Saturday, July 09, 2005

Bob Somerby on the fright wing and a long post on not being "stupid together"

It's Saturday afternoon and there's an entry going up here! What???????

Yes, I'm working with The Third Estate Sunday Review. We're on our first break. And this entry could have gone up Friday but I was too tired and this will provide an entry for those who feel this site goes dead on Saturday evenings. This is a link fest of items members sent it. [Note: The linkfest does not happen. I'll leave this in because I'm pressed for time and also it underscores that these are rough drafts.]

We'll start with The Daily Howler which Stephanie sent in. This is Friday's Daily Howler (which wasn't up in time to make it into the Democracy Now! post) where Bob Somerby is addressing standardized testing as well as the fright wing. We'll excerpt from the critique of the fright wing:

GO BACK TO ARUBA: Last night, Joe Scarborough was plenty upset about those London bombings. Indeed, he offered a "special edition of Scarborough Country"--and quickly began to let us know who was at fault for this mess. For his first guest, he brought in "terror expert Steve Emerson." And he began to lay out his great thesis:
SCARBOROUGH (7/7/05): Now let's bring in terror expert Steve Emerson. Steve, you know what? You listen to Kelly [O'Donnell]'s report, you see what they're, they're concentrating on at the G8 conference--I understand anti-terrorism hardly made the list of the agenda of the eight most powerful leaders in the world.

Have we taken our eyes off the ball again on terrorism and instead focusing on things that aren't as important? Have we "taken our eyes off the ball again?" Have we begun "focusing on things that aren't as important?" These were superlative question for this host to ask. Sadly, here was his list of segments from the previous evening. On that program, he had started with: "Tonight's top headline--outrage in Aruba, as protesters target Natalee Holloway's mother!"
Full list of segments on Scarborough Country--July 6, 2005:

*Interview with NBC’s Ron Blome in Aruba.
*Bullying interview with John Merryweather, former Aruban diplomat.
*Interview with Linda Allison, aunt of Natalee Holloway.
*Interview with Paul Reynolds, uncle of Natalee Holloway. (The program was now half over.)*Interview with Tim Miller, who is searching for Natalee Holloway in Aruba.
*Video clip of Steven Groene, speaking about his kidnapped daughter, Shasta Groene.
*Interview with "legal expert" Stacey Honowitz about the Shasta Groene matter.
*Interview with Bernie Goldberg about his latest liberal-bashing book.
*Live pictures of Hurricane Dennis.
That was it. More than half the program came from Aruba, where Scarborough has been rubbing his thighs every night since June 1. None of the program concerned hard news. But one night later, Scarborough closed his special edition by letting us know who's been failing the country. Our question: Is there a way to be more phony? Has anyone ever achieved it?

Bob Somerby's also addressing the standardized tests. Hopefully, we'll grab from that tomorrow but when Somerby's critiques are to the point and humorous, I can't resist highlighting them.

They also bring up an issue that two members e-mailed about. Should we speak of the bombings or do a breather? That issue was raised Thursday. Obviously, it's one I ignored. One of the two even wondered if Pru's statement (wondered ahead of time, when it was noted Thursday morning that she was working on one) should go up?

Absolutely we should weigh in. The other side was going to try to make political hay out of it.
And they were going to do their usual distortions.

I don't know that on an issue like this we hold our tongues. Others may feel differently. That's their right. But as Somerby notes, Joe Scars wasn't holding his breath and counting to ten. That's, my opinion, how we lose out. We don't make our case early on. When we do make it, the fright wing's already got their own spin out there and we're left with responding to it.

If someone wants to clutch the pearls and say, "No, no, no! We must not talk about this!" That's their business and they don't have to come here while we do. (Or ever, if they don't feel like it.) But waiting on the sidelines doesn't accomplish much. It does allow the echo chamber to get their talking points out and stake dominance to how the story will be told.

When Susan Sontag wrote her brief essay (three paragraphs?) for The New Yorker, there was nothing wrong with those paragraphs. She was making the point that we needed to be rational.
(Which is why she said " Let's by all means grieve together. But let's not be stupid together." And shame on The New Yorker for pulling that essay.) But if we're not stupid, if we're not a blubbering mass of fear and uncritical emotion, we can't be manipulated?

Oh, wait, we don't want to be manipulated. Right? So why did some join in the attacks at the time (some from the left or "left") and even a year or so later some felt the need to draw a line between themselves and Sontag's reasoned comments? (Cowardice is my bet. And one certain overly hyped, majorly disappointing book that wants to make it into the left cannon will always haunt the author who presents as an intellectual but revealed cowardice, when strength was needed, by distancing himself from Sontag over a year after the essay was published.)

The fright wing went into overdrive. Here was an intellectual critiquing the immediate coverage -- coverage which did nothing but appeal to fear and make you feel powerless (which works well with the desire on the part of some for the "Tough Daddy"). The coverage was awful with few exceptions. A psychologist told me at the time that the smartest thing anyone could do would be to turn off their TV.

There was Sontag, while we were supposed to rally around fear and the Bully Boy and the inane and incessant coverage that told you nothing but appealed to your emotions by rerunning the attacks endlessly, making an argument for rational thought.

The Bully Boy couldn't take us to where he did if we'd thought rationally. So shut her down, came the cry and it's shocking how many chose to participate in that. (Including some on the left.) Pru's statement is something I applaud. And it should have been how we responded. The Toby Keiths want to portray this image of how "tough" America is.

We didn't see a lot of strength or thought in mindless responses (or in Bully Boy playing Bunny Fu Fu scampering around the nation that day). We saw a lot of "Oh my Gods!" (Ani DiFranco's "Self Evident" is a track worth listening to). We saw a lot of people running scared. And the media aided that. They pushed every false rumor they could.

This wasn't America grieving from strength, this was America showing the worst traits of a daytime TV talk show.

Maybe it's a myth (I'm not old enough to have lived through it) but the response to Pearl Harbor, as I understand it, was to grieve, to show strength and to use your mind. Almost sixty years later, the fright wing pushed us into being soft, stupid and scared. Instead of an approach that said the attacks were awful but we will get through, we went into non-stop feelings checks. Blubbering around the clock, whimpering. If they were the Greatest Generation, they certainly put us to shame because we didn't possess (as a nation) the rational thought or the quiet strength to take in the events.

And the clampdown ensured all that followed. On the right, they attacked anyone offering some perspective or urging strength in a hideous time. On the left, we saw a lot of wimps who felt that nothing should be said because "we're in mourning." (We weren't mourning. A day of grief, a national day of grief, might have helped us. Constant scare tactics and appeals to base emotion did nothing to help us. And shouldn't be mistaken for mourning which requires something far less superficial.)

So the notion that we'd be part of the clampdown here is a false one. We won't do that. We won't look to the Toby Keiths to put the idiotic into song and lead us further into unthinking.

We could have used more Jewel in the immediate aftermath and far less "Oh my God!"s. I'm speaking of her song "Hands" (off Spirit):

If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we're all OK
And not to worry 'cause worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I won't be made useless
I won't be idle with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear
My hands are small, I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken

We were broken because we allowed ourselves to be. We allowed ourselves to be scared children looking for "Tough Daddy" to come in and make everything better.

And we turned on our TVs and listened and watched day after day there was no new information offered, only heated rhetoric. Sucking up to the nipple of the 24/7 news feed that offers not news but sensation (and "footage"), we were reduced to something far worse than the right can ever accuse the left of doing, wanting or seeking. The right controlled the media, they controlled the message. (Assisted by "moderates.") The fact that we were reduced as a nation to a bunch of cowering children reflects how damaging they are. But they're a fear based people. They leave in fear of the boogey man that's always out there. Maybe it's Communism, maybe it's feminism, maybe it's gays and lesbians, but they need their straw man and they need to believe, really believe, in that straw man. And they need to believe that the entire world is out to get them and that only they (via their whimpering apparently) can save us.

They can't save us. We could have used some tough talk. Tough talks not "kick some ass!" Tough talk is, "This was horrible, but look around you, the country's still here. Grieve, but know we're still here and we made it through."

Instead it was "the next attack might" which quickly lost a qualifier because there was no "might" there was only constant fear.

There were people who lost loved ones. And they should have been acknowledged, no question. There were also a lot of "people in the street" who didn't know the first thing they were talking about but wanted to jump on the fear wagon and our media was happy to present them while shutting down any voice that didn't speak out of fear.

In dark times you need courage and that wasn't to be found. What was it, two, three days later when Bully Boy finally grabs a bull horn and tries to grandstand? That is and was unacceptable.
He is not a great leader, he is the one who went fleeing. When the nation needed him, he was hopping around the country. He was completely useless in a time of crisis.

And "logic" of "Oh, well he had to be protected" falls apart not just because there was nothing to be protected from during his Bunny Fu Fu play. It also falls apart because guess what? George W. Bush is not our king. The safety of the person is not as important as the role he was supposed to be filling. He wanted the title, he used every trick he could to get it (in court and out). But when he had it, he didn't use it in a time of crisis to do what a real president does. He used it to protect his own ass.

