Thursday, March 03, 2005

Democracy Now: Dilip Hiro, Nawal El Saadawi, Haythem al-Maleh, Liberal Oasis, Editor's Cut, Gretchen Morgenson, Daily Howler, A Winding Road

Unlike the New York Times, Democracy Now! provides no yawns:

Headlines for March 2, 2005
- U.S. Death Toll in Iraq Reaches 1,500
- Law Proposed to Protect Students From Military Recruiters
- Military Launches New Marketing Efforts Toward Populations of Color
- Gov't Tests Placing Monitoring Bracelets on Immigrants
- Militia Leader in Sudan Says Gov't Behind Killings in Darfur
- UN Troops Kill 50 Militia Members in Congo
- Chicago Tribune Pulls Boondocks Over Bush Drug Reference

Iranian Labyrinth: Author Dilip Hiro Talks About the U.S. Threats Towards Tehran
The Bush administration has adopted a hard-line stance against Iran, repeatedly accusing President Khatami's government of trying to develop nuclear weapons and refusing to hold direct talks. We speak with veteran journalist Dilip Hiro, author of the forthcoming book, "Iranian Labyrinth," about the U.S. threats towards Tehran.

Egyptian Feminist Nawal El Saadawi on Bush's 'Democratization' of Middle East: "We Were Fighting For Years...They Deprive Us of Our Struggle"
Amid growing street protests, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has called on parliament to change the constitution to allow opposition candidates to run for president. We speak with famed Egyptian feminist, psychiatrist and author, Nawal El Saadawi. She has been jailed, threatened with death and now plans to run for president.

Leading Syrian Human Rights Lawyer Blasts U.S. Foreign Policy of "Empire" in the Middle East
As Washington's rhetoric towards Syria grows more hostile, we turn to a perspective seldom heard in corporate media: the perspective of Syrians who are not government officials. We go to Damascus to speak with Haythem al-Maleh, one of Syria's leading human rights lawyers.

Let's note Bill Scher's entry today at Liberal Oasis:

Last week, possible prez candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton signaled she could support permanent military bases in Iraq.
This week, possible prez candidatae Gov. Bill Richardson told the Moonie Times that Dems should embrace “sensible tax cuts”.
Is this the way it’s going to be through 2008?
Will the whole crop of potential candidates coming up with ways to sacrifice principle, tack Right, and become complicit in the conservative agenda?
[. . .]
But we can’t presume that anyone will run with the intention of offering a revitalized liberal vision.
We should not sit on our hands and wait for a savior.
And we should not rave when scraps are condescendingly tossed at the base.

Pretty powerful so check it out. Also check out Katrina vanden Heuvel's Editor's Cut which opens with this:

In a series of extraordinary speeches, Senator Robert Byrd, a longtime historian of the Senate, has persistently sounded the alarm about imperial executive power. He has unflinchingly exposed the grave danger we face from an Administration that routinely abuses power and tramples democracy without batting an eye.
Yesterday, Byrd delivered another wakeup call. Taking aim at the Republicans' threat to use the "nuclear option"--a change to the rules of the Senate that would effectively bar Democrats from filibustering judicial nominations--he assailed those who would aim "an arrow straight at the heart of the Senate's long tradition of unlimited debate." He didn't stop there. "Many times in our history," Byrd said--perhaps speaking to the hypocrites in power who prefer to lecture the world about democracy rather than protect it at home-- "we have taken up arms to protect a minority against the tyrannical majority in other lands. We, unlike Nazi Germany or Mussolini's Italy, have never stopped being a nation of laws, not men."

She goes on to provide the text to Byrd's powerful speech.

