Saturday, April 29, 2006

Carlyle eyes Univision, Iraq war costs approach $320 billion

That two Univision DJs are at the heart of this feel-good story about a movement coming of age is somewhat ironic. Univision, after all, is owned by Republican backer Jerrold Perenchio, who once donated $400,000 to anti-immigrant California Governor Pete Wilson. In a merger approved almost three years ago, Univision acquired all of its sixty-three radio stations from HBC, which was 26 percent owned by Clear Channel, home to Rush Limbaugh. In 2005-06 Univision donated 72 percent of its total $88,450 campaign contributions to the GOP. But given George W. Bush's relatively moderate stance on immigration reform (the Lou Dobbs hard right equates Bush's guest-worker program with "amnesty") as well as big business's need for immigrants both as low-wage employees and consumers, maybe it's not so odd.

That's from Ed Morales' "The Media Is the Mensaje" and, as C.I. noted, "Which is probably among the reasons, as noted in the New York Times yesterday, that radio and TV giant Univision now has the Carlyle Group sniffing around it along with all the more 'traditional' suiters." This is like when they announced they were buying movie theaters when Michael Moore's movie was coming out.

It's the weekend. I'll note two things from Democracy Now!

Iraq War Costs Approach $320B
A new Congressional report says the cost of the war in Iraq will soon top $320 billion dollars -- a figure that will likely more than double by war's end. According to the Congressional Research Service, the ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan stand to cost nearly as much as the departments of Education, Justice and Homeland Security combined.

If you've found no reason to speak out, despite the loss of life on all sides, maybe the cost of the illegal war will finally be the thing that reaches you? Or maybe you like living in your apathy footy-pajamas? We went to see Threepenny Opera which was fun (Nina and my folks really loved it) but I was listening to people talk on the way in and all and I was thinking, "The big protest goes on here tomorrow" and I guess I was expecting that this would be something people were talking about. I didn't hear anyone talking about it. This one guy came up to Nina and me and started talking. He seemed like a cool enough guy. But when we told him where we were from and he asked us why we came in this weekend, he seemed to have no idea there was a demonstration going on. It wasn't that he was someone who didn't care, he just didn't know.
He wrote down information on it and he says he'll be taking part but I'm wondering how many people will? Nina thinks I'm worrying for no reason and that it will be a large turnout. I hope she's right. It kind of depressed me. My sisters were telling me the same thing Nina said. And they were going that they were here and that guy would probably go so not to worry. I hope they're right.

Specter Warns of NSA Funding Cut in Domestic Spy Row
On Capitol Hill Thursday, Republican Senator Arlen Specter said the Bush administration is continuing to stonewall congressional inquiries into its warrantless domestic spy program. Specter said he is considering a proposal to cut off funding for the National Security Agency until the Bush administration answers questions over the program's legal justification. Specter said : "Institutionally, the presidency is walking all over Congress."

Am I so worried about the turnout that I'm feeling like cheering on Arlen Specter? I'm really wondering that. I doubt he means much of what he says because he could have done more. But I do wonder why that comes from a Republican. I read a thing by DiFi where she was saying that she couldn't vote for something she didn't know anything about. But it wasn't as strong as his statement. A Democratic Senator, and I'm forgetting her name, had a good point this week where she was confronting Bully Boy's lies and saying stuff like "Where is the oil money?" On that, she was talking about how Bully Boy had said that Iraq's oil income would pay for the occupation.

Are Democrats just going to try to play it safe for the entire election?

It's May next week and I'm not hearing real points being made strongly by most of them. Maybe it's a media coverage issue? Probably not a good idea to blog when you're down.

I'm listening to a CD Kat brought with her. It's Richie Havens but I don't know the title and am too tired to get up and grab the case. Wally, Rebecca, C.I. and I are all blogging. Rebecca and Wally are already done. And asleep, lucky dogs. I'd go to sleep too but C.I.'s rubbing eyes and if C.I. can do this and be tired, I can too.

Wally and me were going through the news for his "Bully Boy Press" and laughing about Bully Boy. That cheered me up but then my bud bailed and went to sleep! I'm joking, I don't blame him. But I really did start feeling down when I started blogging.

Probably being tired doesn't help.

So I guess I'll talk about what I'm hoping for later today. I hope we get some spirit and some really heart in the demonstration. I hope it's a lot of people. I'm really afraid of how the press will trash the protest if we don't have a big number. But I know it means more that people come who care. And I brought new people and so did others. So that helps. I know my sisters will go talk about it. Not just my youngest, but my older sisters are here too. They've had fun and all and they're real excited about the march and protest. They may be part of why I'm nervous. If it's a disappointment and all.

Okay, it's official: I'm depressed. I just went to see what C.I. wrote and it's like an essay. I was hoping maybe there was an idea I could develop here cause I thought it would be a "link fest" but it's an essay. You should read it. Now C.I.'s going through the paper trying to find out what to write about. I wish I could write stuff when I'm tired but instead it's all just doom and gloom and dull.

***C.I. note: Mike's fallen asleep. I was going to close the laptop and I see he didn't publish. I'm tagging and publishing for him. If this was a work in progress that he wanted to read over before posting, blame me, not him. I'm not going to wake him up to check. Everyone had a long night. We'll be doing something at The Third Estate Sunday Review, but I'm not sure what.****

MIKE NOTE: ADDED SATURDAY NIGHT: Thanks to C.I. for posting and tagging. I sat back on the couch and rested my head and eyes -- I thought! Ended up falling out. I'm Fall Out Boy! With none of the cell phone photos! :D
I was wrong to worry, it was a great crowd. I thought I saw Danny Schechter. Maybe he's got a twin. :D
But it looked just like him. We're all going out to eat and then coming back here to work on the latest edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Torture flights and Prisoner abuse

Good evening and let's kick it off with Democracy Now!

EU Reports 1,000 Clandestine CIA Flights In 5 Years
In Europe, an EU commission has concluded the CIA has operated more than 1,000 clandestine flights over Europe in the past five years. Analysts said that figure is considerably higher than previously thought. The commission also concluded that incidents where detainees were handed over to US agents were not isolated cases. In many instances, the suspects were ferried around Europe on the same planes used by a small group of the same agents.

If you missed it, the EU whitewashed with their report on secret prisons. I think C.I. had a great comment on the whitewash last week on secret prisons but the admission this week on 1,000 clanestine flights:

So they whitewashed their own culpability and then acknowledged that the torture flights take place . . . apparently because the US just wants prisoners to see the world?
Sarcasm? Yeah. Flights take off from one point and it lands in another -- usually for a reason.

I remember in school when we learend a little bit, and only a little bit, about how this country interned Japanese-Americans during WWII, we were shocked and couldn't believe it. When tomorrow's children see what we've done in the so-called war on terror, I think they'll shake their heads and not be able to grasp it. I do but only because I got to live through this whole demonize Arabs and whip up fear. It is shameful and Bully Boy will be remembered not as 'the worst' leader because it's not just that he was lousy at leadership, he was damaging and he was destructive. He's a crook and Richard Nixon will probably look better by comparison.

Human Rights Groups Say Most Detainee Abuse Unpunished
In other news, a coalition of human rights groups has released what they say is the first comprehensive list of abuses of detainees in US custody in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanano Bay. The effort, named the Detainee Abuse and Accountability Project, says abuse has been widespread and that the US government has taken few steps to investigate implicated high-ranking personnel. According to the report only half of more than 330 claims of detainee abuse and torture have been adequately investigated. And only 40 of over 600 US personnel implicated in these cases have been sentenced to prison time. "This data should silence once and for all the assertion that the prisoner abuse problem is some isolated phenomenon limited to a few sadistic soldiers on the night shift at Abu Ghraib,” said Elisa Massimino, Washington Director of Human Rights First. “Two years after those photographs became public we now know that the conduct depicted in them was wide spread, spanning two theaters of war and involving hundreds of military and civilian personnel. This can no longer be reasonably disputed. Second, this data confirms that the abuses that occurred are serious violations of the law. Our data shows over a thousand separate criminal acts, including beating, sexual assaults and 34 homicides, eight of those appear to be people who were literally tortured to death. Third, and perhaps most important for the future strength and discipline of the military, our findings reveal a picture of military discipline which from which the doctrine of command responsibility is completely absent.

