Tuesday, July 26, 2005

BuzzFlash: Can loyalty to the President be treason?, Ward Sutton, Amy Goodman; NOW on CAFTA, Lizz Winstead, Gold Star Families for Peace, David Zirin

Going through the e-mails. (Then going to bed.)

Can loyalty to the President also be treason?
This is possibly THE question for Congress to ask Judge John G. Roberts' during his confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice. The balance of power between the three branches of our government here in the U.S. may be at dire risk due to a long-time loyalty between the nominee and the President. The answer to this question may stop the nomination process in its tracks if the answer reveals that loyalty between friends trumps his loyalty to do justice.
Let's imagine for a moment that a member of the Bush Administration was pardoned by the president after being indicted for say, leaking a CIA undercover agent's name to the public. And let us also say for the purposes of this question that the Executive Clemency order was issued after the indictment was proffered but before the case was prosecuted. The very timing of this pardon would virtually steal the golden fleece of justice from American citizens before our Justice system could work its magic.
So then let's further imagine that the federal prosecutor had no choice but to challenge the legality of the executive branch's pre-empting the full and fair prosecution of the law.
Now, finally, here's the question to be posed to Judge Roberts...- "If the President issued this imaginary pardon BEFORE the conviction, and the resolution of this imaginary case came all the way down through the system to end up on your docket, how would you, as a Justice of the Supreme Court, likely rule?
"Bearing in mind, of course, that the subject being prosecuted might well be innocent. Or guilty. We'd never know for sure unless you issued a verdict against the President, finding it to be an abuse of power. Now for the purpose of this question, let's say that the pardoned subject was very close to the President himself, having been a member of his immediate Cabinet ever since the beginning of the first term in office. And because of his position, likely knew and could provide testimony against the very person who had actually cooked up this foul conspiracy and set it in motion in the first place.
"If only he could be compelled to testify. And that's the real twist to this whole puzzle we're asking you to solve. Let's say that due to strong loyalty and friendship, this person could not be compelled to reveal the source any other way than by being threatened with the possibility of prosecution and the resultant serious jail time for criminal conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
"Now wouldn't that be a fine kettle of fish if, by the sheer timing of his pardon, the President was allowed to protect himself, or perhaps shield some other guilty party in his Administration from prosecution for this most serious offense against homeland security?"

The above is from BuzzFlash, One Citizen's "THE question for Congress to ask Judge John G. Roberts' during his confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice: Can loyalty to the President also be treason?" The above's an excerpt but it's worth reading in full.

BuzzFlash has a premium entitled "Sutton Impact: The Political Cartoons of Ward Sutton (Paperback)." If you're unfamiliar with Ward Sutten (or would like to learn more), check out
Mikhaela B. Reid's "Drawing the Line: Could a cartoon bring down the Bush administration? Maybe not, but that won’t stop Ward Sutton from trying" (In These Times):

Ward Sutton's satirical art has appeared in mainstream venues such as TV Guide, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone and Time. But his labor of love is the no-holds-barred comic strip he's been drawing for the Village Voice since 1998, now available in the full-color collection, Sutton Impact: The Political Cartoons of Ward Sutton (Seven Stories Press). Sutton recently spoke to fellow cartoonist Mikhaela Reid from a farm in Bismarck, North Dakota, where he is taking a break from New York life to produce an animated short film.
You used to do a lot more cartoons about pop culture. But since 2000 your strip has become almost exclusively political. Why?
After college I got a job as cartoonist for the weekly Twin Cities Reader in Minneapolis. It was the first Gulf War that was the real tipping point for me, politically. I thought the war, and the media coverage of it, was disgusting. I went to Washington, D.C. to march in protest and also marched in Seattle and Minneapolis--and then got arrested for civil disobedience at the federal building in Minneapolis.
I also drew cartoons on the war. But one day the powers that be told me, "the war isn't funny anymore." This led to me hand-delivering letters to the editor on the war when they wouldn't let me draw cartoons about it anymore.
Part of what it takes to make a living working as an illustrator is to work in a way that appeals to editors and art directors. So in addition to my weekly strip, which was about politics but also social and pop-culture issues, I began doing all sorts of things. Lots of freelance illustration, then I got a whole other avenue of expression from creating rock posters.
There is the work I do to pay the bills and the work I do to feed my soul. My weekly strip is something that has never paid much money at all, but it has allowed me to express what I really feel.
But you are correct. The 2000 "election" was so troubling I couldn't imagine taking my time to comment on other things when it began to feel like the world was regressing so horribly.

Political art, published by Seven Stories Press and offered as a BuzzFlash premium.

