Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Democracy Now: Scotty on the spotty re: Rove, Milan Rai, Leonard Cole; Christine (Ms. Musing), BuzzFlash -- Cindy Sheehan & Wings of Justice, Dahr Jamail

Rep. Sensenbrenner Seeks to Make Patriot Act Permanent
In other news from Washington, the Republican chair of the House Judiciary Committee James Sensenbrenner has introduced a bill to make the USA Patriot Act permanent. 16 provisions of the Act are set to expire this year. The Washington Post reports that Sensenbrenner's proposed legislation does not go as far as legislation approved recently by the Senate intelligence committee. In June the committee voted to make it easier for the FBI to open mail and issue subpoenas without a judge's approval in terrorism investigations.
White House Refuses To Answer Questions About Rove
On Capitol Hill, the White House refused for a second day to answer questions about Karl Rove's involvement in the outing of an undercover CIA operative. Several of the top leaders of the Democratic Party - including Senator John Kerry and Hillary Clinton -- called on President Bush to fire Rove who is his top advisor. The Republican National Committee has come to Rove's defense. The party issued talking points to Republican operatives that described the scandal as a "blatant partisan political attack on Rove." The talking points defended Rove's actions by claiming he was "attempting to advise a reporter about potential inaccuracies in a story that he was writing." On Sunday Newsweek revealed that Rove personally spoke with a reporter from Time Magazine about the undercover operative -- Valerie Plame -- although he did not state her name. Plame was outed as an undercover CIA operative just days after Plame's husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, publicly revealed that the Bush administration had lied when it claimed that Iraq was attempting to purchase uranium yellowcake from Niger. We'll have more on this in a few minutes.
The above two items are from Democracy Now!'s Headlines this morning and were highlighted by Abhilasha and Brent.
Democracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says)
Headlines for July 13, 2005

- 27 People - Mainly Children - Die in Iraq Blast
- Report: 128,000 Iraqis Have Died Since U.S. Invasion
- UK Police: Bombers Were British-Born
- Neighbors Express Shock Over Identity of Bombers
- White House Refuses To Answer Questions About Rove
- Rep. Sensenbrenner Seeks to Make Patriot Act Permanent
- Four Women Die in Suicide Bombing in Israel
- Two San Diego Activists Jailed for Refusing to Testify
McClellan Under Siege About Rove's Involvement in Outing of Undercover CIA Operative

White House spokesperson Scott McClellan has been besieged the past two days at press briefings, with many journalists pummeling away with question after question about the involvement of Karl Rove in the outing of an undercover CIA operative. The White House has done an about face from 2003 when it adamantly denied any involvement on the part of Rove in the leak. We play an excerpt of Tuesday's hearing. [includes rush transcript]
Before London Bombing, Leaked UK Memo Warned Iraq War a Key Cause for Growth of "Extremism" in Britain

British police now believe that four-British-born men of Pakistani descent carried out last week's deadly bombings in London that killed at least 52 people. We go to Britain to speak with author and activist Milan Rai about how a leaked British government study concluded that British foreign policy, and the Iraq war in particular, was a key cause of young Britons turning to terrorism.
How the U.S. Government Exposed Thousands of Americans to Lethal Bacteria to Test Biological Warfare

The Homeland Security Department last month released what they said was nontoxic gas into New York's Grand Central Station to trace how chemicals might flow through the terminal in a terrorist attack. We speak with biological and chemical terrorism expert Leonard Cole, who asks what this "nontoxic gas" actually was. He wrote a book about how - in the 1950s and 1960s, U.S. government scientists ran a series of tests to determine how easy it would be to expose large numbers of people to a lethal bacteria.
Elaine & Ava both e-mail to note Christine of Ms. Musing.  I'll third their reaction with amazing post and beautifully done.  Here's an excerpt:

Did you see the Today Show this morning? No, not Ann Curry's travels in Africa with Laura Bush -- but the segment on professional women choosing to stay home with their children while their successful husbands support the family.

Excuse me while I wipe coffee off the television screen.