The two go hand in hand, the two items. They are about an attitude of "Rules apply! Except for us!" We can scream about torture. Except when we do it. Then it's all these excuses like, "It's not that bad" and "We're not killing them" (in some cases, we are) and all these other sorry excuses that if another country was doing it, we'd scream our heads off. That's the point we were getting with The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Editorial: Remember Guantanamo."
It's just amazing how something so against democracy and so against our own justice system and our notions of human rights is something we can shrug off. We're aided by the media which usually just goes with what the military tells it. They don't do that when it's them being attacked by the government. When the government goes after them, they're suddenly a lot more fair and not just repeating the official line.

Wakeup Call today? Dave Zirin spoke about baseball and made me laugh so hard. Especially about the way Dick Cheney throws! :D He tied baseball into immigrants and noted the Latino accomplishments. "Currently 36% of major league players were born in Latin America." Zirin noted that this was also due to owners wanting to "sign up talent on the cheap." 15 games are scheduled for May 1st and Zirin hopes (me too) that some of the Latino players step up to the plate and honor the May 1st protest for immigrant rights. Dave Zirin is on Wakeup Call every Thursday so check it out. WBAI's Wakeup Call airs Monday through Friday, Deepa Fernandes is the host Monday through Thursday, and it's a three hour program with news, sports, music, interviews and just about everything you can imagine. If it's on too early for you you can listen to archived broadcasts later in the day or week at WBAI or at the Wakeup Call site. Deepa Fernandes is her name (she's Tracey's favorite) and if I've spelled it "Deepa Fernandez" with a "z" before, that was my bad.

Iraq today? Here's C.I.'s Iraq snapshot:

Iraq snapshot.
Thursday, as
Pacifica broadcasts the Iraq Forum, things remain the same in Iraq: violence and chaos.
Condi and Donnie took the PR Express to Iraq. And did anything change?
CNN reports that "many of the troops stationed north of Baghdad, in Balad and Dujail, say either they didn't know about it or didn't care." No, nothing changed. But it's an election year and nothing's more likely to put the dove in the pants of an Nixon or Bully Boy than an election year. Which is why there are the grumbles of maybe we'll draw down the numbers of some troops (while increasing the air strikes). The AFP reports Muwaffaq Bubaie, national security chief of Iraq, made noises of "a sizeable gross reduction of troops" at year's end.
Far from Fantasy Island, in Baquba, at least
one Iraqi civilian and four Iraqi police officers died while at least two police officers were wounded in attacks on checkpoints today. As the day continued, the number of dead would rise to at least eleven.
Reuters notes a Romanian soldier and three Italian soldiers died due to a roadside bomb (Italy's Minister of Defence had revised the figures from three to two but AFP notes that the third has died and that a fourth is wounded). In Ramadi, two missiles were fired by a US plane. In Ramadi,an Iraqi soldier died from gun fire.
Associated Press notes that today, sixteen more corpses were found (signs of torture).
As noted by Australia's ABC and
WBAI's Wakeup Call, Jake Kovco remains in Iraq. Kovoco died in Iraq last week. Jacob Bruce Kovco was twenty-five years old and was to be honored this week in the Gippsland community of Briagolong. For that to happen, Kovco's body would need to make it to Australia. The wrong body was in the coffin. Brendan Nelson, Australia's Defense Minister, tells of breaking the news to Shelley Kovco and when the widow demanded to speak with Prime Minister John Howard, Nelson dialed the number. Nelson then angered family members (brother of the deceased, Benn Kovco, and mother of the deceased, Judy Kovco) by making statements regarding the death (which is still under investigation).
And in England, the
Telegraph of London reports, the government's attorney general has backed off from the prosecution of of any British soldiers in the shooting death of Steven Roberts. Like the Kovco family, Samantha Roberts (wife of the deceased) continues to seek answers and feels that the government has been little help to her.

Be sure to check out "Ruth's Public Radio Report" because she's covered so much and there's so much out there worth listening. You might not realize it if you're listening to corporate media (including NPR) but it is out there. Check out Wally's "THIS JUST IN! "BROKEBACK EACH OTHER'S MOUNTAINS!" SCREAMS SNOW." Elaine's off tonight, but check out Cedric and Rebecca because they're posting. (And C.I. will be doing the "And the war drags on" entry.)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Danny Schechter, Robert Parry, new White House pet, terrorists walking free in the US

Hump day. My hump! Your hump! I have no idea what that song by the Black Eyed Peas means, but it is catchy. :D Hump day and Friday on the way.

Let me start with something C.I. had up this morning:

Wally noted two things from Danny Schechter's News Dissector for yesterday. First:
David Swanson writes:I'll be co-hosting with Verna Avery-Brown of Pacifica Radio, a live broadcast on Pacifica from 8:30-11 a.m. ET on Thursday, April 27, of a forum on Capitol Hill hosted by Congresswomen Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee.
Thanks for tuning in. I will be speaking in Boston at Emerson College on Friday at 7 PM. The film The Jihadi and the Journalist which I worked on opens at the Tribeca Film Festival on the 27th, and South African Broadcasting's SABC 1 airs on April 26th on SABC 1 at 9 PM. Amandla!
As Wally notes, that will tick Mike off. (We're all going to be in NYC just as Danny comes to Mike's area.) If you're in that area or can be, don't miss Danny -- great speaker, will make you think and leave you inspired (and hopeful -- important in these times).

I am ticked. But that's cool. I hope everyone who is here goes and sees Danny Schechter. But we're all going to be in NYC for the big protest Saturday. And to explained the "ticked," Schechter came through this area awhile back but I didn't know the time or the where. Rebecca, Tony, Nina and me would have gone if we'd known. There's always next time. And if I wasn't going to NYC, I'd be there. Some people, all over the country, won't be able to be in NYC so if you're not able to go to the big protest, check out what is going on in your area. Maybe you have something cool like Danny Schechter coming to Boston.

If you can go, you should take at least one person with you. At least one. We're taking my sister Kelley with us to NYC. Last protest (local), I didn't even think about inviting her. I just didn't think she'd be interested and she's busy all the time. So this weekend, if you're protesting or demonstrating or making yourself heard (and you can make yourself heard by going to hear the truth from Danny Schechter), let's up the ante and all try to take one person with us this time.

Now let's kick things off with Democracy Now!

New White House Spokesperson Criticized Bush
In news from Washington, Republican officials have confirmed Fox News anchor Tony Snow has agreed to become the new White House Press Secretary. Snow will replace Scott McLellan, who resigned last week. President Bush is expected to make the announcement today. Although Snow will be tasked with defending the President, one of his first duties may be to answer for previous criticisms he's made of his new boss. In an op-ed piece published in November, Snow said President Bush had "lost" his swagger and was "cowering under the bed" in the face of Democratic opposition. Snow went on to say: "The newly passive George Bush has become something of an embarrassment."

Snow gives Bully Boy class and Bully Boy gives Snow ass? Is that how it works? :D I saw the headlines online about this and they were using "tapped" as in: Bully Boy Taps Snow. And I was thinking, "Do they realize what that means today?" :D

Wally saw 'em too and wrote a hilarious thing: "THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY TAPS IT!" That is funny. And if you're not middle aged (or if you are middle aged but keep up), you were laughing every time you saw one of those "Bully Boy Taps Snow" headlines today.

(In case anyone's not with it. "Tap" is like "hit it" -- means had sex with. Like you'd say, "Man, I'd love to tap that ass." Guys say it, gals say it, straight and gays says it. It's just lingo today.)

Carriles To Apply For US Citizenship
Lawyers for detained Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles have announced he has applied for US citizenship. Carilles is wanted in Cuba and Venezuela for his role in a 1976 bombing that killed 73 people aboard a Cuban airliner. He was arrested in Miami last May after entering the US two months earlier.

So Luis Posada Carriles, a terrorist, may become a US citizen? And Congress wants to worry about undocumented workers? Get the idea that besides scapegoating people, they're missing out on the big picture? 73 people died. He should be handed over to Venezuela. He's a terrorist and it shows you how fake the "war on terror" is that he hasn't been kicked out of the country. Now he might become a citizen and that's a slap in the face to every American and everyone wanting to become a citizen. You don't let killers become citizens, you send them to prison.

