President Bush is preparing to nominate federal appeals judge Samuel Alito Jr. today to the Supreme Court. Alito's nomination comes just four days after Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination. The 55-year-old Alito is widely seen as a judicial conservative who has been nicknamed "Scalito" for his philosophical similarities to Justice Antonin Scalia. The Christian Right has been lobbying Bush to pick a candidate who will oppose abortion rights and overturn Roe v. Wade. In Alito, Bush has picked a judge who has been involved in the one of the most significant abortion case in recent years. As a federal appellate judge, Alito backed a Pennsylvania law that required women to inform their husbands before they sought an abortion. His support came in the form of a dissenting vote in the landmark case Planned Parenthood v. Casey which eventually went to the Supreme Court in 1992. The high court voted 6-3 to strike down the spousal notification requirement. Last night Senate minority leader Harry Reid said Alito is not one of the names of acceptable nominees that he gave to the president. Reid said of Alito's nomination "I think it would create a lot of problems."
After "Week From Hell" Bush's Approval Rating Drops
New polls show that the public trust in the Bush administration has reached a new low. A new ABC News/Washington Post Poll has found Bush's approval rating to be just 39 percent - the lowest of his presidency. Meanwhile 46 percent of the country says the level of honesty and ethics in the government has declined under Bush. Only 15 percent of the country feel Bush has restored honesty and ethics to the government. This comes after what Time Magazine described as the worst week of Bush's presidency. Within a span of four days the U.S. death toll in Iraq topped 2,000, Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination to the Supreme Court and Lewis Scooter Libby was indicted and resigned. Time described it as Bush's QUOTE "Week from Hell."
Rosa Parks Lies in Honor at U.S. Capitol
In Washington, over10,000 people began lining up Sunday outside the Capitol to pay homage to civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks who died last week at the age of 92. Parks' body is lying in honor at the U.S. Capitol in the Rotunda. According to Senate historian Richard Baker, Parks is the first private citizen to ever be accorded the honor. She is also the first woman and second African-American to lie in honor at the Capitol. The tribute is usually reserved for heads of state. President Reagan was the last person to lie in state at the Capitol. A memorial service will be held today at the Metropolitan AME Church in Washington. Her body will then be flown to Detroit for a funeral on Wednesday. On Sunday a memorial service was also in Montgomery Alabama. We'll have more on Rosa Parks later in the show.
- Bush Nominates Samuel Alito to Supreme Court
- Libby Resigns After Five Count Indictment in CIA Leak Case
- After "Week From Hell" Bush's Approval Rating Drops
- Rosa Parks Lies in Honor at U.S. Capitol
- U.S. Troop Level in Iraq Reaches 161,000
- Arab League: U.S. Must Leave Iraq
- 62 Die in Bombings in New Delhi
President Bush nominated federal appeals judge Samuel Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court Monday, just four days after Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination. The 55-year-old Alito is widely seen as a judicial conservative who has been nicknamed "Scalito" for his philosophical similarities to Justice Antonin Scalia. In 1991, Alito backed a Pennsylvania law that required women to inform their husbands before they sought an abortion. His support came in the form of a dissenting vote in the landmark case Planned Parenthood v. Casey. [includes rush transcript - partial]
AMY GOODMAN: Explain how it's out of the mainstream.
DONNA LIEBERMAN: Well, if a woman -- one of the core points about the protection of the right to choose is that the decision about having an abortion is a decision about a woman's health, it's about her future, it's about the responsibilities that she is going to have forever and ever and ever. And if you cant make a decision about what happens to your body without your husband's permission, well, then do you have equal rights as a member of our society? And Justice Alito would say no. So, I think that we see that right if, in fact, he is confirmed there will be four votes really to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Lewis "Scooter" Libby resigned on Friday after being indicted on five counts of obstruction of justice, perjury to a grand jury and making false statements to FBI agents during the CIA leak investigation. President Bush's chief advisor Karl Rove has so far escaped indictment for his role in the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. We speak with former CIA agent, Larry Johnson.
