Friday, July 01, 2005

Democracy Now! and Bob Somerby (as always) then we focus on O'Connor's resignation (reactions and what it means)

Democracy Now! ("always worth watching" as Marcia says)
From Headlines, Brenda e-mailed asking that this be highlighted:
Poll: 42% Back Impeaching Bush If He Lied Over Iraq
A new Zogby polls shows that 42 percent of voters believe Congress should impeach President Bush if it is found that he did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq. While Democrats disproportionately favored impeachment, the poll found twenty-five percent of Republicans would back the measure if it were determined that Bush lied about Iraq. Calls for impeachment have increased since the Sunday Times of London published what is now known as the Downing Street Memo. The memo from the summer of 2002 outlined the Bush administration's position on Iraq. It said that the invasion of Iraq was inevitable and that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed."
Headlines for July 1, 2005

- Iraq Gov't: 8,200 Iraqis Killed Over Past Six Months
- Baghdad Mayor Threatens to Resign
- June: Deadliest Month This Year For U.S.
- Poll: 42% Back Impeaching Bush If He Lied Over Iraq
- 52 House Members Seek Downing Street Memo Documents
- Judge Orders Oversight Of Calif. Prison Healthcare System
- Alan Dershowitz Attempts to Quash Norman Finkelstein Book
NYPD Arrest 181 Black Men in Queens After Cop Shot in the Leg

A New York police officer was shot in the leg with his own gun while trying to arrest a man allegedly smoking marijuana. During the following three days, police mounted a massive dragnet in the community, arresting a total of 181 black men in Queens.**
Fired Wal-Mart Executive Sues After Blowing the Whistle on Factory Conditions in Central America

Wal-Mart executive James Lynn, was fired from the company, he says, after he blew the whistle on factory conditions in Central America. Lynn documented forced pregnancy tests, 24-hour work shifts, extreme heat, pat-down searches, locked exits and other labor law violations. He is now suing the retail giant. We speak with Lynn's attorney and a Wal-Mart spokesperson. [includes rush transcript - partial]
Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Worker's Rights at Wal-Mart

We speak with Liza Featherstone, author of "Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Worker's Rights at Wal-Mart" about a case representing 1.6 million women - past and present Wal Mart employees - who are charging the company with sex discrimination in pay, promotions and training at every corporation level.
Rep. Bernie Sanders: "CAFTA is a Disaster for the People of Central America and the USA"

As the Senate votes to approve the Central American Free Trade Agreement, we take a look at the controversial trade pact and how the Labor Department tried for a year to block the release of a government-funded study that criticized labor standards in Central America. We speak with Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Bama Athreya of the International Labor Rights Fund.
First American-Born Mad Cow Discovered in Texas

The U.S Department of Agriculture announced that the second case of mad cow disease was found in this country - but it marked the first time the cow was born and spent his entire life in the United States. We speak with John Stauber of PR Watch, author of "Mad Cow U.S.A.: Could the Nightmare Happen Here?"
We begin today with a case of a police dragnet in New York City. On June 14th, Officer Christopher Wiesneski of Queens was shot in the leg with his own gun while trying to arrest a man smoking marijuana. During the next three days, police mounted a massive dragnet in the community. A total of 181 black men in the Queens neighborhoods of Cambria Heights and Laurelton were arrested on misdemeanor charges and quality of life violations. Some who were were arrested report that they were grabbed by the cops, handcuffed and not given any explanations at the time of their arrests.

The police department and Mayor Bloomberg have remained silent on the matter despite calls from City Councilman Leroy Comrie, Queens Representative Gregory Meeks and Democratic Mayoral candidate Fernando Ferrer to give an explanation for the cops behavior.

  • Marq Claxton, a retired New York Police detective and is member of the group 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care. Marq is spearheading the efforts to file a lawsuit against the NYPD.
    article by Juan Gonzalez.
From Juan Gonzalez's "Cops Shot and Blacks Targeted" (New York Daily News):

One of those arrested the first day was 20-year-old Hason Joseph, who is light-skinned, stands 5-feet-6 and weighs barely 100 pounds.

