Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Democracy Now: Arun Gupta, David Price, Paul Hackett; Matthew Rothschild, March & Rally in Atlanta, David Sirota. BuzzFlash's Wings of Justice Award...

21 Marines Die in Iraq OverTwo-Day Period
Fourteen Marines and a civilian interpreter were killed early today in western Iraq making it one of the deadliest days for U.S. forces in months. Seven more Marines died on Monday.

Coalition Death Toll in Iraq Tops 2,000
The overall U.S. military death toll in Iraq has now topped eighteen hundred and the total number of coalition troops killed has passed 2,000.

The above is from Democracy Now!'s Headlines and were selected by KeShawn and JoanDemocracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says):
Headlines for August 3, 2005

- 21 Marines Die in Iraq Over Two-Day Period
- Coalition Death Toll in Iraq Tops 2,000
- U.S. Journalist Murdered in Basra
- CIA Recruited & Trained Secret Iraqi Paramilitary Group
- Hate Crimes in London Soar by 600% Since Bombings
- Russian Gov't Bars ABC From Operating Inside Nation
- Death Toll From Fighting in Sudan Tops 71
Victory in Defeat? Anti-Bush Iraq War Vet Nearly Wins Republican District

An Iraq war veteran, Democrat Paul Hackett, may have lost a special Congressional election in a heavily Republican district in Ohio. But his narrow defeat may be counted as a victory the Democratic Party. Paul Hackett joins us from Cincinatti.
Bush's Exit Plan: Fomenting War in Iraq

Bush administration officials have announced exit strategies for Iraq with a target of next Spring for an initial pullout. But the death toll continues to rise. We speak with an independent journalist about how the U.S. exit plan may be provoking a civil war in Iraq. [includes rush transcript]
War and Peace Corps: Are Pentagon Ties Endangering Volunteers?

Peace Corps volunteers are raising alarm bells about legislation that allows the U.S. military to recruit young people by holding out the option of a two-year stint in the Peace Corps to fulfill service obligations. We speak with the National Peace Corps Association, a Washington Post reporter, the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, and a Peace Corps parent. [includes rush transcript - partial]
CIA Supports "Secret" CIA Scholarships

College students are also being integrated into the U.S. foreign policy agenda. Last year the Senate created a scholarship to train intelligence operatives and analysts in American universities for careers in the CIA and other agencies. We speak with the anthropologist who designed the scholarship and another anthropologist who has spoken out opposing the program. [includes rush transcript]

Amanda e-mails to note Matthew Rothschild's latest entitled "The Iraq Calamity:"

It’s almost unbearable to see the accounts, nearly every day, of yet more U.S. soldiers gunned down in Iraq.

This morning, my wife and I were watching the news when it was reported that 14 more Marines were killed in western Iraq, following the ambush and murder of 6 Marines the previous day.

And my wife said, “What are we doing there? Let’s get out of there!”

It seems to me that’s the right question, and the right answer.

The stated reasons for the U.S. presence have long since been discredited. And the longer our troops stay there, the messier things become.

Even British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, captain of the cheerleading team for this war, said as much. “Although we are part of the security solution there,” he said, “we are also part of the problem.”


Keesha e-mails to note an event Randi Rhodes has been publicizing, from the NAACP, "Pro-Democracy March & Rally:"

August 6, 2005 Atlanta Georgia
40th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act
March for Voting Rights, Jobs, Justice, & Peace

On August 6 2005, the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition will hold a march and rally Atlanta, Georgia to commemorate the signing of the Act and to call attention to the threats facing minorities and the poor as key provisions of the Act come up for renewal in 2007.

Most Americans are not aware that the right to vote is not explicitly stated in the Constitution. The right to vote is a state right, and thus subject to differing laws and regulations as established by each individual state. This accounts for the various abuses that have been practiced at different times over the years including poll taxes, literacy tests, property ownership requirements, and the many abuses of the system we face today.

The Voting Rights Act was passed by Congress and signed by Lyndon Johnson in 1965. It provides protection for voters against actions taken by states to limit participation in the electoral process, actions most often targeted toward black, Hispanic, and low income citizens. Several key provisions of the Act expire in 2007, and Rev. Jackson and the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition are taking the lead in campaigning for their renewal. The campaign begins in Atlanta on August 6. Join us for this important event. In-depth information about the Voting Rights Act is available at: and

[. . .]

Saturday, August 6, 2005 8:00am Opening Breakfast
Speaker -- NAACP Board Chairman Julian Bond 10:00am March Begins 11:00am Arrive at Herndon Stadium
Music: The Carpenter Ants
Press Conference 12:00pm Rally Begins

Speeches -- Music -- Spoken-Word

Enlightening and Fun Activities
for the Entire Family:
Health Fair
Bid-Whist Tournament
Teen Gang Resistance Rap Session

Democracy School -- Learn What
the Voting Rights Act is All About

On the same topic, Global Exchange steers you to "5 Things YOU Can Do NOW:"

While this sweeping and highly effective act has helped to breakdown systemic barriers to full political participation faced by ethnic minorities and others, obstacles based on class, race and power still plague our electoral system. Consequently, we are joining Rainbow/PUSH and others to pressure Congress to Re-authorizes the VRA of 1965 by circulating online petitions and holding a Pro-Democracy March and Rally in Atlanta on Saturday, August 7th.

