Friday, July 22, 2005

Democracy Now: Labor, Corp. Tax Dodge, Lucius Walker; Bob Somerby, Delilah, Robert Parry, Jacqueline Bacon, Buzz's GOP Hyporcite of the Week...

Pastors for Peace Cuba Caravan Stopped at Border
This news from Texas. Hundreds of Pastors for Peace volunteers preparing to deliver a massive shipment of humanitarian aid to Cuba have been barred at the U.S.-Mexico border and could be held there for days. Commerce Department officials are saying they will search every vehicle in the caravan and every item of humanitarian aid, which hasn't been done for years, and they will only allow what Washington deems "licensable" goods to be allowed to cross into Mexico. Border agents are threatening to tow the caravan's vehicles and have already seized some aid donations, including computers. Some volunteers are walking across the U.S.-Mexico border carrying wheelchairs, crutches and other medical supplies. Others are holding a protest at the border. There are 130 U.S. citizens traveling with the delegation, as well as a truck and 2 small cars. They are attempting to deliver 140 tons of aid. The Bush Administration tightened restrictions against Cuba in 2004, and is using Homeland Security funds to investigate those suspected of travel to the island.
Did Rove and Libby Mislead Investigators in CIA Leak?
The Bloomberg News Agency is reporting that the two figures at the center of the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame may have intentionally misled investigators. The agency says that President Bush's senior advisor Karl Rove and Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff Scooter Libby both gave accounts to the special prosecutor about how reporters told them the identity of a CIA agent that are at odds with what the reporters have said. Libby told special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that he first learned Plame's identity from NBC News reporter Tim Russert. Bloomberg says Russert has testified before a federal grand jury that he didn't tell Libby of Plame's identity. Rove, meanwhile, told Fitzgerald that he first learned the identity of the CIA agent from syndicated columnist Robert Novak. But Bloomberg cites a source saying that Novak has given a different version to the special prosecutor. Fitzgerald is investigating whether Libby, Rove, or other administration officials made false statements during the course of the investigation.
The above is from today's Headlines on Democracy Now! and were selected by Francisco and
LloydDemocracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says):
Headlines for July 22, 2005

- Man Shot on London Train as Hunt Continues
- Police to Begin Searching Bags on NY Subways
- Congress Moves to Make USA PATRIOT Act Permanent
- Palestinian Envoy Blasts Israeli Expansion
- Saddam Video Released
- Sunnis Resign From Iraq Constitution Committee
- Pentagon Confirms Prisoner Hunger Strike at Gitmo
- Syria Charges US Troops Fired on Border Guards
Will the AFL-CIO Split? A Debate on the Future of Organized Labor

As the AFL-CIO, the nation's largest labor organization, heads to its convention, we host a debate on the future of organized labor. We speak with Karen Ackerman, political director of the AFL-CIO, Chris Chafe, Chief of Staff at UNITE HERE as well as Kim Moody, co-founder of the rank and file newsletter Labor Notes and professor at Brooklyn College. [includes rush transcript - partial]
The Great American Jobs Scam: Corporate Tax Dodging and the Myth of Job Creation

We speak with Greg Leroy, author of the book "The Great American Jobs Scam: Corporate Tax Dodging and the Myth of Job Creation" that shows how - in case after case - false promises of good jobs and higher tax revenues by large corporations land them huge tax breaks and other subsidies from state and local governments.
Pastors For Peace Caravan to Cuba Stopped at U.S.-Mexican Border

Volunteers attempting to deliver tons of humanitarian aid and hurricane relief to Cuba were stopped at the U.S. - Mexican border Thursday. The volunteers are part of a Pastors for Peace caravan, a group which delivers shipments of humanitarian aid yearly to Latin American countries and Cuba.
Remembering Farouk Abdel-Muhti: One Year Anniversary of Death of Palestinian Activist

