Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Democracy Now: Jeff Chester, David Corn, Bob Somerby, Jude (Iddybud), Matthew Rothschild

Calls Increase For Karl Rove To Resign
In Washington calls are intensifying for President Bush's chief advisor Karl Rove to resign because of his role in the outing of an undercover CIA agent. For nearly two years the White House has denied Rove had any part in the leak, but on Sunday Newsweek revealed that Rove personally spoke with a reporter from Time Magazine about the agent, Valerie Plame, although he did not state her name. On Monday, White House press spokesperson Scott McClellan refused to answer questions about Rove claiming that it would be premature to do so since the investigation is ongoing. But two years ago when allegations about Rove first emerged the White House repeatedly denied he played any role in the leak. In September of that year McClellan told reporters that he had spoken personally with Rove and that it was "simply not true" that Rove had any role in the leak. As for the president, he has repeatedly said he would fire anyone involved in the leak of classified information. On Monday Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said "I trust they will follow through on this pledge."
Poll: 54% Say Iraq War Made U.S. Less Safe
On Monday President Bush vowed to keep waging the so-called war on terror. Meanwhile a new CNN poll has found that a majority of Americans now believe the war in Iraq has made the United States less safe from terrorism. The percentage of respondents who felt this way jumped from 39 to 54 percent following the bombings in London. Just 40 percent of Americans believe the war in Iraq has made this country safer.
The two items above are from Democracy Now! and were selected by Annie and Cedric to be spotlighted.  Democracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says):
Headlines for July 12, 2005

- Calls Increase For Karl Rove To Resign
- Bombing Death Toll in London Reaches 52
- Poll: 54% Say Iraq War Made U.S. Less Safe
- Sadr Launches Anti-Occupation Petition Drive
- World Marks 10th Anniversary of Srebrenica Massacre
- Groups Call For Exxon Mobil Boycott
- Iran-Contra Figure Lands Key Pentagon Position
CPB Chief Tomlinson Comes Under Fire For Secretly Monitoring Political Content of Public Broadcasting

The head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Kenneth Tomlinson, came under fire from Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) at a Senate panel Monday for his decision to secretly monitor public television and radio programs, and about other controversial moves that have led to calls for his resignation. We play an excerpt of the hearing. [includes rush transcript]
CPB Board Member on Fmr. RNC Chair Patricia Harrison: "We Shouldn't Select Anyone Who Has Run One Of The National Political Parties"

We speak with Ernest Wilson, a board member for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting about Monday's hearing, Kenneth Tomlinson's monitoring of the political content of public broadcasting and the hiring of former RNC co-chair Patricia Harrison as CEO of the CPB.
Cato vs. PBS: A Debate on Federal Funding of Public Broadcasting

As the Senate Appropriations Committee meets this week to consider the budget of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting we host a debate on government funding of public broadcasting with David Boaz of the Cato Institute, Bill Reed, the president of KCPT in Kansas City and Jeffrey Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy.
Rep. Henry Waxman on Karl Rove: "The President Said He Would Fire Anybody He Found Responsible"

