Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Democracy Now: on Roberts, labor,Telesur; Bob Somerby, Ruth Conniff, The Black Commentator, Margaret Kimberly, Matthew Rothschild, David Sirota, Betty

U.S. Solider Jailed For Killing Iraqi Police Office
Here in this country - a U.S. soldier has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to shooting dead an Iraqi police officer. Corporal Dustin Berg pleaded guilty on the day his military court martial was set to begin. Berg was also accused of shooting himself in order to help bolster his claim that he shot the Iraqi in self-defense.

DLC Calls For Expansion of U.S. Military By 100,000
In political news, members of the Democratic Leadership Council are calling on the Democratic party to get tougher on defense by expanding the military by 100,000 troops and for allowing military recruiters to have unrestricted access to college campuses. The DLC held a two-day meeting in Columbus Ohio where it outlined a new agenda for the party based on national security, family values, health care, tax reform, and managing the federal government. The founder of the DLC, Al From, called on the party to reach out to more political moderates. He said, "We have to win about 60 percent of the moderates to break even. There has never been a time when there were more liberals than conservatives in the electorate." From said, "We've got to make it clear that Michael Moore doesn't speak for us." On Monday, Senator Hilary Clinton agreed to chair a new effort by the DLC called the American Dream Initiative to help shape a new agenda for the country and Democratic Party.

The above are Headlines from Democracy Now! and were selected by Liang and Ty.

Ty: Anyone trying to clampdown on questions for Hillary Clinton better be prepared to stand with her and the DLC. Corporate welfare types like the DLC have repeatedly betrayed the public. As Paul Krugman has pointed out repeatedly, the slow slide for the working class begins in the 1960s. Having aligned herself with corporate cheats and war mongers like the DLC, Clinton's now raised issues that will have to be addressed. As for Al From, he's never spoken for me. As a black man, he's offered no program that speaks to me. The DLC's racist tactics include the shaming of Sister Souljah to prove Bill Clinton could "stand up" to blacks. I'll stand with Michael Moore and prepare for the battle the DLC has just launched on the people of America.

Democracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says):

Headlines for July 26, 2005
- Two Large Unions Quit AFL-CIO
- Gov't Study Estimate War Cost to Reach $700B
- Report: Iraq Resistance Has Infiltrated Iraqi Police
- U.S. Solider Jailed For Killing Iraqi Police Office
- Sony-BMG Settles Payola Lawsuit
- UN Estimates 700,000 Left Homeless in Zimbabwe
- DLC Calls For Expansion of U.S. Military By 100,000
- Italian Court Seeks Arrest of Six More CIA Agents

The Federalist (Society) Papers: John Roberts and the Right’s Move to Take Control of the Judiciary
There is growing focus on an organization that Supreme Court justice nominee John Roberts claims he cannot remember if he joined or not: the Federalist Society. We speak with Alfred Ross of the Institute for Democracy Studies who uncovered John Roberts' membership in the right-wing organization.

Triple Sharm El Sheikh Bombing Comes on Anniversary of 1952 Egyptian Revolution
As the investigation continues into the triple bombing at the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh that killed dozens, we go to Egypt to speak with journalist Jonathan Steele, senior foreign correspondent for the London Guardian. [includes rush transcript]

New Latin American Television Network Telesur Officially Launched
Some are calling it Latin America's al Jazeera. This weekend, a coalition of leftist governments, media outlets and movements, led by Venezuela, officially launched Telesur - a new Latin America-wide satellite TV network. We go to Caracas to speak with Andres Izarra, Venezuela's communications minister and president of Telesur as well as attorney Eva Golinger.

Unholy Alliance? The AFL-CIO and the National Endowment for Democracy in Venezuela
As two of the country's largest unions leave the AFL-CIO, we talk to a labor journalist about what he calls an unholy alliance: the AFL-CIO and the National Endowment for Democracy in Venezuela. [includes rush transcript]

Over at The Daily Howler, Bob Somerby is addressing a number of issues including the Plame outing, Tim Russert . . . We're focusing on an excerpt that Betty picked (she's home on a sick day). As members know, Betty does Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man and one of the "characters" that pop up frequently is Nicky K. So she called to ask that we excerpt Somerby's section on Nicky K:

KRISTOF’S YEAR-OLD BREAD: We have often discussed the press corps' self-dealing. In today's New York Times, Nick Kristof defines it. Kristof complains that the press corp has failed to cover the ongoing genocide in Darfur. In the process, he offers this self-portrait:
KRISTOF (726/05): This is a column I don't want to write--we in the media business have so many critics already that I hardly need to pipe in as well. But after more than a year of seething frustration, I feel I have to.

