Journalist Muntadar al-Zeidi, the new hero in Iraq, much of the Muslim world, and even among many in this country, is facing less than friendly treatment from the Iraqi military and, according to some news reports, the U.S. forces overseeing his custody...
The Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at US President George W. Bush has a broken arm and ribs after being struck by Iraqi security agents, his brother told AFP on Tuesday.
Durgham Zaidi was unable to say whether his brother Muntazer had sustained the injuries while being overpowered during Sunday's protest against Bush's visit to Baghdad or while in custody later.
He said he had been told that his brother was being held by Iraqi forces in the heavily fortified Green Zone compound in central Baghdad where the US embassy and most government offices are housed.
"He has got a broken arm and ribs, and cuts to his eye and arm," said Durgham.
And yes, as we noted in our coverage on Sunday, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino did, in fact, receive both a literal and symbolic black eye during the melee following the shoe toss. In what would be dismissed as ridiculous heavy-handed Hollywood symbolism, had it been featured in a movie, Perino actually received a black-eye when she was hit during the fracas, in the eye, with a microphone...
In other shoe-throwing news, you can now throw virtual shoes at Bush in a number of online games, or you can send him some actual shoes via a new online campaign promising to give Bush the boot. They all sound like good ideas to us!
The myth of the "liberal media" has become such an article of faith these days that attempting to refute it is futile. But if evidence against liberal bias were being collected, on top of the pile would go the scant coverage the liberal media are giving two stories about the approval of torture and prisoner abuse by the conservatives currently holding the offices of president and vice president of the United States.
Earlier this month, a bipartisan U.S. Senate committee put the blame for the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison squarely at the top of the chain of command. Here's Andrew Sullivan:
Unlike the previous video, this one is real, as the line between satire and Bush's 'Presidency' grows increasingly impossible to discern in his waning days, and as his final visit to Iraq becomes as embarrassing as his first (when he delivered a fake turkey to the troops).
BAGHDAD — President Bush flew to Iraq on Sunday, his fourth and final trip, to highlight the recently completed security agreement between the United States and the country that occupied the bulk of his presidency and will to a large extent define his legacy.
But his appearance at a news conference here was interrupted by a man, apparently a journalist, who leaped to his feet and threw one shoe at the president, who ducked and narrowly missed being struck. Chaos ensued. He threw a second shoe, which also narrowly missed Mr. Bush. The man was roughly 12 feet from the lecturn in the center of two rows of chairs, about two feet from a pool of reporters. A scrum of security agents descended on the man and wrestled him, first to the floor and then out of the ornate room where the news conference was taking place.
TV news coverage has noted that throwing shoes is one of the culture's greatest insults. So is calling someone a "dog." Unlike hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed by Bush's attacks over the last 5 years, however, he was able to survive this one with his life, and even make a joke about it...
The president was uninjured and brushed off the incident. “All I can report is it is a size 10,” he said jokingly. An Iraqi accompanying the pool of reporters, colleague said the man had shouted, “This is a farewell kiss, dog.”
UPDATE: The video of both shoes dropping follows below. Also, MSNBC reports that WH Spokesliar Dana Perino may have ended up with a black eye. Both a literal, and an unbelievably symbolic one at the same time...
[Ed Note: Be sure to see the second of two UPDATES added to the bottom of the story below for Prof. Scott Althaus email sent in to note that his University of Illinois report does indeed cite The BRAD BLOG, several times, for our original contribution to their findings.]
The BRAD BLOG broke that story --- the first such scoop of ours to be noticed and picked up by the national media --- back in 2004, prior to the Presidential Election. At the time, the noise we helped cause with the revelations led to the WH being forced to restore terrabytes of documents, audio and video to their website in the week prior to the election. You're welcome.
We initially made the discovery of the missing WH website documents on the night of the Vice-Presidential Debate, after Dick Cheney claimed to be offended by John Edwards' assertion that the U.S. had "taken 90 percent of coalition casualties" in Iraq.
Cheney faked indignation in response, arguing that it was "beyond the pale" that Edwards was ignoring the sacrifices of Iraqis. Not recalling that Iraq was ever named as part of the "Coalition of the Willing," we checked the WH website, only to find the link to the list still there, but the page itself missing. Afterwards, we found many other pages, as well as audio and video, had been illegally removed from the website.