For more on Carriles, you can check out Robert Parry's "Bush's Hypocrisy: Cuban Terrorists."

Two Cuban exiles, Hernan Ricardo and Freddy Lugo, who had left the Cubana plane in Barbados, confessed that they had planted the bomb. They named Bosch and Posada as the architects of the attack.
A search of Posada's apartment in Venezuela turned up Cubana Airlines timetables and other incriminating documents.
Posada and Bosch were charged in Venezuela for the Cubana Airlines bombing, but the men denied the accusations. The case soon became a political tug-of-war, since the suspects were in possession of sensitive Venezuelan government secrets that could embarrass President Andres Perez. The case lingered for almost a decade.
After the Reagan-Bush administration took power in Washington in 1981, the momentum for fully unraveling the mysteries of anti-communist terrorist plots dissipated. The Cold War trumped any concern about right-wing terrorism.
In 1985, Posada escaped from a Venezuelan prison, reportedly with the help of Cuban exiles. In his autobiography, Posada thanked Miami-based Cuban activist Jorge Mas Canosa for providing the $25,000 that was used to bribe guards who allowed Posada to walk out of prison.
Another Cuban exile who aided Posada was former CIA officer Felix Rodriguez, who was close to then-Vice President George H.W. Bush and who was overseeing secret supply shipments to the Nicaraguan contra rebels, a pet project of President Reagan.
After fleeing Venezuela, Posada joined Rodriguez in Central America and was assigned the job of paymaster for pilots in the contra-supply operation.
When one of the contra-supply planes was shot down inside Nicaragua in October 1986, Posada was responsible for alerting U.S. officials to the crisis and then shutting down the operation’s safe houses in El Salvador.
Even after the exposure of Posada’s role in the contra-supply operation, the U.S. government made no effort to bring the accused terrorist to justice.
By the late 1980s, Orlando Bosch also was out of Venezuela's jails and back in Miami. But Bosch, who had been implicated in about 30 violent attacks, was facing possible deportation by U.S. officials who warned that Washington couldn’t credibly lecture other countries about terrorism while protecting a terrorist like Bosch.
But Bosch got lucky. Jeb Bush, then an aspiring Florida politician, led a lobbying drive to prevent the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service from expelling Bosch. In 1990, the lobbying paid dividends when Jeb's dad, President George H.W. Bush, blocked proceedings against Bosch, letting the unapologetic terrorist stay in the United States.
In 1992, also during George H.W. Bush's presidency, the FBI interviewed Posada about the Iran-Contra scandal for 6 ½ hours at the U.S. Embassy in Honduras.
Posada filled in some blanks about the role of Bush's vice presidential office in the secret contra operation. According to a 31-page summary of the FBI interview, Posada said Bush’s national security adviser, Donald Gregg, was in frequent contact with Felix Rodriguez.
"Posada … recalls that Rodriguez was always calling Gregg," the FBI summary said. "Posada knows this because he's the one who paid Rodriguez' phone bill." After the interview, the FBI agents let Posada walk out of the embassy to freedom. [For details, see Parry's
Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & Project Truth.]

The book, Robert Parry's Lost History, is a really good one. You should read it because it's all about Latin America, our government's actions there, and how we sided with terrorism (and participated by proxy and sometimes more). This was truly "lost history" when Ronald Reagan died and people were acting like he was St. Reagan of Burbank. (That was a joke someone told me when we were on all on vacation. I said I was going to use that at some point and this is the perfect time.)

Now C.I.'s antidote to the various waves of Operation Happy Talk:

Iraq snapshot.
Chaos and violence continue.
Associated Press notes that "[m]ore than 100 Iraqi civilians or police have been killed . . . since [Jawad] al-Maliki was tapped as Iraq's prime minister designate on Saturday . . ." Not a pretty picture. Thank goodness the word's premier video popped up to distract everyone with instead. (Has so much time been consumed covering a video since Madonna's "Like a Prayer"?) South of Baghdad (to use the 'location' favored by the BBC here and CNN here -- Reuters identifies it as Yusufiya), a US air strike (and "ground forces") have attacked a house in Baghdad an twelve people are dead including one woman. The media's running with the US military's statements (presented not as quotes) that it was a "safe house." The facts are, as known now, a US air strike and "ground forces" has resulted in 12 deaths "south of Baghdad." In Baghdad? China's People's Daily reports that a minibus contained a bomb which killed at least three Iraqis and wounded at least four while a roadside bomb "hit a passing police patrol" and killed at least one person and wounded at least two others. The AP notes that four corpses were found in Baghdad. Reuters notes that the four bodies had "signs of torture and . . . gun shot wounds to their head".
Corpses continue to surface all over Iraq. As
noted last week by Knight Ridder, the US administration didn't take the militia issue seriously. That may be the nicest explanation. Jawad al-Maliki is calling for the militias to disarm according to Reuters.
Knight Ridder's Lelia Fadel reports that sectarian lines are forming in Iraq's university system as well. KUNA reports that a "decomposed dead body in a bag" was discovered in Kirkuk. Reuters notes six corpses found "signs of torture and gunshot wounds" in Kerbala. In Kirkuk, "a wealthy trader" was kidnapped while, in Mahmodiya, "a bomb blast" has wounded three police officers.

By the way, C.I. asked me if I came up with "Iraq snapshot" because C.I. wanted to give me credit. I didn't. I may have used at the site before C.I. did, but C.I. had called it that while we were all together two weeks ago and that's why I used it. I like it. It is a quick snapshot that pulls together events in Iraq. (It's not quick to do. While we were all together, I got to see C.I. pulling that thing together. If it's a dicated entry, that's the only portion C.I. types up. C.I. takes that very seriously and we all know that there may be days when there's not time for it but we're all glad that there hasn't been a weekday missed yet this week. Leigh Ann wondered about the links to audio in some of these.

The community has two couples (possibly more) where one partner is blind. So, how it works is that one half reads to the others.

We also have some members who are deaf and Eli does a daily summary of the radio program Free Speech Radio News that he sends out to those. He's been doing that for over a year now. That and Democracy Now! were the first audio links C.I. put up. With Democracy Now! it is close captioned on TV and it also provides transcripts so deaf and hearing impaired people can follow along. (On Labor Day, we started watching all together here, getting everyone in the living room on the holidays to share it. And we put on the close captioned option because it can get loud and also because I have a great uncle with a hearing problem.) So Democracy Now! is something everyone can follow. Now days, Free Speech Radio News provides a summary at its site so Eli usually just pulls some direct quotes and adds to it most days. I'm signed up to that because I usually don't have time to listen to Free Speech Radio News lately. It's a great program. C.I. highlighted a NBC news report today and doesn't usually do that but the reason there was that it was text and a video so, if one of the couples were looking at it together and wanted to check out more on the story, they had the option of listening to the sound with the video together. Things like that will impact whether a highlight makes it. Also whether or not everyone can go to the site. That means nothing that they have to pay a membership for and C.I. avoids unless it's a major story because you're either paying for that site or you watch a commercial and we have some members on older computers and with dial up connections who will click and find that there computers freeze. (That's why C.I. tries to sum up a major PDF report or else to find an HTML of it.)

It's also true that most of the audio links go to our independent media like in this paragraph:

The National Lawyers Guild, as noted yesterday on the KPFA Evening News and also aired during the first news break anchored by Sandra Lupien on KPFA's The Morning Show today, has filed for key documents on the Iraq war including documents pertaining to the rules of engagement for the slaughter of Falluja. This is a FIO lawsuit. In addition, they are requesting documents on the incident involving Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena -- after Sgrena was rescued by Italians and being taken to the airport, her car was fired upon by US forces and Nicola Calipari died.

You've go the link to NLG and you've got a link to KPFA's Evening News, to The Morning Show and to Democracy Now! with the Sgrena story. All are Pacifica programs and it's part of noting the radio network more and its programs. Both to pick up some slack so Ruth's not left doing everything and also to get the word out.

