Saturday, July 30, 2005

Air America weekend line up (partial)

Nothing up at Air America about the weekend schedule. Regardless of whom the guests are, The Laura Flanders Show is always worth listening to (airs seven to ten p.m. eastern time, Saturdays & Sundays).

Ring of Fire does have it's line up posted, so let's note it (Ring of Fire airs "Saturdays 5-7 pm ET
Rebroadcast: Sundays 3-5pm ET"):

Is the rhetoric of the religious right and conservative pundits fueling violence against gays and immigrants? Bobby talks with Morris Dees, founder and chief trial counsel of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
War profiteering is flourishing and it goes way beyond Dick Cheney's Halliburton. Mike talks with
Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. CREW has filed Freedom of Information Act requests for documents on military contractors' bribes to members of Congress.
While right-wing politicians worship at the altar of that generous campaign donor
Reverend Sun Myung Moon, Moon is financing a North Korean car manufacturer that even Bush accuses of making WMD's. Strange bedfellows, anyone? Mike talks with journalist John Gorenfeld, who's been covering Moon for "American Prospect" magazine.

David Bender's Politically Direct also has it's lineup posted (Politically Direct airs Sundays from 2 to 3 p.m. eastern time):

July 31, 2005 Deja Vu All Over Again
It's bound to be interesting when David Crosby and Graham Nash stop by the Air America studios for today's Politically Direct. From Woodstock to the White House, these two musical legends have been at the forefront of progressive political action for more than three decades. Oh, and did I mention that Gloria Steinem once designated them as "honorary women" ? Not that there's anything wrong with that...

David Bender is also a guest on Sunday, on Steve Earle's The Revolution Starts Now (airs Sundays ten to eleven p.m. eastern):

Author, activist, and Air America Radio host of Politically Direct, David Bender bridges both politics and the entertainment industry. Experience ranges from serving as a senior advisor in the presidential campaign of Howard Dean to a senior executive in Stephen Stills' production company. The play-list:
Simon and Garfunkle "Mrs. Robinson" (Bookends)
Crosby, Stills and Nash "Long Time Gone" (Greatest Hits)
Joe Jackson, "Real Men" (Night and Day )
REM "These Days" (Life's Rich Pageant)
Crosby, Stills and Nash, "Carry Me" (Wind on the Water)
Crosby, Stills and Nash and Young, "Carry On" (Greatest Hits) Was Mrs. Robinson originally supposed to be Mrs. Roosevelt? What cataclysmic event prompted the composition of "Long Time Gone"? Like a music historian, David delivers insider explanations of songs and touching personal stories from his life.

The e-mail address for this site is

Editorial: Jim Dwyer goes historical but NYT still doesn't tell you of Bill Clinton's trip to Ireland in May

The New York Times' war on Bill Clinton (and Al Gore) is hardly news. Toss out the name, for instance, of Jeff Gerth and most informed people will nod. So maybe it's not surprising to read this morning's Times, specifically Jim Dwyer's "I.R.A. Pledge Seen as Potential Model for Other Conflicts," and come across this statement:

Mr. [Martin] McGuinness . . . said that as soon [as] he got off the plane he received a call from former President Bill Clinton, who visited Northern Ireland three times during his presidency and helped persuade the I.R.A. to declare a cease-fire in 1994.

Now Dwyer may be unaware of an event because a lot of people seem to be unaware of Bill Clinton's recent travel itenarary. When we noted Bill Clinton's trip to Ireland in May, the e-mails poured in from visitors claiming Bill Clinton hadn't been in Ireland! That we must be making it up because if Clinton was there, surely we'd all be reading about in our papers!

Our domestic media wasn't interested in telling you about it (as to why, take it up with them). And possibly Dwyer is as unaware of the visit as were so many visitors to this site.

But Clinton went there. In May of 2005, Clinton went there and spoke on several issues and met with Gerry Adams. If we're seeing a significant event (and the Times' can't make up its mind on that yet) with recent developments, Bill Clinton deserves a slice of the credit. chances are he won't get any but he deserves some.

During his presidency, he worked very hard on the issue of Northern Ireland. This year, in the middle of raising relief funds for the tsunami victims, Clinton made a point to stop over in Ireland.

From Paul Artherton's May 29, 2005 "Clinton attends Irish fundraising events" (UK Fundraising):

Former US president Bill Clinton was the star guest at two Irish fundraising events last week. The events were run by disability charity RehabCare and AIDS charity, The Rose Project. RehabCare hosted a €500 a head gala dinner with Clinton while The Rose Project organised a breakfast. Some sections of the Irish media focussed on the cost of securing Clinton's presence but charity organisers said Clinton's costs were covered by contributions from corporate sources, including support from one of Ireland's wealthiest men, Denis O'Brien.

Those Unionists in Northern Ireland that the Times loves so much? Check out "Clinton 'a political has-been' says Paisley " (May 24, 2005, Ireland Online):

Former US President Bill Clinton was tonight denounced as a political has-been by the leader of the Democratic Unionists, the [Protestant] Reverend Ian Paisley.
Mr Paisley launched a savage broadside at Mr Clinton after the former US President challenged, during a visit to Dublin, Mr Paisley's claim that the Good Friday Agreement was dead.
Mr Paisley said: "The discredited ex-President of the United States of America, Bill Clinton, simply revealed his unmitigated cheek in going to a country that wants to destroy Ulster's place in the United Kingdom and then lectures us that our democratic expression of our own future must be set aside to conform to the will of the country that claims supremacy over it.
"The Belfast Agreement, which in itself is devoid of democracy, has made it clear that we must have a new beginning, and that beginning must close and bar the gates of its government to terrorists of whatever side they come from.
"Clinton cannot have his way to force IRA / Sinn Féin terrorists into the government of this part of the United Kingdom, as I told him to his face when he was in Belfast."
Mr Clinton, who is in Dublin to help launch a national suicide prevention scheme for young people in the Republic, insisted that there was no viable alternative to the Good Friday Agreement.
He said he did not agree with the DUP leader's claim outside Downing Street last Thursday that the 1998 accord was dead, but he also stated his belief that the next move to reinvigorate the political process in the North was in the IRA’s court.
"If they were to give up their arms and criminality, I think it would put a lot of pressure on Mr Paisley and others," the former President said.

Paisely comes off sounding like so many demented Clinton haters in this country. (Is he their answer to Jerry Falwell?) Possibly, the paper that still employs Jeff Gerth identifies so strongly with Unionists like Paisley thereby explaining the Times skewed coverage?

What did Clinton say (above)? "He said he did not agree with the DUP leader's claim outside Downing Street last Thursday that the 1998 accord was dead, but he also stated his belief that the next move to reinvigorate the political process in the North was in the IRA's court. 'If They were to give up their arms and criminality, I think it would put a lot of pressure on Mr Paisley and others . . .'"

And what has happened?

Gerry Adams and the others deserve credit for what happened (or blame as the Times seems to feel). But maybe a sliver of the credit should be sliced off and given to Clinton?

He did makes this an issue when he was president. He did work on it then. He addressed it when he was in Ireland in May. For whatever reasons our domestic media didn't tell you about it, didn't want to bore you maybe. But it happened. And it's "public record" outside the US.

Still a doubter?

Check out "Adams and Clinton hold hour-long talks in Dublin" (May 24, 2005, Ireland Online):

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has held a brief meeting with former US President Bill Clinton in Dublin.
The two men met for around an hour this morning to discuss the latest developments in the Irish peace process, of which Mr Clinton is a strong supporter.
The former US President said last night that he believed the Good Friday Agreement was the only way forward for the North.
His comments are in line with the views of Sinn Féin, the SDLP and the Irish and British Governments, but fly in the face of DUP claims that the 1998 peace deal is dead.

The Times filed a story written during Clinton's trip to Ireland. It made no mention of the fact that a US president had visited the area.

When the e-mails pour in (from members) anytime the Times covers the region, they tend to note that their coverage tends to be accepted.

I have no idea whether that's true or not.

If that's true, it may be due to the fact that a historical conflict has been oversimplified by our mainstream media (no surprise there). When the attacks started (including from the Times) in the lead up to Saint Patrick's Day, we backed off on noting them because a former professor of mine, who specializes in that area, said the best thing to do was to ignore it. The reason being that Ireland gets very little attention in this country period. A smear campaign (which was how he saw the Times' coverage) would be most effective on Saint Patrick's Day when our media does their "party stories." If the smears got traction, they would be presented by the TV media along the lines of, "You know though, while the partying is going on, we should remember what is rocking Ireland right now . . ."

Even with the Times throwing their weight behind the smear, it wasn't going to go far (his judgement.) Unless we all got into an uproar. But it did get a little attention. A friend phoned on Saint Patrick's Day, for instance, asking what the deal was with something he'd just seen on CNN.

