Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Democracy Now: Nader on Miers, Gen. says cut and run; Cindy Sheehan, Carol Leif, Eleanor Smeal, Joshua Frank ...

AMY GOODMAN: What have you been writing to Harriet Miers?

RALPH NADER: Well, we're trying to find out whether Karl Rove, during the 2004 election, obeyed federal law and properly allocated the time he spent in the White House on political activity, the resources he spent in the White House on political activity from his taxpayer funded role as special assistant to the President, performing duties that are well defined. And we can't get an answer. We wrote her -- Harriet Miers, that is -- in March, asking for an allocation to be made public, if there was an allocation, and there was no answer. We wrote her on the 18th of July, and there was no answer. And today, I'm writing President Bush, asking that that allocation be made public and if there is no allocation, what is his explanation under federal law?

The performance by Harriet Miers on this matter is not trivial. Karl Rove was the architect of President Bush's re-election campaign. Those were the words that President Bush used on the celebration after the election last November. And here we have the counsel to the President, Harriet Miers, a nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States, refusing to answer a simple letter that basically says, "Did Karl Rove obey federal law 5-USC-7321 and have an accounting, separating his duties in the White House, in terms of time and resources? And if so, make it public." No answer.

The above is from "Ralph Nader Debates Fmr. Boston Univ. Law School Dean on Miers Nomination to the Supreme Court" on today's Democracy Now! and was selected by Marcia and Third Party. Democracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says):

Headlines for October 4, 2005

- Tom Delay Indicted Again For Money Laundering
- Questions Raised Over Harriet Miers Nomination
- U.S. Launches Second Major Offense in Western Iraq
- Sunnis Accuses Shiites Of Fixing Vote on Constitution
- Prisoners Evacuated from Katrina Report Being Beaten
- DynCorp Bodyguard Beat Journalists in Haiti
- Senate Panel Oks Allowing Pentagon Spies to Operate in U.S.
- 460 Undocumented Immigrants Die Crossing Border

Ralph Nader Debates Fmr. Boston Univ. Law School Dean on Miers Nomination to Supreme Court

President Bush reached into his inner circle and nominated Harriet Miers - his White House counsel and former personal attorney - the Supreme Court on Monday. We host a debate with former presidential candidate Ralph Nader and Ronald Cass of the Committee for Justice. [includes rush transcript - partial]

Ret. Army General William Odom: U.S. Should "Cut and Run" From Iraq

What's wrong with cutting and running? That's the question asked by retired Army general William Odom about the continued US military presence in Iraq. Odom says, "I'm trying to think like a strategist, and in war, as well as in politics and diplomacy, one has to know when to withdraw and when to attack. This was a misguided act and it requires a strategic division and moral confidence to turn it around."

Inequality in the Wake of Katrina: A Debate on Bush's Child Tax Credit

A new study shows that the child tax credit does not benefit almost half of African-American and Latino children - and it turns out that the children who see the least benefit from the credit are in Mississippi and Louisiana. We host a debate with the Children's Research and Education Institute and the Heritage Foundation.

Bankruptcy After Katrina: Who Wins, Who Loses?

President Bush's bankruptcy bill, passed by Congress in April, is taking effect later this month. Four congressmembers are now calling for victims of hurricane Katrina to be exempt from certain provisions of the law. We speak with the Consumer Federation of America.

Maria e-mails to note Cindy Sheehan's "War-Hawk Republicans and Anti-War Democrats: What's the Difference?" (The Huffington Post):

The past week in DC found me in many offices of our elected officials: Senators, Congresspersons, pro-war, "anti-war," Democrat, Republican. With a few notable exceptions, all our employees toed party lines.

Thanks to those who met with me, because, except for Sen. Barbara Boxer, (D-Ca), I was not their constituent. And I believe the Republicans who met with me, whether they knew it or not, were breaking with their leader on this, since he was too cowardly to meet with me.

The War Hawks I met with made my skin crawl. They so obviously are supporting a war that is not in our nation's best nterest, nor is it making us more secure. I heard from Sens. Dole (R-NC) and McCain (R-AZ), and Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO) about 9/11 and "fighting them over there, so we don't have to fight them over there." That made me sick. George Bush and his lying band of imperialist greed mongers exploited 9/11 and our national terror of other terrorist attacks to invade a country that had nothing to do with the attacks on our country. Now, in the aftermath of those lies, tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians are dead and almost 2000 of our brave young men and women. What makes the Iraqi babies and families less precious than ours? The crime that these people committed was being born at the wrong place at the wrong time. George took his war OF terror to their doorsteps. I even asked Sen. Dole when she thought the occupation would be able to end and she was incredulous that I would even think of Iraq as an occupation, she sees it as a liberation. I really wanted to know how many of them do we have to kill before she considered that they were liberated.

Martha e-mails to note Carol's "Georgie and Harriet" (A New Leif, Ms.):

Do you remember the day that George W. Bush nominated John Roberts to replace Sandra Day O'Connor? It was a complete surprise. We never heard his name mentioned in the lead-up to the nomination. It wasn't until a few hours later that we learned his views, from his writings and speeches, on the most important issues of our time. So today, when George W. Bush filled the O'Connor vacancy for the second time, we knew to wait to find out more about Harriet Miers.

It is later. Now we know. Harriet Miers is a sixty-year-old woman. That's about it.

Sure, I'm exaggerating, but we really know very little about this nominee. And what we do know is confusing to say the least.

We know of $150 she gave to a pro-life group in Texas, but she contributed to the Al Gore campaign. See, confusing. Harry Reid likes her. Conservatives like Bill Kristol and Pat Buchanan are "dismayed" and "disheartened." Okay, that's a good sign, I guess. You gotta like anything that upsets Pat Buchanan.

