush administration is so determined to engage in torture "precisely because it's a violation of both law and tradition," and that it has nothing to do with willingness to make sacrifices or do what is necessary.

President Bush is said to "give away the game" in the way he denies questioning critics' patriotism, and his tone and body language appear to betray signs that he is 'losing it' as he gets "retaliatory" in the face of criticism.

Commenting on the "Roast Garden" press conference, Jonathan Turley explains why Bush is in such a hurry to introduce legislation to cover his backside and avoid accountability, and says the Washington Post's 'Defining Moment" is actually a "redefining moment."

Hullabaloo's Digby calls the Republican revolt over torture "kabuki," and Joshua Holland looks at the actual text of the Graham/Warner bill on military commissions and notes that, like the legislation favored by the president, it would still "redefine war crimes under article three of the Geneva Conventions."

Glenn Greenwald responds to John Yoo's "gleeful" celebration of "every authoritarian transgression of the Bush administration" with some quotes from a venerable "lefty blogger," and Talk Left highlights a partisan inconsistency in his constitutional interpretation.

The CIA finds itself "squarely in the middle of election-year politics," as AP reports that the Bush administration's global network of overseas prisons has put "14,000 detainees beyond the reach of established law.

AP goes public with a demand that one of its photographers, who is being indefinitely detained by the U.S. military in Iraq, be charged or set free, and veteran New York Times reporter Dexter Filkins says anarchy has made "98% of Iraq, and even most of Baghdad ... 'off-limits' for Western journalists.

As the Bush administration continues "carpet-bombing America with fictions," Frank Rich notes how the vice president's "verbal tics" presage a lie, while "Condi Rice's fictions ... are as knotty as a David Lynch screenplay," and concludes that the only way to strike back is to take Bush at his word.

Billmon argues that it's too late for "the strongman scenario" once again percolating in the media chatter, and experts tell the Christian Science Monitor that the war in Iraq is not in fact 'a shield against attacks at home.'

The Telegraph reports that U.S. combat deaths in Baghdad are down 50%, quoting insurgents as saying they are so busy fighting each other that they are "struggling to find the time and resources to target the Americans."

One review of "The Ground Truth" calls the documentary vital because it focuses "less on the war's physical damage than on its psychological devastation," and its director says the film was inspired by the hope that "if Americans really got that we are in a war they would do something."

'Bush is the star' in dozens of campaign commercials ... for Democrats, as 'Average Joe Scarborough urges GOP Congress to run against Bush,' but the belated discovery of the president's failure is termed "disingenuous," and there are historical reasons for thinking the strategy unlikely to work.

In a pre-election clash on "Meet the Press," Sen. George Allen claims that he "just made up" the word "macaca," and defends Bush's Middle East policies, while his challenger contends, "We didn't go into Iraq because of terrorism. We have terrorists in Iraq because we went in there."

According to Business Week, it's health care, not high-tech that's propping up the U.S. economy as 'GOP talk of vibrant economy rings hollow for some voters.'

Media Matters tracks limits to "Free Speech" on CBS, where Bill Maher alleges that religion didn't fit onto a list of approved topics.

The "in-your-face" documentary 'Jesus Camp' opens in theaters, showing evangelical children offering prayers to a cardboard George Bush and a pastor who aims to see them "radically laying down their lives for the gospel," as the filmmakers talk to "Christianity Today" about balance.

An anti-war sermon draws IRS investigators to church, George Bush's expected u-turn on environmental policy may leave the 'anti-environmentalist Christian right out on a limb,' and Tariq Ali tells the pope that "violence was and is not the prerogative of any single religion."

As the New York Times stirs fears of Hugo Chavez, and the Mexican left creates a parallel government, it's noted that "for the first time since WWII, the United States is no longer the most important factor" in Latin American politics and "the war on terror has found little echo south of the border."

September 15-17

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

As a "pattern of petulance" fails to secure backing for a torture compromise, one observer calls for a demonstration -- as opposed to simply letting 'The Prisoners Speak.'

Glenn Greenwald ponders Bush and the Rapture, and a leader of the Christian Zionist movement claims during an interview on "Fresh Air," that the destruction of New Orleans was divine judgment on plans to hold "a homosexual parade there on the Monday that Katrina came."

President Bush's new envoy to the Darfur region is reportedly the same man who assured ABC's Ted Koppel that rebuilding Iraq would cost $1.7 billion, and who once argued that Africans can't tell time.

In a Harper's article that is now available online, a 'PR Intern in Iraq' for the Lincoln Group describes how he became "the antithesis of a journalist" by 'Paying Iraqi Press to Plant Pro-American Articles Secretly Written by U.S. Military.'

