Monday, October 17, 2005

Democracy Now: Yanar Mohammed, Barbara Ehrenreich, Greg Mitchell, Michael Isikoff; Robert Parry, Kim Gandy, Anne (Peevish) ...


AMY GOODMAN: Were you surprised by her Pentagon clearance?

GREG MITCHELL: No. We reported it -- I believe we were first to report it in September 2003. In fact, we have sort of rerun that article on our web site today, in which we revealed that status and raised questions about it at the time. The reason it's significant -- and I'm sure some listeners are wondering why that's significant in the Plame case -- is because as the Times articles this weekend made clear, as Miller admitted, Libby discussed classified information with her. So, this would make him indictable for breaking the Espionage Act, particularly if she did not have any clearance. So, it's incredibly relevant to the Plame investigation right now.


AMY GOODMAN: How does the constitution specifically address women?

YANAR MOHAMMED: It has made it very clear under the first chapter of the main principles that the Sharia will be the main source, actually, the exact word is the base source of legislation, and any article that contradicts with Islamic Sharia cannot be passed under this constitution. So, we are speaking here about a whole family law that will be based on Sharia, in the time that our previous family law was more progressive. It had a big number of amendments to it. It was one of the best in the Middle East, and it gave women some kind of independence, while under this new family law that will be totally based on Islamic Sharia, women's rights in marriage, in divorce, in custody and even in access to work and education will be in the hands of the males.

In other words, we are not allowed to independence. We are not allowed to decisions in our lives, and we not speaking here about only appearances of wearing veil or not veil, but we are speaking about women having choices in their lives. We have lost those, and it is by constitution now. There is no other way to it, because no article that contradicts with Islamic Sharia will be allowed in the family law, and there isn't much elaboration about following the international conventions of ending the discrimination against women to prioritize them over religion. It says very clearly the priority is that the laws will not contradict with Islamic Sharia. So, there you go, all of the women are second-rate citizens in Iraq. There's another point, Amy.



AMY GOODMAN: Barbara Ehrenreich, the Times said that they had reached a 152-year low in the case of the Jayson Blair affair, the young man who plagiarized and fabricated stories. Do you think that takes them even lower?

BARBARA EHRENREICH: Oh, yeah. I mean, Jayson Blair did no damage to the nation. He had a big imagination. He didn't want to travel, so he kind of made some stuff up. But, you know, this is different. This is tied to policy and, you know, I have to wonder why the power of this one woman, Judith Miller, in the Times, and all I can think of is that like many other mainstream media outlets, they're very, very concerned with access to the highest places in government and, you know, power wherever it is.

Judith Miller had that access, and that was more important to them than truth, apparently. There is a problem, you know, of getting too much access, getting too friendly with those people you're interviewing, getting embedded and in bed with them, which in a sense, you know, she was, and that's where mainstream journalism very easily crosses the line into becoming spokespeople for those in power. And that's what the Times became.


The above three excerpts are from today's Democracy Now! and were selected by Liang, Charlie and LyleDemocracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says):

Headlines for October 17, 2005

- Death toll in Pakistan quake tops 53,000
- Judith Miller Can't Recall Who Leaked Plame's Name
- NYT Editor Stopped Miller From Covering Iraq & WMDs
- Judith Miller Reveals She Had Pentagon Security Clearance
- U.S. kills 70 in Ramadi bombings
- Report: US-Syria troops clashed on Iraq border
- Millions More Movement Gather in Washington
- Low-income Americans in Need of Legal Aid Not Receiving Any
- NASA: 2005 Set to be Warmest on Record
Iraqi Feminist Yanar Mohammed on the Iraq Constitution Vote

In Iraq, early election results suggest that voters have approved a new US-backed constitution. Millions of ballots are still being counted two days after the referendum which was a simple "Yes" or "No" on whether to accept the document. [includes rush transcript]
Should The New York Times Fire Judith Miller and Apologize to Readers?

