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Newspapers Join Forces Against the War

This post, written by Max Follmer, originally appeared on The Huffington Post

A growing number of newspapers across the country are calling for the Bush Administration to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.

Among them are newspapers from red states, including several (such as the Roanoke Times in Virginia and The Olympian in Washington state) that circulate in areas with large concentrations of military families.

Perhaps the most surprising paper to join the chorus calling for a troop withdrawal is the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, owned by conservative billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife. In a July 15 editorial, the Tribune-Review labeled the Bush Administration's plans to stay the course in Iraq "a prescription for American suicide."

Other papers, such as the Dallas Morning News, have stopped short of calling for a complete withdrawal, instead advocating a redeployment of troops to within 100 miles of Iraq' borders. The Morning News also suggested reducing troop levels to 60,000 to 80,000 personnel.

Is Al Franken the Ultimate Movement Candidate?

This post, written by Chris Bowers, originally appeared on Open Left

Yesterday, just before the site went down, a new Survey USA poll came out showing Republican incumbent Norm Coleman highly vulnerable in Minnesota.

7/26-7/29, 628 RVs, (February results in parenthesis)
Coleman (R): 49 (57) Franken (DFL): 42 (35)

Coleman (R): 48 (57) Ciresi (DFL): 42 (34)

That is remarkable movement against Coleman, with much more possible, since his approval rating has sunk to negative territory, 43%--48%, for the first time ever. By way of comparison, populist Democrat Amy Klobuchar's approval rating is 61-31%.

Even Larry King Thinks Cheney Is a Liar

This post, written by Jane Hamsher, originally appeared on FireDogLake

Shooter is having a gingko moment of his own:
On Sunday, Josh Marshall pointed out that the New York Times editorial on the potential need to impeach Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said that "Vice President Dick Cheney sent Mr. Gonzales and another official to Mr. Ashcroft's hospital room to get him to approve the wiretapping." As Marshall noted, before the editorial, Cheney's involvement in the incident had never been established.
Today on CNN, in a preview of his interview with the Vice President tonight, Larry King said he asked Cheney about the allegation. "I asked the Vice President about that and the story that he was the one that asked him to go," said King. "And he said he had no recollection."
"He did not want to deal with specifics, which tells me, they're looking at trouble," King added. "If you don't want to deal with specifics...I think you're looking at trouble and you're looking the other way if you're denying it."
Unless they're all banding together in a grand "I am Spartacus" gesture -- and I don't think they're that clever -- I think we probably don't risk much by assuming that means "yes."

Wall Street Journal Gone Wild

This post, written by John Nichols, originally appeared on The Nation

There will be plenty of formal responses to the news that The Wall Street Journal will soon join the "stable" of Rupert Murdoch's "media properties.

But few will top that of MoveOn.org Civic Action, the grassroots activism wing of the popular internet forum.

MoveOn will dispatch newsboys and newsgirls to the streets of New York City today to hand out Murdoched versions of The Wall Street Journal in front of the venerable financial newspaper's Manhattan headquarters.

The parody papers will feature actual headlines from Murdoch's Fox News network -- and, with them, the suggestion that the Journal will soon be the latest reflection of Murdoch's one-size-fits-all approach to media.

That approach, it should be noted, is resolutely neo-liberal when it comes to economics -- all for free trade, privatization, deregulation -- and neo-conservative when it comes to superpower politics. It is wholly deferent to the presidents and prime ministers with whom Murdoch willingly and willfully allies himself. And it has a tendency to reduce serious matters to the sort of tabloid takes favored by Murdoch's New York Post newspaper.

What If the Duke Lacrosse Players Were Black?

This post, written by Victor Goode, originally appeared on Race Wire

The ghosts of the Duke University rape case continue to haunt the press and Mike Nifong, the ex-county prosecutor who charged three white lacrosse players with raping a Black exotic dancer last year.