So if others are echoing the oversimplification in the press, it may be because that's all they know. To Dwyer's credit, today his article notes the history of the conflict via remarks from Hugh Carey, "shocking institutional discrimination and bigotry in Northern Ireland against Roman Catholics in the late 1960s." (Carey, Democrat, was a seven-term member of the United States House as well as a governor of New York.)

The letters section of today's paper contains people speaking of the historical situation. They're objecting to the Times' oversimplification. Here's a quote from one:

Unionist party members have said they will believe the statement when there is evidence that the I.R.A. has destroyed its stores of arms. But nothing has been said about disarmament of loyalist (Protestant) paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland: the Ulster Defense Association, the Ulster Volunteer Force, the Ulster Freedom Fighters and others.
At various times since 1968, members of those groups were killing more people than the I.R.A. was.

Here's a quote from another:

But I am disappointed that Prime Minister Tony Blair's comments and the White House statement, as reported, make no mention of the need for loyalist paramilitary groups to follow suit.

[Note: For anyone confused, the above is referring to paramilitary groups supporting the Unionists. Yes, they exist and, yes, as the letter writer points out, they are armed and there's no talk of them disarming.]

Here's a quote from yet another:

While I don't wish to defend any group's killing of any innocent people, how could there not be a single reference to the terrible atrocities committed by British troops during the 20th century?
Look at the civilian death tolls over the decades. Look at the climate in impoverished Catholic neighborhoods and the unchecked brutalization of its inhabitants that led to the civil rights movement.

There's also no reference to the violence aimed at Catholic Chuches last weekend. In fact, you've never read about that in the Times. Which is why members e-mail to ask if the Times is anti-Catholic, anti-Irish-Catholic or both?

They've done a very poor job covering this issue. They aren't alone. The way it's presented, there are Unionists and Sinn Fein (which is the IRA for the Times' purposes). That's it. That's all of Northern Ireland in their eyes (or at least in their reporting and editorializing from the editorials). And Sinn Fein/the IRA/Catholics are vigilante mob unless they're the "tokens" used to speak out.

We've never defended violence here but we have asked for reality and common sense in the coverage. As Keesha notes in an e-mail this morning, "If the Catholics were black, I think a lot more people would be complaining about TNYT coverage. But what you have is two white groups that most Americans don't know anything about or about the area. The mainstream coverage has been exactly the same as coverage of Israel where Palestinians, to believe the coverage, just want to kill themselves and everyone else. It's one sided and it needs to stop."

The conflict didn't emerge in the last year or two. It's a historical conflict that has, at its roots, issues of governance and discrimination. The Times has reported on only one side. (Imagine if churches in this country were targeted last weekend and the Times didn't report on that? There'd be an uproar.) And they've utilized innuendo in their smear campaign that, as Eli pointed out, isn't making it into the BBC coverage. We saw quotes earlier this week from people condeming the Catholics (and don't pretend it hasn't been a religious war) but none from anyone condemning the Protestants.

The fact that Paisley early on killed the Good Friday Afreement was only mentioned in passing. It wasn't explored or even questioned.

The closest moment of historical overview (prior to Dwyer today) came in this statement:

. . . Northern Ireland's fledgling police service, which has been revamped to gain the trust of Roman Catholics, who suffered from discrimination in the past.

Discrimination in the past? That's a very mild way of putting it.

So when the paper's seen as anti-Catholic or anti-Irish Catholic (or both) there are reasons for it.
Whether it is or isn't, people noting the imbalance in the coverage are entitled to speculate as to why the paper has been so one-sided on this issue.

In an announcement article earlier this week, the Times pimped (Alan Cowell and Brian Lavery) that whether or not the IRA laid down arms, there were still doubts that they were sincere.

As Krista e-mailed, "Doubts should also include doubts about the other side. Or is the Times now arguing that the attacks on the two Catholic churches were a clever ruse?"

I don't think they're arguing that because to argue it, they'd have to mention it. And they haven't. And they probably won't. They have correspondents in Ireland, they're aware of what goes on. They just don't think it's news or worth informing the readers about.

And when Bill Clinton, our former president, goes to Ireland in May and addresses the conflict, they don't think that's news either. The position he took is the position that's been put into place this week. But that's not news?

For people dependent upon the Times (and sources that ape the paper) the situation truly is a good versus evil simplification that could have sprung from the mouth of the Bully Boy. But that's not reality. And why the Times doesn't want to portray reality is a question on many members' minds. The Times only has themselves to blame for that.

Dwyer's article today isn't a bad one. I'll fault him for bringing up Bill Clinton without noting Clinton's recent trip to the area. (Which, as a domestic reporter, he may be unaware of. Or he may have brought it up and it might have been edited out.) Otherwise, it does the best of any article thus far to balance out the previous coverage. But the thing is, the previous coverage isn't one article. It isn't two articles. It's been a problem, a repeated problem, for some time.

From Dwyer's article:

Through the first 50 years of partition, Catholics in Northern Ireland had far less access to voting, jobs and housing than did their Protestant neighbors. Even as many Catholics and nationalists steadfastly opposed the I.R.A.'s campaign of bombings and assassinations, they held stinging memories of that history.
John Hume, whose work to end the violence was recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize, recalled in a 1997 interview the discrimination he saw growing up. "In my own town of Derry, you had one-third of the population controlling the other two-thirds," Mr. Hume said. "When I was a boy, the lord mayor had 43 votes just for himself - he owned six limited companies with seven votes each, plus his own vote."
During the 1960's, Mr. McGuinness said that British forces effectively criminalized dissent, cutting off political avenues for people who saw themselves as Irish rather than British. "The conflict rose from the civil rights movement, from the state's brutality in suppressing civil rights protesters and indeed, murdering them," Mr. McGuinness said. "We ended up in a vicious cycle of conflict."

And even today, Dallas (thank you for hunting down links) notes that this article isn't on the main page or the main international page. You have to click on "ALL HEADLINES" to even come across it. On the other hand, Brian Lavery's "To Some In Ulster, Celebration of I.R.A. Pledge Is Early" is prominent. It's featured (with photo) on the main page of the international section. On the main page of the Times website, it's the second story listed under "International" (Dwyer's article isn't listed on the main page). (I'll note that Lavery's "Some" article is one of three international stories spotlighted in the mailing that the Times sends out. Dwyer's article isn't noted.)

"To Some" is news. (Presumably, "some" also do not see the "Celebration of I.R.A. Pledge" as being "Early.") "I.R.A. Pledge Seen as Potential Model for Other Conflicts" is, however, not big news. Think about that for a moment. The story the Times gets behind is the one that questions the "celebration," not the one that notes it as a "Potential Model for Other Conflicts."

That probably says more about the Times than they realize.

The e-mail address for this site is

NYT: "No Charges" for the jerk who impersonated a Secret Service agent and evicted the Denver Three

From "National Briefing" in this morning's New York Times, we're noting one AP item:

Federal prosecutors will not charge a volunteer who removed three people from at a meeting with President Bush in March after they arrived in a car with a bumper sticker reading "No More Blood for Oil." The Secret Service investigated whether the volunteer, whose name has not been released, impersonated a Secret Service officer and William Leone, a United States attorney, said there was not enough evidence for prosecution. A lawyer for the three -- Karen Bauer, Leslie Weise and Alex Young -- said they planned to sue the volunteer for allegedly violating their free-speech rights and assaulting them. The volunteer, who was wearing a dark suit, radio earpiece and lape pin, threatened them with arrest if they did not leave the meeting in Denver.

Note ". . . from at a meeting" is the error run in the Times, not mine. I've quoted it exactly. And that's not a nah-nah-nah statement. I do the same all the time myself, just want to be clear before a careful reading visitor or member feels the need to e-mail on the mistake, take it up with the Times.

Bauer, Weise and Young are known as The Denver Three. BuzzFlash has covered them (and has a statement by them here and for an interview with Leslie Weise of the Denver Three click here) as has Democracy Now! ("Three People Forcibly Removed From Bush "Town Hall" Meeting on Social Security"), The Progressive's (editor) Matthew Rothschild wrote about it in his McCarthyism Watch ("Evicted from Bush Event, Denver Progressives to Sue") among others.

This is the Denver Three's web site but it's not pulling up currently (for me anyway). Try clicking on the link or copying and pasting it to see if there's an update at their site.

From a cached version of their site, here's their opening statement:

We are three Denver residents who were kicked out of the President’s Town Hall Conversation on privatizing social security on March 21, 2005. We’ve created this site to provide resources and information about this important issue.
Why did this happen to us? It’s not that we weren’t invited, we all had
tickets to the event. No, the reason this mystery man and his cohorts physically removed us was because of the bumper sticker on the car we drove in. Shocked? Outraged? Afraid that this is happening in America? All Americans value Free Speech and should be appalled by this.
The White House insists that a "volunteer" is at fault, but the Secret Service has revealed that the person who kicked us out in Denver was an official "host committee staffer." Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez (who gave us our tickets) also said that "the White House does the deal. They literally come in and take over."
When eerily similar incidents occur in Colorado, Arizona, and North Dakota, citizens can only wonder – is this a coincidence? Or is there a concerted effort by someone to train event staffers at President Bush’s taxpayer-funded events to screen people based on their viewpoints and exclude them in clear violation of the First Amendment?
Thanks for visiting the site and supporting First Amendment Rights.
Alex, Karen, & Leslie.

