Thursday, April 28, 2005

Democracy Now: Cherif Bassiouni, Dahr Jamail; Bob Somerby, Tracy Garcia, Folding Star

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

Headlines for April 28, 2005- Iraq Lawmakers Agree to New Cabinet Posts
- Record Number of Terrorist Attacks in 2004
- U.S. Says Cuba, North Korea, Syria, Iran "Embrace Terrorism"
- Congress Advances Bill Limiting Abortion for Minors
- GOP to Rescind House Ethics Rules Changes
- Mexico's Attorney
-General Resigns
- Israel Seeking to Buy U.S. Bunker Buster Bombs
- Bush Calls for Construction of Nuclear Power Plants
- White House Opposes Reappointment of IAEA Chief ElBaradei

UN Human Rights Investigator in Afghanistan Ousted Under U.S. Pressure
We speak with Cherif Bassiouni, a top human rights investigator in Afghanistan who was recently forced out of the United Nations under pressure from the U.S. just days after he released a report criticizing the US for committing human rights abuses. He says, "The U.S. has done an enormous disservice to the cause of human rights in Afghanistan simply because they wanted somebody who was going to look the other way on what their practices were." [includes rush transcript - partial]

Iraq Through the Eyes of Unemebedded, Independent Journalist Dahr Jamail
Dahr Jamail, one of the few independent, unembedded journalists reporting in Iraq for months, joins us in our firehouse studio to discuss the siege of Fallujah, detention of Iraqis, so-called "reconstruction" and much more. [includes rush transcript]

Did anyone not send in Bob Somerby's latest Daily Howler today? Actually, thirty-five of you sent that in. Hopefully, if you're not among those visiting, you are aware that Somerby is an incredible resource that's out there. From today's Howler (as highlighted by Liang, Julia, Jeff
and Rod):

CONTEMPT ON HOLD: We had planned to do four parts on "Contempt," but we've decided to suspend that incomparable effort. But let's add a final thought about Time's two-week salute to America's master-ironist, Ann Coulter.
We agree with the Alterman reader who called the Time cover story "a new low for the mainstream media." As such, we advise you to think again about a dichotomy that was clearly observed on the liberal web in the wake of this remarkable piece.
How did the liberal web respond to Time's remarkable conduct? Two different ways! The "amateur" web was plainly outraged; its writers spent a good deal of time discussing what Time had done. But the "career" liberal web was a whole different animal. Indeed, if you judge by the web sites of the American Prospect, the Washington Monthly and the New Republic, you'd hardly know that Time's cover story existed! In short, two different groups inhabit the "liberal web," a fact which this episode made crystal clear. And one of these groups has no intention of discussing even the grossest misconduct of even the biggest news organs.
Should anyone really be surprised by the silence that came from these "liberal" bastions? Not really. This is exactly the way these organs behaved during the event that transformed our politics, the twenty-month press corps War Against Gore that decided Election 2000. Everything liberals rail at today exists because of that twenty-month war. But you know those career liberal writers! They wouldn't discuss the press corps' war in real time, and they avoid discussing that war even now.
At Slate, Jack Shafer more or less explained this corrupt--and utterly disabling--code of silence:
SHAFER (4/8/05): I started writing press criticism at Washington City Paper back in 1986, because as editor I couldn't get anybody else to do it. Writers were frightened that if they penned something scathing about the Washington Post or the New York Times they'd screw themselves out of a future job.
Poor babies! They might blow their future pay-days! And they might not get to be on Hardball! To state the obvious, we can't explain the personal motives of every single career liberal writer. But in the last two weeks, you've clearly seen two different "liberal webs"--and one of them didn't have squat to say when Time pimped Coulter on its cover. They sat around and kept very quiet--just as they did during Campaign 2000, just as they’ve done about that campaign right to this very day.

I'm not clear if Bob Somerby is saying he's going to start drawing comparisons in future posts or not. He may and that's great but he may be focusing on something else. I bring it up only because Julia e-mailed that she went to the archives today. Wally had commented in his post yesterday on my commenting (we're a flashback, within a flashback, within . . . but it was probably on Presidents' Day, but I'm guessing) that I'd made a point to read the entire Howler. Julia didn't do that today. Please, there's so much to be found there I don't think you could read it one day. (I did it piece meal, a little each weekend.) But what she did was to use the search function at The Daily Howler to look up a few things.