We don't elect someone to the position of Protect Your Own Ass. We elect them to the position of President and they're supposed to provide leadership. That is their role. He provided none.
His actions were shameful. And a far cry from the tales we're told of an earlier George who held the position. (I'm referring to Washington, not Poppy.)

As he scampered around the nation his actions furthered the fear. And we saw attacks on anyone who called Bully Boy's actions for what they were, blatant cowardice. The Tough Guy, the Big Man, couldn't do what a leader does which is lead the nation. He could only flee. Repeatedly.

And Woody can churn out all the dime store psychology books he has in him (an apparent reservoir that will never dry out) and speak of nonsense like "calicium of the backbone" but the reality is there was no backbone in the Bully Boy. History should make that point plainfully clear.

After the nonstop mocking of Bill Clinton's "I feel your pain" (an acknowledgement, not a wallowing in despair) there was no mocking of the coward who couldn't even address the nation as a rational adult. There should have been. There damn well should have been.

And what nonsense did we get with the London attacks? Idiots saying it was time to rally around the Bully Boy once again. Why is that?

Every damn thing in the world that happens does not just to happen to the Bully Boy. He is not our king. He needs to do his damn job. (That'll be the day.) He is our elected official (make that "elected") and he is there to do a job, to work for us. A lot of us seem to have forgotten that.

We live in a country without royal titles (though notice the hacks that grab them up when they visit foreign countries and ask yourself how they can still get away with claiming to be "patriots" -- yeah, it's just an "honorary" title and it goes completely against what this nation is supposed to stand for). In America, respect is supposed to be earned not granted by royal decree.

But the wack jobs will rush in to suck up to power and to betray the people -- we the people hold the actual power. So to suggest that we should ever lay off remarks out of "respect" . . . What happened in London happened in London. Why it happened goes beyond London and rational adults are allowed to note that we aren't any safer as a result of occupying Iraq.

We're allowed to point out that the fly paper argument is as ludicrous as it always sounded. And we're allowed to say that a strutting bantam rooster isn't a leader no matter how Woody pimps Bully Boy At War or other pundits rush in and obscure what was obvious to our own eyes.

When we were attacked, the national dialgoue was reduced to a never ending feelings check, with highs and lows cited (highs usually created by the likes of Peggy Noonan, out of thin air, with remarks of the manly nature of her pin up that had no basis in reality).

If you're a domestic member (or visitor), this is your country. Act like it. Don't bite your damn tongue for fear of being called names. Use your free speech. And if for some reason you're watching the likes of Joey Scars (not a slapdown to Somerby, he watches all that junk to critique it and let you know the lies that are being shaped), watch with a brain -- an active one, a critical one.

Somerby's showing us that yet again when a tragedy strikes, the fright wing's not interested in "healing the nation." They're interested in spinning and lying. Demonizing the left. And they'll offer any lie to make the point (over and over in their echo chamber). Now the G8 is the great left summit! Weeks ago it was knock the protestors as the "looney left" but now the G8 itself is evidence of the "looney left." They move the goal post every damn time and if you're silent, you're not just letting them do that, you're helping them do that.

Actions have consequences. And we're on year five where the fright wings denies that in terms of their Bully Boy. They'll go into overdrive creating scapegoats to try to prevent people from realizing what is going on. So self-styled moderates need to realize they're acting like appeasers, not rational, thinking beings. (And yes, I'm thinking of an idiot on the Times' op-ed pages.) "Don't say anything critical in this time" might be good manners at a funeral, it's no way to run a country. (It can, however, ruin a country.) Democracy means participation so when the gatekeepers of moderation start tut-tutting remember they can preach from on high only because they're heads are so full of hot air that they naturally float up there. (That's not a cloud they're resting on, it's their own giant egos.)

The nation, the world, needs more critical thought, not less. And the echo chamber of the fright wing never stops, never pauses. It's endlessly vomitting out distortions and lies. Telling someone to be silent in the face of that is not only idiotic, it's undemocratic.

We'll close with Pru's words which are wise and which I support one-hundred percent. (And obviously this didn't turn out into the link fest I'd planned. Hopefully, I'll pick up the other things members wanted to call attention to in a later post, on another break. A hope, not a promise.) While some were playing Tiger Beat and trying to figure out if Tony Blair's emtpy words meant "we love him now" or not (I'm not making that nonsense up, which sadly came from the left, but I won't provide a link to it), Pru wasn't trying to shut off the thought process.

Pru on the bombings:
Pru: Maybe we're better informed by our media? Maybe our proximity and awareness of other nations prepared us? While yesterday's attacks were nothing like the attacks on the United States on September 11th in terms of scope or damage, they were attacks none the less. We, as a country, have suffered a great loss.

But as I looked around yesterday, I saw grief that was mature and reasoned. There was no need to question, "Why us?" It's perfectly obvious why us. We have engaged with and supported the policies of the United States not limited to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. This has been done despite the large objection coming from the people of our country and despite the fact that the objection has only grown as we have been confronted with the reality that there is no "win" in Iraq, not for us, not for the States.
"Why us" does not trip off our tongues because the answer is obvious and frightening.
Equally obvious has been the answer which is that we must pull out of the illegal occupation. Thursday's events make that quite clear and, all around me, that was the sentiment most often shared.
Prime Minister Tony Blair did not shirk the way the Bully Boy did. He was present and accounted for. However, what he had to offer were empty words that, while more eloquent than anything that tumbles out of the Bully Boy's smirking mouth, said very little. Terrorist attacks. Check. Empty words supposed to warm us. Check. The reasons for the attack? Silence.
All around I heard people asking the hard questions and supplying the tough answers that the Prime Minister refused to address. We've grown to expect that from him and there is a sense among some that what is in the best interest of England is not the primary concern of our current Prime Minister.
There was also a sense that for all his posturing and playing poodle to the Bully Boy, Prime Minister Blair has done very little that has truly protected our country. Possibly there is no way to protect one from the events of today; however, Prime Minister Blair has asked for outlandish powers and even those granted him have been ineffective as was demonstrated before our own eyes.
We are a determined people and the determination we share now is not one of vengeance but one of addressing the events that led to the attacks. What Prime Minister Blair clearly wishes to avoid is not being ignored by the people of my country. Our determination to withdraw from the Bully Boy's illegal war of choice has only grown stronger.H
earing reports that the insect known as Fox News in the United States was bragging that the attacks had taught us something caused me to recoil. Then I realized that they were correct about the teaching, just incorrect about the lesson itself. What it has taught us, the lesson, is what we already knew: an illegal war of choice leaves us all at risk, an illegal occupation that provides the window dressings of success but no real improvement is as meaningless as any words our Prime Minister could muster. The lesson confirmed what we already knew. The occupation must end and troops must withdraw. Until that happens safety is a myth that will destroy us all.

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BuzzFlash interviews Joseph Wilson and a FOR THE RECORD CORRECTION

BuzzFlash has a new interview with Joseph Wilson (husband of Valerie Plame). Here's an excerpt:

BuzzFlash: Again, let's put aside the legal investigation for the time being. At the time that this became an issue -- due to David Corn's reporting and repeated editorials on BuzzFlash -- Bush demurred from taking any personal action to find out who on his staff endangered national security. For two years, whoever did this has presumably still been working at the White House. Hasn't Bush left us vulnerable, by having senior administration officials still on staff, who betrayed the citizens of the United States of America? Hasn't this made possible another potential security breach? Couldn't Bush just have called his senior staff into his office and said: "I have taken a solemn oath to protect every American. Whoever did this, come forward, you're fired"?
Ambassador Joe Wilson: I have made the same arguments repeatedly, most recently in my statement yesterday. We are where we are because of the culture of unaccountability that is pervasive in the White House. The President must assume responsibility.

Let's emphasize something again:

BuzzFlash: Again, let's put aside the legal investigation for the time being. At the time that this became an issue -- due to David Corn's reporting and repeated editorials on BuzzFlash -- Bush demurred from taking any personal action to find out who on his staff endangered national security.

Throughout the Plame (and Miller) entries, I've repeatedly credited David Corn (who deserves credit). I have not credited BuzzFlash. Why is that? I'm a moron more often than not. I'm a print reader and more likely to register (in terms of credit) what I'm holding in my hands. My apologies to BuzzFlash because I seriously doubt they've ever received the credit that they deserve here. As a BuzzFlash reader, there's no question that I saw their coverage on it. My apologies for not remembering it. Or for even noting that via links, they steered their readers to this topic by noting every story (big or small) on this topic. You couldn't be a BuzzFlash reader and not know something was happening from their headlines alone, even if you didn't click the links.

If they were a newspaper, their coverage would be termed flooding the zone because consistently for two years, they've followed this story. That's via their own contributions and links. Hopefully anyone else noting the driving forces behind this story noted their accomplishments and efforts. But I didn't. Their efforts kept the story alive and kept people informed. They've earned a piece of the bragging rights on this story as much as David Corn and my apologies to them for not noting it (or remembering it until I read the e-mail Dallas just sent). The Times would call this a FOR THE RECORD CORRECTION.

Note that at the bottom of the interview is Wilson's statement on Judith Miller.

