Thursday, June 30, 2005

Democracy Now: Elizabeth Holtzman, Simi Veke Mubako, Wellington Chibebe, Bill Fletcher; Matthew Rothschild, Bob Somerby, Margaret Kimberly

Democracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says)
 Headlines for June 30, 2005

- Bush Orders FBI Changes; ACLU Warns of "Secret Police Force"
- Iraqi Knight Ridder Reporter Killed in Iraq
- 17 U.S. Troops Feared Dead In Afghanistan
- UN: Secret U.S. Prisons Must Be Investigated
- Gaza Settlers Clash w/ Israeli Military Over Pull-Out
- Rumsfeld Urged to Launch Do Not Call List Over Recruiting
- Spain Oks Same Sex Marriage
- Congo Marks 45 Years of Independence
Fmr. NY Congressmember Holtzman Calls For President Bush and His Senior Staff To Be Held Accountable for Abu Ghraib Torture

In a newly-published article in The Nation former New York Congressmember Elizabeth Holtzman, who served on the committee that voted to impeach Richard Nixon calls on the public and the press to demand President Bush and his senior White House staff be held accountable for the torture of Abu Ghraib and be prosecuted under the 1996 War Crime Act. [includes rush transcript - partial]
Zimbabwe Amb. vs. Trade Union Leader on Forced Urban Removal in Harare

In Zimbabwe, a government-sponsored urban clearance campaign is the center of a heated debate within the country and around the world. Critics see the campaign as a move to drive out political opposition and punish those who supported the opposition group, Movement for Democratic Change, in recent parliamentary elections. Estimates of the number affected range between 300,000 and 1.5 million of the urban poor. At least two children have been crushed to death in demolished houses. A United Nations envoy met with President Mugabe yesterday during a visit to assess the results of the campaign. We speak with Simbi Veke Mubako, Zimbabwe's ambassador to the United States, Wellington Chibebe, the secretary general of the Zimbabawe Congress of Trade Unions and Bill Fletcher, president of TransAfrica.
Over at The Daily Howler, Bob Somerby's focusing on a great deal and we'll go with McCain partly because we can excerpt in full and possibly because the community is tired of the press offering air kisses to McCain: 

IN SEARCH OF A WINNING DEM MESSAGE: We thought Howard Dean flirted with a strong Dem message on last evening's Hardball. More on his performance tomorrow.

By the way, Chris Matthews wasn't the only soul pandering to that Nashville congregation on Tuesday. Here was Senator Straight-Talk himself, adjusting his talk for the rubes:

MCCAIN (6/28/05): We also ought to recognize that we’ve made mistakes [in Iraq]. The way you fix mistakes is you recognize them and you fix them. We`ve made them. In every war, including the battle for reunification—the war of reunification of our nation, mistakes were made.

The point is that we`ve got to tell the American people that it`s long, it`s hard and it`s tough. But what we bring to Iraq and the Middle East is a marvelous and wonderful thing.

"The war of reunification of our nation?" Our young analysts turned to us, puzzled. When exactly did we fight "the war of reunification of our nation?" And alas, we were forced to explain--Straight-Talk meant the Civil War! Senator Straight-Talk spoke from DC--but he knew he was speaking to Nashville. If South Carolina gets close in 08, will Senator Straight-Talk end up discussing The War of Northern Aggression?
Somerby's also addressing the issue of education "scores" and columnists who might want to check the works they cite.
Trey e-mails in to note Matthew Rothschild's latest, "Bush Vows More of the Same:"
Barely had he cleared his throat before he mentioned September 11, uttering the date a mere 115 words into the speech. And he cited it four more times, including in his last paragraph, in case we weren't paying attention.

Just as he manipulated the horror of 9/11 to drag the country into war against Iraq, which had nothing whatsoever to do with that attack, so he is using the specter of 9/11 to justify keeping U.S. troops there with no end in sight.

The only news in the whole speech was that Bush remembered Osama bin Laden's name. For practically three years, Bush has barely let it pass his lips, lest the American people remember the hugely embarrassing fact that the commander in chief has failed to find the mastermind of 9/11.

But now that Bush doesn't need to win another election, the risk for him in mentioning bin Laden is not as great as it was before November 2.

And the propaganda benefit of invoking bin Laden was too much to resist, so Bush hustled bin Laden on stage to say that the "third world war is raging" in Iraq and that the outcome of that war is pivotal for him.

Bush harped on the word "terrorist" or "terrorism," invoking it at least two dozen times to make Americans believe that every person in Iraq who opposes the U.S. occupation is, by definition, a terrorist.

But the vast majority of Iraqis oppose the occupation.


Note: Yesterday, I mispelled Matthew Rothschild's last name in the title of an entry.  It's an entry that was posted via e-mail (as is this one).  Correcting those entries in the past has led to them disappearing.  Rothschild's name is spelled correctly within the post.  My apologies for my mistake.

Keesha e-mails to note that Margaret Kimberly's latest is up, "America's Love of Empire" (The Black Commentator):

It is easy to tell when the heat is on and getting to the American right wing. They lash out with lies and run back to their tried and true standbys, September 11th and the war on terror. Karl Rove, head propagandist in charge, didn’t just orchestrate the latest attack. He carried it out himself.

In 2004 Rove made certain that terror alerts were issued at key moments. If the Democrats received more press attention, if Bush poll numbers went south, we were warned that an orange, yellow or blue alert was necessary.

Just as he chose New York City, the 9/11 bulls eye, as the perfect spot for the Republican convention, he went to New York to deliver a blistering attack on “liberals.” He said that liberals don’t care about keeping America safe, liberals don’t want to get the evildoers, liberals are weak on defense. Only the right wing can keep the country safe.

Congressional Republicans kept up the attack by returning to one of their favorites, Old Glory. Yet another flag “desecration” amendment has been offered up as a tool to get Democrats. Democrats responded obediently, outdoing one another defending their patriotism and feverishly trying to have it both ways. Senator Hillary Clinton, Mrs. Triangulator, favors a federal law to protect the flag but is opposed to a constitutional amendment. The Yale Law school graduate has to know that even a federal law would be unconstitutional.

There is good and bad news to be seen in these events. The good news is that Karl and company are sweating, a lot. The perspiration results from the usually hapless Democrats standing and fighting for a change. So far the Democrats are not cooperating with the attempt to eviscerate Social Security while John Conyers, Maxine Waters and others continue to demand an official investigation of the Downing Street Memo that proves the Bushmen lied about Iraq.

I want to steer everyone to Robert Morlino's "Two-hundred Channels and Nothing on -- Literally:  Low-power TV mogul hopes for big payoff" from The Center for Public Integirty.
Also note that "Bank of America to Buy MBNA in $35B Deal."  This will lead to a loss of 6,000 jobs.  I don't believe it's factoring in Bank of America's layoffs already scheduled for August.
And Stacey e-mails to note that "no suprise, Time caved."  She directs us to a Reuters story "Time Inc says will hand over papers in Plame case."
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