Be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts and also check out these cool entries:

Recommended: "NYT: Do we get excited as the whitewash continues?" -- C.I. putting perspective on the "charges" that a higher up in the military faces.
"flashpoints (rita moreno) cover to cover with denny smithson (jane fonda)" -- Rebecca on some great radio programming. Read it! And listen to the shows!
"Condi hides in Greece, NY Teens sue Rumsfeld, Wakeup Call, Jane Fonda" -- Wonderful writer. Who is this guy? He is amazing! :D I'm joking, it's me from yesterday. I swiped this listing from Wally.
"It's never up to an administration... It all depends upon what people force them to do." Elaine writing about several topics (despite slicing her finger on Monday). My blog twin. :D
"Cell Phone Use Tips" Cedric cracked me up with his tips for cell phone use. Do you use a cell? Do you think you're cool? Better check out this to see if maybe others aren't finding you so cool.
"Thomas Friedman is the Meanest Generation" Betty wants to do some corrections to this. She said she was on the phone with C.I. reading it to get some input and C.I. had to repeat her name several times because she fell asleep while reading it. I told her she may have fallen asleep but I thought it was funny. You will too.
"Guns & Butter airs tomorrow; The Free Design, Ani DiFranco, Pink, Josh Ritter" -- Kat's talking about some music and asking for input on something she may review.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Condi hides in Greece, NY Teens sue Rumsfeld, Wakeup Call, Jane Fonda

Good evening! Tuesday! Almost hump day. Three days to the weekend. Let's kick it off with Democracy Now!

Thousands Protest Condoleezza Rice in Greece
In Greece, thousands of demonstrators tried to march earlier today to the U.S. embassy in Athens to protest a visit by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Police dressed in riot gear fired tear gas and clashed with demonstrators. On Monday, protesters managed to hoist a giant poster reading "Condoleezza Rice Go Home" from the central Athens Music Hall, next to the U.S. embassy. Two years ago Rice's predecessor Colin Powell had to cancel a visit to Athens in order to avoid mass protests.

You know, you hear a story like that and it just warms your heart. Gives you hope in the world and humanity. This should happen all over the world including here in the United States. After Bully Boy's "greeting" last week, it just gets better and better, doesn't it? If you forgot, this is from yesterday's Democracy Now!:

Protesters At Stanford Univ. Block Bush Motorcade
In California, over 1,000 protesters greeted President Bush on Friday during his visit to Stanford University. Protesters blocked the only street to the site of the president's meeting at the Hoover Institution. This forced the White House to move the planned meeting to the residence of former Secretary of State and Hoover Fellow George Shultz on the outskirts of the campus. Over 100 police dressed in riot gear attempted to clear the street. Three students were arrested for blocking the road. On Saturday, another 2,000 protesters lined the streets of Sacramento where the president gave an Earth Day speech on fuel cell technology. 500 protesters also gathered in San Jose where Bush met with California governor Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and high-tech leaders at Cisco Systems.

That's how they should always be greeted. Everyone in the administration. They are a disgrace to the country and we should never forget it. Or let them forget it. Now back to today's Democracy Now! :D

Report Criticizes U.S.-led Reconstruction of Iraq
A new report has determined the U.S.-led reconstruction of Iraq has largely been a failure. Nearly $60 billion has been spent but Iraq is still producing less oil, has less electricity and less water than before invasion. The authors of the report, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the slow pace is largely due to bad planning and poor execution on the part of the Bush administration.

Read C.I.'s "NYT: Taking a look at the pipeline, ignoring other things" because it goes with this like salsa with chips. Dad was hollering this morning at me. I go running in wondering what's going on and thinking it's bad news and worrying about who? Nothing bad. Dad was just thrilled with C.I.'s post. He knows (I do to) that C.I. would prefer to avoid the "reporting" that paper (New York Times) that has to do with Iraq but C.I.'s so good at it. From the start of The Common Ills, there was never a buying into of the Operation Happy Talk propaganda. There was never hestitation in questioning the propaganda coming out from Dexter Filkins' "reporting." And Ma always points out how discouraged a lot of people were after the 2004 elections and how it TCI had a focus on the war while others were twisting their drawers in knots over 'vaules' voters. It's built and built because the community's never had to suffer through, "Oh, things are going good now!" because some mainstream report/lie was pushing the adminstration's spin. Today, the paper of misrecord focused on the 'tragedy' of the pipeline. It is awful that so much money was wasted (and it was wasted) but where's the coverage of the oil blaze and why are American troops being diverted to deal with that?

So go read it. Need more reasons? My new buddy who was a Bully Boy lover until recently said that it captured everything perfectly. People are waking up.

New York Teens Sue Rumsfeld Over Recruiting Database
Six New York teenagers have sued Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld alleging that the Pentagon has illegally created a massive student database to help identify college and high school students as young as 16 to target for military recruiting. The database includes an array of personal information including birth dates, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, grade point averages, ethnicity and what subjects the students are studying. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the six teenagers by the New York Civil Liberties Union.

If only "New York Times" had half the guts of New York Teens. Good for them. Dropping back to the mood after the 2004 elections, could you have imagined how many would be speaking out and fighting back? Bully Boy was lying about a "mandate" and the press was going along with it. Bit by bit, the peace movement builds and builds and I do think (even Jim does now) that C.I. was right to dub last summer the summer of protests. It just picks up momentum and builds and builds.

Here's some more on the lawsuit from the ACLU's website:

When Congress passed the law in 1982 authorizing the agency to create a database of information about American high school students, the lawmakers intended to assist the Department in recruiting students for the military. But the law also set important limits to protect students' privacy, Lieberman said. The lawmakers specified that the Department must collect only basic contact and educational information, must refrain from collecting information about students under 17 years of age, must store the information for no more than three years and must keep the information private. But last year the Department announced that it had created a database that flouted these restrictions. The new recruitment database seeks to index a wide variety of private and personal information about every American high school student, including gender, ethnicity and Social Security Number. It includes information about 16-year-olds, in defiance of the mandate that it only include students 17 and older. The Department has also announced that it will keep the information for five years, rather than the three allowed by the statute, and that it will share the information widely with law enforcement and other agencies and individuals, rather than keeping it private.
The NYCLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of six 16- and 17-year-old high school students who object to the Department's inappropriate collection, maintenance and distribution of their personal and private information. "Our clients don't wish to join the military, and they don't want their genders, ethnicities and social security numbers collected and distributed by the private company that the DoD has charged with building and maintaining this database," said Corey Stoughton, an NYCLU Staff Attorney and lead counsel on the case. "We hope that this suit will bring the DoD into compliance with the rules that Congress put in place to protect the rights of high school students nationwide." Hope Reichbach, a senior at Hunter College High School in Manhattan, contacted the NYCLU and became a plaintiff in the lawsuit after trying and failing to have her name removed from the lists and databases that have subjected her to repeated phone calls from military recruiters. "I opted out to get my name off their lists, but they contacted me anyway," Reichbach said. "I got involved in this lawsuit because I want them to leave me and other students alone." The NYCLU filed the case, Hanson et al. v. Rumsfeld et al., in the Southern District of New York. Named defendants are Donald Rumsfeld in his official capacity as United States Secretary of Defense, and other Department personnel. NYCLU Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn is co-counsel on the case.

On WBAI's Wakeup Call today I want to note, War Resisters which is a youth campaign in the United States. C.I. links to the War Resisters Support Campaign which focuses on Canada and this isn't the same organization. Steve Theberge was the guest who came on to talk about this. There was another organization but I heard it wrong or the site's not working. Yesterday, we got to hear Hazel House (Mohawk Nation) about the Six Nation Blockade. Today, they had Jacqueline House. This protest has been going on almost two months. Wakeup Call is on Monday through Friday in the morning. Deepa Fernandez is the host I've been hearing. I know she hosts tomorrow but I'm not sure if she does on Thursday (on Friday it's a guy, I haven't heard him yet). Tracey loves Deepa. She thinks Deepa's the ultimate in cool. If you listen to Wakeup Call, you'll get why she thinks that. Plug and props: Dave Zirin is a regular guest (I think tomorrow) so you should check that out (plug) and Tracey's working her butt off at her school keeping the war front and center. I hope you are too. Props to Tracey.