Former Halliburton truck drivers attest that the company knowingly sent unarmed civilians "down a closed road where there was an ongoing battle" in Iraq, then told a wounded employee that, in effect, 'You'll Get a Medal -- If You Don't Sue.'

As Gen. John Abizaid says that the 'U.S. May Boost Forces in Iraq,' it's reported that "Shiite militias are encouraging children - some as young as 6 or 7 - to hurl stones and gasoline bombs at U.S. convoys."

Following the publication of an excerpt from "Imperial Life in the Emerald City," in which Rajiv Chandrasekaran reveals that job candidates for rebuilding Iraq were asked, "Did you vote for George W. Bush in 2000?", Andrew Sullivan is dizzied by "So many pundits married to so many party officials," and Billmon spots a trend.

During a 'White House soiree' for conservative radio talkers, Bush reportedly pulled out all the stops, conducting a tour of his private dining room and showing them the pistol Saddam had when he was captured.

A 'Second Secret Study Surfaces at FCC,' analyzing the effects of media consolidation, and while virtually all outlets carrying the AP report headline a claim that the study was 'suppressed,' one stands alone in focusing on a promised 'probe.'

Arguing that it's 'Time for the truth about Afghanistan,' Eric Margolis predicts that "the U.S. and its allies are not going to win the Afghan war."

As 'Bush accuses Iran of backing terror, nuclear arms,' a retired Air Force colonel tells CNN that "We are conducting military operations inside Iran right now. The evidence is overwhelming," and Sen. George Voinovich compares Iran's president to Hitler and calls him "Ahmad-in-a-head."

Hungary's prime minister admits 'lying day and night' to win re-election, in a secretly-recorded speech, released by the PM himself, sparking the worst riots "since the end of communism." Plus: When the PM's away...

A "scientist emeritus" in British Columbia has been stripped of his title and fired for refusing to mouth a slogan extolling "Canada's New Government" -- which is accused of 'Torture, Murder and Complicity' in Haiti.

Although a new USA Today/Gallup poll finds "likely voters evenly divided between Democratic and Republican candidates for Congress, Rasmussen Reports has moved three Senate races from "Toss-Up" to "Leans Democratic."

As 'Karl Rove wins one in R.I.,' a provocative soundbite about Rove from Bill Clinton, who appeared on "The Daily Show" Monday, goes virtually unnoticed.

A CJR Daily article airs questions about the reliability of a Wall Street Journal/Zogby poll on the Texas governor's race, and a gun shop ad aims to get Houston residents up in arms to protect their city from 'Katricians.'

As Democrats extend an offer to Sen. George Allen, Tom DeLay's lobbying efforts on behalf of a former "Republican Babe of the Week" have not gone unnoticed or unchallenged.

With 'U.S. Marijuana Arrests at All-Time High,' was The Colbert Report to blame for a Willie Nelson bust in Louisiana?

September 18

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A large anti-war crowd dogged President Bush at the U.N., as he cited the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in his speech to the General Assembly.

El Diablo? Venezuelan President Chavez said in a speech to the General Assenbly, "The devil came here yesterday. He came here talking as if he were the owner of the world."

Arguing that "terror" is "losing all meaning and just becoming a marketing slogan," Maureen Dowd cites Peggy Noonan's description of Bush as a "historical drama queen."

As 'the wounded die alone on Baghdad's streets,' and high-level doubts surface about Iraq's prime minister, Gen. John Abizaid is quoted as saying that "given unlimited time and unlimited support, we're winning the war."

'Before You Enlist' A new video urges high school students and their families to learn 'The Real Deal on Joining the Military."

As the White House releases a 'Fact Sheet' on 'Iraq's Links to Al Qaeda,' Ted Turner echoes a prominent historian in calling the decision to invade Iraq, "one of the dumbest moves ... ever made by anybody."

Although the Iraq Study Group that he co-chairs has 'Nothing to Report,' a "legendary fixer for the Bush family" says he has been "cleared" to meet with a "high representative" of the government of Iran.

Dick Morris attributes "a spike in Bush's approval ratings and ... in Republican chances" -- in no small part -- to "the ABC-TV docudrama exposing the failure of Clinton's efforts to get bin Laden," as the film's writer invokes the Salem witch hunt and "the Rashomon effect."

Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell points out what was missing in a Washington Post editorial arguing that "the case of Maher Arar shows why the Bush administration's secret detention program is wrong."

