Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Democracy Now: Oscar Olivera, Jim Shultz, Guiterrez Rojas;, Bob Somerby (Daily Howler), Jude (Iddybud), Katrina vanden Heuvel ..

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

Headlines for May 25, 2005
- U.S. Warned It Will Be In Iraq Five More Years
- 14 U.S. Soldiers Killed Over The Past Four Days
- House Committee Approves Another $45B for Iraq War
- Bush Urged Not to Give Military Aid to Indonesia
- FBI Accused of Interrogating U.S. Citizens Illegally Held in Pakistan
- FBI asks US Congress for new power to seize documents
- Amnesty International Accuses Israel of War Crimes

Following Filibuster Compromise, Senate Prepares to Confirm Priscilla Owen to U.S. Appeals Court
Yesterday, the Senate voted to end debate on the confirmation of Priscilla Owen to the U.S Appeals Court, clearing the way for her confirmation. The vote came after a surprise compromise was reached Monday night that averted a showdown over judicial nominees. The deal -- agreed upon by a bipartisan group of 14 Senators -- came less than 24 hours before the Republican leadership was expected to change the Senate rules in order to deny Democrats the ability to filibuster judicial nominees.

Beyond the Gas War: Indigenous Bolivians Fight for "Nationalization of the Government"
Massive indigenous-led protests continue to rock South America's poorest country. The fight for control of Bolivia's vast natural gas resources is fueling the current crisis but a war is escalating over the rights of the country's majority indigenous population. We'll go to Cochabamba to hear from the famed Bolivian resistance leader Oscar Olivera and longtime Bolivia activist Jim Shultz of the Democracy Center, as well as activist Moises Gutierrez Rojas of the Aymara Quichua Indigenous organization.

AIPAC Holds National Meeting Amid Spy Scandal Investigation
A Pentagon analyst accused of leaking top-secret information to a pro-Israel group faces a new charge of illegally taking classified government documents out of the Washington area to his West Virginia residence. Larry Franklin was arrested on May 4th for passing top secret information to employees of the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC -- the American Israel Public Affairs Committee

Anti-Military Recruiting Campaigns Heats up At Seattle Schools
On Monday, four US military recruiting offices in Seattle were shut down when students blocked the entrances to protest recruitment practices and to oppose the occupation of Iraq. Meanwhile the Parent Teacher Student Association at one school has passed a resolution recommending that military recruiters be barred from the campus.

At The Daily Howler, Bob Somerby's addressing too many topics to summarize. We'll zero on in the filibuster agreement/compromise and Senator Lindsey's Graham's appearence on Hardball:

GRAHAM: Well, President Bush`s nominees, most of them are going to go through. There will be at least one in the group that probably will fail in a bipartisan fashion. But every president faces that.
Wouldn't anyone with an ounce of sense follow up on Graham's grabber? But Matthews moved to a typical "cable news" question--a question about "the polling." He didn't ask who "will probably fail"--and we've seen no one in the mainstream "press corps" mention this comment by Graham since then. For example, did Ifill ask Chafee or Nelson last night? We're not sure. Does the pope worship Druids?
For the record, Matthews has been in extra-special High Clown Mode for the past two nights.
During Monday’s regular, 7 PM hour, he broke off live coverage of The Agreement so he could run extended footage of himself being parodied on Saturday Night Live. (Earlier, he had wasted time showing footage of Warren Beatty mentioning Hardball in a speech.) His interview with Graham came about 90 minutes later; despite the extra time to “think,” he still showed no sign of having noticed the difference between 7 and 5. And when Graham tossed him a "dirty little secret" (two times!), the dumb-as-a-box-of-rocks self-promoter simply stared off into air. Last night’s interviews were especially clownish, as he rattled on and on--and on and on--about nominations he thinks will be made, and about issues that everyone agreed were not central. Go ahead--read the full transcripts from the past two nights, and marvel at the intellectual functioning of your millionaire "press corps."

e-mails to note that Democracy Now!'s Mike Burke is running a site entitled Theresa wants us to be aware of this site. This evening (barring any problems with the Blogger program like last night), I will add it to our list.

Apologies to Maria who e-mailed to note Jude of Iddybud yesterday. Here's an excerpt from Jude's writings yesterday:

The Sun, owned by Rupert Murdoch, confirmed that they’d paid a U.S. official about $900 for the pictures of Saddam in his underwear. The tabloid says it was a U.S. military official, but it did not identify him. The official had allegedly hoped the release of the photo would deal a "body blow" to 'the rebels'.That's right. Keep blaming Isikoff and Newsweek for sparking a wave of anti-Americanism....and yet American officials shove this kind of thing - these nearly-naked Saddam photos - in the Muslim world's faces like brave, Fox News-ish, Murdoch-ish, official he-men. (No girly-men are they!) Will anyone be held accountable for this cheap Saddam photo sale? I'll bet not.

Jude's commenting futher on Newsweek elsewhere in yesterday's entry, the filibuster compromise and much more.

Ben e-mails to note Daniel Howden and Philip Thornton's "The Pipeline That Will Change the World" from The Independent:

The goal of the ambitious project, which makes its tortuous way from the Caspian in Azerbaijan, through Georgia to the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, is to ease the reliance of the West on the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and bring cheaper fuel to our filling stations. The pipe threads its way through the region in a seemingly modest private corridor only 50 yards wide but nothing has been allowed to stand in its way. From forests to labour laws and endangered species to democracy protesters: all have given way to the costliest and most significant pipeline ever built.
The project, known as BTC, has driven a wedge between the US and Russia, triggered political unrest in the countries it passes through and their neighbours and sparked concern at extensive damage to the environment.
Since the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the US, concern at the West's dependence on Persian Gulf oil has intensified. For Washington, the opening is a cause for celebration. "We view this as a significant step forward in the energy security of that region," said Samuel Bodman, the American energy secretary, who stood next to the three heads of state at today's ceremony.
With him at the pumping station controls was the president of the tiny former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan. The BTC has allowed Ilham Aliev to become a firm friend of the West while overseeing a government condemned for human rights abuses and sitting at the head of an administration placed 140 out of 146 in Transparency International's global corruption index.

Charlie e-mails to note Katrina vanden Heuvel's "Cowboy Cheers:"

Flouting the fact that Pat Robertson thinks the "activist" (Republican-sponsored and approved) judiciary is the worst threat America faces, the moralistic majority in the Texas legislature has decided that sexy cheerleading is our nation's undoing.
Forget the fact that it was the state of Texas that made sexy cheerleading part of our national cultural life. (This state, which wanted to be an independent nation, has also given us the
execution of women and the mentally handicapped, Tom DeLay and George W. Bush.)
Of course, youthful female sexuality will always be a threat to the good ole boys. But my favorite part of this legislation is that it requires every school district to hire a sexy cheerleading commissar to enforce the proposed prohibition of "overtly sexually suggestive" cheerleading routines. (They won't be condemning James Joyce's Ulysses, but the principle of we-know-it-when-we-see-it has expanded.) Big government conservatism at your service.

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