September, 2008 link archive

Monday, September 1, 2008

Following a 'New Orleans evacuation breathtaking in its scope,' and a massive shutdown of Gulf Coast refineries, Gustav makes landfall west of the city as a category 2 hurricane, watched as never before.

The Politico reports that the GOP is viewing Gustav as an opportunity for 'potential redemption,' not to say "exploitation," as it cuts back on what were already looking to be rather thinly attended RNC festivities, and McCain weighs making a "devastation zone" address.

'Even without Bush in St. Paul,' a McClatchy analysis concludes, the 'GOP can't escape his record, as Jon Stewart talks to "Democracy Now!" about 'Sarah Palin, Hurricane Gustav, and the media's coverage of the convention.'

Massive, pre-emptive police raids target protesters and journalists in Minnesota in advance of the RNC, apparently at the direction of the federal government, but anti-war groups, undeterred, go ahead with planned Monday marches. More here.

With his 'high-stakes gamble' on Sarah Palin, Sen. McCain hijacks the media spotlight, but there is scant evidence that the vice-presidential candidate, whom he only met once, was properly vetted, leaving open questions about who really chose her.

As the GOP flip-flops on experience, a top McCain adviser contends that Palin can "learn national security at the foot of the master," perhaps building on the advantage some on the right are suggesting she gets from her proximity to Russia.

With the religious right ecstatic over Palin's theological and scientific views, Harper's highlights the words of some of her church mentors, while Obama provides answers of his own on science policy.

Despite what Katha Pollitt calls the McCain campaign's "blatant pander for the women's vote," two polls find Palin getting less support from women, and a recording of an insensitive talk show performance undermines her appeal as a "feminist."

Amid a debate about the propriety of a cynical response to the Palin nomination, and some less than stellar reviews from right wing pundits, Billmon considers the potential for "troopergate" to turn into a media feeding frenzy.

In the 'final days' of his presidency, Bush squabbles with neo-cons and, the New York Times notes, slips in "an 11th-hour maneuver to re-establish [his] broad interpretation of the president's wartime powers."

While the Democratic platform is praised for some "nice sounding words on torture," and the DNC proved resistant to certain narrative straitjackets, "Mosaic" reports that the Arab world found the message of the convention "clear and unpleasant."

The clock is ticking on efforts to block the release of documents on the rendition and torture of Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohamed, as Noam Chomsky tells the Independent that 'Britain has failed U.S. detainees.' Plus: 'Extraordinary rendition, extraordinary mistake.'

Replacing his original negotiating team, Prime Minister Maliki shakes up talks over the terms of U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, amid continuing doubts over the prospective transfer of control of Awakening Councils to the Iraqi government. Al Jazeera goes in depth with Nir Rosen on the fate of the councils.

New walls go up in Sadr City as Sadr loyalists 'sign blood oaths to continue fighting,' while an Iraqi reporter discusses his mixed feelings on the recovery of his plundered Baghdad home from squatters.

As U.S. forces are accused over more civilian deaths in Afghanistan, the U.S. military proposes a joint inquiry into a deadly raid to resolve disputes about U.S. culpability.

While an article in Forward suggests that 'the front against Iran is unraveling,' making it less likely for an Israeli attack to receive U.S. backing, pollsters from a "pro-Israeli organization" promote findings that a majority of Americans would support such an attack.

As Spiegel surveys the questions raised by the new 'cold peace,' Gareth Porter discusses U.S. "double standards" in condemning Russia, and Mark Weisbrot traces current tensions to past foreign policy failures.

August 29-31

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The 'levees hold' in New Orleans, but Hurricane Gustav 'reveals vulnerability,' reports the Times-Picayune, as Mayor Ray Nagin predicts that re-entry to the city is "only days away."

Sens. McCain and Obama are again urged to debate in New Orleans, and as 'Hurricane Bristol hits Minnesota,' it's said that "What the Republicans really have to worry about is Hannah and Ike." Plus: 'Absence of Bush and Cheney cheers Republican delegates.'

Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman was released from jail, after being arrested along with more than 280 others in St. Paul, and a video of her arrest is among the most popular on YouTube. More from the front lines, as one reporter goes street to street with a group of protesters.

Billmon skewers the AP over the headline of a widely-circulated article, 'McCain camp's detailed review of Palin,' noting that in addition to being "Pravda-like .... It states as established fact something that is now in considerable dispute, to put it mildly."

With a 'Thomas Eagleton Watch' initiated, Max Blumenthal reports on the vetting of Gov. Palin at a Minneapolis meeting of a 'secretive right-wing group,' and Alternet compiles what it calls the 'Top ten most disturbing facts and impressions of Sarah Palin.'

'Evangelicals rally behind Palin after pregnancy news,' which gives the governor a story to tell, and a Fox News host amplifies the claim that "any person who can help raise five children ... certainly could be vice-president of the United States."

As the 'McCain camp offers talking points on Palin pregnancy,' NPR's coverage of the Palin selection is reviewed, and despite the McCain campaign's sniping at the media, both Fox and NBC allowed him to get away with claiming that Palin was "in elected office" when Sen. Obama was a community organizer, even though she was still in college.

Jim Lobe aggregates reports on 'Palin's foreign policy record,' and a McCain campaign spokesman is unable to name one decision that she made as commander-in-chief of the Alaska National Guard.

With Sen. McCain accused of now helming 'The Cynicism Express,' reporters are urged to 'Ask about McCain's Navy career, aside from the POW part of it,' and CIA veterans are said to be 'Scared of McCain.'

As Patrick Cockburn points out that "The U.S. will keep 25,000 American soldiers in Anbar," a U.S. military official expresses "very real concerns" about the Iraqi government agreeing to take charge of 54,000 members of the Awakening Councils on October 1. Plus: 'Iraq-U.S. pact to go to parliament in 10 days.'

The New York Times reviews a new book on "The unraveling of life in Iraq," by a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Farnaz Fassihi, whose 'Accidental Baghdad Dispatch,' in the form of a 2004 e-mail message, chronicled the "rapidly deteriorating situation" in Iraq.

Following 'A bloody month in Afghanistan,' five more Afghan children are killed in two raids, the head of Pakistan's interior ministry admits "that al Qaida's leadership moved freely in and out of" Pakistan, and the Jerusalem Post summons up Dutch intelligence to pump the possibility of a U.S. strike on Iran's nuclear program.

The director of "Be Like Others," which "exposes Iran's utterly insane policy on homosexuality," explains the Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa permitting sex changes, and the popularity of plastic surgery in Iran, particularly nose jobs.

With the "Billionaires for Bush" group seamlessly morphing into "Lobbyists for McCain," the 'Party must go on for young Republicans at the convention,' where lobbyists and corporate sponsors showed little of the restraint called for by Sen. McCain.

As 'Conservative media elites blast commenters on liberal blogs,' the 'AP issues talking points over Fournier,' and a report on how hurricane coverage guarantees a 'High Chance of Blowhards,' declares that "The champion weather-interacter yesterday ... was Geraldo Rivera."

September 1

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Palin-drome Temporarily shifting the convention's focus from all Sarah all the time, 'Thompson, Lieberman attack Obama in red-meat speeches,' despite the latter's pledge not to, and President Bush 'compares critics to torturers.'

After the table was set, Republican delegates targeted "liberal media," Sen. McCain canceled an appearance with Larry King, saying that CNN's Campbell Brown went "over the line" in questioning Gov. Palin's foreign policy experience, and McCain campaign strategist Steve Schmidt accused the news media of being "on a mission to destroy" Palin.

Schmidt also warned reporters that the public might have a "harsh view" of them for covering Bristol Palin's pregnancy, and McCain campaign manager Rick Davis, who said on Tuesday that "This election is not about issues," also reportedly "appeared to label coverage of ... Bristol's pregnancy -- which was announced via McCain campaign press release -- as 'innuendo.'"

Following an article on Sen. McCain opposing funding to prevent teen pregnancies, it was reported that 'Palin slashed funding for teen moms," as the RNC was again ratifying a platform calling for "abstinence education." Plus: Obama campaign now running radio ads targeting McCain on abortion.

McCain adviser Carly Fiorina accused the Obama campaign of "sexism" for questioning Palin's experience, a charge echoed by Rep. Michele Bachmann in a CNN segment with James Carville, who displayed a photo of the Wasilla city hall, which he said, "looks like a bait shop in south Louisiana."

As 'Media, new and old, vet Palin, do McCain's job for him,' a Washington Post report of late vetting, which as a Time commenter points out, confirms a lie, notes that the two finalists were Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and Palin.

TPM interviews legendary GOP dirty trickster, Roger Stone, seen at the Ron Paul rally, who says that he'll "probably roll out a 527 to take the wood to Barack Obama." Read about Stone's latest antics, in a Broward County sheriff's election.

With 'Journalists trapped between police, protestors and pyrotechnics,' the 'Police gas docile crowd outside the RNC,' as it's reported that 'St. Paul feels like a city under siege for some residents.'

In a profile of Rupert Murdoch, Michael Wolff writes of Murdoch's "embarrassment" over owning Fox News, how Murdoch "barely pretends to hide the way he feels about Bill O'Reilly," and details a meeting among Barack Obama, Murdoch and Roger Ailes, during which "Obama lit into Ailes."

In the face of Obama hitting 50% for the first time in Gallup's daily tracking poll, and getting what is described as the 'Biggest bounce since '96 convention,' Pat Buchanan argues that McCain's "gamble" on Sarah Palin is "paying off, big-time." Plus: 'Why McCain can't stop saying "my friends."'

FAIR explains that "both McCain and Obama could be described, by ABC's logic, as voting against 'funding for U.S. troops in Iraq,'" and as the 'Iraqi army readies for showdown with Kurds,' a Wall Street Journal correspondent describes how, 'Despite Iraq's oil oases, its citizens still live in darkness."

As 'Pakistan's PM escapes assassination attempt,' women and children were reportedly among the 15 people killed in an attack on Wednesday by U.S.-led forces in a Pakistani village near the Afghan border.

Human Rights Watch is accused of 'flawed "research" on Georgian cluster bombs,' and as Vice President Cheney 'opens ex-Soviet state tour,' it's reported that he "may be too late" to challenge 'Russia's gas clout.'

