Friday, January 13, 2006

News, Dave Zirin, bummed over Alito hearings

Good evening, it's Friday, start that weekend! Let's kick get it started with Democracy Now!

Padilla Pleads Not Guilty in Miami
In this country, Jose Padilla has pleaded not guilty on terrorism charges in Miami. A judge denied his request for bail. Padilla was only charged in November after over three years in solitary confinement on a military brig in South Carolina. At the time of his arrest in May 2002, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft accused Padilla of involvement in "a terrorist plot to attack the United States by exploding a radioactive 'dirty bomb.'" None of his current charges include these allegations. Last month, a federal appeals court suggested the Bush administration only charged Padilla to thwart his pending Supreme Court appeal. His trial has been set for September.

Despite all the time served, Jose Padilla has never been convicted of anything. The government doesn't seem to have a case. That's why all their rhetoric about "dirty bomb" anda huge plot have fallen by the way side. When this case goes to trial, I think the government will very likely be embarrassed.

World Food Programme Warns 2M At Risk in Kenyan Food Drought
In Kenya, the World Food Programme is warning over two million people are in need of food aid to overcome a drought caused by two failed rainy seasons. President Mwai Kibaki recently declared food shortages in the arid north and some coastal areas a national disaster.
The World Food Programme's Peter Smerdon : "Food and money is needed now if we are going to tackle this problem and people will survive. If we do not receive more food donations, it's going to be very miserable and very difficult for a lot of people in Kenya and elsewhere and there will be loss of life."

There's so much going on in the world. I think about the Live 8 concerts and how they got Bono a cover of Time but don't seem to have helped any of the people in Africa. I think about how he and Bob Geldoff were hailed as heroes but the organizers behind Make Poverty History felt like Bono and Bob made concessions that didn't need to be made and cheered empty promises that didn't pan out.

Last day of the Alito hearings. I'll let C.I. sum it up:

Alito wasn't present, but the hearings went on.
[. . .]
A number of topics were addressed (and misaddressed) today. I'm not as tickled by the term "stink bomb" as one Senator was. I will note that chortles continued once Laurence Tribe began speaking and he had to stop and wait for the chortling Senator to come to their senses. If you felt the Senator never did, chances are you know whom we're speaking of. The Senator who either felt the need to play Barbara Walters ("If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?") or to play Mystery Date (stated by a woman seated next to me) didn't go out on a high note.
Tribe and Kate Michelman spoke effectively. The testimonials in favor of Alito started out resembling too many late night "It changed my life!" infomercials. As the parade continued, the Cult of Alito became more mind numbing (one had to wonder if some "vouchers" had been mind numbed before they became mind numbing?)
So now the Senate committee's done all it probably plans to. Use NOW's
Take Action: Call Your Senators Today link today and remember this number 1-800-839-5276. Delilah Boyd (A Scrivener's Lament) always displays it. Why? It's the toll free number for the Capitol Hill Switchboard. Dial it, ask for the Senator you want to speak to and they'll transfer you to her or his office. You can store the number and use it to contact the offices of House members as well. Or you can just remember Delilah's got it posted at her site and visit A Scriverner's Lament not just for her humor and keen observations (noted in the year-in-review) but also for the solid information she hooks you up with.

It was depressing for me to listen to. I kept thinking how the Dems could have all fought but instead they missed their chance.

Elaine's bummed as well. She'll either post late tonight or this weekend. She's got an entry planned on something other than Alito so look for that.

Dave Zirin's "Crossroads: Race and Coaching in the NFL:"

Anyone searching for job security shouldn't look for a career in NFL coaching. A full one-quarter of coaches have been canned including Oakland’s Norv Turner, New Orleans’ Jim Haslett, and a myriad of Mikes: Mike Sherman of Green Bay, Mike Tice from Minnesota, and Mike Martz in St. Louis. Mike Mularkey of Buffalo looks safe as does Mike Nolan in San Francisco but both had lousy seasons so give it a year for the next round of disposable Mikes. The coaching fallout hardly surprises. This year the league has suffered through what scribe Bill Simmons has called "perpetual putridity," making the compelling case that thirteen NFL teams now "truly suck."
But perpetual putridity can have its upside. It creates an opportunity for NFL owners to make a serious dent in the apartheid feng shui that defines the coaching quarters in the NFL. The stats are staggering. In the 16 years since Art Shell became the NFL’s first African-American head coach, progress has come at a glacial pace. The NFL coaching fraternity makes the US Senate look like Soul Train. 65% of the league is African-American yet only six coaches are Black. This should neither shock nor stun. A typical meeting of NFL owners resembles Thanksgiving at Hootie Johnson's house. They hire the familiar, the comfortable, the white; even if that means hiring a white coach who has been around the bend so many times that they wear failure like a second skin.
Anthony Prior, a former NFL cornerback whose new book A Slave System On Sunday, calls out the institutionalized racism in pro football, says the problem is more than skin deep. Prior told me that the culture of white supremacy is so intense, even African-American players can be heard denigrating Black coaches. African-Americans in positions of leadership aren't taken seriously, while "I heard white coaches called 'boss' like we're on a plantation."
The irony of all this is that independent studies show African-American head coaches have far outperformed their white counterparts. This is all the more remarkable considering they are almost always set up for failure on the bottom feeding teams of the league where the culture of losing runs so thick fans wear paper and plastic bags on their heads. Coaches are responsible not just for mastering the Xs and Os but also convincing a community that their team won't be a source of shame. That’s what Marvin Lewis has done in Cincinnati, where a squad recently known as "the Bungle"s just won their division, or what Tony Dungy did in Tampa Bay, when in 1996 he turned the Buccaneers from a punch line into a contender. When Tampa won the Super Bowl in 2003, during John Gruden's first year as head coach, players like Warren Sapp and John Lynch gave props to Dungy in the post game celebrations.

