Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Democracy Now: Town meetings in Vermont, fighting death squads, Senator Leahy ...; Somerby (Daily Howler); Ron (Why Are We Back In Iraq); BuzzFlash

Democracy Now! (Marcia: "always worth watching") focuses on the death penalty, speaks with Senator Patrick Leahy, Salvadoran death squads, Supreme Court, Vermont and much more are covered.

Headlines for March 2, 2005
- Supreme Court Bars Execution of Child Offenders
- Judge in Saddam Hussein Trial Assassinated
- Report: Marines Set Up Private Iraqi Security Force
- State Dept. Accuses Iraq of Human Rights Abuses
- GOP Rejects Formal Inquiry Into CIA Abuse Overseas
- Uruguay Swears in Nation's First Leftist Leader
- Rice Calls Off Canadian Trip Due to Missile Defense Dispute
- Justice Dept Investigates Halliburton For Rigging Bids

U.S. Court Reverses $54M Verdict Against Salvadoran Generals Accused of Torture
A 54.6 million dollar verdict against two retired Salvadoran generals accused of torture in their home country two decades ago was reversed this week by a federal appeals court which ruled that the victim's claims failed to meet a 10-year statute-of-limitations rule. We speak with one of the plaintiffs in the case who was tortured in El Salvador and one the lawyers in the suit.

Sen. Leahy on Bush's Judicial Nominees: You Can't "Make The Judiciary An Arm Of The Republican Party"
As the battle over President Bush's judicial nominees reopens in the Senate, we speak with Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. We also talk to him about restoring ties to the Indonesian military and 48 towns in Vermont that voted yesterday against war, calling for the Vermont National Guard be brought home.

48 Vermont Towns Vote Against Iraq War, Call for State's National Guard to Come Home
In Vermont, 48 town meetings voted last night to condemn the war in Iraq and to call on political leaders to bring home the state's National Guard. We speak with an organizer with the Iraq Resolution Campaign that coordinated the town meetings. [includes rush transcript]

Supreme Court Abolishes Death Penalty For Juveniles in Landmark Ruling
In a landmark decision on the death penalty, the Supreme Court abolished the execution of juveniles. We speak with a mother whose son was executed for an offense he committed when he was 17 and the sister of a murder victim who now campaigns against the death penalty, as well as the coordinator for the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

Don't miss Bob Somerby at The Daily Howler addressing Jim Lehrer, Bob Schieffer, social security and other topics:

WHERE DID THEY GO TO FIND LEHRER: Where did they go to find a man as clueless as the NewsHour's Jim Lehrer? Last year, when Lehrer played some Hardball, we learned about his "brilliant life style," the life style that takes him to so many parties. And we learned about the time he spends writing his endless novels (link below). But where else can you find a man who knows so little about his day job? Last night, the brilliant novelist interviewed Bill Frist about the perils of Social Security. Where do you go to find a man so clueless that he'll even say this?

LEHRER (3/1/05): What do you make of the recent talk just in the last day or two about the Moynihan Plan, it was called -- named after the late Sen. Pat Moynihan -- which is called Social Security Plus? You leave the Social Security program pretty much the way it is and you add then personal savings in addition to that. Are you -- does that sound good to you?

Good God! Saint Moynihan proposed "leaving the Social Security program pretty much the way it is," Lehrer said. And there's a name for what Moynihan proposed -- Social Security Plus. Good Lord! There was only one problem with Lehrer's statement; both things he said were grossly wrong. On the other hand, his groaning misstatements did fit in with current DC party chatter. So the brilliant novelist/party-goer was doing what Washington pundits do best. He was reciting the Established High Cant of his class, even though the High Cant is just bogus.
[. . .]
Let's summarize: It was Gore who proposed savings accounts in addition to Social Security; and it was Gore whose saving plan was called Social Security Plus. Moynihan dumbly grumbled, complained and criticized. How dare Vile Gore say "privatization?" the sainted press icon even said.

Ms. Musing is addressing the selection of yet another man for the op-ed pages of the New York Times with "Maybe When Dowd Steps Down . . ." Ms. Musing is exactly right, and again, while no fan of Elisabeth Bumiller, one has to wonder if she was considered for the post? ("White House Letter" is an op-ed.) But apparently one woman was is "just enough."

From Ms. Musing:

Starting in April, the void left by retired New York Times op-ed writer William Safire, a white conservative male, will be filled by John Tierney, a white conservative -- pardon me, iconoclastic -- male.
Editor and Publisher's
Brian Orloff notes that Tierney’s appointment was cheered by columnists on the right, yet only two of the four columnists quoted seem to have regularly read Tierney.
Cal Thomas, for instance, remains puzzled (what else is new?) on how to describe Tierney's leanings: “I am not familiar enough with his work to offer an informed opinion. Is he a conservative, libertarian, or what?”
Kathleen Parker also pleads ignorant of Tierney’s work -- this must hurt, as Tierney wrote a column about New York aptly titled "Big City" for eight years -- but she remains optimistic. "The fact that he fraternizes with Chris Buckley is a good sign," she said. Tierney and Buckley co-authored a well-reviewed 1998 novel, God Is My Broker: A Monk-Tycoon Reveals the 7½ Laws of Spiritual and Financial Growth.

Ron considers to chase down the Gannon/Talon News/GOP USA story over at Why Are We Back In Iraq and today's entry has resulted in numerous e-mails. Billie points out that GOP USA, "given a pass by the Times, is clearly not a news organization, check out Ron's photo capture." To do so, click here.

Lastly, check out BuzzFlash's latest interview 'Stephen J. Ducat Dissects "Anxious Masculinity," Making Sense of America's Strutting, in a Psychoanalytic Kind of Way.'
From that interview:

BuzzFlash: You discuss "anxious masculinity" as exhibited by right wing America, the Bush Administration, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and George Bush. Why "anxious?" Is it that their masculinity has got to be constantly reproven?
Stephen J. Ducat: Yes. In fact, the kind of hyper-masculine strutting that we see on display by right wingers is a defense. It's a defense against this anxious masculinity, against this fear of the feminine. In a culture in which it’s so important to deny the feminine in men, masculinity becomes a really brittle achievement. It’s quite Sisyphean--you know, you can never quite get there. You’re always having to prove it.
Part of the reason is that this type of masculinity is defined largely in terms of domination. The problem is that domination--either in a personal or a global context---can never be a permanent condition. It's a relational state. It's dependent on having somebody in a subordinate position. That means you could be manly today, but you're not going to be manly tomorrow unless you've got somebody to push around and control, whether that is an abused wife or another country. So this kind of masculinity is really brittle.
BuzzFlash: Then peace is a threat to anxious masculinity?
Stephen J. Ducat: It’s a threat because of its link to the feminine. In fact, I have a chapter on the 19th Century, when there was enormous debate about whether the U.S. should embark on the Spanish-American and Philippine-American wars. In a number of editorial cartoons, peace itself was personified as female.