I'm working on a longer entry on this morning's New York Times. Members who've seen the paper can probably guess what it's on. But there is an additional entry on the Times planned (and being worked on in another screen right now).

The e-mail address for this site is

Friday, July 29, 2005

"Encuesta: 64% sostiene que Bush carece de estrategia definida en Irak" (Democracy Now!)

Francisco: Hola mi amigos y gracias a Maria para todo su trabajo dedicado. De parte de "Democracy Now!" doce cosas que vale hacer notar este fin de semana.

Encuesta: 64% sostiene que Bush carece de estrategia definida en Irak
Mientras tanto, una nueva encuesta del Pew Research Center reveló que el 64% de los estadounidenses creen que el presidente Bush carece de una estrategia clara para lograr que la situación en Irak culmine exitosamente.

Convención de AFL-CIO pide poner fin a la ocupación en Irak
Bajo presión de sus miembros y de los sindicatos disidentes que abandonaron la federación, la Federación Estadounidense del Trabajo y el Congreso de las Organizaciones Industriales (AFL-CIO por sus siglas en inglés) aprobó una resolución que pide el retiro inmediato de las tropas estadounidenses que actualmente se encuentran en Irak. La resolución se tomó durante la convención nacional del grupo en Chicago. El sindicato estadounidense contra la guerra US Labor Against the War, calificó la resolución como "un gran cambio en la política". Los grupos afirman que el Consejo Ejecutivo General de la AFL-CIO intentó aprobar una resolución que no establecía claramente el llamado a la inmediata finalización de la ocupación. Este intento no prosperó luego de que uno de los líderes de US Labor Against the War propuso incluir un artículo en el que se exigiera poner fin a la ocupación. Escuchamos al coordinador del grupo, Gene Bruskin: "La resolución fue histórica ya que puso fin a décadas de silencio por parte de los movimientos de trabajadores y de apoyo al gobierno de Estados Unidos en cuanto a sus políticas exteriores. Como dijo Henry Nicholas, presidente de la federación 1199 AFSCME de Philadelphia, en su discurso para condenar la guerra, 'este es el momento de mayor orgullo en mis 45 años dentro del movimiento de trabajadores. Finalmente nos hemos levantado contra esta guerra diciendo"ya es suficiente'".

Informe de GAO indica que Estados Unidos desvía fondos de ayuda humanitaria para seguridad
Un nuevo informe de la Oficina de Responsabilidad del Gobierno (GAO) publicado ayer demuestra que millones de dólares destinados a proyectos de reconstrucción y ayuda humanitaria en Irak son desviados para operaciones de seguridad, utilizando dinero destinado a la reconstrucción de redes de agua, electricidad y salud. En muchos casos, la seguridad implica más de un tercio del presupuesto destinado a proyectos individuales y Estados Unidos paga a agentes de seguridad hasta 33.000 dólares mensuales, unos 400.000 dólares al año, por guardia individual. En algunos casos, los proyectos humanitarios fueron cancelados para liberar fondos para operaciones de seguridad en otros lugares.

Benderman sentenciado a 15 meses
Un mecánico del ejército estadounidense que se negó a ir a Irak y solicitó objeción de conciencia, fue absuelto ayer del cargo de deserción pero fue declarado culpable de un cargo menor por una corte marcial. El Sargento Kevin Benderman fue sentenciado a 15 meses de prisión por desobedecer órdenes de emplazamiento, se le dio la baja deshonrosa del ejército y fue degradado a soldado raso. En caso que hubiera sido declarado culpable por deserción, podría haber sido sentenciado a cinco años de prisión. Sin embargo, su sentencia parece ser la más dura aplicada a alguien por resistirse a combatir en Irak.

Lanzamiento oficial de nueva cadena de televisión de América Latina
Esta noticia está relacionada con los medios de difusión, ya que el gobierno venezolano lanzó oficialmente Telesur, una nueva estación de televisión satelital de América Latina. El presidente venezolano Hugo Chávez expresó que el canal le dará a América del Sur una voz independiente de los conglomerados mediáticos como la CNN. En la ceremonia de lanzamiento el domingo, Chávez indicó que, "esto es producto del despertar de nuestros pueblos". El canal será lanzado con la ayuda de otros gobiernos latinoamericanos, incluyendo a Argentina, Cuba y Uruguay. Entre los miembros del directorio se encuentran el actor Danny Glover, el escritor Tariq Ali y el Premio Nobel de la Paz Adolfo Pérez Esquivel. El nuevo canal no es bien recibido por Washington y la semana pasada la Cámara de Representantes sancionó una enmienda solicitando que Estados Unidos comience a transmitir su propio canal en la región para que compita con Telesur. El congresista republicano de Florida, Connie Mack, afirmó que el gobierno de Estados Unidos debería "iniciar transmisiones de radio y televisión que proporcionen a Venezuela una fuente de noticias coherente, precisa y objetiva". Mack agregó que esto es necesario para contrarrestar lo que describió como el "anti-americanismo" de Telesur.

Hombre inocente baleado por la policía británica en el subte de Londres
Asimismo, la policía británica reconoció haber matado el viernes a un hombre inocente en un vagón del subte de Londres, en su búsqueda de sospechosos. Jean Charles de Menezes, un electricista brasileño de 27 años de edad, recibió cinco disparos en la cabeza por oficiales de policía encubiertos. En un principio la policía sostuvo que Menezes estaba vinculado a los atentados, pero más tarde reconoció que fue un error. A pesar de la muerte, la política del "gatillo fácil" permanece vigente en Gran Bretaña. "Debemos considerar lo que hubiera ocurrido si los oficiales no hubieran disparado y el hombre hubiera sido un atacante suicida, hubiera ingresado al subte y los oficiales hubieran tomado la decisión equivocada. Eso hubiera sido terrible", manifestó el Jefe de la Policía Metropolitana Ian Blair.

Brasil criticó muerte de brasileño por la policía en Londres
La familia del hombre brasileño expresó que posiblemente presente una demanda contra la policía británica. El canciller de Brasil Celso Amorim también criticó la muerte y afirmó que, "la reacción de nuestro país Brasil es la que ya he expresado, conmoción y perplejidad de que una persona inocente sea atrapada en la lucha contra el terrorismo". Amorim agregó que, "por supuesto que apoyamos la lucha contra el terrorismo, pero considero que se debe ser cuidadoso de no matar personas inocentes."

Funeral del brasileño asesinado por policía británica
En Brasil, prácticamente todos los 6.000 habitantes de Gonzaga, asistieron a ofrecer su respeto al joven emigrante brasileño asesinado por la policía británica tras los fallidos atentados de Londres a comienzos de mes. El cuerpo de Jean Charles de Menezes llegó el jueves a Brasil, seis días después de que recibiera los disparos en la cabeza que le causaron la muerte en el subterráneo de Londres. Muchas personas de la multitud que asistió al funeral usaron brazaletes negros y portaron banderas de Brasil, símbolos de protesta que fueron adoptados en ese país luego del asesinato.

Familia del brasileño cuestiona versión oficial
Mientras tanto, los familiares de Menezes cuestionan la versión oficial de la historia. Afirman que no vestía una chaqueta que pudiera ocultar una bomba y que no saltó por encima de la barrera cuando fue detenido por oficiales vestidos de particular que portaban armas. En conferencia de prensa tras la reunión mantenida con la Policía Metropolitana, Vivien Figueiredo, prima de Menezes, condenó la política del "gatillo fácil" que llevó a su primo a la muerte y abogó porque el crimen no quedara impune. Afirmó que: "a pesar de que atravesamos circunstancias similares a una guerra, no deberíamos exterminar personas injustamente". En la conferencia de prensa habló junto a la abogada de la familia, Gareth Peirce y a la activista contra la guerra Bianca Jagger.

Encuesta: Los estadounidenses quieren que se vaya Rove
Una nueva encuesta realizada por CNN/USAToday/Gallup informa que la mayoría de los estadounidenses piensan que Karl Rove debería abandonar la Casa Blanca por el papel que desempeñó en la revelación de identidad de la agente de la CIA Valerie Plame. Sin embargo, sólo la mitad de los encuestados reconoce haber seguido la historia de cerca, mientras que la cuarta parte afirma nunca haber oído acerca de Karl Rove. Por otra parte, el National Journal informa que Rove y otros asesores cercanos al presidente Bush recibieron 4.000 dólares de aumento el año pasado. Rove percibe actualmente 161.000 dólares.

