Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Democracy Now: FEMA, St. Patrick's Four, Christine (Pop Politics), Kim Gandy, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Mike Ferner ....

Over 10,000 Mourn Slain Puerto Rico Independence Leader
In Puerto Rico, tens of thousands attended the memorial and funeral services for Puerto Rican independence leader Filiberto Ojeda Rios who was shot dead Friday by FBI agents. It is believed to be one of the largest funerals in Puerto Rican history. El Diario reported over 1,000 vehicles took part in a caravan from San Juan to the eastern town of Naguabo where he was buried.

Amnesty Calls for Investigation Into FBI Killing of Ojeda Rios
Amnesty International is calling for an independent investigation into the shooting. Amnesty said that the killing should be considered an extra-judicial execution if the FBI deliberately killed Ojeda Ríos or deliberately left him to die, when they could have arrested him. FBI agents shot him Friday night at his home but then waited 20 hours before entering the house. Autopsy reports show that he bled to death. His wife Elma Rosado Barbosasaid Monday that FBI agents fired first but the FBI denies this. Ojeda Rios had been living underground for 15 years and was wanted for his role in a $7 million bank heist.

U.S. Judge Rules Posada Carilles Won't Be Extradited
A U.S. immigration judge has ruled Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles won't be deported to Cuba or Venezuela where he is wanted for his role in blowing up a Cuban jetliner in 1976 killing 73 people. The former CIA operative has spent four decades trying to destabilize and overthrow the Cuban government through assassination attempts and bombings. He has been in US custody since May after he illegally entered the country. Venezuela had asked that he be extradited to stand trial. On Tuesday the immigration judge ruled that Posada would not be deported to either country because of the possibility that he would be tortured there. The Convention Against Torture act prohibits the United States from deporting someone to a country where they could be tortured. Venezuela condemned the decision. The judge's decision has not ruled out the removal of Posada to another country.

The above three items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by Rachel, Kyle and Domingo. Democracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says):

Headlines for September 28, 2005

- Over 10,000 Mourn Slain Puerto Rico Independence Leader
- Amnesty Calls for Investigation Into FBI Killing of Ojeda Rios
- Female Suicide Bomber in Iraq Kills Six
- Lynndie England Sentenced to Three Years For Abu Ghraib Abuses
- U.S. Judge Rules Posada Carilles Won't Be Extradited
- Israel Shells Gaza For First Time Since 1967
- Supreme Court To Take Up Campaign Finance Laws

Bush's Brownie Burnt: Former FEMA Head Michael Brown Said He Warned Bush Directly Before Hurricane Struck

Democrats on the special congressional panel set up to investigate the response to Hurricane Katrina grill former FEMA head Michael Brown.

The Role of the Military in Emergency Response: More of Less Needed?

A former intelligence analyst and consultant speaks about the role of the military in responding to a national disaster, and how the failed response the Hurricane Katrina has generated a debate on whether more or less military involvement is necessary.

St. Patrick's Four Acquitted of Federal Conspiracy Charges

Four Catholic peace activists have just been acquitted of felony conspiracy charges -- the first case of this kind since the Vietnam War. We speak with two of the four activists whose charges stem from an antiwar action on the eve of the US invasion of Iraq

Tricia e-mails to note Christine's "Taking Political Cues from the 'Cute' Commander-in-Chief" (Pop Politics):

In addition to sparking a discussion of gender roles, will Commander-in-Chief lead to a change in attitudes about women in positions of power? The White House Project sure hopes so. Then again, it could be a false, flickering hope.

In her review, [Alessandra] Stanley raises the issue of whether the show might inspire more interest in politics:

Crime and medical series demand a leap of faith; most of us are not schooled enough in microbiology or legal procedure to judge just how far series like "House" or "Law & Order" stretch the facts. But most viewers vote, or say they will, and foreign policy is a home game everybody can play.

Ours is a culture where videos like "Girls Gone Wild" inspire campus copycats and even serious dramas like "CSI" inspire students to sign up for forensic-science courses in droves. It would not be so bad if "Commander" prompted some young viewers to study foreign affairs or even just buy a map.

I think a lot depends on whether the series engages viewers in substantive political debate and treats Davis' character as a president -- or if the true drama will be in watching a woman trying to truly have it all.

Tricia reminds me that I said I'd add Pop Politics to the links last night. I was waiting to see if a community member was starting a site. We have two members planning sites. One of which is set to go at any time. The one I'd hoped was starting last night? I'm looking at an e-mail that says the plan is this evening. (It also says that Ava & I should review the Geena Davis show, we aren't planning on that so enjoy Christine and others' comments.) I hope it is up this evening but even if it's not, I will add Christine's site to the permalinks.

Erika e-mails to note Kim Gandy's "Women and History will Harshly Judge Votes for John Roberts" (NOW):

As the only woman on the committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) carried the weight of more than half the country on her shoulders, and she did so with clear reasoning and strong commitment to preserving the rights that today's women have come to expect as their birthright. NOW applauds all of the senators who voted against Roberts in committee: Joe Biden (Del.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), Feinstein, Edward Kennedy (Mass.) and Charles Schumer (N.Y.).

At the same time, NOW members and women's rights supporters everywhere are extremely disappointed in those senators who profess to champion reproductive rights and civil rights yet voted for Roberts in the committee. Democratic Senators Russ Feingold (Wis.), Herb Kohl (Wis.) and Patrick Leahy (Vt.) -- the ranking Democrat on the committee, no less -- turned their backs on women and girls by endorsing the slick attorney who refused to give clear answers to key questions.