Be sure that you've read Betty's newest chapter at her site.

If I blog again before Monday, I'll be more upbeat. At least it's the weekend, right?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Bully Boy's blood lust, Iran: Target in focus, Pinochet today and Bully Boy tomorrow

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

Pressure Builds On Iran Over Nuclear Activities
This news on Iran -- Russia, the US, the European Union and China will reportedly hold talks next week on Iran’s resumption of nuclear activities. The Iranian government has removed U.N. seals on its uranium enrichment equipment, sparking an outcry from the United States and Europe. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Iran's move did not violate international law, but may be brought before the UN Security Council. Meanwhile, Western leaders stepped up their rebukes of Iran.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair: "I don't think there is any point in people or us hiding our deep dismay at what Iran has decided to do and when taken in conjunction with their other comments about the state of Israel they cause real and serious alarm right across the world." Iran insists it’s removed the seals to resume research activities, and has no plans for uranium enrichment.
Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani: "They will regret creating any problems for us. God willing, we will get out of it successfully."

They're moving on Iran. Tony Blair gets quoted right above but Condi's wanting the UN to make a move. Two wars weren't enough for Bully Boy, he needs a third. Afghanistan is hardly a "win" and we all know Iraq is a civil war festering. But Bully Boy needs one more war. More people need to die on both sides and it still won't be enough to curb his blood lust.

That's the point of including "Bully Boy Exposed" from Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts. Bully Boy's got the blood lust. He plays in his blood box. He sucks the blood dry from bones. Nothing can satisfy his blood lust.

Pinochet Stripped of Legal Immunity
In Chile, former military dictator Augusto Pinochet was stripped of his legal immunity Wednesday, clearing the way for him to face charges he murdered political opponents in the 1973 coup that brought him to power. Chilean courts have previously stripped Pinochet’s immunity for other cases, but he has avoided several trials by convincing judges he is medically unfit to stand trial. If the current case proceeds, it would reopen one of the most notorious human rights cases involving Pinochet's dictatorship -- the so-called Caravan of Death, in which 75 jailed dissidents were killed in the weeks immediately after the coup.

Pinochet today, Bully Boy after the Nov. 2006 elections! Let's make it happen.

How can we do that? Impeach. Impeach. Impeach.

Read Elizabeth Holtzman's "The Impeachment of George W. Bush" (The Nation):

Finally, it has started. People have begun to speak of impeaching President George W. Bush--not in hushed whispers but openly, in newspapers, on the Internet, in ordinary conversations and even in Congress. As a former member of Congress who sat on the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon, I believe they are right to do so.
I can still remember the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach during those proceedings, when it became clear that the President had so systematically abused the powers of the presidency and so threatened the rule of law that he had to be removed from office. As a Democrat who opposed many of President Nixon's policies, I still found voting for his impeachment to be one of the most sobering and unpleasant tasks I ever had to undertake. None of the members of the committee took pleasure in voting for impeachment; after all, Democrat or Republican, Nixon was still our President.
At the time, I hoped that our committee's work would send a strong signal to future Presidents that they had to obey the rule of law. I was wrong.
Like many others, I have been deeply troubled by Bush's breathtaking scorn for our international treaty obligations under the United Nations Charter and the Geneva Conventions. I have also been disturbed by the torture scandals and the violations of US criminal laws at the highest levels of our government they may entail, something I have written about in these pages [see Holtzman, "Torture and Accountability," July 18/25, 2005]. These concerns have been compounded by growing evidence that the President deliberately misled the country into the war in Iraq. But it wasn't until the most recent revelations that President Bush directed the wiretapping of hundreds, possibly thousands, of Americans, in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)--and argued that, as Commander in Chief, he had the right in the interests of national security to override our country's laws--that I felt the same sinking feeling in my stomach as I did during Watergate.

If the Bully Boy's a leech, you must impeach.

The hearings today on Alito?


You get all excited from one day and then it's back to butt smooching and "Thank you to you and your family for being here." Notice that Alito never mentioned thanks. Who is the one being honored? The Senate? No.

The Senate's fulfilling its obligation. Any nominee has to be vetted by them. Alito's the one who should be honored. But he sat there smugly time and again basking in the butt smooches.

I'm not a Hillary fan but both my parents think Diane Feinstein needs to step down from the judiciary committee and let Hillary get on it. They don't think you need to be a lawyer to be on the committee but they think you need to be strong and they're as disgusted as everyone else with Diane Feinstein's nonsense in the last three days.

Nina said it last night in the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin, "Is she trying to play good cop? Because she just comes off like dumb cop. She like Chief Wiggins on The Simpsons."
I laughed so hard when Nina said that last night. (I had permission to quote the round-robin if anyone's wondering.)

I am proud of Ted Kennedy for being a fighter. I think some fought and some just growled. And Diane Feinstein just fanned herself acting like, as Kat's pointed out, The "Little Lady" of the Senate.

