Monday, June 20, 2005

Democracy Now: Dilip Hiro, Roya Hakakian; Bob Somerby; James Weinstein's passing noted DN!, Danny Schechter, Doug Ireland, Matthew Rothschild; Ruth Conniff

Democracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says)
Headlines for June 20, 2005

- Bombings in Iraq Kill 85
- Majority of Iraqi Prisoners Face Intimidation, Torture
- British Foreign Ministry: 2002 No-Fly Zone Bombings Illegal
- Hariri Wins Majority in Lebanese Parliament
- Goss Says He Has ‘Excellent’ Idea of Bin Laden’s Location
- Clinton Calls for Guantanamo to be ‘Closed’ or ‘Cleaned Up’
- McCain Supports Scalia on Roe v. Wade
- Racial Disparity Found in Ex-Convict Job Opportunities
Iran Presidential Race Heads to Unprecedented Runoff in Election Marred by Fraud Allegations

Allegations of vote rigging and fraud mar presidential elections in Iran that pit a hardline mayor against a former president in an unprecedented run-off election. We speak with veteran Middle East journalist Dilip Hiro and Iranian-American writer Roya Hakakian. Her family supported the 1979 revolution, then fled. [includes rush transcript - partial]
Bush's Environment Chief: From the Oil Lobby to the White House to ExxonMobil

The Bush administration worked behind the scenes altering White House and G8 documents to downplay the impact of climate change. White House Council on Environmental Quality chief of staff Phillip Cooney repeatedly edited government climate reports. He used to work for the American Petroleum Institute and now he's left the White House to work for ExxonMobil. We speak to the New York Times reporter who broke the story.
Wally e-mailed to note there was a Saturday Daily Howler.  Here's the section Wally selected:
On Friday, Joe Conason savaged "the Beltway herd" for trying to downplay the Downing Street memos. But omigod! We cheered as Joe took on Michael Kinsley for the sneering piece he had written last week (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/13/05). Kinsley mocked readers who interrupted his slumbers by asking his views on the Downing Street memo; after six weeks, he finally read it, and called his e-mailers big dopes. How stupid could they be, the mighty scribe asked. After all, everyone knew, in July 2002, that Bush had decided on war with Iraq! But Conason did what we should have done--he looked up what Kinsley had said in real time. Did everyone actually know in real time? What follows is the startling profile of a fallen man:
CONASON (6/17/05): Consider Michael Kinsley, the Los Angeles Times editorial page editor and columnist, who recently derided the memo's importance. According to him, "you don't need a secret memo" to know that "the administration's decision to topple Saddam Hussein by force" had been reached by then [by July 2002]. Anybody could tell that war was "inevitable," he wrote. "Just look at what was in the newspapers on July 23, 2002, and the day before," he wrote, citing an opinion column by Robert Scheer and a Times story about Pentagon war planning.

But let's also look at what Kinsley himself wrote on July 12, 2002, after those war plans were leaked. On the Post's Op-Ed page, he suggested that despite all the logistical planning and bellicose rhetoric, "Bush may be bluffing ...Or he may be lying, and the leak may be part of an official strategy of threatening all-out war in the hope of avoiding it, by encouraging a coup or persuading Hussein to take early retirement or in some other way getting him gone without a massive invasion."

So Kinsley himself wasn't quite certain whether Bush had decided on war, yet now he says we all knew.

