Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Democracy Now: Bill Moyers for the hour; Bob Somerby & Jude (Iddybud) on DSM, Katrina vanden Heuvel & Michael on Recruiters, Berger on Felt

Democracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says)
Headlines for June 22, 2005

- Klansman Convicted For 1964 Civil Rights Killings
- Iraq Minister: U.S. Trying to Hide Details of U.S.-Saddam Relations
- CIA Warns Iraq Becoming Training Ground For Extremists
- Israel Resumes Policy of Targeted Assassinations
- Philadelphia Police Officer Dies During Biotech Protest
- UN to Investigate Mass Home Demolitions in Zimbabwe
- Schwarzenegger Faces Plummeting Approval Ratings
- Number of D.C. Lobbyists Has Doubled Since 2000
- USDA Issues Video News Releases Promoting CAFTA
Bill Moyers: "The Radical Right Wing is Very Close to Achieving a Longtime Goal of Undermining the Independence of Public Broadcasting"

With the increasing politicization of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the threat of funding cuts in Congress, public media in this country is facing a serious crisis. We spend the hour with legendary journalist Bill Moyers - the subject of much of the pressure brought by CPB chair Kenneth Tomlinson.

Moyers says, "I think we're at a moment in American history that is unique. I think we are in danger of losing our democracy because of the domination, the monopoly of power being exercised by the huge economic interests, both directly and indirectly. In public broadcasting we need to get back to the revolutionary spirit of dissent and courage that brought us into existence in the first place, and this country does, too." [includes rush transcript]

Marcia says read the transcript or watch or listen online because "this interview with Bill Moyers is that important." 
Over at The Daily Howler, Bob Somerby's dealing with a large number of issues.  For our excerpt, we're focusing on the section on the Downing Street Memo:

PART 2--IT'S HARD TO DECIDE: Had Bush decided on war with Iraq by July 2002? The Downing Street memo suggests that he had, but this matter is hard to judge--in part due to the shadowy logic of decision-making itself. After all, as commander in chief, Bush could have aborted the war at any point, right through its start in March 2003. And since Bush was saying, all through 2002, that war with Iraq was his very last option, there was never a chance that he'd tell an outsider that he had settled on war by July. "Military action was now seen as inevitable," Sir Richard Dearlove wrote in the July 23 memo, describing his recent meetings in Washington. "Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action." But if high officials had conveyed that to Dearlove, Bush wasn't going to convey it to Woodward. Indeed, absent particular circumstances, it's intrinsically hard to nail down the point at which a "decision" has truly been made. Had Bush decided by July 2002? The Downing Street memos suggest that he had. But such a matter is intrinsically hard to judge, and Bob Woodward's ballyhooed Plan of Attack simply can't settle this issue.

That isn't to say that Woodward's book doesn't shed light on the question. As Woodward notes, some members of the Bush Admin favored war with Iraq from the start. According to Woodward, Paul Wolfowitz favored such military action in the administration's first days, a plan Colin Powell viewed as "lunacy" (page 22). And in the immediate aftermath of September 11, Donald Rumsfeld had "asked if the terrorist attacks did not present an 'opportunity' to launch against Iraq" (page 25). According to Woodward, "The only strong advocate for attacking Iraq at that point was Wolfowitz, who thought war in Afghanistan would be dicey and uncertain" (page 26). But Bush decided against such a war--at least for the time being:

WOODWARD (page 26): The next afternoon, Sunday, September 16, [2001,] Bush told Rice that the first target of the war on terrorism was going to be Afghanistan. “We won’t do Iraq now,” the president said, “we’re putting Iraq off. But eventually we’ll have to return to that question.”
According to Woodward, the question re-emerged as early as November 2001. On November 21, Bush ordered Rumsfeld to get started on a war plan for Iraq. "[G]et Tommy Franks looking at what it would take to protect America by removing Saddam Hussein if we have to," Bush is quoted saying, in a stirring statement which seems to be fashioned for history. By December, Rumsfeld is telling Franks that action may be needed fairly shortly:
WOODWARD (page 43): “You need to look at things that you could do even as early as April or May [2002].” That was four or five months away.

The suggestion took [Major General Gene] Renuart’s breath away. First Rumsfeld had implied there was no urgency, then implied it was all urgency. The thought of starting a war against Iraq in the spring was daunting.

“Yes, sir,” Franks said, “we’ll go back and take a look at it.”