AMY GOODMAN: Very good to have you with us. Can you talk about your response to the indictment?
LARRY JOHNSON: I think it's a good start, a move in the right direction. What's appalling is the response you know, the Republican response is expected, but mainstream media figures, whether we are talking Tim Russert or Andrea Mitchell or others, who are trying to say, Well, so there's no underlying crime, so really no harm, no foul. You know, if you listen very carefully to what Fitzgerald said, her cover was blown, and you know, he didn't when he said her cover is blown, that mean she's had cover, number one. Number two, the reason he could not indict under the Identities Protection Act is because Libby obstructed the investigation. So, you know, Fitzgerald is just playing you know, biding his time. He is going to openly come in with an indictment on the original crime, but he is going to squeeze these guys very carefully. So, I think we're fortunate to have someone of Fitzgerald's character involved with this.
The body of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks was flown to Washingon DC Sunday night to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda. She is the first woman and second African American to lie in state. We speak with the Rev. Joseph Lowery and author Diane McWhorter and we go back to 1956 to air a rare interview with Parks aired on Pacifica Radio's KPFA. [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: That is Rosa Parks, speaking in April 1956 in the midst of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. She had refused to stand up for a white passenger just a few months before, December 1, 1955. We're joined in our New York studio by Diane McWhorter, author of Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama and the Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution. She won the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction for this book. We're also joined on the telephone by long-time civil rights activist, Reverend Joseph Lowery, co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, involved in the 1950s, even before Rosa Parks refused to stand up, in desegregating the South, particularly transportation, and was this weekend in Montgomery, Alabama, for the service, the memorial service for Rosa Parks. We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Reverend Lowery, your memory of Rosa Parks in the 1950s, when you would come up from Mobile to Montgomery to support her in the bus boycott?
REV. JOSEPH LOWERY: Well, she was a mild-mannered activist. She was deceptive in her demeanor. You would never expect her to be as -- inside as fiery and courageous as she really was, and so when they called me in Mobile and told me she was the person who sparked the boycott, I was surprised and amused and, of course, delighted, because she was a wonderful woman who did not act as a soloist. While she was alone on the bus, she was part of a movement. She was active in the NAACP, and long before she refused to give up her seat on the bus, she engaged in voter registration drives, in helping young people understand the struggle, and even after the boycott, she continued to work in the movement. So, she was part of an organized effort to change America and to as a seamstress, not only a seamstress on clothes, but a seamstress on the fabric of American democracy. It needed mending, and she was the person God chose to do it at this moment in history.
A 1974 headline - "THE WATERGATE CRISIS, AN OPPORTUNITY FOR CHANGE..."
"The Watergate crisis represents a conflict in the American establishment brought on by the Indochina War, giving the peace movement its best chance yet to finally end U.S. involvement..."
So concluded "A Strategy To End the War", a working paper of the Indochina Peace Campaign, in 1974. The IPC was a network in key states which carried out public education and pressured Congress from the grass roots to sign a "peace pledge" to end direct US military involvement, cut off police aid, and support a political settlement.
The "Watergate opportunity" arose from the Republican Administration subverting the democratic process by breaking laws in pursuit of an unachievable victory in Indochina. Watergate revealed to centrist opinion at the highest levels that Nixon's Vietnam policies were not worth the price in domestic abuse of power.
The war ended in early 1975 when the Congress terminated military aid, ten years after the authorized the US invasion after the fabricated Gulf of Tonkin "incident."
Is history repeating itself today? The scandal rocking the Bush Administration is about "how the [White House] manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to bolster its case for the war in Iraq and to discredit anyone who dared to challenge the president", in the apt words of Sen. Harry Reid.
Nixon aides went after Pentagon and RAND analyst Daniel Ellsberg, stealing documents from his therapist's office in search of damaging personal information. In the current scandal, the "Ellsberg" character is former Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his agent/wife Valerie Plame. Both Ellsberg and Wilson had to be destroyed because they were revealing the fabrications underlying the rationale for war, the Pentagon Papers and the forged Niger documents.