He was grabbed by plainclothes cops around 2:30 p.m. on 121st Ave. near Laurelton Parkway. Hason told me yesterday that he and three friends had gotten out of a car to talk to three other black youths when cops suddenly appeared from an unmarked car, drew their guns and handcuffed all of them.

"They wouldn't tell us why they were arresting us," said Russell McKee, 20, who had been in the car with Joseph. McKee is 6-feet-1, about 220 pounds and has a much darker complexion than Joseph. Then there's Donald Young, also 20, who is about an inch taller than McKee and heftier.

All said they were taken to the 105th Precinct, questioned about the shooting and then transferred to Queens Central Booking, where they finally learned the charge: disorderly conduct.

At The Daily Howler today, Bob Somerby's discussing a number of issues.  Among them are the overly made up, non-New York Times newspaper reporter who's written the trash-all on Hillary (he worked for the Sunday Magazine) and Howard Dean.  I'm sure he's making his usual strong critiques but my mind is elsewhere today (O'Connor's retirement) and so we'll note this section on fighting which is making universal points (Somerby's in the midst of discussing a column by E.J. Dionne):
To all appearances, it doesn't occur to liberals like Dionne to prescribe a tough Dem counter-attack. At THE HOWLER, we've been prescribing this back-talk for years. But high-minded liberals are still tone-deaf. They can only picture defensive remarks, in which "the attacker has won."

Why have New McCarthyites done so well in the hoaxing wars of the past several decades? In part, because they have a global message, and hapless Democrats still do not. The Pseudo-Conservative Noise Machine is driven by familiar complaints--against "the liberals" and their famed "liberal bias." Democrats need a global message from which they can frame a truthful rebuttal. We'd suggest a counter-attack which has the advantage of being true: They just keep trying to play you for fools--as powerful interests have always done, all through human history.

It still doesn't seem to occur to Dionne to prescribe an aggressive Dem counter-attack. It's true: McCarthyites will win the day when the victim goes "on the defensive." But alas! It still doesn't occur to the lib/Dem elites to take a more lusty approach to this problem. Dems need to frame a concise winning message, then punch hoaxers right in the nose.

For me the above advice makes me think of the ones (discussed a few weeks back) who'd just stumbled upon the term "privacy right" (some seemed to even think that they'd invented it) and launched into an attack on feminists for all that they felt was wrong with the left.  And sadly, these attacks were coming from the so-called left.  They urged you to drop "pro-choice" because they'd determined (with their ESP polling apparently -- note Ms. excert later in this post) that the term was a 'loser.'  Their tactics were cowardly, if they were genuine.  If they weren't genuine, they were attempting to play you for a fool (see, Somerby's advice is universal) as they attempted to push the party to the right.
Don't get played.  With that in mind, let's focus on the O'Connor retirement.  Christine now has two posts up at Ms. Musing.  Excuse me, three. 
From Christine's first post (noting the announcement):

Here's a brief overview of how O'Connor voted.

This morning I listened to Nina Totenberg's report on the recent Supreme Court decisions. It was observed that the current crop of justices have served together so long -- there hasn't been an opening on the Court in 11 years -- that they're like an "old married couple." There have been few shocking decisions as of late, though justices who you'd least expect to break ranks have sometimes surprised Supreme Court experts. It's a good, if now already dated, analysis.

More to come later today. In the meantime, make sure to read Ms.' report on what's at stake in the battle over the Supreme Court and Ellen Chesler's excellent analysis of the rights women stand to lose -- potentially even access to contraceptions -- if another conservative justice is appointed.

From Christine's second post ("The Token Speech"):
 "Under the Constitution I am responsible to nominate a successor to Justice O'Connor. I take this responsibility seriously. I will be deliberate and throrough in this process," Bush said.

I heard: Whoo-Hoo!!

Bush added he was seeking "potential nominees who have a high standard of legal ability, judgement and integrity and who will faithfully interpret the Constituional laws of this country."

I heard: "Faithfully!" Did you hear that Christian Right? I got "faith" in there!

Bush added that the nation deserves a dignified process, completed in "a timely manner." He expects that his nominee will be confirmed prior to the next Supreme Court term.