On the subject of books, let me note that whatever else happens in this Sunday's The Third Estate Sunday Review, there will not be a book discussion about What's My Name Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States. The book, by Dave Zirin, will be noted at some point (hopefully two Sundays from now); however, when Betty called this morning, she mentioned she was having to utilize interlibrary loan for the book and wasn't sure how long it would take. Similarly, Kat's not finding it in her library. (I didn't try, honestly. I called my local independent book store and asked them to hold a copy that I'll pick up as soon as I get a chance -- and had expected to pick it up already.) The book sounds very interesting and is something we're all interested in reading and discussing but I spoke to Jess and Ava tonight and they said they'd rather wait so that Kat and Betty could participate in the discussion.

For those who have no idea what the book is about, here's a report Democracy Now! did on it last week entitled "What's My Name, Fool?: Sports and Resistance in the United States." Here's an excerpt:

AMY GOODMAN: We're talking to David Zirin. He’s a sportswriter, and his book is called What's My Name, Fool?: Sports and Resistance in the United States Why the title?
DAVID ZIRIN: What’s My Name, Fool?, first to be very clear, it's not a tribute to Mr. T. That was asked to me at one book reading. That would be "Pity the Fool." No, What's My Name, Fool?, it’s a reference to really what the heart of the book is about. The book is about the intersection of radical politics and pro sports, about times when movements off the field found expression on the playing field, and to me the high point of that history was the time when the heavyweight champion of the world had one foot in the Black Freedom struggle and one foot in anti-war movement. And, of course, I’m talking about Muhammad Ali.
Now, when Ali changed his name, first from Cassius Clay and then to Cassius X, which a lot of people don’t know – he was shortly known as Cassius X – and then to Muhammad Ali, when he did this, there was just no word for the firestorm that this caused, because, you know, the heavyweight champion of the world, that’s supposed to be a symbol of all that’s Americana, a symbol of, you know, masculinity and standing for the flag, and you had the heavyweight champion of the world join the organization of Malcolm X, join an organization in the Nation of Islam that believed in self-defense against racist attacks.
And I was – you know, I’m trying to relay to an audience today about the firestorm that this caused, and the only thing I could think of is you have to imagine if, say, Jenna Bush joined the Iraqi resistance. I mean, that would be the only way that you could make a comparison to when Ali joined the Nation of Islam and forced people to confront that name change.
Now, overnight, whether you called the champion Clay or Ali, it said everything about you in the 1960s. It said what side you were on in the Black Freedom struggle, what side you were on in the Free Speech fights on college campuses, soon the war in Vietnam. And therefore, Ali's fights, they had this incredible morality plays, they became. You know, if the champion won, it wasn't just about an individual winning a sporting event, it was about the confidence of a new and rising movement in a way that people took very personally and very seriously.
Now, you go to the title, What's My Name, Fool?, goes to when this name change controversy really was at its apex, and that’s in November 1965, when Ali fought a former two-time champion named Floyd Patterson. And in the lead up to the fight, this is what Patterson said. He said, "I am fighting Clay, and, yes, his name is Clay," as a crusade to return the title to America and take it from the Black Muslims.
Now, Ali's response to this was really interesting, because he had no response. This is one of the most loquacious athletes ever. You know, the press called him the "Louisville Lip" and "Gaseous Cassius," because he liked to talk so much. But he didn't say anything in the lead up to the fight and actually in the fight itself he let his fighting do the talking. Observers say he could have knocked out Patterson in one round, but actually, he drew it out over nine rounds. Sportswriter Robert Lipsite described it as watching someone pick the wings off a butterfly. And as Ali peppered Patterson with jabs, what he said, and he said it in a loud clear voice so all of press row could hear, he said, "Come on, America, come on, white America, say my name. What's my name, fool?" And that's where I got the title of the book. And that's just the title. So, we got a lot in this book.

As I understand (I could be wrong) this was part one of a two part interview so watch for Democracy Now! to air the second part at some point in the future.

And while on the topic of Democracy Now!, let's note that Amy Goodman is the latest to be honored by BuzzFlash in their Wings of Justice awards. (Remember, that's the one that is a honor. GOP Hypocrite of the Week isn't the award anyone wants. Well maybe some seriously deranged people.)