Sana Krasikov answers questions about her much-lauded collection, "One More Year," which focuses on the lives of immigrants from the former Soviet Union to the U.S. Among the stories available online are "Maia in Yonkers," and two that ran in the New Yorker.

There's 'No calm after the storm' for Louisiana's two million evacuees, with some complaining that they were met with hostility in Houston, and another telling the New York Times that they were denied shelter in upstate Louisiana: "We told them we was from New Orleans, and they wouldn't take us."

September 2

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pakistan has summoned the U.S. ambassador to protest a raid by U.S. troops that is described as "the first publicly acknowledged case of United States forces conducting a ground raid on Pakistani soil."

As Vice President Cheney deems Russia's actions in Georgia to be "illegitimate," Sen. McCain, in an interview with ABC News, joins other Republicans in saying that "Alaska is right next to Russia," to defend Gov. Palin's foreign policy experience, and contending that "she has had national security as one of her primary responsibilities."

Dubbed 'Spiro T. Palin,' the Republican Party's vice-presidential nominee delivered 'Red meat for the masses,' in a speech that drew a mixed reaction from a focus group of female Clinton supporters, and was said to have "crystallized the McCain campaign's main strategy against Barack Obama: withering sarcasm."

"Is there anything stranger," asks Grist's David Roberts, "than a room full of affluent, privileged white people who have run the country for almost a decade, cheering wildly for a provincial small-town girl who promises to shake up Washington?" Plus: Ben Stein on "one of the oddest choices in the history of presidential politics."

"McCain's political team is playing the gender card to appeal to women, and bashing the media to solidify support among conservatives," writes one-time McCain campaign job aspirant, Ron Fournier, while another AP analysis illustrates how the 'GOP contradicts self on Palin family.'

As 'The McCain campaign repeats (again and again and again) its defense of Palin,' Tom DeLay declares that "Trashing her is waking up the sleeping giant, and the sleeping giant is Republican women," one of whom tries to back away from her open mic.

Citing the McCain campaign's extensively covered "whining" about a "faux media scandal," Jay Bookman writes that "It's not the media's fault that the cinematic story envisioned by McCain and his staff has fallen apart on closer inspection. They just didn't do their homework, and they got caught." Plus: 'Who vetted Giuliani's speech?'

As e-mails shown to the Washington Post suggest that "Sarah Palin's story on Trooper-Gate may be in the process of falling apart," a 'Palin aide ducks state probe,' McClatchy reports that 'Palin's never issued an order to Alaska Guard,' and CJR compiles the most detailed reporting on her environmental record.

Congressional Quarterly reports on how 'K Street helps out at convention,' and the Party Time blog tells 'A tale of two concerts' held Wednesday evening, one a corporate event with virtually no security, the other by Rage Against the Machine, which led to more than 100 arrests.

About St. Paul forcing the Republican Party to buy $10 million of insurance to cover claims of police misconduct, Michelle Gross, who heads the group, Communities United Against Police Brutality, called it "an extraordinary agreement. Now the police have nothing to hold them back from egregious behavior."

One day after Sen. Lieberman and Gov. Palin met with the board of directors of AIPAC, Lieberman was ripped over his RNC speech by the head of a Democratic Jewish group, which also called McCain's selection of Palin 'a bizarre choice.'

Frank Luntz told Republican convention-goers "The strongest way to communicate about Iran," as part of a campaign by The Israel Project that included TV spots in Denver and the Twin Cities.

As 'mistaken fire' by U.S. troops kills six Iraqi soldiers, the U.S. military arrested an Iraqi cameraman who works for a TV station owned by the major Sunni political group, two days after detaining yet another photographer working for Reuters, one of more than 20 journalists detained this year.

'Mexican drug traffickers wage PR war over image,' reports McClatchy, which includes the "official" Web site of "the godfather of Mexico's cocaine trade."

September 3

Friday, September 5, 2008

A leaked and translated version of the proposed SOFA between the U.S. and Iraq goes on line, as reports indicate that Bush is being advised to delay troop cuts in Iraq and scale back the number of troops to be transferred to Afghanistan.

In a preview of Bob Woodward's tightly-held new book, the Washington Post reveals that the U.S. "conducted an extensive spying operation" on Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, as CJR explores the limitations of 'seeing Iraq through Uncle Sam's eyes.'

With the French opposition already demanding a 'rethink of Afghanistan mission,' Paris Match touches off a firestorm of controversy by "publishing a photograph of a Taliban guerrilla dressed in the combat uniform of one of the ten French soldiers killed in Afghanistan this month." More from France 24

'Cheney blusters through the Caucasus,' with talk of expanding NATO to Russia's doorstep, and control of the region's energy "the ultimate prize," while Human Rights Watch backs off a bit on Russian cluster munitions claims, and fingers point to some "apparently staged photos" used in advancing a propaganda narrative.

Despite 'uproar,' Pentagon officials are reportedly leaning toward stepping up raids across the Pakistani border, as 'Bhutto widower with a clouded past' prepares to take the helm.

The lawyer for American-trained Pakistani behavioral scientist and sometime terror suspect, Aafia Siddiqui, now on trial for trying to kill U.S. personnel, argues that she should be declared mentally incompetent based on evidence that she was imprisoned and tortured for years.

According to an extensive new report on the 'policy nightmare' in Somalia, U.S. counter-terrorism policies "have helped create an increasingly desperate humanitarian and security situation," and heightened anti-U.S. sentiment, with the high likelihood of blowback. Chris Floyd looks 'beyond the worst-case scenario.

Against a backdrop of fake soldiers and a broken taboo, and facing at least one unmeetable expectation, John McCain attempts to re-brand the party in power as the agent of change. The speech is widely panned by pundits and summed up by CNN's Jeffrey Toobin as "shockingly bad."

The McCain campaign generates anger and gets called on the way it mocked community organizers, exposing a cultural divide, and perhaps a plan of action that goes beyond the "dogwhistle" translation of community organizer as "poverty pimp."

The shades of Nixon and Agnew -- and even Pavlov -- are summoned to explain a convention whose "cheerful viciousness" is a sign, Paul Krugman warns, that the party has tapped into a powerful vein of resentment.

Roving convention videos capture 'proud Bush-McCain Republicans,' and 'Sarah Palin's hidden base,' as it's noted that 'Palin can do long derision,' but when it comes to foreign policy, she still needs some tutoring -- as did the current president Bush.

While she may not answer questions from the much-maligned media, Palin has, Bill Berkowitz notes, been added to the gallery of invitees at next week's Values Voter Summit, which is expected to showcase a rather "narrow" vision of the nation's future. Plus: Prayers for intercession.

Amid reports that Palin was testing the waters about library censorship when she was mayor of Wasilla, Amy Goodman and David Goodman recount the story of 'America's most dangerous librarians," who stood up to the now unconstitutional national security letter provision of the Patriot Act.

Sandwiched inside Fox News coverage of the convention was the first installment of Bill O'Reilly's interview with Barack Obama, which opened with "a kind of semantic loyalty oath" and, despite disagreements, elicits the concession: "I looked at him eye to eye -- he's not a wimpy guy."

Undaunted by the four-year sentence he received for, as he puts it, going "over the line," Jack "I am not a bad man" Abramoff is reportedly cooperating on a book to be published later this month titled "The Perfect Villain: John McCain and the Demonization of Lobbyist Jack Abramoff."

A former Halliburton executive pleads guilty to bribery that took place during Dick Cheney's tenure as CEO, and the tell-tales signs of endemic and recycled corruption on Wall Street are highlighted but, as far as the Labor Department is concerned, it appears that corporate whistleblowers are on their own.

A "mountain of dismal economic news" including a jump in unemployment, sends stocks plummeting, as Nouriel Roubini points to "a dozen separate negative headwinds" that appear to signal a 'coming U.S. consumption bust.'

September 4

Monday, September 8, 2008

'U.S. air power triples deaths of Afghan civilians,' and alienates the populace, according to a new HRW report, while mounting evidence undermines U.S. military claims of a low number of casualties from an Aug. 22 raid, prompting a reassessment.

"We are saving the Taliban for a rainy day," confides a former Pakistani official to Dexter Filkins, giving his take on long term strategy in the lawless border region dubbed 'Talibanistan,' as Hamid Karzai blames Britain, and the confidence of the American public ebbs.

With Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki already testing the limits of his independence from the U.S. with a nationalist theme, Michael Schwartz asks, "Can anything reverse the centripetal forces pulling Iraq from Washington's orbit?"

Although many Iraqis still lack a reliable supply of water, and no money appears to be available to remedy conditions in juvenile prisons, the Iraqi 'air force takes to the skies again,' and gets ready for some serious shopping.

As the Washington Post continues its rollout of Bob Woodward's new book, dropping hints about a secret U.S. military program to "locate, target and kill key individuals" in Iraq, earlier 'allegations of spying' rattle Iraq, and the White House registers umbrage at a portrait of a president "detached from decision-making."

The Financial Times reveals that the 'U.S. military trained Georgian commandos' prior to war, as the U.S. contemplates "whether and how to re-arm Georgia," and Kremlin watchers warn that "Russia and America are closer to direct confrontation than at any point since the end of the Cold War."

On the final stop of his European tour, Vice President Cheney finds a divided Ukraine backing away from Nato offers, one of what Tony Karon suspects may be "a growing number of traditional US allies ... concluding that their best interests are not served by being too closely identified with Washington."

Poland opens an investigation into claims that the CIA was operating a secret prison on its soil, following media reports that the Polish government already possesses confirmation, as Anthony Lewis reviews the record of 'Official American Sadism.'

With the depth of the candidates' 'faith in the Constitution' largely untested, legal experts consider some peculiar constitutional implications of variously timed scenarios of death or incapacity, and John Dean argues that 'McCain's inexperienced running mate fails to meet implicit constitutional qualifications for Vice President.'

"What was different in St. Paul," observes Michael Winship, "was that the police seemed especially intent on singling out independent journalists and activists," as Amnesty International condemns "disproportionate" use of force against RNC protesters.

