Thursday, August 11, 2005

Democracy Now: ethics in military interrogations?; Laura Flanders guest hosts The Majority Report on Air America Radio again tonight

Cindy Sheehan Vigil Gains Support From Congress
Meanwhile, in Crawford, Texas Cindy Sheehan is continuing her vigil outside the ranch where President Bush is once again vacationing. And her campaign is gaining momentum and support. Sheehan, of course, grabbed headlines in recent days since she began camping near President Bush's ranch. She is the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq. As more military families arrived from several states to join Sheehan, 38 members of Congress signed a letter asking Bush to meet with her. On Saturday, National Security Advisor Steven Hadley and Deputy White House Chief of Staff Joe Hagin met with Sheehan briefly, but she called the exchange "pointless" and has said she will stay in Crawford until the president meets with her.
40th Anniversary of Watts
And finally, today marks the 40th anniversary of the Watts uprising in Los Angeles. A white California Highway Patrol officer named Lee Minikus pulled over 21(twenty-one) year-old Marquette Frye, who was black, on suspicion of drunk driving. Frye had been driving in the car with his brother and additional officers were soon called to the scene. Rena Frye, the mother of the two boys showed up as well and eventually all three members of the Frye family were arrested. As the officers questioned them, the police hit the brothers with their baton. The crowd grew increasingly angry and a confrontation began that led to six days of rioting leaving 34 people dead, 1000 wounded and 4000 people arrested. The Watts uprising sheparded in a new more militant era of the civil rights movement as African-Americans took to the streets in a mass protest against white economic exploitation and police brutality. The Black Panther Party for Self Defense was formed in Oakland, California less then a year after the rebellion. Yesterday, a report was presented to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and police chief William Brattion by the Los Angeles Urban League and the United Way titled “The State of Black Los Angeles.” The report found that, 40 years after Watts, African-Americans continue to face many of the same conditions they faced in LA forty years ago. They point to the fact that in L.A, African Americans still have the lowest household income in the city, are far more likely to go prison and are searched by the Los Angeles Police Department at four times the rate of whites.
The above is from Democracy Now!'s Headlines and were selected by Keesha and LouDemocracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says):
Headlines for August 11, 2005

- Iran Breaks UN Nuclear Seals to ‘Protect Nation’s Right’
- Four-Star General Demoted For Extramarital Affair
- Gen. Myers Says 3rd Tour of Duty Possible for Soldiers
- Pakistan Launches 1st Cruise Missile for Musharraf’s Birthday
- Rumsfeld Planning 9-11 Party/Country Music Concert
- Cindy Sheehan Vigil Gains Support From Congress
- Pinochet Wife and Son Arrested
- 40th Anniversary of Watts
Psychological Warfare? A Debate on the Role of Mental Health Professionals in Military Interrogations at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and Beyond

As the American Psychological Association kicks off its national convention, a debate is raging in the mental health community over the role of psychologists in military interrogations. We host a debate with the director of ethics at the APA Stephen Behnke, British medical ethicist Michael Wilks, and renowned psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton. [includes rush transcript - partial]
From Danny Schechter's latest News Dissector, Brady e-mails to note this:


Mark Crispin Miller passes along this letter by Roxanne Jekot:

"I was at a private house party on August 2nd in Georgia with Senators Reid, Schumer and Pryor.

"And the grand DLC plan is simple for 2006 -- no DEM primaries. They plan to choose the DLC candidate and force all others out of the race. Just like they did in PA with Casey.

"The exact Schumer (DSCC Chair) quote is: 'We are no longer letting Democrats get in a circle and shoot each other. We are going to intervene if any one Democrat attacks another. We are doing that in states where there are primaries... this always happens in the primaries, people throw up the cards and see where they land. No more. We're finding the best candidates in every one of the seats where republicans are vulnerable.'"

