Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Democracy Now!: Energy Bill, Nagasaki, smoking; Ruth Conniff, Christine (Ms. Musing), Juan Gonzalez, Tom Hayden, BuzzFlash interviews Cindy Sheehan


Thousands Mark Anniversary of Atomic Bombing Of Nagasaki
In Nagasaki, Japan thousands gathered today to mark the 60th anniversary of when the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on the city. At least 80,000 died in the bombing which came 69 hours after the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Today, a bronze bell rang out over city marking the precise moment 60 years ago when the atomic attack occurred. Nagasaki's Mayor Ichho Itoh called for the abolition of all nuclear weapons.

U.S. Prepares to Send More Troops To Iraq
The Pentagon is preparing to send more troops to Iraq ahead of a scheduled vote in October on the new constitution and elections in December. The U.S. currently has 138,000 troops in Iraq. The total jumped to 160,000 ahead of the elections earlier this year. Pentagon spokesperson Lawrence Di Rita said, "It's perfectly plausible to assume we'll do the same thing for this election."

African-American Publishing Giant John Johnson Dies
And magazine publisher John H. Johnson has died at the age of 87. In 1942, he borrowed $500 to launch what would become the most successful African-American publishing empires. He would go on to start Ebony and Jet magazines. In 1982 he became the first African-American to make Forbes magazine's list of the 400 wealthiest Americans. Johnson was educated in a segregated school in Arkansas. The town had no high school for African-American students so Johnson repeated eighth grade instead of dropping out of school.

The above three items are from Democracy Now!'s Headlines and were selected by Mia, Trey and ZachDemocracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says):
Headlines for August 9, 2005
- Thousands Mark Anniversary of Atomic Bombing Of Nagasaki
- U.S. Prepares to Send More Troops To Iraq
- Oil-For-Food Chief Accused to Taking $150K in Kickbacks
- Chavez Accuses US Drug Agents of Spying
- FCC Hires Christian Activist As Advisor on Indecency Issues
- White House Backs N.H. Parental Notification Abortion Law
- Family of Killed Toddler Seeks Probe in LAPD Shooting
Energy Bill: Fueling Corporations/Depleting Native Lands

The recently signed energy bill means more benefits for energy companies and a revival for the nuclear power industry. Also included is a provision changing how energy development decisions are made on Native American lands. We speak with Karen Wayland with the Natural Resources Defense Council and Clayton Thomas-Muller with the Indigenous Environmental Network.
Nagasaki at 60: The Bombers and the Bombed

Sixty years ago today, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki. We hear from a survivor of the bombing and the men who flew the B-29 bomber that dropped the bomb.
Leading Cigarette Expert: “The Tobacco Industry Helped Kill Peter Jennings”

Peter Jennings died of lung cancer over the weekend. He was one of five million people globally who die each year of smoking-related diseases. We speak with longtime tobacco industry critic Dr. Stan Glantz and Anna White of Essential Action.
Lloyd e-mails to note Ruth Conniff's "Two Cheers for California's Domestic Partner Ruling:"
California's high court did the right thing for the state's 30,000 registered domestic partners when it ruled in favor of a lesbian couple that asserted the right to the same treatment as married couples at and expensive country club golf course.

The ruling affirmed the state's Domestic Partner Act, which went into effect in January. Yet interestingly, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer has argued FOR domestic partnership benefits, but AGAINST gay marriage. Lockyer says gay couples have most of the rights of married couples under the state's domestic partner law (which also applies to heterosexual couples, but only, oddly enough, if one partner is at least 62 years old.) The court sidestepped the issue of whether marital status is a protected category under civil rights law.

The upshot is that lesbians can golf together in California, but the state still has a law on the books that defends the sacred bonds of marriage by defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. (That defense of marriage law--fervently supported by social conservatives--is now on appeal after a lower court judge declared it unconstitutional.)

Brenda e-mails to note Delilah's latest at A Scrivener's Lament:
In his final days in office, while facing inevitable impeachment, conviction, and prosecution, Richard M. Nixon had planned to use the US Marines to secure Washington DC for "reasons of national security" and institute martial rule.

How do I know this?

My father-in-law was an Air Force squadron leader at the time, and he was ordered to stand "on high alert" for a possible move against the president.

Fortunately for us, there were more true patriots in the US Military than there were Nixon toadies.

In 1977, Nixon "explained" to David Frost that he, like Abraham Lincoln, had the power to go beyond the US Constitution "in times of war."
Martha e-mails to note Danny Schechter's "Remembering Peter Jennings" which she says takes "a fair look at the positives and negatives."  Martha also asks about last night's World News Tonight which I didn't see.  (I wasn't even home in time to listen to Laura Flanders substitute hosting on The Majority Report.)  If, as Martha reports, the show led with Jennings, made it the entire first segment and returned to the topic after the commercial break, that's rather sad.
It's a very self-referential (and maudlin and cheesy) decision for a news broadcast to lead with the death of one of your own.  What Martha's describing in her e-mail sounds like a wonderful special, a wonderful prime time special, entitled Jennings: As We Knew Him.  But the thing is, it's not new broadcast and it's not World News Tonight.  And I'm confused as to how the person portrayed as committed to world news in all the obit write ups is somehow honored by turning over a broadcast (of WORLD News Tonight) to his passing?
"We are not the story."  Someone forgot that.
Melissa e-mails to note Christine's "Media Searches for Missing Coverage of Missing Woman" (Ms. Musing):

Dateline NBC on Friday night aired a segment, "What's Missing," examining why the media doesn't cover the disappearances of minority women as extensively as it covers cases of white women such as Natalee Holloway and Laci Peterson. Dateline focused on the disappearance of Tamika Huston, a black woman from Spartanburg, S.C., whose family has had difficulty attracting media coverage. I didn't see it, and would encourage anyone who did to post their observations.