Fox News pumps up a 'bogus flag story,' offering the network's chief political correspondent the opportunity to decry Democrats' lack of respect for the "Stars and Bars," and casting a pall over plans for a bipartisan Ground Zero appearance. Plus: 'Confessions of an RNC Security Guard.'

"How can you survive as a party," Bob Shieffer asks McCain, "if you become just the party of white people?"

Following a "shotgun marriage," and a rapid remobilization of culture war rhetoric, questions are raised about who's really at the top of the ticket, Palin or the POW.

Sarah Palin finally deigns to schedule an interview with a journalist, albeit one whose career, as Glenn Greenwald puts it, "was built on oozing amiability and inoffensiveness," as MSNBC addresses its 'news-opinion dilemma.'

Palin's pastors talk of Alaska's destiny "as a shelter for Christians at the end of the world," warn that God "is gonna strike out his hand against America," and work to "pray away the gay," but these themes remain in the background as the GOP headliners take the campaign to Dobsonville.

Right wing pastors are being recruited to provoke an IRS showdown over endorsements from the pulpit, the McCain campaign attempts to pull the teeth out of the troopergate investigation, and David Corn asks what's in Palin's 1,100 secret emails?

After the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Cynthia Tucker skewers Bill O'Reilly and others on the right for double standards on teen pregnancy, he sends a camera crew out to ambush her at her home.

In an act of what Robert Reich terms "socialized capitalism," the federal government takes over the two troubled mortgage giants, although Paul Krugman suspects that "in the context of a broader economic struggle," it is likely not enough.

September 5-7

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

As 'Iraq Palestinians head to Iceland,' the number of U.S. troops in Iraq will still be above pre-surge levels in early 2009, following a 'limited Iraq drawdown, Afghan ramp-up,' that is described as "likely to represent Bush's last major decision on the deployment of U.S. troops in the two wars that have come to define his presidency."

With Afghans reportedly ready to open graves to prove civilian deaths, the Pentagon is said to have "relied for its account, in part, on corroborative evidence by the embedded journalist on the scene: Fox News 'reporter' Oliver North!"

As the 'U.S.'s "good" war hits Pakistan hard,' the Bush administration was reportedly warned against launching commando raids on al Qaeda-related targets in Pakistan's North-West Frontier, by its National Intelligence Council, and a Pakistani commentator weighs 'Joe Biden's massive Pakistan discount.'

A British jury delivers no conviction on the key charges in the "Bigger than 9/11" airline plot, and seven years on, the U.S. remains "dangerously vulnerable" to chemical, biological and nuclear attacks, according to a report card from a bi-partisan panel.

As 'Georgians question wisdom of war with Russia,' Wired cites a military analyst who argues that "The U.S. should help Georgia turn its military into a Black Sea version of Hezbollah," and it's reported that Vice President "Cheney caused a scene during his recent visit to Azerbaijan."

A historian who is among the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed Monday that would force Cheney to comply with the 1978 Presidential Records Act, suggests "a possibility here for what I call a history heist."

With questions being raised about the timing and necessity of the government taking over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, whose employees have contributed more money to Obama than to McCain since 2005, William Greider takes both candidates to task for making "not a peep of protest" about the bailout.

As 'Obama takes on the Palin factor,' she reportedly "billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home," and while the AP points out that she also "asked Washington for 10 times more money per citizen for pet projects" than Obama has requested for Illinois, it and other news outlets have failed to ask what happened to the "Bridge to Nowhere" money.

McClatchy cries foul on the RNC/McCain ad titled, "Temple," the Obama campaign calls "whoa" to "Original Mavericks," and the candidate says in an interview with Keith Olbermann, that his opponents are "not telling the truth."

Tom Brokaw accuses FAIR of trying "to make a pinata out of me to promote your website," and with the "adults" now in charge at MSNBC, "The Rachel Maddow Show" makes its debut.

As Gov. Palin's interview with Charles Gibson is previewed, her former pastor tells CNN that the 'GOP may be downplaying Palin's religious beliefs,' and with Obama's supporters urged to follow suit, liberals should "get over" their "self-hatred," says Bob Herbert.

The publication that beat the Iraq war drums most loudly has been cruising Sarah Palin since mid-2007, reports the New Republic, and Bill Maher asks: 'Is this a running mate or a mid-life crisis?'

"The conventioneers are nothing like the rich men who run the party, and that's the mystery of the hick vote," writes Canadian commentator and Fox News target, Heather Mallick, and as a major GOP donor uses his media pulpit to praise RNC cops, a food server hits Republican delegates for being "the cheapest tippers."

As Sen. Norm Coleman's 'campaign conflicts' are reviewed, "The Running Man" tries to skate on his record.

Assessing the battle over ballots and rules for voter registration in six states, Rick Hasen of the Election Law Blog, says to forget the national polls, as new polling from five key swing states shows "a race that is relatively unchanged from the pre-convention period."

September 8

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bob Woodward's "The War Within," is described by Robert Dreyfuss as "the 'In Cold Blood' of national security journalism," and Robert Parry uses it to further debunk the "established conventional wisdom among mainstream Washington journalists that the 'surge' was the singular reason for the recent decline in Iraq's violence."

'Bush's Iraq withdrawal small because gains are, too,' reports McClatchy, and as Bush's troop moves are debated by two generals, one of whom is the retired Jack Keane, Dan Froomkin bids farewell to Lt. Gen. William E. Odom, "the earliest, most prescient and most persistent senior military critic of the war in Iraq."

In '9/11 Plus Seven,' Andrew Bacevich sees the administration's goal of "transforming the Islamic world," as having produced "next to nothing, apart from squandering vast resources and exacerbating the slide toward debt and dependency that poses a greater strategic threat to the United States than Osama bin Laden ever did."

Bin Laden is depicted "as a preferred oil supplier to the U.S.," by the group "Americans for American Energy," which, reports SourceWatch, is funded by a lobbying firm that received a $3 million "no bid contract from the State of Alaska to campaign for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge."

'A Big Boon for Big Oil,' is how James Ridgeway describes Alaska's governor, and Michael Kinsley, in assessing 'Sarah Palin's Alaskonomics,' depicts Alaska as, "in essence, an adjunct member of OPEC," and finds "no evidence that being dependent on Alaskan oil would be any more pleasant to the pocketbook." Plus: 'Democrats' proposal would allow some new offshore drilling.'

An article on how 'Palin's leadership style has admirers and critics,' coincides with reports about her promoting the commander of the Alaska National Guard after he abruptly changed his public stance on her duties, and firing an aide after the Palins discovered that he was dating the soon-to-be-ex wife of a close friend of Todd Palin.

An AP report notes that in addition to her comments during flights being off the record, "So far, Palin has barely spoken with voters either," and as a front-page article in the Washington Post describes how "Palin and John McCain ... have been more aggressive in recent days in repeating what their opponents say are outright lies," CJR addresses "the impotence of the standard fact check."

After Obama laid out his education plan in a speech -- video & text -- on Tuesday, the McCain campaign released an ad claiming that Obama supported legislation to teach "comprehensive sex education" to "kindergartners."

As a Scholastic blogger goes "On the Media" to discuss coverage of No Child Left Behind, various articles indicate that the number of homeless students is increasing, and the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports on how a 24-hour curfew zone in one of the poorest areas of Helena, Arkansas, has touched off a battle between the city's mayor and the ACLU.

With the VA now agreeing to allow voter registration at its facilities, a Truthout report on how 'Nearly 600,000 subject to possible caging in Ohio,' is followed by a listing of "some of the key factors that still endanger the vote in Ohio and around the nation." Plus: 'McCain takes lead even as Democrats out-register Republicans?'

The McCain campaign gets more blowback, from New York's governor, for its smearing of "community organizers," and candidate McCain is described as "the first ever third-party candidate licensed to run against a major political party by that party itself."

The concept of loophole-inspired hybrid ads, like this one, is explained, the 'Media embrace McCain's "maverick" re-branding effort,' and Eric Boehlert contends that "The press is just as anxious as McCain to have Bush go away."

As the great "lipstick on a pig" debate rages, which even Mark Halperin characterizes as "the press just absolutely playing into the McCain campaign's crocodile tears," 2004 'Wimblehack champ Bumiller serves notice she won't relinquish crown without a fight.'

Bill O'Reilly offers up the "dubious associations" portion of his interview with Obama, Matthew Yglesias enters 'The Surreal World' of a "Hardball" segment, and Tony Karon asks: "Is there no screed of rabid hysteria too dumb for the New York Times op-ed page?"

'Israeli security made me dance,' says Abdur-Rahim Jackson, who dances professionally with Alvin Ailey, and an Israeli cabinet member, who is an ex-Mossad agent, floats the notion of kidnapping Iranian President Ahmadinejad.

September 9

Thursday, September 11, 2008

With 'South Asia in turmoil,' seven years after 9/11, the 'Pentagon admits Afghan strategy not succeeding,' but Afghans aren't sold on a U.S. "surge."

CJR traces the life cycle of a now dead meme about Afghan security, Keith Olbermann calls on Sen. McCain to share his plan for capturing bin Laden, and a right-wing radio talker rails against the Bush administration for "outsourcing" the hunt for bin Laden, about whom Bush himself is said to have a new-found 'craving." Plus: White House tries to muddy 'mastermind' waters.

In time for its September 11 edition, the New York Times is told by "senior administration officials," that Bush did secretly approve orders in July allowing U.S. special forces to carry out ground raids inside Pakistan, without the prior approval of the Pakistani government.

With the U.S. entering the "endgame" in Iraq, according to Defense Secretary Gates, it's again reminded that the surge has not delivered on political reconciliation, and the Guardian's Jonathan Steele writes that while "Security is massively improved ... one has to mention the enormous legacy of human misery which the invasion and five years of occupation unleashed."

'Iraq cancels six no-bid oil contracts,' some with companies that 'gave sex, drinks, gifts to federal overseers' in the U.S., with accusations centering on the Minerals Management Service, whose officials 'Tried to rewrite ethics rules to accommodate their partying.'

With a report that the 'Oil brokers sex scandal may affect drilling debate,' Hurricane Ike is headed for the greatest concentration of oil refineries and chemical plants in the U.S.