Lance Armstrong criticó costo de guerra de Irak
El campeón de ciclismo Larce Armstrong, quien acaba de ganar el Tour de France por séptima vez, criticó públicamente la guerra en Irak porque impidió que el gobierno destinara más dinero a la investigación del cáncer. Armstrong expresó a la revista Time que, "es difícil conseguir fondos [para la investigación de cáncer] hoy en día. La peor desventaja de la guerra en Irak es lo que se podría hacer con ese dinero. ¿Cuánto cuesta la guerra de Irak por semana? ¿Mil millones? ¿o quizás mil millones de dólares por día?". Agregó que, "el presupuesto destinado al Instituto Nacional de Cáncer es de cuatro mil millones. Eso ha cambiado. Es necesario que vuelva a ser una prioridad. Las encuestas indican que la gente le teme mucho más al cáncer a que un avión se estrelle en su casa o que explote una bomba o cualquier otra forma de terrorismo. Es una prioridad del pueblo estadounidense".

Tribunal italiano ordena arresto de otros seis agentes de la CIA
En Italia, un tribunal federal ordenó el arresto de otros seis agentes de la CIA vinculados con el secuestro de un clérigo egipcio en las calles de Milán. Un total de 19 funcionarios de la CIA son requeridos en el caso. El clérigo habría sido secuestrado en una calle de Milán en febrero de 2003, luego fue trasladado a una base aérea en Alemania y finalmente a Egipto, donde supuestamente fue torturado. La operación habría sido parte del programa de "rendición extraordinaria" de la CIA, en el que los sospechosos terroristas son trasladados a terceros países sin la autorización de un tribunal, sometiéndolos a posibles torturas.

Francisco: Hello friends and thank you to Maria for all her hard work. Here are twelve stories from Democracy Now! this week. Try to get the word out to at least one person that Democracy Now! is providing their headlines in Spanish and English, in text and audio. Help get the word out.

Poll: 64% Say Bush Has No Clear Strategy in Iraq
Meanwhile a new poll by the Pew Research Center has found that 64 percent of Americans believe President Bush does not have a clear strategy for bringing the situation in Iraq to a successful conclusion.

AFL-CIO Convention Calls for End to Iraq Occupation
Under major pressure form its membership and dissident unions that pulled out of the federation, the AFL-CIO has passed a resolution calling for a "rapid" return of all U.S. troops currently in Iraq. The resolution came at the group's national convention in Chicago. The group US Labor Against the War called the resolution a "major shift in policy." The groups says that the AFL-CIO General Executive Council had tried to push through a watered-down resolution that did not clearly call for a prompt end to the occupation. This attempt was headed-off after one of the leaders of Labor Against the War put forward an amendment calling for an end to the occupation.
Gene Bruskin, US Labor Against the War:The resolution was an historic one because it ended decades of silence from the labor movement and actual support for the U.S. government on the issue of foreign policy. As Henry Nicholas, president of 1199 AFSCME of Philadelphia said when he rose to the mic to condemn the war, "In my 45 years in the labor movement, this is my proudest

GAO Report Says US Diverting Iraq Humanitarian Funds for Security
A new report by the Government Accountability Office released yesterday shows that millions of dollars designated for reconstruction and humanitarian projects in Iraq are being diverted for so-called security operations, draining money from efforts to rebuild water, electricity and health networks. In many cases, security accounts for more than a third of the budget for individual projects and the US is paying individual security contractors up to $33,000 a month. That's nearly $400,000 a year per individual guard. In some cases, humanitarian projects were cancelled to free up funds for security operations elsewhere. moment. We have finally stood up to this war and said, 'Enough is enough.'"

War Resister Benderman Sentenced to 15 Months
A US Army mechanic who refused to go to Iraq while he sought conscientious objector status was acquitted yesterday of desertion but found guilty of a lesser charge during his court-martial. Sgt. Kevin Benderman was sentenced to 15 months in prison on the charge of missing movement. He also was given a dishonorable discharge from the military and a reduction in rank to private. If he had been found guilty of desertion, he could have faced five years in prison. Still, his sentence appears to be the harshest yet given to an Iraq war resister.

New Latin American Television Network Officially Launched
In media news -- the Venezuelan government officially launched Telesur -- a new Latin American satellite TV station. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has said the station will give South America a voice independent of traditional media conglomerates like CNN. At a launch ceremony on Sunday Chavez said "This is part of an awakening of our peoples." The station is being launched with help from other Latin American governments including Argentina, Cuba and Uruguay. Board members include a group of international supporters including the actor Danny Glover, the writer Tariq Ali and Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel. The new station is not being well-received in Washington. Last week the U.S. House passed an amendment calling for the U.S. to begin broadcasting its own channel into the region to counter Telesur. Republican Congressman Connie Mack of Florida said the U.S. government should "initiate radio and television broadcasts that will provide a consistently accurate, objective, and comprehensive source of news to Venezuela." Mack said this is needed to counter what he described as Telesur's "anti-Americanism."

Innocent Man Shot Dead in London Subway by UK Police
In addition, British police have admitted they shot dead an innocent man inside a London subway car on Friday during its hunt for suspects. Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27-year-old Brazilian born electrician, was shot five times in the head by undercover police officers. Initially police maintained Menezes was connected to the bombings but later admitted it was all a mistake. Despite the killing, a shoot-to-kill policy is still in effect in Britain. "We have to consider what would have happened if the officers had not shot and that man had been a suicide bomber and had got on the tube and the officers closed and the officers taken the wrong decision. That would have been absolutely dreadful," said Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair.

Brazil Criticizes London Shooting
The Brazilian's man family has said they might now sue the British police. Brazil's foreign minister Celso Amorim also criticized the shooting. "The sense of the reaction in Brazil is the one I gave already; it's shock and perplexity that an innocent person should be caught in fight against terrorism," said Amorim. "Of course as I said we support the fight against terrorism but I think even there you have to cautious not to take away innocent lives."

Funeral for Brazilian Shot by UK Police
In Brazil, almost all of the 6,000 residents of Gonzaga turned out to pay their respects to the young Brazilian emigrant killed by British police after the failed London bombings earlier this month. The body of Jean Charles de Menezes arrived Thursday in Brazil, six days after he was shot dead in the head in a London subway. Many people in the funeral crowd wore black armbands and waved Brazilian flags, taken up as a protest symbol in Brazil since the killing.

Family of Brazilian Challenges Official Story
Meanwhile, Menezes's relatives are challenging the official version of the story. They say he was not wearing a heavy jacket that might have concealed a bomb, and did not jump the ticket barrier when challenged by armed plainclothes police. Speaking at a press conference after a meeting with the Metropolitan police, the man's cousin, Vivien Figueiredo condemned the shoot-to-kill policy that had led to her cousin's death and vowed that what she called the "crime" would not go unpunished. She said, "Although we are living in circumstances similar to a war, we should not be exterminating people unjustly." She spoke at a news conference with the family's lawyer, Gareth Peirce, and antiwar activist Bianca Jagger.

Poll: Americans Want Rove Gone
A new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll has found that a majority of Americans believe that Karl Rove should leave the White House for his role in the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. But only half of those surveyed say they are following the story closely, while a quarter said they had never even heard of Karl Rove. Meanwhile, the National Journal reports that Rove and other top aides to President Bush were given $4,000 raises from last year. Rove is now paid $161,000.

Lance Armstrong Criticizes Cost of Iraq War
Cycling champion Lance Armstrong - who just won his seventh Tour de France --has publicly criticized the war in Iraq because it has prevented the country from spending more on cancer research. He told Time Magazine, "'Funding [for cancer research] is tough to come by these days. The biggest downside to a war in Iraq is what you could do with that money. What does a war in Iraq cost a week? A billion? Maybe a billion a day?" He went on to say " The budget for the National Cancer Institute is four billion. That has to change. It needs to become a priority again. Polls say people are much more afraid of cancer than of a plane flying into their house or a bomb or any other form of terrorism. It is a priority for the American public."

Italian Court Seeks Arrest of Six More CIA Agents
In Italy, a federal court has issued arrest warrants for six more CIA agents in connection to the kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric from the streets of Milan. A total of 19 CIA operatives are now wanted in the case. The cleric was allegedly snatched on a Milan street in February of 2003, flown to an air base in Germany and then to Egypt, where he reportedly was tortured. The operation was allegedly part of the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program, in which terror suspects are transferred to third countries without court approval, subjecting them to possible torture.

Where in the world is Amy Goodman in August?

