Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Democracy Now: Bolton grilled, Amara Hass, Andrea Dworkin; Pam (Big Brass Blog); Somerby (The Daily Howler); Ruth Conniff on Colin Powell

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

Headlines for April 12, 2005
- Gov't Memos Link Negroponte to Iran-Contra Affair
- Sharon Vows to Build Settlements Despite Bush Warning
- Guantanamo Judge: "I Don't Care About International Law"
- NYPD Caught Editing RNC Arrest Video Evidence
- Wholesale Prescription Prices Jump 7 Percent
- Washington University Students Stage Living Wage Sit-In
- Feminist & Activist Andrea Dworkin, 58, Dies

Senators Grill Bolton on Past UN Comments, Politicizing Intelligence
During the confirmation hearing of John Bolton as UN ambassador nominee, members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee grilled Bolton on his highly critical comments on the UN and his treatment of intelligence officials in the state department. We play extended excerpts of the hearing. [includes rush transcript]

Israeli Journalist Amira Hass Reflects on Reporting Under Occupation
Amira Hass, the only Israeli journalist living in the Occupied Territories, joins us in our firehouse studio to discuss the current withdrawal from Gaza and expansion of settlements in the West Bank, the "apartheid system" in Israel and life in the "prison" of the Occupied Territories. [includes rush transcript - partial]

From Democracy Now!'s headlines above, Marcia requested that this be highlighted:

Feminist & Activist Andrea Dworkin, 58, DiesAnd the feminist writer and activist Andrea Dworkin has died at the age of 58. She was best known for her feminist critique of pornography which she first outlined in her book Women Hating. She was the author of over a dozen books on pornography and violence against women. In 1983 she helped a drafted a law that defined pornography as a civil rights violation against women. The law was passed in Indianapolis in 1983, but was overturned by an appeals court two years later. She often argued that pornography was a precursor to rape. She said in 1986, "Pornography is used in rape - to plan it, to execute it, to choreograph it, to engender the excitement to commit the act." Gloria Steinem said of Dworkin, "In every century, there are a handful of writers who help the human race to evolve. Andrea is one of them." Four years ago the Guardian newspaper described her like this: "Dworkin is a threat, of course, to exactly the extent that radical feminists have always posed a threat - pointing out unapologetically the degree to which violence against women and children by men remains rampant." Dworkin died on Saturday at her home in Washington.

Bill Clinton's in the news speaking out against newlywed Finklestein. Lynda e-mailed highlighting Big Brass Blog's Pam's take on it:

He can talk tough when defending his wife, but when it came to defend the right of gay people, even self-loathing Finklestein, to marry -- he threw us under the bus for political expediency. He's the man that gave us "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the Defense of Marriage Act, empowering the Repugs to take gay-bashing to the next level....And then he told Kerry in 2004 to support the state marriage amendments in order to gain votes.
And as the clock is ticking...* gays can still legally be fired from a job * a transgender person can most certainly get the crap beaten out of them or worse in many parts of the country* gays cannot adopt in many places* gay couples in several states now cannot form private legal agreements and health care POA because of state amendmentsAnd look at the state of the bigoted marriage amendments.
For all the gains that have been made, city by city, state by state, there are thousands of gay people that have lost rights in those states that passed amendments. Those laws have jeopardized partner benefits and legal arrangements to protect gay relationships that married people take for granted. Bill Clinton and his DLC legacy resulted in a Democratic Party with lack of desire/inability to reframe any issues regarding gay rights, save a few brave souls, like Mel Watt. The silence is deafening. His 2004 advice to Kerry was telling. Clinton's actions gave the Right permission to make gays the whipping boy for electoral success. It only served him to call out gay-baiting when his wife was involved.
Sorry, Bill, f*ck that. You and Finkelstein just have more in common on this front than you're copping to.
***I'm not letting Finkelstein off the hook; he is about as nasty and right wing as they come on the campaign trail.

From Bob Somerby's The Daily Howler today:

AS A MATTER OF FACT, YES--THEY'LL BE PUNISHED: In this morning's lead editorial, the Washington Post provides describes the cost of killing the estate tax for good. But in their closing paragraph, the eds indulge in some clueless self-contradiction:
WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL (4/12/05): The estate tax is a tough vote for some lawmakers in part because of the enormous amount of misinformation surrounding it. House members who fear that a vote for the more responsible Pomeroy alternative will be used against them should ask themselves two questions: Will my constituents really punish me for a vote to exempt 99.7 percent of estates from taxation? And how can I justify adding to the deficit, or cutting other programs, to underwrite a costly tax break for the extremely rich?

In that first sentence, the editors note the load of disinformation surrounding the fearful "death tax." But right after that, they seem to suggest that it's silly for members of Congress to think they'll be punished for retaining the tax. "Will my constituents really punish me for a vote to exempt 99.7 percent of estates from taxation?" they ask. But duh! The answer to that question is yes, precisely because of the disinformation the press lets the pseudo-right spread.
For decades, Rush and the gang have spread disinformation about the effects of the "death tax." (For one key example, see the Post's paragraph about family farms.) And, as usual, the mainstream press has refused to stand up and confront what these demagogues have been doing. But then, you know the ways of that mainstream press corps, with its "right-leaning dinner-party centrism!" Not for them the dirty task of challenging Mark Levin's kooky best-seller--and not for them the dirty task of describing the disinformation machine that keeps misleading American voters about the way this tax really works. So yes--various members will be punished if they vote to keep the estate tax. They'll be punished because voters have been misled by Rush and the gang for years--and because our dinner-party pundits are too timid to stand up and fight them.
That quoted paragraph is the perfect portrait of the way this cohort works. In one sentence, they note that the public has been disinformed. But in the next sentence, they seem to ridicule the idea that voters will punish the House about this. How do those two ideas go together? Next time you attend a fine Washington party, put down your wine glass and ask the eds this. But uh-oh! Don't expect to get an invite to the next centrist soiree.

Dominick e-mailed to note Ruth Conniff's Monday's blog. This week's entry is entitled "Colin Powell Grasps at Straws:"

But wait, there's more: "The students were still concerned because they thought the waitress might have to pay for it out of her salary. She smiled and she said, 'No, the manager said he is glad you are here in the United States. He hopes you are having a good time, he hopes you are learning all about us. He said it's on him.'
"That," Powell concluded, "is the America I believe in, that's the America the world wants to believe in."
Hey, maybe there's still time to substitute a Chili's manager for John Bolton as our ambassador to the UN!
You have to feel a little bad for Powell, exiting from the Bush Administration after the far-rightwing insiders made a fool of him. As the guy who took America's "iron-clad" case about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to the Security Council, he can be forgiven for wanting to dwell on a more benign image of his country than the one he saw while in office.
All the same--can he think of NOTHING in his whole career that expresses American generosity, goodness, or decency, better than this hamburger hearsay?
That's a sad commentary on the last four years.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.