Lori e-mails to note that Lizz Winstead has a "laugh out loud funny" post entitled "A Great Summer Bitch Read." Here's an excerpt (done by Lori, so don't blame me if the joke's spoiled for you):

Rick Santorum’s new book, "It Takes A Family" (to judgmentally try and invade the lives of other families) is truly an inspiration.
Not only does it unburden women from the shackles of economic freedom with passages like,"The notion that college education is a cost-effective way to help poor, low-skill, unmarried mothers with high school diplomas or GEDs move up the economic ladder is just wrong." (pg 138)
He bravely takes on tired liberal philosophy by asking the question,"So what is the liberal definition of freedom-freedom to choose, irrespective of the choice? Freedom without limits?" (Page 22)

Finally, someone points out so eloquently and succinctly the dirty truth that liberals are stuck in the past relying on that tired relic called the “Bill of Rights” which should clearly be renamed "The Bill Of Goods"

Lori: I really miss hearing Lizz on Air America.

A sentiment that the community shares, Lori.

Bryan e-mailed to note this list of upcoming events at Gold Star Families for Peace:

proudly presents Gold Star mom NADIA McCAFFREY, the woman who defied President Bush by allowing the media to view her son's coffin, for four big events in Southern California: Saturday, July 30 -
Sunday, July 31 -
Monday, August 1 -
San Pedro
Wednesday, August 3 -
West Hills

Special guests (see below for dates) include "unembedded" journalist DAHR JAMAIL (internationally acclaimed for his dispatches from occupied Iraq), MARK MANNING (independent filmmaker who entered Falluja just after U.S. forces destroyed the city), TIM GOODRICH (co- founder of Iraq Veterans Against the War), and comedian RICK OVERTON.
Come hear first-hand accounts and see exclusive, uncensored documentary evidence of the war being fought in America's name.

Saturday, July 30 at 7:30 PM
Unitarian Church of Anaheim
511 S. Harbor Boulevard,
NADIA McCAFFREY (Gold Star Families for Peace)
VICKIE CASTRO (Gold Star Families for Peace)
DAN KELLY (Veterans for Peace)
Suggested donation: $5.00 (nobody turned away)
Co-sponsored by Orange County Peace Coalition

Sunday, July 31 at 5:30 PM
212 Sherman Canal, Venice House party -
Potluck NADIA McCAFFREY (Gold Star mom)
TIM GOODRICH (Iraq Veterans Against the War)
STEPHEN FISKE (Minstrel of Peace)
FRANK STRASSER (Singer/songwriter)

Monday, August 1 at 7:00 PM
Cabrillo Aquarium Auditorium
3720 Stephen M. White Drive,
San Pedro
NADIA McCAFFREY (Gold Star mom)
DAHR JAMAIL ("Unembedded" journalist)
MARK MANNING (Independent filmmaker)
Suggested donation: $5 (nobody turned away)
Co-sponsored by San Pedro Neighbors for Peace & Justice and The Progressive Caucus

Wednesday, August 3 at 6:45 PM
Shomrei Torah Synagogue
7353 Valley Circle Boulevard,
West Hills
NADIA McCAFFREY (Gold Star mom)
DAHR JAMAIL ("Unembedded" journalist)
JANE BRIGHT (Gold Star Families for Peace)
Suggested donation: $5-10 (nobody turned away)
Co-sponsored by The Progressive Caucus, Valley Grassroots for Democracy, and Valley West Democratic Club RSVP

U.S. TOUR OF DUTY (USTOD) supports and promotes the anti-war advocacy of Iraq veterans, military families, policy experts, activists, and performers by organizing public forums, producing video news segments, and maintaining a website (www.ustourofduty.org).
USTOD is also making a documentary called "Amazing Disgrace: The Betrayal of Soldiers and their Families." USTOD is a non-profit project of SEE (www.saveourplanet.org),
a 501(c)(3) organization.

NADIA McCAFFREY is known at the mother who defied President Bush by allowing the media to view the flag-draped coffin of her son, Patrick. After Patrick was killed in the Iraq war, Nadia traveled to the Middle East with filmmaker Mark Manning, who made a 30-minute documentary about the trip. They sought answers to what causes wars, and met with Iraqi mothers. Nadia explains her purpose: "I wanted to look them in the eye and share their pain."

After he shot the above-referenced film, MARK MANNING became the only "unembedded" western journalist to enter Falluja immediately following the U.S. bombardment. He spent three weeks filming inside the ravaged ancient city. His exclusive footage, which U.S. Tour of Duty will screen as part of Nadia's talks, provides a rare glimpse of the innocent victims' plight, and dispels the myths of war and the nature of the "enemy."

DAHR JAMAIL spent eight months in Iraq as one of only a few independent U.S. journalists in the country. His dispatches at www.dahrjamailiraq.com are widely recognized as an important media resource. He writes for such publications as The Asia Times, The Sunday Herald, The Nation, and The Guardian. Dahr also serves as a special radio correspondent for the BBC, Democracy Now!, and many other stations around the globe.