In Kristof's view, this column was called for a year ago--but he didn't write it, out of deference to his tribe's interests. A genocide was occurring, and the press was ignoring it. But Kristof didn't say so in print, because it might help his gang's critics! Honest to God, it's hard to imagine a more open statement of corruption than the one Kristof lays on himself. Boo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo! His colleagues might not have liked it had he stated his views--his views about ongoing murder.
For more of the press corps' world-class self-dealing, read
William Safire's answers to Russert about the Plame leak case this Sunday. Safire approaches this matter from one angle only--what does it mean for me and my colleagues? For years, we've told you about this astounding self-dealing, self-dealing which achieves an exaggerated form because the press corps controls the public discussion. Offering year-old bread about what he views as mass murder, Kristof shows us, all too plainly, how this rank process works.
Kristof wouldn't discuss ongoing genocide--because it might affect the group's interests. And you thought your favorite career liberal scribes would discuss that two-year War Against Gore? The war which totally changed our politics? Which led us straight into Iraq?

As always, there's much to be found in today's Howler. But let me do a plug for Betty now because I wanted to note her latest on Sunday but that's when the computer meltdown occurred. The title alone makes it worth reading, "I am an insurgent in my own marriage:"

I am an insurgent in my own marriage.
That thought hit me Tuesday as I was picking up my husband Thomas Friedman's tube socks and BVDs off up the floor. Not all on the floor, mind you. Thomas Friedman can never seem to carry anything to the hamper in the bathroom. He is, however, handy at hanging his dirty underwear from door knobs. It appears to be his idea of a cute little greeting. Some spouses leave little love notes, Thomas Friedman leaves his not so tight and not so white y-fronts.
I was attempting to get the stains out when Thomas Friedman came stomping into the kitchen, in his shorty robe, natch.
"Bettina," he screeched in that nasal tone that I've come to loathe more than any other sound, "I need help!"
"And I need a vacation," I thought but did not say.
He stuck out his chest and cleared his throat although he failed to check his ego. As he blathered on in that self-deluded, self-important manner, I pictured his mustache springing to life and tightening around his neck.
He read his first sentence, "On the question of whether China's Cnooc oil company should be permitted by the U.S. government to purchase the U.S. oil and gas company Unocal, my view is very simple: let the market rule."
Right away I burst out laughing.
Thomas Friedman grinned proudly.
"I wasn't sure it started off funny enough!" he declared with no sense of modesty.
"My view is very simple" is pretty damn funny and pretty damn true when it comes to Thomas Friedman but I didn't say that.
What I said was, "It's priceless."

Susan e-mails suggesting that everyone read David Sirota's "Bowing Down to Those Who Undermine:"

More food for thought about the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) and the future of the Democratic Party...Can you imagine if an organization existed that purported to speak for Republicans, yet whose entire premise undermining the conservative base of the Republican Party? Do you think GOP presidential candidates would be flocking to address that organization's meetings? The answer, of course, is no, they wouldn't - and you can bet the GOP leadership would crush that organization before it ever got off the ground. But on the Democratic side, the story is far different.
Democratic presidential contenders go suck up to the DLC, an organization whose for the last two decades has done everything it can to undermine the Democratic Party - even going to great lengths to attack Democratic presidential candidates it doesn't like. Then, hilariously, these same Democratic politicians who genuflect to the DLC claim to be shocked - shocked! - that the public has no idea what the Democratic Party stands for anymore.

Lloyd e-mails to note Ruth Conniff's latest entitled "House Demagoguery on Iraq:"

In a shameless swipe at their political opponents, House Republicans passed a resolution on July 21 that denounces those who dare to question the wisdom of an indefinite U.S. military presence in Iraq.
"Calls for an early withdrawal embolden the terrorists," the bill states, adding that the U.S. must stay as long as it takes to achieve a free and secure Iraq.
At this rate that may be a long, long, long time.
When and under what circumstances the U.S. may withdraw is anybody's guess. The House leadership shot down a Democratic amendment calling for the Administration to offer benchmarks for success in the constantly rejustified Iraq war.
But an amendment that endorses prisoner interrogation at Guantanamo as necessary to the "war on terror" passed.
It's rank demagoguery: passing a bill that says whatever the Administration does is good, and anyone who raises questions about it is a friend of terrorists.
The hyper-patriots who drafted the bill to gag the war's critics seem to have missed the connection between the ideals of freedom and democracy they love to talk about and the ability of a democratic government to tolerate debate of its major policies.
Linking "terrorists" and Iraq is, of course the huge bait and switch Republicans have used from the beginning of this war. Now they want to tar Democrats with association with terrorists.