Click here for their 2004 interview with Wilson. Click here for their July 23, 2003 editorial "Some Dare Call It Treason."

And we'll quote from their October 1, 2003 editorial " How Do You Parse Treason?" because Dallas picked it as his favorite on the topic:

In July, we were proud to pick up on David Corn's commentary in "The Nation," which was the first piece to identify the significance of the July 14th Bob "I Am the Spigot for Karl Rove Leaks" Novak column [LINK]. BuzzFlash immediately contacted Corn and wrote two scathing editorials, "Some Dare Call It Treason" [LINK] on July 21st, and "The Integrity and Dignity of the White House Become a Scum Pond of Betrayals and Gutter Smears Under Bush," [LINK] on July 23rd.
In the July 21st BuzzFlash editorial, we were the first to support Corn's outrage at how the White House had betrayed the nation and our national security. Despite Robert Novak's attempts to backpedal now with "parsing language" about how he was leaked or the damage done by the leak, remember this: Whatever comes out of Novak's mouth is what Rove wants him to spin.
Also remember this: Valerie Plame, the CIA operative who was outed by the White House with the assistance of Robert Novak -- as we pointed out in our July 21st article -- specialized in tracking the illegal trafficking in Weapons of Mass Destruction! This is the perverse, horrifying truth. We were led into a war on the trumped up lies that Saddam Hussein had WMDs and then two senior administration officials -- one of them assumed to be Karl Rove by almost anyone with knowledge of the White House -- render a CIA operative virtually useless -- and her specialty is finding out who is buying, selling and trading WMDs. And her outing by senior Bush administration officials, in all likelihood, ruined her network of contacts and put her and her contacts at risk. She was, allegedly, operating "under cover" in what would be perceived as a non-CIA affiliated position.

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Air America Weekend Schedule guests include Mario Van Peebles, David Brock and Wayne Madsen

From the Air America Radio home page, here's the weekend lineup:

So What Else is News
Saturdays 3pm-5pm ET
Guest: Dr. James Rosser, the creator of a video game that trains real-life surgeons.

Ring of Fire
Saturdays 5pm-7pm ET.
Journalist Wayne Madsen discusses the noose of truth closing around Karl Rove's neck. David Brock of Media Matters delivers the "top ten" stories the media have slept through in the past five years, and corporate watchdog Robert Weissman examines the verdicts of high-profile white-collar crime cases.

The Laura Flanders Show
Saturdays and Sundays 7pm-10pm ET
The Young Turks fill in for the Laura Flanders Show. This group of three is a funny, smart, irreverent and entertaining look at politics, sex, news, pop culture, current affairs and personal stories. As they say, "We Don't Make the News, We Make the News Sexy."

The Kyle Jason Show
Saturdays 10pm-Midnight ET

Sundays 7-8 am ET
Dr. Michael Dorsey shares info about his "G-8 Alternative" conference in Scotland, and Dr. Michael Gelobter discusses sustainable economic and environmental solutions. Talking Point: To what extent did the London tragedy knock the environment off the agenda?

Mother Jones Radio
Sundays 1pm-2pm ET
Patty Prickett and journalist Sara Catania discuss whether authorities are doing enough to stop domestic violence. Peter Byrne and the Constitution Project's Joseph N. Onek talk about the Pentagon's rapidly expanding ability to spy on everyday citizens.

Politically Direct
Sundays 2pm-3pm ET
It's a Retrospective Edition this Sunday on Politically Direct. Segments: Massacusetts Congressman Barney Frank, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, Howard Dean, and Senator Clinton. And Rachel Maddow delivers the latest political buzz...who says Sunday is a day of rest?

Ring of Fire
Rebroadcast Sundays 3pm-5pm ET
Journalist Wayne Madsen discusses the noose of truth closing around Karl Rove's neck. David Brock of Media Matters delivers the "top ten" stories the media have slept through in the past five years, and corporate watchdog Robert Weissman examines the verdicts of high-profile white-collar crime cases.

The Laura Flanders Show
Saturdays and Sundays 7pm-10pm ET
The Young Turks fill in for the Laura Flanders Show. This group of three is a funny, smart, irreverent and entertaining look at politics, sex, news, pop culture, current affairs and personal stories. As they say, "We Don't Make the News, We Make the News Sexy."

The Revolution Starts...Now
Sundays 10pm-11pm ET
Pop critic, musician, and
The New Yorker staff writer Sasha Frere-Jones shares his killin’ set-list. Picks include Common, The Disco Four, John Doe, Slint, Mike Jones, and London grime -scene prodigy Lady Sovereign.

On the Real
Sundays 11pm -1 am ET
Guest: Actor
Mario Van Peebles.

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At Zach and Shirley's request, comments on vistors' e-mails

When Zach and Shirley saw Rebecca's entry on the e-mails visitors had sent this site, they each e-mailed to say it needed to be commented on here. There was an article in Friday's Times that would have allowed that but Friday morning we were focusing on London. Today, McFadden's article is the most important one in the paper (my opinion as well as that of Kara, Eli and Markus.) (Marcus and Markus are two different members, Susan wondered if I'd made a typo. Many, but that's not been one of them.) (Consider this a companion piece to the entry that just went up.)

I'm picking it up now because Saturday mornings allow for longer discussions and because some members feel Saturdays are slack off days on my part (because I put in time with The Third Estate Sunday Review on Saturdays and often the morning entries are all that goes up).

Miller is responsible for her reporting. She is not, however, responsible for the reporting of others. It's an easy out to act as though Miller persuaded the nation. The Times does have a reach but other papers and TV (and radio) do as well. Making her the fall guy for every bad reporter is letting a lot of people off. Offering that her story, wavied around by Dick Cheney, silenced dissent means you know of a Meet the Press rule that I don't. I'm not aware of any rule that Tim Russert has to operate under which says, "If a guest cites the New York Times, the debate is over."

Miller wrote her stories (and Howell Raines was fine with running them -- some occur under Keller's tenure but the bulk that people complain about are under Raines' tenure). Hold her accountable for them. But she didn't anchor and report for Nightly News. NPR didn't offer up an hour or two to her daily to produce, report and star in The Judith Miller Report. Miller wasn't laughing it up with the weather man on Good Morning America before ttossing to a breaking report, live from D.C., reported by Judith Miller.

I'm not defending her reporting. But there's a tendency to overlook the others involved. I don't know if that results from people being late to criticism of the reporting on the lead up to the war or what. It can't just be a case of "bash the bitch" because there are a number of women who cheerleaded into war and while one now deceased columnist may get a pass since she's no longer around, a lot of the reporters are still around, still on your TV, still on your radio, still in print.

I don't know Leslie Stahl's reporting because outside of 60 Minutes, I really didn't follow CBS news as a viewer. But Stahl's stated she should have been more skeptical. I haven't heard a lot of voices saying that. (And I have no idea how lacking in skepticism Stahl's reporting was.) If the Times had named Miller in the mea culpa, it would have been very easy for every network to turn it into "Miller did it!" I also haven't heard of any network offering a mea culpa of any sort. (Ted Koppel offered a wishy-washy thing on Democracy Now! that didn't cut it for me personally, maybe it did for you. Or maybe it's just that since he read the names of the dead, the American dead, we're all so thrilled that he finally did his job that we're going to overlook all the Nightline reporting?)

And maybe turning it into Miller Time allows us to overlook NBC reporters? Take the rah-rah, getting ready for war, news reporter (male) doing segments about packing a toothbrush! Rah! Rah! Forget the vanity behind that "report," that was time that could have been spent expressing less enthusiasm and asking some hard questions.

In the mainstream there's not a lot of people who's hands are any cleaner than Miller's. Within the Times, she deserves criticism (though she's not the only one at the paper that does). And the Times does have a reach. But the NewsHour needs to take responsibility for their own actions (including Jim Lehr sitting dazed on the sidelines when a former general attacked a guest who offered, in 2003, that Haliburton might be getting paid for work they weren't actually providing -- what was so "shocking" then is hardly news today because we've grown so use to hearing one report after another about the results of Haliburton -- in all it forms -- and their no bid contracts).

NBC fired Peter Arnett. Was that bravery? Ashley Banfield (Ashleigh?) gave a speech criticizing the war reporting that, as the Times reported, led to her being called into "the woodshed." And as soon as her contract was up, she was gone. Was that bravery?

Blame Miller for what she did, absolutely, but let go of the fantasy that Miller was somehow unique or alone in the coverage. A reporter (on TV, radio or print) can't offer up, "I said 'The New York Times' is reporting!" We're a resource/review here. I could offer that up. But I'm not standing in front of microphone pretending I'm reporting from D.C. If someone wants to endorse a Miller report on TV (and bask in the reflected glory), they're responsible for knowing the report and checking it out. It's not NBC's Nightly Resource/Review. It's NBC's Nightly News.

Miller's "crimes" (bad reporting) were not the "crimes" of one. I also don't believe that Miller went on TV pronouncing "Democrats" as "demoCRATS" as one reporter did (not at Fox) until called on it. And what's Stretch's excuse for trumpeting that the administration was saying Paul O'Neill might have stolen documents? I'm sorry, I'd finished the book Sunday (The Price of Loyalty). Stretch reported Monday. Granted the book wasn't due out until Tuesday but if I could get a hold of an advanced copy (and I did), Stretch and NBC could as well.