TIM GOODRICH, the co-founder of Iraq Veterans Against the War, served in the U.S. Air Force and was in the Middle East during the invasion of Afghanistan. He also visited Iraq as part of a Global Exchange trip in January of 2004, and he just returned from Turkey where he testified at the World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI). After General Tommy Franks inexplicably gave an unpublicized speech to Los Angeles elementary school students in April of this year, Tim put his body in front of the general's vehicle as its driver attempted to leave the scene. U.S. Tour of Duty will screen exclusive footage of this dramatic encounter as part of Tim's talk.

RICK OVERTON is a comedian, actor, writer, and creative consultant. He recently guest-starred on "Joan of Arcadia," "According to Jim" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm," and is a regular contributor to E! Entertainment's "Most Sensational Crimes of Fashion." Rick won an Emmy award for his work as the head writer of Dennis Miller's HBO series.

For more information contact Jeff Norman at 310.842.8794 or visit www.ustourofduty.org
Iraq veterans and military families demand the truth!

Carrie e-mails to note that NOW has a take action link on CAFTA whic also offers a breakdown of CAFTA:

Macroeconomic policies such as those proposed by NAFTA and CAFTA/DR have a differential impact on women. In CAFTA's case, the agreement's provisions lack strong labor and environmental protections, making it harmful to both U.S. and Central American workers and farmers. It does not require compliance with even the most basic internationally recognized labor rights and specifically fails to protect women workers against discrimination.
The Bush Administration has disguised this outsourcing bill as an effort to "open up markets." In fact, most Central American workers are so poor they will NEVER create a market for American goods because they can't afford to buy them. All that CAFTA/DR will do for impoverished Central American workers will be to target them as an excellent source of dirt-cheap labor and increase the inhumane treatment of those workers.
CAFTA/DR will also raise the cost of essential necessities for Central American and Dominican Republic families. The flood of foreign goods into the local markets as generated by CAFTA (due to the elimination of tariffs on such goods) would not only force out local (often women-run) competition, but also increase prices of basic commodities.
CAFTA/DR will also increase the number of households living in poverty, and almost a quarter of Central American households are headed by women(1). CAFTA/DR, as in the case of NAFTA, would enable trans-national companies to move their businesses to Central America where they can get away with paying low wages, exploiting the use of pesticides and chemicals that are prohibited in the U.S., and subjecting the workers on these farms to harmful working conditions that violate international human rights standards.
Women would be hit especially hard, as it would subject them to greater workloads and force them to look for work outside their farm or town—which in turn would put them in potentially dangerous and exploitative situations in addition to separating them from their families.
Women constitute the majority of maquiladora (manufacturing sector) workers in Central America. In Nicaragua, maquilas (factories) currently provide about 37,000 jobs, approximately 80% of which are held by young women. In Honduras, maquilas(2) currently employ about 106,000 people, 67% of whom are women(3). And maquilas (particularly textiles and apparels), are expected to grow in numbers under CAFTA. While women may appear to have more earning potential in the maquiladora sector, their work is precarious and unstable. In order to make more money, they work grueling hours under poor conditions with low morale. Intense and long workdays, nonpayment of overtime; no personal leave for reasons of health or family obligations, labor violence (which implies, among other things, beating and verbal abuse) are all common practices in many maquilas.
In addition, CAFTA's language on labor rights does not address problems such as sexual harassment and discrimination, which could have serious repercussions for women who work in the maquiladora sector throughout the region(4). Intrusive pregnancy tests are required in order to apply for leave and benefits (vacations, Christmas bonuses, etc.). There also has been an increase in the practice of deducting fees for pensions and health-care from workers' salaries, which are then unfairly appropriated and never transferred to the proper institutions, such as the Social Security Agency. There is a continuing myth that jobs created by international investors and free trade agreements bring women out of poverty. However without the support of unions or the ability to negotiate fair wages, jobs in export processing zones often leave women with a little more that the barest necessities(5). CAFTA would also prevent approval for marketing inexpensive generic medicines, threatening poor women's health and especially the lives of people with HIV/AIDS.

You can make your voice heard by utilizing NOW's Take Action page.

Note that the ACLU now has a blog on the Patriot Act (Reform the Patriot Act). Please check that out.

Yes, it's a link-fest. I plead guilty and note I'm exhausted from the computer problems that started on Sunday. Thankfully the UK Computer Gurus have a patch that appears to have restored access on my end. Tomorrow's entries should go smoothly. Thank you for your patience.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.