Yes, they do and DLC-ers will be happy to aid them with that as they've done for years and years from their house organs that never really cut it as magazines. (Which is why we don't link to them.)

Let's note (from The Black Commentator) "The DLC's National White Man's Conversation:"

As Associate Editor Bruce Dixon recounted in a June 12 commentary (“Muzzling The African American Agenda – with Black help”), a "rump faction" of white Democrats founded the DLC in the mid-Eighties as a reaction to "the 1984 presidential campaign of Jesse Jackson, in which the black candidate received a percentage of the vote considerably higher than the proportion of black votes in several states, and sparked a significant expansion of the party's base constituencies among minorities, labor, and even some white rural voters. The Democratic Party was actually growing - but in the wrong direction to suit the 'rump faction' centered in the white South." The corporate-bankrolled DLC gained national power with the election of Bill Clinton, and now threatens to desert the party if it cannot control the campaign of 2004.
That’s what the "national conversation" in Philadelphia was all about – what the despicable Evan Bayh (whose late Senator father, Birch Bayh, was a leading party liberal) means when he raises the specter of a takeover from the "far left." The DLC is panicked over the candidacy of former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, now the top fundraiser in the primary race. But the forces they fear in the party are minorities, organized labor, women's organizations, environmentalists and the peace movement.
The white voters that the DLC invokes have already left the Party, especially in the South. Thus, even if Blacks and progressives were willing to once again sacrifice their own agendas to appease the insecure (actually, just plain racist) whites of both sexes, the electoral rewards would be minimal. The U.S. already has one White Man’s Party. The DLC cannot build another one with a white rump of "swing" voters – and this year, Blacks and progressives are determined to stop them in the attempt.
The DLC's shrill rhetoric indicates that their defection from the Party has already begun. In this context, we ask readers to consider the following passages from Rep. Jesse L. Jackson, Jr's 2001 book, "A More Perfect Union," an excellent examination of the DLC's role in Democratic Party politics. Rep. Jackson (D-IL) begins with a critique of his father, the Rainbow/Push leader:
"The shortcoming of his two presidential campaigns was the failure to build a sustained grassroots political organization that specifically helped find, train, and elect genuinely progressive candidates; something highly politically organized within the Democratic Party just short of a third party. Had he created a lasting progressive wing of Democrats, conservative Democratic presidential candidates – and conservative Democrats generally – could not say to progressives that they need to get on board because 'they have no place else to go.' Under such circumstances, progressives just might be able to go someplace else.
"Am I suggesting that that means progressives should, at some point, consider bolting the Democratic Party en masse for a third party? Not necessarily. Perhaps we should try something never tried before, seriously organizing political progressives within the party so we will be respected for what we bring to the table and treated as full participants in the existing Democratic Party. Conservative Democrats have much more of a destructive history of leaving the party (and the Union) than progressives. Ralph Nader is the rare modern-day exception.
"The independent Democratic experience in Chicago is that when progressive Democrats won fair and square, conservative Democrats abandoned the party. When Harold Washington won the primary for mayor of Chicago, the current Mayor Richard M. Daley and other Democratic conservatives organized a third and fourth party rather than support the Democratic nominee. And most of the Democratic leaders who came back did so only after a white regained the mayor's office. Progressive Democrats, but especially the African American community, have invested much more in local Democratic parties, Congress, and the president than they have received from the current Democratic Party. Yet they have remained more loyal than the conservative, Blue Dog, and DLC-type New Democrats who have this inside track and have received the most lucrative terms on their investment.
Jackson points out that Bill Clinton's "conservative and southern Democratic supporters" were "the first to dump the president and jump overboard" during the Monica Lewinsky-related impeachment attempt, while Blacks and progressives remained loyal. The right wing of the Party is the most unreliable faction, as well as the least effective among its claimed base: "Democrats haven't won in the white South since the civil rights movement," Rep. Jackson reminds us.

And let's note Margaret Kimberly's "November 2008: The Democrats Lose" (also from The Black Commentator):

Amazingly, the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) still holds sway. Despite the fact that their strategy has kept the House of Representatives in Republican hands for the last ten years, despite the loss of the Senate and two presidential elections, they are still a force to be reckoned with.
Most losers eventually figure out that they should just shut up and disappear, but not our friends at the DLC. They keep on talking, under the bizarre premise that if they just keep doing what they have been doing they will get a different result. Yes, that is a definition of insanity.