5 Things You Can Do NOW:

1. MARCH and RALLY in Atlanta on Saturday, August 7: Visit to learn more about the march and rally to re-authorize the VRA of 1965. Please forward to your friends and family in the region!

2. SIGN the
Rainbow/PUSH petition to reauthorize the VRA!

3. CALL Your Congressional Representatives TODAY and Urge them to take action to re-authorize the VRA: Capitol Switchboard: 877.762.8762 or 202.224.3121

4. WRITE a letter to the editor or an opinion editorial about the historic importance of the VRA of 1965 and the need to re-authorize it by 2007. See our
example letter and opinion-editorial.

5. SIGN-UP for democracy campaign email action alerts:

Brad e-mails to note that The Nation has an excerpt of Dave Zirin's book What's My Name, Fool?: Sports and Resistance in the United States.  Brad didn't do a pull quote and I'm on page thirty-three of the book so if previous comments about the book have generated some interest, use the link.  It will be reviewed at The Third Estate Sunday Review Sunday and The Nation link will probably be provided there as well.
Micah e-mails to note Ward Harkavy's "In Iraq torture case, the treatment worked, but the patient died" (Village Voice):

No wonder the Bush regime fights religiously to keep its activities secret. This morning's Washington Post story by Josh White peers into court proceedings against soldiers in the case of a captured Iraqi general who was stuffed inside a sleeping bag during a November 2003 "interrogation" and beaten to death.

Hell of a read, and quite a statement about good 'ol American ingenuity. As White writes:

    The sleeping bag was the idea of a soldier who remembered how his older brother used to force him into one, and how scared and vulnerable it made him feel. Senior officers in charge of the facility near the Syrian border believed that such "claustrophobic techniques" were approved ways to gain information from detainees, part of what military regulations refer to as a "fear up" tactic, according to military court documents.

    The circumstances that led up to Mowhoush's death paint a vivid example of how the pressure to produce intelligence for anti-terrorism efforts and the war in Iraq led U.S. military interrogators to improvise and develop abusive measures, not just at Abu Ghraib but in detention centers elsewhere in Iraq, in Afghanistan and at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Mowhoush's ordeal in Qaim, over 16 days in November 2003, also reflects U.S. government secrecy surrounding some abuse cases and gives a glimpse into a covert CIA unit that was set up to foment rebellion before the war and took part in some interrogations during the insurgency.

As you might guess, the senior officers in this case are doing the testifying, and the grunts are the ones on trial for murder.

Rachel e-mails to note David Sirota's "Having An Honest Debate Over Trade & Low Prices:"
 A friend of mine today regurgitated one of the saddest, most devious, yet most oft-repeated arguments for corporate-written trade deals: they lower prices for goods in America. He said "the fact that we can buy white cotton t-shirts 3 for $5 is a direct result of [free] trade." Then, challenging opponents of these "free" trade deals, he asked "Do people really want all of our prices to go up at the Wal-Mart?" The problem is, that is a classic "when did you stop being a criminal?" question, as the entire premise is dishonest.

Here is the truth: prices on many goods do go down because of corporate-written trade deals, as the "free"-trade-pushing
corporate media is so happy to brag about. But so do wages, health care benefits, union rights, pensions, environmental standards, and all the rest of the economic standards that contribute to an ordinary American's quality of life. When you pass trade deals that have no labor/human rights/environmental protections, you force Americans to compete with workers in other countries that have none of these standards. That puts a downward pressure on Americans' quality of life (wages, health care, pensions, etc.), as American sacrifice their basic quality of life in an endless race to the bottom. No savings on your next batch of t-shirts is going to make up for that. That's why trying to make a debate over "free" trade into a debate over whether we want or don't want lower prices is so dishonest: because it doesn't tell the whole story.

The reason, of course, that Corporate America tries to distort the "free" trade debate in this way is because it avoids the side of "free" trade Corporate America doesn't want to talk about.
Bryan asked if we could note "Frank Susman on Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court and Judge John Roberts" (from Ms. Magazine) again today.  No problem, here's an excerpt:
Ms.: The Constitution makes no mention of the "right to privacy," but the concept has been encoded in our legal history for more than 100 years. What is its source?

While the word privacy does not appear in our Constitution, this critical concept has been recognized by the Supreme Court since 1891, when the High Court stated in Union Pacific Railroad Co. v. Botsford: “No right is held more sacred, or is more carefully guarded, by the common law, than the right of every individual to the possession and control of his [or her] own person, free from all restraint or interference of others, unless by clear and unquestionable authority of law.”
Lastly, this week's BuzzFlash's Wings of Justice Award (the one you want to win) is announced.  Click link to see the honored.
The e-mail address for this site is

Start your day with Yahoo! - make it your home page