A vigil is being held today in New York to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Palestinian human rights activist Farouk Abdel-Muhti. He was jailed for two years without charge. He died last summer just three months after being released. We play an excerpt of the documentary, "Farouk Abdel-Muhti: Political Prisoner.
At The Daily Howler today, Bob Somerby's addressing spin re: Wilson.  Dallas chose the excerpt and we'll go with it:
Again, we thought of Candidate Gore--and, again, we thought of the way Karl Rove wormed his way into the White House. Gore, of course, wrote the book on warming (Earth in the Balance, 1992), having pioneered the topic in the Congress during the 1980s. But what was said about his book when he ran for the White House? Of course! The key talking-point, accepted by all, was a bit of brainless ridicule. In March 1999, the War Against Gore was in its first days. So "Kit" Seelye rushed the spin-point into the Times--Al Gore wants to get rid of cars!
SEELYE (3/16/99): Republicans have poked fun at Mr. Gore for directing a Presidential campaign to such seemingly small issues as lost bags at airports and such seemingly local issues as traffic congestion. Jim Nicholson, chairman of the Republican National Committee, has been particularly scathing, accusing Mr. Gore of trying to "do away with the internal combustion engine, the automobile," and calling him "an apologist for the President; he's a wasteful dreamer.”
Al Gore wants to "do away with the automobile!" Seelye repeated Nicholson's claim, but absent-mindedly forget to mention how blatantly idiotic it was. And over the course of the next twenty months, this was the press corps' Standard Way to handle Earth in the Balance. Gore wants to ban internal combustion! Gore wants to do away with the car! Indeed, a silly variant of the idiot claim even survives in John Harris' new book, reminding us that the insider press corps never gives up its faux tales.

Today, the parties approach agreement on warming. But Gore, the guy who sounded the call, was ridiculed for his insight during Campaign 2000--the campaign that transformed American life. And did your fiery liberal heroes complain about this drumbeat of ridicule? Of course not! At THE HOWLER, we discussed this point again and again, but go ahead--just find someone else who did so! Today, they pander to you about Rove, then ask you to please send them twenty-five dollars. But their silence during that twenty-month war is what put King Karl into the White House. When you hear them yell about Rove today, remember what they did when it mattered.

Everyone agrees on warming--today. But then, everyone agreed during Campaign 2000 as well! Everyone agreed to mock Candidate Gore--and your heroes agreed to keep quiet.

VISIT OUR INCOMPARABLE ARCHIVES: As of 1998, every major car CEO agreed with Gore's widely ridiculed (and misstated) assessment (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/29/99). But so what? The ridicule continued for the next twenty months, driven by the Post and the Times--and fiery liberal heroes kept quiet. That's why Rove is where he is. By the way, won't you send them thirty dollars so they can pander to you a bit more?

Why the above excerpt?  Because it goes to why The Daily Howler continues to exist.  It goes to why Bob Somerby gets included in our Indymedia last night.  It's not a new point.  And it's not the reason why The Daily Howler started.  But when some are upset that Somerby's speaking his truth, this may be what they're missing: that when truth could have spoken (when it mattered) a lot of people were silent.
Tom notes that Delilah (A Scrivener's Lament) is addressing the issue of Sandra Day O'Connor and O'Connor's apparent shock at the reactions towards the judiciary.  Here's an excerpt:
Many of you will remember that Sandra Day O'Connor began trying to clean up her legacy a couple of years ago, when she published her crapbook (No, I didn't leave out an "s") about her wholesome upbringing and love of the land.

Her pitiful attempt to distance herself from Bush v Gore didn't pass the smell test then, and today's lament doesn't, either.

NOW she's worried about the future of the judiciary? (Yes, "NOW" is worried, too!)
Nora e-mails to note Robert Parry's July 19th article ("one more person getting it!) entitled
The second new fact is what Rove did after his conversation with Cooper.

Although supposedly in a rush to leave on vacation, Rove e-mailed Stephen J. Hadley, then Bush's deputy national security adviser (and now national security adviser). According to the Associated Press, Rove's e-mail said he "didn't take the bait" when Cooper suggested that Wilson's criticisms had hurt the administration.

While it's not entirely clear what Rove meant in the e-mail, the significance is that Rove immediately reported to Hadley, an official who was in a position to know classified details about Plame's job. In other words, the e-mail is evidence that the assault on Wilson was being coordinated at senior White House levels.

??? e-mails to note Jacqueline Bacon's "Slavery, Reparations, and the Uses (and Abuses) of History" (The Black Commentator): 

Flaherty and other reparations opponents also create discrete groups in their historical narratives: North and South, slaveholders and those who had nothing to do with the institution at worst (and, at best, fought the system). The NLPC's characterization is typical: "Prior to and during the Civil War, the great majority of the population was located in the Northern states where slavery was outlawed… In fact, many of those northerners were abolitionists and detested the institution of slavery."