In Washington calls are intensifying for President Bush's chief advisor Karl Rove to resign because of his role in the outing of undercover CIA operative, Valerie Plame. We speak with Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) who is calling for Congressional hearings into Rove's role as well as journalist David Corn of The Nation.
On the first story, I'll note two things.  1) Kennth Tomlinson repeats the same talking points over and over.  And it's past time that someone corrected him on the Bob Dylan quote which he has repeatedly gotten wrong.  2) Is there a reason Tomlinson is slurring his words and sometimes pronouncing "advocacy" properly but more often pronouncing it "adocacy" or "advacy?"  It was like watching John Candy trying to do his version of Lucille Ball's famous  Vitameatavegamin skit (from I Love Lucy).
Moving on to Bob Somerby and The Daily Howler.  A number of e-mails have come in on this one.  (Which we hadn't even noted yet!)  We spotlight Somerby everytime there's a Howler (that we're aware of, anyway).  Somerby has never felt Wilson was credible.  That's not new.  I think Somerby's worth reading and entertaining as well as educational.  But I don't have to agree with every point he makes to enjoy or learn from The Daily Howler.  If you can approach it that way, you'll most likely get something out of it.  If you're not able to approach it that way, you'd probably be better off skipping the current Howler.
Another thing to note.  When Friday's Howler went up here Saturday, Stephanie e-mailed to note "Finally."  (She'd e-mailed Friday to note it.)  And that it was now up "everywhere else" online.  Sorry for the delay, but that will happen.  But we'll note him today (and note him every Howler) and I'm not sure that's the going to be the case elsewhere.  "Aruba Joe" (or whatever Friday's post was known as) was very popular, very liked, very nice.  Here he's challenging you.  We won't shut him down because he's challenging our thoughts and notions.  But if Stephanie noticed Friday's Howler "everywhere else" online, Somerby probably noticed some of it or heard of some of it.  Easiest thing in the world would be to write another one of those.  It's popular.  It was enjoyed.  Doing another would be the easiest thing in the world.  He's going for something different.  Something that, again, probably won't get linked all over.  So give him credit for not going for the obvious and for writing something he obviously believes in even though he knows it probably won't be popular with a huge number of people.
Let's grab an excerpt:
Yes, the Bush Admin will torture the language, saying (perhaps correctly) that Rove didn't "leak classified information." But over and over, Bush said he wanted people with information to come forward. "I want to know the truth," he said. And: "We can clarify this thing very quickly if people who have got solid evidence would come forward and speak out. And I would hope they would." But two years went by, and Rove didn't come forward--or if he did, Bush kept his trap shut. Rove flirted with jail time for Matt Cooper; he may have put Judith Miller in jail. (The Admin will say that Rove signed that blanket waiver.) But the question here seems obvious--and it's the question libs should be asking. When Bush said he wanted the truth, why didn't he get the truth from his number-one top adviser? Or did he actually get the truth? Did he actually get the truth, then keep the truth to himself?

McClellan’s statements are much less important than Bush’s. Two years ago, the sitting president said, “I want to know the truth.” Obvious question for a Bold Leader: Why are we just starting to get the truth two years after this public statement? And: What do you plan to do to the person who kept you in the dark?

(We're going with that excerpt because his criticism of others could easily apply to my own remarks at this site.  I stand by remarks.  Highlighting others who have made similar points and are singled out would seem, to me, to be acting as though I hadn't said much of the same.  It would also be hard to not, in fairness, make some sort of comment re: X's statement at his site or Z's at their site.  So I'll go with the above as our excerpt but note that the entire Howler is worth reading and that, as always, it's educational and entertaining.)

(And by the way, Bill Reed is a guest on today's Democracy Now! and making points in response to David Boaz's incessant chirps of "Bill Moyers! Bill Moyers!"  Bob Somerby addressed Reed's performance on PBS' NewsHour June 28, 2005.)

Maria e-mails to note that Jude (Iddybud) has another essay worth highlighting:

We look like occupiers (whether or not we say we aren't) and we've made it easy for the propaganda machine on the other side to succeed. This isn't WWII. This is 2005. Communication is immediate. People don't sit around for weeks wondering how the battle turned out. Photos and stories are sent with a quick download and, with one click of a key, the world sees what it wants to see...hears what it wants to hear. I'm no Nostradamus, but I sure as hell could have told you that this was a misguided way to win hearts and minds - as a matter of fact, I did tell you on this very blog, time and time again.

In order for there to be an appearance of any form of "success" for the U.S. in Iraq, the Iraqi army and police must be the key in this wicked propaganda battle between the U.S.-led occupation forces and the insurgents for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. Our failure to adequately and promptly train these Iraqis is in direct proportion to the loss of so many hearts and minds. I fear what we've done has been too little - too late.

As noted by The Third Estate Sunday Review, Jude doesn't mine the standard sourcesor go for the obvious.  Her entry point for this essay is one that many might otherwise miss.  Which is why she's a strong voice and one that speaks to the community.

Staying on the strong voices theme, we'll now note Matthew Rothschild's latest This Just Ins.

First, "The Cult of al Qaeda:"

Now I don’t believe in caving in to terrorists. I hate Al Qaeda, and Al Qaeda hates me.

But I also don’t believe that the United States should continue pursuing immoral policies just because Al Qaeda opposes those policies.

The Iraq War is immoral.

The unconditional support that the U.S. gives Israel is immoral.

The United States should get out of Iraq and stop giving Israel a blank check not to appease Al Qaeda but because it’s the right thing to do.

Al Qaeda will continue on its bloody path, and it will find other excuses for its inexcusable, despicable actions.

But its appeal will diminish, and we’ll be the safer for pursuing decent policies.