On Sunday, Miller revealed that she spoke with Scooter Libby about undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame weeks before her name appeared in the press, but Miller claims she can't remember who leaked the name. Meanwhile it has been revealed Miller had a special Pentagon security clearance and was removed from covering Iraq and WMD stories by her editors.
New York Times Contributor Barbara Ehrenreich: Judith Miller's Access to Power Was More Important to the Times' Than the Truth

Ehrenreich discusses the latest about Times' reporter Judith Miller and the CIA leak story. She criticizes the Times' editors for their handling of the affair: "This has called into question the judgment of the newspaper that I rely on."
Barbara Ehrenreich: "Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream"

The best-selling author discusses going undercover as a middle-aged professional trying to get a white-collar job in corporate America. She finds that the people who are playing by the rules -- going to college, being loyal to the to their employer -- are too often ending up in financial ruin.
This is one of the three articles by Robert Parry that Zach e-mailed this weekend.  We will note all of them, but not all at once.  This is from Robert Parry's "Bush Feared 'Looking Weak' on Iraq" (Consortium News):

Less than two months before invading Iraq, George W. Bush fretted that his war plans could be disrupted if United Nations weapons inspectors succeeded in gaining Saddam Hussein’s full cooperation, possibly leaving Bush "looking weak," according to notes written by a secretary to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The notes, taken by Blair's personal secretary Matthew Rycroft, were included in a new edition of Lawless World, a book by University College professor Philippe Sands. The notes on the Jan. 30, 2003, phone call between Bush and Blair were reviewed by the New York Times, which said they were marked secret and personal. [NYT, Oct. 14, 2005]

At the time, Blair wanted Bush to seek a second resolution from the U.N. Security Council that would have judged Iraq to be in violation of U.N. disarmament demands and would have authorized military action. According to the notes, Bush agreed that "it made sense to try for a second resolution, which he would love to have."

But Bush's deeper worry was that chief U.N. arms inspector Hans Blix would conclude that Hussein's government was cooperating in the search for weapons of mass destruction, thus delaying or blocking U.S.-led military action. Bush's "biggest concern was looking weak," the British document said.

Blix indeed did judge that Iraq was cooperating with the inspectors, who weren't finding any WMD even at sites pinpointed by U.S. intelligence.

With the U.N. inspectors coming up empty and other U.S. claims about Iraq's WMD falling apart, Bush ditched the idea of seeking a second U.N. resolution authorizing use of military force. Instead, Bush began to pressure the U.N. inspectors to leave Iraq and Blix's team prepared to withdraw.

"Although the inspection organization was now operating at full strength and Iraq seemed determined to give it prompt access everywhere, the United States appeared as determined to replace our inspection force with an invasion army," Blix wrote in his memoir, Disarming Iraq.

Susan e-mails to note Kim Gandy's "No Laughing Matter" (Below the Belt, NOW):

Well, well, well. DeLay under indictment, Frist and Rove under investigation, Bush (as always) under average, and Republican party unity in freefall... If it weren't for the absolute seriousness of the events that have gotten us to this point, I'd almost be having fun here!

Sadly, life in D.C. these days is no laughing matter, as the boys in charge are determined to slash and burn critical programs (including Medicaid), using the cost of Katrina as an excuse, while giving the rich even more tax cuts that we can't afford. Still, the nomination of Harriet Miers has revealed deep fissures in the G.O.P. foundation — and a deep hypocrisy in their "rules" for Supreme Court nominees.

It's strange to find myself in agreement with some of these conservatives, as they point out Miers' lack of a real record on which to determine whether she should be confirmed for such an important position. But that's where the agreement ends — unlike them, I don't doubt her conservative credentials for a second. Here is a Bush devotee who, as president of the Texas Bar Association, lobbied to reverse the American Bar Association's pro-choice stance.

Our sources in Dallas tell us she is "vehemently" pro-life. And it turns out she's anti-gay, too. She argued against overturning Texas' law criminalizing sodomy, and she has publicly stated her opposition to equal marriage rights for all. Such an ideologue on social issues would be a disastrous replacement for Sandra Day O'Connor, who has been the critical swing vote on so many issues important to women, including abortion, Title IX, privacy rights, and family and medical leave. And to see Bush carefully hinting at all this to appease his right wing supporters, without saying it outright, is simply nauseating: "Just ask her about her church, fellas" (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).


Julia e-mails to note Anne's "Op-Ed" (Peevish...I'm Just Saying):

Our unprovoked (and possibly illegal) invasion of Iraq has killed tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens. Women. Children. Babies. The elderly. Tens of thousands.

This is a number we should be discussing.

We invaded another country and killed tens of thousands of people. So far. For no reason. In fact, evidence is suggesting that lies were told to enable Our Leaders to shove us into this war that so far seems to be benefiting no one but the energy industry.

This is a crime and it should be punished.

Just in case anyone isn't clear on where I stand on the issue.

The Nexus of Politics and Terror is a timeline showing the interesting coincidence of internal threats to the Bush Administration and the raising of the terror alert system.