I heard: Oh, if I could just make a recess appointment on this one ...
In Christine's third post she steers us to an article in the current issue of Ms.:
In the wake of Justice O'Connor's retirement announcement, Ms. is posting all stories from the Summer Issue Urgent Report on the battle for the Supreme Court. The intro and Ellen Chesler's "Public Triumphs, Private Rights" -- a look at the link between access to abortion and access to birth control -- are already online.

Now up: "Five Rights Women Could Lose" under an ultraconservative Supreme Court. These points have been adapted from the National Partnership for Women & Families.

If this is up yet, I'm not seeing it (which isn't a surprise, I'm honestly shocked by today's news).  Page 37 of the current issue of Ms. is where Celinda Lake's "The Polls Speak: Americans Support Abortion" is worth noting considering the "helpful" ones who think they discovered the term "privacy right."  Working with multiple polls, Lake demonstrates that contrary to the "helpfuls" 'wisdom' the pro-choice position is not a minority position.  From page 39, we'll excerpt this:

The abortion issue did not determine the outcome of the 2004 presidential election -- but perhaps it could in a future contest.  In the months since November 2004, a host of commentators insisted that abortion had a negative impact on the election; some even blamed Democratic candidate John Kerry's loss on his support for abortion rights.  However data collected by Lake Snell Perry & Associates for the nonpartisan network Votes for Women 2004 shows that the election issues about which voters most cared were the economy (23 percent), national security and terrorism (19 percent), and the war in Iraq (13 percent).  When voters were asked what made them decide their presidential choice, only 2 percent volunteered the issue of abortion.  Among Kerry voters, less than 1 percent offered this as an issue.  Among Bush voters, only 2 percent said abortion determined their vote for president.

But actual votes for the two presidential candidates divided clearly -- and evenly -- along the line of abortion-rights ideology:  Voters who felt abortion should be "always legal" voted 73 percent for Kerry, while self-defined pro-lifers voters voted 77 percent for George W. Bush.  Perhaps if choice had played a more visible role in the presidential campaign, John Kerry would have fared better.  In fact, choice may have played a role in generating a record number of unmarried-woman voters, who surged in turnout -- 7.5 million more than in 2000 -- with 62 percent of them casting their votes for Kerry.

We'll now note NOW which already has an action alert up:


Save the Court ... Save Women's Lives!
Contact Your Senators About the Supreme Court

Women's lives are at stake. Tell your Senators to oppose any Supreme Court nominee who would threaten women's rights and civil liberties.

With the resignation of Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, George W. Bush will have the opportunity to replace a justice who has often made the difference in the preservation of essential rights. With a fragile 5-to-4 split in the Court on issues like abortion and affirmative action, we must fight for the appointment of a justice who will uphold and protect our hard-won Constitutional rights. Urge your Senator to oppose any Supreme Court nominee who would overturn Roe v. Wade and limit the economic and reproductive rights of girls and women in the U.S.
Utilize the link to take action.
NOW and Ms. (which includes Ms. Musing) are on this.  I'm sure Emily's List will post something presently.  NARAL has already noted:
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor retirement gives President Bush and the radical right the chance they've been waiting for to overturn Roe v. Wade. They're pulling out all the stops to push through President Bush’s anti-choice judicial nominees to the Supreme Court. We cannot let it happen.
Visit NARAL to take action.
Now we'll note Jude, of Iddybud, for her comments on today's news:
A storm is brewing over Washington, D.C.

John Dean warned us about what we see beginning today. George W. Bush has pulled no punches. He has been politically overt about hoping that Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Last September, John Dean had made the argument that the retirement of Supreme Court justices and the expected battles over the confirmation of their replacements should have been more more openly debated during the last campaign. Giving John Kerry the benefit of the doubt, he said that perhaps Kerry saw a danger in "playing politics with the judiciary."

