Monday, April 25, 2005

Democracy Now: where is Panchen Lama?, Reed Brody, Jean-Jean Pierre; Ruth Conniff, Will Durst, Chris (Interesting Times), Regina (Chicana on the Edge)

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

Headlines for April 25, 2005
- Up to 1 Million March in Mexico City Protest
- Over 40 Die in Series of Bombings in Iraq
- Army Clears Top Officers in Abu Ghraib Abuse
- UK Resident Reports Widespread Torture At Guantanamo
- Democratic Senator Calls for Bolton to Withdraw UN Nomination
- U.S. Prison Population Reaches 2.1 Million
- Western Shoshone Activist, Mary Dann, Dies
- Hundreds Attend Marla Ruzicka Funeral

Getting Away with Torture? Human Rights Watch Calls for Accountability Into U.S. Abuse of Detainees
Human Rights Watch is demanding that a special prosecutor be named to investigate Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, former CIA director George Tenet and other top officials for possible war crimes related to the torture and abuse of prisoners. We speak with Human Rights Watch special counsel Reed Brody. [includes rush transcript]

Birthday of Imprisoned Panchen Lama: The World's Youngest Political Prisoner Turns 16
On May 17th, 1995 the Chinese government abducted Gendun Choekyi Nyima who was then six years old and had just been recognized by the Dali Lama as the 11th Panchen Lama - which is the second most prominent holy man in Tibetan Buddhism. He turns 16 today. We speak with Robert Thurman of Columbia University. [includes rush transcript]

Ousted Ecuadorian President Gutierrez Exiled in Brazil Following Mass Uprising
Ecuador's ousted president Lucio Gutierrez was flown to Brazil Sunday where he will live in exile following Congress's decision to remove him from office amid massive anti-government protests. We go to Quito, Ecuador to speak with a member of the Center for Economic and Social Rights. [includes rush transcript]

Fmr. Haitian Prime Minister Beaten in Prison as Interim Gv't Prepares to Charge Him in Connection with Political Killings
The US-backed interim government of Haiti is preparing to charge former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune with having a role in a series of political killings in the town of St. Marc. in February 2004. Meanwhile, his family says he was badly beaten on Friday. We speak with a friend of Yvon Neptune, Jean-Jean Pierre. [includes rush transcript]

Ruth Conniff's asking, "Giving Peace a Chance?" in her latest Monday blog entry:

Remember the Geneva Accord? The unofficial Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement was negotiated by ex-politicians, former peace process negotiators, and cultural figures from both Israel and Palestine, and then mailed or handed out to every single Israeli and Palestinian the negotiators could find. That was back in November 2003. It was a bold and hopeful move. The idea--that most people on the ground in Israel and Palestine would support a genuine plan for peace over continued violence--seemed born out in the polls. Right after the plan was delivered to the people, 53 percent of Israelis and almost 56 percent of Palestinians told pollsters they supported it, according to the Associated Press.
Since that time, both sides have lived through a period of intense violence, as well as the death of Yassir Arafat, the planned Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, the construction of barriers in the Occupied Territories that seem to create new, provocative borders . . .and a glimmering possibility for peace.
I went to see two representatives of the Geneva Initiative when they came through town recently. David Levy was a lead Israeli negotiator of Geneva, and a veteran of the Clinton-era peace process negotiations. Rafi Dajani is the executive director of the American Task Force on Palestine in Washington, DC.
Together, the two men raised hopes for peace, despite a clear-eyed view of the barriers that still stand in the way. The window may be closing, they said, but it is there.

Terry e-mails in Will Durst's latest from The Daily Dose of Durst:

A group called Human Rights Watch has called for the White House to appoint an independent investigator to look into Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's involvement in the detainee abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Yeah, that's going to happen. Around the same time Laura Bush hits the road as a backup dancer on Cher's next farewell tour.

Laura Bush is going on tour with Cher!!! No, it was a joke. (Credit Cher with better taste.) But I'm looking at the e-mails and a few people didn't get that Alexander Cockburn was joking with his Time piece that we linked to earlier today. I'll note in that entry that it was a joke but let me note it here as well.

Carrie e-mails in to note Chris at Interesting Times:

Will the Democrats, as David Broder suggests, come out on the wrong side if they follow through on Harry Reid's threats to stop Senate business if Frits invokes the nuclear option? Broder compares the current fight to the government shutdown in 1995 and says that Reid and the Democrats will be perceived as in the wrong like Newt Gingrich and the Republicans were back then. Will the Democrats pay a political price if they continue to obstruct Bush's judicial nominees?
Let's turn the question around: what kind of political price will the Democrats pay if they don't follow through on the threat? What kind of perception will they leave if they fold now and compromise on Bush's judges?
The answer is simple: they will simply confirm the public perception that Democrats are wimps who don't stand for anything.

??? e-mails the latest from Regina (Chicana on the Edge):

Whatever the reason, I grew up expecting people who looked mainstream-American-white to think of themselves as mainstream-American-white and I was impressed by the first Chicago acquaintance who identified so strongly as Irish that she really took St. Patrick's Day personally. A boss proudly declaring his Polish background on Pulaski Daysurprised me, and countless guys that I've dated have startled me by making clear their identification as Dutch or Lithuanian, etc.
Thus have I discovered that there are no "white" people in Chicago.
Everyone, not just those of us whose parents learned English as a second language, carries a solid sense of their cultural heritage. Is it like this everywhere outside of California or is this a Chicago phenomenon? I don't know but, after the cultural blandness of my California Anglo friends, I'm realizing how many different colors there are in white.

Doug e-mails to note Jorge Mariscal's "The Passing of a legend: Rodolfo 'Corky' Gonzales" from The Black Commentator:

When in the summer of 1968 President Lyndon Johnson’s Attorney General stood up before an audience of Chicano, African American, Puerto Rican, American Indian, and poor white activists, he had no idea he was about to receive a knockout punch delivered by a former Mexican American flyweight contender. When the stocky man with a moustache rose to ask his question, Attorney General Ramsey Clark dismissed him by saying he would not take questions until after his statement. Refusing to be silenced, the man stood again and forced Clark to listen to what he had to say.
That man was Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales. He had come to Washington, D.C. as part of the Southwest delegation of the Poor People’s Campaign, the project planned by Martin Luther King, Jr. to force the issues of poverty and economic injustice on to the national agenda. Gonzales did not mince words, telling Clark that if he would not admit that there was racial discrimination in housing he was either naïve or blind. Although this was the first time the national media had seen Gonzales, in the Southwestern states especially among young Chicanos he was already a legend.

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