I also think C.I. did a pretty great job capturing the mood today in this entry and my favorite part is this:

So what has today been like? Not as lively as yesterday. "Enough of that. Let me move on." Who said that? Which Democrat? Does it matter? Doesn't that seem like those two sentences summed up much of what's gone on so far today? (Diane Feinstein said it today to Alito, for those who missed it.)
Who's worthy of applause in these hearings? Pacifica. They provided America with "gavel to gavel" coverage. (Coverage is still going on so if you're listening, keep listening. If you're not, consider listening via Pacifica.) With prospects very likely that Alito will be the second Supreme Court Justice appointed in less than a year by the Bully Boy, NPR decided that what America really needed was . . . so-called Fresh Air.

Be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's comments.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

NSA tries to silence Russell Tice, What About Haiti?, and Senate Dems start to come to life

Good evening. Alito hearings got a little more lively. Let's kick things off with Democracy Now!

NSA Denies Whistleblower's Demand To Testify Before Congress
Meanwhile, ABC News is reporting the National Security Agency has denied the request of whistleblower Russell Tice to testify before Congress. Tice, a former intelligence agent at the NSA and Defense Intelligence Agency who has spoken out against the domestic spy program, was told he is not free to testify because staff members on Capitol Hill do not have high enough security clearance to hear the secrets he has to tell. Tice first spoke out on record on Democracy Now last week.

That better not be the end of it. NSA doesn't override elected members of Congress in a democracy. This is like when J-Ass tried to shut up Sibel Edmonds and Congress went along with that. It's a real shame that in a supposed democracy we have to wait for permission to hear about problems. Tice says there's a huge problem. Congress should call him to testify and it should be on every channel and every radio station and that's what a democracy is supposed to be about.

UN Admits July Cite Soleil Raid Killed Innocent Civilians
The calls for crackdowns come as the UN has admitted for the first time it killed several innocent people in a July raid on the poor community of Cite Soleil. This according to an internal inquiry obtained by the London Independent. At the time, Democracy Now broadcast graphic footage of the raid. Peacekeepers killed at least twenty people, including two young children. Despite its admission, the UN maintained most of the dead were actually killed by other gang members, calling the video footage a "manifest example" of disinformation. But Kevin Pina, a Haiti-based American journalist said: "I personally handed a copy of that video to [the UN special envoy, Juan] Valdes at JFK airport. He described it as propaganda and lies without even looking at it. They are predisposed to saying this. They do not want to look at the evidence."

Bully Boy was doing the freedom talk again yesterday. But what about Haiti? I think that should be a cry whenever and where ever he brings up "freedom"? "WHAT ABOUT HAITI!"

Remember to check out Elaine's site, Like Maria Said Paz, to get her input. And remember to listen to the hearings on Pacifica.

Now let's talk Alito. Ted Kennedy? I feel proud to have him as one of my senators.
He did a great job. I groan everytime Diane Feinstein speaks. She really gets on my nerves with her fussy manners. But Ted Kennedy roared like a lion.

I think he shook things up and woke things up. There was a lot more action today. Dick Durbin did pretty good in the morning. Charles Schumer did a strong job in the afternoon. Russ Feingold is second only to Ted Kennedy. I feel like even Kohl and Biden got some points in. Then Diane Feinstein has to get silly. Elaine's covering that so I'll just ask what she thinks she's doing?

She's not helping anyone. If you think I'm being rough, you should hear Nina. We cut class to listen to the hearings and I've never seen her so mad. That includes when we were hurrying down the stairs Christmas Eve to get to Mass and I accidentally stepped on her dress. She was ahead of me on the stairs and had a nice long dress on. We were both hurrying down the stairs and she was in front of me and I wasn't paying attention where my big feet were going. Ma and Elaine got out the thread and needle and it was like the mice in Cindrella. :D

I have hopes for tomorrow's hearings and I'll talk about that in the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin tonight so look for that tomorrow when Gina and Krista e-mail it out. By the way, Ma's taking part in tonight and tomorrow night's roundtables. And when you read tomorrow, expect an earful from Nina. She didn't plan to take part tonight but she's so furious with Diane Feinstein that she called Gina and Gina said "Of course." If she'd asked me, I would have told her that because Gina and Krista want as many people weighing in as possible. So look for that in the morning. C.I. wrote some about the round-robin and Leigh Ann doesn't get the round-robin. She saw C.I.'s entry and wondered about C.I. talking about? C.I. asked Gina and Krista last night. C.I. really only talked about comments made by C.I. which would have been fine without permission. But Gina and Krista gave permission (and said C.I. didn't need permission, but C.I. really thinks the round-robin should be kept private). C.I. said if they were doing nonsense, it was going up at The Common Ills because the press was bored on Tuesday. The journalist that took part in the roundtable Tuesday night kept stressing that over and over and kept saying C.I. needed to post something on that because if there weren't sparks today, it was over. In the roundtable I listened a lot and I did talk about the "manners" bit like I had blogged on last night. Leigh Ann asked why it pissed me off so much? Because I think they needed to get down business and wasn't seeing that happen. Today was better after about the second or third hour. But Diane Feinstein needs to stop playing Miss Manners.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Reporters under fire and senators play silly

Good evening. We'll get things started with Democracy Now!