As a study fingers speculators, not supply and demand, as a primary reason for oil price swings, 'Russian bombers land in Venezuela,' where President Hugo Chavez gets some support from the U.S. intelligence community for his claim that "Yankee hegemony is finished."

OMB Watch details 'Bush's last-minute rush to dismantle public protections,' which the press was advised to look out for, and a report from proponents of open government, finds that 'U.S. government secrecy continues to rise.'

As candidate McCain marks four weeks without a press conference, a 9/11 advertising truce will force his campaign to call off the wolves that appear in an ad titled 'Fact Check," which in addition to pulling down an 'Orwell Award,' was actually debunked by

Andrew Sullivan finds the alternative to Barack Obama "now unthinkable ... And McCain - no one else - has proved it," and one possible answer to Michael Kinsley's question, 'Why Do Lies Prevail?,' can be found in a he said/she said column touting the McCain campaign's success "in seizing the storyline of the day and putting Obama on the defensive."

As the Wall Street Journal reports that an 'Ethics adviser warned Palin about trooper issue," Politico discovers that she "requested millions of federal dollars for everything from improving recreational halibut fishing to studying the mating habits of crabs and the DNA of harbor seals," and the AP goes up top in reporting that ''McCain and Palin castigate the earmarks she seeks."

SARABC An article does not do justice to ABC's planned synergization of its interviews with Gov. Palin, which "will air across ABC News' platforms, including ABC News Radio, ABC News NOW, and ABC NewsOne."

During an appearance with David Letterman, Sen. Obama said that "This is sort of silly season in politics, not that there's a non-silly season, but it gets sillier."

The online reaction to an article about a BBC poll finding that most people outside the U.S. prefer Obama to McCain, is almost uniformly hostile.

As 'Michigan Republicans plan to foreclose African American voters,' Mississippi's governor and secretary of state are accused of having "come up with a particularly cynical dirty trick for the November election," and Rep. Dennis Kucinich's call for a "National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation" gets few takers among mainstream media outlets.

Rolling Stone profiles Chucky Taylor, the son of Charles Taylor, who was raised in Orlando, but returned to Liberia as a teen, and is now the first U.S. citizen on trial for torture abroad, and New York Times reporter Helene Cooper discusses her memoir about her upper-crust childhood in Liberia, before the family was forced to flee.

September 10

Friday, September 12, 2008

With the Pakistani army reportedly 'ordered to hit back,' and the U.S. military pumping up the drones, Gareth Porter discusses the rationale behind and the backers of the new Bush administration embrace of cross-border raids.

Glenn Greenwald examines how Fox News and the Pentagon have been "working in unison" to bolster "blatant and now clearly demonstrated lying" about "collateral damage" in Afghanistan following, as Tom Engelhardt underlines, a narrative of tell-tale uniformity.

An amendment sponsored by Sens. Lieberman and McCain attempts to achieve "strategic victory" in "the war on terror" by legislative fiat, while a Woodward-inspired narrative painting "President Bush as a valiant hero who stood up to his generals and insisted on the surge" is debunked.

The New York Post leads with "joke politics" on the anniversary of 9/11, as terror fears wane and commemoration goes virtual, while Andy Worthington surveys the bitter legacy of how the Bush administration chose to respond.

The Village Voice critiques the selective truths on display at the new 9/11 museum, an editor at Mother Jones wades through the 'parallel universe' of 9/11 conspiracy films in search of the plausible, and Dennis Kucinich makes the case for moving from the retributive justice of 9/11 to "truth and reconciliation."

Aside from all the prurient details, the corruption scandal at the Minerals Management Service brings to light a failure to prosecute the sexual assault of a subordinate, the cost of wrecking crew values, and a potential weakness for a "pipe dream."

Cindy McCain's 'tangled tale of addiction' hits the front page of the Washington Post after an editing hiccup, with a whistleblower's testimony raising questions about whether McCain tampered with the DEA to protect his career.

Despite an unprecedented 'blizzard of lies' coming out of the McCain campaign, shouting out "an elaborate fictional narrative of victimhood," and skirting the facts, James Carville still refuses to believe that John McCain could possibly have approved.

About the latest McCain display of umbrage, Newsweek notes that "It's not chauvinist -- or disrespectful--to point out when your opponent is lying. Even if she's a woman," while the Los Angeles Times tracks 'a new election low: distorting the fact-checking.'

McClatchy reports that complaints about charging rape victims up to $1200 for medical exams in Wasilla during Sarah Palin's tenure as mayor led to a general ban on the practice throughout Alaska, which has long had the highest per capita sexual assault rate in the nation.

In her interview debut, Palin was, Juan Cole concludes, "nervous, uninformed, green and generally not ready for prime time," and despite a "blizzard of words," Jack Shafer finds that -- the issue of actual presidential qualifications aside -- "She wasn't even ready for this interview."

Although she's popular with the base, and stands with Sen. Inhofe linking 9/11 and Iraq, Politico reports that Palin gets a cool reception from the GOP foreign policy experts, and former GOP Senator Lincoln Chafee goes so far as to describe her as a 'cocky whacko.'

Asked about Palin's foreign policy experience, McCain replies "She knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America," while in her interview Palin tried the same sort of deflection. And both make the same basic error.

Urged to go on the offensive, Sen. Obama releases a new commercial mocking his opponent as "an out-of-touch, out-of-date computer illiterate."

After the 'mother of all bailouts,' reports that the federal government is giving troubled Lehman Brothers a helping hand are fueling an anti-bailout backlash, amid signs that the Bush administration is tossing its faith in the free market overboard. Plus: 'Take a load off Fannie.'

Amid fears that a new cold war could spread to Latin America, another U.S. ambassador gets the boot, in an escalating diplomatic row initially set off by accusations that the U.S. was working with Bolivian separatists -- not to mention some other curious shenanigans.

September 11

Monday, September 15, 2008

Stalked by fears of a "Black Monday," the financial system is "shaken to its core" by what a former head of Lehman terms "the most extraordinary events I've ever seen," with the Treasury Secretary opting for "Russian roulette" over bailout, and Nouriel Roubini warning of "a generalized run on most of the shadow banking system."

The White House is reportedly driving a jump in U.S. arms sales, with an attendant increase in the risk of blowback, as Walter Pincus sifts through Pentagon contract proposals for signs of military build up in Afghanistan, and Frida Berrigan examines the 'Pentagon legacy of the MBA president.'

Given the intensity of 'Pakistan fury at US cross-border attacks,' one analyst considers signs that the U.S. may be headed for "a third war."

A conflict between Kurds and Arabs in Iraq verges on explosion, as the press is kept away from the scene of a Baghdad bombing, an Iraqi TV crew is murdered in Mosul, and Patrick Cockburn warns that, if he wins, McCain's "lack of understanding of what is happening in Iraq could ignite a fresh conflict."

The killing of a 'Sunni proponent of reconciliation,' the latest in a string of attacks on members of the "Awakening" movement, highlights the problematic status of decommissioning efforts, as the U.S. led coalition in Iraq continues to dwindle.

In the wake of Ike, Galveston is 'a ravaged island covered with rubbish,' facing "growing public health concerns," where prisoners were left behind to face the storm despite "warnings that those who remained in the area faced 'certain death.'"

Texas faces the 'largest blackout in its history' and the possibility that it will take weeks to restore power, as the price of oil goes down but that of gasoline goes up with the prospect of more extended shortages on the horizon.

The New York Times looks at efforts to restore voting rights to ex-convicts who have been disenfranchised under state laws that are often a holdover from the Reconstruction era, as a variety of obstacles to voting in the upcoming election are surveyed.

Gambling on a rejection of traditional standards for what is permissible, John McCain personally takes up his campaign's cry about "lipstick on a pig," as Karl Rove talks on the one hand about "a step too far" but on the other insinuates that Obama's initial comment was somehow both "unconscious" and "deliberate."

With the "Straight Talk Express" increasingly viewed as 'off the rails,' proliferating campaign lies become an explicit campaign target, and Dan Froomkin advises reporters to start asking: "How reality-based is the candidate?"

Digging into Sarah Palin's record of governance, the New York Times finds evidence that she was 'vindictive, secretive, and hypocritical,' provoking a comparison of 'Angler and Barracuda,' as it's argued that 'Palin may not know the Bush Doctrine, but she sure sounds like Bush.'

Although she continues to be a major draw for the GOP faithful, Palin doesn't appear to be scoring so well in the electoral college, and draws a record crowd of protesters in Anchorage, where approval of the governor is far from universal, and different rhetoric is called for.

In her portrayal of Palin on "Saturday Night Live," Tina Fey is said to have "neatly captured real Sarah's self-serving tendency to exploit and appropriate Hillary's stature and political circumstances."

Postmodern writer David Foster Wallace, who committed suicide on Friday, known for his "strobe-lit portraits of a millennial America," also ventured into journalism with observations on "the professional smile," and a piece on a radio "Host," that Jack Shafer termed, "The best article I've ever read about the contemporary cable TV-news business."

One of the articles for which Wallace was best known was his sympathetic snapshot of John McCain circa 2000, which appeared in a variety of incarnations, although his view of the candidate had grown considerably more cynical by the time of his interview with the Wall Street Journal on the subject earlier this year.

A massacre in northern Bolivia underlines a more general escalation in violence and raises questions about U.S. funding of right-wing separatists, as it 'evokes memories of Salvador Allende.' Plus: 'In Pinochet's Footsteps.'

The discovery of the "bodies of 24 people killed execution-style" and local reporters "crowd-sourcing" stories on the drug war out of fear of retaliation illustrate the degree to which organized crime has taken control away from the police in parts of Mexico.

September 12-14

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

About a "perfect storm of financial disasters," it's said that much of it "comes as a surprise to those average news consumers who had just settled their brains for a long fall's presidential campaign."

As Sens. McCain and Obama criticize their biggest donors, it's reported that McCain "has no history prior to the presidential campaign of advocating steps to tighten standards on investment firms," having "often taken his lead on financial issues from two outspoken advocates of free market approaches... Phil Gramm and Alan Greenspan."

Calling it 'Time to reform Wall Street,' Dean Baker writes that "The sight of rich bankers getting the boot might be lots of fun if it were just a spectator sport. Unfortunately, we are in the game with these clowns."

