Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Democracy Now: Halliburton, Johnnie Cochran; Troy Peters; corrente; CodePink; Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Daily Howler

Democracy Now! "always worth watching" (Marcia).

Headlines for March 30, 2005
- Iraq Parliament in Crisis: Members Storm Out
- Memo: Army Lt. Sanchez Authorized Use of Dogs in Jails
- Court to Consider Petition from Schiavo's Family
- Oil-for-Food Probe Clears Kofi Annan
- Yemeni Man Seized in Egypt Ends Up At Guantanamo
- Riggs Bank To Pay $16 Million Fine for Pinochet Ties
- Free Radio Santa Cruz Celebrates 10 Years On Air

Family of Truckdriver Killed in Iraq Sues Halliburton For Wrongful Death
In the first of what are expected to be several lawsuits, the family of Tony Johnson blames Halliburton for his death a year ago in Iraq. Halliburton is the primary contractor providing logistical support to the military in Iraq.

Exclusive: Halliburton Employee Says He Was Gang-Beaten by Co-Workers at Baghdad Airport
The father of an employee of Halliburton subsidiary KBR in Iraq is alleging that his son was gang-beaten by a group of fellow employees, known as the "Red Neck Mafia," at the Baghdad airport where he works as a security coordinator for KBR. We speak with Eli Chavez, the father of KBR employee Ronald Chavez.

Famed Attorney Johnnie Cochran, 67, Dies
Best known for representing O.J. Simpson, Cochran for years represented victims of police brutality and government oppression. In 1997 he won the freedom of Black Panther leader Geronimo ji Jaga Pratt who spent 27 years in jail for a crime he did not commit. [includes rush transcript]

Also note Troy Peters "Beware Republicans Bearing Gifts" from The Black Commentator:

So far the Democrats have dismissed the ham-handed appeals to black churches and references to Fredrick Douglass, the Republican, as sloppy and ultimately futile. This assessment may be correct, but theDemocrats have excelled at taking the black vote for granted in recent decades. Conversely, the Republican machine has demonstrated a remarkable effectiveness at doggedly refining their message until it strikes a chord. They can read the demographic writing on the wall and they know to continue as the “white sanctuary” may soon leave them out of power. And there are real weaknesses within the black community for them to exploit.
[. . .]
The Republicans' most successful infiltration of the black community has been through churches via the gay marriage issue. This track seemed to win many of George Bush's black votes in the last election, and it is as disheartening as it is short sighted. A group as historically subjugated and maligned as ours cannot discriminate against others in such a way. That is simple golden rule human decency. Furthermore, only about 4% of the nation's nearly 38 million black Americans could be liberally estimated to be homosexual, while around 50% of all black households are run by single parents. Taken together those two facts alone demonstrate that, whatever one’s opinion of gay marriage, to believe it has any significant impact on the general population's marriage rate is so naive that it borders on insanity.
African Americans face enough economic, health and social challenges that affect every one of us, if only through our extended families, that wasting even one moment worrying about homosexuals marrying is a step backward. That black people are often fiscally and culturally conservative has little to do with this discussion. How could a people who have traditionally so little to risk be otherwise? Despite the communal attitude, we are clearly not as monolithic as the term, "the Black vote," implies. Contrary to popularly promoted ideas of "keepin' it real" blackness, we need to widen our appreciation for the broad range that has always existed in the black community. And yet, while differences are real and necessary, to not recognize the true emptiness of the Republican promise is to court collective destruction. The current debate over Social Security is a perfect illustration.
President Bush argues that AfricanAmericans should support privatization because we don’t live as long, and therefore should be able to cash in, before we check out. Never-mind the fact that the extreme differences in black and white life expectancy are largely due to differing infant mortality rates, the Republicans never seem to ask why blacks die earlier, and thus prove themselves to be heinously out of touch with the problems that face so many black people. To support those who so grossly misrespond to the hard situation facing so many --cutting community development projects, basic food and medical assistance to the poor, and spending ever more to incarcerate than to educate us -- is as out-of-touch as it is dangerous.

