Thursday, February 24, 2005

Democracy Now: Camilo Mejia, Juan Cole, Hunter S. Thompson . . .

Democracy Now! has an exclusive interview with Camilo Mejia.  ("Democracy Now!," as Marcia says,  "always worth watching."
Headlines for February 23, 2005

- Islamist Jaafari Set To Become Iraqi Prime Minister
- Bush Warns Europe Not to Lift Chinese Arms Embargo
- Questions Raised Over Bush Assassination Plot
- Markey Introduces Bill to Ban 'Extraordinary Rendition'
- Mayor Launches Effort for Cities To Back Kyoto Protocol
- Pope Describes Same Sex Marriage as "New Ideology of Evil"
- South African Freedom Fighter Raymond Mhlaba, 85, Dies
Juan Cole on Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the Iraqi Elections and the Future of Islamic Law in Iraq

Iraq's leading Shiite political slate has nominated physician and former exile Ibrahim al-Jaafari to be the nation's next prime minister. The United Iraqi Alliance selected Jafari after the other main contender - Ahmad Chalabi - withdrew from the race.
Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005) on the Iraq War & the Bush Presidency

On Sunday the founder of 'gonzo' journalism, died at the age of 67 of an apparent suicide. Today we are air a Jan. 2003 interview Thompson gave on KDNK in the Roaring Fork Valley in Colorado. An excerpt: "Bush is really the evil one here and it is more than just him. We are the Nazis in this game and I don't like it. I am embarrassed and I am pissed off. I mean to say something. I think a lot of people in this country agree with me - a lot than that are saying anything...we'll see what happens to me if I get my head cut off next week -- it is always unknown or bushy-haired strangers who commit suicide right afterwards with no witnesses."
Jailed War Resister Camilo Mejia Speaks Out After Spending Nine Months in Military Prison

Today we speak with one the country's first conscientious objector's to the war in Iraq. He offered to testify before Congress about the abuse of detainees he saw in Iraq, instead he was the first soldier court-martialed for desertion. He was sentenced to a year in military prison. Today Camilo Mejia joins us in his first broadcast interview since getting out of prison.

Changing topics, have you read this:

The thesis of the Mitofsky/Edison exit poll report and the headlines that it generated are curiously detached from the numbers in the report itself. Statisticians who have studied the exit polls find substantial evidence to support the thesis that the vote counts -- not the exit polls -- were inaccurate.

Apparently, the pollsters at Mitofsky and Edison have found it more expedient to provide an explanation unsupported by theory, data or precedent than to impugn the machinery of American democracy. Unfortunately, their patrons in the media find it correspondingly preferable to latch onto a non-confrontational thesis, however implausible, than to even suggest the possibility of foul play.

That's the conclusion to Steve Freeman and Josh Mitteldorf's "A Corrupted Election" and no, they're aren't talking about the Ukraine.  The article's from In These Times and it's available online in full.

If you're trying to figure about the Bully Boy's budget, NOW offers Jan Erickson's analysis with "Bush Budget -- Deceptive and Dangerous for Women and Families:"

George W. Bush proposed a $2.57 trillion budget Feb. 6 that deceives and endangers women and families. As described in the Washington Post, Feb. 7, Bush employs “smoke and mirrors” to deceive taxpayers by exaggerating expected revenues while minimizing the actual costs and long-term financial burdens. The National Organization for Women's analysis of the budget found the administration's accounting procedures and lofty projections for deficit reduction to be nothing more than a fiscal sleight of hand.

In order to sell his budget to Democratic critics and the public, Bush claims that this plan will advance his goal of cutting the soaring federal deficit in half by 2009. Analysts point out that tax cuts adopted during his first term costing $1 trillion negate Bush's deficit reduction plans, and that cuts as steep as 16% in all discretionary programs will be required to halve the enormous deficit. In fact, as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities note, the '06 administration budget increases the deficit over the next five years, from $1.364 trillion currently to $1.393 trillion. And, extending these earlier tax cuts for ten more years would cost another $2.1 trillion!

John Nichols at "The Online Beat" (The Nation) has a column worth reading "Hunter Thomas's Political Genius."  Here's a sample:

Norman Mailer had the best take on Hunter Thompson's passing.

"He had more to say about what was wrong with America than George W. Bush can ever tell us about what is right," mused Mailer upon learning of Thompson's suicide.

Anyone who read Thompson knew that the so-called "gonzo journalist" was about a lot more than sex, drugs and rock-and-roll -- although it is Thompson who gets credit for introducing all three of those precious commodities to the mainstream of American journalism. The gun-toting, mescaline-downing wildman that showed up in Doonesbury as "Uncle Duke" was merely the cartoon version of an often serious, and always important, political commentator who once said that his beat was the death of the American dream. Thompson was to the political class of the United States in the latter part of the 20th century what William Hazlitt was to the English poets of the early 19th century: a critic who was so astute, so engaged and so unyielding in his idealism that he ultimately added more to the historical canon than did many of his subjects.