US Reporter Kidnapped, Iraqi Interpreter Killed in Iraq
In Iraq, an American journalist with the Christian Science Monitor has been kidnapped in an incident that left her Iraqi interpreter dead. Jill Carroll was seized Saturday outside the offices of a prominent Sunni politician in Baghdad. Caroll's interpreter, Allan Enwiyah, was shot dead. He was 32 years old. The Christian Science Monitor is pleading for Carroll’s safe return. Reporters Without Borders reports she is the 31st media worker to be kidnapped in Iraq since the start of the war in March 2003.

Here's some facts from Reporters Without Borders:

At total of 55 journalists and 21 media assistants have been killed since the start of war in Iraq in March 2003. Of the 76 fatal victims, 56 (73 per cent) were Iraqi and four (five per cent) were American. Baghdad continues to be Iraq’s most dangerous city, with 27 journalists and assistants killed, followed by Mosul, with 12. The pan-Arab satellite TV station Al-Iraqiya has been the worst hit news media with a total of 10 journalists and assistants killed.
Jill Carroll is the 31st media worker to have been kidnapped in Iraq since the start of the war. Five of the kidnap victims (four Iraqis and Enzo Baldoni of Italy) were killed by their abductors. The others were released safe and sound. Twenty-three of the abductions took place in or near Baghdad.

Next item.

Award-Winning Iraqi Journalist Arrested by US Troops
In other Iraq news, US troops have raided and arrested award-winning Iraqi journalist Ali Fadhil. Soldiers reportedly entered his home and fired bullets into the bedroom where he and his wife and children were sleeping. Fadhil was hooded and questioned for several hours. He says US troops gave him $1500 dollars for damage to his home and then dropped him off alone in a dangerous Baghdad neighborhood. In November, Fadhil won the Foreign Press Association award for young journalist of the year. He's currently at work on a documentary about the US and British governments' misuse of Iraqi funds.
Fadhil says US troops have not returned several videotapes they took from him. The director of the documentary, Callum Macrae, said: "The timing and nature of this raid is extremely disturbing. It is only a few days since we first approached the US authorities and told them Ali was doing this investigation, and asked them then to grant him an interview about our findings."

Here are some facts I found at Reporters Without Borders:

At total of 55 journalists and 21 media assistants have been killed since the start of war in Iraq in March 2003. Of the 76 fatal victims, 56 (73 per cent) were Iraqi and four (five per cent) were American. Baghdad continues to be Iraq’s most dangerous city, with 27 journalists and assistants killed, followed by Mosul, with 12. The pan-Arab satellite TV station Al-Iraqiya has been the worst hit news media with a total of 10 journalists and assistants killed.
Jill Carroll is the 31st media worker to have been kidnapped in Iraq since the start of the war. Five of the kidnap victims (four Iraqis and Enzo Baldoni of Italy) were killed by their abductors. The others were released safe and sound. Twenty-three of the abductions took place in or near Baghdad.

"Wait, Mike, are you snoozing?"

No. I'm just saying not a lot of respect for reporters in Iraq period. The US may have targeted Al Jazeera -- I think they did -- and anyone who's not an embed is at risk. Which means Dexter Filkins is safe and sound.

Elaine and I think it's horrible that Jill Carroll, a freelancer, has been kidnapped. We also think it's horrible that the American government hasn't been concerned with staking out a high ground. Journalists are detained and worse. Look into the case of Taysir Alluni and wonder who taught the Bully Boy about America when he was a kid because that's no America I know.

I'm not a big fan of bad reporters. People like Dexter Filkins are people I'll make fun of in a minute. But if one day Dexter decided to actually report and not just publish press releases I'll defend his right to report. I'll defend it right now even though he doesn't want to use it. It's too bad that our mainstream media is so embedded in so many ways. But a free press matters and we gave it up with Iraq not once but twice. We let Poppy embed reporters in Gulf I and we let Bully Boy do the same in Gulf II.

I doubt the New York Times has a Robert Fisk or Naomi Klein but you never know. We'll never know what might have happened if their reporters hadn't gotten in bed with the military.

When our government refuses to allow the press to move freely it sets an example. Maybe journalists would be targets anyway. But more journalists are dying in Iraq than anyone could have expected. Some of that's been from US forces. Some has been from the other side.

I don't respect many mainstream reporters but I do respect the potential of what they could do.
Bully Boy killed that potential when he turned them into embeds and pawns and when he allowed independent journalists to be targeted.

By the way, be sure to check out Elaine's site Like Maria said Paz.

And Wally had a good roundup of comments on the Alito hearings. I'm listening. Hope you're listening and listening via Pacifica. I think Russ Feingold did a great job today. He seemed serious and didn't make jokes about how pretty Diane Feinstein was or other stuff that was just a waste of time. This is serious stuff and I was really surprised that a lot of them didn't seem to take it seriously. I listen and think, "Okay, I guess it's no surprise that the Republicans are sucking up hard but why are Democrats rushing in with 'you're a good man' and all that other stuff?" This isn't a comic book convention. It's supposed to be deliberating about whether or not someone is qualified for the Supreme Court. They're all, "Yes, Miss Carey" and "Sparkle was a really good movie, Miss Carey." They need to get serious and ask questions. That was what Feingold did. They're not supposed to be making nice on either side. This is a job interview and they're treating it like a Sunday brunch to meet the new neighbor. Remember to listen to the hearings on Pacifica and show your support for independent media.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Air strikes kills 3 teenagers, 95% of weapons in Mexico come from the US, thin skinned reporter

Good evening. A great deal to note tonight including the news, a new site started by a community member and a thin skinned e-mailer. Let's kick things off with Democracy Now!