Kinsley mocked his e-mailers in last Sunday's papers--but now we can see what he said at the time. What ever happened to Michael Kinsley? Here at THE HOWLER, we have no idea. But we can hail Conason, and we can be glad that he’s still very much on the job. And we can ask you to ponder what Kinsley said in real time--and to recall, with utter disgust, the way he sneered at those mailers last week. As we’ve told you again and again, your public discourse is controlled by people like Kinsley. And these fallen souls will be in control until career liberal writers follow Joe's path and drive the high fakers from power. Alas! Many young "liberal" writers are too busy themselves, playing kiss-kiss-kiss with power.
Wally noted that on Saturday but I'm behind in the e-mails. (My apologies.)  Wally also notes the discussion on the Chris Matthews Show two weekends ago.  That's worth reading Somerby's critique on as well.  Wally wondered if that was stood out to Ava and I when we saw it?  "Saw" is the key word.  We were working on our TV review for Third Estate Sunday Review.
Ava noticed it.  But we didn't turn the sound up.  (We were tossing comments back and forth for the TV review.)  I honestly don't remember the woman Somerby's referring to.  (That's not,  "She wasn't on!"  I'm sure she was on but she was such a cypher that she truly doesn't register with me.)  At one point, Ava gasped,  "Look!"  And we stared in shock at Andrea Mitchell looking like a Stepford Wife after a melt down.  Which is why this popped up in our CSI Miami review:
Speaking of Hawaii Five-O, we're personally fond of a really cheesy episode starring Susan Dey of The Patridge Family and L.A. Law fame. She's a hippie trying to get her act together and stumbling around the beach while hoods hunt after her. It's complete and total cheese (not unlike Andrea Mitchell's new haircut and use of way too much base and eye liner -- unless, on the latter, she's attempting to bring back Streisand's sixties glamor) but Susan Dey manages to cut through the cheese quite often and it's great to see her with the famous hair and in the period clothes uttering period phrases.
It had nothing to do with CSI Miami but we were so shocked by the Bride of the Crypt Keeper, we couldn't not include it.
Now let's note today's Daily Howler where (I'm sure Wally's already seen this), Bob Somerby is continuing on that episode of The Christ Matthews Show.  And, according to this critique, Mitchell may have offended the eyes, but Klein stole the show (that's Joe, not Naomi):

On the June 12 Chris Matthews Show, Matthews and the gang were up to standard tricks--trashing every Big Dem they could find and bragging on "moderate Republicans." Twice, Matthews referred to the Dem party chairman as "Dizzy Dean," and the gang staged an extended group attack on perfidious Dem faker Hillary Clinton. But readers, when Andrea Mitchell said that Clinton was "having it both ways"--that she had "gone to the middle" on several policies--poor Joe Klein had heard enough. Klein began to batter fake Clinton. But Matthews broke in on his claim:

KLEIN (6/12/05): She hasn’t gone to the middle. She hasn’t gone to the middle. She is still voting as a liberal! If she really wanted to go to the middle, where was she, where was she—

MATTHEWS: Facts! Put some facts on the table! You told me beforehand, in the dressing-room today, you said that she’s not a liberal because she doesn’t vote liberal.

KLEIN: She doesn’t vote liberal. Where was she, where was she on the deal on the filibuster and the judicial appointments? If she’s a moderate, she’ll be part of the sanity caucus. She hasn’t been.

Sometimes, a paper transcript can seem odd or confusing, but the meaning is clear if you just watch the tape. In this case, Klein's performance is just as strange, just as fake, when you actually watch it. He started attacking Mitchell for saying that Clinton had "gone to the middle;" Clinton "is still voting as a liberal," he said. But Matthews interrupted, breaking a rule; he noted that Klein had said just the opposite, only minutes before. So Klein swiftly self-contradicted; "she doesn't vote liberal," he now exclaimed. The panel, understanding what had occurred, quickly moved away from Klein, who simply sat there, blinking weirdly. But Klein, who became a clown years ago, had shown us the heart of this Sunday breed. To appearances, he was willing to do and say anything in order to take down Target Hill.

Indeed, Klein was in rare form this, day, battering All Things Hillary. At one point, the gang was attacking Hillary Clinton’s lack of political skill, saying that she’d never be able to campaign successfully, like her husband. But uh-oh! Mitchell stepped in and briefly contradicted. That was enough for poor old Klein.

As noted on Democracy Now!'s Headlines today:

James Weinstein, Founder of ‘In These Times,’ 1926-2005
Author and historian James Weinstein has died after a long bout with brain cancer. He was the founder of In These Times magazine. Rep. Bernie Sanders of Vermont -- the Independent member of Congress who is a democratic socialist -- told the AP, "Jim Weinstein was one of the intellectual leaders of the American progressive movement."

Martha notes this from Danny Schechter's News Dissector:


As one's birthday draws nearer, thoughts of mortalty flash into mind even when you'd rather they didn't. Your attention is called news of those you knew who have passed on. Today (Sunday) I learned that the publisher, writer, historian, and a distant friend James Weinstein is no longer with us. He worked to reinvigorate American journalism.