Commenting that Democrats have lost their "bullying" talent, Dean commented that the Republicans, had they lost the 2000 election to a Supreme Court decision, would have "made the 2000 election the central focus of the 2004 election." Instead, Dean refleceted, the Democratic Party, "once a party of flame-throated cantankerous conservatives, no longer is very adept at the squeaky-wheel politics of incivility."
I'm assuming Jessica and the gang at Feministing have some to the point, no nonsense posts up (I can't access the web site, apparently there's too much traffic) so check out Feministing.
We'll note Bill Scher's entry in full from Liberal Oasis (apologies to Scher):
Sandra Day O'Connor is stepping down.

This is will be an even more brutal fight than a Rehnquist retirement because O'Connor is a swing vote, and replacing her with a right-winger shifts the ideological balance of the court.

Short of actual war, this will be as brutal as it gets.

Please re-read LiberalOasis' April 19th post "Putting On Your Game Face For The Supreme Court Showdown," and get ready.


Next we'll note Planned Parenthood which is also now apparently getting heavy traffic.  On the home page they have three things regarding what this means for the future but I'm not having any luck accessing them. 

Okay, one's popped up.  (I'm using mulitple screens, always.)  From "O'Connor Resignation Creates Ominious Court Vacancy:"

The retirement of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor dramatically changes the court's composition by removing a crucial moderate voice that has often been at the heart of protecting women's health and rights. With the stakes high, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), the nation's leading reproductive health care advocate and provider, is marshalling its grassroots activists and lobbying presence in all 50 states to sound a call to arms in defense of reproductive rights. These grassroots activists will stage events nationwide to draw attention to the critical significance of this court vacancy.

"The resignation of Justice O'Connor creates a devastating and dangerous moment for reproductive health care and women's rights," said PPFA Interim President Karen Pearl. "Her departure places women's health at risk, endangering the future of reproductive rights in this nation. With so much at stake, Planned Parenthood will be on the frontlines of the Supreme Court battles to ensure women's health is protected."

The Supreme Court's recent decision to hear Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood spotlights the urgency of the threat to reproductive freedom. This high-stakes case could undermine both the primacy of a woman's health as a limitation on states' zeal to curb access to abortion, and the ability of organizations like Planned Parenthood to challenge those restrictions on access. Only five years ago, Justice O'Connor was critical to maintaining access to abortion in the 5-4 decision issued in Stenberg v. Carhart. When the court hears Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood later this year, the outcome with a new Justice could drastically affect women's health and safety.

"Nothing will have a greater impact on protecting the health and safety of women than appointments to the Supreme Court," said Pearl. "Planned Parenthood, as the largest provider of reproductive health care in this country, knows this firsthand. Our own case Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood, to be heard later this year, will determine whether the high court and the nation feel that the health and safety of women are worth preserving.

"A lifetime appointment requires a confirmation process that is nothing less than thoughtful, intelligent, and fully deliberated," said Pearl. "Americans deserve Supreme Court Justices who they know will protect their health and safety."


Planned Parenthood Federation of America is the nation's largest and most trusted voluntary reproductive health organization. We believe that everyone has the right to choose when or whether to have a child — and that every child should be wanted and loved. Planned Parenthood affiliates operate more than 850 health centers nationwide, providing medical services and sexuality education for millions of women, men, and teenagers each year.


The above is a press release so we're noting it in full. 


These are not the only resources or commentaries.  Find something you like and e-mail it.  We can stay on this topic all weekend (and then some).  We are a strongly pro-choice community (not just me but the members).  So your favorite site or blog or organization has something on this that you want noted, e-mail it so we can share it with the community.  Continuing to check Ms. Musing throughout the day, I'm sure Christine will have a few more posts on this.  And let me offer a thank you to Christine because it is a holiday weekend and she's managed to get three posts up on what she probably was assuming would be an easy-I'll-go-in-it'll-be-a-slow-day.  Great job on the part of Ms. Musing.  And Jude and everyone noted above and I'm sure there are others worthy of noting as well, so share with the community who spoke to you today.

Elaine's asked what my reaction has been.  If you've had a reaction, weigh in on that via e-mail as well.  I've been in shock.  When I heard the news on The Diane Rehm Show my hands were shaking as I typed the entry right before this.  I don't have words for this, just one long howl/scream.  I've shared, it's your turn.

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