Brad points out that we were supposed to highlight Gretchen Morgenson (business reporter for the New York Times) because she's a voice that speaks to members. Yesterday, she had "Proposed Law on Bankruptcy Has Loophole." Brad selects the following from the article to highlight:

The loophole involves the use of so-called asset protection trusts. For years, wealthy people looking to keep their money out of the reach of domestic creditors have set up these trusts offshore. But since 1997, lawmakers in five states - Alaska, Delaware, Nevada, Rhode Island and Utah - have passed legislation exempting assets held domestically in such trusts from the federal bankruptcy code. People who want to establish trusts do not have to reside the five states; they need only set their trust up through an institution in one of them.
"If the bankruptcy legislation currently being rushed through the Senate gets enacted, debtors won't need to buy houses in Florida or Texas to keep their millions," said Elena Marty-Nelson, a law professor at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., referring to generous homestead exemptions in those states. "The millionaire's loophole that is the result of these trusts needs to be closed."
Yesterday in Washington, Republicans in the Senate beat back the first in a series of Democratic amendments aimed at softening the effects of the bankruptcy bill on military personnel, and the majority leader of the House vowed to get quick approval of the bill if the Senate did not significantly alter it.
[. . .]
The Senate bill is favored by banks, credit card companies and retailers, who say it is now too easy for consumers to erase their debts through bankruptcy.
[. . .]
"This is just a way for rich folks to be able to slip through the noose on bankruptcy, and, of course, the double irony here is that the proponents of this bill keep pressing it as designed to eliminate abuse," said Elizabeth Warren, a law professor at Harvard Law School. "Yet when provisions that permit real abuse by rich people are pointed out, the bill's proponents look the other way."

As always, don't miss Bob Somerby's The Daily Howler:

It's hard to find appropriate words to describe the Democrats' endless malfeasance -- to describe the lazy indifference that led to Biden's statement, and apparently to the statement by Rangel. But as we've shown you for the past several weeks, Big Dems routinely go on the air and use the fake data that Bush wants them using. Lazy; indifferent; uncaring; unprepared -- how many words can we find for these people? And by the way, let's ask the obvious question: If Rangel is willing to pimp Bush’s numbers, why shouldn't Bob Schieffer pimp them too?

Another shameful day for some in the Senate.

What's that from? A Winding Road. Are you following the discussion on the bankruptcy bill?
From Tuesday:

Senator Sessions' successful amendment exempts some low income veterans as well as active duty military personnel from the shameful changes to the Bankruptcy laws that they'll soon be passing into law. No word on exempting single mothers, the elderly, or low income citizens who've had their jobs sent overseas and can't find work. Guess they'll have to suffer because of those 'wealthy people' who are using the current laws to get out of debts they can actually pay, the people Senator Frist warned us of yesterday. The whole thing is an outrage, made all the worse by Democratic support of the bill.
The vote on Senator Session's Amendment was split, 63-32, with 31 Democrats and Senator Jeffords opposing the Amendment in favor of Senator Durbin's, which offered greater protections to veterans and current members of the Military.
Not surprisingly, the Republicans weren't willing to extend extra protections to those that they've sent into an illegal war.

From Wednesday:

What we saw today, then, is living proof that this is NOT a bill about protecting anyone from 'wealthy' people who abuse the system. If that were the case, then these amendments, written specifically to provide protections for the decidedly UNwealthy, would have passed.
What this Bankruptcy Bill is really about is protecting Credit Card companies and hurting average American people. Every single Senator who voted No on any one of these amendments has signaled their commitment to monied interests over working class interests. Those 'Democrats' who voted no on ALL of them deserve special recognition in our DINO Hall of Shame. Two of these Senators are already there- Senator Nelson of Nebraska and Senator Carper of Delaware.
The third, Delaware Senator Joseph Biden, is our newest Inductee. For today's votes and for his disgraceful performance at the beginning of the week in the Judiciary Committee hearing on this Bill, Biden joins our Hall of Shame. He's signaled that he supports a billion dollar Industry, the Credit industry, over you, over me, and over all of the voters in Delaware.

Another DINO. Hope you're following A Winding Road.