I want to point out something on Democracy Now! because this was a really awesome interview and you need to check it out. This is from "Antonia Juhasz on The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time:"

AMY GOODMAN: You talk about the Bremer orders. You spend a lot of time in the book on them. Can you talk about Paul Bremer, Bremer's blueprint by BearingPoint, the orders themselves?
ANTONIA JUHASZ: Yeah. You know, in the report that you were quoting in the beginning of the hour, which said that the reconstruction failed because of poor planning, it’s a myth that there was not a post-war planning done by the Bush administration. The reason why it failed was because the interests it was serving were U.S. multinationals, not reconstruction in Iraq.
That plan was ready two months before the invasion. It was written by BearingPoint, Inc., a company based in Virginia that received a $250 million contract to rewrite the entire economy of Iraq. It drafted that new economy. That new economy was put into place systematically by L. Paul Bremer, the head of the occupation government of Iraq for 14 months, who implemented exactly one hundred orders, basically all of which are still in place today. And everyone who is watching who is familiar with the policies of the World Trade Organization, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the World Bank, the I.M.F., will understand the orders.
They implement some of the most radical corporate globalization ideas, such as free investment rules for multinational corporations. That means corporations can enter Iraq, and they essentially don't have to contribute at all to the economy of Iraq. The most harmful provision thus far has been the national treatment provision, which meant that the Iraqis could not give preference to Iraqi companies or workers in the reconstruction, and therefore, U.S. companies received preference in the reconstruction. They hired workers who weren't even from Iraq, in most cases, and utterly bungled the reconstruction.

It's a really great interview. Tracey got C.I.'s copy (C.I. had it early) The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time while we were all out in California and she loves it. (Ruth's reading it right now and I'm next on the list.) I may drop back to this interview tomorrow, but I've got a lot to cover tonight so I'll move on.

So let's talk about Cover to Cover with Denny Smithson from Monday when he interviewed Jane Fonda. That was a really great interview. The part I'm going to talk about is how she spoke about when her eyes opened (for her, it came when she was pregnant with her first child and really looking at the world around her because she was bringing another life into it). She talked about how she started connecting the dots and seeing stuff she'd never noticed before and, like Denny Smithson said, her book My Life So Far is really the story of activism. It made me think about where I was two years ago compared to where I am now.

She said it was anger and then, with time, patience and understanding. I'm not there yet. I may stay stuck in the anger phase. :D And I'll be Cedric and jump off from that point to note the entry yesterday which had mainly favorable reactions but one person e-mailed that I had no idea what struggle was.

Maybe not. Maybe so. I'm working class. My parents had to struggle and a "quick buck" is never an easy buck. That's something that all of us got instilled in us. I've got it easier than my brothers and sisters (and my kid sister has it the easiest) because it's no longer eight of us. But my parents had to struggle. The economy sucks. (This was about the contractors.) But if you're going into a war zone by choice for a "quick buck," you're fooling yourself. That doesn't mean the guy got what was coming to him, it means that if you go on, you know the odds.

That's true of missionaries, reporters and everyone else. I said yesterday that I hoped the guy felt he was going to be doing something good. I still hope that. But the profit motive appears to have been the main thing. "Quick money" is usually quick for a reason. I'm sorry that he's dead but it's not my issue. And like I said, Tony's brother can tell horror stories about all the times he and his friends had to put their lives on the line to escort contractors here or there in Iraq. And they weren't making the big bucks, not the soldiers. Tony drug me and Nina over to his brother's after classes this afternoon. His brother said he liked it. Sorry, if some didn't. (One hated it and four or five said they thought I needed to take another look at it.)

Tying in an e-mail from Lori (not about contractors, just had a question) because it fits with this (to me). She wondered why Nina tapes the shows? She said I should just get an Ipod. I'm working class. Cassette recorder is just fine with me. My folks brought that up at Christmas. A part of me felt greedy and thought, "Yes!" But the truth is, my sister's going to be in college in the blink of an eye. They've got their own bills. I'm a grown up and I don't need "Santa" going bust after Christmas to pamper my sorry butt. (I asked for a book. Which I got and loved.) I work and I go to school. I'd still be taking out loans if it weren't for someone (guess) who told me to send transcripts and I'd be matched up with some scholarship (and I was).

When I went to California, C.I. took care of that. (Which is why Ma said whether C.I. wanted a thank you or not, it needed to be noted here. I agree.) That was an amazing week and I had a blast but the reason my folks were going to take the week off from work (and classes) was because that was like an opportunity of a lifetime in my life.

I'm rich in friends and very lucky for that. But getting a new CD or taking Nina to the movies and to eat is a big deal to me. So I enjoy it whenever it happens. (And thanks to Kat, C.I., Jess, Ty and everyone else who passes on books and CDs. I borrowed some from C.I. on the vacation -- and me and Wally also got some because if C.I. gets a free one and likes it, C.I. will buy it to support it which leads to some duplicates. We were looking through the CDs, me and Wally, and C.I. goes, "Any dupes, you can have them." We were like, "Cool!")

But yeah, I could a whiny little brat and say, "Yes, Mommy and Daddy, I must have an Ipod, I won't be cool or liked without it! My whole life will end and no one will talk to me!" But did I need it? No. My sister's still in high school. Christmas should focus on her and stuff. If they were giving them away for free on campus, I'd grab one, sure. But just because I want one doesn't mean I should treat it like it's a necessity. It's not. Life goes on just fine without it. (I also got some cassettes from C.I. and Kat, by the way, thanks to them both for that. Kat's getting rid of her's -- she's keeping her vinyl but unless she doesn't have it on CD, she was getting rid of those.) And like when Fly Boy flew us to NYC for the World Can't Wait protest (thanks to Fly Boy and Rebecca) that was a big deal for me and it still is.

Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush is a book that C.I. got for all of us so we could do something on it quickly at The Third Estate Sunday Review. That's a great book.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

While Bully Boy uses current oil prices to push "the appearance of a gas shortage to push for the drilling" in ANWAR (as Sandra Lupien noted), chaos and violence continues in Iraq. Yesterday, in Baghdad, eight bombs went off and CNN puts the toll at "at least eight people died and 90 others were injured." Today? First, not a roadside bomb, but one inside a "minibus" exploded in Baghdad leading to at least two deaths and at least five wounded, according to Reuters. Also in Baghdad, the Associated Press notes that two more corpses have been found (with signs of torture). Reuters reports that Ibrahim al-Hindawi, "a senior judge in Baghdad," has been kidnapped by gunmen. Still in Baghdad, along with the bomb in the minibus, two roadsides bombs did go off -- at least three Iraqis were wounded. A "car bomb" in Baghdad resulted in at least four Iraqi police officers being wounded.
Police officers were targeted elsewhere as well. In Tal Qasir,
four were killed during an attack on a police station, and "near Kirkuk," two Iraqi soldiers and a police officer were killed. Another Iraqi soldier was killed on "the main road between Tikrit and Kirkuk" -- the oil blaze, for those following (obviously the New York Times isn't).
At least
three American soldiers were wounded when a roadside bobm went off in Haqlaniyah. And if you check the current tally, you'll see we're not that far away from another milestone: 2390 dead from the illegal 'cake walk.' This as Borzou Daraghi reports for the Los Angels Times that American ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad (the US ambassador to Iraq) has declared that America "must, perhaps reluctantly, accept" that US forces will continue to occupy Iraq for . . . "Long stay" is the the term that pops up in the headline. Permanent bases and the lust for the emerging markets would seem to indicate the need for a stronger term.

Go check out Like Maria Said Paz to get Elaine's take on the news.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Law and Disorder, Iraq and more (including Jane Fonda quote)

Good evening. Quite a day online judging by the e-mails. I got a lot "where is C.I.?" e-mails. I really think C.I. could take a day off and people would be cool with it. But C.I. didn't take a day off. There were problems with Blogger the program we all use. C.I. did entries, they just didn't show. They were up at the mirror site for The Common Ills. So you should have checked there nah-nah-nah :D. Seriously, they were up around one p.m. at the main site and it is a headache. Me, Jim and Dona are lobbying C.I. to put something from this morning up by itself because we think it's worth noting. Now let's kick off the week with Democracy Now!