And it wouldn't have required anyone reading the entire book. They only would have had to make it to the second page of text (viii of the author's note) to read:

That was just the start. In March, O'Neill approached his former colleagues at the Treasury Department for what he insisted was his due: copies of every document that had crossed his desk. One day, as he was leaving Washington for Pittsburgh, he passed me a few unopened CD-ROMs. "This is what they gave me," he said. . .

Stretch couldn't tell you that because he hadn't done the work. Seems like with the charge the adminstration was making (no surprise, a later investigation found O'Neill innocent of the charges), he might have wanted to get O'Neill's side. (Katie Couric was left to mop up after Stretch the following day in an interview with Ron Suskind and Paul O'Neill.)

I won't disagree that Miller benefitted from the system (a lazy one) but she wasn't the only one.

And the character assinations (on Scott Ritter, on Susan Sontag, on Paul O'Neill, on Richard Clarke, etc.) were successful because a lot of people ran with them. (Miller supposedly had Ritter blackballed from the Times. Whether that's true or not, I don't know; however, since we're speaking of this topic, it should be noted.) Everytime a Dixie Chick was trashed, it made it that much harder for others to speak out.

The administration operates under intimidation and bullying (hence, the Bully Boy). But it took a lot of meek reporters and sycophants to allow that to happen.

If you missed Poppy's televised interview around the time of the RNC convention, he had no kind words for the Times. (Unless you consider his plea to Maureen Dowd to come back into the fold, kind words.) The Timid has bent to the administration. It didn't win them any love letters. (Which is why they long ago should have stopped trying if only for selfish reasons.)

What they're doing now (they being the Times and Miller) is standing up for reporting. Regardless of their motives (which I don't know) this can have an effect. Some other paper can say, "Hey, the Times stood up." Or a reporter at the Times can argue that the cuts go back into the article with, "Well do we believe what we argued in court or was that just a bunch of hot air?"

Regardless of their reasons, they took a stand and it's one I personally support.

The visitors who e-mailed claiming "Now Karl's going to walk!" That presumes he would be convicted of something in the first place. But let's say he would be. Let's say if Miller testified, he'd be thrown in prison. I don't think the whole world depends on Miller. Fitzgerald seems to have a number of witnesses who claim to be reporters. And if it's a choice between Rove going to prison or the principle of a free press, I'll go with free speech. Rove's not that all powerful. If he were, Bully Boy wouldn't have had to constantly call in Karen Hughes during her "I'm going back to Texas with my family" period. Like Betsy Wright before her, Hughes becomes a footnote in the narrative's thrust to maintain the importance of the males involved. (If Hughes' power is news to you, read Laura Flander's Bushwomen.)

Rove's slimey and he trips himself up. The fact that he's been fingered (by Lawrence O'Donnell who drove the story, not Cooper) tarnishes him in a way that could bring him down (without a trial, without a conviction). But that would require making him the focus of rage and not Miller.

Among others, Fitzgerald has reporters from Time, the Washington Post and a goodly segment of NBC. If he can't make a case yet, that says more about him than it does about Miller.

It's working out nicely for Rove, this anger and frustration at Miller. It certainly detracts from what he allegedly did. Now you don't suppose that's why the New York Post attacked Miller, do you?

The Times should have front paged Robert D. McFadden's article. It's buried on page A10. It's important and part of the debate that should be going on re: Miller. FAIR's included news such as this in their argument. They argue that there are legitimate whistle blowers and they should always be protected. Visitors show up and want to e-mail, "You don't realize that she's putting free speech at risk!" Which demonstrates that not only did they misread the one entry they're responding to, they also missed all the entries where we outlined that.

It is a risky stance. She's decided to take it and so has the paper. There's rarely a perfect case that presents itself in real time. But if Miller and the paper are willing to defend the right of the press, I'm going to go along with them. No one else has to but unless you want me to chuckle, or marvel over your abilities to use the f-word as noun, verb, direct object, adverb and God knows what else, you're wasting time with your e-mails. And visitors who think I'm crushed at the thought that they might not ever come back have mistaken this site for one of the many cowardly newspapers that buckles under any criticism.

This site generates no revenues. It was started as a place to address issues (mainly about the war) that weren't being noted elsewhere. (By elsewhere, I'm not slamming any blog. I'm blog ignorant. Then more so than now but still blog ignorant.) I'd say what I usually said in a speech. (And have posted sections from speeches, which is how Jim, The Third Estate Sunday Review, recognized me when I was giving a speech he attended.) I'm critical of the press (as should be obvious from any entry) but I was raised to be critical of it and to expect a great deal from it. (More than it can probably give in the real world but also more than it's given in the last decade.)

Starting out, I thought I'd Daniel Okrent it ("what I wanted to write about") but it quickly became a community (probably further evidence that I'm blog ignorant and that what it became papered over some of my many blog flaws -- though not all, I'm sure). Early on readers became members because they took this site as their own. Suggestions, requests, links, they weren't hestitant (then or now) to make known what they were interested in.

Today, a member e-mailed asking about advice for starting a blog. I told the person that if I were starting up today, I'd probably just be a smart mouth full time. That would allow for readers, not members, and we'd never have to get too heavy. (And I wouldn't stay awake, as I did Thursday, until I heard from our last member in England.)

If every visitor walked, it wouldn't hurt my feelings or cause me to worry. We don't have a site meter and I'm truly not concerned with "hits."

Though I wouldn't rejoice over it, I'm also not worried if members walked.

I value members e-mails and really regret that I don't have time to reply to them all personally.
But the community's far larger than anything I expected.

When I offered my objections to Dexter Filkins' November reporting (the now "award winning reporting"), the objections of some visitors didn't make me back off that stance. This has never been done to make money or to get "exposure."

This isn't to get a job in print as some suggested in e-mails. I could have that out of college and didn't take it then. (Nor am I suited for it. I would add "or talented for it" but I think there are a lot of people of little talent working in the print medium so that doesn't seem to be a hinderance of any kind.)

Those who are convinced that my support of Miller's legal battled is an attempt to land an offer at the Times have apparently not noticed the quality of rought drafts here (poor -- I'm speaking of mine, not members' posts). They also are under some assumption that the Times is going to see one defense of a stand that I believe in as more important than all the mockery that's gone on here.

I've refused private contact with people of the Times (or anyone else I comment on*). Which meant asking Dallas to be the in between on informing Felicity Barringer of the post where I attempted to offer her reasons for her article (without revealing who she was or what she wrote) as well as my own. (Dallas also contacted the one angry that Love in the Greenzone gossip hadn't translated to easy treatment here. Only Barringer gave permission to be quoted.) (And Love in the Greenzone rumors wouldn't have made it up here. The reporters remarks about how their article was savaged unfairly would have.)

I haven't traded "access" for treatment of anyone.

I think that covers all the topics Rebecca posted on. If I forgot something, Shirley and/or Zach, let me know.

The e-mail address for this site is

[*We do have members who are journalists including Professional Journalist who disclosed in this space that he works for the Wash Post. They aren't highlighted by me. I also avoid highlighting reporters I know. Or in the case of Anthony Lappe, people whose family I know. And I read a really strong piece at Guerilla News Network today and was hoping someone would e-mail on it. No one did, so it didn't go up here. We do highlight Tom Hayden and I've disclosed that I know him. Considering the efforts of some to distance themselves from him -- due to the call for an immediate withdrawal -- I frankly don't give a damn that we've highlighted him. We've also highlighted Jane Fonda who's not a reporter but I mention that because Martha asked, "Has Monster-In-Law crossed 80 million yet?" It did so last weekend. No, it's not a "bomb." Yes, Martha, people would like to work that "fact" because of their own hatred of Fonda. And it's conventional wisdom so unsuspecting people may end up repeating it. It isn't, however, reality. As Mike pointed out, it's the second highest moneymaker Jennifer Lopez has appeared in -- live action. Worldwide, it's at over 92 million. The film was a hit. Not a recouper, a hit. In a summer that's seen only five live action films cross the one hundred million mark, 80 million looks pretty damn good. And as Martha noted in her e-mail, we're talking about a film that's three stars include a woman over sixty, a Hispanic lead and an African-American lead -- Wanda Sykes. Martha wondered how it ranked next to Steel Magnolias which was the last film she could remember with mulitple females in lead roles. It's three million behind Steel Magnolias currently. It's a hit and in a summer -- the Times was right on their prediction here and I was wrong -- that's depressed and depressing for the movie industry, people should know the box office before dubbing it "a bomb." Universal would be dancing in the street if Cinderella Man had done eighty million. Even with an idiot trying to grab publicity for himself by refusing to exhibit the film, Monster-in-Law proved that Fonda is bankable and that for all the nonsense from the anti-Fonda set, she will not drive paying customers away. And believe it or not, that was a worry for some. The same nonsense of "too controversial" that Fun With Dick & Jane had to earlier put to rest. If she wants to, if she wants to, she can make additional films. The myth of protests and and five million tops, the threats of boycotts were proven to be the voice of a small minority -- as has always been the case but certain types can get skittish. Polling demonstrated that Fonda's presence positively impacted the film. If she makes this her final film, it will be her choice not something imposed upon her and she will be able to say she went out a hit. And went out as a lead, not a supporting player. As she, and others like Barbra Streisand, broke down the age barriers for leading women in the late seventies and early eighties, she's blazed a trail yet again.]