Marcia e-mails to note Bill Scher's latest at Liberal Oasis:

NARAL aired a hard-hitting ad in opposition to John Roberts, pointing out that he was on the same side as violent anti-abortion protesters in a 1991 Supreme Court case.

Again, the Right whined up a storm, accusing NARAL of fabrications, abetted by the misnamed

And again, people who should know better are swallowing the right-wing spin.

The head of Catholics for a Free Choice went out of her way to contact the NY Times and attack NARAL, a selfish, short-sighted backstabbing move.

The NY Times also quotes former Clinton Solicitor General Walter Dellinger calling the ad "unfair." (The paper failed to note that Dellinger is a old backer of Roberts, supporting his nomination to the federal appeals court.)

The NY Times also reports that other liberal groups had "considerable uneasiness" but would not go on the record with it.

Well, LiberalOasis has considerable uneasiness that NARAL is the only group that is going after Roberts with any force.

Regarding comments about James Glanz's article this morning, Erika e-mails to note Ellen Frank's latest "Dear Dollar" (Dollars & Sense):

Partly in reaction to this, a very different language for talking about capitalist economies emerged by the turn of the 20th century. Called "neo-classical economics," it was quickly adopted by universities as the foundation for a new "economic science." The neo-classicals jettisoned "classical" concerns with social class and control over resources. In their framework, society was simply a collection of self-interested individuals, all competing to maximize their own economic gains. The neo-classical world was a world devoid of history, politics, institutions, or any power, save for the coercive power of governments.

In this world, competitive markets were not the product of history, shaped by concrete political actions, but rather the natural form of economic organization and one to which all nations should aspire. In competitive markets, free individuals could work or reject work, buy or decline buying. Exploitation was ruled out by definition. If you work for $5 a day, that is your decision. You could just as easily choose to hold out for a higher wage or not to work at all.

This neo-classical paradigm continues to dominate the economics profession. What critics today call "mainstream" or "orthodox" economics (what most professional economists call simply "economics") embodies the core ideas laid out more than a century ago. All analysis begins with the assumption that economic decisions reflect individual preferences and free choice. Pick up an economics textbook today and flip to the chapter on "consumer behavior" and find virtually no mention of advertising. Flip to international economics and search in vain for discussion of transnational corporations and corporate power. Companies large and small are merely "firms," WalMart and the local grocer equal competitors for consumer dollars. Workers are merely a subset of consumers, "endowed" with "human capital" which they may or may not choose to rent out for wages in the marketplace.


Erika:  Glanz's article is laughable.

Trina e-mails to note that Robert Parry "goes to Scotland and historical" in "'Braveheart,' Edward I and George W. Bush" (Consortium News):

It struck me that the calm commitment on Colin's face was a lesson that should not be lost on George W. Bush and other politicians of today. However justified they might regard their military operations in other lands, those wars carry the heavy risk of creating martyrs and enflaming hatreds that could outlast any short-term objectives, just as Edward I's brutality against Scotland did.

That is one reason why leaders with deep historical perspective really do treat war as a last resort, rather than a casual means for achieving some geopolitical end.

Though William Wallace was undoubtedly a brutal man himself, Edward I's aggression against Scotland and his martyrdom of Wallace created a legacy that has haunted English-Scottish relations to the present day. As Colin made clear, Wallace's path of execution on Aug. 23, 1305, is becoming a kind of  "stations of the cross" for Scottish independence.

Edward I may have viewed Wallace's torture and dismemberment as one sort of political warning to his enemies, but that atrocity has evolved into another type of cautionary tale for politicians of all eras -- if you rely too readily on violence, it can have negative consequences that far outweigh its successes.

Do you know the song "Miserlou" by Dick Dale & the Del-Tones?  The 1962 hit used in Pulp Fiction in 1994?  Do you know the song, or do you just think that you know the song?  Check Bora's "'Pulp Fiction' does not need to pay copyright, just be honest" (Science & Politics) before you rush to say,  "Yes, I know all about that song."  Excerpt:
It irks me to no end, ever since "Pulp Fiction" came out, that there was no attribution for the cover theme. Apparently, the German band does not know where the song comes from either.