Three August dates for Amy Goodman's UnEmbed the Media Tour:

* Amy Goodman in
Great Neck, NY:
Wed, August 3
Hiroshima Day 2005:
From Hiroshima to Iraq
Jonathan Ielpi Firefighters Park
Grace Avenue & Park Place
In case of rain, St. Paul's Church
68 Grace AvenueFree and open to the Public
For information, call 516-487-3786 or 516-741-4360

* Amy Goodman in
Northampton, MA:
Sat, August 6
10th Annual Grassroots Radio Conference, and Prometheus' Eighth Radio Barnraising
John M Greene Hall
Smith College
For more information, visit

* Amy Goodman in
Hopland, CA:
Sat, August 20

TIME: 4 pm
10th Annual Sol Fest Benefit

Solar Living Center
Hopland, California
Tickets: $20/day or $30/weekend

For more information, visit
More details will be coming soon.

The e-mail address for this site is

Sunday Chat & Chews

Friday night, which means, shudder, the Sunday Chat & Chews are just around the corner. And goodness will they be chewing Sunday -- Cokie Roberts makes her return (it's understood that there will be pearls and that, yes, Cokie will clutch them).

Over at Gasbag Central, er, ABC's This Week the unholy trinity of the depraved discourse "Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International, ABC News' Cokie Roberts, and George Will"
returns. George Will must be like Lucifer in that there's no need to identify him. No slug line of "syndicated columnist" or anything. Then again, perhaps like Zza Zza (whom he resembles more and more with each passing year) maybe it's just that he's been around for so long and done so little that no one really has a firm grasp on why he's there?

Joining them are:

Eileen Collins, commander, Space Shuttle Discovery
James Kelly, pilot, Space Shuttle Discovery
Charles Camarda, mission specialist, Space Shuttle Discovery
Former Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, former astronaut
Buzz Aldrin, former astronaut
Don Nelson, retired NASA aerospace engineer
Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa.

Don't get excited, Santorum's not going into outer space (though his mind's lived there for years).

I have a Lee Iacocca joke but I'll bite my tongue due to the fact that he'll be appearing to speak of diabetes (and his late wife).

Instead we'll note that the administration is really pushing the NASA angle hard. (Wouldn't you if you wanted to move attention from the outing of Valerie Plame and John Roberts' memory issues?) How can you tell? Check out NBC's Meet the Press:

NASA Administrator
Discovery Shuttle Commander
Discovery Shuttle Pilot
Discovery Shuttle Mission Specialist

Let's also note the roundtable:

Washington Post
Wall Street Journal
National Review
Washington Post

You got the right and the center. ("Left leaning" Robison perhaps. That's how the Wash Post promotes him and his syndicated column.) Meet the press, or at least this limited faction.

Now let's note Face the Nation (CBS):

CBS Evening News Anchor Bob Schieffer
The Fight Over Stem Cell Research; Space Shuttle Discovery
Sen. Arlen Specter
Republican - Pennsylvania
Sen. Sam Brownback
Republican - Kansas
Bill Harwood
CBS Space Analyst
Elisabeth Bumiller
The New York Times
Carin Pratt is the Executive Producer of Face the Nation.

We note Pratt this week. If I were watching one of the shows, it would be Face the Nation. Not because, as Jordan wondered, of my friend at CBS. I don't even personally care for Blinky (Bob Schieffer). But while This Week and Meet the Press seem to ape one another week after week, Face the Nation seems to mix it up a bit more. Not enough. But compared to the siamese twins of MTP and TW, Face the Nation tries to provide something a little less obvious. (Some times.)
Shieffer also seems to take the news a bit more seriously than the Georges and Russert.

(Which doesn't mean he doesn't clown. Check The Daily Howler archives.)

The e-mail address for this site is

Democracy Now: Jesse Jackson, Ralph Neas, Lori Wallach; Bob Somerby, Matthew Rothschild, BuzzFlash, Margaret Kimberley, CODEPINK, Norman Solomon

Judge Blasts Bush Policies: We Don’t Need a 'Secret Military Tribunal'
This week, a US District Court Judge in Seattle sentenced Algerian Ahmed Ressam to 22 years in prison. Ressam was convicted of bringing bomb making materials across the Canadian border in December 1999 in an alleged plot to attack the Los Angeles International Airport. The Judge, John Coughenour, who was a Reagan appointee, used Ressam's sentencing as an opportunity to speak out against Bush administration policies. The Judge said, "We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant or deny the defendant the right to counsel." He continued, "The message to the world from today's sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart." He added that September 11th made Americans realize they are vulnerable to terrorism and that some believe "this threat renders our Constitution obsolete ... If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won," the judge said.
War Resister Benderman Sentenced to 15 Months
A US Army mechanic who refused to go to Iraq while he sought conscientious objector status was acquitted yesterday of desertion but found guilty of a lesser charge during his court-martial. Sgt. Kevin Benderman was sentenced to 15 months in prison on the charge of missing movement. He also was given a dishonorable discharge from the military and a reduction in rank to private. If he had been found guilty of desertion, he could have faced five years in prison. Still, his sentence appears to be the harshest yet given to an Iraq war resister.
Israel Building New Barrier to Surround Gaza
The Israeli army revealed yesterday that it is increasing its military and security system near the Gaza Strip in anticipation of next month's so-called withdrawal. The army describes a high-tech complex to ring the coastal strip with what Israel hopes will be the world's most impenetrable barrier. The barrier system will surround Gaza with fences, electronic sensors; watchtowers mounted with remote-control machine guns, and hundreds of video and night vision cameras. The Israeli military says that the plan includes new army bases and 22-foot concrete walls around nearby Israeli settlements. Watchtowers armed with remote-controlled machine guns are to be built every 1.2 miles and within a year, remote-controlled, unmanned vehicles will begin patrolling the area. The barrier will run about 35 miles and will cost about $220 million. Israel says it will be completed by mid-2006.
The three items above are from Democracy Now!'s Headlines and were selected by Alabama, West and Kara.  Democracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says)
Headlines for July 29, 2005

- Marines Killed In Iraq
- IRA Ends 30-Year Armed Campaign
- Israel Building New Barrier to Surround Gaza
- War Resister Benderman Sentenced to 15 Months
- Bill Frist Breaking With Bush on Stem Cell Research
- GAO Report Says US Diverting Iraq Humanitarian Funds for Security
- State Department Admits Bolton Didn’t Disclose CIA Interview
Roberts' Record on Civil Rights Enters Battle Over Supreme Court Nomination

In the ongoing controversy over the Supreme Court nomination of John Roberts, questions are being raised over Roberts’ role in the civil rights debates of the 1980s. During his tenure as Deputy Assistant General under Reagan, Roberts advocated a narrow interpretation of a variety of civil rights laws, and presented a defense of congressional efforts to strip the Supreme Court of jurisdiction over busing, abortion and school prayer cases. We speak with Ralph Neas of People for the American Way and Reverend Jesse Jackson.
Irish Republican Army Announces End to Violence

The Irish Republican Army Thursday called for all of its volunteers to disarm, effectively ending a 36-year guerilla campaign against the British government. We’ll look at whether this move will really change the fate of Northern Ireland.
CAFTA Voting Irregularities

After Congress passes CAFTA by one vote in a midnight count, questions are being raised about the process. We speak with the Director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch about the GOP leaders' round-up of House votes to approve trade agreement.
At The Daily Howler, Bob Somerby is addressing issues including Al Gore and Pat Roberts.  We'll note the top of the piece which will probably get the most attention anyway:
PROFILE OF A WEAK REQUEST: At the risk of provoking fury from liberal readers, the most interesting Thursday post we saw was this one, by the estimable David Corn. An edited version of the piece appears at the site of The Nation.

Overview: In his piece, David discusses Bob Novak's fateful decision to report the fact that Joe Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. More specifically, David discusses Novak's call to the CIA to confirm what he'd heard about Plame. Novak described this conversation in an October 2003 op-ed column--and just this Wednesday, the Post's Walter Pincus added a new perspective. Pincus had interviewed Bill Harlow, the CIA spokesman with whom Novak spoke. In the Post, Pincus gave Harlow’s version of his conversation with Novak.

In short, we now have accounts from both Novak and Harlow. In his piece, David is struck by the "contradictions" between the two accounts, and he says that Harlow’s account shoots down Novak's excuse for publishing. At the risk of provoking fury, we have to say we disagree on both counts.

First, the alleged contradictions. David quotes Novak's account of his exchange with Harlow, from his October 03 column:

NOVAK (10/1/03): At the CIA, the official designated to talk to me denied that Wilson's wife had inspired his selection [for the trip to Niger] but said she was delegated to request his help. He asked me not to use her name, saying she probably never again will be given a foreign assignment but that exposure of her name might cause "difficulties" if she travels abroad. He never suggested to me that Wilson's wife or anybody else would be endangered. If he had, I would not have used her name. I used it in the sixth paragraph of my column because it looked like the missing explanation of an otherwise incredible choice by the CIA for its mission.
That was Novak's account of what happened when he called the CIA. Next, David produced Harlow's account, as laid out this Wednesday by Pincus:
PINCUS (7/27/05): Harlow, the former CIA spokesman, said in an interview yesterday that he testified last year before a grand jury about conversations he had with Novak at least three days before the column was published. He said he warned Novak, in the strongest terms he was permitted to use without revealing classified information, that Wilson's wife had not authorized the mission [to Niger] and that if he did write about it, her name should not be revealed.

