Monday, July 11, 2005

Democracy Now: Jane Mayer, Haiti; Bob Somerby, Matthew Rothschild, Christine Cupaiuolo, Bill Scher, BuzzFlash . . .

Report: Ex-French President Ok'd Sinking of Greenpeace Ship
On Sunday, hundreds of Greenpeace activists gathered in Paris to mark the 20th anniversary of the sinking of the organization's ship the Rainbow Warrior. The ship sank in a New Zealand harbor on July 10, 1985 when an explosion ripped open its hull. Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereira was killed in the incident. The ship was preparing to head to sea to protest against French nuclear bomb tests in the South Pacific. Over the weekend, the French newspaper Le Monde revealed that the late French President Francois Mitterrand personally approved the sinking of the ship. The paper has obtained a handwritten account of the ship's sinking written by the former head of France's spy agency that says Mitterrand had authorized the ship to be sunk. One former crew member of the Rainbow Warrior spoke at a commemoration ceremony on Sunday.
Leaked Memo: US & UK Plan Major Withdrawal From Iraq
A British newspaper has obtained a secret plan written by the British Defense Secretary that appears to outline plans for the allied forces to withdraw the majority of its troops from Iraq by early next year. The memo states, "Emerging US plans assume fourteen out of eighteen provinces could be handed over to Iraqi control by early 2006, allowing a reduction in [Allied troops] from 176,000 down to 66,000." The Washington Post reports the British memo is apparently the first time such a significant reduction has been outlined under a specific timetable. After the memo was leaked, British Defense Secretary John Reid tried to downplay its significance. He said, "No decisions on the future force posture of UK forces have been taken."
The two items above are from Democracy Now!'s Headlines today and were selected by Susan and WallyDemocracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says).
Headlines for July 11, 2005

- London Bombing Death Toll Reaches 49
- Four UK Mosques Set on Fire, Three Others Attacked
- Leaked Memo: US & UK Plan Major Withdrawal From Iraq
- Ex-PM Allawi: Iraq Is Almost In A "Civil War"
- Leaked Email Links Rove to Outing of Valerie Plame
- Israeli Wall to Cut Off 55,000 Palestinians From Jerusalem
- Report: Ex-French President Ok'd Sinking of Greenpeace Ship
London Bombing Fatalities at 49, Investigation Continues

The death toll from Thursday's bombing in London now stands at 49 and the total is expected to get higher. Seven hundred people were injured in the quadruple explosions that hit three subway cars and a double-decker bus during morning rush hour. A massive investigation is underway to identify who was behind the attack. [includes rush transcript]
Anti-Poverty Campaigners and Environmental Groups Criticize G8 for Falling Short on Promises

The Group of 8 Summit in Scotland concluded on Friday. G8 leaders lauded the meetings for making progress on African poverty and climate change, but there was widespread disappointment amongst anti-poverty campaigners and environmental groups. We go to Scotland for a report from David Miller, co-editor of "Arguments Against G8."
Methods Developed by U.S. Military for Withstanding Torture Being Used Against Detainees at Guantanamo Bay

We play the second part of our interview with journalist Jane Mayer. Her article in last week's New Yorker reveals how methods developed by the U.S. military for withstanding torture are being used against detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
Eyewitnesses Describe Massacre by UN Troops in Haitian Slum

In Haiti, UN troops launched a pre-dawn raid on Cite Soleil, one of the most economically-depressed neighborhoods of Port au Prince. Local residents say it might have been the deadliest attack carried out by UN troops since they were stationed in the country last year.
At The Daily Howler, today, Bob Somerby's addressing both the theories re: Karl Rove and the education issue.  We're grabbing from the education issue:
How does NCLB help suburban minority students? It "shames" school districts, Petrilli declares, when they aren't "doing right by" minority students. But how does this lead to improved instruction? The utterly gullible city slicker provides a pleasing example:
PETRILLI: Look at Montgomery County in Maryland, just outside Washington. It has a rapidly growing population of low-income, minority and immigrant students. Diversity is increasingly the norm. Unfortunately, so is a yawning achievement gap, as was made transparent in the first year under No Child Left Behind, when one in five elementary schools in Montgomery County failed to make "adequate yearly progress."

