Monday, September 19, 2005

NYT: "Clinton Levels Sharp Criticism at the President's Relief Effort" (Philip Shenon)

Mr. Clinton's comments in an interview on the ABC News program "This Week" could prove awkward for the White House, given President Bush's eagerness to involve his Democratic predecessor in a high-profile role to raise money for the hurricane's victims. His remarks came days after the president gave a televised speech from New Orleans, trying to seize the momentum amid other attacks on the administration's performance.
The White House has been under siege from critics, assailed first for the effectiveness of its response to the storm, and challenged more recently by questions about the long-term fiscal implications of its plans for rebuilding in the Gulf states.
Mr. Clinton argued that lower-income Americans had done better under the economic policies of his administration than they are doing now, saying the storm highlighted class divisions in the country that often played out along racial lines.
"It's like when they issued the evacuation order," he said. "That affects poor people differently. A lot of them in New Orleans didn't have cars. A lot of them who had cars had kinfolk they had to take care of. They didn't have cars, so they couldn't take them out."
"This is a matter of public policy," he said. "And whether it's race-based or not, if you give your tax cuts to the rich and hope everything works out all right, and poverty goes up and it disproportionately affects black and brown people, that's a consequence of the action made. That's what they did in the 80's; that's what they've done in this decade. In the middle, we had a different policy."

The above is from Philip Shenon's "Clinton Levels Sharp Criticism at the President's Relief Effort" in this morning's New York Times. Cedric e-mails to note it.

From an uncredited AP report online at the Times, Nolanda has a question. First we'll note this from the article:

Chavez, a self-declared revolutionary, has often clashed with the U.S. government and has accused Washington of seeking to oust him -- a claim U.S. officials have denied, though they have expressed concern about Chavez's ties with Castro and what opponents call his authoritarian tendencies.

A claim US officials have denied but even Juan Forero's "scrub" reporting on the documents related to the 2002 coup reveal US officials were involved in "advising" in the planning.

That was my remark. Nolanda's question is why the Times never credits the individual writers of the AP? That's a good question. They never do. They always say "AP" or "Reuters." They do it in the article "Chavez Will Try to Improve U.S. Relations" that Nolanda saw. But, here's the thing, the AP, like the Times, is now in love with "end credits." So this non-credited report, at the bottom reads "Associated Press Writer Diego Santos contributed to this report."

By carrying end quotes, they're crediting a contributer but they're not crediting the official writer of the piece. Nolanda raises a good point. (One the Times should have noticed on their own.)

On the subject of the Times, Wally e-mails to note Ron Jacob's "The Politics of Withdrawal from Iraq" (CounterPunch):

In recent days, Jalal Talabani, the US-installed president of the US-installed government in Baghdad, told the press that the United States could withdraw up to 50,000 troops by the end of 2005. Talabani continued, stating that there are now enough Iraqi troops trained and ready to take over various security missions currently undertaken by US forces. The response to these claims by the White House has been publicly ambivalent as of this writing, but one wonders whether or not this could change if Bush's poll numbers amongst US voters continue to decline. However, according to the Washington Post, unnamed military sources say that there are no discussions of withdrawal at the current time. In his varied meetings with the press over the past month, Bush has made similar statements.
As any follower of the news from Iraq knows, this is not the first time that some official in either the US government or its client regime in Baghdad has hinted at a withdrawal of some US forces from Iraq. Given the growing unpopularity of the US exercise in that country, these types of utterances are to be expected, but not believed. These declarations provide those who have misgivings about the war but who are unwilling to protest it a glimmer of hope that the war will be over without any struggle on their part. The seeming confusion at the top lends this portion of the populace the illusion that their government feels their discomfort. More importantly, it provides a false hope that this war was right after all. Indeed, if the US troops can get out of Iraq and have the Iraqis in Washington's employ kill and imprison those who oppose Washington, then won't the invasion and occupation have been successful? Despite the growing numbers of US residents opposed to the occupation, many still want to believe their government's invasion was right even though they may now be tired of the war's human and economic costs.
It is often instructive to look at history if one wants to discover possible futures. The current debate in the media over troop withdrawals and Iraqi force readiness reminded me of similar discussions during another US war over thirty years ago. Was I imagining things or did Washington and its client regime in what was then Saigon have a similar back-and-forth conversation in the media over US troop withdrawals from Vietnam? To satisfy my curiosity, I went into the New York Times archives and took a quick look at one year-1968. This was the year that began with the Tet offensive and the siege of Khe Sanh. There were upwards of 500,000 US troops in southern Vietnam. It was also a presidential election year in the United States and at least two candidates were running a campaign based partially on their opposition to the US war in Vietnam. In Saigon, there was talk on April 2, 1968 from the US-installed president, Nyugen van Thieu, about the "gradual withdrawal by the end of 1968" of some US military forces. Those troops would, of course, be replaced by southern Vietnamese military forces that would be combat ready after training from the United States. (NYT, 4/1/1968) Meanwhile, Thieu's vice president, Nguyen Cao Ky, was lambasting those in the US calling for an immediate US withdrawal. According to a New York Times report dated May 1, 1968, Ky said those calling for an immediate withdrawal were betraying the "interests of their won people back home." (NYT, 5/1/1968)

