Thursday, May 05, 2005

Democracy Now: Yvon Neptune near death, Chris Hedges, Rev. Joseph Phelps. Ricky Jones; The Daily Howler; Naomi Klein

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

Headlines for May 5, 2005
- Marine Faces No Charges For Shooting Unarmed Iraq
- Pentagon Analyst Arrested for Passing Secrets to AIPAC
- Small Explosion Occurs Outside UK Consulate in NYC
- Army Admits It Lied About Death of Pat Tillman
- FBI To Exhume Body of Emmett Till
- Venzuela Asks U.S. To Extradite Cuban to Face Terror Charges
- Gay Rights Pioneer Jack Nichols, 67, Dies

Ex-Haitian PM Yvon Neptune Near Death
We get an update on the condition of jailed former Haitian Prime Minister Yvon Neptune who has been on a hunger strike for 18 days and is reportedly near death. We go to Haiti to speak with human rights activist Patrick Elie who served as Haiti's Drug Czar and Undersecretary of State for Defense under Jean Bertrand Aristide and we speak with lawyer Brian Concannon.

The Christian Right and the Rising Power of the Evangelical Political Movement
We take a look at the rising power of the evangelical political movement in this country with journalist and author Chris Hedges and the Rev. Joseph Phelps, who led a counter-service to last month's "Justice Sunday: Stopping the Filibuster Against People of Faith." [includes rush transcript]

Louisville Landscape: Politics, Race and Police Brutality
We take a look at local Louisville politics and the political landscape of Kentucky with professor Ricky Jones, a political science specialist in the department of Pan-African Studies at the University of Louisville.

At The Daily Howler, Bob Somerby tracks Bully Boy's lies and how he attempts to scare people in his tent revivals of late. I can't pull quote because Somerby's got strong transitions between his writing and the quotes and to pull from it would not do it any justice at all (and probably confuse anyone who just read the excerpt here), so instead, we'll note his last two concluding paragraphs:

POSTSCRIPT--WHERE IS THE PRESS CORPS: In the past week, Bush has conducted SS pep rallies in Falls Church, Virginia; in Canton, Mississippi; and in front of the Latino Coalition in Washington. During these events, he has baldly dissembled--and openly lied--about the future of Social Security. In Falls Church, he told five young workers that, absent major changes, there will be "nothing there" in Social Security when they retire in 2041. In Canton, he told Nissan employees that the system will be bankrupt that year: "In other words, it's out." And he told the Latino Coalition that there will be "nothing left" in Social Security by that time. These statements aren't simply misleading; according to Bush's own projections, these statements are blatantly, laughably false. And Bush kept pimping up the nonsense with that disgraceful old UFO tale. People who think they won't get a check "understand the math," this fake man disgracefully said.
Yep! Bush keeps dissembling and lying, wherever he goes--and the "press corps" hides beneath its desks. They refuse to discuss the endless dissembling that drives what amounts to a snake oil tour. On Mother's Day week, Bush even lies to 84-year-old grandmothers--and the press corps won’t even stir about that. Has any president ever offered such sustained nonsense about such a major domestic initiative? We don't know, but you can't get the press corps to care. And by the way--do you remember how much they used to care about the truthfulness of public figures? Did Al Gore lie about Love Story? For two solid years, these pious fakes pretended that they had to know. For two solid years, these pious frauds kept pretending that they deeply cared. Can't you see why liberals and Dems have to name names again and again?

Lynda e-mails to note Naomi Klein's "How to End the War" (from In These Times):

The administration says the war was about fighting for democracy. That was the big lie they resorted to when they were caught in the other lies. But it’s a different kind of a lie in the sense that it’s a useful lie. The lie that the United States invaded Iraq to bring freedom and democracy not just to Iraq but, as it turns out, to the whole world, is tremendously useful--because we can first expose it as a lie and then we can join with Iraqis to try to make it true. So it disturbs me that a lot of progressives are afraid to use the language of democracy now that George W. Bush is using it. We are somehow giving up on the most powerful emancipatory ideas ever created, of self-determination, liberation and democracy.
And it's absolutely crucial not to let Bush get away with stealing and defaming these ideas--they are too important.
In looking at democracy in Iraq, we first need to make the distinction between elections and democracy. The reality is the Bush administration has fought democracy in Iraq at every turn.
Why? Because if genuine democracy ever came to Iraq, the real goals of the war--control over oil, support for Israel, the construction of enduring military bases, the privatization of the entire economy--would all be lost. Why? Because Iraqis don't want them and they don't agree with them. They have said it over and over again--first in opinion polls, which is why the Bush administration broke its original promise to have elections within months of the invasion. I believe Paul Wolfowitz genuinely thought that Iraqis would respond like the contestants on a reality TV show and say: "Oh my God. Thank you for my brand-new shiny country."

They didn't. They protested that 500,000 people had lost their jobs. They protested the fact that they were being shut out of the reconstruction of their own country, and they made it clear they didn't want permanent U.S. bases.
That's when the administration broke its promise and appointed a CIA agent as the interim prime minister. In that period they locked in--basically shackled--Iraq's future governments to an International Monetary Fund program until 2008. This will make the humanitarian crisis in Iraq much, much deeper.

Here's just one example: The IMF and the World Bank are demanding the elimination of Iraq's food ration program, upon which 60 percent of the population depends for nutrition, as a condition for debt relief and for the new loans that have been made in deals with an unelected government.
In these elections, Iraqis voted for the United Iraqi Alliance. In addition to demanding a timetable for the withdrawal of troops, this coalition party has promised that they would create 100 percent full employment in the public sector--i.e., a total rebuke of the neocons' privatization agenda. But now they can't do any of this because their democracy has been shackled. In other words, they have the vote, but no real power to govern.

Lynda's got an entry she's working on that she'd like to share with the community. Read this article (or at least the excerpt) to be prepared. If she's got it done by tonight, it will go up tonight. Otherwise, look for it tomorrow.

We have added some member since we last noted Naomi Klein's "Baghdad Year Zero" (published in Harper's Magazine). So I'll note it again and am more than willing to quote from it again (it's that important) if any members would like me to do so. (If you're confused by the remarks Klein's making in her In These Times article, I would strongly urge you to read "Baghdad Year Zero.")

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