So the district intensified programs in which extra money was given to schools with at-risk students; struggling children were given additional help; good teachers were lured to the areas where they were needed most. The result? This year reading scores were up 7.8 percentage points for African-American fourth-graders and 10.7 percentage points for Hispanics.

Sell that man a magic trombone! Petrilli sees minority test score rise--and he simply accepts the explanation he’s handed by the school district, that the jump in test scores was created by all that "additional help" and by all those new "good teachers." Despite forty years of painful precedent, the notion that Montgomery may have cheated never enters this mark's empty head.

As we noted last week, we've seen this silly (and ugly) transaction enacted since the early 70s (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 7/8/05). At that time, a well-known columnist in the Baltimore Sun regularly tried to "shame" those lazy, uncaring teachers, just as Terilli wants NCLB to do. It was all their fault, he persistently wrote. In 1971, for example, he wrote this: "When the school staff 'digs in,' the result shows up on the test scores; and when they don't, it also shows up." But alas! Some of the schools he praised for "digging in" were blatantly, baldly, deliberately cheating. Year after year, these teachers were praised for their blatant misconduct, and other teachers--those who weren't cheating--were told they were lazy, inept, uncaring. Predictably enough, the cheating eventually spread through the system, driven on by the public "shaming"--and by the relative ease with which school staffs can make shaming end.

Yes, it's easy to dish out the "shame" when you've never set foot in an urban (or suburban) classroom. Today, the high-and-mighty Parson Petrilli dishes the shame from a cushy job at the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation. In all probability, he doesn't have the slightest idea what went on in those Montgomery schools. But then, typing from his leafy enclosure, he'll never much have to find out.

(Yes, ideally, we would have pulled the ed section from Friday's column to note it.  Time is limited and I never had time to.  Which actually works well for the next item.)
Brady e-mails regarding Matthew Rothschild's latest which Krista also e-mailed on Friday.  That's one of the things that I had intended to pull from in a link-fest post on Saturday.  (The "link-fest" was begun on Saturday but after noting Somerby, it went in a completely different direction.)
 From Matthew Rothschild's "Lessons of the London Attack:"

The hideous attack in London is a stark reminder that George Bush and Tony Blair have not come even close to vanquishing Al Qaeda.

Almost four years after 9/11, and still Osama bin Laden rubs his beard in our faces.

Almost four years after 9/11, and still Al Qaeda is gaining recruits.

Almost four years after 9/11, and still Al Qaeda can pull off a coordinated attack in one of the lungs of the Western World.

Bush will go down in history as the commander in chief who let his enemy escape.
Rumsfeld’s blunder at Tora Bora will rank right up there with Goering’s at Dunkirk.
And Bush, with his fool’s war in Iraq, has only served to reinvigorate Al Qaeda, which was discredited throughout the world after 9/11.

Apologies for the delay in noting the above.  We'll also note Matthew Rothschild's latest McCarthyism Watch entitled "California National Guard Story Grows Stranger:"

The story about the California National Guard’s surveillance of a Mother’s Day protest gets curiouser and curiouser.

The protest was co-sponsored by CodePink, the Peninsula Raging Grannies, and Gold Star Families for Peace. Internal Guard e-mails, obtained by the San Jose Mercury News, revealed that a new intelligence unit within the Guard was monitoring the demonstration.

State Senator Joseph L. Dunn, who chairs the subcommittee that governs the Guard’s budget, had never been informed of the existence of this unit, he says. Once he read about it, he demanded all documents that related to it, and to the surveillance of the Mother’s Day protest.

After he made that request, “the California National Guard erased the computer hard drive of a retiring colonel who oversaw the fledgling project,” according to Mercury News reporter Dion Nissenbaum.