As an effort is made to untangle 'The GOP's Tortured Logic,' Senate Majority Leader Frist utters the 'F' word, and Glenn Greenwald sees 'Serious problems for the White House in the NSA scandal.'

The U.K.'s leading scientists are demanding that Exxon 'stop funding' "a ten-year campaign of disinformation" by 'climate change deniers,' and an e-mail trail exposes a 'Climate-Controlled White House,' as it's reported that "Siberia is melting."

With the papacy said to be "in the hands of a neoconservative political extremist," Pope Benedict XVI says that he was misunderstood in his remarks concerning Islam, but angry Turkish workers ask authorities "to arrest him when he visits the country."

Somali taxi drivers Just Say No to Minneapolis-St. Paul passengers "carrying or suspected of carrying alcohol," and a rural Ohio Emergency Room patient is told she'll have to "meet the doctor's criteria" before he'll dispense Plan B.

The Los Angeles Times reports that a decision by Fox to 'Produce Christian Films' "might seem ... unlikely ... given its history as a purveyor of salacious TV programming," but "anything's better than Batman vs. al Qaeda."

A foot race in Virginia takes "another unexpected turn," as Sen. George Allen goes public over an "aspersion," after a Jewish weekly probed his "African heritage."

Mike Davis argues that "the Minutemen's billboards are on the wrong side of the freeway," as 'The Perfect Swarm Heads South.'

Thanks to the gerrymander effect, it's reported that "not a single one" of California's 53 congressional contests is really competitive ... "in one of the most volatile, anti-incumbent seasons in years."

Facing South wonders "where the idea originated and who lobbied for it," after the AP reports that FEMA is offering $400 million for ideas on housing for Gulf Coast hurricane victims.

September 19

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Road To Guantanamo The Financial Times reports that "The Bush administration had to empty its secret prisons and transfer terror suspects ... in part because CIA interrogators had refused to carry out further interrogations and run the secret facilities."

Reviewing the case of "a quiet family man" who "lived in torment for nearly a year," after being 'Render[ed] Unto Syria,' Bob Herbert finds U.S. government "busy trying to make sure that other innocents, trapped unfairly in a cage, have absolutely nowhere to turn."

Senate Democrats try to put the spotlight back onto the Iraq War, as White House press spokesman Tony Snow hails "significant progress" under Prime Minister Maliki, despite 75 percent support for the insurgency among Iraq's Sunni Muslims.

Frank Rich discusses his best-selling book, "The Greatest Story Ever Sold," in which he contends that "Iraq was just the vehicle to ride to victory in the midterms." But an otherwise rave review in Publishers Weekly, pooh-poohs Rich's notion that the invasion was motivated by electoral politics.

After comparing war critics to terrorists, MSNBC's Chris Matthews now claims to have been 'Against This Bullsh*t War From The Beginning,' adding that "the amazing thing is the President is winning now with a hand with nothing in it."

"Wolf, Wolf ..." After President Bush flip-flopped on sending troops into the "sovereign nation" of Pakistan, CNN's Wolf Blitzer failed to call him on the contradiction.

'Venezuelan strongman cites American leftist writer,' who gets top billing in a "Fox News Alert," amid a warning that "We could have another Cuban missile crisis in Venezuela."

A New York Sun claim that 'Chavez's Histrionics Shock Even America's Critics,' cites only China's foreign minister, who asked, "Did he go that far?", and the British foreign secretary, who observed that "It's hard to see it as helpful." Plus: Democrats Rangel and Pelosi slam Chavez, as John Bolton extends the "lies all the way down."

Serious V.A. budget problems in fiscal 2005 and 2006 were caused by a persistent reliance on prewar data from the Pentagon, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

In an article for the New York Review of Books, Joan Didion recounts how Vice President Cheney acquired 'The Fatal Touch' -- along with the habit of "leaving the cleanup to someone else."

Two Florida teens on a stolen car joy ride have reportedly demonstrated that "there was nothing at the gate preventing entry" to "the U.S. military base that commands much of the war on terror."

With Rep. John Murtha reportedly 'courting votes' to become House majority leader, a Swift Boat squad deploys Twisted Sister to tell Murtha that they're "not gonna take it" anymore.

Robert Parry argues that "the American people should know the real history of U.S.-Iran relations before the Bush administration launches another preemptive war in the Middle East," lest the truth "eventually become the property of the noted scholars, the Bush twins."

In an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live," Bill Clinton declared a Connecticut race "an unmitigated blessing for the Democrats because Lieberman has said if he wins he's going to vote with us to organize the Senate."

The AP reports that GOP lobbyists Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed "landed more than 100 meetings inside the Bush White House," while "simultaneously supporting the president and assisting" their friend and colleague Jack Abramoff.

