Friday, May 06, 2005

Democracy Now: Tari Ali, Tony Benn, Bloomington on occupation, Patriot Act .., Dr. Martha Crouch; Katrina vanden Heuvel; Cynthia McKinney; Bob Somerby

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

Headlines for May 6, 2005
- Blair Opponent Demands Apology for Soldiers Killed in Iraq
- Iraqi Resistance Carry Out Attacks
- Iraqi Resistance Carry Out Attacks
- U.S. Holding Journalists Without Charge in Iraq
- Gen. Karpinski Demoted for Abu Ghraib
- U.S. Cannot Find $100 Million in Iraq Money
- Colombia Returns U.S. soldiers Accused of Weapons Trafficking
- Fatah Leads in Palestinian Local Elections
- FDA to Recommend Ban on Gay Sperm Donors

Blair Wins Third Term; Majority Reduced Over Iraq War
Prime Minister Tony Blair wins a historic third term in government but with a drastically reduced majority in parliament for his Labour party. We go to London to speak with longtime British politician, Tony Benn, the political editor of the Guardian (UK) and Tariq Ali, author and editor of the New Left Review.

Bloomington Resolutions Oppose Iraq War, Patriot Act, Seek Higher Minimum Wage
We speak with a member of the Bloomington City Council which has passed several bills and resolutions opposing the invasion of Iraq and the Patriot Act, promoting fair elections through a verifiable paper trail and seeking a higher minimum wage. [includes rush transcript]

Biology Prof. Resigns Over Gvt. Use of Plant Research
We speak Dr. Martha Crouch, a former biology professor at the University of Indiana. She ran a lab dedicated to cutting edge plant research but decided to end her career when she found out that biotechnology companies were co-opting her research for profit.

Julia Ward Howe: The Woman Behind Mother's DayWe take a look at the woman behind Mother's Day, Julia Ward Howe. The author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, she began advocating for a mother's day for peace in 1870. [includes rush transcript]

Keesha e-mails to note Katrina vanden Heuvel's wrote : "In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask...that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace."
A hundred and thirty-five Mother's Days later, the feisty and fiercely intelligent women of
Code Pink--the largest women-initiated, antiwar activist group in the country--are fulfilling Howe's call to action. Founded in 2002 during the run-up to war in Iraq, Code Pink has grabbed the nation's attention with some of the boldest, most direct, creative (and good-humored) protests against the war.
Among our favorite Code Pink actions: their four-month vigil in front of the White House; the
"pink slip" campaign; crashing the RNC three nights in a row; interrupting hearings to demand the firing of Donald Rumsfeld, and, later, to protest the nomination of John Bolton.

Cedric e-mails to note that The Black Commentator has a speech by House Rep. Cynthia McKinney:

In the political world, our hesitation about flexing our muscle and standing firm for our Constitutional rights has made us political roadkill.
How else can you describe Republican audacity to roll back the voting laws in our State to almost pre-Voting Rights Act times.
Georgia, whose leaders' words used to drip with interposition and nullification at the time that Dr. King led millions in marches for our rights, now has one of the most – if not the most – restrictive voter ID bills in the country.
Georgia, whose electorate is fully 30% black, has a history of hatred that is well chronicled in the annals of Supreme Court voting decisions.
Georgia, where crossover voting allows white Democrats and white Republicans to come together to oust anyone not to their liking despite the overwhelming presence of black Democrats in the Democratic primary.
Georgia, so sweet and clear as moonlight in the pines.
Leadership in a changing time. That's your theme tonight.
But tell me. From this just-passed Legislative Session, and everything that you've witnessed in your lifetimes, tell me – what has changed?
Our story in this country has been one of struggle, optimism, faith, belief, in the system, in the Constitution, belief in what the leaders of this country have told us.
Our history in this country has been one of triumph and travail. And through it all, we've had inspiring leadership and we've had not-so-inspiring leadership.

Heath e-mails regarding Bob Somerby's The Daily Howler today and picked the section he wanted highlighted (Somerby's addressing Charles Krauthammer's op-ed claim that Bully Boy's plan for Social Security will not result in a cut in benefits):

"No one gets cut," Krauthammer says--and he makes the case here as well as it can be made. Democrats badly need to know how to respond to this fusillade.
Let's start by debunking some flat-out misstatements. In the first of these three quoted paragraphs, Krauthammer discusses the future benefits that Social Security currently promises. And uh-oh! He says those future benefits "are entirely unsustainable. They cannot possibly be paid by the taxes of the fewer workers in the future who will be supporting the many retirees." But this statement is plainly untrue; if we make fairly minor adjustments to existing taxes, it would be entirely possible to pay promised SS benefits over the next 75 years. As Chris Dodd noted on Sunday's Meet the Press, less than one-third of Bush's sweeping tax cuts erases the projected 75-year shortfall. Clearly, taxpayers could support these benefit levels, if we decide we want to do it. Krauthammer may think this would be bad policy. But it’s absurd to say it "cannot possibly" be done.
But after he makes these flat misstatements, Krauthammer's argument rallies. It's true! Under the benefit levels Bush proposed last week, future retirees would get "at least as much or more than any retiree today" -- even if those future benefit checks are adjusted for inflation ("in nominal or real dollars"). For example, consider an average-income worker who retires in 2045. His monthly check will contain more dollars than the check sent to such retirees today. And his monthly check will be bigger than today's check even if you adjust for inflation! This is what Republicans mean when they say there are no "cuts" in Bush’s proposal. If Dems want to win this fight on the merits, they need to know what to say when someone makes these basic points. Drum's response ("So what? It's less than Congress promised in 1983!") isn't likely to help in this fight.
So let’s get at it. Why should Dems care about the benefit levels Bush has now proposed? Why should Dems complain if average retirees get more money in the future, even adjusted for inflation? Simple: Over the course of the next 40 or 50 (or 70) years, living standards are going to change a great deal; if retirees are going to be able to approximate the living standard they maintained while they were working, benefit levels have to reflect that. And Bush's proposal massively changes the ability of the average worker to do that.

Heath alerts us that there's a planned Saturday Daily Howler tomorrow. Heath also informs me that Somerby had a Saturday entry last week. I'm sorry that I missed that and wasn't aware of it. We'll try to grab something from it tomorrow.

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