Land Dispute on Mohawk Land in Ontario Intensifies
In Ontario, a standoff between Mohawks from the Six Nations Territory has entered its 56th day. On Thursday, Canadian police arrested 16 people in a pre-dawn raid. Over the weekend the Mohawks decided to maintain a blockade of a local highway and to keep occupying land that is being developed into a new housing subdivision. The Six Nations Confederacy has been called the oldest living participatory democracy on earth.

This hasn't had a lot of attention so Elaine and me decided we'd make it first on our items. WBAI's Wakeup Call did an interview this morning with Hazel Hill who is a Mohawk and one of the people saying no more. She talked about some of the leases and the belief that they were forged with "900" added to the "99" years of the lease to make it "999." She didn't think her ancestors would've signed anything away for 999 years. I have a hard time believing that too. We don't make treaties with that kind of date today and I can't imagine anyone doing that back then. And if they were fine with 999, why not make it an even 1,000? It just smells funny.

By the way Wakeup Call's the program I'm going to mention here every now and then. Tracey (Ruth's granddaughter) loves it and always wants her grandmother to mention it but Ruth really wants to have notes on something to talk about it and Elijah (Ruth's infant grandson) is too active first thing in the morning (she watches him during the day) so there's no time for taking notes. I'd told Tracey Saturday I'd try to pick that up (that's the show I was talking about in The Third Estate Sunday Review's "About this edition") and she told me Dave Zirin's a guest each week so that will be cool. But I can't do everything that's on every show because I have work in the morning before I go to campus and there will be some mornings when I'll wake up late. But I will try to note it at least once a week. Ruth's got too much cover and, every weekend, she feels like she fails because she's missing so much. She's missing so much because she's attempting to cover two radio stations that broadcast programs 24/7. So we're all going to try to help out more so when the weekend rolls around she's not left to write an epic chapter.

Army Suicides Reach Highest Total Since 1993
In military news, the Pentagon has revealed 83 soldiers in the Army and National Guard committed suicide last year -- it marks the highest total since 1993.

Does that surprise anyone? How would you feel if you'd signed up and found yourself in an illegal war? Or if you were aware, like a lot of them are, that if it was Iraqis invading the US you'd be responding in the same violent way some respond to US troops? Or if you had to live with all the crap you see over there (stuff the corporate media never gets too worried about with their cheerleading coverage)?

Rumsfeld OKs Expansion of SpecialOps Forces Across Globe
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has approved plans to greatly expand the use of elite Special Operations forces to secretly take part in missions outside of war zones as part of the so-called war on terrorism. According to the Washington Post, the Pentagon has already dispatched teams of Army Green Berets and other Special Operations troops to U.S. embassies in about 20 countries in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Latin America. The secret forces are instructed to carry out clandestine military activities including hunting down wanted individuals, gathering intelligence, attacking sites believed to be terrorist training camps and partnering with foreign militaries. The secret operations will be run off the books and largely free from Congressional oversight and legal restrictions imposed on the C.I.A.

Isaiah's latest The World Today Just Nuts is perfect for this. I'm going to call C.I. and ask that this item and the comic be combined because they are perfect for each other. (I'm not putting it in here because I got a lot to do and Blogger's got a message posted that they're going to have an outtage this evening.)

Law and Disorder aired today on WBAI and the segment I'm grabbing was the one with Jeremy Scahill and the lawyer Marc Miles who is the attorney for Katy Helvenston whose son Scott Helvenston was killed in Iraq while he worked for Blackwater USA.

Michael Ratner and Heidi Boghosian did the interview. I'm just going to talk my way through this. (And I'll note for C.I., "Demi" does not rhyme with "Demmy" -- pet peeve of C.I.'s.) I feel sorry for the mother that she lost her son. And I'm sad that anyone has died. If this lawsuit helps a lot of people, great. But this isn't my big issue. I understand that Iraqis may be helped by this. If this can go to trial and the "we're off limits" position of the contractors can be challenged (even better if it can be defeated -- but it is written into the Iraqi law thanks to Paul Bremer and others), great. But it's not my pressing issue.

I feel like kids get tricked into signing up today (I'm a kid, I know) and I feel like people who were already signed up got tricked. But the position I keep hearing on this guy that died was he needed to make money "quick" and who doesn't? But to go over there in 2004 when reality was pretty clear, I feel like -- no one deserves to die. And I think, or hope, he went there thinking he was going to help. I believe he was a Republican so I'll guess that he still believed the war wasn't based on lies. But with reality on the ground there, whether you realized the war was built on lies or not, you knew it was chaos. He was told he was going to be a bodyguard for Paul Bremer and apparently that was a good thing in his book.

It's not in mine. I'm sorry he's dead but, for me, there are other issues that I'll focus on.

I don't think the "I have kids to support" line makes it more sad. People are working here and all over the world trying to support their kids. I hope he thought he was helping and doing something worthwhile. I wouldn't have seen it that way but I'm not him.

But contractors are abusing Iraqis. (Not him, he was in Iraq like 48 hours before he was killed.)
I'm concerned about the Iraqis, I'm concerned about the troops. This guy seems like he was someone trying to help. So I'm sorry he's dead but it's not my issue.

I think you put what's on your plate, even overpile the thing, but there comes a time when nothing else fits. I can feel sorry for him and if he's someone's issue, cool, but I'm more concerned with the Iraqis and the troops.

Other contractors' actions probably play into it. And, let me repeat, he was only in the country for 48 hours and didn't abuse anyone. But a lot of others have and they were also out of control, same company, in New Orleans.

It's kind of like with South Park. It's not a show I watch and I'll hear, "Oh, you gotta watch it and support free speech." Supporting free speech doesn't mean that I have to watch the show.

I can be sympathetic to the guy and if a contrator's kidnapped, I'd probably talk about that. But the contractors aren't my concern. And Tony's brother got out last year and his stories probably have a lot to do with it because I heard all about how soldiers were getting less money, way less money, than the contractors and having to escort their caravans and a lot of other stuff.
It's just not an issue on my plate.

Nina was listening to a program (and taping, I'll listen later tonight) while I listened to the tape she made for me of Law and Disorder and she wants me to put this in here. She says the question was about how LBJ refused to run for a second term and Nixon left the White House in disgrace but the Bully Boy doesn't seem like someone who could make the decision to do that.

"It's never up to an administration . . . It all depends upon what people force them to do." Jane Fonda on KPFA's Cover to Cover with Denny Smithson today.

Pretty cool quote. I was hoping to hear it live but then I saw the note on Blogger going down for maintance and realized I was going to have to rush to get this done. I'll listen to the tape Nina made. I hope you listened because Jane Fonda's cool and Nina says it was a great interview. We'll probably listen to the show next week because Nina thinks Denny Smithson has a "really good interview style."

Now two quick highlights. First, here's C.I.'s Iraq snapshot for today:

Associated Press notes that on Sunday "at least three U.S. soldiers and 31 Iraqis were killed, including seven who died when mortars hit just outside the heavily guarded Green Zone." The Chicago Tribune reports that private contractors in Iraq have been confiscating passports from labor brought in (from outside Iraq) and that General George Casey has ordered that all passports must be returned by May 1st. Reuters notes that Iraqi firefighters are fighting "a large blaze" at an oil center between Kirkuk and Baiji. Australia's ABC notes that John Howard, that country's prime minister who is saying the illegal war is not "a disaster," stated today that the prospect of US troops was conditional (and didn't appear optimistic it would happen). Ian Bruce, with the UK Herald, reports that Carle Selman, James Cooke, Joseph McCleary and Martin McGing will stand trial (court martial) in Colchester, Essex for their actions in the death of Iraqi Ahmed Jabber Kareem. Seventeen-year-old Kareem was beaten along with three others and then ordered "into the Shatt al Basra waterway." Kareem, who could not swim, drowned. Bruce notes that an estimated 30 British soldiers "have either been convicted, are awaiting court-marital, or are being investigate" for their actions in Iraq. China's People's Daily Online reports that the costs of the (illegal) Iraq war are rising to one trillion in US dollars. Meanwhile, New York Daily News notes that costs for Iraq and Afghanistan will hit $117.9 billion and that the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments is predicting the cost could reach 660 billion dollars by the year 2016.
In Tikrit, four Iraqi police officers were killed during a gun battle and two more were killed after the attack on the police station. In Mosul, Sandra Lupien noted, three corpses were found and
Al Jazeera notes that at least seven car bombs have gone off in Baghdad ("two of them at a Baghdad university"), CNN reports eight (a more recent report). The Los Angeles Times (going with the figure of seven) reports the death of at least 14 civilians and the wouding of at least 139 -- Sandra Lupien noted that the 139 included "a ten-year-old boy."
Seventeen corpses were found in Iraq today, the
Associated Press reports. Sandra Lupien (a more recent report) noted at least 20 from secratarian violence with many, if not all, showing signs of torture.
Sandra Lupien does newsbreaks on
KPFA in the early half of the day, including during one of Ruth's favorite programs: The Morning Show. Please note audio reports whenever one stands out -- not all members have the same abilities -- and Lupien has four news breaks in the now archived broadcast of The Morning Show, click on the links in the previous paragraphs and you'll be taken to today's two hour broadcast -- Lupien comes in on the hour and half hour. Lloyd has reminded me to add a radio show to the permalinks -- added last night. It's not showing up. But as I dictate this, nothing is showing up. Hopefully members are using the mirror site where this morning's entries (thanks to Jess) are up and VISIBLE.