NYT: "Newspapers Witholding Two Articles After Jailing" (Robert D. McFadden)

The editor of The Cleveland Plain Dealer said last night that the newspaper, acting on the advice of its lawyers, was withholding publication of two major investigative articles because they were based on illegally leaked documents and could lead to penalties against the paper and the jailing of reporters.
The editor, Doug Clifton, said lawyers for The Plain Dealer had concluded that the newspaper, Ohio's largest daily, would probably be found culpable if the authorities were to investigate the leaks and that reporters might be forced to identify confidential sources to a grand jury or go to jail.
"Basically, we have come by material leaked to us that would be problematical for the person who leaked it," Mr. Clifton said in a telephone interview. "The material was under seal or something along those lines."
In an earlier interview with the trade journal Editor & Publisher, which published an article on its Web site late yesterday, Mr. Clifton said that lawyers for The Plain Dealer and its owner, Newhouse Newspapers, had strongly recommended against publication of the articles.

The above is from Robert D. McFadden's "Newspaper Withholding Two Articles After Jailing" in this morning's New York Times.

"Oh, Judith Miller's court battle doesn't matter." Some said that. Some said, "Who cares, put her behind bars!" I don't care what you think of Miller (I don't know her, I do have a friend who does) personally. I don't care what you think of her reporting (I don't care for it). But the legal defense she's mounted goes beyond the easy criticism of "She lied!" Which is all some people want to offer.

(For sound arguments that feel Miller should have named her source or sources, see FAIR.
"FAIR Calls for Revealing Sources in Plame, Lee Cases" and FAIR's radio program CounterSpin's "Rosa Brooks on Judith Miller, Patrice O'Neill on The Fire Next Time"are good places to start. Also watch, listen or read Democracy Now!'s "Protecting Whistleblowers or Shielding Government Wrongdoing? Supreme Court on Journalists and Anonymous Sources" which offers a debate between John (Rick) MacArthur of Harper's and Jim Naureckas of FAIR with MacArthur offering a rational argument why Miller shouldn't give up her source and Naureckas offering a rational argument of why she should. And for those visitors who e-mail that she should be forced to turn over her source because "I don't like her!" . . . I hope I never serve on a jury with you or, worse, have you sit on a jury for something I'm charged with. It's really not about the person. FAIR can make a strong argument that doesn't depend on Judith Miller as a person or her past reporting. If you're convinced that she needs to turn over her source, do yourself a favor and find a strong argument for that by learning FAIR's argument.)

What's the chilling effect of cases like Miller's? Read McFadden's article and find out. I'm not saying it will change your position on Miller's case. (And if you familiarize yourself with the FAIR argument, it shouldn't.) But it is worth thinking about if people can leave their comfort zones of "She's a criminal!" (She didn't write about it. Robert Novak did. Even by writing about it, unless he's on a payroll we don't know about, he didn't committ a crime. The leaker would be the one that the act covers, not the journalist.)

What does The Cleveland Plain Dealer have? Who knows?

I could care less about baseball and for all I know it's something from Congress' steroids hearings. Or maybe they're blowing the lid off faulty meters in downtown Cleveland. Neither would make a difference in my life but they might to other people. And that's what freedom of the press is supposed to be about. For all I know, they've blown the lid off some huge scandal that's been unreported (and will remain so due to the opinion of the paper's attornies).

But for me (note "for me"), freedom of the press isn't about whether I like the reporter. It's not about whether the story mattered to me personally. It's about whether or not we have a free press (or the right to have one even if our press chooses not to behave like a free one) or not.
Members get that. Visitors don't. And "that" refers to my position on this. "That" does not refer to agreement with me. (One visitor, demonstrating he was truly a bad fit for this community, e-mailed a piece from the New York Post arguing Miller should turn over her source or sources. We've never linked to the New York Post and barring a change in their "reporting," we never will. But keep going for the high drama if that's what feeds you.)

My reaction to the visitors e-mailing on this topic was not concern or "Am I wrong?" I, as Rebecca noted, laughed about those e-mails. If you don't know the basic facts (some of you are convinced that Miller wrote on this topic), maybe you should get some basic information before you weigh in? And if you're going to resort to conjecture . . .

The fantasies running through those e-mails speak of highly creative minds. Let me join you in conjecture.

Alternate fantasy: Miller alerted Joseph Wilson about the outing of Plame! She's the unnamed first reporter! The one he's never named! Yes, Miller had contact with Chalabi because he was CIA! And Valerie Plame was CIA! Don't you get it! Miller must go way back with Plame! As someone with strong contacts in the CIA she was personally offended by the outing of Plame! So were her CIA sources! She was working on that story! But the heat on it was too much! The Times refused to publish it! Just like when she offered, on Hardball, during the Iraqi elections that Chalabi was being courted by our government again! Oh my God! Miller's actually a good guy in this story! And she's not turning over her notes because she's protecting the sources who were helping her figure out who the leaker was! Maybe George Tenet himself!

Do you buy it? I don't. But I didn't buy all the conjecture offered on her in e-mails. (Some of which was vile and targeted her with sexism. Saying she's a bad reporter doesn't require suggesting that she and all other female reporters "get back to the kitchen where they belong!"
But someone felt that it did require that -- and at least managed to make the point without resorting to profanity. One of the few.) The e-mails didn't bother me. As I told Rebecca, I laughed at them. There is a strong argument to be made for Miller turning over her source. I don't agree with it, but I respect it. Those of you who feel that should would be better served learning that argument (and, again, members know that argument and those who feel she should turn over her source or sources can make that argument).

But this game of "bash the bitch" is completely lacking in sound arguments. "She lied us into war!" That's your reason why she should turn over her source? That's it? Well, if she's pulled over for speeding, should we execute her for that as well?

If you're one of those visitors who e-mailed, you obviously disagree with me which is more than fine. What's not fine is not knowing the basic facts or being unable to support your argument with something beyond her reporting. (I've been very clear that I'm not a fan of her reporting.)
Get over to FAIR and learn the backing for your position.

Some of you dismissed John (Rick) MacArthur's "slippery slope" argument as though it had emerged from the lunacy of Rehnquist's mind. There is a chilling effect on the press. The administration that's declared war on Social Security, women . . . you name it, declared war on the press long ago. That's why (even with the softball press they've gotten) they felt the need to pay commentators and produce their "news" videos. That's why they went to local TV reporters with the Bully Boy, because they knew never a tough question would be heard from some reporter in a minor market eager to have the bragging rights to "I interviewed Bully Boy!"

That was behind the attacks on Susan Sontag and Bill Maher. The attacks on CBS, the attacks on Newsweek. Go down the list.

Miller might not be the person any of us would have chosen to make the case she's making but when you've got Dan Rather groveling on air or Newsweek floating (apparently false) rumors that a reporter's job might be in question, when you've got ABC cutting Maher loose (and I don't care for Maher, I've never cared for him, but I defended his rights in 2001), when you have so many scraping and bowing, maybe you need to be grateful that Miller's chosen to stand up for the press. FAIR would not see it that way. And if any of the visitors had made FAIR's argument, we wouldn't be going over all of this again.

I love FAIR. When I get the latest Extra!, we usually note several pieces from it here. They're a great organization that does incredible work. "Don't you feel stupid for disagreeing with FAIR?" asked one visitor. (That "shout out" was the closest anyone came to making FAIR's argument.) No. I feel stupid for many things, but that's not one of them. It's been about seven or eight years that I've followed their work and I've never disagreed with them before. That doesn't mean I think they're "stupid." I think they have a sound argument (which is why I've repeatedly said throughout the week, go to FAIR and learn their argument). They could be right but it's not the opinion I hold and I don't have a problem saying so. Nor does their opinion make me "hate" them. One visitor wrote "I hate you now and I'll never visit again!" Good. If you hate me, I'm obviously not going to be able to say anything that reaches you so you're wasting your time coming to this site. Find a voice that speaks to you and visit that.

I'll continue to enjoy FAIR's solid work and their reasoned arguments (which I'm expecting to agree with). They're great. (And Extra! needs to be a monthly.) When I was listening to CounterSpin today I thought, "We need to provide that link." We didn't do a lot of audio early on. And that's because we have some members that go way back who are hearing impaired. If you didn't offer text, we didn't offer you as a link. But the permalinks are so long on the left (always on the left) that when Free Speech Radio News (which does offer a text summary) was suggested as a link, I felt like we could offer that and not be disrespectful to hearing impaired members. Our membership includes an elderly couple where one partner is blind. Free Speech Radio News was a hit with them. (I hadn't known we had a blind member in the community or we would have offered more audio links to begin with. That was my steroetype of assuming that since we're a web site all of our members were sighted. Wrong on my part and I often am wrong.) They have a program that allows e-mails to be read aloud so they're sent entries now and I'm sure there's much laughter over the program's attempts to decipher my many typos.
(There has to be a program that will read web pages. And does so without someone having to copy and paste. If you know of any, please contact the site so we can pass that on.)

