Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Other Items

John F. Burns' "Defending Hussein, Clark Seeks to Set Historical Record Straight" in this morning's New York Times would be the focus of a long critique were it not for Rebecca's phone call last night reporting on CBS' Evening News report on the Hussein trial. (Verified by two friends at CBS this morning who say Blinky and Kimberly Dozier "embarrassed" themselves. One friend used the term "carvinal barker" to describe news reader Blinky. "Bob Barker?" I asked, thinking I'd misheard. No, carnival barker.) Unlike Blinky, the article doesn't feel the need to present LBJ as the voice of authority (good considering Scott Shane's "Vietnam War Intelligence 'Deliberately Skewed,' Secret Study Says" from Friday's New York Times). But the article does feel the need to note:

One thing that seems reasonably certain is that Mr. Clark is not in it for the money. In the interview on Sunday - at the Rashid Hotel in Baghdad's heavily fortified international zone, a short bus ride from the bombed-out former Baath Party headquarters that has been remodeled for the trial - Mr. Clark was asked about his fee for representing Mr. Hussein. Mr. Hussein's hidden wealth has been a matter of keen speculation since his son Qusay, on the eve of American troops' sweep into Baghdad in April 2003, sent a flatbed truck to Iraq's central bank to make off with steel trunks containing at least $1 billion in cash.

When the Times' notes it's own protected position in Iraq, will call that "fair." Until then, persisting in presenting themselves as "free range" when they're confined, the Times plays their readers.

This is a good time to note Gary's highlight from Danny Schechter's News Dissector:

Yesterday I heard more about what Robert Fisk calls "hotel journalism" in Iraq. Living in fear of attacks many networks have "up armored" their own facilities with the help of one of three armed professional security services composed largely of alumni from the British special services. Several news organizations are now in well-guarded villas. Other have floors in the Palestine hotel that are off limits to everyone including the hotel staff. Only they have floor access. Talk about working in bunkers. And all to give us that brilliant ‘car bomb of the day’ coverage.

Back to the Times, Erika notes Amy Waldman's "On India's Roads, Cargo and a Deadly Passenger:"

Her clients are not only truckers, but also Bangalore college students and other city residents. They know to look for sex at highway establishments geared toward truckers. Her customers - as many as 100 on Sundays for her and five other eunuchs - come for a "massage" and the anal sex that follows, but also for the anonymity the location confers.
Ranjeetha knows men will pay more for unprotected sex, but she calculates that the extra money is not worth the risk to her livelihood and life. She knows they can go elsewhere; there are some 45 bathhouses doubling as brothels near this truck stop. She also knows several eunuchs who have died of AIDS.
India has at least 5.1 million people living with H.I.V., the second highest number after South Africa. It is, by all accounts, at a critical stage: it can either prevent the further spread of infection, or watch a more generalized epidemic take hold. Global experts worry that India is both underspending on AIDS and undercounting its H.I.V. cases.

This the third of Waldman's series on India. We noted the second part yesterday. Staying on the topic of AIDS for a moment, we'll note Gina's highlight, Bianca Jaggers' "This Persistent Prejudice Against Aids Sufferers" (The Independent via Common Dreams):

A recent survey showed that most people say they wouldn't discriminate against someone because they were HIV positive. Others believe HIV prejudice went out with the eighties, and that we live in an Aids aware era. The reality is different.
True, images of HIV positive children from Africa often appear on our TV, but silence surrounds the rising numbers of people becoming infected with HIV in this country. And that same silence allows the persistence of prejudice towards people living with HIV, and ignorance about how it is passed on.
It is almost inconceivable that after 20 years of campaigning, HIV charities such as the National Aids Trust still hear from people who have been harassed at work, unfairly dismissed from jobs and rejected by friends and relatives -all as a result of being diagnosed with a long-term medical condition.
Recent figures show that HIV rates are on the increase, and in the UK the number of new cases have more than doubled in the past four years. With rising numbers of people affected, the need to challenge prejudice is more important than ever.
There is however, cause for hope. Today a loophole in disability discrimination law is being closed so that people living with HIV are protected from discrimination as soon as they are diagnosed. Importantly, this includes protection at work.
I have met and worked with many HIV-positive people and what unites them is the desire to be treated like anyone else. Yet, since the emergence of HIV, the virus has become inextricably linked with fear and blame, preventing many people from being open about their HIV status. Not only do they fear rejection and gossip from relatives and friends, but risk losing their job if they reveal their HIV status to their employer.

Back to the Times, Carl e-mails about the photo that runs with Elisabeth Bumiller's "For Economy Talk, Bush Visits Bright Spot" (photo is credited to "Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press"). Carl wonders if those are safety glasses or a new look for Bully Boy? I don't know. I do know that Laura need not to worry because no one makes passes at asses who wear glasses.