According to Woodward, the time frame of the planning kept getting pushed back, although "extensive war planning efforts" continued. Indeed, by March 2002, Woodward says that Franks was sure that Bush had decided on war.
[. . .]
When did Bush decide on war? Absent clear statements from Bush himself, it's impossible to settle such a question. Throughout the summer and fall of 2002, Bush was publicly saying he hoped to avoid war; given that fact, there was no chance that he'd tell Woodward different. But one thing is clear in Plan of Attack; right around the time of the Downing Street memo, Woodward clearly portrays the Admin starting to "fix" the intelligence. Did the Bush Admin "fix the facts and the intelligence" around the time of the Downing Street memo? On that question, Plan of Attack is quite clear. Was the nation lied into war? The Downing Street memo suggests that it was--and Woodward's book backs up that suggestion. Woodward shows the bald dissembling starting in August--dissembling that the liberal and Democratic establishments haven't yet been bright enough to nail down.
Molly e-mails to note Katrina vanden Heuvel's latest Editor's Cut:

During the Vietnam War, protesters burned draft cards, rallied on campuses and marched on Robert McNamara's Pentagon. Today, with the war in Iraq raging on and on, parents, teachers and other community leaders are spearheading a new antiwar effort, telling the military to keep their hands off the children. The Times' Bob Herbert put it well: "The parents of the kids being sought by recruiters to fight this unpopular war are creating a highly vocal and potentially very effective antiwar movement."

The debacle in Iraq has made recruiting an impossibly difficult job and recruiters are sinking to new lows in the face of growing pressure to fulfill monthly quotas as well as fierce opposition from parents who don't support the President's botched Iraq war mission.

While the stunning list of recruiting abuses has received some needed media attention, it's worth reviewing the extremes to which the military has gone to fill its ranks. In Houston, one recruiter warned a potential recruit that if he backed out of a meeting, "we'll have a warrant" for the potential recruit's arrest. In Colorado, a high school student, David McSwane, who wanted to see "how far the Army would go during a war to get one more soldier," told recruiters that he didn't finish high school and that he had a drug problem. "No problem," the recruiters responded. McSwane was told to create a diploma from scratch and to buy products at a store that would help him beat the drug test.

Molly notes that community member Michael blogged on this topic as well at Mikey Likes It! and thought the two "make a good transition and give a pretty rounded view."  From Michael's "Arm Yourself With Some Truth:"

Some of you asked about CounterRecruiter and I'm so into that site. I think it's important and stuff because it effects people my age. You should check it out. The latest entry is this quote from a thing. Here it is:

The new coalition Not Your Soldier has announced plans to host activist traning camps this summer

I've got friends who ended up enlisting and some of them were just pressured and pressured. They call you all the time and they send you stuff and when they get you on the phone it's like, if you're a dude, they try to make it like you can't be a man if you're not enlisting. It was really like a game of chicken for one of my friends, Joe, who signed up last summer.

He couldn't get a job and he was looking but blame it on Bully Boy economy, you know? And the recruiter was calling and calling and being all, "Are you scared?" and like, "Don't you want to serve your country?" and "You gonna work at Subway all your life, Joe? Oh, right, you don't have a job. Don't you think your parents are sick of that? Don't you want to be a man, Joe?"

The only way you get them to stop calling is to yell at them. I know that coz I was a junior in high school when my Dad started doing that. He did it over and over for like six or seven calls and they finally stopped calling. I mean he cussed them up and down the wall and across the carpet, you know?

Which is really about a question I got from Melody who wondered if I was ever tempted to sign up? Yeah, I was. And I was saying I was going to.

I was all "As soon as I turn 18" and Ma was all, "MICHAEL! You are not!" which I kind of expected but then Dad got in it on it too. That surprised me. Mothers are supposed to worry about you, you know?

Like if I'm on the phone with Ma and I sneeze it has to be I'm coming down with a cold. She worries about everything because she cares. But like Dad pulls me aside on the way to dinner one night and goes "After dinner, we're going out to the backyard."

And after dinner, Dad's all like, "This isn't going to be a war you're going to want to fight in."
This was like late 2002 and I was going, "Bush says they got weapons, Dad. They're going to attack us." I was all like in Starship Troopers mode. But Dad just goes that I need to turn off the hormones and listen.

And he just laid it out so clear. Joe, Robbie, Derek and me were all thinking then we were going to enlist. And we really started talking like that right after 9/11.

And Joe and Derek did end up enlisting. Derek first, then Joe. I worry about them all the time.
But I am so glad and proud to have a father like my Dad coz I was thinking, "Well it's on TV it must be true." And it wasn't.

And like today Dad could go "I told you so" but he's not that way. But if Ma reads this, yeah Dad could say "I told you so" to me and you can tell him I put it up here because he was right.

And like if Dad hadn't done that I wouldn't have been able to handle the recruiters face to face because you see them at school and you see them like in parking lots. And they come on like they're just good guys who want to be your bud with their "How you doing?" and "Hey let's talk a minute." There all dressed out so you can't not see them.