Lyle e-mails to note Ruth Conniff's "The White House's Bad Week" (Ruth Conniff's Online Column, The Progressive):
The damage control cycle has started, and the frantic spinning shows how low the Republicans have sunk. You have to give a big E for effort to William Safire, who said on Meet the Press on Sunday that "there's always a narrative in Washington," and since the current "narrative" is the travails of the Bush Administration, the "new" narrative will shortly be Bush's comeback. How heartening to think that any time a White House is in trouble it follows, like the night follows the day, that the President will arise triumphant in the next news cycle. Not to be a nattering nabob of negativism, but surely Safire, as a former Nixon White House staffer, can remember a few exceptions to this cheery rule.
Last week, the Republicans were floating the notion that perjury and obstruction of justice are not serious crimes(quick, everyone, erase your memories of these same rightwingers' high dudgeon during the Clinton impeachment). Then came Friday's press conference by the straight-shooting special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, which obliterated that strategy. Fitzgerald demonstrated in his indictment of Scooter Libby both an unavoidably distasteful pattern of lying in this Administration, and the gravity of the underlying issue. Fitzgerald hasn't nailed down Libby for intentionally unmasking a covert CIA agent, he explained (the law is written in such a way as to make that a difficult feat). But in the details of Libby's conversations with reporters divulging that agent's identity, the seriousness and seaminess of what Libby did is clear.
The new Republican talking point is that Libby alone is responsible for his own bad behavior. Yet the indictment points out that he first learned Valerie Plame's identity from Dick Cheney. And the gossip Libby helped generate, attempting to discredit Joe Wilson by unmasking his wife, had a malicious aim that benefited the whole Administration--not Libby as an individual.
Lyle notes that he did listen to The Laura Flanders Show Sunday and asks that we note the archives (at Air America Place). If you missed it, you can listen via Air America Place. (I will later in the week. I had it on but was so sick and so out of it, I can't tell you much of what was discussed.)
Outside the violent city of Mosul lies the last checkpoint of the Kurdish militia, or peshmerga. The gunmen control a bridge where the dusty rolling land of the northern Mesopotamian plain tucks itself into a seam along the Al Kazir River. In a few months these fields will be green with winter wheat, but now they are wind-swept, pale and desiccated. The yellow late-afternoon sun casts long shadows.
From a hilltop redoubt, the peshmerga watch but do not control three majority-Arab villages clustered along the winding, silted river below. At the bridge they search cars for explosives and weapons and check the identities of Arab drivers headed east from the hell that is Mosul toward the secure enclave of Erbil, the Kurdish capital.
At the checkpoint there is no Iraqi flag flying, only the banner of greater Kurdistan, which nationalists say includes parts of Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran. "We are working for the future, not for now. We want an independent Kurdistan. We want to defend our real borders. And we want America to help," says the peshmerga's commanding officer as we sip hot tea and lean into the wake of his desk fan.
All the outward signs at this checkpoint indicate that Kurdish independence is imminent and that Iraq will soon break apart. The new Constitution can also be read as hastening Iraq's end by allowing groups of provinces to create semi-autonomous regions, possible mini-states. Many observers fear this will lead to massive intercommunal war--ending with an oil-rich Kurdistan in the north, an oil-rich Shiite state in the south and a badly wounded, festering Sunni-dominated rump of Iraq in the middle.
Some experts actually argue for such a breakup of Iraq, believing that creating three substates will avoid a wider war. The most prominent advocates of this position are Leslie Gelb of the Council on Foreign Relations and Peter Galbraith, a former US Ambassador to Croatia. Over the summer Galbraith, an adviser to the Kurds who is highly critical of the Bush Administration's Iraq policy, laid out this case in a widely read piece for The New York Review of Books. Since then, among the chattering classes of the United States, something like a Galbraithian consensus has developed that sees the "invented" postcolonial nation of Iraq as inevitably headed for disintegration and Kurdistan as already de facto independent.