Tell us who fabricated the Iraq evidence

Marcus e-mails to note Cindy Sheehan's "Supporting Hillary" (

I would love to support Hillary for President if she would come out against the travesty in Iraq. But I don't think she can speak out against the occupation, because she supports it.

I will not make the mistake of supporting another pro-war Democrat for president again: As I won't support a pro-war Republican.

This country wants this occupation to end. The world wants the occupation to end. People in Iraq want this occupation to end.

Senator Clinton: taking the peace road would not prove you are weak. Instead, it would prove that you are the strongest and wisest candidate. As a mom, as an American, as a patriot: I implore you to have the strength and courage to lead the fight for peace.

I want to support you, I want to work for you, but like many American moms, I will resist your candidacy with every bit of my power and strength unless you show us the wisdom it takes to be a truly great leader.


Cedric e-mails to note Jasmyne Cannick's "Pimpin ain't easy: The new face of the Black church" (The Chicago Defender):


"We're not just a church, we're an international corporation. We're not just a bumbling bunch of preachers who can't talk and all we're doing is baptizing babies. I deal with the White House. I deal with Tony Blair. I deal with presidents around this world. I pastor a multimillion-dollar congregation. You've got to put me on a different scale than the little Black preacher sitting over there that's supposed to be just getting by because the people are suffering." Bishop Eddie Long, New Birth Missionary Church, August 2005.

The sad thing is, he's right.

Today's New Black Church is the offspring of the civil rights era but can easily be identified by its debatable and sometimes laughable theology, superficiality, greed, materialism, heavy involvement in politics, tricked-out arena sized church, ten thousand or more member congregation and of course, its superstar pastor.

Plainly put, today's Black church is not your grandma's church.

No longer content with selling baked goods and holding parking lot sales that bring in few dollars, today's New Black Church hosts revivals that cater to thousands and produce blockbuster movies that bring in millions. From old school nurses boards to new school communications director's, the New Black Church now employs hundreds of full time professionals each year and looks more like a Fortune 500 company, than the little Black church that's only "baptizing babies." Refusing to be courted by politicians during the election season only, the New Black Church has cut out the middleman and has become a force to be reckoned with by dealing directly with the White House.


["Chosen by Essence Magazine as one of 25 Women Shaping the World, Jasmyne Cannick is a national voice on gay civil rights in the Black community.  She is a social and political commentator and a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.  Based in Los Angeles, she can be reached at]


Cedric notes that he hopes to write about this article tonight or tomorrow night at his site (Cedric's Big Mix).  I'll note that the topic is an important one to Cedric and suggest that you read his "On Churches."


Jay e-mails to note Norman Solomon's "Judith Miller, the Fourth Estate and the Warfare State" (CounterPunch):


It now seems that Miller functioned with more accountability to U.S. military intelligence officials than to New York Times editors. Most of the way through her article, Miller slipped in this sentence:

"During the Iraq war, the Pentagon had given me clearance to see secret information as part of my assignment 'embedded' with a special military unit hunting for unconventional weapons."

And, according to the same article, she ultimately told the grand jury that during a July 8, 2003, meeting with the vice president's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, "I might have expressed frustration to Mr. Libby that I was not permitted to discuss with editors some of the more sensitive information about Iraq."

Let's replay that one again in slow motion.

Judith Miller is a reporter for the New York Times. After the invasion, on assignment to cover a U.S. military unit as it searches for WMDs in Iraq, she's given "clearance" by the Pentagon "to see secret information" -- which she "was not permitted to discuss" with Times editors.

There's nothing wrong with this picture if Judith Miller is an intelligence operative for the U.S. government. But if she's supposed to be a journalist, this is a preposterous situation -- and the fact that the New York Times has tolerated it tells us a lot about that newspaper.


Re: The Daily Howler, I have no idea what the "change" (talked and talked to death but still not implemented) is.  He's pimping the "no story here" again (re: Plamegate, Miller, all of it) and alleging that this issue -- this issue -- has led to his decision to "change our subject matter and the focus of this site."  Consider this his Shot of Love period (for those tracking him on the Dylan meter).


Lori reminds me that some members only check in during the week and not on the weekend.  Good point.  Lori wants to remind everyone who checked on the weekend that Wally has started his own site: The Daily Jot.  He's posted Saturday, Sunday and this morning.  This morning's entry is more of what he's going for which is a thought or impression (hence the name of the site: "The Daily Jot.")  Please check out his site.


The e-mail address for this site is


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