And they make this conversation with you but it's not really talking to you coz it's like they're trying to find your weakness and zero in on that.

So like I'm in high school and Dad's already had the talk with me but this recruiter and his bud are chatting like they're my best friends when all the sudden they zero in on my part-time job.

"So you like that? You bow for those men and women? You ask 'More pepper sir?' Like begging for tips? You wear an apron?"

And they're just like destroying me. I was a waiter coz it was good money and I could do it on weekends and all.

But they're saying stuff like, "Do you say 'I'm Mike you're serving wench, how may I serve you?'" Just pushing all the buttons. And I can feel the hairs on the back of my neck rising and even though I know they're trying to push my buttons and question my manhood I don't walk off and I start justifying my job.

And right in the middle of it I realize I'm being hooked and this is what they do, open up that conversation and act like they are the big men and you're not and you can only be one by being like them. But they're not going over to Iraq. They're going to schools and parking lots and malls. Then they desk jockey so who are they to question anyone?

So I just walked away because they want you to engage with them even if you're arguing. They know they can hook you. They'll just keep hitting your sore spots whatever they are. That's what the "Hey dude, talk" is all about. They don't care about you or why you're at the mall that day or what your friends are like. They just listen to store up ammo to use against you.

So this is a big issue with me. I saw Joe and Derek and some other dudes I wasn't real tight with sign up and a lot of it was cause the recruiters knew what buttons to push and all. And with people not want to enlist these days you gotta wonder if the draft is waiting around the corner.

So I hope you'll go to CounterRecruiter and arm yourself with some truth. Man or woman, old or young. You never know when you might be bringing up something to some kid that later on he or she may really need. I think that's the title of this one, "Arm Yourself With Some Truth."


(For anyone notices the length of the excerpt from Michael and wonders if I've played favorites, yes, I have.  Michael's a community member who just started his own site, Mikey Likes It!, and I want to be sure everyone's aware of his site.)


Martha e-mails to note, from The Nation, Dan Berger's "Mark Felt's Other Legacy:" 

After more than thirty years of speculation, Deep Throat revealed himself--with a cough and a wheeze, it would seem, as the 91-year-old ex-FBI second-in-command W. Mark Felt pronounced himself "the guy they used to call Deep Throat."

Perhaps unavoidably, the admission has thrown Felt into the center of controversy. Ex-Nixon aides like Patrick Buchanan are publicly calling him a traitor. Former Nixon crony and nationally syndicated columnist Robert Novak wrote that Felt's "motivation may not have been as noble as his family makes it out to be." Even convicted Watergate burglar G. Gordon Liddy has found a spot on national television to say that he thought Felt acted "unethically." The left, meanwhile, has generally taken the lead from Felt's grandson, who proclaimed the man a real American hero. Felt himself said he hopes to be remembered as such.

But Felt has another political legacy. It also dates to the 1970s. It also involves break-ins and a host of dirty tricks against the left. This time, though, Felt ordered the crimes instead of exposing them. Along with Edward Miller, the FBI's assistant director of the domestic intelligence division, Felt was convicted in December 1980 for supervising or ordering the warrantless break-ins of "friends and acquaintances" of the Weather Underground in 1972 and 1973. As the Public Research Associates website reports, Felt also admitted approving a "black-bag job" against the Arab Information Center in Dallas in 1972. The prosecutor said Felt was responsible for "violation of the rights of all people of this country, violations that cannot and will not be tolerated as long as we have a Bill of Rights."

These and other acts were all part of the FBI's Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO), which operated officially from 1967 to 1971, although it actually continued until at least 1975. Its main targets were the Black Panthers and the American Indian Movement, though the radical left in general was subject to a range of illegal tactics--including surveillance, arrests on specious charges, spreading false information about activists and even the occasional murder (most famously, 21-year-old Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, murdered while he slept in Chicago in December 1969).

Berger's article is "vastly more important than the Vanity Fair piece 'revealing' Felt," Martha says.  I haven't read the Van Fair piece, but I agree this (and the Democracy Now! segment with Jennifer Dohrn -- which we noted earlier) are more important than the fluffing that's been going on.
Maria e-mails to note this by Jude (Iddybud):
DSM: White House Can't Raise a Reasonable Defense
So they spin and hope the media will comply, as they have in the past

White House spokesman Scott McClellan has said that the Conyers letter was "simply rehashing old debates that have already been discussed."

What do you do when "old debates" about a President's deliberate (political) intent to lie our nation into war, risking hundreds of thousands of precious lives, which was something we'd suspected he was doing all along, are confirmed by an official set of documents, leaked straight from the British government?
The e-mail address for this site is

Discover Yahoo!
Have fun online with music videos, cool games, IM & more. Check it out!