It is actually a very old song from south Serbia, one I have played and sang at many, many drunken parties. Here are the lyrics in Serbo-Croatian language (by typing a short excerpt in Google, you can find MIDI-files on various sites):

Volela me jedna Vranjanka,
Mladost mi je kod nje ostala.
Nit je Sofka nit je Kostana,
Vec najlepsa Lela Jelena.

Pusto, pusto, pusto mi je sve,
Nema, nema moje Jelene.
Dodji, Dodji Lelo Jelena,
Ti si moju mladost odnela.

Ko zna gdje je moja Vranjanka,
Ljepsa od svih moja Jelena,
Sve bih dao kad bi' saznao,
Ko je moju Lelu ukrao.

Pusto, pusto, pusto mi je sve,
Nema, nema moje Jelene.
Dodji, Dodji Lelo Jelena,
Ti si moju mladost odnela.
This week, the largest class action suit in U.S. history goes to court in California, as plaintiffs representing over 1 million workers accuse Wal-Mart of sex discrimination.

In addition to being the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart also spends considerable money advertising on mainstream media outlets--including regular spots on network newscasts like
ABC's World News Tonight, where the discount giant sponsors the show's regular "Person of the Week" segment. Plastered with huge Wal-Mart ads, it's easy to confuse that feature's web page with a visit to the Wal-Mart website. Wal-Mart regularly airs commercials during the newscasts, and underwrites ABC's daily email preview of the evening newscast (a plug for the company's "Wal-Mart Facts" website).

The company also sponsors the "Only in America" series on ABC's Good Morning America, an arrangement that was criticized by the
United Food & Commercial Workers union (UFCW). And ABC and Wal-Mart have other commercial ties as well, including a perfume line that was featured on an ABC soap opera and sold at Wal-Mart stores (Broadcasting & Cable, 2/14/05).

So how will ABC's nightly newscast handle the news of Wal-Mart's day in court? In an August 7 preview, reporter Geoff Morrell called the lawsuit the "biggest civil rights case ever," and quoted plaintiff Chris Kwapnoski. But then ABC lined up three sources to criticize the case, starting with Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott. His comments were echoed by Steve Bokat from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who called the suit "fundamentally unfair."
Did you know that Peter Jennings died?  I guess you did.  I guess you couldn't listen to the radio or the TV without knowing about it.  I guess you think he's the only one who died in the last few days.  There were actually quite a few people who died.

One of them was John H. Johnson.

He started and published Jet and Ebony.  Now I'm guessing if you never heard of them you don't get that those were important magazines.  They helped fight stereotypes and they also helped people see what blacks could be and were.  Back in the day, you didn't have Dr. Huxtable and the Huxtable clan.  You didn't have a Denzel or anyone like that.  If you saw a black person on your TV set they were usually a criminal or a maid or some servent.  Now maybe they were a guest star on a musical special. That's about the most that could be hoped for.

My grandparents can tell you about it, my mother can tell you about it.  (My father could tell you about it if he were still alive.)

You know when you pick up People Magazine and all the people in the ads are white?  That's pretty common.  Ebony & Jet were important enough that Johnson could get advertisers to use black people in the ads.

And not only did they uplift a people and inspire by offering something other than the usual stereotypes, the magazines could also address politics and civil rights.  All of this was dreamed up by John H. Johnson.  He knew we could support a magazine, support more than one magazine. 

Nobody opened the doors and said,  "Man, let me give you some money to start up."  He had to take out a long using his mother's furniture.  That's how he started out.  How he ended up was as the owner of two important magazines.  In my community, his death is a big topic.  He was a major businessman.  He was a success story. 