Here's our Special Coverage page, indexing our series of reports on the "White House Website Scrubbing" scandal, beginning in October of 2004.
We're very happy, in any case, that it's now "officially" news, and that the violation of the federal Presidential Records Act that we noted at the time is also confirmed, now that a professor at a university has found the same, and written about it. Guess we'll have to find a professorship somewhere. Haven't gotten to read his original report yet, but I'll assume he offered us the hat-tip we're due.
UPDATE: The above benefit-of-the-doubt, concerning credit where its due, may not be a safe assumption. The rather irony-laden coverage of professor of political science and communication Scott Althaus' findings, as reported by the Daily Illini today, follows. Get a load of this...
On Tuesday, Stephen Hayes, a conservative columnist and analyst for CNN, revealed that George Bush and Karl Rove have launched a new propaganda campaign with the monumental goal of rewriting the history of the past eight years. The newspeak title of the enterprise is the "Bush legacy project."
The campaign rolled out this week, first in an "exit interview" Bush gave Charlie Gibson of ABC News and then in an Oxford-style debate in Manhattan in which Rove argued against the proposition that "Bush 43 Is the Worst President of the Last 50 Years." In the separate venues, both men attempted to reposition Bush's role in the invasion of Iraq from resolute war president, as he depicted himself at the time, to a reluctant warrior who was misled by bad intelligence into making what many analysts rate as the worst military decision in U.S. history.
From the aftermath of the 2003 "shock and awe" bombing campaign all the way through Thanksgiving Day 2008, major US news outlets have nearly uniformly blacked out or downplayed reports of the Iraqi death toll. But a recent Associated Press article reveals the depths to which these outlets are still willing to delve to censor this information.
In the November 27 article "Iraqi Parliament OKs US Troops for 3 More Years," by Christopher Torchia and Qassim Abdul-Zahra, AP editors approved the following characterization of Iraqi deaths suffered since the US invasion:
The war has claimed more than 4,200 American lives and killed a far greater, untold number of Iraqis, consumed huge reserves of money and resources and eroded the global stature of the United States, even among its closest allies.
How's that for a statistically rigorous accounting? With the exactitude of a third-grader's book report cribbed from a novel's dust jacket copy, the AP --- America's #1 wire news service --- blankets US news outlets with a quantification of Iraqi casualties that would've made Stalin proud.
In truth, the worst of it isn't Rightwing Radio and other such outlets which we expect to be GOP shills. Far more insidious --- as we discussed recently on the Gregory Mantell Show --- is the lazy, enabling, complicit, rightwing slant of actual news outlets, such as AP, WaPo, NYTimes, etc., which are generally believed by the public to be credible, down the middle, unbiased, and legitimate. They aren't. As proven time and again over the last eight years. And they're still at it, even in the waning days of Bush. They're now helping him to prop up a phony legacy as phony as the last eight years of the phony illusions of "success" they helped him invent in the first place.
Greg Sargent elucidates the latest round of corporate mainstream media misreporting which, conveniently, helps both Bush and --- perhaps more to the point --- themselves by justifying their own failure to report the story of the unnecessary War on Iraq accurately, as they did, straight from the jump...
The response from the guy who works at the real NYTimes alone --- after he claims "we've been all over the Bush administration since day one, we set the standard for coverage of the Iraq War" before the reporter mentions the name "Judith Miller" --- makes this a must-see video (appx. 2 minutes)...
Thank you to those who dare to dream, even if such dreams are little more than saying out loud what we all know to be possible. Even that much, incredibly, in 2008, seems to have become the impossible for so many, in a country which once saw nothing as impossible.
The Republican IT guru, recently described as a "high tech Forrest Gump" for his proclivity to be "at the scene" of so many troubling elections since 2000, and even at the heart of the "lost" White House email scandal, has been ordered by a federal judge to appear for an under-oath deposition next Monday in Ohio.
The BRAD BLOG has learned that Mike Connell, the Republican IT guru whose company, GovTech Solutions, created Ohio's 2004 election results computer network, appeared in federal court today, as compelled, and has been ordered to appear for his deposition on Monday, November 3, just 24 hours before Election Day 2008.