The Guard’s director of public affairs, Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Hart, says this was routine.

“It is standard operating procedure for us to take computers from people who have left our employ, clean them, and reissue them,” he says.

Senator Dunn isn’t buying that.

And we'll note that the in the next issue of The Progressive, there will be an interview with Chuck D.  It's already posted online, Antonino D'Ambrosio's "Chuck D Interview:"

Q: How is the Bush Administration trying to coopt hip-hop for war?

Chuck D: The powers that be are trying to meld, shape, and corral the culture of hip-hop into another speaking voice for the government. They have exploited hip-hop and some of the culture around it—magazines, videos, etc.—to recruit people into the military. The Army says it will give out Hummers, platinum teeth, or whatever to those that actually join. Early on in the recent war, Vibe magazine was working with the Army to recruit black youth. They are willing to do this because they will take money from the highest bidder. It’s one corporation dealing with another corporation.

Q: How are corporations commodifying hip-hop?

Chuck D: If you checked out the news lately, McDonald’s offers a king’s ransom to any hip-hop artist who is able to put Big Mac into a song. MTV—and more to the point, Viacom—is succeeding in extending a teenage life to twenty-nine or even thirty-one years old. It is about extending this market and removing any intelligent substance in the music. Why would twenty-six-year-old “teenagers” care about political ramifications if their backs are not up against the wall? But if their backs are against the wall they may be plucked to fight in Iraq, and all of sudden they become politicized real quick.

Q: Do you think that hip-hop can escape the corporate grip?

Chuck D: I always remain optimistic. There are three levels of music production: the majors, indies, and what I call “inties,” music distributed via the Internet. The Internet is one area that I have used pretty effectively to break free of corporate control. Alternative spaces, independent media, satellite, these all provide some tools by which we can work more independently and deal more directly with communities we hope to reach. Distribution is key, and finding alternative ways to do that with new media is critical.

Elaine notes this from Christine as Ms. Musing:

This issue will be discussed Monday at a National Press Club forum hosted by Ms. magazine. The forum, "Supreme Court Vacancy: "What's At Stake for Women?", will be broacast live at 10:30 a.m. (EST) on C-SPAN 3. If you miss it on Monday, it will be repeated on other C-SPAN channels this week. Speakers include:

Ellen Chesler, a senior fellow at the Open Society Institute and author of Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America. Chesler also wrote the article "Public Triumphs, Private Rights" on the threat to birth control access in the Summer Issue of Ms.

Judith M. DeSarno, president and CEO of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association.

Jocelyn Frye, director of Legal and Public Policy at the National Partnership for Women & Families. Frye will focus on a new report that poses key questions women need answered by the next Supreme Court nominee.

Dolores Huerta, co-founder and first vice president emeritus of the United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO, and civil rights activist.

Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. In 1981, Smeal, then president of NOW, testified on behalf of Sandra Day O'Connor before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Frank Susman, a reproductive rights attorney who argued Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, the 1989 U.S. Supreme Court case.

Yes, if you're hearing this for the first time, you missed it.  However, as Christine notes, "it will be repeated on other C-SPAN channels this week."  If you find repeats at the site, feel free to pass them on.

Now let's note Bill Scher who's doing his Monday critique of the Sunday Chat & Chews at Liberal Oasis.  First, we're going to spoil a read for those who use links.  I rarely pull a joke for excerpt and I wouldn't now but it's too funny and too true.  He's noting ABC's This Week:

Cokie Roberts and George Will were absent from this week’s ABC roundtable discussion, opening the door to a rare informative discussion on Sunday.

Brandon e-mailed on that and he's right, it's hilariously true.

Now we'll note the beginning of the piece:

US Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and the White House Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend hit the shows yesterday.

The goal: don’t the let public start thinking the attacks in London mean Bush isn’t doing as good a job on terror as they’ve been told.

The strategy: spin, mislead, repeat.