In his aggressive attempt to jail those "hooligans hiding behind a wall of silence," Nifong withheld key evidence from the defense. Last week, a judge began hearing arguments to decide if Nifong is in criminal violation. Thursday, Nifong issued a public apology in court for falsely accusing the men.

Could it be, though, that Nifong's real offense is not misconduct, but rather treating three middle class white defendants as if they were poor and Black?

Prosecutors wield the substantial power of the state, often with a great deal of discretion, so the Constitution rightfully imposes on them the burden of presenting a case that will likely meet the standard of reasonable doubt.

Regardless of how one might feel about the tawdry events of last year's party, with all its racial and misogynous overtones, the prosecutor simply did not have the facts to support an indictment for rape. But like so many before him, Nifong pressed on.

After all the charges were dismissed, the young men appeared on "60 Minutes" to talk about how their lives had been irrevocably changed by the stigma of even being charged with a crime. Nifong quickly became the target of their blame.

Bloomberg Thinks You Should Pay to Photograph New York

This post, written by Lindsay Beyerstein, originally appeared on Majikthise

The Bloomberg administration is quietly pushing new regulations that would ban certain kinds of photography in New York City without a permit and $1 million in liability insurance:
The new rules, which were proposed by the Mayor's Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting, would require any group of two or more people who want to use a camera in a public place for more than 30 minutes to get a city permit and $1 million in liability insurance. The same requirements would apply to any group of five or more people who plan to use a tripod in a public location for more than 10 minutes, including the time it takes to set up the equipment. The permits would be free.
City officials said they would decide after next Friday whether to adopt the rules as they are, amend them or draft new rules and reopen the public review process. [NYT]
Ironically, Bloomberg is just fine with unlicensed cameras when they are trained on citizens in the name of security and fighting petty crime.

Photography is an established form of free speech. We shouldn't have to get permission or take out a million-dollar insurance policy in order to exercise our First Amendment rights.

It seems clear that this measure is designed discourage small-time filmmakers from shooting in the city. Cynics would speculate that the Mayor's Office of Film, Theater, and Television wants to create a monopoly for the big commercial filmmakers who generate revenue for the city.

The rules apply to still photographers as well. There are no exceptions for amateurs. It's not clear whether this ban will apply to journalists as well--nothing I've read suggests otherwise. Are they really saying that every camera crew in the city has to get a permit before it shows up to cover a story?

The New York Civil Liberties Association has pledged to sue the city if these unconstitutional restrictions become law.

Picture New York is a newly-formed advocacy group fighting the proposed restrictions. You can sign their e-petition here.

John Roberts and the Lightning Stroke

This post, written by Phoenix Woman, originally appeared on FireDogLake

By this time, I'm sure everyone knows by now that John Roberts is in the hospital for what was originally just stated to be a simple fall but is now reported to be a seizure similar to one he suffered in 1993. He's in the hospital for overnight observation; they think he's going to be OK, but...

But.

Up near my parents' home in the boonies, there was, until last Saturday, a 20-room mansion. It had seven bedrooms, eight bathrooms, and a grand piano, as well as several precious works of art. It burned to the ground this weekend, and nobody knows why just yet, but it doesn't look like arson. There was a boom like a lightning stroke as the propane tank blew up. It was a sizable tank, so the boom could be heard all the way into town.

Gonzales Impeachment Bill to be Introduced

This post, written by Howie Klien, originally appeared Down WithTyranny!

This weekend we had a good laugh over reactionary Democrat Ellen Tauscher's idiotic response to the calls for the impeachment of serial perjurer Alberto Gonzales. Tauscher must still be getting her talking points from Karl Rove's office. Washington Congressman Jay Inslee, on the other hand, is neither a reactionary nor an ignoramus. He also, unlike Tauscher, values the rule of law. Today he'll be introducing a bill to impeach Gonzales. The text:

RESOLUTION
Directing the Committee on the Judiciary to investigate whether Alberto R. Gonzales, Attorney General of the United States, should be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.
Resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary shall investigate fully whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to impeach Alberto R. Gonzales, Attorney General of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors.
Simple enough-- even for an Ellen O. Tauscher.