What if Roberts is confirmed? In casting his incomprehensible vote in favor of Roberts, Sen. Leahy commented that "only time will tell" whether Roberts has an ideological agenda. Indeed, I believe history will reveal that Roberts' disdain for individual rights and liberties will characterize his term as chief justice, casting a long, dark shadow upon the High Court.

We'll also note "In Memoriam: Sheri O'Dell" (NOW):

In 1985, O'Dell was elected NOW National Vice President for Action. "When Sheri first ran, her chant was 'Raise-Hell, O-Dell,'" said NOW President Kim Gandy. "Two years later, Sheri and I were both elected on Molly Yard's ticket, along with Patricia Ireland, and I got to see up-close her passion and her skill as an organizer. Sheri could really whip up a crowd."

During her term as Action V.P., O'Dell successfully fought the Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork and led more than 700,000 women's rights supporters through the streets of Washington, D.C., in the 1989 March for Women's Lives. In 1990, O'Dell organized the Freedom Caravan for Women's Lives, which traveled the country to campaign against anti-abortion laws and initiatives.

O'Dell also found time to support two West Virginia friends, Barbara Ferraro and Patricia Hussey, Catholic nuns whose New York Times ad in support of presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro garnered them heavy criticism from the Vatican and Roman Catholic leadership.

[. . .]

O'Dell is survived by her life partner, Jan Chapin. In lieu of flowers, friends are asked to send memorial gifts to a cause or charity close to your heart.

In regards to recent attacks on the poor led by the likes of Rich Lowry (which may not be the correct spelling but I honestly don't care) and the Nicky K's, Maria asks that we again note Katrina vanden Heuvel's "Why Bush is Wrong on Poverty" (Editor's Cut, The Nation):

Bush may talk about addressing poverty in this rich nation, but his coldhearted agenda has made the problems much more pronounced. His administration gave a massive tax break to corporations and the wealthiest individuals in his first term; since then, despite evidence of rising income inequalities, a growing sea of red ink, and $200 billion needed to fight the war in Iraq and another $200 billion we will spend to rebuild the Gulf region, Bush has ruled out repealing any of his tax cuts for the rich.(And this while household incomes failed to rise for five consecutive years--for the first time on record.)
Bush leads a Republican party that has refused to increase the minimum wage (stuck at $5.15 an hour since 1997), tried to cut Medicaid, food stamps, housing for the poor, Social Security, and promoted "faith-based initiatives" to rally "armies of compassion" that are supposed to assist the poor through the right-wing panacea of charitable, religious giving. His Gulf Opportunity Zone is a sham. And while this White House tries to cut worker's pay in rebuilding the Gulf region, it lines the pockets of those poster boys of corruption--Halliburton and KBR--with no-bid contracts. As Derrick Jackson wrote in the Boston Globe last week, Bush's plan "will squeeze yet more pulp out of the poor."
If there is a bright spot amidst the despair and catastrophe, it is that some in the mainstream media have started addressing issues of poverty, race and class in America. I don't know how long this moment will last. But if some in the big media consistently and aggressively report on poverty and class as central issues in US politics and society --and a few leading political figures find the political will, the imagination and the courage to fight for policies that have proven to work in tackling such an intractable problem--maybe we will see some progress.

George e-mails to note Mike Ferner's "Bringing the War Home" (CounterPunch):

In a pre-dawn civil disobedience action Monday morning, 41 War Resisters League members and others sat down and were arrested at a pedestrian entrance to the Pentagon, slowing foot traffic at that location and prompting officials to close the U.S. military headquarters' sole stop on Washington's Metroline for a period.

Protesters, including Elizabeth McAllister and her daughter, Frieda Berrigan, Susan Crane, Ken Crowley and others with a long history of peace activism and arrests for civil disobedience, leafleted or sat down to block people from entering Entrance Three of the sprawling U.S. military command.

In one group of six, Crane repeated to the backed-up line of civilians and military personnel waiting at the security checkpoint, "Remember the innocent victims in Iraq." Another protester urged officers to think about what they were doing and "resign yourcommissions."

Wearing a Veterans For Peace garrison cap and t-shirt, I took the opportunity to say "Good morning, my name is Mike Ferner. I'm from Toledo, Ohio," and explained that I had served in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman during Viet Nam, taking care of hundreds of soldiers coming back "in pieces" from that conflict. "We have to get smarter than that," I implored.

At the same time, protesters blocked other portions of Entrance Three, delivering various messages to hundreds more of the 26,000 workers in the building with over 17 miles of corridors.

From BuzzFlash, we'll note "Tim Russert's Purpose in Life:"

Tim, you know damn well that after 911 every manner, shape and form of disaster management in this country was completely federalized and aggrandized by Bush and Ashcroft, that is the historical record. Stop trying to help Bush by passing on the blame to the locals; you are disgracing yourself sir.

And Martha says everyone needs to be sure to check out Carol's A New Leif (Ms.). Martha notes this from "America's Most Wanted:"

Yesterday was obviously a big day for homeland security. Lynndie England was found guilty and is going to jail for three years. Phew. No more torture. After all, the buck stops with her in that whole torture thing. Women in the military feel so empowered that they surely can make their male counterparts do just about anything. It's such a hostile environment for those poor boys. She clearly was in charge. Never mind that even prosecutors called Private Charles Graner the ringleader. Never mind that England was sleeping with Graner and did everything that he asked. Plus, look at the behavior. Dog piles and homophobic taunting. Typical aggressive female acts. Let's ignore anyone higher up than a private. Surely Rumsfeld and Gonzalez had nothing to do with it. Case closed.

Last thing. Remember that Mike's interview with Betty goes up tonight at his site.

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