Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Democracy Now: Rosa Parks remembered, John Conyers, Melvin Goodman, Nick Turse, Robert Parry, Christine (Cupaiuolo, Pop Politics) ...

Civil Rights Pioneer Rosa Parks 1913-2005
Civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks has died at the age of 92. It was 50 years ago this December that she refused to relinquish her seat to a white man aboard a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. She was arrested and convicted of violating the state's segregation laws. Her act of resistance led to a 13-month boycott of the Montgomery bus system that would spark the civil rights movement. The boycott would also help transform a 26-year-old preacher named Martin Luther King Junior to national prominence. In 1958 King wrote "no one can understand the action of Mrs. Parks unless he realizes that eventually the cup of endurance runs over, and the human personality cries out, 'I can take it no longer.''' Parks had been involved in the fight for freedom since the 1940s. She was active in the NAACP, helped raise money to defend the Scottsboro rape case and attended trainings at the Highlander Folk School of Tennessee. The Rev. Jesse Jackson said yesterday ''She sat down in order that we might stand up. Paradoxically, her imprisonment opened the doors for our long journey to freedom.'' Henry Louis Gates Jr called her "the Harriet Tubman of our time." After he was freed from jail Nelson Mandela recalled how Parks had inspired him and others in the South African struggle against apartheid. We'll have more on Rosa Parks in a few minutes.

Report: Cheney Gave CIA Agent's Name to Libby
This update on the CIA leak case - The New York Times is reporting today that it was Vice President Dick Cheney who first informed his chief of staff Lewis Scooter Libby that Valerie Plame was an undercover CIA operative. Lawyers involved in the case say the two discussed Plame on June 12, 2003 - weeks before she was outted in the press. Plame is the wife of former U.S. ambassador Joseph Wilson, who has accused the White House of outing his wife because he had publicly criticized the Iraq war. Cheney reportedly learned of Plame from then CIA director George Tenet. This development raises new questions about whether Libby mislead the grand jury. Previous reports indicate Libby told investigators that he learned of Plame's identity from members of the press. Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is expected to seek indictments this week.


U.S. Death Toll Nears 2000
And the U.S. death toll in Iraq is creeping closer to 2,000. The military has announced a Marine died in Ramadi on Sunday brining the death toll to 1997. Anti-war activists have organized over 300 protests to take place across the country on the day after the US announces the 2000th U.S. soldier killed. On Monday Cindy Sheehan announced she and other peace activists will begin holding a daily vigil each night this week outside the White House


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

Headlines for October 25, 2005

- Civil Rights Pioneer Rosa Parks 1913-2005
- Report: Cheney Gave CIA Agent's Name to Libby
- Coordinated Attack Strikes Hotel Housing Journalists in Iraq
- Iraq Constitution Approved Despite Sunni Opposition
- U.S. Death Toll Nears 2000
- U.S. Senator Accuses George Galloway of Lying
- Cheney Lobbies for CIA Exemption to Torture Ban
- Israeli Troops Kill Top Islamic Jihad Commander
Rosa Parks 1913-2005: We Air A Rare 1956 Interview With Parks During the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks has died at the age of 92. It was 50 years ago this December that she refused to relinquish her seat to a white man aboard a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Her act of resistance led to a 13-month boycott of the Montgomery bus system that would spark the civil rights movement. We go back to 1956 to air a rare interview aired on KPFA with Parks. [includes rush transcript]

AMY GOODMAN: We go back to 1956, in the midst of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. In April of that year, Rosa Parks spoke with Pacifica station, KPFA, about her decision just four months earlier not to move to the back of the bus. The interview comes from the Pacifica Radio Archives.

    ROSA PARKS: I left work on my way home, December 1, 1955, about 6:00 in the afternoon. I boarded the bus Downtown Montgomery on Court Square. As the bus proceeded out of town on the third stop, the white passengers had filled the front of the bus. When I got on the bus, the rear was filled with colored passengers, and they were beginning to stand. The seat I occupied was the first of the seats where the Negro passengers take as they -- on this route. The driver noted that the front of the bus was filled with white passengers, and there would be two or three men standing. He looked back and asked that the seat where I had taken, along with three other persons, one in a seat with me and two across where I was seated. He demanded the seats that we were occupying. The other passengers there reluctantly gave up their seats. But I refused to do so.