Right after Election Day 2004, Al From, founder of the august organization, told us all who was to blame for John Kerry’s loss. The evildoer was none other than film maker Michael Moore.
"We need to be the party of Harry Truman and John Kennedy, not Michael Moore," Al From and his buddy Bruce Reed frothed in the
Wall Street Journal, soon after the election.
"So let the glitterati in Hollywood and Cannes fawn over Michael Moore; Democrats should have no truck with the rancid anti-Americanism of the conspiracy-mongering left," wrote Will Marshall, December 13, in the DLC's online organ,
From and Reed returned to
Moore-bashing in the same issue: "We must leave no doubt that Michael Moore neither represents nor defines our party."
[. . .]
From isn't the only DLCer who knows the sure road to a concession speech. Senator Evan Bayh, who dreams of running for president himself, has penned a tome that tells Democrats nothing of any use:
"We, therefore, urge you to oppose calls to withdraw troops from Iraq prematurely, before the new Iraqi government is able to consolidate its authority and defend itself against Sunni insurgents and foreign terrorists."
What a joke. Bayh and friends saw too many propaganda photos of Iraqis with ink on their fingers and immediately took a dive. The mess in Iraq is all of America's making. Every problem from starving kids, to Iraqis under detention, to Halliburton's no bid contracts, is the direct result of U.S. intervention. The so-called insurgents wouldn't have anything to fight about if their nation wasn’t occupied by foreign armies.

Despite their attempts to make Simon Rosneberg into the latest DNC chair (worked about as well as everything else the DLC and NDOL's tries) having failed, they still think America cares about them. The "makeover" of Rosenberg was indeed glorious, but even so, it couldn't fool the people. Not even with a chorus of voices around the net claiming Slimey was "cool!" He was "net savy!" He "gets us!" Yet still they try to circumvent the party, marching in their bad suits (and power suits for the women) and Super Cut hairdos (yes, that's a nod to Rebecca), they are as far from "glitterati" as anyone could be. But like the villan in a horror franchise, they refuse to go away. Dwindling returns suggest that America's lost interest but they fail to grasp that message.

"We need to all come together!" they exclaim. Always as they're launching their latest attack. Michael Moore, Howard Dean, MoveOn.org, Al Gore, their list is endless. "We need to all get along!" they scream before pointing their fingers and attempting a purge. We've addressed them here before and will again. They are an illusion of power. And fortunately for them, in the beltway image overrules reality. But the country isn't the beltway and the country's rejected them repeatedly.

They are the one-time date that won't stop calling so you better change your phone number.

Walk on, walk on.org.

We have two items to note from Matthew Rothschild (Wally e-mailed to steer us to them).

The first is "Cheney Carries Torturer's Brief:"

Leave it to Dick Cheney to carry the brief for torturers.
According to
The Washington Post, the Vice President has twice now gone to Capitol Hill to try to keep Republicans from siding with Democrats on a bill that would prevent Donald Rumsfeld and the military from carrying out more torture and abuse of the likes they inflicted on detainees at Abu Ghraib, Gauntanamo, and Bagram Air Force Base.
To be specific, the bill would bar the military--but not the CIA!--from "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of detainees. The Treaty Against Torture already bars this in its formal title, so the fact that Cheney now opposes such language tells you just how he feels about obeying that treaty.
According to the Post, the bill would also prohibit the military from hiding prisoners from the Red Cross, something Donald Rumsfeld himself did on at least one occasion.

The second thing to note from Matthew Rothschild is "Plame Scandal Widens:"

The Valerie Plame scandal is engulfing the White House.
With the grand jury empaneled until October, we may yet see indictments come down on Karl Rove and on Cheney's chief of staff, Scooter Libby.
But they aren’t the only ones implicated in the scandal.
As Frank Rich noted in Sunday's New York Times, our old friend Alberto Gonzales also has left his fingerprints sloppily around.
At the time this scandal broke, Gonzales was White House Counsel. The Justice Department kindly notified him that it was investigating this leak, and Gonzales passed word on to White House Chief of Staff Andy Card.
This was around 8:00 p.m. on September 29, 2003, and Gonzales asked the Justice Department for permission not to notify the rest of the White House staff until the next morning, permission which he got.
This could have allowed Rove or Libby or anyone else involved the time to destroy incriminating documents or get their stories coordinated.
On Face the Nation Sunday, Gonzales tried to make light of what Rich calls the 12-hour gap. "Most of the staff had gone home," Gonzales said. "No one knew about the investigation."
But what if Andy Card gave them a heads-up?

Thanks to Shirley for posting Isaiah's drawing of Jane Fonda this morning. Thanks also to Dallas and the UK Computer Gurus for all the work they're doing re: computer problems. And thanks to Kat who's going to post this from my e-mail.

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