Witnesses: US Bombing of Ramadi Neighborhood Kills 6 Teens
Meanwhile, witnesses in the western city of Ramadi say a US air strike killed six teenagers Saturday. The teenagers were reportedly gathered near their homes when their neighborhood was shelled by US military planes.
Unidentified Ramadi resident: "They were children, only 16 and 17 years old. They were playing here and cleaning the sewage near their houses. The planes hit them with rockets, we did find their bodies but flesh and blood."

What do you think that's like? You're with your friends, you're hanging out, goofing around a little, doing the chores a little and then you and your friends look up in the air . . . or maybe you don't. Maybe you're so used to the planes circling and you know you're not doing anything wrong, nothing that could get a body killed. So you just blow off the planes and focus on your friends and your chores.

And what do you think that's like if the kids that got killed are your friends or your brothers or sisters? Or your own kids?

There are no "Smart bombs." Some guy, Gregg, wrote in to say, about something I wrote last week, "You don't know that they used smart bombs!"

Gregg, I wasn't using a trademark. I was saying that there are no smart bombs. No bombs used are "smart." We act like we have this high tech destructive force that only kills intended targets. That's not reality.

Report: 95% of Illegal Weapons in Mexico Originate in US
This news from Mexico -- the Los Angles Times is reporting an estimated 95% of weapons confiscated from suspected criminals in Mexico were first sold legally in the United States. Mexican officials interviewed by the Times blamed the US’ lax gun laws, which are a stark contrast to Mexico’s. There are fewer than 2,500 registered gun owners in Mexico, yet police say they confiscate more than 250 weapons a day.

Get where the guns are coming from? Here. Something to think about. Ponder too who's getting rich off the violence.

ANNOUNCEMENT: A member of The Common Ills community has started their own site. It's a woman named Trina and her site is called Trina's Kitchen . That's about all I know about this woman.


Trina's my mother. That's "Ma" when I'm talking about her. So make a point to visit her site. You can write her care of my e-mail ( if you need to before she sets up a new account. In fact, I bet she's waiting on that because Dad set up the one she's using now. So after I get this posted, I'll go down and see if she wants me to help her set up a new e-mail account just for her site.

My Ma's great. So check out her site.

Know who's not great? A reporter.

I go into the e-mails and this guy is just chewing my butt out. I'm thinking, "When did I write a word about you, dude?" I didn't. He was writing C.I. He saw my address up at The Common Ills and even though C.I. said it was my e-mail address, he didn't feel the need to say, "Dear C.I." or "Attention C.I." If he'd used something like that, I wouldn't have even read it.

I told C.I. and asked if I could write about it because The Common Ills has the whole e-mail policy that I don't. C.I. said I could do "whatever you want, Mike" but I go, "How about if I don't mention the guy's name." So that's what I'm going to do.

The guy is a total jerk. And I read the thing C.I. wrote that had the crybaby so mad that he ends up cursing and spewing in an e-mail and I thought, "Get a life, dude." Does he write to everyone who disagrees with him to say, "What you may not know about me . . ." I don't know what C.I. knows about him. I know C.I. knows a lot more than goes up at The Common Ills. And not from e-mails saying, "What you may not know . . ." But since C.I.'s not discussing the reporter's personal life, I don't know why the reporter felt the need to?

I hope you're listening to the Alito hearings coverage on Pacifica. Remember that is not a one day thing. As long as the hearings are going on, Pacifica's covering them live.

Here's another thing to remember but I think I forgot to put it in Friday, check out Elaine's comments on the two news stories by visiting Like Maria Said Paz.

Now here's Maria recapping eleven news stories from Democracy Now! last week. But first, these messages. :D Seriously, Gregg also had a problem with me putting these up once a week. He goes he doesn't read Spanish. Well, what do you want me to do about that Gregg? You want me to teach you?

It's not all about you. I have heard from one woman who is bilingual (Spanish and English) and she enjoys reading them in Spanish and then going to the English. I'm glad Gregg comes here. I didn't know we had a Republican regular until he wrote. Maybe he'll hear something here that he doesn't hear on the stuff he usually goes to. But Gregg knows Democracy Now! does headlines in English and Spanish. He might not like it, but he knows. And if someone says, "My cousin's visiting and he only speaks Spanish." Gregg can say, "Hey, there's this show called Democracy Now! that offers the headlines in Spanish."

And there's another reason too. Like the thing I'm putting below here from last week, it's eleven headlines in Spanish and English. That's twenty two links plus the two when Maria says where they came from. So 24 links to a show I belive in. It ran first at The Common Ills, then at The Third Estate Sunday Review. So from just this one thing, Democracy Now! got seventy-two links online. Links help the show's popularity and get the word out. Even if you're Gregg and don't think you'll ever watch the show, you know about it.

Here's Maria's thing, first in Spanish, then in English.

"Disminuye apoyo a Bush por parte de las Fuerzas Armadas"
Maria: Hola. De parte de "
Democracy Now!" once cosas que vale hacer notar este fin de semana. Paz.