Harlow said that after Novak's call, he checked Plame's status and confirmed that she was an undercover operative. He said he called Novak back to repeat that the story Novak had related to him was wrong and that Plame's name should not be used. But he did not tell Novak directly that she was undercover because that was classified.

"So how many contradictions can you find?" David asks. Our answer: As a matter of fact, we can't find any. In fact, given the emotion surrounding this matter, we think it's amazing that these two men's accounts are so similar.
There's a lot to read so consider clicking here and reading today's Howler in full.
Wally e-mails to note the always worth reading Matthew Rothschild and his latest "Fifteen Democrats Cave on CAFTA:"

The Democrats just can’t hold the line.

Nowhere was this clearer than on the CAFTA vote that passed the House in the wee hours of the night by a mere two-vote margin, 217 to 215.

Democrats gave Bush this victory, and workers and the environment this defeat, here and in Central America.

You see, 15 Democrat sided with Bush and multinational corporations by voting for CAFTA (see list below). If only two of those Democrats had voted with their party, CAFTA would be dead.

But now, already having passed the Senate with 10 Democratic votes, it will wreak its havoc for years to come, devastating the livelihoods of millions of people in Central America, further hollowing out the job market in the United States, and placing environmental safeguards at the mercy of corporations.

For those who were wondering why The Black Commentator wasn't mentioned yesterday, the site hadn't changed before the entry here was completed.  They're on a summer break until September 1st.  While they're on vacation, you can search the site and find things you may have missed earlier or articles you read and enjoyed before but want to savor again.  On the home page they have a "Best of Our Guest Commentators" which is easy to access and will provide enjoyable and educational readings.

We'll also note "The Best of Freedom Rider," Margaret Kimberley's purpose and value is clearly stated as the editors of The Black Commentator assemble a collage of some Kimerberley's many strong columns:

Margaret Kimberley is a woman of the people. She speaks for the people, and is not encumbered by corporate constraints.  Her weekly column on BC is the best-read item on our menu. We are honored that she writes for us, and writes so well.

She also speaks truth to power, and to the powerless, and to those who purport to speak for the powerless -- the false leadership that is subsidized by outside forces.

False leadership comes in various flavors. Sometimes it is licorice, simulating Black. It stains your tongue, but doesn’t tell the truth.

Margaret Kimberley’s weekly columns hit hard – like they’re supposed to do. In the Blackest major city in the nation, Detroit, misguided politicians tried to set aside a few square blocks for Africa Town.  This is crazy. Most of Detroit is “Africa Town.”  The whole city should be developed to serve African Americans. Ms. Kimberley said so, on October 7, 2004:

”Detroit’s population is 80% black. In theory, the entire city should be a boom town for black people. If a majority black population and black political leadership can’t provide economic development for Detroit, then the African Town discussion is a waste of time and energy that might be better spent developing a real plan for that city.”

We must speak the truth, especially to our own people. Halfway measures don’t get us the whole way to freedom and prosperity. And half-ass politics gets us nowhere. Margaret Kimberly spares no one, in the search of truth. Certainly, the Democratic Party, to which Blacks have been wedded for generations, is an actor in the racist game. Senator John Kerry conceded, in the face of massive voting fraud in Ohio, Florida, and many other states, almost before the sun came up on the day after the election. He was complicit in the crime, as Ms. Kimberley wrote on November 11, 2004:

”The same politicians who looked over the Democratic field and decided that Senator Empty Suit was going to be the savior of the party are now blaming gay marriage for the loss. They have said nothing about electronic voting irregularities in Ohio and Florida that disenfranchised their most loyal voters. They have said nothing about the system of electoral racial separation that condemns black voters to use punch card ‘hanging chad’ machines and provisional ballots that aren’t counted.”


Tara e-mails to note Norman Solomon's "In Praise of Kevin Benderman" (CounterPunch): 

Conscience is not in the chain of command.

"Before being sentenced to 15 months for refusing to return to Iraq with his Army unit, Sgt. Kevin Benderman told a military judge that he acted with his conscience, not out of a disregard for duty," the Associated Press reports. Benderman, a 40-year-old Army mechanic, "refused to go on a second combat tour in January, saying the destruction and misery he witnessed during the 2003 Iraq invasion had turned him against war."

Three weeks ago, his wife Monica Benderman wrote:

"He returned knowing that war is wrong, the most dehumanizing creation of humanity that exists. He saw war destroy civilians, innocent men, women and children. He saw war destroy homes, relationships and a country. He saw this not only in the country that was invaded, but he saw this happening to the invading country as well -- and he knew that the only way to save those soldiers was for people to no longer participate in war. Sgt. Kevin Benderman is a Conscientious Objector to war, and the Army is mad."

On Thursday, at his court-martial, Kevin Benderman spoke. "Though some might take my actions as being against soldiers, I want everyone to be home and safe and raising their families," he said. "I don't want anyone to be hurt in a combat zone."

But the Pentagon is imposing its power to enforce the unconscionable. And words that were written by Monica Benderman in early July are now even more true: "The Army has removed itself so completely from its moral responsibility, that its representatives are willing to openly demand, in a court of law, that they be allowed to regain 'positive control over this soldier' by finding him guilty of crimes he did not commit, and put him in jail -- a prisoner of conscience, for daring to obey a moral law."

And, she added: "It is 'hard work' to face the truth, and it is scary when people who are not afraid to face it begin to speak out. Someone once said that my husband's case is a question of morality over legality. I pray that this country has not gone so far over the edge that the two are so distinctly different that we can tell them apart."

Eli e-mails to note the ACLU's Reform the Patriot Act blog and specifically the entry "Overheard in Oversight Hearing:"


Just yesterday, the FBI testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the failures in their process for hiring translators to translate foreign intelligence, and made a pitch for administrative subpoenas. In June the Senate Intelligence Committee had a secret meeting to report out a bill that would give the FBI this power -- the power to write its own search orders for "any tangible thing" without getting any court approval in advance and without proving to any court that there are any facts connecting the records sought to an agent of a foreign power.

The FBI has wanted this kind of power for so long that people who have worked on this issue longer than me actually have mimeographed copies of such proposals from decades ago (this was practically before the copy machine, if you can even imagine that). But Congress after Congress has wisely rejected such requests which would completely undermine our Fourth Amendment.

The FBI says that businesses would be able to challenge those subpoenas after the fact but this is slim protection -- do people really believe that the credit bureau or their credit card company is going to go to the legal expense of fighting for their privacy if the FBI goes on a fishing expeditions with their customer files. One can always hope, but the FBI subpoena would be secret forever and you would probably never know if your records were turned over to the FBI.

On a related note, in the House Judiciary Committee two weeks ago, Congressman Scott of Virginia proposed that businesses successfully challenging a Section 215 court order would get their attorney fees paid, but that too was defeated on a party-line vote. If the FBI were given the power to write its own orders for such records without any court approval, Section 215 will be phased out because: Why would they ever go to court to get an order if they can just get the same thing themselves?

Now we go to Kara,  with breaking news and awards coverage.

Kara:  Thank you, C.I.  As many know BuzzFlash has announced their latest GOP Hypocrite of the Week winner, Pat Roberts the Senator from the state of deranged.  And quite honestly, there's talk that this week's awards won't be televised.  A problem has been the ratings. And ad agencies are complaining about ad buys.  They argue that the winners are all too ... I believe the technical term is "butt ugly," to pull in large audiences.  There's also talk that some past winners have frightened small children when their faces loomed on the screen.  BuzzFlash's is going after truth and the networks, as always want glitz.

C.I.: Kara, with the attacks on the left, is there any talk that any of this may result from a mainstream media that's titled right?

Kara: While that is surely a possibility, the fact remains that the winners of the GOP Hypocrite of the Week are in deed butt ugly.  On the face of it, they are butt ugly.

C.I.: Interesting.  And the current winner, Pat Roberts?

Kara: Let's just say he's no dream date.  He looks like Karl Rove's skinny brother.

C.I.: Now Kara, did I understand you correctly earlier, Kenneth Tomlinson has interjected himself into the matter?

Kara:  That is correct.  Now the BuzzFlash GOP Hypocrite of the Week is not telecast on any PBS station so many are confused by Tomlinson's latest actions which include giving two million dollars to The Drudge Report to analyze the content and selection process. 

C.I.: And did he get approval from the CPI Board for that?

Kara:  Does he ever?  The best anyone can figure out is that Tomlinson's been riding his hog without his helment one too many times or else he's just hard up for ways to garner attention these days.

C.I.: Kara, thank you. 

