Friday, March 25, 2005

Democracy Now: Naomi Klein on Giuliana Sgrena & Wolfowitz, Kyrgyzstan; Georgetown Students; Ohio, Black Commentator; Amitabh Pal

Democracy Now! "always worth watching" (Marcia) is simply amazing today addressing a variety of topics.
 - Large Car Bomb Explodes in Iraq
- Iraqi Lawyers Call for Trying Bush, Blair
- Sgrena Released From Rome Hospital
- Texas Paper: Bush Willing to Err on Side of Death as Gov.
- Bush Approval Slips to Lowest of His Presidency
- UN to Deploy Troops in Sudan
- Jeremy Hinzman Loses Asylum Bid in Canada
Three weeks after being shot by US forces in Iraq, veteran Italian war correspondent Giuliana Sgrena is released from a military hospital. New details are emerging about the killing of the Italian agent who saved her life. We speak with independent journalist Naomi Klein, who just returned from meeting with Sgrena in Rome. [includes rush transcript]
We speak with award-winning journalist and author Naomi Klein about the nomination of Paul Wolfowitz, one of the administration's top neoconservatives and a chief architect of the invasion of Iraq.
Opposition protestors in Kyrgyzstan took over the presidential compound and other government buildings yesterday, effectively bringing President Askar Akayev's government to collapse. We speak with the director Asia Program at the International Crisis Group.
After a three-year campaign, students at Georgetown University have won their fight to secure living wages for university workers. The campaign - known as the Georgetown Living Wage Coalition - culminated in a nine-day hunger strike by over twenty students before the university accepted almost all of the campaign's ten demands. We speak with one of the students who participated in the hunger strike
Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman from The Free Press.  From that article:
Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell finally testified – something he had refused to do in the Moss v. Bush Ohio election challenge before the State Supreme Court and refused to do in Washington, D.C. His testimony proved so contentious that at one point Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, D-OH, told him to “haul butt” if he was unwilling to answer questions about irregularities in the 2004 election.
[. . .]
Blackwell’s wholesale denial of the legal record documenting the scores of Election Day problems that disenfranchised tens of thousands of voters – from the House Judiciary Committee Democrats’ report, to the 900 pages of sworn affidavits and other analysis filed at the Ohio Supreme Court in response to his attempt to sanction the lawyer who filed a lawful challenge of the 2004 presidential results, to the statements made in Washington on January 6, 2005 during the Electoral College challenge – did not go unanswered by Democrats on the House Administration Committee.

“Mr. Secretary of State, you have a lot of improvement to do,” said Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, D-CA, the ranking Democrat on the panel.
[. . .]
Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, the judge-turned-congresswoman from Ohio’s largest city, Cleveland, led the House challenge to the 2004 Electoral College certification. While she is not a member of the House Administration Committee, the committee members let her participate as a panel member as a House courtesy.

When it was her turn to ask questions, Blackwell said it was “good to see you,” to which Rep. Tubbs-Jones replied, “It was so good to see you that you chose not to shake my hand in the anteroom.”

Jones followed up the questioning on the provisional ballots by asking Blackwell why his ‘public education’ campaign – radio ads and recording phone messages to voters’ homes - did not tell people that if they were given a provisional ballot they had to be turned in at the board of elections to be counted.

“In this ad you said ‘Vote your precinct,’ but you didn’t say ‘Vote in your board of elections,” Tubbs-Jones said. “You did an ad statewide and you spent $2.5 million.
Steve Rosenfeld should be (fingers crossed) giving a report on the Congressional committee's visit to Ohio this weekend on The Laura Flanders Show.
Ben sends in "The U.S. is Becoming a 'Failed State'" from The Black Commentator:
We are witnessing the domestic version of a phenomenon well known in the Third World: the deliberate creation of “failed states,” national governments that have been maneuvered or coerced into impotence by the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, trade agreements with the United States -- any combination of capital and military coercion. These states have become irrelevant to the needs of their own people and, therefore, in a very real sense, illegitimate.
[. . .]
The Bush regime has summoned the failed state chicken home to roost, with a vengeance, as it attempts to strip away every social obligation of the state to the people. However, the legitimacy of American governments at all levels has long been eroding, as defined by their capacity to provide political goods to the citizenry. For decades, heavily Black cities have busily sold off their “prerogatives” -- their assets, tax bases and sovereign powers -- to corporations or regional authorities.
Kelli e-mails "Bush's Poke In the Eye" from Amitabh Pal's blog at The Progressive:

Not content with ruining domestic institutions, George W. Bush is targeting international organizations, too. His appointment of Paul Wolfowitz as the new head of World Bank will go a long way toward accomplishing that.

Let's not kid ourselves. The World Bank has been a problematic institution at least since the Reagan years, if not earlier. Its functions have largely been to strong-arm developing countries into adopting economic policies friendly to Western interests and to lend money to compliant nations--dictatorships or otherwise--around the world. Besides, Wolfowitz is not the first veteran of a failed war to head the organization. Robert McNamara of Vietnam War infamy sat at the helm for more than a decade.