By the way I'm begging C.I. to do a repost of "NYT: Tavernise is lost in Iraq and Weisman just lost period" because I think it really needs to be noted and with all the Blogger problems today, I'm afraid it won't be. Second highlight is Robert Parry's "Bush Brandishes Jail Time at Critics:"

Instead, what appears most keenly at stake in the escalating political rhetoric is the Bush administration's determination to stop its political fall by branding its critics -- even U.S. generals and CIA officers -- as unpatriotic and then silencing them with threats of imprisonment.
Bush is trying to mark the boundaries of permissible political debate. He also wants total control of classified information so he can leak the information that helps him -- as he did in summer 2003 to shore up his claims about Iraq's WMD -- while keeping a lid on secrets that might make him look bad.
The firing of CIA officer Mary McCarthy and the threats of criminal charges against various dissenters are just the latest skirmishes in the political war over who will decide what Americans get to see and hear.
The other signal to Bush's critics, however, is this: If they ever thought he and his administration would accept accountability for their alleged abuses of power without a nasty fight, those critics are very mistaken.

Go check out Like Maria Said Paz to get Elaine's take on the news.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Jane Fonda on KPFA Monday -- Cover to Cover With Denny Smithson

The drawing of Jane Fonda was done by Isaiah. Why is it here now? Well, I could point out that the folks are watching the DVD reissue of 9 to 5 (starring Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton).

But that's not why. Jane Fonda is supposed to be on the radio Monday.

She'll be discussing her life, her book (My Life So Far, now out in softcover) and plenty more.

Make a point to listen.

Rebecca and me are both posting this and she's trying to get Elaine on the phone. (C.I.'s noting it tomorrow morning.) We want to get the word out on this.

From The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Monday: Jane Fonda on KPFA's Cover to Cover with Denny Smithson:"

The one and only Jane Fonda. We're fond o' Fonda. And Monday on KPFA she's the scheduled guest for Cover to Cover with Denny Smithson. Fonda wasn't afraid to come out against the war. And last spring, when she spoke out on David Letterman's show, she was greeted with applause.
Last week, it was suddenly NEWS! that she felt Cindy Sheehan was more effective as a speaker against the war than she was. (We love Cindy Sheehan, but we'd line up for hours to hear Fonda speak.) She said it on Good Morning America! It was NEWS!
But, a point we make in our roundtable posted later, it wasn't, in fact, NEWS!
Maybe it was news when she said it to Robin Morgan in the interview
Ms. magazine ran in their Winter 2006 issue? But for that to happen, people would have to pay attention to alternative media and we don't think it's getting its due. From "Jane Fonda Talks Sex, Politics, & Religion with Robin Morgan" (page 38):
JF: You know, nobody's asked me to speak about war for over 15 years. I carry too much baggage from Vietnam. Recently I was feeling, "I can't be silent anymore. I'm going to go on tour." I did anti-war tours around the U.S. every year during the 70s, they were amazing. But then, Cindy Sheehan surfaced! I thought, "I don't need to tour, she's the appropriate one!"
OMG! It's just what you heard on Good Morning America last week! But you heard it in
Ms. magazine first. If you paid attention. Support your independent media. One way is to listen Monday to:
Cover to Cover with Denny Smithson
One of the most recognizable women of our time, America knows Jane Fonda as actress, activist, feminist, wife, and workout guru. In her extraordinary memoir, Fonda divides her life into three acts: her childhood, early films, and first marriage make up act one; her growing career in film, marriage to Ted Turner, and involvement in the Vietnam War belong to act two; and the third act belongs to the future, in which she hopes to "begin living consciously," and inspire others who can learn from her experiences. Fonda reveals intimate details and universal truths that she hopes "can provide a lens through which others can see their lives and how they can live them a little differently."

It airs on
KPFA at 6:00 pm Eastern, 5:00 pm Central, 4:00 pm Mountain and 3:00 Pacific. You can listen online, for free, or you can listen over the airwaves in the Berkeley area on KPFA (94.1 FM) and probably on KPFB (89.3 FM) in Berkeley as well as KFCF (88.1 FM) in Fresno.

Make a point to listen. You may hear something that'll be "NEWS" in a month or two.

Now here's some headlines from last week's Democracy Now! in Spanish, then English.

Encuestas: Apoyo a Bush y a la guerra de Irak disminuye a cifras historicas
Maria: Buenos dias. De parte de "Democracy Now!" diaz cosas que vale hacer notar este fin de semana. Paz.

Encuestas: Apoyo a Bush y a la guerra de Irak disminuye a cifras históricas
Volvemos a Estados Unidos. Una nueva encuesta indica que el índice de aprobación del Presidente Bush disminuyó a una nueva cifra histórica. Según Fox News, tan solo el 33 por ciento de los estadounidenses dicen que aprueban la gestión del Presidente. Mientras tanto, una nueva encuesta de "Bloomberg"/"Los Angeles Times" descubrió que el 58 por ciento de los estadounidenses considera que la guerra en Irak es innecesaria.

Gasto mensual en ocupaciones de Irak y Afganistán cercano a los diez mil millones de dólaresE
n otras noticias, un nuevo informe del Servicio de Investigaciones del Congreso indica que Estados Unidos gasta alrededor de diez mil millones de dólares al mes en las ocupaciones de Irak y Afganistán, un aumento de casi ocho mil millones de dólares con respecto al año anterior.

Bush se niega a descartar ataques nucleares contra Irán
El martes en la Casa Blanca el Presidente Bush se negó a descartar el uso de armas nucleares, en el estancamiento de las negociaciones sobre el programa nuclear de Irán. Bush dijo: "Todas las opciones están sobre la mesa. Queremos solucionar este asunto por la vía diplomática y estamos trabajando duro para lograrlo. La mejor manera de lograrlo es unir esfuerzos con los países que reconocen el peligro de que Irán tenga armas nucleares. Por esa razón estamos trabajando estrechamente con países como Francia, Alemania y Gran Bretaña. Pretendo, por supuesto, hablar este jueves con Hu Jintao sobre las ambiciones iraníes de tener armas nucleares. Continuaremos trabajando diplomáticamente para solucionar este problema".

Físicos advierten a Bush que no utilice armas nucleares contra Irán
En otras noticias, un grupo de destacados físicos estadounidenses escribieron una carta abierta al Presidente Bush, exhortándolo a abstenerse de utilizar armas nucleares contra Irán. Entre los signatarios de la carta se encuentran cinco ganadores del premio Nóbel y un físico que fue galardonado con la Medalla Nacional de Ciencia. Según los físicos, la utilización de armas nucleares sería "sumamente irresponsable", y acarrearía "consecuencias desastrosas para la seguridad de Estados Unidos y del mundo".

Cuba conmemora 45 aniversario de la invasión de la Bahía de Cochinos
Cuba está conmemorando el aniversario número 45 de la invasión a la Bahía de Cochinos organizada por Estados Unidos. El 17 de abril de 1961, un grupo de más de 1.400 combatientes armados, entrenados y dirigidos por el gobierno de Kennedy, arribaron a las costas de Cuba en un intento por derrocar a su Presidente, Fidel Castro. A los pocos días, los combatientes fueron derrotados en lo que resultó ser una gran vergüenza para el gobierno de Kennedy y para la CIA.