As William Greider optimistically suggests that "we can look forward to the new order that emerges from the wreckage," the McCain campaign is called on to ask Carly Fiorina to give back her $42 million golden parachute from Hewlett Packard, which announced on Monday that it's cutting 24,600 jobs.

A Boston Globe photo essay chronicles 'The short - but eventful - life of Ike,' which left 'Floodwaters around Galveston filled with oil and chemicals,' but "Americans are not addicted to oil," says George Allen, "Americans are addicted to freedom."

Among the revelations in Barton Gellman's "Angler," reviewed here, is that Cheney turned down Bush's request that he head up the federal response to Katrina, and, as Gellman said during an appearance Monday on "The Daily Show," if what Dick Armey says is true, Cheney "flat out lied" to Armey, during a classified pre-Iraq war briefing.

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote Tuesday on an amendment mandating that the Red Cross be given access to all U.S detainees, and as the 'U.S. denies Pakistan delegation access to Guantanamo detainees,' Glenn Greenwald interviews the ACLU's national legislative director about "the virtually complete invisibility of civil liberties and constitutional issues in the presidential campaign."

With Southern evangelicals said to be "the mainstay of the torture regime in this country," a 'Christian right voter summit sells racist "Obama Waffles,"' and 'Jewish voters complain of anti-Obama poll.'

As 'Gen. David Petraeus leaves Iraq after 20 months,' giving his "final U.S. interview" as commander to Fox News, 'ABC News can't be bothered with Iraq,' Peter Galbraith wants to "settle the issue of 'Who lost Iraq' now," and, it's argued that Bush 43 is only the 5th worst president in U.S. history.

'Pakistan orders troops to open fire if U.S. raids,' one day after both Pakistani and U.S. military officials denied that shots were fired near U.S. military helicopters in Pakistan, and Juan Cole asks: 'Is the Bush Administration at war with its own weapons in Pakistan?'

As Wired reports that "online spaces like 'World of Warcraft' are making some spooks, generals and Congressmen extremely nervous," a new computer game promotes "Muslim Massacre."

Following last week's backtrack by a leading member of the "Palin Truth Squad," Sen. McCain now says that 'Obama didn't call Palin a pig,' while defending his ad claiming that Obama did, and "The McCain campaign's decision to lie about, well, everything," is described as "a rational and obvious response to the rules laid down by the media."

With McCain 'practically bubble-wrapped these days,' on "Meet the Press," Rudy Giuliani tried to narrow McCain's claim about Gov. Palin's energy expertise, blamed campaign negativity on Obama's unwillingness to hold town halls with McCain, and asserted that he wasn't criticizing community organizers in his RNC speech, but rather, Obama's "sparse" record as one.

As media outlets are called on to 'show real spine,' Jay Rosen discusses his 'Spinewatch' campaign, Bill Moyers interviews "Shock Jocks" author Rory O'Connor about 'Rage on the Radio,' and a study finds that conservative are more immune than liberals to the debunking of false claims. Plus: 'Dear Politico, please stop.'

Harper's opens up its archive of articles by David Foster Wallace, who is said to have "left American literature with a body of work as fine as any produced in America in the last two decades."

As the Los Angeles Times reviews "State by State," which features 50 writers on 50 states, 19 of whom read their contribution for a short film, the Orlando Weekly welcomes readers to "the most tragic installment yet in our ongoing Our Dumb State series."

September 15

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

As 'Lawmakers seek market intervention,' President Bush goes mum on markets, the U.S. government scales the "commanding heights," taking an 80-percent stake in AIG, and the business press is accused of ignoring "the breathtaking corruption that overran the U.S. lending industry."

Sen. McCain declares that "we are a victim of the violation of the social contract between capitalism and the American citizen," and about his attempt to conflate "fundamentals" and "workers," the New York Times editorializes: "In the best Karl Rovian fashion, he implied that if you dispute his statement about the economy's firm foundation, you are, in effect, insulting American workers."

The AP reports on McCain's '2 faces,' and in a discussion about his long history of opposing regulation, it's speculated that the Keating Five scandal could emerge as a campaign issue.

McCain adviser Carly Fiorina will reportedly "now disappear" from TV for a while, following a day that was summarized as 'McCain staffers attempt to derail McCain's campaign,' and with his campaign having "picked off another Obama turn of phrase," the candidate himself gets picked off. Plus: Drudge cozies up to McCain.

A New York Review of Books article look at efforts to "downsize the electorate," that "make it harder for many black Americans to vote," the Obama campaign and the DNC file a lawsuit over the Michigan GOP's plan to use foreclosure lists to challenge voters, and Mark Crispin Miller argues that Gov. Palin could provide a Christian voter "surge" cover story for election theft.

As 'Republicans sue Republicans to help Palin,' her 'evolving excuses' for firing public safety commissioner Walt Monegan, are likened to the U.S. attorney purge, and it's said that "if Palin's new story is true, she fired Monegan for being too aggressive in going after child molesters."

Following a prediction that 'The Sarah Palin phenomenon is doomed,' her 'favorability ratings begin to falter,' in a Hotline-commissioned tracking poll, and as Eric Boehlert contends that "The campaign press has become a joke," it's speculated that a jokester by trade -- Jay Leno -- could be 'Palin's worst nightmare."

Leno makes fun of Palin's upcoming interview with Sean Hannity, who recently addressed the Value Voters Summit, as did Lou Dobbs, lending his endorsement to a popular new product.

Elizabeth Edwards calls the U.S. health-care system "extraordinarily immoral," during a talk in Philadelphia, and Bob Herbert is lauded for putting McCain's health-care plan 'Under the Microscope.' Plus: McCain's 'underwear gnome' plan to fix a broken health care system.'

As Barton Gellman talks "Angler" on "Fresh Air" and "Countdown," the Bush administration is estimated to have "spent $195 maintaining the secrets already on the books for every one dollar it spent declassifying documents in 2007," according to's '2008 Secrecy Report Card.'

A bomb and rocket attack on the U.S. embassy in Yemen reportedly killed as many as sixteen people, and as Tariq Ali discusses his new book, and writes about how the 'The American war moves to Pakistan,' the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff follows, making a "hastily arranged visit" to the country on Tuesday.

As 'Afghan senators walk out over civilian deaths,' Defense Secretary Gates 'expresses regret for civilian deaths,' and the senior U.S. general in Afghanistan, blames a shortage of troops for having "to use more air power, at the cost of higher civilian casualties."

In what is being called an act of terrorism, with Mexico's drug gangs fingered, at least eight people were killed and 100 injured when several grenades exploded in the Michoacan capitol of Morelia, on the eve of the country's Independence Day.

Among the interviewees in "The Corpse Walkers," a collection of oral histories by "the most censored writer in China," Liao Yiwu, is someone who observed a corpse walker at work, and an outspoken public toilet manager.

September 16

Thursday, September 18, 2008

William Greider detects "the smell of systemic fear" in the government's rescue of AIG, the CEO of Morgan Stanley is quoted as saying, "We need a merger partner or we're not going to make it," and surveying the wreckage, the Left Business Observer's Doug Henwood sees "a very long period of a grinding and very unpleasant economy."

It's time to 'Get Your Class War On,' declares Thomas Frank, and as a Bloomberg columnist fingers two main villains in the financial crisis, since "It's impossible to publicly humiliate a derivative," Michael Kinsley cites the annual Economic Report of the President, to 'show that Democrats are better for the economy than Republicans.'

Dana Perino "ends up in some fairly kinky contortions," to avoid answering a question about the economy, and before President Bush broke his silence, he was accused of "pulling one of these Katrinas again," by Chris Matthews. Plus: 'Financial crisis fails to get its just due with TV talking heads.'

Gov. Palin defends her running mate's argument that the "fundamentals" of the economy are the "work force," during an interview with Sean Hannity, that by one account, was "just plain painful."

Fresh from his run-in with Hannity, Robert Kuttner spells out the 'Seven deadly sins of deregulation -- and three necessary reforms,' and a Washington Post analysis finds that 'Fundamentally, McCain has something to worry about,' as he reverses course and now favors the AIG bailout, and is caught contradicting himself about having warned of a financial crisis.

As Elizabeth Drew explains 'How John McCain lost me,' Mother Jones lists 83 Wall Street lobbyists who work for his campaign, Obama ridicules the notion that McCain will take on "the old boy's network," and a critique of Obama's "Plan for Change" ad, asks: 'What's so awful about bitter and partisan?'

TPM outlines 'TrooperGate's Attorney-General problem,' the AP reports that "Sarah Palin is effectively turning over questions about her record as Alaska's governor to John McCain's political campaign," and as it's reminded that the story is "not, in fact, fundamentally partisan." Plus: Palin's hacked e-mail account - what's next?'

As 'Campaigns use phony ads to drive message,' a Spanish-language ad by the Obama campaign invokes Rush Limbaugh, and McCain stumbles repeatedly when asked by a Spanish reporter if he'd invite the president of Spain to the White House.

McCain gets the endorsement of a baroness, and, The Donald, who said that "Right now, it looks to me like McCain is probably winning," and continued falsely asserting to television audiences that "Obama wants to increase your taxes drastically."

As Congress considers banning the use of secret White House legal opinions in signing statements, 'Insurgent psychologists win key anti-torture vote,' and in an interview with Scott Horton, Barton Gellman describes what happened when President Bush finally "discovered that his government was about to melt down."

Another U.S. missile strike in Pakistan, that reportedly killed at least six people, came just hours after the visiting chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, vowed to "respect Pakistan's sovereignty," and, the tables are turned in a 'Pakistan invades America' scenario.

As seven U.S. soldiers die in a helicopter crash in Iraq, where almost 19,000 "detainees" are still being held by the U.S. military, 'Turkey extends mandate for Iraq incursions.'

The Real News looks at the challenges facing the 'former door-kicker' who is the new U.S. commander in Iraq, his predecessor is credited more for "his astute sense of Iraqi politics rather than any new military strategy," and an Iraqi describes how "the new government still uses army to strike poor people."