Disminuye apoyo a Bush por parte de las Fuerzas Armadas
Mientras tanto, una nueva encuesta realizada por la revista "Military Times", indica que el apoyo al Presidente Bush por parte de las Fuerzas Armadas estadounidenses ha disminuido más de un diez por ciento en el último año. La encuesta descubrió que el apoyo a las políticas de Bush en general disminuyó de un 71 por ciento a un 60 por ciento. El apoyo a la guerra de Irak bajó de un 63 por ciento a un 54 por ciento. El "Times" dice que la encuesta descubrió un "optimismo disminuido de que las metas estadounidenses en Irak puedan ser alcanzadas, y una menor disminución en el apoyo a la decisión de comenzar la guerra en 2003".

Más de 120 personas mueren en el peor momento de violencia en Irak en los últimos cuatro meses
En Irak, más de 120 personas murieron el jueves en una ola de violencia que azotó a todo el país. Otras 200 personas resultaron heridas en lo que fue el día más sangriento que ha sufrido el país en los últimos cuatro meses. En Ramadi, un atacante suicida mató a por lo menos 67 personas e hirió a más de 100 en las inmediaciones de un centro de reclutamiento de la policía. Más temprano habían muerto al menos 44 personas en un atentado suicida a un santuario chiita en la ciudad sagrada de Karbala. Y 11 soldados estadounidenses fueron asesinados el jueves en Irak, incluidos cinco que murieron en un atentado con coche bomba al costado de una carretera cercana a Karbala.

Padilla comparece en Miami luego de que la Suprema Corte anulara fallo
En Estados Unidos, el detenido del Pentágono, José Padilla, compareció ante un tribunal de Miami el jueves luego de ser transferido desde una prisión militar. En 2002, Padilla fue arrestado cuando regresaba de Pakistán y declaró ser un "combatiente enemigo". El entonces Fiscal General, John Ashcroft, acusó a Padilla de estar involucrado en "una conspiración terrorista para atacar a Estados Unidos explotando una 'bomba sucia' radioactiva". Los cargos contra Padilla recién fueron presentados en noviembre, luego de más de tres años de detención en una celda solitaria de una prisión militar en Carolina del Sur. Dichos cargos no incluían las acusaciones más graves que se hicieron al momento de su arresto.El mes pasado, un tribunal federal de apelaciones se negó a aprobar el traslado de Padilla al tribunal civil de Miami, y sugirió que el gobierno de Bush sólo formuló el pedido para frustrar la apelación pendiente de Padilla ante la Suprema Corte. Sin embargo, la Suprema Corte anuló el miércoles la decisión del tribunal inferior, posibilitando su trasladado a Miami.

Bush se reserva el derecho de ordenar tortura a prisioneros
Actualizamos una historia que hemos seguido de cerca. La semana pasada, el Presidente Bush firmó oficialmente un proyecto de ley que prohíbe la tortura a los detenidos. A pesar de que la firma del proyecto de ley tuvo importante cobertura de la prensa, lo que Bush hizo después de firmar no la tuvo. Según el "Boston Globe", Bush silenciosamente presentó la llamada declaración de firma, en donde explica su interpretación de la nueva ley. En este documento, Bush declaró que considerará los límites en los interrogatorios en el contexto de sus poderes más amplios para proteger la seguridad nacional. Juristas dicen que esto significa que Bush cree que puede evadir las restricciones en contra de la tortura. El Profesor de Derecho de la Universidad de Nueva York David Golove, criticó la maniobra de Bush. Golove dijo: "La declaración dice 'sólo obedeceré esta ley cuando quiera, y si surge algo en la guerra contra el terrorismo donde considere que es importante aplicar la tortura o conductas crueles, inhumanas y degradantes, tengo la autoridad para hacerlo y nada en esta ley me detendrá'".

Gobierno ofrecerá información clasificada sobre espionaje nacional a jueces de FISA
Mientras tanto, el "Washington Post" informa que funcionarios del Departamento de Justicia y de Inteligencia darán información clasificada el lunes a los integrantes del Tribunal secreto de Supervisión de Inteligencia Extranjera (FISC, por sus siglas en inglés). El Presidente Bush admitió que actuó sin el consentimiento del Poder Judicial y ordenó a la Agencia de Seguridad Nacional que llevara a cabo operaciones de espionaje a nivel nacional, sin las órdenes aprobadas por el Poder Judicial que exige la ley. La semana pasada, un juez del tribunal de la Ley de Vigilancia de Inteligencia en el Extranjero (FISA) renunció en protesta al programa secreto de espionaje.

Informe: Fiscales Generales retrasaron partes del programa de espionaje en 2004
Mientras tanto, el "New York Times" informa que un alto funcionario del Departamento de Justicia retrasó la aprobación del programa secreto de espionaje debido a que le preocupaba su legalidad y supervisión. En marzo de 2004, el Fiscal General actuante James Comey se negó a firmar para continuar la utilización del programa. Comey estaba reemplazando a el entonces Fiscal General John Aschroft, mientras Ashcroft estaba hospitalizado. La negativa de Comey provocó que los asistentes de alto rango del Presidente Bush, Andrew Card y Alberto Gonzales, visitaran a Aschroft en el hospital para asegurar la aprobación. El "Times" informa que Aschroft expresó su renuencia a firmar para aprobar el programa. No está claro si al final cedió. Según el "Times", las preocupaciones de Ashcroft y Comey aparentemente provocaron la suspensión temporal de partes del programa por varios meses.