Joe e-mails to note Eleanor Smeal's "Miers: A Stealth Woman Candidate; Are We Surprised?" (The Smeal Report, Ms.):

Here's what we know now. She has broken some barriers for women -- she was the first woman to lead a major Texas law firm, the first woman president of the Dallas Bar Association, and the first woman president of the Texas Bar Association. Also, she appears to be an advocate for pro bono legal services for poor people and was a champion for Dallas Legal Services.

On important constitutional rights issues, we know Miers sponsored an unsuccessful resolution that sought to change the American Bar Association's position supporting abortion rights. We know as a member of the Dallas City Council she opposed a redistricting plan supported by African Americans and Latinos that aimed to increase minority representation on the city council. At that time, minorities were actually a majority of the city population, but only held two of the 11 city council seats.

Miers' corporate law firm of Locke, Purnell, Rain, Harrell (now known as Locke, Liddell & Sapp) was sued in 1992 for sexual discrimination. The case was ended in a confidential settlement. Miers became president of the firm in 1996.

And we know she is a very loyal friend of George W. Bush. She served as his personal lawyer during his second gubernatorial race (1998) in charge of handling preemptively a then-potential scandal on Bush's National Guard service. Bush, as governor, named Miers to the scandal-ridden Texas Lottery Commission. We will all hear more about this, no doubt. She subsequently argued in a brief to a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that Bush and Cheney, although both seemingly from Texas, could run together.

Eddie e-mails to note Joshua Frank's "The Scoop on Harriet Miers" (CounterPunch):

So you thought that Harriet Miers, George W. Bush's new Supreme Court pick has no paper trail. You were wrong. One of Miers only qualifications for the high court -- as she hasn't an ounce of judicial experience -- is that she was the head of Locke, Liddell & Sapp; a sleazy corporate law firm based in Dallas, Texas.

According to the InterNet Bankruptcy Library (IBL), Locke Liddell & Sapp paid $22 million in a suit alleging it aided a client in defrauding investors. The Dallas-based firm agreed in April of 2000 to settle a suit stemming from its representation of Russell Erxleben, a former University of Texas football star whose foreign currency trading company, Austin Forex International, was a pyramid get-rich Ponzi scheme.
Erxleben later pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and securities-fraud charges. "It's a very simple legal proposition: a lawyer can't help people steal money," George, of George & Donaldson told reporters at the time. George's firm had represented investors who lost close to $34 million in Erxleben's company.

All this was going on while Harriet Miers was co-managing partner of the law firm at the time. Miers denied that settling the suit indicted that they her firm was somehow complicated in Erxleben's criminal activities. "Obviously, we evaluated that this was the right time to settle and to resolve this matter and that it was in the best interest of the firm to do so," Miers said.

[Note: This morning, we noted Jeffrey St. Clair's "The Great Green Scare" (CounterPunch). The link provided this morning takes you to the main page. Click here for St. Clair's article and it will be corrected tonight. My apologies.]

KeShawn e-mails to note Earl Ofari Hutchinson's "GOP silent on Bennett's race trash talk" (The Chicago Defender):

The reaction was swift and angry to former Reagan honcho William Bennett's oddball racist crack that aborting Black babies could reduce crime. The problem though was that those that instantly denounced Bennett were all Democrats. Even as calls were made for an apology, or his firing from his syndicated national radio show, neither President Bush or any other top GOP leader said a mumbling word about Bennett. Eventually the White House, forced to say something in the face of the storm, issued a weak, milk toast statement that called Bennett's comments "inappropriate."

At first glance, the delay seemed especially strange since Bush, Republican National Chair Ken Mehlman, and top Republican strategist Karl Rove, have barnstormed throughout the country wining and dining every Black group that will give them a hearing, and have spent millions to back up their public pledge to make the Republican Party racially inclusive. That raised some hope that their much vaunted outreach effort might stop the crude race baiting that many Republicans had turned into a fine art. Even the tout by Senate Majority leader designate Trent Lott of segregation that touched off a furor a few years back didn't totally smash that hope. Though it took nearly a week for Bush to make a stumbling, kind-of, sort of disavowal of Lott, it was still a faint signal to Senate Republicans to dump Lott from his post.

Danny Schechter's "Media Coverage Disappearing in the Iraq War 'Endgame'" (Media Channel) is something many attempted to read this weekend but the traffic must have been too high because e-mails complain about error messages. If you missed it, you can read it now, as Lily points out in her e-mail. Here's an excerpt:


There will be a "final offensive" against those faceless insurgents, with more blood-letting as a luxury hotel goes up in the Green Zone. There will not be a inquiry into how billions of dollars were siphoned off or stolen, or whether British or U.S. troops are inflaming tensions. The incident of British troops caught red-handed in Basra will be forgotten in the fog of war.

Some American troops will soon start coming home, while the rest will be moved into the permanent bases built to house them. As a civil war erupts, we will officially step to the side, behind the stance that what matters is not who is right, just who is left. It's their country -- pundits like Friedman tell us repeatedly -- but only when we agree with what do.

Those who produced this war have started signaling that the final act is coming and the curtain is going down.

The American people are being kept in the dark about what is really happening, as less and less reporting is allowed to trickle out. We will continue to hear from hotel-based journalists offering stand-ups from the rooftops about the daily incidents and suicide bombs. But analyses of what those actions really mean -- or who is behind them -- are shifted to the back of the newspaper and lower down in the newscast.

In other words, getting the news out does not guarantee how it will be placed or treated.

What was a media war in Iraq is becoming a war on the media. And the goal of this war is to drive the Iraq war and its memory from our minds.

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