It was the first report in the Today Show's week-long series, "The Changing Marriage" -- a look at "how kids, lack of time together, previous marriages, and taking your vows when you're young affects your relationship."

The question today was, "Who is the New Wife?" Who, indeed?

The report was built around the work of Susan Shapiro Barash, a gender studies professor at Marymount Manhattan College, and her 2004 book, The New Wife. Barash's theory -- and it's hardly a new one; see, for instance, Lisa Belkin's 2003 New York Times Magazine cover story -- is that professional women today, unsatisfied by the demands and the stress of trying to "have it all," are no longer trying. Rather, they are turning their attention to becoming the best head-of-household they can be.

Of course, these theories often work from the assumptions that a) women, ultimately, can never find complete satisfaction with a role in the public sphere; they are always yearning for a return to the domestic b) that all women's families have the economic means to make the stay-at-home choice possible and c) men are either naturally unable to be equal caretakers of their children or that women would never want to relinquish part of that responsibility.

The assumptions are all disturbing, but it [is] the absence of men from these conversations that is truly stunning. It's always presented as women's Catch-22 -- women's inability to balance career and family. Few ponder how this wouldn't have to be a choice at all if women didn't carry the entire burden of childcare. And even fewer ask whether men feel the same conflict.

Again, amazing post by Christine (the above is an excerpt). (It should be in the next edition of Ms. magazine.)
Who is Karen Porter?  She's the winner of BuzzFlash's Wings of Justice Award this week.
(Remember, that's the one you want to win!  Not the GOP Hypocrite of the Week Award!)
To find out why Karen porter click here.
Also from BuzzFlash, we'll note Cindy Sheehan's "Stories From the Front:"

Lisa from Washington State writes:

My son-in-law in Iraq said they are being pressured round the clock to re-enlist or face stop loss. They are being offering $30,000 signing bonus, tax free and told if they don't re-enlist, they are going to be stop lossed and get zero dollars. They are pushing the troops round the clock and Mark only got 3 hours sleep in 48 hours and when they get back, they are faced yet again with re-enlisting. Mark said many guys are scared and signing up and their families at home are very upset. (with good reason) We really need to push our media and congressmen to expose the horrible way our troops are being treated.

Lietta, also from Washington State, writes:

Yes, I have been trying since January 05 to get the word out regarding my own 2 loved ones and the soldiers in their division. Both served in Iraq, and their division, 1st Armored, was the first to be 'extended,' so they served 15 months in Iraq, April 03 - July 04. They came back to their bases in August 04. A mere 5 months later, Jan 05, their division was told they were under orders to redeploy to Iraq and Stop Lossed and would redeploy in Fall 05. And I have been trying to call attention to the 'Retention' practices ever since.

March 05, it was time for both to make decision to re-enlist. As already under orders to redeploy; as already under Stop Loss; their choices = 1) don't re-enlist but you will wind up in Iraq anyway under Stop Loss or 2) re-enlist and while you'll still wind up in Iraq under Stop Loss, at least you'll have the attractive bonus being offered.

The point is that the 'Retention' rate that is being touted as demonstrative of soldier's fervor and good faith in the war is another deception being foisted on the media and public. Closer to the truth of the situation is that one they are in, they cannot get out and it is entrapment from the front end with deceptive recruitment practices, again at re-enlistment time with the threat of deployment to Iraq under Stop Loss, again when contract ends and they are kept in and deployed via Stop Loss. What continues to be called an 'all voluntary military' has become an 'involuntary' military through the use strategies of deception and legal maneuvering for which there seems to be no remedy in the Stop Loss.

Tia from Baltimore writes (her stepson was KIA in Iraq):

But I will never forget one thing: the day we dropped David off for boot camp - the day his father and I first met the recruiter - the recruiter put out his hand, smiled at me, shook my hand and said "you'll never have to worry about him again". I was shocked. I can only speculate what this person was telling David.

These are not isolated stories from the illegal occupation, but they are illustrative of what is happening to our young people who thought they were doing the right and honorable thing by enlisting in the military. This is an immoral war that our troops never should have been sent to in the first place, and once they are there and have done their time, it is very difficult for them to get out of the distant mental desert and come home to their loved ones.