Though Connell's attorneys have fought to quash the subpoena, recently issued after the judge lifted a stay on the case several weeks ago, it looks like his options to avoid testimony, or at least jail for avoiding it, may have come to an end. The attorneys in the case have said that Connell's testimony may well lead to the subpoenaing and under-oath questioning of Karl Rove, who, they say, would be unable to use Executive Privilege as an excuse to avoid such a subpoena in a civil RICO case...
Well, isn't this rich? Tom Feeney --- yes, that Tom Feeney, the one who is alleged to have commissioned vote-rigging software for touch-screen voting machines in 2000, as testified to by former Republican software programmer Clint Curtis in a sworn affidavit, sworn testimony to congress, and a successful polygraph test --- went on Fox "News" this week to decry unsubstantiated charges of "voter fraud" by the low-income voter registration community organization ACORN.
(And if you're done laughing...)
Feeney --- the man who, as Speaker of the FL House in 2000, also promised to award all of the state's electoral votes to George W. Bush no matter what the ballots and Supreme Court had to say about it --- then went on to compare ACORN to the KKK...
Guest Editorial by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.
The bailout of Wall Street is the rancid pickle on an economic crap sandwich that is a result of 30 years of conservative deregulation/trickle-down ideology. The fact that the Bush appointees who devised the original bailout plan are from the same gene pool as the neo-cons, cronies and heckuva-jobbers who turned America into a torture state, spied on Americans, drowned New Orleans, stole two national elections, corrupted the Department of Justice and took the country to war on the false pretext of bringing democracy to Iraq but then screwed up their true intent --- to steal its oil --- should have been reason enough to kill the plan on sight.
But that's not going to happen. As inept and ineffectual as they are at everything else, the Bush team is highly practiced at forcing Congress to act in haste. Six years ago this month, Karl Rove and the White House political shop "created a reality," as one of them has described it, that there was an urgent need to push the Iraq war resolution through Congress just days before the midterm elections. Now we know that the only urgency was Rove's need to get Senate Democrats who were potential Bush rivals in the 2004 presidential election on the record about the war before the election. Iraq post-invasion has been a disaster, but the vote on the resolution was stunningly successful in hobbling the campaigns of both John Kerry and Hillary Clinton.
Now, in what is either a horrendous coincidence or the most elaborate (and apparently botched) October Surprise in presidential campaign history, as Bush prepares to slouch off to Crawford for good, he is pushing one last crisis down our throats. As with his invasion of Iraq, it will probably be years before we know if this latest crisis is "real," or if it was fumbled attempt by the White House to change the game in John McCain's favor.
It certainly feels like we're being played again...
[Ed Note: Cliff Arnebeck, the Ohio attorney representing the plaintiffs in the case discussed below, will be joining me Wednesday evening to talk about the case, when I sit in to Guest Host The Mike Malloy Show, which I'll be doing Wed-Fri this week, from 9p-Midnight ET (6p-9p PT) - BF]
A recent flurry of activity in the long-standing King Lincoln v. OH Sec. of State lawsuit concerning voting rights violations in the state during the 2004 election has resulted in the judge lifting the stay to allow depositions to be taken of key GOP tech-guru Mike Connell, and potentially others, such as Karl Rove.
A subpoena has now been served to Connell, who was recently described by the attorneys working on the case, as a 'high-IQ Forrest Gump...at the scene of every GOP crime.'
Federal District Court Judge Algenon Marbley's brief order [PDF], agreeing to lift the stay, was quietly issued on September 19th. It reads:
On motion of the plaintiffs and agreement of the defendant Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, the stay in this matter is lifted for the sole purpose of permitting the plaintiffs to take the deposition of Michael Connell and any other witnesses whose testimony, in the judgment of these parties, may be warranted based upon the deposition of Michael Connell.
The BRAD BLOG had learned about the latest court action, which could soon entangle Rove as well, some time ago, but we were asked by parties involved in the case to embargo the information until such time as they were able to serve Connell with his subpoena...
Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) --- cited for the third year in a row by a public interest watchdog as one of the "Most Corrupt Members of Congress" --- has finally decided to "apologize" for going on that $75,000 lobbyist-funded junket to play golf in Scotland in 2003, along with the disgraced, and convicted, Jack Abramoff. The "apology" comes in the form of a desperate, 30-second campaign ad (at left.)