Sen. Rick Santorum's re-election campaign runs into a body armor problem and a 'YouTube Moment,' while a Pennsylvania TV station's fact check locates "the only category where this ad fit."

Minnesota Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar sacks a staffer over a breach of a GOP opponent's "very sensitive ... campaign property," an ad developed by "the hardball playing 'Hitler' media guy."

"I feel smarter already," said short story writer and frequent New Yorker contributor George Saunders, after winning a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant."

September 20

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Senate "compromise" on the detainee bill leaves President Bush "the sole arbiter of the meaning of the Geneva conventions," and will make the U.S. the 'first nation to authorize violations of Geneva,' argues Marty Lederman, pointing to three of its 'most significant problems.'

The Bush administration takes "the scenic route" to torture, but is reportedly "already trying to wiggle out of its one real concession," as Democrats stand by.

'The torture chorus' includes the Traditional Values Coalition, which is observed "pushing the not-so-veiled argument that torture is the Christian way," while building public support for torture is seen as a matter of semantics. Plus: It's not what you see on TV.

The Bush administration's tepid response to the coup in Thailand is seen to illustrate the "inherently selective" nature of its "freedom agenda," as the new ruling military junta cracks down on the press, and exposes the "shallow roots" of the country's democratic institutions.

Pakistani President Musharaff tells "60 Minutes" that the Bush administration threatened to bomb his country "back to the stone age" if it did not cooperate after 9/11.

Contrasting the "facts-on-the-ground" to the euphemisms in the press, Tom Engelhardt exposes the continued growth of "our own global Bermuda Triangle of Injustice into which untold numbers of human beings can simply disappear," as Spain provides the names of some 'CIA kidnappers.'

With the U.N.'s chief anti-torture expert reporting that torture in Iraq is worse than under Saddam Hussein, Patrick Cockburn finds the "republic of fear" born again, and Billmon remarks, "we all know what the road to hell is paved with. But it looks as if this one is going to go there via Tehran."

Troop reductions are not coming any time soon in Iraq, where nothing the increasingly isolated U.S. does seems to stop the "slide into chaos and despair," or in Afghanistan, where NATO's calls for more troops are said to be "walking a fine line between projecting strength and claiming weakness."

A book review at the U.N. sends Chomsky sailing to the top of the charts, amid heated discussion of 'Sulfur, Evil, and Contempt,' and protests led by John Bolton over the undiplomatic tone of Hugo Chavez's "uppity" speech.

Democrats are taken to task as they 'cow-tow to the right on Chavez,' and Fox's Neil Cavuto gets slapped down by the president of Colombia for asking if he thought the president of Venezuela was a "nut."

In an interview with "Democracy Now!" Bolivia's president promises to release documents about Plan Condor, "a cross-border assassination project" targeting the left in Latin America in the 1970s, and the current president Bush is accused of covering up his father's connection with the project.

NewsMax reports that Karl Rove has promised Republican insiders "an October surprise," as Robert Parry releases files from the House investigation into the original October surprise mystery.

'Will The Next Election Be Hacked?' Robert F. Kennedy Jr. adds up all the "damning details" to conclude electronic voting can't be trusted, including "an admission by a Diebold consultant that machine software was altered in 5000 machines" in the 2002 Georgia election.

The Columbia Journalism Review editorializes on 'Guarding the Vote,' Salon explains how new voting machines make it increasingly hard for write-in candidates to win an election, and "an innovator" figures out a possible end run around the electoral college.

Eric Boehlert contends that coverage of Bush's poll numbers is plagued by "a pervasive press obsession with trying to be the first to document Bush's rebound," and a "categorical refusal" to put his "consistently dreadful poll numbers" into historical context. Plus: The polls made Bush do it.

As the number of Americans with health insurance falls and employment at health insurance companies rises, Paul Krugman predicts that 'Insuance horror stories,' like those recently profiled in the Los Angeles Times, are likely to become more common, even though "it's all unnecessary."

Kevin Drum flags a "very peculiar" Wall Street Journal review of Jacob Hacker's forthcoming "The Great Risk Shift" which avoids discussion of the book's thesis to focus instead on "longer lifespans, increased homeownership, and the prevalence of color TVs." Plus: The 'super rich' pass a new milestone.

Arnold Schwarzenegger ditches "his beloved $950,000 fleet of Hummer cars" in a bid to improve his environmental image, as the California Faculty Association launches a "Flunk Arnold" ad contest, offering a year's tuition and an airing on the "Daily Show" as reward.