This statement is flawed on many counts. As current lawsuits and corporate disclosures demonstrate, Americans living in the North -- businesspeople; financiers; those who owned property in the South by birth, marriage, or inheritance -- often supported and profited from slavery. Various prominent proslavery writers were Northerners. Mob violence was directed against abolitionists and free African Americans in Northern cities. The contention that the North was somehow an abolitionist stronghold may be comforting, but it is untrue. Reparations opponents attempt to minimize slavery's impact on the nation’s past and present, yet as the late African-American historian Nathan Irvin Huggins argued, we must acknowledge that there can be no accurate American history unless we "begin to comprehend that slavery and freedom, white and black, are joined at the hip."

Kara e-mails to note that BuzzFlash's latest GOP Hypocrite of the Week has been selected:
Bully Boy.  Kara thinks it's a strong choice but . . .
Kara:  Next week, I'm really pulling for Poppy!  It's been a shut out for him, a solid shut out.  Who knew?  He's the Susan Lucci of the Bush family!  But does anyone deserve it more?  For years protecting CIA's agents has been a Poppy talking point -- for years and years.  In the past, he couldn't shut up on the topic.  Had to work it in to any speech or interview he could.  But he can't make a public statement now?  Cat's got his tongue?  Now?  Does it get any more hypocritical?
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?

Keesha e-mails to note Karen Russell's "Why The 'Strict Constructionist' Crowd Makes Me Really Nervous" (The Huffington Post):

It feels like the left has already thrown in the towel on fighting Judge John Robert's nomination. Everyone is so busy conceding that it could have been much worse, we've already forgotten the idea that it could have been much better.

Roberts' nomination reminds us why more of us need to question the alleged virtue of a having a "strict constructionist" on the Supreme Court.

What would America look like if the "strict constructionists" had their way? Let's look at the founder's intent and see what a "strict constructionist" America actually looks like.

In 1787, women and men who didn't own land couldn't vote. African-Americans had no rights. The Constitution doesn't address any sort of environmental rights.

In 1886, the "strict constructionists" on the Supreme Court in Plessy v. Ferguson declared that "separate but equal" didn't violate the Constitution’s equal protection clause.

That was the wrong decision then and it remained the wrong decision until it was finally overturned by Brown v. The Board of Education in 1954 by "activist judges".

Lloyd e-mails to note Ruth Conniff's "Time for Tough Questions:"

Roberts's record also raises serious questions about whether he would protect the interests of individual American citizens from overwhelming corporate and government power. His opinion in Hedgepeth v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, upholding the decision that the arrest, search, handcuffing and detention of a twelve-year-old girl for eating a single French fry in a Washington Metro station did not violate her Fourth or Fifth Amendment rights is troubling. So is his opinion in Acree v. Iraq, that Iraqi citizens who had been tortured and falsely imprisoned could not pursue a claim against the Bush Administration-supported Iraqi government. His dissenting opinion in Rancho Viejo v. Norton appears to show contempt for the environmental and species-protection function of the Fish and Wildlife Service.

These and other issues deserve a thorough probing by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Let the tough questions begin.

And from yesterday:

Eddie e-mails asking that we help get the word out on an event posted at Randi Rhodes site:

Torture & Lies: Who is Accountable?

From Abu Ghraib to the Downing Street Minues

This Saturday from 2-4 pm join:
-Randi Rhodes
-Congressman Maurice Hinchey
- Former Congresswoman Liz Holtzman
- President of Bob Fertik

Discussions to include:

- Karl Rove/TraitorGate
- The Downing Street Minutes
- How to be heard in Washington
- Getting involved in your community, etc.

When: Saturday, 7/23 from 2-4 pm
Where: New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 West 64th St., NYC
Admission: Free!

More info on the NYC event Events near you Host your own meeting

I'm sure this goes without saying but Randi Rhodes is the host of The Randi Rhodes Show which broadcasts Monday through Friday on Air America. (And Laura Flanders is back on The Laura Flanders Show this weekend, by the way.) We'll note this again Friday and Saturday morning at Eddie's request. If you're in the area, please consider attending. If you're not in the area but know someone who is, pass on the news. And if you're not in the area and know no one in the area, it's still worth noting because people haven't given up on this and those who haven't deserve credit.
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