Back to Miller, she's been in worse places but it's doubtful she says each morning "Goody, I'm in jail!" (Though apparently a number of you say that.) She could have rolled over like Matthew Cooper did -- his employers didn't leave him a lot of choice; however, he still could have taken a stand on his own. And let's clear something else up. There's this talk about poor Time and the penalities they faced. Time is a part of huge conglomerate. They have the money. More importantly, they have the power to make sure that their insurance policies cover the penalties.
The same way a once powerful "star" was able to get the insurance company to cover the personal costs for a pay off.

It's doubtful that Time would face any huge monetary cost. One call threatening to pull all AOL Time Warner ABC Disney CNN et al business and the insurance company would have caved and agreed to the pay out. (My opinion based on past squeezes powerful individuals and powerful companies have successfully pulled off.) Apparently because Diane Sawyer once lightly grilled Michael Eisner over the cancellation of Ellen, there's this impression that ABC Time Warner AOL CNN et al is a bastion of free speech. That is simply not the case and the public record reflects that time and again.

"Miller planned this in 2003 as her attempt at redemption!" one visitor wrote.

Well then she really is all powerful. I needed to call her about the weather because I've not been really happy with it of late and she's need to get to work on that too. After that, I want to her fix either my microwave or those mini-bags of popcorn because half of the contents continue to burn no matter what setting I use.

I don't know why she's doing it and I don't care. I'm just glad that someone's standing up. And "someone" includes the New York Times who has more than earned the nickname New York Timid in the recent past. That they're standing up, for whatever reasons, is something I give them credit for. Regardless of their reasoning, they're behaving the way the press should. They're fighting and not caving. Lord know the Timid knows how to cave. I'd call it second nature to them but it's been their first nature more often than not.

When I read Keller's remarks on Thursday, I could have done without the Rummy reference, but they're standing up. And "Judy led us into war!" isn't an argument I place a great deal of value in as "reason" for her to turn over her source or sources.

I didn't think they'd do this. (And I still fear Miller's going to cave.) I figured I'd be lobbying my usual spitballs at the Timid. But if they're going to stand up, I'm going to give them credit for it.

The e-mail address for this site is

Nuevo plan del Pentágono exige mayor participación a nivel nacional

Maria: Hola. De parte de "Democracy Now!" doce cosas que vale hacer notar este fin de semana.

Nuevo plan del Pentágono exige mayor participación a nivel nacional
El Pentágono adoptó un nuevo plan de seguridad nacional que exige que los militares estadounidenses amplíen su función militar. El Washington Post informa que el nuevo plan aumenta la presencia militar no solo aérea sino marítima y terrestre en Estados Unidos, y en otras zonas aéreas menos tradicionales, incluyendo compartir información con quienes se encargan del cumplimiento de las leyes civiles. Según el periódico, el documento no exige que una nueva autoridad jurídica utilice fuerzas militares en suelo estadounidense, sino que plantea la probabilidad de que tropas de combate estadounidenses actúen en caso de que civiles o fuerzas de la Guardia Nacional se vean superados. El documento también exige que los analistas de inteligencia militar formen grupos con los oficiales de la aplicación de la ley civil para identificar y rastrear a sospechosos terroristas. Afirma la autoridad del presidente para desplegar fuerzas de combate terrestre en territorio estadounidense para "interceptar y sofocar amenazas". El Post informa que en el área de inteligencia, el documento habla de desarrollar "un cuadro" de especialistas en terrorismo del Pentágono y de desplegar a algunos de ellos dentro del territorio estadounidense para que trabajen con el FBI y con fuerzas de policía locales. Gene Healy del Instituto Cato dijo "El paso de los militares hacia una capacidad de inteligencia interna genera preocupación. La última vez que las fuerzas armadas se involucraron en la vigilancia nacional en la época de la Guerra de Vietnam, la inteligencia militar tenía miles de archivos de estadounidenses que no eran culpables de otra cosa que de oponerse a la guerra." Healy agregó que "No me parece que queramos transitar ese camino tra vez".

Más de 100 legisladores iraquíes piden el retiro de Estados Unidos
Más de 100 miembros del parlamento iraquí piden oficialmente que Estados Unidos retire sus tropas de Irak. Exigen que la Asamblea Nacional adopte una resolución que cancele la solicitud realizada por el gobierno iraquí al Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU para ampliar la presencia de las fuerzas multinacionales. Asimismo piden al gobierno que establezca una fecha para el retiro.

Diplomático egipcio ejecutado. El Cairo cierra misión.
Egipto anunció que cerrará temporalmente su misión diplomática en Irak y ordenó al personal que regresara a El Cairo, luego de que un grupo militante se atribuyera la autoría de la muerte del enviado egipcio en Bagdad. El Cairo asimismo solicitó al Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU el jueves que tratara en forma urgente el tema de proteger a los diplomáticos en Irak. Un grupo que se identificó como Al-Qaeda en Irak dijo en un foro de Internet que había matado al embajador egipcio, que fue secuestrado en un calle en Bagdad el sábado, semanas después de que asumiera su cargo en la capital iraquí. Publicaron un video corto del diplomático mientras era interrogado, pero no mostraron el asesinato.

Tropas estadounidenses abrieron fuego contra civiles
El sábado, tropas estadounidenses abrieron fuego contra dos autos que trasladaban civiles en el oeste de la capital. Una mujer y su hijo murieron a consecuencia de los disparos. El suegro de la mujer resultó gravemente herido. La familia cristiana se dirigía a Jordania.

Embajador iraquí acusó a Estados Unidos de la muerte de su sobrino
El embajador iraquí ante las Naciones Unidas, Samir Sumaidaie, acusó a infantes de marina estadounidenses de matar a su sobrino de 21 años de edad. Según el embajador, su sobrino fue arrestado porque los infantes de marina encontraron un rifle en su casa. Luego de que lo detuvieron, el joven fue hallado sin vida con un tiro en el cuello.

Gobierno iraquí admitió haber torturado detenidos
El gobierno iraquí admitió que sus fuerzas de seguridad torturan y maltratan a los detenidos. El reconocimiento tuvo lugar luego de que un informe de the Observer de Londres, revelara la existencia de cámaras de tortura secretas y campañas de asesinatos realizadas por grupos paramilitares apoyados por el gobierno. Un portavoz del gobierno responsabilizó de los hechos a la brutalización de la sociedad iraquí bajo el régimen de Saddam Hussein. El portavoz dijo "Estas cosas suceden. Lo sabemos."

Cinco ciudadanos estadounidenses detenidos en Irak
El Pentágono admitió el miércoles que las fuerzas armadas estadounidenses tienen al menos cinco ciudadanos estadounidenses detenidos entre los más de 10.000 prisioneros en Irak. Los cinco están detenidos sin acusaciones o acceso a abogados, porque se sospecha que están vinculados a la resistencia iraquí. El Departamento de Defensa se niega a identificar a los cinco prisioneros. Sin embargo, el New York Times y el Los Ángeles Times identificaron a uno de ellos como Cyrus Kar, un aspirante a cineasta de Los Ángeles de 44 años de edad, que fue arrestado en Irak en mayo. Un portavoz de la Unión Estadounidense por las Libertades Civiles (ACLU) dijo que Kar ha estado prácticamente incomunicado durante más de 50 días y dijo que su detención es "ilegal, inconstitucional e inhumana".

Antichavista acusada
Un juez de Venezuela ordenó que una figura de la oposición que fue recibida por el presidente Bush vaya a juicio con tres colegas acusados de conspiración de derrocar al gobierno utilizando fondos estadounidenses. María Corina Machado y otros tres miembros de su grupo Sumate, que ayudaron a organizar un referéndum contra el presidente venezolano Hugo Chávez hace casi un año, fueron acusados de "conspiración para cambiar el sistema republicano de Venezuela". Chavez llamó a Machado traidora luego de que el grupo Sumate recibiera financiamiento de la Fundación Nacional para la Democracia (NED, por sus siglas en inglés). El juez ordenó que los tres permanecerían en libertad hasta el juicio. Machado se reunió con Bush en la Casa Blanca el 31 de mayo.

Pinochet pierde inmunidad
Un tribunal de apelaciones de Chile le ha retirado la inmunidad al ex-dictador General Augusto Pinochet, en el caso que implica prisioneros políticos asesinados durante su severo régimen. El caso alega la participación de Pinochet en el secuestro y asesinato de prisioneros políticos durante lo que los servicios de inteligencia denominaron "Operación Colombo".

Juez peruano ordenó el arresto de 118 soldados por Masacre del ‘88
Mientras tanto, un juez peruano ordenó el arresto de 118 soldados por su supuesta participación en la masacre de campesinos en un pueblo andino en 1988. El juez decretó la orden con relación a la tortura y matanza de más de dos decenas de personas en Cayara.

