Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Gore Vidal (guest or one of his speeches) on KPFA's The Morning Show Wednesday

Tuesday and can you believe how hot it is already? Let's kick things off with Democracy Now!

Video May Tie Rumsfeld to Abu Ghraib Abuses
Court martial proceedings have begun for an Army sergeant accused of using military dogs to threaten detainees at Abu Ghraib. The trial of Sgt. Santos Cardona may expose who within the Pentagon's chain of command ordered soliders to abuse and torture detainees at the Iraqi prison. For the first time Major General Geoffrey Miller is expected to testify about what happened at the prison. Until now Miller has refused to publicly speak about his role overseeing interrogations at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo. Meanwhile it has now been revealed that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld directly communicated with Miller and other senior defense officials by video-teleconference about interrogation matters in November and December 2003. Lawyers for Sgt. Cardona are attempting to obtain copies of these videoconferences to use as their defense.

Rumsfeld was in the loop, as everybody knew all along. And now there's a chance we might see exactly what he told Miller. But after Congress screwed up questioning Sanchez, who knows what will happen in court. You know about that right? From Rebecca's "flashpoints" where she summarized janis karpinski's recent interview by Dennis Bernstein on KPFA's Flashpoints:

1 key point was on the testimony of general sanchez where he told congress he didn't know anything about the photographs. karpinski: 'but nobody asked him the real important question' "did you know anything about the authorizations for the techniques that we saw in the photographs?" because he would have to say yes, if he were telling the truth.'

Bush Warns of "Erosion of Democracy" in Venezuela & Bolivia
President Bush warned Monday that Venezuela and Bolivia are suffering from what he described as an "erosion of democracy." Bush's comments come a week after the U.S. cut off military sales to Venezuela and three weeks after Bolivia announced it would nationalize its natural gas resources. Bush said he had a message for Venezuela, Bolivia and other nations in the hemisphere. President Bush: "I am going to continue to remind our hemisphere that respect for property rights and human rights is essential for all countries in order for there to be prosperity and peace. I'm going to remind our allies and friends in the neighborhood that the United States of America stands for justice; that when we see poverty, we care about it and we do something about it; that we care for good -- we stand for good health care. I'm going to remind our people that meddling in other elections is -- to achieve a short-term objective is not in the interests of the neighborhood."

You know Venezuelans think they have a democratic society. I don't know much about Bolivia. But for anyone who's forgotten, Bully Boy backed a coup to oust Hugo Chavez in 2002. They got him out of office and were declaring it was voluntarily (sounds like Haiti, doesn't it?) but the people didn't accept it. Sounds like Chavez is pretty popular with the people who elected him. Meanwhile, if Bully Boy was impeached tomorrow the only one sobbing in this country would probably be Joe Lieberman. Lieberman would probably ask him, "Just because you've been impeached doesn't mean you'll stop kissing my forehead, does it?"

Day of Action Organized to Save Public Access & Net Neutrality
In media news, a national coalition of community media organizations is organizing a day of action to save public access television and protect net neutrality. Protests are planned for Wednesday in New York City, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco. Protest organizers are calling on Congress to reject the COPE Bill which would effectively end what is known as "net neutrality" the concept that Internet users should be able to access any web content without restrictions of limitations imposed by their internet service provider. Another provision of the bill would cut back the obligation of cable TV companies to devote channels to public access and fund the facilities to run them.

Elaine and I are just putting in the third one as a public service announcement because it's an important issue. (Nina and Tony are taking part and, fingers crossed, me too.)

Hope you caught Democracy Now! today, but if you missed it, you missed Arundhati Roy. Here's a part of the interview, "Arundhati Roy on India, Iraq, U.S. Empire and Dissent:"

ARUNDHATI ROY: But I must say that while Bush was in Delhi, at the same time on the streets were -- I mean apart from the protests, there were 60 widows that had come from Kerala, which is the south of India, which is where I come from, and they had come to Delhi because they were 60 out of the tens of thousands of widows of farmers who have committed suicide, because they have been encircled by debt. And this is a fact that is simply not reported, partly because there are no official figures, partly because the Indian government quibbles about what constitutes suicide and what is a farmer. If a man commits suicide, but the land is in his old father's name, he doesn't count. If it's a woman, she doesn't count, because women can't be farmers.
AMY GOODMAN: So she counts as someone who committed suicide, but not as a farmer who committed suicide.
AMY GOODMAN: Tens of thousands?
ARUNDHATI ROY: Tens of thousands. And then, anyway, so these 60 women were there on the street asking the Indian government to write off the debts of their husbands, right? Across the street from them, in a five-star hotel were Bush's 16 sniffer dogs who were staying in this five-star hotel, and we were all told that you can't call them dogs, because they are actually officers of the American Army, you know. I don't know what the names were. Sergeant Pepper and Corporal Whatever. So, it wasn't even possible to be satirical or write black comedy, because it was all real.
AMY GOODMAN: Didn't President Bush visit Gandhi's grave?
ARUNDHATI ROY: He visited Gandhi's grave, and first his dogs visited Gandhi’s grave. Then, you know, Gandhians were, like, wanting to purify it. And I said, “Look, I don't mind the dogs. I mind Bush much than the dogs.” But Gandhi’s -- you know, obviously one can have all kinds of opinions about Gandhi. It's not universal that everybody adores and loves him, but still he stood for nonviolence, and here it was really the equivalent of a butcher coming and tipping a pot of blood on that memorial and going away. It was -- you know, there was no room left, as I said, for satire or for anything, because it was so vulgar, the whole of it. But I have to say the Indian mainstream media was so servile. You know, you had a newspaper like the Indian Express saying, "He is here, and he has spoken." I'm sure he doesn't get worshipped that much even by the American mainstream press, you know. It was extraordinary.