HRW solicita Estados Unidos que deduzca costos de construcción de asentamientos y del muro de la ayuda a Israel
En otras noticias, la destacada organización estadounidense Human Rights Watch (HRW) exhortó al gobierno de Bush que disminuya la ayuda a Israel. En una reciente carta dirigida al presidente Bush, HRW le solicitó al presidente Bush que deduzca de la ayuda extranjera a Israel la cantidad que gasta en la expansión de los asentamientos y el muro de separación en Cisjordania. Israel es el mayor receptor anual de ayuda extranjera de Estados Unidos, con asistencia y préstamos directos que superaron los 5 mil millones de dólares en 2005. Funcionarios de HRW dijeron que su solicitud se trata de la primera vez que un importante grupo de derechos humanos le pide al gobierno una reducción de la ayuda directa a Israel.

Zapatistas lanzan gira nacional de seis meses en México
En México, el ejército rebelde zapatista lanzó una gira de seis meses de duración por las comunidades pobres e indígenas de todo el país. Los zapatistas nombraron la gira "La Otra Campaña", en referencia al período previo a las elecciones presidenciales que se realizarán en julio. El grupo dice que no participará en las elecciones, pero utiliza la gira para promover su distanciamiento de los conflictos armados y la formación de un movimiento político izquierdista en todo el país. Al comienzo de la gira, el líder zapatista Marcos, anunció que ya no sería el "Subcomandante" sino el "Delegado Zero", alegando que ya no quería tener un título militar.
El líder Zapatista Marcos, ex subcomandante, habló el martes en Palenque: "Los gobiernos que tenemos, aparte de mentirnos, de robarnos, de despojarnos de lo poco que tienen, de lo poco que tenemos, nos dan los precios muy caros de las cosas que compramos. Y las cosas que producimos como campesinos o como obreros nos los pagan con una miseria".

México reclama que se investigue asesinato en la frontera
En otras noticias, el gobierno mexicano está pidiendo que se investigue la muerte de un hombre desarmado que fue baleado hace una semana por un agente fronterizo estadounidense. Guillermo Martínez Rodríguez, de 18 años de edad, fue asesinado el viernes pasado del lado estadounidense de la frontera entre San Diego y Tijuana. Funcionarios de la frontera estadounidense dijeron que Rodríguez le había arrojado piedras a un agente. Pero una investigación realizada por el consulado mexicano encontró que a Rodríguez le habían disparado por la espalda desde por lo menos cuatro metros y medio de distancia. Rodríguez volvió corriendo a Tijuana donde murió más tarde en un hospital. Rodríguez habría cruzado presuntamente la frontera en busca de trabajo. El funcionario del consulado mexicano Alberto Lozano dijo: "Condenamos la utilización de la fuerza en este trágico caso... es un abuso de poder".

AP corta relación con periodista vinculada con la Fundación Nacional para la Democracia
En otras noticias, "Associated Press" anunció que cortó vínculos con una periodista que descubireron que trabajaba para la Fundación Nacional para la Democracia (NED, por sus siglas en inglés), que cuenta con el apoyo del gobierno de Estados Unidos. La NED, que recibe financiamiento anual del Congreso y del Departamento de Estado, ha estado vinculada a grupos que apoyan a la oposición y que son partidarios del gobierno de Estados Unidos en países como Venezuela y Haití. La periodista, Regine Alexandre escribió al menos una docena de artículos para AP y al menos dos para el "New York Times". Sus vínculos con NED fueron expuestos por el periodista independiente Anthony Fenton y por Dennis Berstein, el conductor del programa de radio "Flashpoint", transmitido por KPFA, de Radio Pacifica.

Frank Wilkenson muere a los 91 años. Fue preso por el Comité de Actividades Antiamericanas durante el Terror Rojo
Y Frank Wilkenson murió a los 91 años de edad. Era conocido por haber sido uno de los últimos estadounidenses en haber ido a prisión por negarse a decirle al Comité de Actividades Antiamericanas si era comunista.

Maria: Now in English, here are eleven headlines fom
Democracy Now! Remember that the headlines are provided daily in English and Spanish and please get the word out. Peace.

Bush Support Dropping Among Armed Forces
Meanwhile, a new poll by the magazine group Military Times shows support for President Bush among US armed forces has fallen over ten percent in the last year. The survey found support for Bush's overall policies at 60 percent, down from 71 percent. Support for the Iraq war for is at 54 percent - down from 63 percent. The Times says the poll found “diminished optimism that US goals in Iraq can be accomplished, and a somewhat smaller drop in support for the decision to go to war in 2003."

Over 120 Killed in Deadliest Iraq Violence in 4 Months
In Iraq, over 120 people were killed in violence across the country Thursday. Another 200 were wounded in the bloodiest day the country has seen in four months. In Ramadi, a suicide bomber killed at least 67 people and injured more than 100 outside of a police recruitment center. Earlier, at least 44 people died in a suicide bombing at a Shiite shrine in the holy city of Karbala. And 11 U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq Thursday, including five in a roadside bombing near Karbala.