Presidente de Bolivia anuncia elecciones
El presidente interino de Bolivia, Eduardo Rodríguez, anunció ayer que programó las elecciones presidenciales para el 4 de diciembre. La decisión tuvo lugar semanas después de revueltas dirigidas por indígenas que provocaron el retiro de Carlos Mesa.

La Iglesia Unida de Cristo aprueba matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo
La Iglesia Unida de Cristo es la mayor iglesia cristiana que aprueba el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo. Aproximadamente un 80 por ciento del cuerpo general de la iglesia aprobó una resolución el lunes convocando a las iglesias que lo integran para considerar políticas de matrimonio que "no discriminen a las parejas basadas en el sexo". Asimismo solicita a las iglesias que consideren apoyar leyes que garanticen iguales derechos matrimoniales a las parejas homosexuales y que trabajen contra las leyes que prohíben el matrimonio homosexual.

Maria: Hello. In English, here are twelve headlines from Democracy Now! Read the headlines in English below and ask yourself "Is there anyone I can pass this on to?" Who owns Telumundo? NBC. Telumundo. Make a difference this weekend, think of one person you can alert that Democracy Now! is providing their headlines each day in Spanish and English for reading and listening to. Please get the word out.

New Pentagon Plan Calls For Greater Domestic Role
The Pentagon has adopted a new homeland security plan that calls for the U.S. military to greatly expand its domestic role. The Washington Post reports the new plan expands the military's presence not only in the air and sea at home but also on the ground and in other less traditional areas including intelligence sharing with civilian law enforcement. According to the Post, the document does not ask for new legal authority to use military forces on U.S. soil, but it raises the likelihood that U.S. combat troops will take action in the event that civilian and National Guard forces are overwhelmed. The document also calls for military intelligence analysts to be teamed with civilian law enforcement to identify and track suspected terrorists. And it asserts the president's authority to deploy ground combat forces on U.S. territory to "intercept and defeat threats." The Post reports that in the area of intelligence, the document speaks of developing "a cadre" of Pentagon terrorism specialists and of deploying a number of them domestically to work with the FBI and local police forces. Gene Healy of the Cato Institute said, "The move toward a domestic intelligence capability by the military is troubling. The last time the military got heavily involved in domestic surveillance, during the Vietnam War era, military intelligence kept thousands of files on Americans guilty of nothing more than opposing the war." Healy added, "I don't think we want to go down that road again."

More Than 100 Iraqi MPs Call for US Withdrawal
More than 100 members of the Iraqi parliament are now officially calling for the US to withdraw its troops from Iraq. They are demanding that the National Assembly adopt a resolution cancelling the request made by the Iraqi government to the UN Security Council to extend the presence of multinational forces. They also call on the government to set a timetable for withdrawal.

Egyptian Diplomat Executed, Cairo Closes Mission
Egypt says it is temporarily shutting down its diplomatic mission in Iraq and has recalled its staff to Cairo, after a militant group claimed to have killed Egypt's top envoy in Baghdad. Cairo also asked the U.N. Security Council on Thursday to urgently address the issue of protecting diplomats in Iraq. A group identifying itself as Al-Qaida in Iraq said in a posting on a web forum that it killed the Egyptian ambassador, who was kidnapped from a Baghdad street late Saturday only weeks after he took up his post in the Iraqi capital. It posted a short video of the diplomat being questioned, but did not show his slaying.

U.S. Troops Open Fire On Civilian Car
On Saturday, U.S. troops opened fire at two cars carrying civilians west of the capital. A woman and her child were killed. The woman's father-in-law was seriously wounded. The Christian family was driving to Jordan.

Iraq Ambassador Accuses U.S. Of Killing His Nephew
Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations -- Samir Sumaidaie -- is accusing U.S. Marines of shooting dead his 21-year-old nephew. According to the ambassador, his nephew was arrested because Marines found a rifle at his home. After Marines detained him, the young man was found dead with a bullet in his neck.

Iraqi Gov't Admits To Torturing Detainees
The Iraqi government has admitted that its security forces are carrying out torture and abusing detainees. The admission came after a report in the Observer of London revealed the existence of secret torture chambers and murder campaigns carried out by government-backed paramilitary groups. A government spokesman blamed it in part on the brutalising of Iraqi society under Saddam Hussein. The spokesman said "These things happen. We know that."

Five US Citizens Being Held in Iraq
The Pentagon admitted on Wednesday that the US military is holding at least five U.S. citizens among more than 10,000 prisoners in Iraq. All of the five are being held without charges or access to lawyers. They are all being held on loose suspicion of being linked to the Iraqi resistance. The Defense Department refuses to identify the five. But the New York Times and Los Angeles Times have identified one as 44-year old Cyrus Kar, an aspiring filmmaker from Los Angeles who was arrested in Iraq in May. An ACLU spokesperson said Kar has been held virtually incommunicado for more than 50 days and called his detention "illegal, unconstitutional and inhumane."

Anti-Chavez Figure Indicted
A judge in Venezuela has ruled that an opposition figure who was received by President Bush will go on trial with three colleagues accused of conspiring to overthrow the government using U.S. funds. Maria Corina Machado and three other members of her Sumate group, which helped organize a referendum against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez nearly a year ago, are being charged with "conspiracy to change Venezuela's republican system." Chavez has called Machado a traitor after her Sumate group received funding from the National Endowment for Democracy. The judge ruled that the 3 would remain free until the trial took place. Machado met Bush at the White House on May 31.

Pinochet Stripped of Immunity
A court of appeals in Chile has stripped ailing ex-dictator General Augusto Pinochet of his immunity in a case involving political prisoners killed during his iron-fisted rule. The case alleges Pinochet's involvement in the abduction and killing of political prisoners during what his intelligence services dubbed "Operation Colombo."

Peruvian Judge Orders Arrest of 118 Soldiers for '88 Massacre
Meanwhile, a Peruvian judge has ordered the arrest of 118 soldiers for their alleged involvement in the massacre of peasants in an Andean village in 1988. The judge issued the order in connection with the torture and killing of more than two dozen people in Cayara.

Bolivia Pres. Announces Elections
Bolivia's interim president, Eduardo Rodriguez, announced yesterday that he has scheduled presidential elections for Dec 4. This followed weeks of indigenous-led revolt that brought down President Carlos Mesa.

United Church of Christ Endorses Same Sex Marriage
The United Church of Christ has become the country's largest Christian church to endorse same sex marriage. Roughly 80 percent of the church's general body approved a resolution on Monday calling on member churches to consider wedding policies that "do not discriminate against couples based on gender." It also asks churches to consider supporting legislation granting equal marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples and to work against laws banning same sex marriage.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Where in the world is Amy Goodman? San Rafael, CA 7/16; Chicago 7/23; NYC 7/24

* Amy Goodman in

San Rafael, CA:
Sat, July 16
In Conversation with Amy Goodman, a benefit for KRCB
CenterStage at the Osher Marin JCC
200 N. San Pedro Road
San Rafael, CA 94903
Tickets: $25 public/ $20 JCC and KRCB members/ $12.50 students.
Reserved seating.
To purchase tickets, call the box office at 415.444.8000 or
Discounts can only be recognized through the Osher Marin boxoffice.
For more information, visit

Amy Goodman in
Chicago, IL:
Sat, July 23
12:30-2 PM
ILCA's 50th Anniversary Convention
Chicago City Centre Holiday Inn
300 East Ohio Street
To register for this conference, visit

Amy Goodman in
New York, NY:
Sun, July 24
2:30 PM
Books at the Piera benefit for Books Through Bars
Panel discussion: "The Media, Incarceration and Public Policy - Is There A Connection?"
Frying Pan/Pier 63
New York City
For directions, visit
For more information, call: 888-999-6761

Who is Amy Goodman? The host (with Juan Gonzalez) of Democracy Now!

Democracy Now?

An hour long independent news show.

Democracy Now! airs on over 350 radio and TV stations, including Pacifica, NPR, community, and college radio stations; on public access, PBS, satellite TV stations (DISH network: Free Speech TV ch. 9415 and Link TV ch. 9410; DIRECTV: Link TV ch. 375); on the World Radio Network's European Service and on the Community Broacasting Association of Australia service; as a "podcast", automatically downloaded to your computer or portable audio player; and streams live M-F at 8am EST.
Now real-time CLOSED CAPTIONED on TV!
You can also view/listen/read all Democracy Now! shows online:
To bring Democracy Now! to your community, go to:

And remember, Democracy Now! now does their headlines in English and in Spanish. You can read or listen to either at the web site. You can also e-mail them to friends in either language.
Maria's doing the selection again this week of Democracy Now! Headlines. (That will be the last entry for tonight but it's there in the e-mail inbox so it will go up.)

Maria and Miguel have both made strong points when they've done these weekly entries. If you enjoy Democracy Now! (and community members do), wouldn't you want to share it with someone? And if you know someone who speaks Spanish, wouldn't you want to pass this on to them? Democracy Now! is the favorite broadcast of this community so obviously it means a great deal to members. If I get caught up in something else and forget to note Amy Goodman's appearances, I hear about it in e-mails. Not just from people who are in the area Goodman will be speaking in, but from members who feel that it's important to note each date of the Un-embed the Media Tour. It is important, I agree. And keep reminding me because I can forget even if things aren't crazy on this end. (And thanks to Brad for reminding me this time.) But if the show means that much to you (and it does), make a point to pass on the headlines to someone.

