Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Democracy Now: Salih Booker, Gregoire Deniau, Christian Chesnot; Somerby, Jude, vanden Heuvel, Sirota, BuzzFlash, Conniff, Chris and Dahr Jamail

Democracy Now! (Marcia: "always worth watching")
Headlines for June 8, 2005

- General Motors To Eliminate 25,000 Jobs
- Global Military Spending Exceeds $1 Trillion
- Senate Committee Approves Expanding Patriot Act
- Jimmy Carter Calls For Guantanamo to Be Shut Down
- UN Estimates 3M Children in Africa Will Die Of Famine
- Indigenous-Led Protests Continue in Bolivia
Salih Booker on Africa Debt: The Poorest Regions in the World Have Subsidized the Richest

President Bush refused to meet British Prime Minister Tony Blair's request to double aid to African nations. Instead, the two leaders announced a U.S. aid package of $674 million dollars from funds previously appropriated by Congress. We speak with Salih Booker of Africa Action.
French Journalist Describes Mistreatment by U.S. Forces During Siege of Fallujah

French TV journalist Grégoire Deniau describes his ordeal in U.S. custody in Iraq. He was detained for a day during the siege of Fallujah in April 2004. He says despite showing his passport and French press ID, U.S. soldiers forced him to kneel for hours, gaffer-taped a hood over his face and hurled insults at him, calling him a dog and accused him, as a Frenchmen, of being pro-Arab. Deniau says he was released late at night, in the middle of the desert and was warned by the soldiers that US forces shoot everything that moves.
French Reporter Kidnapped by Iraqi Resistance For 4 Months Says Bush Brought Al Qaeda to Iraq

We speak with French reporter Christian Chesnot of Radio France who was kidnapped - along with reporter Georges Malbrunot of the Daily Figaro - by the Iraqi resistance. They were held for four months, from August to December 21st 2004.
From Tuesday's The Daily Howler, here's Bob Somerby addressing a recent op-ed by Richard Cohen:

BRINGING THE ETERNAL NOTE OF SILENCE IN: In today's op-ed column, Richard Cohen reviews John Harris' new book about the Clinton presidency, ruing the way it all turned out. In the gentleman's final paragraph, his cohort's requisite Code of Silence is in full effect:

COHEN (6/7/05): A certain sadness attaches to Harris's book. The personal story remains fascinating. But it is also a story about growth, about learning how to be president and finally getting it down just about when Ken Starr rose from the muck, with a blue dress for a shiny sword and an obsession for a duty. Had that not happened, we probably would have seen a convergence between the man and his performance--maybe a Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement, maybe a better coordinated and more robust effort to get bin Laden and, almost certainly, a passing of the baton to Al Gore. Blame it on Clinton, blame it on Starr or just blame the times. Either way and any way, it remains a gripping tale. Clinton may merely have survived but Harris, as you will see, has triumphed.
Why didn't Clinton achieve more in the end? And oh yeah, another point: Why didn't Clinton get to "pass the baton" to his anointed successor, Al Gore? Cohen gives us three basic choices: "Blame it on Clinton, blame it on Starr or just blame the times," he says. But when it comes to the matter of Gore, how about blaming a different "times"--the one which is spelled with a capital T? And how about blaming the Washington Post? Why wasn't Gore elected? Predictably, Cohen omits the obvious choice: Blame it on a Washington press corps which had lost its mind by the time of Clinton's impeachment, then directed its fury at Gore. Cohen doesn't provide this choice for an obvious reason. As we told you yesterday, it's Hard Pundit Law: This cohort never tells you the truth about its own conduct and culture.

Why didn't Clinton "pass the baton?" The history there is perfectly clear. By the fall of 1998, the insider press corps was deeply opposed to their sitting, vile president. Indeed, Sally Quinn made this fact quite clear in that essential November 1998 report (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/3/05). And five months later, when Clinton's successor began his run for the White House, that cohort landed on his head like a gang of Salem-era harpies. By the fall of 1999, Cohen himself was writing inane, embarrassing columns about Gore's troubling, funny clothes and about his disturbing adviser, Naomi Wolf. This had nothing to do with Ken Starr. It had something to do with Richard Cohen.

For any liberal who wants to explain the course of the past ten years, that piece by Quinn is monumentally important. In great detail, she described an insider press elite which had come to despise a sitting president. They took it over five months later on Gore. Everyone in Washington knows this. But they also know their cohort's Hard Law: They must lie, right in your face, about their actual conduct.

