Good evening, let's kick things off with Democracy Now!
Three Years Ago: Bush Declared Missions Accomplished in Iraq
In news on Iraq, it was three years ago today that President Bush declared mission accomplished and major combat operations over. Meanwhile the U.S. death toll in Iraq has topped 2,400. 70 soldiers died in April making it the deadliest month for U.S. troops so far this year.
2400. Some "cake walk," huh? Do people who support the illegal war ignore that figure? Or do they go "Woo! Hoo! 2400 dead!" Do they realize that if they support this war, the blood of those 2400 is on their hands? The blood of the Iraqis? The blood of the troops from other countries?
It is. But maybe it's worth it to them? Maybe they think we're doing something great in Iraq?
They may think that. They live in a different universe, but at least they believe in something.
The ones that really disgust me are the ones who are too scared to speak out. They waste everyone's time and their own voices with "water cooler" topics. Readers know the ones I mean.
When someone asks them what they did twenty years from now, they'll say, "Oh I gave shout outs to Prison Break and Veronica Mars! Those were amazing shows! I never critiqued them because I'm not smart enough for that. I just did shout outs! I was the eternal pre-teen."
Readers know exactly who that is aimed at.
If there's anything worse than ___ it's The New Republican crew. They cheerleaded the war and now they want to act like they didn't. They should be exposed as the fools they are. I really wonder if that will happen? I've read a lot of Robert Parry's books (he's Rebecca's favorite) and you read those and you see how the "left" New Republican repeatedly sold out the "left" and it's not anything new. They've gotten away with it before and it makes you wonder if they'll continue to again?
Report: Bush Claims Authority To Disobey Over 750 Laws
A major investigation by the Boston Globe has revealed President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office. In each case the president has issued a so-called "signing statement" that asserts that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution. According to the Globe, Bush has issued a signing statement to more than one of every 10 bills he has signed. Bush has said he can ignore Congress' ban on torture as well as Congressional oversight of the Patriot Act. Bush has also said he can ignore laws forbidding US troops from engaging in combat in Colombia and any attempt by Congress to oversee what happens in military prisons such as Abu Ghraib. NYU law professor David Golove has warned that Bush's actions threaten to overturn the existing structures of constitutional law. Golove said that having a president who ignores the court, backed by a Congress that is unwilling to challenge him can make the Constitution simply ''disappear."
I missed that story. We got back on Sunday and no one wanted to open the papers. I'll try to find that article and read it. Bully Boy is out of control and we just get how out of control a little each day. It's like this thing someone said to me at the march, and I think Gore Vidal has used this example, we're frogs in boiling water and we don't notice that it's coming to a boil. We're like, "Hey, water's warm. That's nice." And then we're like, "That's a little hot." But we get adjusted to it. Pretty soon, the water's boiling and we're cooked.
I'm really glad that I went to NYC. When I wrote early Saturday morning, I was so worried. I was afraid that people wouldn't be turning out. They did. And it was really great to be there and see so many people who did give a damn. (I know some people would have been there but couldn't get time off or didn't have the money or the permission from their parents. I'm not talking about those people. I'm talking about the people who had no obstacles of any kind but felt it was better to just sit on their butts.)
So we took some of my family who hadn't been along before and that was cool because they got to see how much power was in the movement. I was really afraid of a low turnout because:
a) the media would say "the peace movement is dead."
b) my sisters would say, "Well that wasn't anything. What have you been going on and on about."
There's a lot of work we all have to do. Sitting on your butt doesn't cut it.
That's true of the immigration issue too. We rallied. Nina, Tony and me cut class and skipped work to take part. We didn't buy anything. We did our part. That's not to send anyone on a guilt trip. I think everybody could have avoided purchasing -- unless like you have a baby and ran out of Pampers or something. But I know some people couldn't take the day off. I also know that some who did had to stay home because they were calling in sick. That's great if you called in sick even if you couldn't show up at the rally because you were afraid your boss would see it and you'd get in trouble. It was something just to call off.
I know some people couldn't call off. Elaine couldn't. She schedules her sessions in advance and she really won't cancel them without this huge lead time. So if you're a doctor or a journalist or something like that, you did have to work today. But you could stop buying today. (Elaine did.)
I'm tired. I was wiped out from the weekend. It was fun. But I fell asleep while I was doing my post Saturday morning. (Thanks to C.I. for tagging it and publishing it. And for not waking me up. I wasn't done with it but if I'd been woken up, I would have been too out of it to add anything much to it.) I was nervous and tired as we were getting ready for the rally. Then when we were going and all and I started seeing all the people and knew it was going to be a large number, I was just high on the people power. :D
We had a lot of fun at the rally and during the march. We also had fun all eating together. It was a huge group of people in the community. And that was fun. Then we went back and started working on the edition for The Third Estate Sunday Review and everyone wanted to see how that went. So Dona and Jim said, "Let's do the roundtable." That would be easy to follow and give them an idea. It was weird doing it with an "audience." :D Ty wasn't that talkative and I hope he wasn't shy (Ty had someone in the audience -- love, love, love :D). After that, most people went on to bed and it was good they did cause it was an all nighter. Man, I was dragging.
I was still dragging when I woke up but I got high off people power again. :D
It really is a high when a group of people come together to speak out for what they believe in.