Feeney is the last remaining member of Congress to have gone on one of those Abramoff-funded private jet trips to hit the links in St. Andrews. The other two, Tom Delay (R-TX), who went in 2001, and Bob Ney (R-OH), who went in 2002, have both left Congress in disgrace and under indictment.
You'll note that the ad --- in which Feeney never bothers to mention that he's a Republican --- ends, laughably, with: "Because public service is about being honest, even when you make a mistake."
That line might more appropriately, at least for Feeney, have been: "Public service is about admitting that you broke the law, five years after you took a huge favor from a corrupt lobbyist and were finally forced to admit it outloud in a desperate, last-ditch attempt, to save your Congressional meal ticket."
But he might have had trouble getting all of that into his :30 spot.
The ad also says, on screen: "Get the facts: Tom Feeney.com" Might we suggest if you really want the facts on Tom Feeney, one of the filthiest players remaining in Congress, that you see instead our special coverage page about him, and former Republican computer programmer Clint Curtis. Curtis worked at the same company as Feeney, back when Feeney was both the powerful Speaker of the Florida House and a lobbyist for the software firm with millions of dollars in state contracts. The same company also employed undocumented Chinese aliens working on systems for NASA and others, even as Feeney has continued to protect that company to this day (he was also their one-time general counsel) and has housed his campaign headquarters in their building.
A remarkable documentary film, Murder, Spies & Voting Lies, covering that story, and The BRAD BLOG's attempts to tell it over the last four years, has just been released. If you'd rather learn the facts in movie form, please check out that film! NOTE: It's terrifying and includes untold details on at least two grizzly deaths related to the Curtis/Feeney scandal.
Curtis himself eventually switched to the Democratic Party following the incident and, after Congress refused to take action on Feeney, he ran unsuccessfully against him in 2006. His attempts to do so again this year were derailed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which backed wealthy opponent Suzanne Kosmas in the primary. With polls showing the well-funded Kosmas in a tight race with Feeney, clearly, one of the dirtiest Republicans in America is now running very scared.
In an interview on NPR's "Fresh Air" about his new book, The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008, Bob Woodward said that his reporting had uncovered a top-secret new weapon introduced by U.S forces into Iraq that is primarily responsible for the current period of stability there.
The Bush/McCain Surge is just one of four factors that have tamped down violence, according to Woodward. The other factors include the Anbar Awakening, in which the Sunnis rejected Al Qaeda's extremism; the stand-down of Muqtada al Sadr's Shiite militia; and this new top secret weapon:
BOB WOODWARD: The fourth [element] is very top secret. And that is a series of operations that have been developed that allow U.S. forces to locate targets and kill extremists, al Qaeda members and members of the insurgency.
On Friday [Sept. 5, 2008], the White House in responding to the book for the first time confirmed that there were "newly developed techniques and operations which helped the situation stabilize in Iraq."
TERRY GROSS: At the request of the military and the White House, you're not revealing any of the details you found about what these top-secret operations are. What can you tell us?
BW: That it's like any war. There's always something --- there's a game-changer, a new development. In the early 20th century, it was the tank or the airplane. World War II, the Manhattan Project and the development of the Atomic Bomb. These [new] operations and techniques are not something where you're going to see an explosion like an Atomic Bomb but they are incredibly effective. They are something that --- as Pres. Bush said to people that I quote in the book, "We are killing them all. We are killing all of the people who are the leaders." Now, it's not literally "all," but they are killing hundreds and hundreds of key people on the other side in this conflict.
So what could this new weapon be? Sharon Weinberger at Wired.com has a guess:
Last night we offered the quick skinny on the abrupt resignation of Colorado's state Election Director, Holly Lowder, just 60 days out from what promises to be one of the largest and most important --- and potentially closest --- elections in the state's history.
We summarized some of the dizzying background on the exceptionally embarrassing and dysfunctional state of certification, decertification and recertification of e-voting systems in the Centennial State over the last two years, under current Sec. of State, Republican Mike Coffman (who is overseeing his own election for the U.S. House this November), and in previous years under two former Republican SoS' (one of whom was promoted by George W. Bush to do the same lousy job of e-vote testing for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission).
We also suggested, based on information from sources in the states, that the old euphemism about "election officials being in bed with voting vendors" may well become more than just a euphemism when the full explanation for Lowder's sudden departure became known.
And today, as we'd hinted last night, some of that information has now become known...