John Conyers On Rosa Parks: “She Earned the Title as Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.”

We speak with Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan), who worked with Parks for over a decade. Conyers remembers Parks’ life and speaks about the possibility of a state funeral and a national “Rosa Parks day.” [includes rush transcript]

AMY GOODMAN: What are the adjectives you would use to describe Rosa Parks?

JOHN CONYERS: She was a humble person. That's the first term, I think, that would come to mind. Also, that she was very resolute. She happened to be a religious person, as well, and she took her Bible and the teachings quite seriously. But she also believed in Constitutional government, and she believed that a civil rights movement was going to be necessary. And I think that that combination of considerations led her to one day, coming home from work, decide that she would not obey the segregation laws of Alabama and would face arrest, incarceration, trial, imprisonment as a result of it. And she had deep religious convictions, but she also believed very strongly that the Constitutional requirement of equality and freedom was something that had to be initiated and continued.

And she earned her title as Mother of the Civil Rights Movement. There wasn't any question about that, because out of the bus boycott came this young new minister from Boston named Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., 26 years old. And that really not only sparked the 380-day bus boycott that then led to a federal suit that struck down desegregation, not only in the buses, but it was interpreted to extend to all forms of desegregation, of which there was plenty. And it wasn't all in the South. There was desegregation in the North, as well.

Cheney's Role in CIA Leak Exposed: NYT Says Cheney Gave Valerie Plame's Name to Libby

We speak to former CIA analyst Melvin Goodman on the latest development in the CIA leak case. The New York Times is reporting today that Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff Lewis Scooter Libby first learned the identity of the CIA operative from his boss – Dick Cheney.
The Fallen Legion: Casualties of the Bush Administration

Several dozen government officials have vacated their posts since the Bush administration took office. We speak with Nick Turse about some of the more well-known figures who compile the list of "the fallen."
["Nick Turse, associate editor of TomDispatch.com. His most recent article is titled "The Fallen Legion: Casualties of the Bush Administration."]
Our latter day Dylan has left "My Back Pages" (yesterday's review of . . . his own reviews) to offer this:
Excited pseudo-liberals don't care about this; they enjoy misstatements made by their own team. But this kind of who-gives-a-sh*t work is typical of the grinding dysfunction defining the Times in the past fifteen years. Judy Miller is getting slammed now--but ____'s misstatements sit uncorrected. Today, the Post addresses this matter, quite late. The Times doesn’t give a sh*t still.
OMG!  Has our latter day Dylan finally addressed the issue of Matt Cooper? 
Keep holding your breath on that.  He's hunting Nicky K today.  Matt Cooper?  Not mentioned. 
In real news, Wally cell phoned this morning.  There is no new edition of The Daily Jot today, but he is fine.  He's at his grandfather's and they have no power.  (Wally's in Florida for visitors who are scratching their heads.)  Beth's also passed on that she's fine and that her area wasn't effected.  Gina and Krista hope to have a special edition of the gina & krista round-robin sent out this evening so check that for news on our Florida community members. 
Zach e-mails to note Robert Parry's "On Syria, the NYT Still Doesn't Get It" (Consortium News):

It's finally dawning on the New York Times how thoroughly it was spun on the fictions about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, but the "newspaper of record" is showing the same credulity about the emerging Syrian crisis.

"Some deeply troubling facts about the murder of Rafik Hariri, Lebanon's former prime minister, have now been established by a tough and meticulous United Nations investigation," the Times wrote in an Oct. 25 editorial demanding punishment for top Syrian and Lebanese officials supposedly implicated by the report.

But the problem with the Times editorial is that the report by German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis is anything but "meticulous," reading more like a compilation of circumstantial evidence and conspiracy theories than a dispassionate pursuit of the evidence. [See Consortiumnews.com's "The Dangerously Incomplete Hariri Report."]

Mehlis's report, for instance, fails to follow up a key lead, the Japanese identification of the Mitsubishi Canter Van that apparently carried the explosives used in the Feb. 14 bombing that killed Hariri. The van was reported stolen in Sagamihara City, Japan, on Oct. 12, 2004, but Mehlis's report indicates no effort to investigate how the vehicle got from the island of Japan to Beirut.

The report also relies heavily on the testimony of a dubious witness. According to the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, the witness -- Zuhir Ibn Mohamed Said Saddik -- is a convicted swindler who also was caught in lies by the U.N. investigative team.