An ad by the National Black Republican Association claims MLK was a Republican and Democrats founded the KKK, but Steve Gillard finds that they skipped a few chapters of history and digs up the roots of the Southern Strategy.

Pat Robertson predicts "a holy war between Christianity and Islam," and the Channel 4 documentary "The Doomsday Code" goes on line.

Five years ago this month we began publishing Cursor full time, and thankfully, you've rewarded our efforts with loyal readership and the financial support necessary to keep us on the job. With an eye towards five more -- months that is -- we again need your help. Please consider a tax- deductible contribution to Cursor, Inc., direct or via PayPal.

September 21

Monday, September 25, 2006

A "stark" National Intelligence Estimate contradicting repeated claims "that Americans are safer as a result of the administration's policies," may be "stating the obvious," but nonetheless manages to spark a "pitched battle" in the media.

Although Glenn Greenwald finds enough fodder in the NIE to 'dictate the outcome of the election,' one analyst warns, "never underestimate the Democrats' ability to make a sow's ear out of a silk purse." Plus: 'A question for Tony Snow.'

Frank Rich returns to the "stuff happens" response to the looting of the Baghdad museum as the event that prefigures the failure of all of the Bush administration's subsequent attempts to win hearts and minds in Iraq and puts the lie to its hollow rhetoric about a "battle for civilization."

With Baghdad reverting to something like "medieval siege warfare" and city life "narrowed to the most claustrophobic of possible confines," it appears that "everyone wants to leave, but not everyone can get out."

Some American soldiers in Baghdad complain that "the Iraqi troops serving alongside them are among the worst they've ever seen," while Needlenose raises questions about the relatively small percentage of Iraqi troops in Baghdad.

Patrick Cockburn describes how Sunni insurgents are close to establishing a 'Taliban republic' in the midst of the "civil war raging through the Iraqi countryside," as British soldiers in Iraq are accused of trading 'guns for coke.'

The Los Angeles Times conducts a two part investigation into the role of U.S. special forces stationed at the the Gardez base in Afghanistan in the torture and killing of two detainees.

A New York Times analysis of the "compromise" detainee deal finds "a series of interlocking paradoxes," with little agreement about what it means, the Washington Post notes that its language is intentionally "opaque," and Sen. McCain's attempt to explain how the bill will be interpreted leaves unanswered questions.

Elizabeth Holtzman argues that President Bush "is quietly trying to pardon himself" in a move that has "Dirty War precedents," as "rights groups, military lawyers and legal scholars" denounce the Republican compromise on detainees, but there is still no word from the other party.

The Army's top officer stages an "unprecedented" protest to send the message that it's billions short of what it needs for its current mission, the Army's 3rd Division 'makes do' with inadequate equipment, and the National Guard may be facing a November surprise.

The right debates electoral strategy following an unconfirmed report by French intelligence that Osama bin Laden, who has "died more times than any human being in history," is dead again, as others worry he may die again soon.

Think Progress catches Chris Wallace telling two lies during his interview with Bill Clinton, and Juan Cole puts the interview in context, comparing the tough questions Wallace asked Clinton to the softballs he threw to Bush administration figures.

A review of new books by Sidney Blumenthal and Lewis Lapham, is called a 'Cheap Shot,' and the reviewer is said to among those journalists who "believe that it's their job to mitigate unpleasant facts about President Bush or risk being accused of lacking credibility."

"A growing number of state and local officials are getting cold feet about electronic voting technology," according to the New York Times, but Diebold defends the refusal to allow testing of the machines, comparing granting "access to the buttons" to "launching a nuclear missile."

Sen. George Allen tells the AP that "I don't remember ever using that word and it is absolutely false that that was ever part of my vocabulary," Newsbusters smells a smear motivated by anti-tobacco bias, and the Weekly Standard 'goes apeshit' on Allen.

Amid concerns about conservative Christian disaffection from the Republican party at the Value Voters Summit, James Dobson insists that "only 4% percent" or "close to 50 million" Muslims want to kill all Americans.

With Israeli settlers settling back in on the West Bank in the wake of the Lebanon war, Jonathan Cook contends that Israel's 'New anti-Semitism' campaign is 'encouraging nuclear holocaust.'

An advertising spot takes flak for "launching a jihad on the automotive market," the CIA goes to the movies, and Jeff Cohen asks "What's wrong with calling Bush a devil?"

September 22-24

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The 'Big Comma' is excoriated for comparing the war in Iraq to a punctuation mark -- and accused of practicing 'Dog Whistle Politics' again.