Yet on the ground in Kurdistan these assumptions begin to fall apart. The region's ties to Iraq are quite strong. At the same time, Kurdistan's internal divisions are surprisingly intense. Just as the Shiites in the south have been fighting among themselves--followers of Sadr versus the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq--so too is the political culture of Kurdistan defined by the fault lines of class, tribe, party and ethnicity; there is no monolithic Kurdish state ready to emerge. Most important, Kurdish leaders are keenly aware that the United States has not given them a green light to seek total independence. The Kurds, landlocked and surrounded by enemies, are candid about not wishing to alienate their new patron, Uncle Sam.
Erika e-mails to note Kim Gandy's "Misery and Glee" (Below the Belt, NOW):
While we're savoring the latest good news, let's also savor the memory of a true hero.
Rosa Parks' simple yet profound act of courage on December 1, 1955, spurred a nationwide movement for basic human rights for all people of color. Her name is known far and wide -- but most people don't know the full story. Parks had been active in the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP for over twenty years before she refused to give up her seat that December day. She advised local youth, helped organize voter registration drives, and even traveled to out of state conferences to learn how to desegregate schools.
Her sitting down on that bus during rush hour was no act of weariness -- it was an act of defiance. She was challenging an unjust law. She had spent decades working for justice, and put herself on the line for what she believed in, civil rights and equal justice for all. Sound familiar? She was us. Her life and her role as "Mother of the Civil Rights Movement" is a testament to what activists can achieve.
Remember Rosa Parks when you start to get discouraged or feel like your activism doesn't accomplish anything. As Gandhi said, "Whatever you do may seem insignificant to you, but it is most important that you do it." So keep up the great work! Who knows which one of the countless actions we do will be the spark that touches off the next revolution?
Following in her Footsteps
If you're of a mind to start right now doing something Rosa Parks would have done, consider joining me in New Orleans in a week, on Monday, November 7th, for a protest march across the Gretna Bridge. I'll be joining Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.), Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus, and other leaders and activists as we take back the bridge that hundreds of bedraggled Katrina survivors, mostly black, tried to cross to escape the floodwaters and the chaos of the Convention Center.
According to eyewitness reports, they were stopped at gunpoint by Gretna police and local sheriffs, who fired shots over their heads to turn them back into the city. We will be rallying on Monday morning at 10am at the Convention Center, and then marching across the bridge, also called the Crescent City Connection. Please encourage friends and family in the Gulf area to join us in this protest, and to come early for hands-on community service on Sunday as well.
Two years ago I started this blog...originally to promote my play - "The Rules of Embedment or Why Are We Back In Iraq?" (sample scenes can be read at the bottom of this page)
Although I had a few readings that went well, my producer dropped out, and I had no funds or connections to go any further. After toying with political satire for a spell I started blogging like everyone else in the spring of 2004.
But it wasn't until I wrote this little story - on November 6, 2004 - about the Bush family connections to Project P.U.L.L. co-founder Ernie Ladd, "Cocaine, Wrestling & George Bush," that I realized I could do more than just blog my opinions. So - laugh if you want - I became an investigative blogger.
A few days ago Jay Rosen asked me to work on a guest post at Press Think, which was quite an honor since he's been a huge inspiration and influence on my work.
So here's a link to "Does The New York Times Have a Learning Disability?" (My original title was "More Than Curious, Less Than Learning," and...heh...in the first draft I played like Donald Trump and advocated the termination of four Times people but we toned it down some)
I guess you can say "propaganda" is the theme of Why Are We Back In Iraq? The play and the blog.