For example, when Chertoff was asked about sleeper cells in the US, (which he was on NBC’s Meet The Press, CBS’ Face The Nation, and ABC’s This Week) he gave the same talking point each time.

Which is really the purpose of the Chat & Chews.  Our own homegrown Pravda. Of the beltway, for the beltway, by the beltway, sinking under the weight of questions that will never be asked and conventional "wisdom" that will be passed off both as original thought and as containing depth.  Bob Somerby and Bill Scher are strong souls doing brave work, but I do worry that one Monday they'll emerge in a daze saying things like,  "Well Fareek, what the people care about, as told to me by my gardener, is . . ."

Lynda e-mailed Friday to note the latest from In These Times.  This was supposed to be picked up this weekend, but time ran out.  (Sorry Lynda, we'll note it now.)


What Jimmy Taught Us By Joel Bleifuss

The Man

Jimmy By Beth Maschinot

Creature Comforts
By Lee Aitken

Look, It's a Better World
By Joan Walsh

A Generous Teacher
By Sheryl Larson

The Man Who Came to Dinner By Jim McNeill

Hope and Politics By Pat Arnow

A Socialist in the Age of Triangulation By Rick Perlstein

Farewell Songs
By Teresa Prados Torreira

Jimmeth By Salim Muwakkil

A Worthy Soul By Saul Landau

The Magazine

No Sweated Sectarian Mass Here By Chris Lehmann

A Lifelong Debt
By Barbara Ehrenreich

A Start-Up Socialist Tabloid By Jim Rinnert

A Source of Light
By Pat Aufderheide

Irascible Mentor
By Beth Schulman

No Small Achievement
By Bernie Sanders

One of the Boys
By Victor Navasky

Keeping Honest Journalism Alive By Craig Aaron

The Legacy

Not a Dead Ender
By G. William Domhoff

Old Terrain, New Insights
By Ron Radosh

Muckraker By Studs Terkel

Creative Devotion
By David Moberg

Unapologetic Radical
By Laura Washington

The Historian We Need
By Michael Kazin

Guts and Tenacity
By Scott McLemee

Ambiguious Legacy
By James B. Gilbert

Throw Off the Saddles and Dare to Think By Edward "Buzz" Palmer

Last Request By Melissa Byrne

To a Friend
By Adrian Bleifuss Prados

A public memorial service will be held on Monday, August 22,
at 1 p.m. at the South Shore Cultural Center in Chicago.



BuzzFlash was looking at the front page of the July 9th business section of the Chicago Tribune and came across a large photo of a young, short-skirted woman trying out a software program on a laptop. All around her were sophisticated marketing booths for such hi-tech firms as Intel and Panasonic. Part of the photo caption read: "Thousands of young visitors crowded the exhibition space eager to try out the newest offerings from local and international tech companies."

Was this hi-tech bazaar in Silicon Valley? No, it was, according to the caption, "a technology show Friday in Ho Chi Minh City."

And then we were thinking about the effort of China to buy Unocal, the gas company that, ironically, has figured so strongly in the "deep background" story about why the U.S. needed to control Afghanistan (that is to say a trans-Afghan oil pipeline that Unocal was planning for years.) Indeed, the current president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, was a paid consultant to Unocal before the U.S. invasion.

Why is BuzzFlash mentioning this in an editorial about Bush's failed war on terrorism? Because, much to the chagrin of Cheney and Rumsfeld (who are still trying to make up for the "loss of face" and "emasculation of America" that occurred on their watch in the White House in the '70s), we won the Vietnam War by leaving it.

Our two foes -- Vietnam and China (the latter nation which was a national enemy of Vietnam until we forced the former into the arms of the latter by taking on the Vietnam War to begin with) -- are now budding capitalist markets. In fact, China is now emerging as an economic powerhouse that may end up owning a good chunk of American free enterprise.

That's an excerpt.  It's a lengthy editorial (and a strong one). 
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