DON'T COUNT ON CHENEY TO VOTE FOR THE RESTORATION OF THE RULE OF LAW IF THERE'S A TIE

According to CBS the most hated man in American contemporary politics just loves little Alberto. Cheney may be the only Republican in elective office to support Gonzales but he told CBS he's a "big fan" or Gonzales (and of Scooter Libby's). Since "None of the Above" continues to be the overwhelming favorite in every Republican primary poll, I don't understand why there hasn't been a Draft Cheney Movement. No one represents the heart and soul large intestines of the GOP the way Cheney does.

UPDATE: CHENEY & BUSH MAY BE THE ONLY ONES IN AMERICA WHO THINK GONZALES SHOULDN'T BE FIRED

This weekend the editorial boards were busy. You already saw what the NY Times had to say. But papers from every part of the country were calling on Congress to impeach or on Gonzales to resign:

Bush Enabled Steroid Use in Texas

This post, written by Faiz Shakir, originally appeared on Think Progress

With 754 career home runs, San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds is one shy of tying the revered home run record set by Hall of Famer Hank Aaron. Bonds' record will be "tainted by allegations he used steroids."

In an interview with ESPN's Karl Ravech earlier this month, President Bush was asked for his take on the Bonds situation. "You know, it's hard for me to tell," Bush said. Echoing a line he uttered in the early stages of the CIA leak scandal, Bush said he was waiting for the facts. "I know there's a lot of implications, my advice is for people just to wait and see what the facts are," he said.

An avid baseball fan who watches games in the Oval Office to relax, Bush refused to say whether he would watch Bonds' record-setting homerun if he were the baseball commissioner. "You know, I don't know, I have my mind elsewhere these days," he said.

Sports columnist Skip Bayless -- who was previously a sports journalist in Dallas -- said on ESPN that the Bonds situation is difficult for Bush to discuss because he looked the other way on steroids use as manager of the Rangers:
I was there in Texas during those years, and I knew the President when he was owner of the Rangers. And I heard all the whispers around the locker room and the clubhouse. ... I think he looked the other way. I'm sure George heard them also and looked the other way. ... I think they [baseball commissioner Bud Selig and Bush] believe that Barry Bonds used steroids.
Watch a compilation:



President Bush was managing general partner of the Texas Rangers from 1989 until he was elected Texas governor in 1994. Several former Rangers -- Ivan Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmiero, and Jose Canseco -- are all alleged to have used, or have admitted to using, steroids while playing for Bush.

The Film That Could End the War

This post, written by Katrina vanden Heuvel, originally appeared on The Nation

In 2005, Norman Solomon released his book, War Made Easy, which exposes the manner in which US presidents manage to sell war, like clockwork, through the same fallacious arguments, largely with the help of a compliant media.

Two years later the Media Education Foundation's Loretta Alper and Jeremy Earp have adapted Solomon's book into a documentary film. The movie features footage of Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and our current president making frighteningly similar arguments about the motives for wars. All claim that violence is a means to peace and that war is the last resort. "We still seek no wider war," said Johnson. "The United States does not start fights," said Reagan. "America does not seek conflict," argued George H.W. Bush "I don't like to use military force," said Bill Clinton. "Out nation enters this conflict reluctantly," says George W. Bush.

As the movie points out, the mainsteam media only turn against war when it is too late. "News media, down the road, will point out that there were lies about the Gulf of Tonkin or about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," notes Solomon in the film. "But that doesn't bring back any of the people who have died ... when it comes to life and death, the truth comes out too late."

It is a chilling and persuasive movie. Solomon hopes it can serve as an organizing tool --and a call to action. "In my 40 years as a journalist and activist I have learned that it is important to see grassroots activity as central and not as peripheral" he says.
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