Rachel e-mails to note Katrina vanden Heuvel's "John Murtha's Johnstown" (Editor's Cut, The Nation):

If you want to better understand how public opinion on the war in Iraq has reached a turning point, visit Johnstown in Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional district. It's a socially conservative, blue-collar district whose once thriving steel mills now languish. Bush lost the district by only 8,000 votes in 2004 and John Murtha has represented it for 16 terms. One wouldn't expect to find rising opposition to the war here.
Yet, after
Murtha's courageous and emotional statement on Thanksgiving eve insisting it's time for US troops to come home within six months, his constituents seem to be siding with him in increasingly large numbers.
Given the district's large veteran population and conservative political tendencies, a surprising number of constituents -- including veterans -- expressed virtually unqualified support for Murtha's newly-stated position that the Iraq conflict has no military solution.
A Vietnam veteran said that he felt, "like Murtha, [that] we should stop [the war] and bring them home and get them out of there." One Army veteran of World War II applauded Murtha's candid assessment of the absence of progress in Iraq, saying that American soldiers should have pulled out of Iraq "a long time ago." The Tribune-Democrat listed the results of an unscientific poll on its website revealing that 63 percent of respondents supported Murtha's arguments that we should withdraw from Iraq within six months while 37 percent disagreed with their Congressman's position.

??? notes John Walsh's "The Lies of John Edwards" (CounterPunch):

The apology of John Edwards, former Senator and 2004 Democratic vice presidential candidate, for voting for the Iraq war in 2002, has been widely praised. But his apology is based on a lie, one that other Democrats are likely to embrace and one which will serve their ambitions but hide the truth. We should have no illusions about this, for to believe otherwise is to set ourselves up for the continuation of Bush's war by a Democrat.
Edwards declared in an op-ed column in the Washington Post on November 13, 2005: "The argument for going to war with Iraq was based on intelligence that we now know was inaccurate. The information the American people were hearing from the president -- and that I was being given by our intelligence community -- wasn't the whole story. Had I known this at the time, I never would have voted for this war." Sounds simple enough. "Had I known then what I know now, etc." Poor John Edwards was deceived. But was he? How was it that 21 other Democratic Senators and 2 Republicans were not deceived and voted against the war?
Part of the answer arrived in another op-ed the Washington Post one week later, November 20, 2005, by another former Senator, Bob Graham, entitled: "What I knew Before the Invasion." Like Edwards, Graham was a member, in fact the chair, of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee in the period leading up to the war and on October 11, 2002 when the vote on the war on Iraq was taken. In a nutshell, Graham tells us that everyone on that committee knew that Bush was lying about weapons of mass destruction. Graham begins like a good, loyal Democrat, telling us that his colleagues were deceived, at least "most" of them. But he then tells us that the Senate Select Intelligence Committee knew better.

[. . .]
John Edwards was a member of that Senate Select Intelligence Committee, and he voted for the war. Who were the other Democratic senators? They were Senators Bayh, Edwards, DURBIN, Feinstein, LEVIN, MIKULSKI, Rockefeller and WYDEN as well as Tom Daschle, then majority leader, an ex officio member. I have capitalized those who voted against the war resolution and who should be hailed as senators of integrity. But Bayh, Daschle, Edwards, Feinstein and Rockefeller, all of whom with the exception of Feinstein, have presidential ambitions, voted for the war despite the fact that they had good reason to know the administration was Bushies were lying. (And let's not forget the Republicans on the committee: Dewine, Hatch, Inhoffe, Kyle, Lugar, Roberts, Richard Shelby, Fred Thompson and ex officio, Trent Lott.)

Remember that, as Ruth's noted, today is:

Pacifica Radio Archives All-Day Fundraising Special
18-hour natl. simulcast of programming from Pacifica's 50-plus-year history. Focuses: civil rights movement, live music, and the 1970 live reading on WBAI of Tolstoy's War and Peace. On December 6 the entire Pacifica network will pre-empt its regular schedule for an 18-hour simulcast of programming drawn from Pacifica's 50-plus-year history. This will be a fundraiser for the Pacifica Radio Archives that preserves the network's audio treasures. This year we're focusing on three major subject areas: the civil rights movement recordings, live music, and the 1970 live reading on WBAI of Tolstoy's War and Peace.

What does that mean for today's Democracy Now! which is a Pacifica radio program (as well as a TV show and transcripts are online; headlines in English & Spanish)? Rod (who signed up for their daily alerts) passes on:

* Democracy Now! celebrates the 35th anniversary of the reading of LeoTolstoy's classic work "War and Peace" on the airwaves of Pacifica radio station WBAI.

Elaine has an entry on how if you can give money to support the archives, great, but regardless, please make a point to listen in.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.