Charlie e-mails to note Rita J. King's "Sister Lelia Mattingly and Alice Gerard Leave Prison" (Ruminations On America):

Maryknoll Sister Lelia Mattingly polished off the last of her stint behind bars and rejoined a group of her colleagues who rejoiced in her freedom at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut.
Having been asked to leave the grounds of the prison because the group of roughly ten was too large, the Sisters and their friends waited at the end of the road for Mattingly, 64, and Alice Gerard, 48, a lay missioner from Buffalo, who has been incarcerated twice for her acts of civil disobedience while protesting the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia.
Both women were upbeat upon their release, but Mattingly said she wished she could bring all of the other women out with her.
"I heard so many heartbreaking stories," she said. Maryknoll Sister Carmen Olivera said it is "important to note that Lil's sentence, for a misdemeanor, was longer than Martha Stewart's or anything Mr. Ken Lay of Enron will face, even though he robbed thousands of people of their pensions…"
Mattingly received 1,100 letters in prison and spent time studying the works of peaceful protestors.
"I sense that there is a movement growing in this country," she said as she held a bouquet of flowers in the sunshine minutes after her release. "Violence doesn't work. We have a desire in our hearts to love even our enemies, even though it isn't easy. In prison you see how even a hateful word can be a violent act because it leads to arguments and tension."

Marci e-mails to note Carol's "Super-Duper Wrapper-Upper" (A New Leif) which gives you a humorous (and sardonic) summary & critique of last week's hearings:

Memorizing is hypnotic. John Roberts didn't use notes for his short opening statement. You'd think he turned water into wine. Tim Russert called it a "very good debut;" Alan Dershowitz said it was "brilliant" and "couldn't have been better;" Chris Wallace described Roberts' performance as "very impressive." That makes about as much sense as saying that being head of the Arabian Horse Association makes someone qualified to be head of FEMA. Never mind.
John Roberts is polite. He even talks to women and minorities. Especially if they are
Senators like to talk. Oh, boy, do they like to
talk. You would think you could ask a lot of questions in thirty minutes. Not if you ask in senator-speak. Remember John Kerry on the campaign stump?
Umpires are very busy. They have to call
balls and strikes. They have to remember not to hit or catch. They also have to make decisions on the most important legal issues of our time.
Super-duper is a funny word. It means nothing and it gives us absolutely no insight into John Roberts' legal thinking, but Arlen Specter sure beat it to the ground. Roe v. Wade may go, but we'll have a new word for our lexicon. Fair trade.
Hypocrisy is alive and well.
Tom Coburn doesn't like partisanship? Are you kidding? That's almost as ridiculous as George W. Bush giving a speech about the inequalities of race and poverty. Never mind again.

It's Monday so the Times doesn't provide much. At Bonnie's request here are links to yesterday's "Reporting from outside the US mainstream media" and "Reporting from outside the US mainstream media focused on Iraq." Both entries were done by Jess and Ty of The Third Estate Sunday Review. A big thank you to both of them for filling in. An even bigger thank you for doing an amazing job.

Brad e-mails to pass on an e-mail sent out yesterday to those who sign up for updates and alerts from The Nation. The topic is one we've noted on Thursdays during our indymedia roundups:

On March 17, 2003, two days before the US invasion of Iraq commenced, four protesters--now known as the "Saint Patrick's Four"--entered a military recruiting center near Ithaca, New York, and poured small amounts of their own blood around the building's vestibule in a symbolic protest against the coming invasion. By their own account, they were alone in the vestibule and no one was prevented from entering or leaving the center. For this act of non-violent civil disobedience, the longtime Catholic peace activists--sisters Clare and Teresa Grady, Daniel Burns, and Peter DeMott--have been charged with conspiracy to impede "by force, intimidation and threat" an officer of the United States along with three lesser offenses.
If convicted of federal conspiracy in a trial starting tomorrow, September 19, they face up to six years in prison, a period of probation and $275,000 in fines. The trial is the first time the Federal government has pressed conspiracy charges against civilian Iraq war protesters. The obvious intent of the wildly excessive indictment is to chill antiwar dissent.
Click below for more on the case and for suggestions on how you can help.
Also, make sure to make plans to be in Washington, DC next weekend for what United for Peace and Justice and other activist groups are expecting will be a massive series of protests against the war in Iraq.
Click below for info.

Rod gives us the heads up on today's Democracy Now!, an interview with Hugo Chavez. Online, you can watch, listen or watch. In addition, you can visit the website to find out radio and TV options for watching Democracy Now!

The e-mail address for this site is