Martha e-mails highlighting this humorous post from the farmer over at corrente:

!!! National Press Club Honors Mr. P-Niss!!!
Try to guess where this came from:
We have obtained the TOP SECRET, MIRACULOUSLY DISSEMINATED talking points for next week's National Press Club "Blogger or Journalist" panel.
As has been speculated elsewhere, this is CLEAR PROOF that the National "Whore" Press Club is a RIGHT WING CLOWN SHOW!!!!!! The talking points are as follows:
1. JEFF GANNON IS A REAL REPORTER. (Repeat until true.)
They are good for penis jokes and for passing time in the news room when not taking dictation from the White House.
What we decide here could seal the fate of mainstream media for GENERATIONS to come.

Alan e-mails that "CodePink hasn't given up on the issue of peace." Alan highlights this:


George Bush talks about a wave of democracy sweeping over the Middle East, but he fails to mention the wave of democracy that is forcing nation after nation to disengage from the "coalition of the willing" and pull their troops out of Iraq. These countries include Honduras, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Thailand,the Philippines, the Netherlands, Spain and most recently, the Italian people are forcing their prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, to withdraw Italian troops from Iraq.

Here in the US, polls show that a solid majority of Americans--59%-- think the troops should come home. Yet last week, in a vote of 388 to 43, the House of Representatives approved $81.4 billion to continue funding the war, which pushes the total cost of the wars beyond $300 billion. This is in addition to the Pentagon's annual budget, which already totals more than $400bn.

For what you can do and to see how your reps voted, please click the CodePink link above.

Cedric notes Katrina vanden Heuvel's Editor's Cut:

Item 1: Proving that the Republicans have no problemignoring Biblical strictures against usury, theCongress passed a bankruptcy bill that makes life farmore profitable for credit card companies and far moreonerous for people who have fallen into debt. Thegovernment hasn't started building debtor's prisons orshipping off Mastercard defaulters to Australia yet,but more and more Americans will find themselvesindentured servants to Visa as a result of this bill.Item II: 48 towns in Vermont have called for thereturn of Vermont's National Guard troops. Armyrecruitment numbers have fallen off a cliff. Tours ofduty in Iraq have been extended and extended again.Even the most hawkish neocons admit our forces arestretched to the breaking point.These two news stories seem unrelated, but they arenot.

How are they related? Continue reading "The Merchant of Baghdad" to find out.

Over at The Daily Howler, Bob Somerby is addressing Wonkette:

THE BEST THEY CAN DO: For ourselves, we never criticized Wonkette--nor would we have done so--until Tom Brokaw insulted the nation by dragging her onto NBC after the second Bush-Kerry debate (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/6/04). Who is Wonkette? A vacuous figure who peddles a pre-feminist, backlash persona--the smutty vamp with the dirty mouth, the slut who can't stop talking about booze and sex. There's a certain kind of man who loves that crap--and yes, the "press corps" is full of them! At any rate, Brokaw dragged her onto the air, and E. J. Dionne dragged her out just last week, with the completely predictable outcome (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/28/05). Adding insult to injury, of course, Brokaw put Cox on the air as a "liberal." But let's let Leiby describe her further. Here's the "liberal spokesman" Brokaw threw on the air to discuss a presidential debate:
LEIBY (9/28/04): Celebrating her 32nd birthday and arrival as a New York Times Sunday mag cover girl, Ana Marie Cox--better known for her dirty-minded Internet persona, Wonkette--had a predictable reaction to the latest article boosting her fame: "I liked the part about me being a bitchy lush," she told us at a party in her honor at a U Street rooftop bar Sunday night. (Also predictably, she was quaffing champagne.)

No comment (stealing from Ms. magazine) quote for the day:
"Some of this information was wrong. I did not know this at the time. Hundreds of millions followed it on television. I will always be the one who presented it. I have to live with that."

Colin Powell on his UN presentation.

Correction to first post this morning:
For additional information, see the ACLU's "Interrogation Techniques Approved by Lieutenant General Sanchez Included Intimidation by Dogs, Stress Positions, Sensory Deprivation:" [. . .]
Note, clicking on the ACLU linked story will provide you links to two Sanchez memos (September and October) as well as a link to 30,000 additional documents.
As Shirley pointed out, "30,000 pages." Not 30,000 documents. My apologies for my mistake.
E-mail address is

[Note: This post has been corrected to take the sentence with the title and link of Katrina vanden Heuvel's post out of bold print.]