MSNBC has the transcript, along with related stories -- this one, from July 2004, and another from April 2004, show that questions about media coverage of missing white women have been raised before. It appears, however, that all the previous soul-searching didn't amount to much.

Also worth reading is this Inside Dateline blog entry posted by correspondent Josh Mankiewicz about the self-criticism this story invited.

"The highest-rated 'Dateline' of last season was Matt Lauer's interview with Amber Frey. The second highest was the interview with Scott Peterson's half-sister. So why do we do it? Because it works," writes Mankiewicz. "But every decision like that forces other decisions down the road. Whenever you cover something, you're making a tacit decision NOT to cover something else, because there's a finite amount of airtime [and money for news coverage]. When 'Dateline' does six hours on Laci Peterson, that means a lot of other things don't get on the air."

Like other missing people. Or hard-hitting political news. Or -- and this would truly be shocking -- a global story or two.

Mankiewicz calls his boss, NBC News President Neal Shapiro "nothing short of courageous in his decision to sit down with me." You can read Shapiro's thoughts on the interview here. He was "truly disturbed" by the statistics he heard and now believes "we have to do better."

Frankly, I'm disturbed that the president of NBC News was truly disturbed.


Marci e-mails to note,  Tom Hayden's "The Exit Plan from Iraq" (The Huffington Post):

In response to calls from peace groups, an ad hoc coalition of Congress members will begin hearings on an Iraq exit strategy next month. Here is a working paper to that end:

An Exit Plan from War and Occupation (summary)

TURN TOWARDS PEACE, NOT QUAGMIRE. It is time to turn American power towards peace in Iraq through diplomacy, trade, economic development, and respect for Iraqi rights to self-determination. While some Americans may still claim “victories” -- the defeat of a dictator, the birth of democratic elections -- it is clear that the costs of our continued war and occupation are greater than any benefits. We are all prisoners of this war.

COSTS OUTWEIGH BENEFITS. By the end of this year, some 2,000 American soldiers will have died, along with hundreds of American contractors. At least 13,000 Americans have been wounded in action and tens of thousands will come home with serious mental health problems. Unknown numbers of Iraqi civilians and combatants are dead, wounded, traumatized, uprooted -- 3,240 Iraqi civilians killed in one month, according to a 2003 hospital survey by the Associated Press. The war costs taxpayers one billion dollars per week, enough to fund health insurance for 46 million people. Our allies in the “coalition” are withdrawing; nearly all will be gone by this year's end. Our reputation is in shambles. We are not safer at home. Our resources are tied down in Iraq while terrorists freely bomb England and Egypt.

THERE IS NO MILITARY SOLUTION. Our invasion unified a violent nationalist resistance and attracted jihadists from across the region. Insurgent attacks per month more than quadrupled from June 2003 to June 2005. Large majorities of both Sunnis and Shiites oppose the occupation. Our State Department's own surveys show that most Iraqis feel less safe under our soldiers' presence. We contributed to the danger of civil war by fostering both a government and army dominated by Shiites and Kurds at the expense of Sunnis.

RECONSTRUCTION IS IMPOSSIBLE UNDER OCCUPATION. It is impossible to promote jobs and economic development when we cannot protect oil fields, electricity lines, transportation systems and social service delivery. Of $18.4 billion appropriated for reconstruction, little has been spent. Of that sum, 73 percent lines the pockets of US contractors, with only 27 cents on the dollar benefiting Iraqis. The imposition of neo-liberal economics (privatization, de-regulation, flat taxes) have alienated the Iraqi business class and limited social welfare budgets. In addition to military invasion, our government has intervened against Iraq's economic sovereignty.

Use the link to continue reading.

BuzzFlash has an interview with Cindy Sheehan:

BuzzFlash: How do you see this protest ending?

Cindy Sheehan: With either our arrests, or the end of August. But if I get arrested and I am let out before the end of August, I will go back.

BuzzFlash: How many peace activists are participating with you there in the Crawford peace protest?

Cindy Sheehan: Right now, about three dozen. More are coming from all over the country.

BuzzFlash: Did Bush's spokespersons, who came out to talk to you, address your key questions: What is our "noble cause"? And how do we "complete the mission"?

Cindy Sheehan: Yes, but they gave the standard baloney line.

Note: Sam and Nikki Seder have a girl.  No word on whether this means Laura Flanders will substitute for Seder and Janeane Garofalo again tonight on The Majority Report.
We'll close by noting Juan Gonzalez's "Atomic truths plague prize coverup" (New York Daily News):
But Laurence was no ordinary embedded reporter.

A brilliant and respected pioneer of science reporting at the Times, he was also an unabashed cheerleader and paid government propagandist for nuclear weapons.

In March 1945, Gen. Leslie Groves, military director of the Manhattan Project, secretly recruited him - with the approval of Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger - as a press agent for the War Department.

Laurence promptly took a short leave from the Times, during which he received unlimited access to Manhattan Project facilities so he could write documents and press releases for the program, as well as for President Truman and Secretary of War Henry Stimson.

Soon after the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Laurence launched his Times series, where he extolled the bomb and sought to discredit other accounts about effects of the bomb.

[. . .]
That the New York Times permitted one of its reporters to work as a paid government shill for atomic weapons 60 years ago is even more disturbing.

Amy Goodman, the host and my longtime colleague on "Democracy Now," the Pacifica Radio network's daily news show, has been pointing this out for years.

This week, on the anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Goodman will hand-deliver a formal request to the board of the Pulitzer Prize. She will ask the board to strip William L. Laurence and the New York Times of the Pulitzer they won in 1946.

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