Der Spiegel reported, too, that the intermediary for Saddik's testimony was Syrian dissident Rifaat al-Assad, who opposes the regime of his nephew President Bashar Assad, and that Saddik apparently was paid for supplying his testimony. Saddik called his brother from Paris in late summer and declared, "I've become a millionaire," the brother said, according to Der Spiegel.

Contradictory Accounts

Saddik's account also contradicts the testimony of another supposed witness, who is not identified by name in the Mehlis report. These two central witnesses offer conflicting accounts about the alleged role of the Lebanese youth, Ahmad Abu Adass, who claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing in a videotape released to al-Jazeera television after the Hariri assassination.

Maria notes this from Christine's "Lifetime Wears Its Politics On Its Screen" (Pop Politics):

Without further ado, Matthew Gilbert of the Boston Globe writes that the Lifetime miniseries Human Trafficking is "hard to watch," mostly because "it relentlessly depicts the brutal torture of young women who've been kidnapped and sold into sex slavery."

Two of the movie's most grueling scenes have parents of the victims witnessing their child's abuse. Desperate to find his daughter, Nadia's father goes undercover into the sex trade, where he accidentally sees a video of his daughter being raped. And Annie gets hold of a cellphone and calls her mother, who then hears Annie getting raped. Obviously, these scenes are geared to stir even the most heartless of viewers, and they work. But they do indicate the movie's moments of manipulative excess, as it so desperately wants to politicize viewers against its subject. Know going into ''Human Trafficking" that it fully plans to make you writhe in disgust.

The two-part series begins tonight at 9 p.m. Gilbert adds that it suffers from a "half-baked cop-drama plot," but Alessandra Stanley of the The New York Times gives Human Trafficking props for avoiding "the seedy sensationalism that cheapens so many television depictions of the crime. And it is unusually good: a harsh public-service message built into a clever, suspenseful thriller."

Last week, NYT reported on Lifetime's comfortableness with its role as a political activist network. In "Lifetime's Place Is in the House (and Senate)," Kate Aurthur reports:

In recent years, however, Lifetime has promoted its issue-oriented programming by tying it to direct appeals to viewers to improve their lives. In April, for instance, after the broadcast of "Terror at Home," a documentary about domestic abuse, the National Domestic Violence Hotline had a 7,000 percent increase in calls.


Part II of Human Trafficking airs tonight.
Natalie e-mails to note Anne's "A Day In the Park" (Peevish...I'm Just Saying):

From one of our free, local, independent rags (Denver Daily News):

"It is really important for us to let young people know how magnificent our world is and our country is and how important it is for them to be outside to experience nature like all of us got to when we were children," Laura Bush told a Denver group Thursday.

She thinks kids watch too much television and spend too much time on-line and wants to help "raise $10 million for the National Park Foundation's Junior Ranger program, which teaches children about national parks."

Which they should learn, before her husband and his cronies fill the parks with oil and gas drilling equipment and plaques about how only god can make a tree but, if properly funded, Halliburton can turn a tree into part of the war on terror.

"She said that even children who cannot get to national parks or are disabled can take part in the program by going online to the program's Web site."

Because we don't want to waste any time letting disabled children actually see a national park. They can look at pictures, online!

Except when they're outside enjoying the beauty of nature, since she's advising them to spend less time on-line which seems confusing but I guess she means rich, healthy kids should travel to national parks and disabled kids should surf the net except that poor kids or poor disabled kids should not mess up a good speech.

Cindy notes Rita J. King's "Rosa Parks" (The Ruminations on America Project):
Rosa Parks and Morris Dees have been looking for five million people to participate in tolerance initiatives and related campaigns in their communities. The Tolerance Campaign was envisioned as a slow-building movement that would gain momentum over time, to break down the boundaries that keep us stark and silent when what we really want to do is connect on a meaningful level.
Fear is a weakness that leads to poverty and addiction, and on the other side to greed and inhumanity. The most powerful tyrant of all is self-inflicted torture brought on by fear. Love is the only remedy for that particular agony.
We're light years away, it seems, from that kind of selfless unification, if it ever happens, but Parks and Dees were right to peg tolerance as the first step. In the microcosm of Montgomery, Alabama in 1955, Rosa Parks stripped a charged situation of its illusions, and her honesty was sharp enough to clear a path for those who wish to stand against irrational hatred, fear and racism.
But she also did something much larger, by providing proof that the chains binding us all are heavy yet invisible, at least until we learn to see past them.
I think there's an astonishingly simple explanation for intolerance. We fear the fact that we are all the same, united by our presence in this realm, while in our secret minds we know the ride is fleeting, like being on a bus.
Dana e-mails to note Cedric's "Prison and the economy" (Cedric's Big Mix):
Here's something I heard on Democracy Now! that I wanted to share:

U.S. Prison Population 2.3 Million, Largest in World
And new Justice Department statistics show the U.S. prison population grew by nearly 2 percent last year to nearly 2.3 million. According to the International Center for Prison Studies in London, there are more people behind bars in the United States than in any other country. Federal prisons in this country are now at 40 percent over capacity.

[. . .] we've got a Bully Boy economy. I guess it's no surprise that while everyone else is laying off, the prison system is booming. I have three grocery stores in my area. Two real close and the other's about two miles away. Everyone needs to eat, right? So that should be a pretty good business, pretty safe.

All three are big chains, national stores. Last week, one of them announced it was shutting down at the end of this week. Even though they do business, they're not doing enough now that the energy prices are going up. The other one close by is turning off lights two hours before they close. Not all the lights, just enough that it's semi-dark in there if you go shopping late. First time that happened, I thought they'd changed their hours and were about to close.

I was hurrying around and I bumped into a stocker who told me I still had plenty of time but because of the cost of electricity, the store wasn't using all the lights the last two hours. So the lights in the frozen food cases go off, some of the lights in the produce go off, it's like the store's about to close.

But we're supposed to be pretending that the economy is going great. It's not going great. You can see that all around you. Take the grocery store. Tomatoes keep rising, milk's gone up, coffee's gone up. So when I read or hear someone saying, "The economy is doing good" I know right away that he or she doesn't shop for their own groceries.

Here's the scary part, this is fall. When winter gets here and you factor in heating costs, things are just going to get worse.

In 2008, we'll have had eight years under the Bully Boy (barring an impeachment) and so far, it's like we've lived six of them in denial. We're in denial about the war, we're in denial about the outing of Valerie Plame (Bob Somerby's really in denial), we're in denial about the economy.

Some people are cleaning up, no question. But that's not most people. If you're Halliburton or you own a prison, you're probably doing great. If you're a working stiff trying to make ends meet, things ain't so hot.
Sam e-mails to note papau's "US death toll in Iraq hits 2,000 (AFP reporting on CNN)" (Democratic Underground):
US death toll in Iraq hits 2,000
BAGHDAD (AFP) - The US death toll in Iraq reportedly hit 2,000 amid a sharp spike in violence that killed 14 Iraqis as the nation awaited results of a key vote on a charter aimed at curbing sectarian violence.
The US network, CNN quoting Pentagon sources, reported Tuesday that the number of soldiers killed since the March 2003 invasion of Iraq had reached 2,000 with the deaths of two more soliders, a toll likely to add pressure on the US administration over its role in the violence-wracked country.
We'll note, again, this from CODEPINK:
2000 Too Many
The sad day is coming when the 2000th US soldier will have died in Iraq.With almost 2000 dead and over 25,000 wounded U.S. troops, we must also consider the more than 100,000 dead and wounded Iraqis. HOW MANY MORE MUST DIE? We must again remind people of the human cost of this war and call for the troops to come home now. Join us in taking action, and read our latest pres release on planned actions.

Bruce Gordon, President and CEO, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, today said the death of Rosa Park, 92, on Monday marked the sad end of an era.

“Rosa Parks served as an inspiration to generations of African Americans and all people of good will,” said Gordon. “More than an icon, Mrs. Parks is symbolic of the thousands of courageous NAACP workers who fight for civil rights in their communities.”

Julian Bond, Chairman, NAACP Board of Directors, said: “Rosa Parks was truly the mother of the modern civil rights movement. She was NAACP Secretary in Montgomery when she sat down in order to stand up for civil rights, and her quiet example demonstrated to millions new ways to confront the evil of segregation.”

Parks became famous nearly 50 years ago when she refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama city bus. Her act of defiance on December 1, 1955 sparked the Montgomery bus boycott that brought the late Dr. Martin Luther King to prominence.

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