If you're coming here for the first time...here's some of the work I've done that I'm most proud of...including articles published at Raw Story that I worked on:
Its been years of waiting and months of anticipating but that old saw about no one being above the law came to pass with the indictment of Vice President Cheney's consigliare L."Scooter" Libby. The trial may be years away but he is out of there and the Bush Administration which came to office with a deceptive campaign and an illicit election, and then launched a war based on more lies, has finally been knocked off its perch -- at least a little. The prosecutor did not charge Libby under the law penalizing the release of information about intelligence agents, but he did find evidence of lying. Libby, who knows fiction well because he is also a novelist, is going down -- if not to jail, then certainly down in the court of public opinion. He has resigned.
The Washington Post" Libby faces obstruction of justice, false statement and perjury charges. President Bush's top political strategist, Karl Rove, is spared."
Here's part of the indictment which you can read in full on the Washington Post site:
On or about June 9, 2003, a number of classified documents from the CIA were faxed to the Office of the Vice President to the personal attention of LIBBY and another person in the Office of the Vice President. The faxed documents, which were marked as classified, discussed, among other things, Wilson and his trip to Niger, but did not mention Wilson by name. After receiving these documents, LIBBY and one or more other persons in the Office of the Vice President handwrote the names "Wilson" and "Joe Wilson" on the documents. 6. On or about June 11 or 12, 2003, the Under Secretary of State orally advised LIBBY in the White House that, in sum and substance, Wilson's wife worked at the CIA and that State Department personnel were saying that Wilson's wife was involved in the planning of his trip.
To this day, there has been no independent official inquiry into the attacks of September 11, 2001. The Kean Commission, with which most Americans are familiar, was based on the Bush/PNAC version of events. It was charged with probing the breakdown of intelligence prior to the attacks and making suggestions for improving communications among the competing agencies involved. The Commission, formed after more than a year of opposition by the Bush administration, did not repeat...did NOT investigate or report about the causes of the attacks.
Far more important -- to this day there has not been a single piece of evidence presented to the public that corroborates the official government version of the most devastating attack in our history. Think about that. For more than four years, scores of credible experts have challenged the explanations offered by the Bush administration, and yet not a shred of evidence has been offered by the US government to support the official version of events they claim took place on that day.
Even more absurd is that fact that not a single official inquiry has attempted to respond to, discredit, or refute the questions that have been raised. On the contrary, both the American government and the complicit media have dealt with the every single challenge to the 9/11 explanations in two ways. They either totally ignore them or dismiss them out of hand as ridiculous conspiracy theories. Most of the well-researched and revealing findings by independent investigators are unknown to the vast majority of Americans.
"Rosa Parks, the African American seamstress who refused to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Ala., 50 years ago and lent a spark to the beginnings of the modern civil rights movement, will make history again as the first woman ever to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda, after the House today passed a resolution permitting the tribute," writes Petula Dvorak in the Washington Post.
Since her death Monday in Detroit at age 92, churches, civic organizations and individuals have clamored to pay tribute to Parks. Among them was Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.). Parks had worked in Conyers's Detroit office for more than 20 years.
After looking at the list of tributes he envisioned since her death -- " a statue, a stamp, a resolution, a memorial service" -- Conyers said it occurred to him that only the vigil reserved for statesmen or warriors would be right. He authored the resolution to permit Parks to lie in honor inside the Capitol.
"We think having her body lie in honor in the Rotunda is probably the most expressive way that we in government can let everyone know that the legacy of Rosa Parks is embraced by the federal legislature," Conyers said yesterday. "I must say that the bipartisan support has been excellent."
It would be the first time a woman has been so honored and one of the few occasions for a citizen who did not hold an elected office.
November 01, 2005
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Event: An Independent Reporter's View of the War in Iraq
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada - at the Centre St. Pierre, Room 100, 1212 Panet (métro Beaudry)
Time and Date: Tuesday, 1 November 7 pm
The presentation and Q&A will be simultaneously translated (real time) to French; organized by "Échec à la guerre" and "OCVC".