Not only are the backend policies of retention shady, but the front-end policies of recruiting our vulnerable youth are often downright unethical. Few citizens in our country (I know I didn't) realize that an enlistment contract is only binding on the recruit. Once the recruit raises his/her right hand and swears allegiance to the government, that recruit becomes the property of Uncle Sam and is bound by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Ethics, promises, and moral correctness often fly out the window as servitude, hardship, and heartache fly in.

The only recruiting story I know by heart, and can effectively comment on, is my son Casey's.

The above is an excerpt.  For more click link.  We'll also note this from the bottom of the entry "For info on the Homeward Bound Bill go to:" and, though I think most in the community are up to speed on Cindy Sheehan, if you're not then click here for an excerpt of her contribution to CODEPINK's Stop the Next War Now (additional links for Sheehan are contained in that post).
 And speaking of CODEPINK, let's note this:

Downing Street Minutes 3rd Anniversary:
CODEPINK invites you to be part of a national day of action on Saturday, July 23, 2005

If the media would have its way, you wouldn't even know about it. Join CODEPINK and to expose the smoking gun that proves Bush lied about Iraq.

Downing Street Minutes.     

 What you can do for Saturday, July 23, 2005:

Host or Attend a July 23 Event here:
Enter your zip code, and either click "Sign up!" to attend an existing event in your area or click on "Sign up to host an event." Be sure to include "CODEPINK" in the description of your event.

CODEPINK hosted events are also being added to this webiste. Click here to access them.

Click on the CODEPINK page for more information.

Let's stay on the theme of Iraq to note the latest from Dahr Jamail "From No Man's Land to Displacement:"

The Iraqi/Jordanian border is a land of desolation. Coils of razor wire stretch into the desert whilst sun-grayed plastic bags caught in their sharpness flap in the hot, dry winds. In No Man's Land, Jamail exposes yet another face of the human consequences of the US occupation of Iraq -- the suffering and resistance of displaced Kurdish-Iranian and Palestinian refugees.

Long columns of trucks wait at the Jordanian border to carry their loads of supplies into war-torn Iraq. When Iraqi drivers wish to enter Jordan, they now wait up to 18 days to be allowed in. The al-Karama border is a land of waiting, but not just for the truck drivers. There have been others waiting to enter Jordan for far longer. The refugee camp situated in this bleak area is called No Man's Land camp because it literally is just that: an area of land caught between the borders of two countries with nowhere else to go.

"If you leave me here I will die," said the elderly Merza Shahawaz as he was groaning from the pain in his kidneys, "Please help me." In his tent covered with plastic sheeting inside the camp, his wife was helping him sit up. He cannot sit without her holding him up.

"I ask you to help me. I plead for humanitarian people to help us now," mumbled the 66 year-old man in dire need of dialysis. His family sitting nearby shed tears as they brushed flies away from their faces.

His 42 year-old son pleaded, "We are all dying slowly here. You see us with your eyes, I ask for help. He is dying in front of his family’s eyes but nobody is doing anything for him. We don't want our children's fate to be this. Death is better than this life. If our children grow up like this it means they are dead."

It is one example of the suffering of so many in the camp of over 700 people.

(Dahr Jamail's latest can also be found in print and online at LeftTurn.)

Jonah e-mails to note that Tuesday on Pacifica's Global Movements, Urban Struggles (originating out of New York's WBAI) Grace Lee Boggs was a guest.  Jonah states that he enjoyed listening to her and thought others might as well. 

Jonah:  I just want to be sure everyone gets that Pacifica is a link provided.  Democracy Now! and Free Speech Radio News are two programs that air on Pacifica but there are a lot of others.  Hearing that we have at least one member who especially enjoys audio programs made me want to point that out.

Which is a great point, Jonah, so thank you for making it.  There's another audio link that will go up whenever I can grab time and get into the template.  (I've yet to correct the spelling of Planned Parenthood, sorry.

And I'm sorry that there's no Daily Howler in this.  We'll try to catch it later today.  It's not up yet and I need to e-mail this.

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