Apologies for not noting the Howler yesterday.  Time was too short, e-mails were too many.  I'll hold on sending this to attempt to wait for today's Howler before sending.

Apologies also for not noting Dahr Jamail.  Two items there.

First please note his IPS article entitled "Desperate for Work, Blind to Dangers:"

Ahlam Najam just needed a job. At 25, she had a university degree in education but could not find work as teacher.

When Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), subsidiary of the U.S. firm Halliburton offered her a job as a security guard at a U.S. base in Iraq, she took it.

On May 18 last year she was shot twice in the head as she waited for a taxi to take her to work. Her injuries left her blind, and she lost her sense of smell.

”Many people were working with the Americans, so I felt it would be okay,” Najam, now at a Saudi-funded organisation in Amman that assists blind Arab women told IPS.

”My two bosses at KBR, Mr. Jeff and Mr. Mark used to be very good and gentle with me,” she said. ”They told me it wasn't dangerous to work for them.”

Najam worked for KBR three months before she was shot. She was taken to hospital in Hilla, about 100 km south of Baghdad, and kept there several days. But her good bosses never contacted her, she says.

Second thing appears to be a post at Dahr Jamail's web site Iraq Dispatches.  I can't get it to open currently (the site).  The piece is entitled "Who Cares?" and here's an excerpt:

Suicide bombers unleashed another day of hell across Iraq today, killing at least 18 and wounding over 67.

Four of them struck Iraqi Security forces, along with US military
convoys around Baghdad. Despite the huge US-backed Iraqi security
operation throughout the capital city, attacks there continue unabated.

The small city of Rawa near Al-Qa'im was bombed again by the US military Sunday night. The military admitted to the bombing, but claimed that there were no civilian casualties. Today on Al-Jazeera the satellite channel flashed footage of flattened civilian homes, as well as people in the city claiming that seven civilians were killed in the bombings.

In Hawija (near Kirkuk), three suicide car bombers struck Iraqi security checkpoints today, killing several Iraqis. Meanwhile in Tal-Afar (near Mosul), fierce clashes erupted between the Iraqi resistance and American soldiers. These are ongoing as I type this.

It continues to be clear that the plans of the Bush Administration in Iraq either do not include the protection of Iraqis, they don’t care, or both.

[Note: We'll link to this second item tonight.  I still can't access Iraq Dispatches on my end.]

Maria e-mails a heads up to Jude's latest at Iddybud "Bush Lied to Us About Iraq War" and offers this excerpt:

The Bush administration dropped all of the rhetoric about the no-fly zones having something to do with defending Shiites or Kurds. They used them, instead,to systematically and preemptively degrade Iraq's ability to defend itself, not from an uprising of Shiites or Kurds, but from the invasion of a foreign army. The Downing Street Memo proves that the United States was not just planning and preparing for war, but was actively carrying out air strikes in support of this war and that the invasion had begun already when the British had the "Downing Street" meeting.

Sen. Ted Kennedy's comments today at Daily Kos. He has a letter of petition for you to sign.

America, you totally got punk'd. Only this time, I don't hear anyone laughing.

Stephanie e-mails to note Chris of Interesting Times.  Specifically "The myth of Dean's fundraising problems" which refutes the lie/myth and Stephanie asks that we note Chris' "We've Got Dean's Back:"

Ahhh, now this brings back memories of the 2004 primary campaign. Everytime Dean was attacked and pronounced dead by the establishment media his fundraising numbers would jump. Let's see if we can make the same thing happen with the DNC:

Help stop the fat cats in DC attacking Howard Dean. An attack against Howard Dean is an attack against the American people who work for their paycheck. Please make a small contribution of $10.01 or $20.01 everytime you come across an attack on Dean in the media. If you see the Dean Scream, please contribute $30.01.

On a the same topic, Trevor e-mails to note Katrina vanden Heuvel's latest at Editor's Cut, "Dumping On Dean:"

Besides, Dean's statement is precisely the kind of red meat party chairmen are supposed to throw to rev up their base. You don't hear Republicans pulling any punches.

So enough of the infighting. (Or enough of this kind of infighting. If Dems want to get serious about real internal debates, let's have one about how to end the war and occupation.)

But when it comes to taking on the GOP, Dean and Congressional Democrats should get together and smoke a peace pipe with some cancer patient's now illegal supply of medicinal marijuana. It will help ease the Party's suffering, and lead, perhaps, to better communication.

