Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Democracy Now!: Chellie Pingree & Stephen Moore debate, Rachel Corrie's family & Rep. Adam Smith; Bob of The Daily Howler; Jude of Iddybud, Buzzflash

Democracy Now! always worth watching (as Marcia says).

Headlines for March 16, 2005
- Military: 26 Prisoners Murdered In U.S. Custody Overseas
- Officer Jailed 45 Days For Tossing Iraqis In River
- Green Zone Attacked As Iraq's Parliament Opens
- Coalition of the Willing Shrinks: Italy to Pull Out of Iraq
- WorldCom's CEO Convicted For Accounting Fraud
- Senate to Vote on Oil Drilling In Arctic
- Six U.S. Banks Aided Pinochet in Hiding $13 Million
- World Leaders Mark Opening of Holocaust Museum in Israel

Justice DeLayed? Ethics Controversy Swirls Around House Majority Leader
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) - one of the most powerful members in Congress and a prolific fundraiser for his party - is again under fire for potential ethics violations. We host a debate with Chellie Pingree of Common Cause and Stephen Moore of the Free Enterprise Fund.

Family of Rachel Corrie Sues Israeli Government and Caterpillar Two Years After She Was Killed by IDF Bulldozer
Today is the second anniversary of the death of Rachel Corrie - the American peace activist killed by an Israel military bulldozer when she attempted to block the demolition of a Palestinian home in Gaza. Now, her family is suing the State of Israel and Caterpillar - the U.S. firm that manufactured the bulldozer that crushed her. We speak with Rachel Corrie's father and older sister and the attorney representing them in the suit against Caterpillar. [includes rush transcript - partial]
Rep. Adam Smith: "The Israeli Government Did Not Do a Satisfactory Investigation" Into Rachel Corrie's Death
We speak with Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), who delivered a letter from the Corrie family to Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, calling for an independent investigation into Rachel Corrie's death.

As always, Bob Somerby's The Daily Howler is worth reading:

THE NEW YORK TIMES KEEPS PACE: Will editors put any claim into print? Plainly, the answer is yes -- when it comes to Social Security. Just yesterday, the New York Times let David Brooks publish this baldly inaccurate statement:

BROOKS (3/15/05): [M]any [Democrats] made demagogic speeches about Republican benefit cuts, as if it is possible to fix the system without benefit cuts. Many ginned up the familiar scare tactics designed to frighten the elderly.

"As if" it's possible to fix the system? It is obviously possible to fix the system without any benefit cuts. (See Sam Rosenfeld at Tapped, linking to Ezra Klein.) Of course, you'd never know this from reading the Times -- a failed "newspaper" which seems determined to keep readers deep in the dark.
How might the 75-year SS shortfall be eliminated without benefit cuts? Months ago, we quoted Baker and Weisbrot as they explained it (see
THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/10/04). The boys were writing in 1999, using dates and figures which then applied. But the principle today is no different:

BAKER/WEISBROT (page 24): If we were to ignore the problem completely for the next 13 years and then fix it by the most politically drastic means -- raising the payroll tax -- future generations would not be greatly burdened. For example, an increase on the payroll tax of one-tenth of one percent each year (split between employer and employee), beginning in 2011 and continuing until 2046, would close the gap. This would still leave future generations with an after-tax wage far higher than that of today's employees. For example, the average worker in 2030 would have an after-tax wage that is 28.7 percent higher than today, in real (inflation-adjusted) terms. Without these payroll tax increases, that employee would have an average wage 30.7 percent higher than his or her counterpart of today.
Instead of a 31-percent wage hike, we can take 29 -- and insure promised benefits for future seniors.

That sort of information should have appeared in all our major papers by now.

Lloyd notes that Jude at Iddybud is dealing with the issue of Paul Wolfowitz's new job:

I've gotten a couple of e-mails asking me to comment on what I think about the appointment of Paul Wolfowitz to the World Bank.
My first reaction - Dear god, not him?! The chief architect of the highly unpopular elective American war in Iraq?
My second reaction - It figures. Why did I even remotely expect someone truly worthy of the task would be chosen by Bush?
My third reaction - I'll refer you to James D. Wolfensohn's words regarding the World Bank's place in the harmonization of agencies for poverty reduction at a path-breaking meeting which took place in Rome, Italy in 2003. Senior officials of over 20 multilateral and bilateral development organizations and about 50 countries spent two days discussing how they can improve the effectiveness of their work -how they can better fight poverty- by working more closely together.

Alex asks who did BuzzFlash pick as the GOP Hypocrite of the Week? Wayne LaPierre (and that name is so familiar, not due to the NRA -- anyone got any ideas?). From the editorial:

What is the chief honcho for the National Rifle Association and key Bush supporter doing with a French name? I mean with a name like Wayne LaPierre, you'd think good 'ol Wayne would be buttering croissants with John Kerry instead of working to make it easy for terrorists to buy big guns.
Oh, and we mean big guns. Like the
.50 Caliber Sniper Rifle that a terrorist can use to shoot down a plane landing or taking off. Because of LaPierre's brass knuckle threats to Congress, he got them and the Justice Department to make it as easy for a terrorist to buy a .50 cal as it is to buy a rifle.
Because of the NRA, the
Government Accounting Office said "47 known or suspected terrorists were allowed to buy firearms in the United States from February through October last year, including some who were under active surveillance." That's the way Wayne wants it.

Thanks to Alex for asking for that. Obviously, I forgot and would have continued to until BuzzFlash posted their pick for this week.

Also, Theo points out that the Adam Nagourney link in this morning's post takes you to Sara Rimer's article. "From Rival to Running Mates" is the name of Nagourney's article. (That link should work.)

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