Friday, January 14, 2005

Democracy Now!: "Military Crackdown in Aceh Continues"; Daily Howler on Bumiller; NOW on Wal-Mart; The Progressive: Bring the Troops Home

Democracy Now! (always worth watching, as Marcia points out):

Headlines for January 14, 2005
- CIA: Iraq Becoming New Haven For Terrorists
- Bush Says War in Iraq "Absolutely" Worth It
- War Resister: "You Just Don't Know How Bad It Is [in Iraq]"
- 16 House Dems Call for U.S. Out of Iraq
- U.S. Accused of 'Eroding' Human Rights Around the World
- Bush Official Defends Paying Off News Commentators
- ACLU Backs Sibel Edmonds Lawsuit Against Justice Dept.

Supreme Court Overturns Federal Sentencing Guidelines
The Supreme Court ruled that federal sentencing guidelines put in place two decades ago were unconstitutional because they violated a defendant's Sixth Amendment right to be tried by a jury. The court ruled judges cannot increase sentences beyond the maximum that the jury's findings alone would support. [includes rush transcript]

Leaked GOP Memo: Privatizing Social Security Would Be "One of the Most Significant Conservative Governing Achievements Ever"
Vice President Dick Cheney gives a major address calling for radical overhaul of social security. We speak with Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America's Future and a leader of a coalition to protect social security. [includes rush transcript]

With Tsunami Death Toll in Indonesia Possibly Rising Over 200,000, Military Crackdown In Aceh Continues
The government has imposed restrictions on the movement of aid workers and journalists. Aid workers have been told to inform the government of their travel plans or face expulsion and to take army escorts to most areas outside of Banda Aceh. [includes rush transcript]

Those e-mailing re: Elisabeth Bumiller's front page story (New York Times) should check out The Daily Howler where Bob Somerby covers a great deal of ground (as always) but saves the final word for Bumiller:

And inevitably, the latest disaster in Gotham! The utterly hapless New York Times assigned Elisabeth Bumiller to this story, and the trembling typist seemed to find it too "frightening" to deal with Bush's misstatements. Here is her hapless attempt to report on Bush's huge howlers:

BUMILLER (1/12/05): Many Democrats and economists say that Mr. Bush is exaggerating the problem, and that Social Security could be fixed with modest tax increases and a cut in benefits. Even without changes, Mr. Bush's critics say, the system would be able to pay three-quarters of promised benefits four decades from now, when baby boomers have long retired.

Incredible! According to this hapless scribe, "Bush's critics" say SS will be able to pay three-quarters of benefits! But in fact, that's what the SS trustees say, in their official report on the subject -- and the CBO says something rosier! Amazing, isn't it? Bumiller takes an official report and treats it like a screed from Bush critics! Question: Why is this hapless, inept, frightened tool still typing for this weak, hopeless newspaper?

And check out NOW for "take action" suggestions re: Wal-Mart:

The National Organization for Women declared Wal-Mart a "Merchant of Shame" in July 2002 because we want consumers to hear about the largest employer in the United States and the widespread allegations that it denies equal wages and promotions to women employees in addition to engaging in unfair labor practices, such as punitive measures against employees who advocate for union representation. Wal-Mart faces today the largest class action suit in history, which was brought by current and former employees (about 1.6 million people) for gender discrimination in pay and promotion across all of their stores.
Here are a few facts:
Women are about 2/3 of the lower-paid "associates" in Wal-Mart stores, yet are only about 1/3 of store managers.
And when women reach for management jobs, male trainees earn an average of $23,175 a year, compared with $22,371 for female trainees.
Even in top management positions, held mostly by men, the average male senior vice-president earns $419,435 per year, while women earn $279,772 in the same position.

Lastly, please check out The Progressive's web site for "Bring the Troops Home":

The United States should pull out of Iraq. Already, the United States has lost more than 1,350 soldiers. Already, about 10,000 U.S. soldiers have been wounded, at a rate now of almost 1,000 a month.
That is too high a price for us to pay in American blood.
Then there are the Iraqi civilians who have died. According to, as of January 5, Bush’s war has killed between 15,080 to 17,285 civilians. But that organization compiles statistics only from published reports. According to a study done by public health officials from Johns Hopkins University, the actual total is much higher. Their study, published in the British medical journal the Lancet, says at least 100,000 civilians have died, the majority falling victim to U.S. attacks.
Then there is the cost in American dollars. The United States has spent about $160 billion so far on this war, and the yearly price tag is rising toward $100 billion. This is draining our Treasury of much-needed revenue. For instance, the Administration says it can’t afford $300 million more for Pell grants—less than 0.5 percent of what it is spending on this war. Poor students can’t go to college because Bush went off half-cocked.
The situation in Iraq shows no signs of stabilizing. Quite the contrary. The morbid pace of chaos is increasing. The last six months of 2004 were the deadliest for U.S. troops since Bush launched the war, with 503 U.S. soldiers perishing. And the attacks keep mounting. “The number of attacks on U.S. and allied troops grew from an estimated 1,400 attacks in September to 1,600 in October and 1,950 in November,” Robert Burns of AP reported. In November 2003, by contrast, the number of attacks was 864.

[Note: This post has been corrected for fonts.]