For more info contact: legaultr (at) colba (dot) net
November 02, 2005
Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine
Event: Dahr Jamail - Independent Reporters View of the War in Iraq
Location: Kresge Auditorium of the Visual Arts Center(on Upper Park Row - runs parallel with Maine Street)Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine
For more info contact: Kate Harris, 207.833.6569 or kate(at)earthlovers.org
Co-sponsors include: AFSC New England, AFSC Maine Committee on Youth and Militarism, Greater Brunswick PeaceWorks, Maine chapter of the Women's League for International Peace & Freedom (WILPF), the Green Horizon Foundation, Peace Action Maine, Maine Chapter 001 of Veterans for Peace, Bowdoin-Democratic Socialists of America and Global Justice (Bowdoin)
November 03, 2005
Event: Eyes Wide Open Exhibit - Dahr Jamail will be a featured speaker
Location: Boston, MA - Paulist Center, 5 Park
Time and Date: Thursday, 3 Nov, 7 pm
More info please visit: The Eyes Wide Open Web Page: http://www.afsc.org/eyes/details/boston/common.htm
Details: Dahr Jamail will be a featured speaker along members of Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Parents for Peace, and an Iraq Veterans for Peace
Contact Info: email jlederer (at) afsc (dot) org or email jgerson (at) afsc (dot) org for additional information or call 617-661-6130
Tufts University, Boston, MA
Event: Dahr Jamail - an Independent Reporter's View of the War in Iraq
Location: Robinson 253, Tufts University, Boston
Date and Time: Thursday, 3 Nov, 3pm
For more info contact: Jospeph Gerson, JGerson (at) afsc (dot) org
November 04, 2005
Event: Dahr Jamail- An independent U.S. journalist presents a thought-provoking analysis of what the American presence in Iraq means.
Date and Time: Friday, November 4th @ 7:30 pm
Location: The Independent Christian Church (Unitarian-Universalist) 10 Church St., Gloucester, MA
Contact: Susan Nicholson 978-283-5030
Sponsored by: North Shore Coalition for Peace & Justice, Cape Ann Forum, Veterans for Peace: Samantha Smith Chapter, Womens Action for New Directions (WAND, Newburyport), First Universalist Church of Essex
ALL ARE WELCOME DONATIONS APPRECIATED
Download the Flyer
November 05, 2005
Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Event: Dahr Jamail - an Independent Reporter's View of the War in Iraq
Location: Olin Humanities Building, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Time and Date: Saturday, 5 Nov, 7 pm
More Details: 857.204.9924 or kate.crockford (at) gmail (dot) com
November 06, 2005
Port Chester, New York
Event: Dahr Jamail Speaks About Iraq
Location: 225 King Street (near train station) Port Chester, New York
Time and Date: Sunday, November 6, at 6:30 p.m.
More information: mfox36 (at) netzero (dot) com
November 07, 2005
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
Event: Peace Project presents Dahr Jamail
Location: Northwestern University, Evanston Campus. Leverone Hall, Coon Forum Room 2001 Sheridan Road Evanston, IL
Date and Time: Monday, November 7th 7 pm
Information: The event is free and open to the public.
November 09, 2005
Event: Dahr Jamail presenting at CalPoly Pomona
Location: Campus Forum at CalPoly, Students Union in the Centaurus Room
Time and Date: noon-1 presentation
For more info: schico (at) oxy (dot) edu
Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA
Event: Dahr Jamail speaks at Occidental College
Location: Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA. In Weingart, room #117
Time and Date: Wednesday, November 9th, at 7:00pm
Directions to Occidental and Weingart: http://www.oxy.edu/x2160.xml Weingart is building #17 on the campus map and parking structure is #43, just north of Weingart.
November 10, 2005
Pomona College, Claremont, California
Event: Independent Journalist Dahr Jamail Reports on the situation in Iraq
Location: Pomona College, Oldenborg Center
Time and Date: 12 O'clock Noon, Thursday, November 10
More Information: Email HLW04747 (at) pomona (dot) edu or Rita_Bashaw (at) pomona (dot) edu
That's all events posted for November.
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