When discussing "a war that was won 3 1/2 years ago and today has barely started," Michael Kinsley finds that 'Bush prefers to keep victory over the horizon.'

As Robert Dreyfuss cautions Democrats to 'Beware' the NIE, President Bush, announcing that portions will be declassified, said: "Some people have guessed what's in the report and have concluded that going to Iraq was a mistake. I strongly disagree. I think it's naive."

After going 'On the defensive because Bush is at closed fundraisers,' White House press secretary Tony Snow takes on "an unusual task for the president's top spokesman," as the White House focuses on the one battle where it 'excels.'

Leaving a Democratic Policy Committee hearing, which provoked threats from Sen. Trent Lott, Maj. Gen. John Batiste, after criticizing conduct of the war in Iraq, reportedly expressed enthusiasm for "making a bigger effort."

The Lincoln Group has reportedly been awarded "an all-new $6 million (or $20 million) contract" for doing the "same exact thing Lincoln got caught doing last year."

As the U.S. Ambassador described a "10 year battle," Newsweek chose a story about 'Losing Afghanistan' for its cover in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, but elected to put a celebrity photographer on its U.S. edition.

A "book tour" generates controversy, as Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, writes in his memoirs that "those who habitually accuse us of 'not doing enough' in the war on terror should simply ask the CIA how much prize money it has paid to the government of Pakistan."

As Alexander Cockburn ponders 'Flying Saucers,' government cover-ups, and conspiracies, Phil Rockstroh explains why "we're all George W. Bush."

While the "Daily Show" analyzed coverage of two Bill Clintons, Fox kept Newt Gingrich busy, Richard Ben-Veniste revealed Bush's claim that "no one had told him" that the U.S. had threatened to go after the Taliban before Clinton left office.

Secretary of State 'Rice Boils Over at Bubba' during an exclusive with Rupert Murdoch's New York Post, and Think Progress fact-checks her claims.

After 'Katie goes easy' on a 'True Believer' in a "60 Minutes" interview, Couric takes it to another level on her blog, leaving Eugene Robinson to explain that 'Baghdad Isn't Birmingham.'

A Los Angeles Times report finds 'Negative Ads a Positive in GOP Strategy' to "deflect attention from Iraq," an issue on which there will be 'No Silent Majority,' as 'Donut Hole Hits Republicans At Wrong Time.'

The AP amplifies a claim made by political scientist Larry Sabato on MSNBC's "Hardball" that Sen. George Allen "did use the 'n' word, whether he's denying it or not."

A CJR Daily analysis goes 'Behind all the Macaca' to highlight the battle of ideas going virtually uncovered in the Virginia Senate race.

After ESPN's Tony Kornheiser rejoices that the Superdome is finally ready to be used for something other than "refugees," another observer asks: Where are all the black people?

September 25

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

As West Point buries 'One of 2,700' from 'A Broken, De-Humanized Military in Iraq,' a report on the 'U.S. military's forgotten women' quotes a military sociologist as saying that "the public doesn't seem concerned they are dying."

The Washington Post reports that a "strong majority" of Iraqis polled favor withdrawal of U.S. forces within a year, and that "support for attacks on U.S.-led forces has grown to a majority position."

Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell reasons that President Bush may have caught himself invoking Gracie Allen, when he spoke of viewing the Iraq war as "just a comma."

An analysis of Defense Secretary 'Rumsfeld's AutoCarterization' of the Pentagon budget finds "the chickens ... coming home to roost" and "the rising cost of low readiness writ large."

McClatchy reports on a Pentagon study "charging that U.S. international broadcasts into Iran aren't tough enough on the Islamic regime." The study, said to be "riddled with errors," even drew the ire of Kenneth Tomlinson.

As the 'White House refuses to release full NIE,' a New York Times analysis of the declassified portions, released after "a bit of a snafu," finds no evidence that "America is winning the war on terror" -- and Juan Cole argues that "the real scandal is that the NIE was classified at all."

Hossein Askari says "the intelligence report is predictably being brandished by those who failed to read the fine print on America's Iraq intelligence when it would have mattered most: before the war." Plus: Still 'Ducking.'

Matthew Yglesgias finds America "loud and proud" over torture, while the silence of 'Spineless Democrats' evokes fears of 'What dreams may come.'

The WSWS notes that Democrats were not silent in defending "our president" against criticism from a foreign leader described by Maureen Dowd as a "world-class nutbar," in a column on 'Another Clinton Seduction.'

A Bag News Notes analysis spotlights White House attempts to exploit the contrast between a "finger-pointing" Bill Clinton and a "Cool Bush," and Craig Crawford finds the Bush team playing "Hocus Pocus Focus."