Doug Ireland passes the word on:

New from DIRELAND, June 18, 2005: JAMES WEINSTEIN, 1926-2005

" James Weinstein -- author, historian, editor, publisher, Founder of In These Times magazine, and an important figure in the life of the mind of American radicalism for four decades -- died Thursday morning at his home on the North Side of Chicago, after a long bout with brain cancer. On his death, Rep. Bernie Sanders of Vermont -- the Independent member of Congress who is a democratic sociast -- told the AP, "Jim Weinstein was one of the intellectual leaders of the American progressive movement."

For my appreciation of Jimmy's life and work, click on:


Martha says to check out Doug Ireland's tribute (which Schechter's linked to above). 

From In These Times, we'll note this:

Honoring James Weinstein’s memory (10:12 am)

In These Times founder and long-time editor/publisher James Weinstein died this week after a battle with brain cancer. Contributing Editor Doug Ireland has written a fitting tribute that details Jimmy’s career and influence.

He was “an important figure in the life of the mind of American radicalism for four decades,” writes Ireland, as well as “a good-humored, warm-hearted man, a valued mentor to many younger radicals and journalists, and his commitment to democratic socialism and social justice was evergreen and vivid.”

In our next issue, Jimmy’s friends and colleagues will explore his personal story, political history and intellectual legacy. Those wishing to honor his memory should follow the advice he offered to every young leftist he encountered: read his last book, The Long Detour.

posted by Jessica Clark


At The Progressive, we'll note Matthew Rothschild's "Paying Respects to James Weinstein, In These Times Founder:"

I was at the Media Reform Conference in St. Louis barely more than a month ago, and I ran into Salim Muwakkil, a senior editor of In These Times magazine.

"How's Jimmy doing?" I asked.

"Not well," Salim said, shaking his head. "He's got brain cancer. He's dying."

That was a shocker, and the news hit me hard, as the final announcement did.

James Weinstein, historian, editor, activist, man of the left, died on June 16.

But he was always Jimmy to me, an old, funny, cantankerous uncle I'd see once a year at the annual In These Times-Progressive baseball games that we kept going for more than a decade.

Jimmy was on the mound, intent on getting us all out. And he'd even go to the batting cage a week or two beforehand to get his swing down.

He liked the action.

He liked the bragging rights.

And he liked the bratwurst and the blueberry pie.

After the games, weíd talk a little shop: not so much about the finer points of leftwing politics but the nuts-and-bolts of magazine publishing: how circulation was, how the direct mail was going, which lists were working.

Also at The Progressive, Lloyd e-mails to note Ruth Conniff's latest "Newsweek's Lily-Livered Liberal Bias:"

Is it any coincidence that the same day the Pentagon held a press briefing to parry questions about military recruiters missing their recruitment goals, along with the deteriorating state of affairs in Iraq, Newsweek hit the stands with its sycophantic cover story "Fathers, Sons and War: The New Faces of a Noble Tradition"?

Newsweek has been on the outs with the Bush Administration, as everybody knows, ever since it was accused of running an inaccurate story on Koran abuse that allegedly caused fatal rioting in Afghanistan. (The Pentagon later held a briefing to concede there were other, similar instances of Koran desecration. But that did nothing to calm the anti-Newsweek crusaders on the right, nor did the insistence of some military higher-ups that Newsweek's small "Periscope" item in no way caused the rioting.) The way this Administration and the whole rightwing echo chamber rail against the "liberal media" has served them tremendously well. Instead of dealing with the real problem--that U.S. actions are hurting our country and stoking its enemies' rage, for example--the Administration shifts the subject to the reporters and commentators who circulate the news. If they keep training their artillery on the messengers this way, they can distract the public from the content of the message.

And how does the "liberal" media respond? By falling all over itself to avoid giving offense, and bending over backwards to show how red, white, and blue it is.

Buried in the gee-whizery of the military family piece is the real news: that all branches of the military have been having a hell of a time selling young Americans on the idea of putting their bodies on the line in an increasingly chaotic Iraq. "Before February, the Army hadn't missed its monthly enlistment goal since May 2000; now it's fallen short four months in a row," a sidebar states. Since October 2004, all four branches of the military, plus the National Guard and Air Force Reserve, have recruited only 62,765 enlistees, compared with a goal of 76,304. "Since February, the Army has been missing its monthly recruiting goals by as much as 42 percent," Newsweek reports. But, the magazine hastens to add, "re-enlistment rates are up, especially for those serving in combat arms in Iraq. Incongruous as it may seem for the millions whose closest brush with battle is on cable, soldiers and Marines on the front line are proud to be there and willing to serve again."

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