(Before anyone writes in to ask if Kenneth Tomlinson really gave 2 million dollars to Drudge, the above was a joke.  Thanks to Kara for coming up with the idea and exchanging e-mails this morning that make up the above dialogue. Hopefully it draws further attention to BuzzFlash's GOP Hypocrite of the Week choices.)

Toby e-mails to note CODEPINK:

ONEMILLIONREASONS.ORG: Tell Bush to Get Out of Iraq
Polls show that we now represent the majority -- 6 out of 10 Americans would like the US troops to come home -- people feel isolated from each other and feel their voices are not being heard. So we have created an exciting new campaign called ONEMILLIONREASONS.ORG, where you can post on-line YOUR reason why the US should get out of Iraq, and read what other people all over the world have to say. On September 26 we will hand deliver the signatures and messages directly to the White House.

For those who wrote in to say how much they enjoyed Kat's reviews of Aimee Mann's The Forgotten Arm and Carly Simon's Midnight Serenade (e-mails have been forwarded to Kat and her e-mail address is, we'll note Tony Peyser's "Loudon Wainwright IIIs's 'Here Comes The Choppers!'" (BuzzFlash):

Loudon Wainwright III is on drugs.

I'm not talking pot, cocaine or heroin. I mean the performance-enhancing drugs that professional baseball players have been taking during the last ten years which turned every damn major league game into a home run derby. The most coveted substance was Androstenedione, which is an androgenic steroid. (I don't know what an "androgenic steroid" is and neither do you.) I even believe that Wainwright has stolen so much Androstenedione that needy sluggers like Barry Bonds just can't get any of the damn stuff. (The San Francisco Giant home run king isn't having any knee problems; that's the cover story while he's trying to find a way to get his hands on some of Wainwright's steroids.)

Where's my proof? Well, how else can you explain two sensational albums of new material in the last four years? Wainwright's in his late fifties and this is precisely when a singer-songwriter's quality should skid right off the proverbial rails. He's supposed to be phoning it in with something annoyingly retro like a collection of rockabilly or doo-wop tracks. Or, more likely, a live album of his early songs. (Uh, Wainwright did do So Damn Happy in 2003, which had a lot of his early songs on it. But I'm on a roll here, so forget about that.) Wainwright could even pull a page from the Ry Cooder playbook, find some old world music fellas from a sweaty banana republic and get them onto vinyl before they start dying off like Democratic bills in the GOP-controlled House to provide health care for poor people.


Marcia e-mails to note that Anne's taking on the ex-gay "therapy" at Peevish . . .I'm Just Saying

Today is the day Zach is supposed to be released.

I know it's unreasonable to think his parents will let him use the internet today, or probably in the immediate future, but I really want to know how he's doing.

And if his parents took this time, after they saw the public shit-storm over their actions, to consider whether or not they might be taking the wrong tack. I don't think they did. Based on what I've read in Zach's blog and the interview with his father, they're too set in their religion and too defensive to back down.

Sigh. I'd like to believe they think they're doing what's best, that they made a calm and rational decision to take this step, but Zach's journal entry about his mother "saying the worst things to me for three days straight" until he was considering suicide, even briefly, makes it very difficult for me to believe that.

Tracey (yes, that Ruth's granddaughter) e-mails to note Robert Parry's "Why We Need Investigative Reporting:"

By the mid-1990s, past crimes by the Republicans were off the media's radar scopes as the mainstream press joined the right-wing media in obsessing over trivial "Clinton scandals," such as the firing of White House travel office employees and endless questions about Bill and Hillary Clinton's Whitewater real estate investment.

These stories represented a deformed version of investigative journalism, essentially political attack operations masquerading as investigative journalism. In short, they were a form of political dirty trick.

Faced with the bleak media environment of 1995, we started as a way to publish well-reported stories of true significance, what we considered old-fashioned investigative journalism, albeit in the new medium of the Internet.

Some of our articles were about current events while others pieced together key parts of recent American history. In the broadest sense, our goal was to tell the real story of what happened to the United States since World War II and how that often-secret history helped explain the troubling present.

So, for instance, when five Republicans on the U.S. Supreme Court stopped the Florida recount in December 2000 and handed George W. Bush the White House, our readers weren't surprised, knowing the history of how ruthlessly Republicans had pursued control of the White House in the past. [See the "October Surprise X-Files" series or Parry's Secrecy & Privilege.]

Our readers weren't surprised either when Colin Powell turned out to be a rank opportunist, as he exploited his sparkling reputation to sell the Bush administration's puffed-up evidence about Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction. [For Powell's real background, see the "Behind Colin Powell's Legend" series.]

As the right-wing media bullied Americans who dissented from Bush's pronouncements about Iraq, our readers already recognized the intellectual corruption of a media infrastructure that had long been subsidized by Rev. Sun Myung Moon, writing checks from his mysterious funding sources. [See the "Dark Side of Rev. Moon" series.]

And we'll close by noting, in full, a press release from The Green Party at Third Party's request:

Greens gathering in Tulsa for the national meeting of the Green Party of the United States this past weekend elected new national co-chairs of the party.


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Kat's Korner: Beware when Carly invites you along a Moonlight Serenade

I blame Carly Simon.

I also blame Maggie.

And I also blame Sumner and his sexy self.

But most of all I blame Carly Simon and her latest CD Moonlight Serenade.

One thing's for sure, I ain't taking the fall for it.

We were tired. It had been a nice Sunday. The sun had set, Dak-Ho and Toni were off to a club, Maggie was buzzed and still swearing she was up for anything. Sumner had Monday off so he wasn't ready to call it a night.

No sooner are we back at my place and Maggie parked on the couch than she's out like a light while Sumner's digging through my discs trying to find something he hasn't heard in awhile or, better yet, not heard at all.

He pulls out Carly's latest. It's her fourth album of standards. I'm luke warm on Film Noir. I really like Torch, but I love My Romance. Moonlight Serenade is in the new format, the one that's supposed to save the music biz, dual disc. Maybe it will save the biz or maybe it will go the way of 3-D movies, who knows?

But the DVD side of the disc contains an interview with Carly and producer Richard Perry. During that, as an aside, Carly offers that maybe the album will help people make love and not war. It's a moment, an aside, but it demonstrates once again that Carly Simon's very much a part of the world around her. You can hear that on her finest songs which don't just explore her own landscape but add to your own. And when everyone was choosing sides during the primaries, she proved once again where she stood by coming out in favor of Howard Dean. The photos of Carly and Howard from Yahoo news quickly filled my inbox last year as various friends e-mailed them. Carly and Dean were a perfect fit because, to use an old term, the two of them together was just so organic.

And when Carly does an album of standards, it's a very organic process. There's no sense that she's trembling before the microphone, fearful of being overshadowed by a big band sound or by the weight that comes with the standards. There's no sense that she's a little miss who's going to be plucky and proud like the worst of Shirley Temple meets the worst of Julie Andrews as has been the case with so many of her peers who've mined the standards. With Carly, it always sounds like she's comfortable and that probably has a lot to do with the nature of her voice but it may also have to do with the fact that, unlike some, she's proven she can write songs so she approaches the torch songs without the desperation bid of "I can't sing what they're writing these days anymore and this may be my last shot!"

While others look up after the songs with a knowing grin that they fail to hide behind false modesty and wait for the expected applause, Carly's just being Carly. Her approach is probably closer to Sinatra's than any of her peers will ever get because, like Sinatra, she makes you think she's completely at home in each song.

When the second track started playing, "I've Got You Under My Skin," Sumner jokingly suggested we should dance. Why not? It was a great version of the song and we long ago entered the safety of just friends, right?

Hadn't planned on "I Only Have Eyes for You" following. As Carly breathed new life into a song that's grown tired from too many bad versions performed at wedding receptions, something else was going on.

By "In the Still of Night," we were kicking off our shoes, Sumner was pulling up my blouse and I was undoing the button on his pants.

Though both of us had long ago moved beyond bed buddies, here we were again, years later, fumbling around with each other and "stumbling into false starts" (Carly's "Make Me Feel Something" off Spoiled Girl) as the simmer emotion captured on the disc came to a boil.

The rest of the album served as our own personal soundtrack as we got, as I would put it, reaquainted or as we got, as kids today would put it, busy. Amidst the panting and movement, somewhere I threw my head back as Carly was singing "Where or When" and we both stopped for a moment to hear, really hear the song, before resuming our devouring of one another.

Side by side, catching our breath and reflecting on what had just happened, it seemed appropriate to hear Carly ask the musical question of "How Long Has This Been Going On?"

Now nobody worry, there won't be any wedding registry you have to sign up for. It was a moment, only a moment. A relapse. But the album should come with a warning label advising you not to listen with someone with whom you think the fires of passion were long ago extinguished.