With the 'White House said to bar hurricane report,' the New York Post reveals whose office "gave final approval to the infamous [EPA] press releases days after 9/11 claiming the air around Ground Zero was 'safe to breathe.'"

General Motors test-drives a new "patriotic" ad campaign, prompting a member of an advance screening audience to challenge the use of mushroom clouds and 9/11 imagery to sell trucks.

Michael Klare considers the implications of falling oil prices for "peak-oil theory, which had been getting ever more attention until the price at the pump began to fall."

A Wall Street Journal report explores 'Why Some Republicans Want to Lose' the mid-term elections, as the 'Religious right falters.'

The U.N.'s mine disposal agency triples its previous estimate of the number of unexploded cluster bombs left by Israel in Lebanon.

Despite 'False Rumors' abounding, Taliban spokesmen claim to have been told that Osama bin Laden is still alive.

Sen. George Allen's sojourn 'With the Party of Dobson' is followed by a 'new report' that Allen 'uttered slurs,' and Slate's unveiling of its 'George Allen Insult Generator.'

After Jerry Lee Lewis reportedly "uses 'Last Man Standing' as an excuse to stomp all over his duet partners," the New Yorker's reviewer envisions him "out on the porch with a rifle across his lap."

September 26

Thursday, September 28, 2006

'Rushing Off A Cliff' As an "irresponsible Congress" hurries to pass "our generation's version of the Alien and Sedition Acts," the New York Times editorializes that "we don't blame the Democrats for being frightened" -- but one blogger says, "For the love of God, you are supposed to be our last line of defense."

Glenn Greenwald argues that "the only real significant unanswered question is how many Senate Democrats will vote in favor of ... legalizing tyranny in the United States," as the 'Senate Kills Habeas Amendment,' with Sens. McCain, Graham and Warner voting against.

After Sen. Patrick Leahy argues that the case of Maher Arar was not an "isolated blunder," the All Spin Zone revisits a 2005 poll, which the National Catholic Reporter cited as showing that "a majority of Americans actually approve of the use of torture under some circumstances."

Arar receives an apology from the RCMP for "terrible injustices," and "Canada's New Government" reportedly goes "out of its way ... to avoid criticizing Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf for characterizing Canadians as complainers over the deaths of their soldiers in Afghanistan."

As the White House hosts a "working dinner," Democrats are portrayed as mounting a new version of Pickett's Charge, "waving their No Blood For Oil signs and throwing Granola bars," at a time when "Mr. Bush's right flank is exposed."

According to Robert Parry, 'How to Avoid World War III' requires "a Republican defeat in the Nov. 7 elections."

The cost of the Iraq war approaches $2 billion a week, the bodies of 40 more torture victims are found in Baghdad, the "good news" is found in the NIE, and an Iraqi blogger on a U.S. tour gets an "i will kill you" letter from a National Guardsman.

As if to answer questions about whether a new NIE report on Iraq is being "slow-walked," Newsweek reports that "officials now are talking about finishing it by next January." Plus: Forgive the intrusion.

CBS News reports that in an upcoming appearance on "60 Minutes," Bob Woodward says, "the Bush administration has not told the truth regarding the level of violence, especially against U.S. troops, in Iraq." More on the interview and Woodward's new book, "State of Denial."

A Reuters/Zogby poll finds Bush's job approval rising among "reliably conservative weekly WalMart shoppers," who also "favor their local Democratic congressional candidate by a 42% to 39% edge."

In an impromptu on-the-street interview, Alexander Cockburn argues that "in some ways, it's good that Bush is a miserable failure, a disgusting human being, and an appalling president."

Appreaing on MSNBC's "Hardball," House Majority Leader John Boehner said "I do believe" that Saddam Hussein had WMDs and played "a supportive role" in 9/11.

Although 'Good Economic News' reportedly 'Cheers Republicans,' Margaret Carlson argues that a 'Meltdown' on TV by 'Mr. November' May Pump Up Democrats.'

Dick Morris regrets that outgoing Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist "performed about as well as a heart surgeon with mittens on," while a candidate to succeed Frist in his home state is said to be "playing it like a virtuoso violinist."

National Journal's John Mercurio explores whether Sen. Lindsey Graham has the 'LindseyMentum' to become the Joe Lieberman of 2008 -- as a GOP opponent of the Sen. Lieberman of 2006 claims to be within "striking distance."

Pondering what happens 'When Operas Attack' in Germany, Mahablog's Barbara O'Brien says, "try performing this critter in the Bible Belt."