At the Sirotablog, David Sirota's addressing "NOW & THEN: Reporter's Double Standard."  Carrie saw this today and notes "It's about the Elite Fluff Patrol Squad Leader herself!"  From the Sirotablog:
"[Journalists] can’t just say the President is lying."
- NY Times White House reporter Elisabeth Bumiller on covering President Bush,

"The judge said the lawyers were entitled only to fees and expenses for the period beginning Dec. 23, 1997, when President Clinton first lied about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky."
- NY Times news report, 7/30/99
Cedric e-mails to note the latest from Ruth Conniff's Blog, "Class War Rekindled:"

I was in Washington last week for the "Take Back America" conference organized by the Campaign for America's Future.

Hundreds of progressives and Democrats got together to talk about how to fight the Republican takeover of the country, and to reenergize the opposition.

One theme emerged over and over: the vast transfer of wealth to the already-wealthy that is rapidly reshaping our nation. There are so many examples of this triumph of wealth over the public interest, it would take pages to list them all. But this administration's war on everything from sane environmental regulation to the public schools to municipalities' ability to provide basic services to people is creating a closed society to replace the American ideals of equality, opportunity, and class mobility.

On the last day of the conference, Bill Moyers put a human face on this tragic theft of our democracy.

Showing clips from the show that's been targeted by Bush's chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Moyers demonstrated the "biased" journalism the Republicans hate. Two programs tracked the lives of lower-middle-class families in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Tamaqua, Pennsylvania. They were losing their homes and falling off the edge into poverty because of layoffs by corporations determined to increase profits.

And today's Daily Howler is up.   Bob Somerby's addressing a number of issues, as always, here he is on the Clintons:
YOU’LL HAVE TO USE FORCE: A thousand cheers to Media Matters for its quick responses to The Truth About Hillary, Edward Klein's ironically-titled new book. As promised, Klein has published the latest slimy Hillary-trasher, and Matters has started pointing out the book's factual and spiritual problems. And the site has asked an obvious question, a central question of our age: What kind of judgment will the press corps use in responding to this trash-can book? In 1996, Larry Sabato criticized the "terrible judgment" the press corps used in its handling of Gary Aldrich's crackpot Clinton-trashing best-seller. "We'll soon see if the U.S. media exercises better judgment" with regard to Klein, Media Matters has said.
But liberals, Dems, progressives and centrists can't wait to find out how the press corps responds; they have to demand "better judgment." For the mainstream press corps, it's time to decide; will they continue their cowardly conduct--the conduct that extended through the treatment of Clinton and Gore right up to the crackpot Swift Boat Vets? Or will they finally get up on their feet and reject the Ed Kleins of the world? Predictably, Klein is now playing the lesbian card, and every mainstream reporter in Washington knows that this is pure garbage. But will these gut-bucket cowards have the courage to stand up and actively challenge this garbage? Will they know find the strength to resist? They’ll only resist if they’re forced.
[. . .]
But will the cowards of the mainstream press corps dare to stand up and say so? They very much want to be rich and famous, with fancy homes among the swells of Nantucket. They want to get their mugs on TV, and they very much don't want to be the target of Scaife-style attacks. (Translation: They don’t want to get Okrented.) And powerhouses like the slimy Chris Matthews are already out there sliming Clinton. Last night, Matthews was in standard form, saying that Hillary Clinton and Howard Dean have been playing "dueling banjos" of late. A month ago, he noted how much his press corps has always "hated" HRC.
Lastly, and we'll close this from BuzzFlash:
BuzzFlash is expanding again.  This time we are officially launching a new member of the BuzzFlash Internet Network, .

Every Wednesday, we will pick a new "hero for democracy" from reader submissions to award our weekly "Wings of Justice Award."

To kick off the new honor and site, BuzzFlash chose the first winner: Congressman John Conyers.

Read why Conyers is our first award recipient:

An audio version of the award citation is also available on the site.

Welcome as new member of the BuzzFlash Internet Network
We'll add them to our permalinks this evening.  Please check out BuzzFlash's "Wings of Justice Award."
The e-mail address for this site is
And I'm rushing and going to miss the point here.  So let me stop a minute.  All sites are great.  We need more voices, not less.  The above news, re: BuzzFlash, is worth noting for a number of reasons (for instance, BuzzFlash is a great site).  But one reason that needs to be underscored is that it's another strong effort from BuzzFlash to expand their original content.
If "Wings of Justice" doesn't sound like your cup of tea (I'm looking forward to check it out), please make a point to visit BuzzFlash today and see what they have up.  You'll find something that speaks to you.

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