"War Got Your Tongue?" Arundhati Roy always uses her voice. Let her inspire you because she's pretty amazing.

As for "It was extraordinary," it always is when Bully Boy's attempting to twist reality and try to make it something it's not. Extraordianary is also what Bully Boy's trying to do -- act like all is going well in Iraq and getting better. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Chaos and violence continue.
Didn't Bully Boy say corner turned?
The news didn't make it to Iraq apparently.
Throughout the country, bombs and drive-bys continued.
In Baghdad,
CNN notes the death of Ahmed Ali Hussein (professor at the University of Technology). The Associated Press notes a car bomb "at the entrance to a police station" that resulted in the death of at least five. CBS and the AP note the death, from a drive-by shooting, of a cigarette vendor. Three elderly people were shot dead -- "one of whom was blind, and another disabled." The AP notes that bombs claimed the lives of many and estimates that at least 23 died across Iraq today.
AFP notes that three corpses were discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes Hani Saadoun, one of the three found -- Saaoun had been twelve-years-old and was found "dumped ... bullet hole to his head and another through his chest .. . He had been whipped with cables, tormented by electric drills and his body dragged through the streets behind a car." Again, twelve-years-old, one of at least three corpses discovred in Baghdad today.

Reuters reports that four corpses were found ("handcuffed, blindfolded and shot dead") in Ain al-Tamur. In Kiruk, as noted by Sandra Lupien on KPFA's The Morning Show and by the Associated Press, high school teacher Nazar Qadir was killed in a drive-by shooting. The AP and CBS note a drive-by "near Baqouba" that resulted in, as Sandra Lupien noted on KPFA's The Morning Show, the death of three "Iraqi laborers." A second drive-by in Baquba resulted in the death of three more.
In, Balad Ruz,
CNN notes the death of a child ("and wounded another person") following a roadside bomb exploding "outside a courthouse." AFP reports that in Mosul, "a family of blacksmiths" were the fictims of a drive-by with four being killed and one wounded -- a second drive by claimed the life of a former Baath party official.
Reuters notes that two were wounded in Najaf from "four mortar rounds."
In other developments in Iraq, the
AFP notes that Hussein Shahristani, newly installed as the Iraqi Oil Minister, is already doing the job that corporations have been waiting for (addressing the concerns that led the US to get nervous about the previous Iraqi prime minister): he's welcoming them and planning to "launch wide-raning contracts with international oil companies."
Outside of Iraq?
Today in London,
KUNA reports, Hero Ibrahim Ahmad addressed the Women in Business International Conference -- Ahmad is "wife of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani."
In the United States, the
Associated Press notes that the White House has "played down prospects of major troop withdrawals from Iraq in the near future." Also in the United States, Marilyn Elias reports (for USA Today) on a link a health survey has noted between PTSD and physical health in Iraq veterans. The survey of close to 3,000 soldiers who had been back in the United States for at least one year found that "17% of the soldiers had PTSD symptoms." And finally, Australia's ABC notes that Cindy Sheehan is attending a peace conference in Australia and urging Australians to send the message to John Howard that he works for them.

Be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's take on things. So how was your day? My day was pretty cool. Nina made a spinach salad (Ma gave her the recipe) and it was pretty good.
We've been listening to the Dixie Chicks' Taking The Long Way. That's pretty cool and you should check it out. My favorite song right now, and it's a tough call, is probably "Voice Inside My Head" but I like the whole CD. I also like the first song, "The Long Way Around." That's real cool too and reminds me a little of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain."

Now here's the new content at The Third Estate Sunday Review from Sunday:

A Note to Our Readers -- Jim's note
Editorial: Here it comes, here it comes again -- watch out for Operation Happy Talk!
TV Review: Will & Grace -- goodbye, good riddance -- really bad ending to a funny show. Check out Ava and C.I.'s opening which tells you some things that the show could have done and should have.
Senate plays "Don't Spook the Spook" with Michael Hayden -- Hayden the Turtle.
"Can an unindicted co-conspirator remain at the White House? Personally, I don't think so." -- who's talking to Fitzgerald?
Into the e-mails -- we each get a question and answer it.
Laura Flanders spoke with Penny Lang about the importance of music and much more -- Dad didn't know Penny Lang and he usually knows about everyone even if he doesn't know their music. He really liked her voice.
Radio highlights for Sunday -- if you missed 'em, you can catch them via the archives
"We were all wrong!" Not so fast -- no, everyone wasn't wrong and this is a feature to try to note people who were right.

That's it for me tonight. Gore Vidal on tomorrow's The Morning Show on KPFA. Check it out.