But I'm tired and probably need to wind down.
C.I. e-mailed me yesterday about a column Dave Zirin had and told me to check Common Dreams because if they had it people could read it without registering and also it will be up for more than 2 weeks. So they do have it at Common Dreams and here is the link & title, "A Day Without All-Stars?":
May day 2006 is being called the "Great American Boycott" or "A Day Without Latinos."
Across the country, Latinos and their allies say they will neither work nor shop Monday to protest what they consider anti-immigrant legislation before Congress. Although many industries and work sites may be affected, one multibillion-dollar enterprise would be crippled by such a boycott: Major League Baseball.
Of the top 10 hitters in the National League, six are from Latin America, including Albert Pujols, last year's most valuable player. In the American League, five of the top 10 are Latinos, including batting leader and 2003 MVP Miguel Tejada.
Latinos dominate the pantheon of the game's superstars like never before. Seven of the last 10 MVPs in the American League are Latinos.
The new reality was laid bare at this spring's World Baseball Classic: The U.S. team couldn't compete with its Latin American rivals, failing to even make it out of pool play.
The demographic shift in baseball players has helped save the sport by raising the level of playon the field. Currently, 36% of major league players were born in Latin America. According to ESPN Deportes, this number will reach 50% within the next 20 years. Almost one-third of all minor leaguers are from the Dominican Republic alone.
The growing Latino presence in Major League Baseball is a story of exploitation and opportunity. Club owners set up baseball academies in countries where future prospects can be signed in their early teens for pennies, then fired with little cost if they aren't good enough to play in the big leagues. As one player said to me, "The options in the Dominican Republic are jail, the army, the factory or baseball."
That was what he was talking about last Thursday on WBAI's Wakeup Call. So check that out. And check out these from The Third Estate Sunday Review:
A Note to Our Readers
Editorial: Yesterday's protest and the future protests
TV Review: Without a Point
Musings on KPFA's Living Room
Sunday Times at a glance
Warm welcomes for Bully Boy and Condi
Iraq: Five snapshots show a deadly week
10 most played CDs this week
Pacifica programming today
Remember to check out Elaine's site Like Maria Said Paz.
C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:
As May Day is celebrated even in Iraq (national holiday) but not, apparently, today, the Associated Press reports that at least 200 Shi'ites demonstrated on the edges of the heavily Green Zone area of Baghdad "to demand that U.S. and Iraqi forces do more to stop insurgents attacks." This as China's People's Daily Online notes the United Kingdom's stated intent to draw down their troops in Iraq "to 800 next month" (from 8,000 currently). Meanwhile, FOCUS News Agency notes that Denmark's 539 troops may be reduced to 400 this month (May 18th). AFP reminds that it was three years today that Bully Boy stood in front of the "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner on the USS Abraham Lincoln to state: "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed."
Far from Bully Boy's dress up and pretend, chaos and violence continues. In Baghdad, Reuters reports that "[t]he wife and daughter of a former construction and houseing minister Omar al-Damluji were kidnapped" Sunday. Today, in Hawija, at least four were wounded when a roadside bomb went off near "an art college." The Associated Press notes that, in Haqlaniyah, a US military base was fired on ("two mortar shells"). Reuters reports that at least "[e]ight members of the Interior Ministry commandos" were wounded from a roadside bomb that went off in Samarra. Tikrit was also an area where roadside bombs exploded (no wounded or dead reported). In Iskandariya, at least one civilian was killed and two injured in a car bombing that also took the life of the person in the car.
In Baghdad today, the Associated Press reports three corpses were discovered, "handcuffed and blindfolded" and that a Shi'ite store owner has died as a result of a drive-by shooting. At least two have been wounded in the three roadside bombs that have gone off today in Baghdad.
In the latest news on Australian solider Jake Kovco, who died in Baghdad on April 21st, despite Australian Defense Minister Brendan Nelson's assertion (which is a bit of a twist on his past claims last week) that Kovco died from an "accidental firing of the weapon he was handling," reports on the autopsy do not, thus far, support that assertion. Reporting for the Sydney Morning Herald, Les Kennedy, Tom Allard and Cynthia Banham note: "THE forensic examination of Jacob Kovco's body revealed no evidence of burn marks near the wound, indicating the weapon that killed him was not fired close to his head. The finding appears to make it less likely that the young sniper -- Australia's first military fatality in Iraq -- committed suicide." Kennedy, Allard and Banham note that the bullet is missing and that, as the outrage over the death of Kovco, Australian's Prime Minister John Howard has announced that he will be attending the funeral. Jake Kovco is the first Australian soldier to die in Iraq.
Back in Iraq, the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the US army is concerned with "Chicago gang graffiti" popping up throughout Iraq. And in the United States, as Bully Boy, who, again, exactly three years go declared "major combat operations," used the anniversary of that shameful moment to delcare his "confidence" in Iraqi leadership (or "leadership"). His new faith-based remarks come as CNN reports on their latest poll which found that 44% of Americans surveyed (4.5% +/- margin of error) "said the United States would never accomplish its goals in Iraq" and 40% of optimistic souls selected the "someday" option (someday goals will be accomplished). Bully Boy's at 32% approval rating in the poll and 55% of Americans chose the option of "the United States made a mistake by invading Iraq."
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