Having suffered through constant press of Michael Jackson and Kobe Bryant, you might think we could get some good TV exposure for a man who wasn't accused of a crime, for a man who made something out of his life and inspired people.

But that's not what's happened.
Before we move on, the New York Times today has an op-ed on Johnson.  We're not linking to it.  If you're interested check out (print or online).  I went back and forth over it and e-mailed it to Keesha and phoned Ty.  Both said forget the topic, conservative think tankers don't belong here. 
Let's note the latest AP story on Cindy Sheehan, Angela K. Brown "Grieving Mother's War Protest Draws Notice:"
Many supporters decided to go to Crawford because of rumors that Sheehan would be arrested.

But no protesters will be arrested unless they trespass on private property or block the road, said Capt. Kenneth Vanek of the McLennan County Sheriff's Office.

Trucker Craig Delaney, 53, was in Georgia on Monday when he heard numerous radio shows discussing Sheehan -- some criticizing her. He altered his route to California, heading for Texas, and got to Sheehan's site Wednesday morning.

"I felt compelled to come and tell her I support her," said Delaney, a self-described hippie from Sly Park, Calif. "The way they were bad-mouthing a mother whose son was killed in the war is un-American."

Nearly 40 Democratic members of Congress have asked Bush to talk to her. On Wednesday, a coalition of anti-war groups in Washington also called on Bush to speak with Sheehan, who they say has helped to unify the peace movement.

"Cindy Sheehan has become the Rosa Parks of the anti-war movement," said Rev. Lennox Yearwood, leader of the Hip Hop Caucus, an activist group. "She's tired, fed up and she's not going to take it anymore, and so now we stand with her."

Earlier this year Sheehan formed Gold Star Families for Peace and has spoken to groups across the nation and overseas.

Third Party e-mails to note Ralph Nadar's "An Open Letter to Cindy Sheehan" (CounterPunch):
Dear Ms. Sheehan,

From your grief over the loss of your son, Casey, in Iraq has come the courage to spotlight nationally the cowardly character trait of a President who refuses to meet with anyone or any group critical of his illegal, fabricated, deceptive war and occupation of that ravaged country. As a messianic militarist, Mr. Bush turned aside his own father's major advisers who warned him of the terroristic, political, and diplomatic perils to the United States from an invasion of Iraq. He refused to listen.

Thirteen organizations in early 2003 separately wrote their President requesting a meeting to have him hear them out as to why they opposed his drumbeating, on-the-road-to war policies. These groups represented millions of Americans. They included church leaders, veterans, business, labor, retired intelligence officials, students, women and others. They are among those Americans who are not allowed through the carefully screened public audiences that are bused to arenas around the country to hear his repetitive slogans for carrying on this draining, boomeranging war. They each wrote President Bush but he never bothered even to acknowledge their letters simply to say no to the requested meetings. Not even the courtesy of a reply came from their White House.

Ever since then it has been the same-exclusion, denial, contempt and arrogance for views counter to that of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney and the tight circle around them that composes the inner tin ear of this Administration. Why, they even refuse to listen to objections by their own government's military lawyers (JAG) over repeated violations of due process of law. When will he realize that he is supposed to be the President of all the people, not just those misled into supporting his Iraq maneuvers?

Head's up: LAURA FLANDERS is hosting THE MAJORITY REPORT on AIR AMERICA RADIO tonight.  (7p.m. to 10 p.m. eastern)  You can listen over broadcast radio (if there's an AAR in your area), via XM Satellite Radio or listen online.  From The Majority Report: 

On Thursday's Show:

With Janeane in LA shooting episodes of the West Wing, and Sam taking care of his brand new baby girl, this week's guest host is journalist, activist, and Air America host Laura Flanders.

Joining Laura tonight:

Sinead O'Connor, here to talk about her new album: Throw Down Your Arms.

Gold Star Mother Cindy Sheehan.

Atrios of the Eschaton blog.

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