As most of you may know, Brian Williams wrote Nixon as a child. How very. Julia knew about that. She had no idea of Williams' behavior in the 2000 presidential campaign.

Julia: He's bragged about listening to Flush Limbaugh's show and my mouth dropped when I heard that story. If I'd read his [Somerby's] coverage on the 2000 campaign, I wouldn't have been surprised. Brian Williams is truly disgusting and he played it partisan at MSNBC. I would encourage everyone to go to The Daily Howler and do a search on Brian Williams. While you're there, you can search any other journalist you're interested in finding out information on. But I really don't think you get what C.I.'s saying about the resource this site is until you visit and do a search. It's all there.

Cokie Roberts, Tim Russert, etc. Use the search engine at The Daily Howler and you'll have some solid criticism that will enlighten you. (If Bob Somerby speaks to you. If he doesn't, just know it's there. Members should, in the words of the Mamas & Papas song, "Go where you wanna go, and do what you wanna do, with whomever you want to do it with, babe.") ("Go Where You Wanna Go" written by John Phillips and it should be available on every Mamas and the Papas CD collection. It appears on their studio album If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears.)

Someone wrote in to ask if I'd be watching the Bully Boy tonight. No. I can take a fake accent, I just can't take a bad one. Even if he wasn't smug and so appalling, that bad fake accent would be enough to drive me crazy. I've just turned off The Majority Report in fact because they're broadcasting it. That's not a slam against them. But I don't need to suffer through that ___.
I'll read the transcription the New York Times usually provides. (Again, not a slam to The Majority Report. That bad, fake accent, that gets more and more fake each year, grates on me as much as his smugness.) Ray-gun would drive me crazy but I could watch his telecasts. I could usually take Poppy's conferences. (Not agree with the remarks, obviously, but I could watch them. Bully Boy comes on and I just want to scream.)

Preston sent in a column he found via a link at LA Indymedia that sent him to The Whittier Daily News' "Man seeks nonmilitary recruiting options" by Tracy Garcia:

The way Orlando Terrazas sees it, deciding to join the military is as important as choosing which college to attend. So when his son told him he was considering signing up, it caused major discord at home.
Terrazas' son, who is in the Whittier High School marching band, said he got the idea after a military recruiter came to his class and gave a pitch about joining the military band.
That was enough for Terrazas, who has launched a campaign to get equal exposure for nonmilitary options for high school students.
Specifically, Terrazas wants to put up his homemade posters citing the drawbacks of a military career, alongside military recruitment posters on campus.
"What I'm concerned with is that the kids are getting all the information on the options in the military from recruiters but none of the ramifications of this decision,' said Terrazas, who belongs to the Whittier Peace and Justice Coalition, an antiwar group opposed to the war in Iraq.
The text of Terrazas posters, titled "Do You Know Enough to Enlist?,' is taken from a brochure published by the American Friends Service Committee. They detail the drawbacks of military careers, give information about alternatives to military service and tips on how to talk to recruiters.

And Nora e-mailed to note Folding Star's latest at A Winding Road covering a number of issues but mainly Harry Reid:

After months of pledging to stand tall on this crucial matter, Reid tried to bribe the Republicans. That's what it amounted to. It was playground bargaining at it's worst- "I'll give you some of my lunch money if you won't beat me up."
Reid reportedly offered to NOT filibuster a few of the nominees if the Republicans wouldn't press forward with their plan to remove the right of the minority to filibuster.
Now, just before this, it was revealed that polling had shown that the public was NOT behind the plan to remove the filibuster.So you'd think that Reid would remain steadfast and let the Republicans shoot themselves in the foot if that's what they wanted to do.
Instead, Reid tries to deal and Frist is the one who's able to come off looking as if he's standing firm! I'd like to know what good a compromised filibuster would even be? Can anyone tell me what Reid may have been thinking? If Frist had accepted the deal, the Republicans would just threaten to kill the filibuster every time the Democrats wanted to use it, knowing that it would force them into not doing so!

It's all worth reading but I want to highlight one part one more time:

It was playground bargaining at it's worst- "I'll give you some of my lunch money if you won't beat me up."

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