Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Democracy Now: Wangari Maathai; Daily Howler, Daily Outrage, Ruth Conniff

Democracy Now! highlights International Women's Day by focusing on Wangari Maathai.
Headlines for March 8, 2005
- John Bolton Nominated as US Ambassador to the UN
- Bush Taps Longtime Critic of United Nations
- Italy Demands U.S. To Identify & Punish Killers of Agent
- Protests Held Around the World For Int'l Women's Day
- Senate Rejects Minimum Wage Increase
- China Introduces Anti-Taiwanese Independence Bill
- 134 Prisoners Die in Dominican Republic Jail Fire
- Journalist Slams Corporate Control Over News Operations

Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai on the Environment, the War in Iraq, Debt and Women's Equality
Today on this International Women's Day, we spend the hour with Wangari Maathai, the first African woman and first environmentalist to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
Her life story is a remarkable one. Wangari Maathai grew up in a rural village in Kenya. She excelled at school and eventually won a scholarship to attend university in the United States. After graduating with a degree in biological sciences she went on to earn a master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh. In 1971, she received her PhD from the University of Nairobi, making her the first woman in eastern and central Africa to earn a doctorate.
She then embarked on what would become a life-long campaign against the government-backed forest clearances in Kenya. In 1977, she founded the Green Belt Movement when she planted nine tree seeds in the yard of her house. In the following years, she succeeded in persuading women across Africa to do the same. Today, about 30 million trees have been planted across the continent to fight deforestation.
Throughout her life, Wangari Maathai has campaigned on issues such as poverty, malnutrition, corruption, women's low economic status and the lack of media freedom in Kenya. She has also criticized the negative images of Africa in the Western media and the reluctance of rich countries to relieve Africa's debt. [includes rush transcript - partial]

Over at The Daily Howler, Trina points out that Bob Somerby's got some strong writing (no surprise there, he's a strong and valued voice):
THE NEXT SEVERAL WEEKS: MSNBC is a deliberate disaster. Last night's Scarborough Country was pure propaganda from beginning to end, and Scarborough's session with The Nation's John Nichols was a repulsive disgrace. Meanwhile, Hardball's Chris Matthews pretended to wonder why Al Gore won't get in the next White House race. Marie Cocco, a major "liberal," also pretended that she didn't know. Rick Kaplan puts this mess on the air. All Americans should tell him to stop.
But many Americans won't tell him to stop -- especially those careerist "liberals" who want to appear on his gong-show programs. Why did Cocco play dumb last night? It's time we all got clear on such questions. We'll pursue them for the next several weeks. In the meantime, don't miss the pattern involved here. Cocco is excellent on policy matters. She only plays dumb when it comes to the press corps -- the press corps which drives her career. At THE HOWLER, we're sick of seeing the public played for fools by such self-dealing "liberal" pundits -- the kind for whom Nick Confessore invented those clownish, uplifting excuses (see
THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/7/05). We plan to name names, quote texts, and pose direct questions over the next several weeks. And of course, since the liberal web is devoted to full-throated discourse, we're sure that we'll get straight replies.

That's just the opening, read the whole thing. Over at The Nation, Ari Berman's The Daily Outrage (which is a permanent link on the side) addresses the rendention issues:

The CIA has finally admitted to sending alleged terrorists to despotic countries for interrogation in a practice known as "rendition." According to a senior official quoted in Sunday's New York Times, the Bush Administration gave the CIA broad authority through a still-classified directive days after September 11. More importantly--and unmentioned in the Times piece--is how the Administration is invoking a little-known state secrets privilege to quash legal challenges to its controversial rendition policy.
The most high-profile example is that of
Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen who was snatched from New York's JFK Airport, transferred to Syria and tortured by Syrian intelligence officials, who held him for ten months. Released to Canadian authorities in October 2003 after Syria found no links to terrorism, Arar and the Center for Constitutional Rights are suing the US government for transferring Arar to a country where they knew he would be tortured. Now the Bush Administration is trying to dismiss the case by invoking the state secrets clause. (See David Cole's "Accounting for Torture" for more on Arar.)

At The Progressive, check out Ruth Conniff's "An Israeli Refuser's Message for Peace:"

On Saturday I sat with other members of the conservative synagogue in Madison, Wisconsin, listening to Yonatan Shapira, a pilot in the Israeli Air Force since 1991 before he was dismissed after refusing to serve in the Occupied Territories.
It was a controversial event. Shapira calls the bombing of the Occupied Territories illegal and immoral, and he makes a point of bringing his views to ardently pro-Israel groups, as well as pro-Palestinian activists. Tempers run high all around him. But the soft-spoken Shapira hits notes people on both sides seem able to hear. And this is perhaps the most compelling thing about him. As one of the members of Brit Tzedek v'Shalom (
www.btvshalom.org), the Jewish peace group that brought him to town, said, "Hearing him humanizes the Israeli side. And that's important because getting beyond dehumanization is critical in getting to peace."