"Okay, I've got a friend who does speak Spanish. But s/he doesn't have a computer." Does s/he visit you? It's ten minutes to listen one day's Headlines. Pull her/him over to the computer and explain that the show's added a new feature and you were wondering what they thought of it. Then pull up the text or pull up the audio. You just let one other person know about it. (Yes, I do that myself on weekends. Or I wouldn't suggest it.)

Do you know someone who teaches? Pass it on. Even if s/he doesn't teach ESL or bilingual or Spanish. And, by the way, I forgot about Spanish teachers. I was discussing this with a friend and she reminded me of a friend we have who is a college Spanish teacher. He's offered it as a tool to students interested saying listen to it Spanish and read along in English.

Or maybe you took Spanish in school or college but haven't been using it? You can use the feature to brush up on your skills. So can others. (You could probably, if you applied yourself, even learn some Spanish via the new feature.)

But if you've filled you've informed everyone or anyone you could, try to think this weekend and figure out if there's one more person you can pass the news on about this feature too. Even if someone's who doesn't speak Spanish because the more people aware of Democracy Now! the better.

When Maria, Miguel or Francisco highlight a headline, that's their pick. Maybe you want to do what they're doing in an e-mail to a friend. You can copy it or create your own if you feel there was a headline that you would have included instead.

What does word of mouth do? Well note this:

New stations broadcasting DN!
Vancouver, WA: FVTV, Channel 11 now airing DN 5 a.m., M-F with replays onThursday and Saturday evening at 7 pm
Omaha, NE: WOQ/Omaha Independent Radio, AM 980 now airing DN M-F 4pm
Boston, MA: Boston Neighborhood Network TV now airing DN M-F 8 am
Portland, OR: KBOO 90.7 FM now airing DN M-F 11 am

And looking at the above, I think of Mike because he's in the Boston area. He listens on the radio and his family has a satellite dish, but I can still ask, "Do you know about this Boston Neighborhood Network TV offering?"

From the intereview The Third Estate Sunday Review did with Mike:

And you're a fan of Democracy Now!
Right. That's a great show. I usually listen to it. It comes on WBZC at noon and if I know I'm going to miss it, I may tape it. But I can also catch it on TV because we have dish. They tell the truth on that show.

Does Mike already know about it? He may. If so, that only means he may say, "Yes, I know about that. Hey, did you see the thing they did this week on . . ."

If you read Ruth's Morning Edition Report this morning, you saw the following:

Tracey asked her if she had watched or listened to Democracy Now! and Christy replied that she wasn't aware of it. Which led to Bill explaining the show but admitting that he doesn't have the time to tune in now."I'm working two jobs and my wife is using flex time to put in some hours on the weekend," he explained. I get home and try to spend time with them."
[. . .]
Angela offered online sources and Democracy Now! as her main sources for the news.

That's getting the word out. Unlike Nightly News or Larry King Live, Democracy Now! doesn't take out full page ads in the New York Times. It depends on word of mouth from people the show matters to so make some time this weekend to find a way to get the word out in some way (the new Spanish feature, a story you saw, whatever) to one person. You love the show, you count on it. Maybe you don't have money to donate but you are able to help get the word out.

And on donating, Erika brought up a point that needs to be made and I'm sorry I never noted it before. Are you someone who enjoys Noam Chomsky or Alice Walker or Gore Vidal or Naomi Klein or whomever? Go to The Democracy Now! store and you can purchase a copy of a show (fifteen dollars for a CD copy, thirty dollars for a videotape or DVD copy). Not sure if one of your favorites has been on? Use the search option. Maybe you know someone who has every book Howard Zinn's published and you're stuck thinking of a gift to get someone who has all things Zinn? How about an interview with him? Or the reading done Monday of A People's History of the United States. Is there a folk music fan you're trying to find a gift for? Search "Joan Baez."
Democracy Now! did a full hour with Baez for a Christmas episode. (2003, I think. Use the search engine.) Ani DiFranco fans, use the search engine. (And not just to buy, but to utilize the great resource that is the archives.) I'm not remembering Joan Baez singing on the show (I could be wrong) but I know Ani performed. Katrina vanden Heuvel, Robert Fisk, Matthew Rothschild, Angela Y. Davis, Gloria Steinem, Dahr Jamail, Christian Parenti, voices that speak to members of this communnity can usually be found on Democracy Now! Ues the archives to enjoy something you missed or someone you wanted to see again. And use the store for a gift for someone (maybe yourself) if you're looking for a gift.

(And if there's a voice that speaks to you who hasn't been on, visit the show's main page and make a suggestion via the contact option.)

The e-mail address for this site is

Sunday Chat & Chews

When will the madness end? Not this Sunday as we see the usual suspects (yet again). Yes, it's time to note the Sunday Chat & Chews. All shows air Sunday, check your local listings.

What becomes a weak mind most? Tim Russert seems to fill it's an hour of wall to wall male guests. (Seems to be a pattern. Does he have something to prove?)

This week the must see guests, for those whose idea of must see is "Well it's this or the repeats of Lost World or Davey & Goliath," include:

Secretary of Homeland Security
Author, "America the Vulnerable: How Our Government is Failing to Protect Us from Terrorism"Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
Former Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Former Administrator of Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
Senior Counselor, "The Cohen Group"
Judiciary CommitteeIntelligence Committee
Judiciary Committee

ABC's This Week offers surprise bookings -- provided your idea of suprise is more of the same:

Michael Chertoff,
Secretary of Homeland Security
Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

And in our roundtable, former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, an ABC News analyst, Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International and ABC News' Martha Raddatz join [George] Stephanopoulos for a discussion on the London terror attacks and the continued war on terror.

As we move on to the Tiifany if Tiffany's Had a Tag Sale Network, you wonder, "Will it be three for three? Will Chertoff make a clean sweap?" Proving that originality long ceased functioning at all levels of network TV, the sad answer is yes. CBS's Face the Nation:

London Bombings, The Supreme Court
Michael Chertoff
Secretary, Department of Homeland Security
Sen. Arlen Specter
Republican - Pennsylvania
Chairman, Judiciary Committee
Sen. Patrick Leahy
Democrat – Vermont
Ranking Member, Judiciary Committee
Jan Crawford Greenburg
The Chicago Tribune

What's the point of having Chertoff on all three? Obviously not to get high ratings (which they don't really anyway). It's to say, "Hey, don't blame me! We had Chertoff on too! I can't help it if no one watches!" Possibly no one watches because this crap is the same crap from network to network. Isn't it past time that one of the shows demonstrated some bravery and booked a non-obvious guest? But little boys in the locker room apparently fear being caught with their pants down (probably for good reason) so they all grab the towel that is Chertoff and drape it around their waist before taking down the pants.

Week after week, these jaw bone fests try to fill (waste?) time and yet week after week, they all have to have the same damn guests. Even in terms of elected officials. For instance, to watch these programs, you'd think the Senate was composed of no more than twenty senators. Since Congress is too frightened to take on dergeulation, maybe we should try selling it to them with, "How about you include a rule by which each Sunday Chat & Chew must book each Senator and each rep at least once during a calander year?" It just might pass since far more members of Congress never appear on these shows than actually do. How many weeks does Ore Hatchett Head get a year anyway?

Where's Bernie Sanders? Where's Barbara Lee? Where's anyone who hasn't been on these tired shows eight hundred already?

And though I've mocked This Week for booking car drivers, it's the closest thing to "the people" we've seen on the snooze programs in some time. Get the idea that this isn't about you the viewer and just about who gets invited to what party? Good then maybe you'll grasp why these conventional wisdom shows are a waste of all of our time.

But Hatch or whomever is big! We need to know what they think!

Maybe it's past time we started hearing what "the people" thought? Maybe it's past time these shows made some attempt to connect with viewers? Meet the Press leads the pack ratings wise. That has nothing to do with quality -- there's little quality on any of these shows (though as much as Blinky Bob gets on my nerves, he does generally run a better show in terms of not resorting to yucks the way Russert too often does). It also has little to do with real ratings. If these shows had to live or die by the ratings, the life support would have been pulled long ago -- unless certain Congressional members, out of their own self-interests, attempted to ram through a law (but Congress would never be that short sighted, would they?).

Democracy Now! has better discussions and it doesn't have to resort to the obvious names. Nor does it have to resort to week after week of elected officials. There's real discussion there but for the Sunday Chat & Chews to achieve that they'd have to leave the by the beltway, for the beltway, of the beltway nonsense.

Maybe some week they'll surprise us and we'll see one program decide to break from the pack and actually deal with reality but that would take more bravery than any has yet demonstrated. It's much easier to be mediocre and fail while saying, "I'm doing just what the other two are doing!" This Week and Face the Nation especially have nothing to lose by taking a chance but repeatedly failing while doing exactly the same thing is safe. So they'll stick with that apparently.

For an idea of what should be discussed with Chertoff but won't be, see "Snapshots: Chertoff and it's an ugly picture."

The e-mail address for this site is