As a photographer visits 'A Baghdad trailer park for widows and children,' with no electricity, "The Forever War," is described as "one of the most effective antitoxins that the writing profession has produced to counter the administration's fascinating contemporary public relations tactic," in a review by Robert Stone, the author of "Dog Soldiers."

Last spring's release of the "World War II Writings" of A.J. Liebling, by the Library of America, is said to have put "Liebling in the right company; his war reporting is classic American literature." But, a self-described "abject fan of the Library" asks: "What is it about these amazingly gorgeous books that makes one not want to read them?"

September 17

Friday, September 19, 2008

A new poll finds Americans skeptical about the prospect that bailouts will fend off economic chaos, as the credit crunch spreads the pain, African-Americans face a reversal of 90's gains, New York jobless rates spike, and 'tent cities rise across the country.'

'Panic is the word of the hour,' at the end of another gilded age, as the U.S. slides 'from economic superpower to economic basket case,' and faces prospects of a trillion dollar bailout, and perhaps worse to come in what's termed "no market for old men."

"The response to the gravest financial crisis in generations," notes the Washington Post, "has been engineered to a remarkable degree by a committee of three," as lawmakers shut out of the decision making process express concerns about the unaccountable power of 'the $800 billion man.'

With stock market woes highlighting risks of privatizing social safety nets, Joe Conason notes that 'the "reform" that McCain wants to forget' is privatizing social security, but it is an issue that the Obama campaign is trying to make sure voters remember.

"Tax the rich" once again becomes a patriotic rallying cry, while McCain's insistence that he would fire the SEC chief, gets one-upped by Obama, and more general questions about 'culpable malfeasance at the SEC' are raised in light of a telling 2004 rule change.

According to a new Pew survey, Latinos in the U.S., upset about "aggressive immigration enforcement policies," are 'dour about their situation' and less likely to vote for McCain, who is perceived as "zigzagging" on immigration as he backs away from the border fence.

About McCain's 'Spain Goof,' it's argued that "the really shocking lapse was not the original gaffe but how the campaign chose to deal with it."

Amid growing evidence that Sarah Palin may have peaked in the polls, she announces that she would head up energy policy in a McCain administration, and explains that oil is "a fungible commodity, and they don't flag, you know, the molecules." Plus: 'Dude!'

The contempt for subpoenas shown by the White House and the McCain campaign shows, Glenn Greenwald argues, a shared contempt for the rule of law, as John Dean explores the constitutional implications of a lie exposed by Barton Gellman, and the NSA and Bush get 'sued over domestic surveillance.'

Even as 'a second Interior Department official pleads guilty in sex, drugs and oil scandal,' questions are raised about why other managers weren't prosecuted, promises of expanded oversight are made, and legislators consider how to make it clear to officials: "don't take money and drugs from the oil industry."

During a Senate committee hearing, states complain that the Pentagon has attempted to intimidate state environmental agencies into not enforcing clean up at contaminated military bases in the U.S., and foreign governments hosting U.S. bases confront a similar refusal.

With the SOFA between the U.S. and Iraqi governments reportedly "in danger of falling apart" over immunity -- and apparently not, as one thinly-sourced but widely circulated article would have it, over Obama -- Juan Cole points to evidence that the attack on the U.S. embassy in Yemen might be blowback from Iraq.

As the 'war theater expands' into Pakistan, Pakistani tribal leaders angered by cross-border raids threaten to raise an army to fight coalition forces in Afghanistan, and the Bush administration risks allied support with command restructuring plans.

Somalia's booming pirate economy, centered in the costal region of Puntland, fueled by hefty ransoms, and juxtaposed to dire humanitarian crisis elsewhere in the country, provides what Chris Floyd terms "the quintessential template" of the war on terror.

After a surprisingly narrow election victory, Tzipi Livni is 'poised to be the next Israeli PM,' but hopes for change face coalition pressures, and Palestinians remain skeptical of the prospects for peace.

In the wake of the unprecedented Independence Day attacks in Mexico, which have heightened "fears that, now, anyone is fair game," the damage to the country's image is weighed, and the curious sentencing of an American gunrunner sheds light on the role of silent partners in the escalating violence.

September 18

Monday, September 22, 2008

With the transformation of the last two investment titans on Wall Street into "bank holding companies," a Wall Street Journal overview concludes that the events of "Black September" mark "a decisive turn in the evolution of American capitalism."

As the size of the bailout is put into graphic perspective, fingers are pointed at George W. Bush and Alan Greenspan and, rather more abstractly, at "greed," although a Dollars & Sense analysis points out that "You can't explain a change with a constant."

With the Treasury Secretary asking for a blank check and "non-reviewable" decision making powers, certain questions of trust arise, particularly in light of what happened the last time the Bush administration asked for such powers, and who might inherit them.

Sen. Obama calls the bailout "a staggering price tag, not a plan," and opposition grows on the right as well as the left -- amid strategizing about shifting blame for its passage to the Democrats.

Mixing it up with Andrew Sullivan, Naomi Klein contends that "The disaster is far from over. They've actually just relocated ... to Main Street," while Helena Cobban critiques an "investor-centric" coverage of the crisis that has little relevance to the problems faced by the majority of citizens.

Although foreign banks are now included in the bailout plan, media coverage of the stake of foreign governments has been largely relegated to the margins, as industrial powers resist pressure to copy a bailout that has provided occasion for widespread international ridicule and criticism -- especially of Sen. McCain.

Despite three years of struggling with foreign languages, the Defense Department has reportedly still "not determined how to reach its goal -- or what exactly that goal is," but it's revealed that the State Department is employing professional internet "trolls" to "push back" against "anti-U.S. bloggers."

The death toll from the Marriott hotel bombing in Islamabad rises, posing critical challenges and questions for the new government's anti-terrorism policy, as 'Pakistani troops repel U.S. raid.'

With a vote on the French troop presence in Afghanistan pending, France 24 confirms reports of a secret Nato review which concluded that the French soldiers killed in August didn't have enough bullets and other basic supplies when attacked by "dangerously well-prepared" insurgents.

Although things have, at least for now, gotten relatively calmer in Iraq, even a quiet day is still no "honeymoon," with school children continuing to face threats from bombs and disease, detainees languishing in 'a clogged justice system,' and resentment of the American occupation unabated.

An analysis of satellite photos indicates that the key ingredient in declining violence in Iraq was "ethnic cleansing" and not the surge, confirming Michael Ware's earlier assessment. Plus: 'Bread and butter issues' in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While President Bush, "remarkably unaffected by eight years," appears to be awaiting the verdict of history with "equanimity," Politico is already speculating that he may become 'the new Hoover,' and Ron Suskind concludes that "this presidency has succeeded spectacularly in ... putting the United States on a more authoritarian footing."

With the unlawful assembly and other misdemeanor charges against journalists at the RNC -- including those from "Democracy Now!" -- dropped to showcase a '(belated) freedom of the press,' the Texas Observer contrasts the "convention you saw & the one you didn't."

As the 'race issue gives pollsters fits,' an AP article suggesting that "deep-seated racial misgivings could cost Barack Obama the White House," is criticized for attempting to exacerbate the problem it purports to analyze.

In 'Sarah Palin's Holy War on Nature,' contends Chip Ward, her creationism is not just a sidebar, but the key to understanding the McCain/Palin ticket's stance toward the environment and science, while Grist takes a look at how the Interior Department has managed to bundle favors for big oil and big fish.

Although anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are on the rise in Europe, an anti-Islamic gathering in Cologne "ended in farce when the main rally was canceled as the organizers fled for their own safety," while in Italy attacks on immigrants spark riots.

September 19-21

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sen. Chris Dodd's bailout proposal is "a big improvement over the Paulson plan," according to Paul Krugman, who elaborates in a "Countdown" interview, "But in the House," reports TPM, "things are a bit more chaotic."

As concern about the plan leads to the U.S. dollar taking its 'biggest hit in seven years,' President Bush is accused of bringing his 'WMD line to Wall Street,' German Chancellor Merkel 'Says Washington helped drag Europe into the credit crisis,' and Iranian President Ahmadinejad joins the fray.

"I have yet to see any online evidence of organic support for the Paulson proposal," observes techPresident's Micah Sifry, as it's reported that "The government's recent intervention in the financial markets is separating companies into two categories: Some are too big to fail, and others are too small to bother rescuing."

Nouriel Roubini predicts "A massive shake-out of the bloated hedge fund industry," which still enjoys "all the freedom in the world," and as 'public humiliation' is suggested for "the CEOs, board members, and politicians who have paved the way to failure," respondents to a CNN poll blame Republicans over Democrats by a 2-to-1 margin.

With Republicans reportedly "beginning to falter in their compassion for the struggling CEOs," Sen. McCain 'loses his head,' and top strategist Steve Schmidt 'blows gasket,' calling the New York Times a "pro-Obama advocacy organization," in a conference call with reporters, about which it's said that 'Politico gets one right.'

The conference call was ostensibly about a TV spot titled "Chicago Machine," which is seen as a strategic shift by the McCain campaign to depict Obama as a "scheming insider-urban-machine politician," but a hit on Al Franken is tipped for the 'Most shameless ad of the season.'

With the candidates prepping for Friday's foreign policy debate, Jim Lobe claims to "have it from a reliable source that Elliott Abrams is regularly briefing the McCain campaign," and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch announces that it's refusing to distribute the DVD, "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West," which has been distributed with more than 70 swing-state papers.

As Slate looks at 'Where Obama and McCain stand on executive power,' David Broder deems Obama's life story, "exotic," the McCain family's foreign cars make news in Detroit, and the NRA embarks on a multi-million dollar advertising campaign that portrays "Obama as a gun-grabber."

With 'No recession for arms sales,' CorpWatch breaks down a finding by Amnesty International that Iraq has been flooded with a million weapons since 2003, a former Iraqi investigator estimates that more than $13 billion in U.S. aid to Iraq was wasted or stolen, and USA Today reports on 'a rude awakening' for some members of the Awakening Councils, while others go on the Iraqi government payroll.

As the possibility of an October Surprise in Pakistan is raised, one of the country's ambassadors calls out the U.S. for raids that "are not killing high-value targets," but rather, "killing civilians," Tariq Ali labels the Marriott bombing a "revenge attack" for those raids, and a correspondent for Australia's ABC News recalls 'The secret life of a doomed hotel.'