Padilla Appears in Miami After Supreme Court Overturns Ruling
In this country, Pentagon detainee Jose Padilla appeared in a Miami court Thursday for after being transferred from a military prison. In 2002, Padilla was arrested on a return trip from Pakistan and declared an "enemy combatant." Then-Attorney General John accused Padilla of involvement in "a terrorist plot to attack the United States by exploding a radioactive 'dirty bomb.'" Padilla was only charged in November after over three years in solitary confinement on a military brig in South Carolina. None of his charges included the most serious of allegations made at the time of his arrest.Last month, a federal appeals court refused to approve Padilla’s transfer to the Miami civilian court -- and suggested the Bush administration only made the request to thwart Padilla’s pending Supreme Court appeal. However, the Supreme Court on Wednesday overruled the lower court, clearing the way for his transfer to Miami.

Bush Reserves Right To Order Torture of Prisoners
This update on a story we have been tracking closely. Last week President Bush officially signed a bill outlawing torture of detainees. While the bill signing received significant press coverage, what Bush did following the signing has not. According to the Boston Globe, Bush quietly issued what is known as a signing statement in which he lays out his interpretation of the new law. In this document Bush declared that he will view the interrogation limits in the context of his broader powers to protect national security. Legal experts say this means Bush believes he can waive the anti-torture restrictions. New York University Law Professor David Golove criticized Bush's move. He said ''The signing statement is saying 'I will only comply with this law when I want to, and if something arises in the war on terrorism where I think it's important to torture or engage in cruel, inhuman, and degrading conduct, I have the authority to do so and nothing in this law is going to stop me.' "

Gov't To Give FISA Judges Classified Briefing on Domestic Spying
Meanwhile the Washington Post is reporting that Justice Department and intelligence officials will give a classified briefing on Monday to members of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. President Bush has admitted he has bypassed the court and ordered the National Security Agency to conduct domestic spy operations without the legally required court-approved warrants. Last week one judge on the FISA court resigned in protest over the secret spying program.

Report: AGs Held Up Parts of Spy Program in 2004
Meanwhile, the New York Times is reporting a top Justice Department official held up approval of the secret spy program over concerns about its legality and oversight In March 2004, acting Attorney General James Comey refused to sign on to the program's continued use. Comey was serving in place of then-Attorney General John Aschroft while Ashcroft was hospitalized. Comey's refusal prompted senior Presidential aides Andrew Card and Alberto Gonzales to visit Aschroft in his hospital room to grant the approval. The Times reports Ashcroft expressed reluctance to sign off on the program. It is unclear if he eventually relented. Both Ashcroft and Comey's concerns appear to have led to a temporary suspension of parts of the program for several months, the Times says.

HRW Calls on US To Deduct Settlement, Wall Costs From Aid to Israel
In other news, the prominent American organization Human Rights Watch has called on the Bush administration to cut back foreign aid to Israel. In a letter to President Bush, Human Rights asked President Bush to deduct from Israel’s foreign aid assistance the amount it spends on expansion of settlements and the separation wall in the West Bank. Israel is the largest annual recipient of US foreign aid, with direct assistance and loans exceeding $5 billion dollars in 2005. Human Rights Watch officials said their request marks the first time a major human-rights group has asked for an actual cut in direct aid to Israel.

Zapatistas Launch National Six-Month Tour in Mexico
In Mexico, the Zapatista rebel army has launched a six-month tour of poor and indigenous communities across the country. The Zapatistas have dubbed the tour "The Other Campaign", a reference to the run-up to the country’s presidential elections in July.
The group says it will not take part in the elections, but is using the tour to help promote a shift away from armed conflict and towards the formation of a nationwide leftist political movement. Zapatista leader Marcos also announced he was dropping "Subcomandante" from his name in favor of "Delegate Zero", saying he no longer wanted to take on a military title.
Zapatista leader Marcos, formerly Subcommande, in Palanque Tuesday: "The governments that we have, aside from lying to us and robbing from us, taking what little we have, they put high prices on what we buy. And the things we produce as farmers or as workers they pay a pittance."

Mexico Calls For Investigation Into Border Killing
In other news, the Mexican government is calling for an investigation into the death of an unarmed man shot by a U.S. border agent one week ago. 18-year-old Guillermo Martinez Rodriguez was killed last Friday on the US side of the San Diego-Tijuana border. American border officials said Rodriguez had been throwing rocks at an agent. But an investigation by the Mexican consulate found Rodriguez had been shot in the back from at least 15 feet way. Rodriguez ran back to Tijuana where he later died in a hospital. He had reportedly crossed the border looking for work. Mexican consular official Alberto Lozano said QUOTE: "We condemn the use of force in this tragic case…. It's an abuse of power."

AP Cuts Ties to NED-Funded Journalist
In other news, the Associated Press has announced its ended ties with a reporter found to have been working for the U.S. government-backed National Endowment for Democracy. The NED, which receives annual funding from the US Congress and State Department, has been linked to supporting opposition groups favorable to US government positions in countries such as Venezuela and Haiti. The reporter, Regine Alexandre had contributed at least one dozen articles for the AP and at least two for the New York Times. Her ties to the NED were exposed by independent journalist Anthony Fenton and radio host Dennis Bernstein on the radio program Flashpoints on Pacifica's KPFA.

Frank Wilkenson, 91, Dies; Jailed by HUAC During Red Scare
And Frank Wilkenson has died at the age of 91. He was well known for being one of the last Americans to be jailed for refusing to tell the House Un-American Activities Committee whether he was a Communist.