Maggie passed out in the living room or not, I can't imagine the above happening if we were spinning, for instance, Linda Rondstadt's What's New? With that, we might nod to each other and say, "Nicely done." With one of Rod Stewart's albums of standards, we'd probably shurg. But Carly doesn't show boat. Her comfort level lets her delve into the actual emotions of the songs so don't be surprised if things heat up when you listen.

That's what Sumner and I told each other as we quickly put back on our clothes and returned to the living room where Maggie was stretching her arms out above her and yawning.

"That was really nice," she said nodding to the CD player. "Let's listen again."

"No!" Sumner and I both exclaimed causing Maggie to raise a suspicious eyebrow.

"We just listened to it," Sumner mumbled as I went in search of a less passionate disc and avoided making eye contact with the curious Maggie.

Beware the power of Carly, kids, beware the power of Carly. Moonlight Serenade should come with a warning label: Listening may induce bursts of passion.

Kat's Korner: Aimee Mann's The Forgotten Arm

Sun warming our bodies, coastal winds cooling them off. The great thing about this park is probably it's proximity to the ocean. Not that any of us is going to go jump in. That's the sort of thing we did in our wild, reckless teens. "It's the ocean for God's sake!" is how we'd dismiss concerns raised. Then, after awhile, bypassing the floating human waste isn't so funny or your foot gets pricked by a syringe or . . . It's still fairly pretty from a distance despite the fact that we have totally and completely f**cked it up.

So this park is probably our favorite place to have a picnic. It brings with it the distant memory of the passion we once had for playing in the surf and the comfort of enough distance.

So that's where we were Sunday. Toni and Dak-Ho had made the eats, Maggie had offer to pack them which was only greeted with howls of laughter. She truly is the inverse Felix the Cat -- with anything going into her purse apparently vanishing. Sumner was bringing a big wicker basket and I was in charge of the boom box and the discs.

Under the shade of our favorite tree, we set up camp and kicked back. Coldplay gave way to Prince, gave way to White Stripes, gave way to Tori Amos, gave way to Van Hunt as we laughed and joked and ate and drank, stopping to admire the scenery, a person or the moment itself or maybe just to join in with an improvised game of frisbee.

Ava and C.I. had been talking up the new Aimee Mann, so I'd brought that along. I hadn't put it in the boom box. It was more of "if we get tired of hearing all the stuff we already love, I'll put this on" kind of choice.

But Maggie had dropped the frisbee once too often and the jokes had been one too many for her, so she'd gone back to the blankets and beach towels to do what she does best, forage. She'd turned up Aimee Mann's The Forgotten Arm, probably due to the cover -- a pulp drawing of two men in boxing shorts.

Throwing kisses so Richmond's unfortunate can go on
Throwing kisses so Richmond's unfortunate can go on
Throwing kisses so Richmond's unfortunate can go on

Mann started out in 'Til Tuesday which for too many is remembered for her hair, a shock of white mane with a tail. (Really kids, in the eighties, some people did add a long strip of hair to their otherwise short hair.) Mann and the group have an image, to some who didn't pay close attention, that's right up there with Cyndi Lauper as a good time, everybody Wang Chung type of band.

Goes completely against the music which even when overly produced provided some of the starkest, most isolated lyrics you've ever heard in the top forty. Get beyond loudly singing the "Hush hush" parts of "Voices Carry" and listen to the story that song is telling. By the second album (Welcome Home), the band was sounding better, the production was losing some of that high gloss sheen, and Aimee Mann was demonstrating gifts that still make her one of the strongest writers in popular song. By the final album (Everything's Different Now), she was holding her own with Elvis Costello. This wasn't Costello breathing life into her tired act (the way it was when he teamed with Paul McCartney), this was two strong songwriting giants engaging one another. In the process, Mann produced, by herself, what I still consider to be one of her quieter masterpieces: "J for Jules."

She went solo, got screwed around by the labels. Came back to grab an Oscar nomination and do some solid work on her own recording label. The feeling is that you know what you're getting with an Aimee Mann album these days. Feelings can be wrong.

As The Forgotten Arm poured out of the boom box, it was obvious that we were hearing something remarkable. Joe Henry's producing. Henry can be hit or miss with me. He added very little to Ani DiFranco's Knuckle Down, for instance. Made me wonder why Ani had even used a producer on that album instead of doing it herself? But working with his sister-in-law, he helped her record her best non-soundtrack hit in years ("Don't Tell Me"). The sister-in-law is of course Madonna who used to be married to Sean Penn who is the brother of Michael Penn who is married to Aimee Mann.

Still awake?

Whatever connection brought Henry and Mann together, it was a fortuous one. The Forgotten Arm sounds like Aimee Mann and it sounds like something more. It's like she's working with a band again and, unlike 'Til Tuesday, they aren't fumbling around trying to figure out the sound, the sound is fully born from the first song.

Aimee Mann's lyrics probably intimidate many of her peers. It's not every songwriter fresh out of the gate that ends up prompting a state of music discussion from Joni Mitchell (and getting basically a seal of approval).

So, like a ghost in the snow
I'm getting read to go
Because baby, that's all I know --
How to open the door
And though my exit was crude
It saes me coming unglued
For when you're not in the mood
For gloves and the canvas floor
That's how I knew this story would break my heart
When you wrote it.

The song will grab you and nail down every memory of that one romance you stayed in way too long because it meant way too much even though it cost far more than you were willing to pay.
And when Mann's voice rises, whispers and breaks on the "break my heart" part, you really register it.

That's what Henry and Mann have done producing this album, found a way to underscore the mood of the songs and to provide the best arrangements for them. When you write as strongly as Mann does, it's probably easy to assume the song is ready for posterity and there's no need to fuss over an arrangement. Which is why her albums can sometimes sound like a collection of demos, incredible demos granted, and not like an album itself.

The Forgotten Arm isn't just her best album, it's one of the top ten albums of the year. We were dancing and swaying to "That's How I Knew This Story Would Break My Heart" and bouncing around to "Going Through the Motions" the next. On the latter, the first line, the first note, of each verse, she nails in a way that she hasn't since she had 'Til Tuesday behind her. The music isn't just providing support, it's pushing her further. And she seems to know that and provides her strongest vocals in years.

The album's theme is that Joe, the boxer "tossing kisses so Richmond's unfortunate can go on," and Caroline are in the midst of a messy, emotional affair and calling it quits at various points. It's an interesting theme and it probably freed a writer like Mann to explore even more lyrically than she usually does. And possibly since each song has the safety of characters and doesn't need to be viewed as the latest "I confess!" entry in her canon, she's able to explore musically.

"Video" is the perfect example of what Mann and Henry are doing. Lyrically, it's full of the insight and bravery we expect from Mann and, in the past, we've grown accustomed to this sort of song getting a simple, no frills treatment. Instead, it gets a cinematic treatment that not only opens up the song and enlivens it, it also fits the cinematic nature of the lyrics.

Like a building that's been slated for blasting
I'm proof that nothing is lasting
Counting to eleven as it collapses.
And tell me baby:
Baby, I love you.
It's non-stop memories of you.
It's like a video of you playing
It's all loops of seven-hour kisses
Cut with a couple of near-misses
Back to the scene of the actor saying
"Tell me baby, baby -- why do I feel so bad?"
And baby -- baby, I love you.
But baby -- I feel so bad.

Between "Video" and "Going Through the Motions" the other thing that stands out the most is probably Mann's rediscovery of the rest note. The melodies share a stop and start quality that add the momentum when they get going and that underscore the suddeness of an ending (which, again, is the theme of this album -- the start and stop nature of romance).

You could pour over and pick apart this album for hours. It's the finest thing she's recorded thus far and finer than the majority of albums winning praise and audiences currently. But that probably still wouldn't convey the energy or infectuous nature of the music. Noting at this late date that Mann explores the human heart better than any of her peers is noting the obvious. Stating that she's made her most musically adventurous album, one that will grab you and anyone around you is a new argument.

Some people familiar with Mann's past accomplishments may scoff at that. It's been so long since she's been paired with a band that we wrongly tend to see her as the last of the coffee house greats, strumming her guitar on stage while we sip our espressos and mutter "Deep, man." (Or is it, "Deep, Mann"?)

But The Forgotten Arm isn't just an album that will have you nodding in acknowledgement as she writes the score to the push-pull dance of our times, it's also an album you can put in the player and blast as you zip down the Pacific Coast Highway. Which is exactly what we did enjoying the power of Aimee Mann working with a band.

Put away the notions of an Aimee Mann album as something you haul at two a.m. when the party's wound down and it's just you and a few stragglers needing to chill. The Forgotten Arm is the sort of album that you can play as the guests arrive. It's full of robust energy and excitement and though some listeners may end up overlooking the beauty of Mann's lyrics as they savor the musical experience, it will hopefully remind others that the coffee house poet can still front a band and bowl you over all over again with arrangements that are as passionate as her lyrics have always been.