1200 trabajadores indocumentados detenidos en histórica ofensiva contra inmigración
1200 trabajadores indocumentados de 26 estados diferentes fueron rodeados y detenidos a altas horas del miércoles, en lo que está siendo calificado como una de las mayores ofensivas contra la inmigración en la historia reciente de Estados Unidos. Las redadas se centraron en la empresa IFCO Systems North America, con sede en Houston. Siete gerentes y ex gerentes fueron acusados de conspirar para trasladar, encubrir y alentar a inmigrantes ilegales a que residan en Estados Unidos por motivos comerciales y económicos. Los gerentes podrían ser sentenciados con hasta diez años de prisión, así como también deberían pagar una multa de 250.000 dólares por cada trabajador indocumentado. Los arrestos surgen luego de las manifestaciones masivas para apoyar los derechos de los inmigrantes, que fueron realizadas durante el último mes.

Amnistía: Estados Unidos entre los cuatro países con mayor índice de ejecuciones
Mientras tanto, un nuevo informe de Amnistía Internacional indica que Estados Unidos es el país con mayor índice de ejecuciones estatales luego de China, Irán y Arabia Saudita. El 94 por ciento de aproximadamente 2100 ejecuciones en el mundo entero se consumaron en estos cuatro países. Según Amnistía, en China se llevaron a cabo al menos 1700 ejecuciones el año pasado, pero la cifra real podría estar en el entorno de las 8000.

Bebé recién nacida entre civiles afganos que resultaron heridos en tiroteo estadounidense
En Afganistán, la policía y los residentes locales dicen que soldados estadounidenses dispararon e hirieron a seis civiles afganos que viajaban en diferentes autos el martes. Entre las víctimas se encontraban una bebe recién nacida y un niño de cinco años de edad. La abuela de la bebe habló después del ataque: "Luego de que la bebé nació en el hospital nos dirigíamos a nuestra casa, y en el camino escuchamos disparos, y vi que nos estaban disparando. Todos los que viajábamos en el auto resultamos heridos. La bebe sufrió heridas en la cabeza. No sé qué fue lo que hicimos, ni por qué atacaron a personas inocentes".

Corte Suprema rechaza apelación de ciudadanos chinos detenidos en Guantánamo
La Corte Suprema rechazó una apelación de dos musulmanes de nacionalidad china que han estado detenidos por más de cuatro años en la prisión militar estadounidense de la Bahía de Guantánamo, a pesar de que el gobierno reconoce que fueron detenidos por error. Sus abogados dijeron que deberían ser liberados de inmediato, pero el gobierno de Bush rechazó la solicitud. Funcionarios dicen que no han logrado encontrar un país que acepte a los hombres tras su liberación. Ambos detenidos son uigures, y no desean regresar a China por temor a ser encarcelados y torturados.

Hospital de Asuntos de Veteranos de Nuevo México reconoce que enfermera fue acusada erróneamente
Actualizamos una noticia que hemos cubierto anteriormente. En Nuevo México, El Centro Médico de Asuntos de Veteranos de Albuquerque, reconoció públicamente haber acusado erróneamente de sedición a Laura Berg, una enfermera. En septiembre, Berg escribió una carta a un periódico local criticando el manejo que hacía el gobierno de Bush del Huracán Katrina y la guerra de Irak. Sus empleadores respondieron confiscando su computadora, y poco después se le informó que la estaban investigando. Hasta esta semana, el hospital se había disculpado en privado con Berg, pero se había resistido a reconocer públicamente que sus acusaciones eran falsas.

Maria: Good morning. Now in English, here are ten stories from Democracy Now! Peace.

Polls: Support For Bush, Iraq War At New Lows
Back in the United States, a new poll shows President Bush's approval rating is at a record low. According to Fox News, just 33% percent of Americans say they approve of the President's performance. Meanwhile, a new Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll has found that 58% Americans believe the war in Iraq was unnecessary.

Monthly Spending on Iraq, Afghan Occupations Nears $10B
In other news, a new report from the Congressional Research Service says the US is now spending close to $10 billion dollars a month on the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan -- an increase of nearly $8 billion dollars from one year ago.

Bush Refuses To Rule Out Nuclear Strikes on Iran
At the White House Tuesday, President Bush refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons in the impasse over Iran’s nuclear program. "All options are on the table," Bush said. "We want to solve this issue diplomatically and we're working hard to do so. The best way to do so is there for (sic) to be a united effort with countries who recognize the danger of Iran having a nuclear weapon. And that's why we're working very closely with countries like France and Germany and Great Britain. I intend, of course, to bring the subject up of Iranian ambitions to have a nuclear weapon with Hu Jintao this Thursday. We'll continue to work diplomatically to get this problem solved."

Physicists Warn Bush On Using Nuclear Weapons Against Iran
In other news, a group of prominent US physicists has written an open letter to President Bush urging him to refrain from using nuclear weapons against Iran. The letter's signatories include five Nobel laureates and a recipient of the National Medal of Science. According to the physicists, the use of nuclear weapons would be: "gravely irresponsible" with "disastrous consequences for the security of the United States and the world."

Cuba Marks 45-Year Anniversary of Bay of Pigs Invasion
Cuba is in the midst of commemorating the 45th anniversary of the US-organized Bay of Pigs invasion. On April 17, 1961, a group of over 1,400 fighters armed, trained and directed by the Kennedy administration landed on Cuba's shores in an attempt to overthrow Cuban President Fidel Castro. Within days the fighters were defeated in what proved to be a major emberassment for the Kennedy administration and the CIA. Jose Ramon, who fought for the Cuban government during the Bay of Pigs, said: "Every year we celebrate this, it is celebrated in all of the country, and it brings us great memories. I don't wish for this to happen again, not only here, but in no other place in the world."

1200 Undocumented Workers Detained In Record Immigration Sting
In what is being called one of the largest immigration crackdowns in recent US history, 1200 undocumented workers from 26 different states were rounded up and detained late Wednesday. The raids focused on the Houston-based company IFCO Systems North America. Seven current and former managers were charged with conspiracy to transport, harbor and encourage illegal immigrants to reside in the US for commercial and financial gain. The managers face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each undocumented worker. The arrests come on the heels of the massive rallies in support of immigration rights that have taken place in the last month.

Amnesty: US Among Top Four State Executioners
Meanwhile, a new report from Amnesty International shows the US ranks only behind China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia in carrying out state executions. 94 percent of an estimated 2100 executions worldwide took place in those four countries alone. In China, Amnesty says at least 1700 executions took place last year, but that the actual number could reach as high as 8,000.

Newborn Girl Among Afghan Civilians Injured in US Shooting
In Afghanistan, police and local residents say US troops shot and injured six Afghan civilians who were traveling in separate cars Tuesday. The victims included a newborn baby girl and a five-year old boy. The baby's grandmother spoke after the attack: "After the baby was born in hospital we were heading to our home, on our way home we heard gunfire, I saw we are being targeted. Everyone in the car was hurt. The baby received head injuries. I don't know what we did, why they attacked innocent people."

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal of Chinese Men At Guantanamo
The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from two Chinese Muslims who are being held at the U.S. military prison Guantanamo Bay even though the government acknowledges they were mistakenly detained. The men have been held for more than four years. Lawyers for the men said they should be immediately released but the Bush administration has refused the request. Officials say they have been unable to find a country that will accept the men after their release. Both men are Uighurs and do not want to return to China out of fear that they would be imprisoned and tortured.

New Mexico VA Hospital Admits Nurse Wrongfully Accused
This update on a story we've been following: In New Mexico, Albuquerque's Veterans Affairs Medical Center has publicly admitted it wrongly accused one of its nurses of sedition. In September, the nurse, Laura Berg, wrote a letter to a local newspaper criticizing the Bush administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq war. Her employers responded by confiscating her computer. Shortly after she was informed she was being investigated. Up until this week, the hospital had given Berg a private apology, but had resisted calls to publicly admit that its allegations were false.