Her Worst Week Ever Jeanine Pirro, the GOP candidate for attorney general in New York, is reportedly under federal investigation for asking ex-Homeland Security nominee Bernard Kerik to plant a bug on her husband's love boat.

September 27

Friday, September 29, 2006

Editor & Publisher reports on one excerpt from Bob Woodward's "State of Denial," and another that it calls a 'New 9/11 Bombshell.' And a New York Times review notes that "Many of the people in this book seem not only dismayed but also flummoxed by some of President Bush's decisions."

"Nothing could be less American," says the ACLU of the Military Commissions Act passed by the Senate, while one observer remarks, "it's not clear that most of the members understand what they've done," and the Los Angeles Times looks ahead to court challenges over the suspension of habeas corpus.

The New York Times reports that Democrats think "they came out on the better end of the terrorism debate," but Jack Balkin wonders what they got for agreeing to forgo a filibuster, and Kevin Drum finds the "Democrats are cowards" meme "rude, but hardly undeserved."

Although Glenn Greenwald thinks Democrats did "too little, too late," noting that they did not even "unveil their opposition to the bill until the very last day," he contends a Democratic victory in November remains "the only way available for there to be any limits and checks at all."

The Wall Street Journal celebrates 'An Antiterror Victory,' that would allow "benign" methods of interrogation to continue, that are not "torture" or even "abuse" but simply about "being able to make life uncomfortable."

David Corn shows pictures from a museum of Khmer Rouge atrocities of 'what waterboarding looks like', an experimenter tests how "rough" life might get in a "20 inch wide cell," and Chris Floyd calls out 'the murderers of democracy.'

As President Musharraf continues to plug his best seller, Amnesty International issues a new report accusing Pakistan of ignoring human rights in the war on terror by "taking hundreds of people into custody on suspicion of terrorism and holding them in secret locations or handing them to U.S. authorities for money."

Discussing his new book in an upcoming segment of "60 Minutes," Bob Woodward argues that "the Bush administration has not told the truth about the level of violence, especially against U.S. troops, in Iraq," pointing out that "U.S. troops and their allies are being attacked, on average, every 15 minutes." Read how the Washington Post got scooped!

Federal auditors find the construction of a $75 million police academy in Iraq so badly botched that "human waste dripped from the ceilings," but it turns out to be only the tip of the iceberg for the contractor who built it. Plus: "Michael Brown x100."

As Richard Whalen observes that "dissenting retired generals are bent on making Iraq this nation's last strategically failed war," Joe Conason explains how a VoteVets ad campaign targeting Republican senators for failing to provide soldiers with adequate body armor is provoking fear in the GOP.

Making a dangerous job even more dangerous, the law becomes a threat to Iraqi journalists, after "laws criminalizing speech that ridicules the government, some ressurected from Saddam Hussein's penal code," are enacted.

The leader of Al Qaida in Iraq places an ad for scientists: "The field of jihad can satisfy your scientific ambitions, and the large American bases (in Iraq) are good places to test your unconventional weapons, whether biological or dirty."

CNN highlights Sen. Inhofe's ties to the oil and gas industry as it fact checks his 'diatribe against global warming science,' but CJR Daily balances Inhofe's views with those of a more moderate global warming skeptic. Plus: 'Scientists of America, Unite!'

Although most observers think John Bolton is finished as U.N. Ambassador, and the postmortem examinations have already begun, 'the bully might still get your lunch money' thanks to a presidential signing statement.

Roll Call reports on the release of a House report documenting "hundreds of contacts between top White House officials and former lobbyist Jack Abramoff," and it appears to point to Ken Mehlman as "Abramoff's prime favor man in the White House."

A 'Bolivarian candidate' surging into the lead in Ecuador's presidential race, proclaims "Calling Bush the devil is offending the devil," as Gabriel Ash explains why Bush can't be the devil.

Sen. McCain "wades into macaca" with an endorsement ad which claims 'Allen will save the world from evil,' amid new accusations that Sen. Allen repeatedly used a racial slur, and a demand for an apology from the Confederacy.

Rep. Mark Foley has resigned from Congress over e-mails he wrote to a former male page, and after ABC News read him "excerpts of instant messages provided by former male pages who said the congressman ... made repeated references to sexual organs and acts."

As California becomes a 'a new battlefront' in the textbook wars, a museum visit costs an art teacher her job in Texas, and a judge who ruled against intelligent design reflects on the death threats he received. Plus: "An ATM for Jesus."

The CIA tests out a 'wacky online personality quiz,' Sen. Orrin Hatch writes a 'song for the Moonists,' and 'Hitchens comes clean.'

September 28

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