One 'Federal judge extends government filing deadline in Guantanamo habeas cases,' another orders the U.S. government to release 21 photograhs to the ACLU, depicting the abuse of detainees by U.S. forces, and Gov. Palin is taken to task for her "classic lynch-mob line" at the GOP convention.

"I came from Hell," said an Afghan journalist who worked for Canada's CTV and was released on Sunday after being detained at the U.S. military base at Bagram for 10 months. He also alleged in an interview with the AP that "he was kicked, that his head was slammed into a table and that he wasn't allowed to sleep for nine days."

A review of "Butcher & Bolt," by David Loyn, who was with the Taliban when they took Kabul in 1996, finds a modern-day parallel with Britain's 1830s invasion of Afghanistan, "the hawks didn't listen, and disaster ensued."

The Independent profiles a Pakistani-born writer who "saw not a single human being" during the seven months he spent writing his novel set in Afghanistan, "The Wasted Vigil."

As David Foster Wallace's writing is freed up and made widely available online, his death continues to reverberate throughout the literary world, and beyond.

September 22

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

As 'Congress balks at Treasury's plan for Wall Street,' which is likened to "a reverse criminal action where you give restitution to the criminals and put the victims in jail," Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein identifies two words that have been left unspoken in the debate.

A Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll finds that "By a margin of 55 percent to 31 percent, Americans say it's not the government's responsibility to bail out private companies with taxpayer dollars, even if their collapse could damage the economy," but it's argued that "America's economy does not face an emergency -- only its financial system does."

Despite Republican pushback against the bailout, particularly in the House, Thomas Edsall reports on how 'Rising conservative star Patrick Ruffini riles the right,' by encouraging Republicans to vote against the "Bush-Pelosi Wall Street bailout," and when asked about the gambit, Rep. Barney Frank referred to Ruffini as "that Republican hack."

'How Much Is $700 Billion?' A little less than one-half of the $1.57 trillion assembled net worth of the Forbes 400, which, as the WSWS points out, "has increased 2 percent, even amidst the financial breakdown and recession of the economy." Plus: 'Top executives at bruised firms among Wall Street's highest paid.'

As Treasury Secretary Paulson's lie is defended, David Cay Johnston advises journalists on what questions to ask about the bailout, including, "are the credit markets really about to seize up?" Johnston raised that and other issues during an appearance on Lou Dobbs' show.

While "This American Life" is lauded for its coverage of the financial crisis, Eric Boehlert offers up evidence that 'The campaign-obsessed press never saw Wall Street's calamity coming," and Thomas Frank suggests that Sen. McCain "can probably get to the bottom of the whole mess just by cross-examining the people riding on his campaign bus."

It will be difficult for the McCain campaign to single out the New York Times, after it, Roll Call and Newsweek, all reported that Freddie Mac paid a firm owned by McCain campaign manager Rick Davis, $15,000 a month from the end of 2005 through last month, putting the lie to McCain's statement on Sunday that Davis "had nothing to do with it since" 2005.

McCain was credited with holding a press conference on Tuesday, which lasted for 10 or 15 minutes, following what was described as a "miniature mutiny" earlier in the day, during which one reporter shouted at McCain: "Has your bus become the 'No Talk Express'?"

The New Republic's Jonathan Chait argues that "the defining trait of his candidacy turns out to be a postmodern disdain for truth," a newspaper columnist describes ghost-writing letters to the editor for the McCain campaign, and Andrew Sullivan assembles 'The twelve lies of Sarah Palin.'

With print coverage of 'Palin's International Debut' restricted to a 29-second pool report, the McCain campaign is seen as "applying more restrictive rules on access than even President Bush uses in the White House."

As Iraq's prime minister suggests that 'Bush pushed to extend U.S. presence in Iraq to help McCain,' Ian Williams details the degree to which "Bush's emphasis on international cooperation in his final U.N. speech is totally disconnected from his actions as president."

With the U.S. reportedly planning to keep a "grim" NIE on Afghanistan under wraps, a U.S. military commander tells the Wall Street Journal that "The winter fighting season this year will be more violent than in previous years," and in an interview with Tavis Smiley, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mullen address his statement that "I'm not convinced we're winning it in Afghanistan."

After the U.S. denied that it had lost a drone in Pakistan, the Pakistani army said that it found the wreckage, and as a retired Pakistani general raises the prospect of civil war, there's 'A question of trust in Pakistan, the land of the conspiracy theory.'

As the U.S. Senate passes tax credits for renewable energy, Democrats cave on offshore drilling, and it's reported that the 'EPA won't limit rocket fuel in U.S. drinking water.'

With the U.S. Supreme Court issuing a stay of execution for Troy Anthony Davis, until next Monday, an article headlined 'Innocent Until Reported Guilty,' argues that "Until and unless journalists improve their performance, far more innocent people will be imprisoned than the criminal justice system seems likely ever to acknowledge."

As fliers asking "Do You Want A Black President?" are distributed by "The League of American Patriots," a new Washington Post/ABC News poll gives Obama a nine point lead over McCain, and Harper's interviews's Nate Silver, who found "a lot of eye candy" for Democrats in Tuesday's polls.

September 23

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The head of the CBO said that a 'Bailout could deepen crisis,' Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke described the U.S. economy "as one that was barely limping along and could buckle if financial institutions did not get a $700 billion crutch from the government," and taxpayers are urged to prod politicians into telling Wall Street: "We want the same deal Warren Buffett got."

'What's All This Stuff Worth?' asks an article that looks at the 'basic mystery' of the bailout plan, and as the '25 harshest reactions' to the plan are compiled, Credit Writedowns provides a 3-minute version of the banking crisis, and AIG is now effectively "nationalized," after agreeing to an $85 billion government loan.

Ten days after deeming the economy 'strong enough to handle turmoil,' President Bush warned that "our entire economy is in danger," in an address that was seen as having a 'two-pronged message': conveying "the need to act with unprecedented alacrity on the economic bailout proposal," and reminding that "the country has but one president at a time."

After Sen. McCain announced that he was "suspending" his campaign to deal with the financial crisis, and a GOP spokesperson inadvertently released "Talking Points: Suspending the Campaign," Bloomberg reported historians noting "that the Civil War, the Great Depression and World War II didn't prompt suspensions of presidential campaigns."

The 'Bait-and-Switch Stunt' by the 'Stunt Man,' was seen as both "another Hail Mary," and, "the longest Hail Mary pass in the history of either football or Marys," according to Rep. Barney Frank, who also said: "We're trying to rescue the economy, not the McCain campaign."

David Letterman skewered McCain for canceling his appearance, while finding time to chat up Katie Couric and Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild. Plus: 'McCain spent $5K for celebrity make-up artist.'

One day after CNN's Campbell Brown called on the McCain campaign to "Free Sarah Palin," the campaign shielded Palin from a reporter at the U.N., who asked: "Governor, what have you learned from your meetings?"

In a "rough bit" during her interview with Katie Couric, Palin couldn't give a specific example of McCain pushing for more regulation during his 26 years in Congress, but told Couric, "I'll try to find you some, and I'll bring them to you." And asked if he thought Palin would make a good president, Karl Rove said, "I don't know."

As 'Election officials in three states tell college students they can't vote,' a Pew report finds "that in three straight surveys, lack of cell-only data skewed the survey results 2 - 3% in favor of John McCain."

With bailout protesters takin' it to the streets, and to The Street, Al Gore calls for civil disobedience to stop coal plants, and Glenn Greenwald asks: 'Why is a U.S. Army brigade being assigned to the "Homeland"?'

The House passed a $612 billion defense authorization bill, that did not include congressional veto power over a security pact with Iraq, where, it's reported, 'Iraqis resent disrespect shown by U.S troops,' an elections law was passed, and 27 policemen were killed.

As 'Rice admits Bush officials held White House talks on CIA interrogations,' an Army prosecutor resigns from the Guantanamo war court, in what is described as "a crisis of conscience over plans to try a young Afghan accused of throwing a grenade rather than settle the case out of court."

With 'Afghanistan now 15X deadlier than Iraq,' Afghan President Karzai decries civilian casualties in an address to the U.N., and former U. N. high commissioner for human rights, Louise Arbour, tells that Los Angeles Times that U.S. policies in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo, have left U.S. prestige at "sub-zero in the eyes of the world."

Some Pakistani Taliban complain that they're getting a bad rap, and as 'Pakistan militants threaten more bombs,' all of the country's airports are put on "red alert," and the U.S. State Department has banned U.S. personnel from Islamabad hotels. Plus: 'Whose Drone is it Anyway?'

As a life-sized cardboard cutout of Obama is found hanging at George Fox, "Oregon's Christian University Since 1891," Radar goes 'Bombing for Obama,' with Shepard Fairey, "who has arguably done more than anyone except Barack Obama himself to solidify the iconic celebrity image of the Democratic presidential candidate."

September 24

Friday, September 26, 2008's Nate Silver on 'Why voters thought Obama won,' video on a CBS poll and a Fox News focus group, a round-up of opinions on how each candidate did, and, what McCain definitely did not do.

"This sucker could go down," warns President Bush, as bailout 'talks implode' in the face of resistance from the GOP and perhaps Sen. McCain, with some House Republicans reportedly saying in private, "let the markets crash."

Adding to the 'deepening financial crisis' and in what is by far the largest bank failure in U.S. history, Washington Mutual, weighed down by the housing market downturn, and insufficiently buoyed by "Whoo hoo!," is seized and sold off to J.P. Morgan.

Further erosion of U.S. influence is seen as one likely consequence of the crisis, with Germany's finance minister predicting that "The U.S. will lose its superpower status in the global financial system," and Latin American leaders "ramping up criticism of Bush's crony capitalism."

Business Week breaks down a '$2 billion pay day for failure,' Thomas Frank points out the banking culprits 'riding McCain's bus,' and 'bank lobbying goes into overdrive,' as an OMB watchdog makes 'the case for sunlight' in coverage of the bailout.

Although there is apparently no clear definition of what "suspending a campaign" means, the McCain campaign's continued activities provide an extensive catalogue of what he apparently thinks it does not include, while a new poll confirms that large majorities think that the show should go on.