Now we'll note Rothschild's "The Plame Grenade:"

Bush went on record early in the scandal saying that he wanted to get to the bottom of this, which he clearly didn’t, and saying that he would hold whoever did it accountable.

Well, is he going to hold Rove accountable?

Or is he going to cover for Rove?

Bush prizes loyalty and hardball over legality and decency. Why else does he have Rove and Cheney around?

But if Bush makes a wrong move here, he’s in cover-up land.

Already, Bush’s press secretary, Scott McClellan, is hopelessly compromised. Back when the scandal first broke, McClellan vouched for Rove’s innocence and said that “the President knows that Karl Rove wasn’t involved.” McClellan also said, back then, that he personally had talked with Rove, and Rove denied being involved.

And Shirley points out that I've mispelled Planned Parenthood in the links.  My apologies and I'll fix it this evening. There are two more links that need to go up (ideally tonight but we'll see what happens).  Tammi e-mails to note that the links show up "way down" at the bottom of the post.  Tammi's probably using Explorer.  If you want the links to always run at the top use Mozilla Firefox.
Leaving brave voices, we turn to the New York Times for two items.  First Skye wants something noted and is upset that it wasn't noted Monday.  (I didn't read Monday's art section.)  One of her favorite groups (and one we noted before) has a new CD out today. From Ben Ratliff's "Americana to Comfort Roots Rockers:"

Willie Nelson can come up with radical phrasing effortlessly, but other people, like Jamie Stewart from the Seattle band Xiu Xiu, have to work harder at it.

Over the last five years, Xiu Xiu has come to make an utterly original mixture of home-studio goth-pop, confessional singer-songwriter outpourings and chamber music. Mr. Stewart, the band's singer, guitarist and songwriter, locates the most fragile and overwrought position he can find within himself - some combination of a mortified whisper, a sob and a scream - and starts from there. On much of "La Forêt" (5 Rue Christine), the band's fourth album, he sounds close to hyperventilating. No question, it's not for everyone; it's both fey and aggressive. But it's quite real.

Where he (and the listener) can touch down in the familiar is in a kind of 80's goth-pop - a Bauhaus-like sound, with cheap-sounding, reverberant electronic percussion and keyboards. Sometimes the band incorporates this into noisy collage work; Mr. Stewart has a sharp, practical and imaginative ear for texture. But on "La Forêt," where Xiu Xiu really turns it on and becomes extraordinary - and in a more delicate and musical way than before - are in the quietest songs, with only Mr. Stewart's voice and acoustic guitar, singing bits of surreally sexualized poetry, and sometimes sparely written arrangements for cello and vibraphone and piano. "We closed our lips/ and we called it our love," he sings in "Clover." "Swallowed a clover made of lead/ It's unmanageable to just keep on living/ Please, please, please don't, don't, don't walk like my single hope." It's all an act of supreme control.

The article reviews three albums.  The above excerpt covers Xiu Xiu. Mark (who first brought Xiu Xiu to our attention also e-mails this morning about the Tuesday article.  He adds that this is a good place for information about the band (album reviews, concert reviews and more).  So Xiu Xiu and Carole King both have albums due out this morning.  (Lori e-mails to note she's already gotten Carole King this morning and "I love it.")  (Surely we aren't the only site noting Xiu Xiu and Carole King, are we?) (And here's a link to Carole King's official web site.) (To answer the previous question, fine if we are.  Music's important to this community.)

Brady e-mails to note an article at the Times web site by Richard W. Stevenson entitled "White House Silence on Rove's Role in Leak Enters 2nd Day:"

President Bush was asked today if he planned to fire Karl Rove, a senior aide at the center of an investigation over the unmasking of an undercover C.I.A. officer, and he offered only a stony silence in reply.

"Are you going to fire him?" the president was asked twice in a brief Oval Office appearance with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore. Both times, the president ignored the questions.

Then a White House aide signaled that the session was over. "Out those doors, please," the aide told journalists. "Thank you very much."

Nearly two years after stating that any administration official found to have been involved in leaking the name of an undercover C.I.A. officer would be fired, and assuring that Mr. Rove and other senior presidential aides had nothing to do with the disclosure, the White House is refusing to answer any questions about new evidence of Mr. Rove's role in the matter.

It's the same article we noted this morning (as Brady points out), but they've added the paragraphs above to it, slapped on a new title and, like Alberto Gonzales, started singing "Brand New Me."

(Carl Hulse, David Johnston, Adam Liptak and David Stout contributed to the Stevenson's article.)

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