Now that the McCain campaign has announced that he will after all participate in the debate, Free Press has a "Citizens Media Scorecard" ready, to help check whether the media has learned anything from "past coverage shortfalls," and international leaders and writers pose questions they'd like to hear answered.

'Sarah Palin Unplugged' offers up a new perspective on the bailout, and explains the security issues involved when "Putin rears his head," but, the New York Times notes, 'the words come none too easily.'

"I'm sure she knows as much as the common American," remarks a firefighter who ushered Palin around a 9-11 memorial, and in a new piece for Rolling Stone Matt Taibbi considers what her popularity says about America.

In Iraq, where even 'the biggest hospitals become sick,' and poor sanitation is fueling the annual cholera outbreak, questionnaires stir fears of renewed ethnic cleansing, and 'sexual cleansing' is running rampant.

Reporting from Lebanon, Nir Rosen listens to the voices of "the sectarian fervor unleashed across the region by the American invasion of Iraq," as 'Mideast peace-making Quartet gets a flunking grade' in a report from a group of international NGOs.

Jonathan Steele reports in the Guardian that 'Israel asked US for green light to bomb nuclear sites in Iran,' but was turned down in part out of fears of retaliation in Iraq, as 'radical settlers take on Israel' with a pipe bomb attack on an Israeli academic critic of settlement expansion.

With the "Taliban increasing attacks in new strategy," according to a Nato general, Spencer Ackerman reports on how fears of both the Taliban and the National Police haunt an Afghan market, and Al Jazeera surveys Afghan opposition to further buildup of U.S. troops.

Translation problems undermine basic principles at military commission hearings, the 'ACLU asks court to reinstate secret rendition lawsuit,' and a Guantanamo bouncy castle debuts as a feature attraction in 'America: the gift shop.'

With comments closing on a proposed conscience exemption for health care providers, the HSS secretary would offer Sens. Clinton and Murray "no guarantee that women's access to contraceptives will be protected," while a surge in donations to Planned Parenthood gets credited to Sarah Palin.

As low-level 'nuclear waste piles up at hospitals,' the removal of high-level nuclear waste "from leak-prone underground tanks" at the Hanford nuclear reservation begins, amid uncertainty about exactly what they are likely to dig up.

In the wake of Ike, "cowboys on horseback and in helicopters are still trying to round up thousands of head of displaced cattle," and "nearly one-quarter of the residents of the fourth-largest U.S. city still don't have electricity," but rebuilding goes forward, much of it done by undocumented workers.

Alan Snitow and Deborah Kaufman revisit the current status, dirty past, and murky future of water privatization wars covered in their earlier PBS documentary "Thirst," New Scientist compares the presidential candidates' records on climate change, and the Center for Public Integrity looks into how 'Newt's Pro-Drilling 527 Raises Big Bucks.'

September 25

Monday, September 29, 2008

As the bailout bill goes down, here's one suggestion.

Congressional leaders and the White House reach a bailout deal, following the insertion of what critics describe as "cosmetic changes" which would still leave the Treasury Secretary with "sweeping even unparalleled power," but the legislation faces a tough vote in the House, where representatives weigh 'an extraordinary risk.'

Not included in the final draft is "the idea of letting judges rewrite mortgages to help bankrupt homeowners avoid foreclosure," as one representative complains that "Paulson created a WMD... [but] now claims to be the only one who can disarm it."

The Wall Street Journal tries to puzzle out 'the real cost,' Nouriel Roubini, citing an IMF comparative study of banking crises, objects that purchasing "$700 billion of toxic assets" is hardly the best solution, and Joseph Stiglitz contends that three of the four fundamental problems with our financial system remain unaddressed.

While the financial crisis is seen "a shattering moment in America's fall from power," Europe too faces a crisis, with 'three bank bailouts in two days,' and U.K. financial service companies predicted to face 12,000 job cuts by Christmas.

'With all eyes on the bailout, House passes trillion-dollar defense bill,' demonstrating that the money is available, "if only," as Chalmers Johnson points out, "we didn't waste it."

Even McCain's aides concede that their candidate's 'suspension bridge to nowhere' didn't really get him anywhere with voters, as he skips face to face negotiations on Capitol Hill and phones it in.

Although Sen. Obama seems to have emerged from the debates with a bit of a bounce, Robert Dreyfuss finds his unwillingness to really confront the foreign policy failures of the Bush administration "mealymouthed, pathetic."

Putting Bush's final act of "fear-mongering" into context, a Los Angeles Times editorial concludes, "we are witness to the final chapter of a period of perverse and dishonest leadership that has used its own crises to justify the expansion of its own power."

Murray Waas examines evidence that President Bush himself was behind attempts to strong-arm wiretap authority from a hospitalized John Ashcroft, and suggests that Gonzales fabricated notes to provide a rationale for continued eavesdropping. Glenn Greenwald interviews Waas about his findings on "Salon Radio."

A DOJ report on the politicized firings of U.S. attorneys, the Washington Post reports, will recommend "that a prosecutor continue to probe the involvement of lawmakers and White House officials in the episode." but will not refer Gonzales to a grand jury.

The Oregonian green-lights distribution of a DVD insert hyping Muslim terror over the objections of the mayor and community leaders on the grounds that it is free speech issue, while the Chelsea art museum cancels its November opening of "The Aesthetics of Terror" because of its perceived message.

Despite a heightened security presence, a series of deadly bombings kill dozens in Iraq, in 'Baghdad's deadliest day this Ramadan,' as tolerance for continued occupation wears thin.

The assassination of a veteran policewoman in Afghanistan is said to be "part of a wider campaign on the part of the Taliban to discourage women from leaving their homes," as 'Karzai's popularity slips,' and the Observer reports that back channel negotiations with the Taliban have begun.

In 'The Long Road to Chaos in Pakistan,' Dexter Filkins notes concerns that "that the fledgling civilian government in Pakistan won't be able to survive the cross-currents of American pressure and the anti-American anger it stimulates," as Pakistan's northwestern frontier sees intense fighting between Taliban and Pakistani forces.

With the religious right already trying to breach the separation of church and state with an "odd definition of endorsement," 33 pastors rail against Obama from the pulpit in open defiance of a ban on campaign activity by tax-exempt groups. Tim Rutten looks at some possible consequences if the campaign were to succeed.

A Los Angeles Times article suggesting that 'Palin treads carefully between fundamentalist beliefs and public policy,' is seen as "hardly reassuring," as 61 Nobel prize winners concerned about the politicization of science under Bush rally behind Obama.

After recent public performances which critics found 'truly beyond parody,' and which even exhausted the "cringe reflex" of a National Review pundit, Sarah Palin is now being whisked off for some pre-debate work," as the AP reports on some of the "ethical red flags" along her career path.

September 26-28

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

As 'Lawmakers grope for resolution,' following an historic day in which the House sent a message to Wall Street, it's suggested that the rejection of the bailout bill may have been a 'blessing in disguise.'

William Greider faults Congress for not having stepped up to "assert the full emergency powers of government in this epic crisis," a proponent of the bailout plan argues that "too many people don't understand the seriousness of the situation," and a New York Times editorial asks: 'What's worse than a flawed bailout?'

With a report that the Senate may try to revive the bill as early as Wednesday, a possible test is looming for hedge funds.

As 'Six paths to (possible) bailout success' are put forth, one of which is "Let Boehner write it," a call goes out to fact-check Boehner's explanation for why the bailout vote failed, an explanation that has spawned an election-season slogan for Republicans.

David Cay Johnston discusses his open letter to journalists about covering the bailout, it's suggested that 'Maybe taxpayers should get a cut of Fox Business Network,' and the short-time CEO of Washington Mutual 'may make $19 million for 17 days' work.' Plus: Who else is lining up for a bailout?

With 'McCain at dead end as House rejects bailout plan,' and apparently off his (blame) game, remarks from his chief economic adviser are said to have been "indistinguishable from Tom DeLay in his prime," as President Bush is abandoned by his 'Republican buddies.'

A prosecutor is named to probe the firing of U.S. attorneys, following the release of a Justice Department report that revealed who did and who didn't cooperate in the investigation, as well as the White House's role in the firing of former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias.

As it's reported that 'Bush had no plan to catch Bin Laden after 9/11,' ProPublica obtains an affidavit from the Guantanamo military prosecutor who testified after resigning last week that he went from "true believer" to feeling "truly deceived," amid speculation that the U.S. is putting mentally incompetent terror suspects on trial.

Wired reports on an 'Army anthropologist's controversial culture clash,' Defense Secretary Gates slams shock-and-awe, the 'Sons of Iraq despair at imminent takeover by Shiite government,' and Iraqi doctors can now pack more into their satchels.

After the mother of a soldier who died in Iraq told the AP that she was "ecstatic" about Obama's debate mention of the bracelet she gave him in honor of her son, Fox News rummaged through what she described as "some garbage on the Internet."

Going against 'Hard Pundit Law,' FAIR criticizes Jim Lehrer for having "left the vast majority of the world and its problems undiscussed" with his "narrow set" of debate questions, and a TV newser's declaration about the importance of spin, prompts the question: "How does spin do it?"

As 'Palin's troubles mount for McCain,' they team up for an interview with Katie Couric, in which both cry "gotcha journalism" concerning Palin's comments about Pakistan in response to a voter's question, comments that McCain had retracted on Sunday.

In a still-undisclosed clip from last week's interview with Couric, Palin was "apparently unable to discuss any major court cases" other than Roe v. Wade, and Carl Hiaasen cautions that 'Ifill better be nice to poor Palin during debate.'

With newspapers taking a closer look at the presidential candidates' health care plans, NPR reports on the shortcomings of the "high-risk pools" that McCain is advocating for people with pre-existing conditions.

"If we went out on the street and told people some of what went on, they would be shocked," says a journalism professor who describes himself as "the most outside outsider" on a University of Minnesota medical school conflict of interest task force. Plus: 'Drug makers "transparency" bandwagon getting full.'

As a 'Massage firm steps up faith- based defense,' the reviews are in for Gospelr, with one asking. "does Twitter really need a Christian alternative?"

September 29