Saturday, September 17, 2005
The Laura Flanders Show: Sat. Naomi Klein, Jeremy Scahill, Mary Gauthier; Sun. Suheir Hammad, Fergus Bordewich
This weekend on Air America Radio, 7-10 PM EST
Saturday, September 17
Has Baghdad come to the Bayou? While the humanitarian crisis in the Gulf grows, Republican relief efforts include a raft of economic and social policies that serve the Right:
We’ll get a frontline report from award-winning independent journalist JEREMY SCAHILL
NAOMI KLEIN will talk about disaster capitalism, US style.
Louisiana-born singer-songwriter MARY GAUTHIER on "Mercy Now," her CD that won the best new artist Americana Music Award.
Sunday, September 18
From the Gulf Coast to Persian Gulf to Supreme Court, will W's government ever do what's right?
Def Jam Poet, SUHEIR HAMMAD.
Fergus Bordewich, journalist and author of 'BOUND FOR CANAAN: THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD AND THE WAR FOR THE SOUL OF AMERICA'
NEW - Now you can listen to the Laura Flanders Show via podcast on iTunes!
Go to the Laura Flanders Blog
Remember, you can listen over broadcast radio (if there's an AAR in your area), via XM Satellite Radio (channel 167) or listen online.
My apologies for the delay re: The Laura Flanders Show and we're only noting it. Depending on where you are (if you're a domestic, United States community member,) as of ten o'clock EST, Air America still didn't have their schedule for the weekend up. Having spent the entire week in D.C. on my first day home, I wasn't prepared to wait around. Eli and Dallas checked repeatedly as I worked on the entries this morning. By ten, when both had e-mailed that it still wasn't up, I e-mailed Martha who's signed up for alerts from The Laura Flanders Show and told her no rush because I was on my way out the door. (And you can use the link above to sign up for the e-mail alerts from the Flanders' show.)
Next weekend, I'm back in DC and I will try to get The Laura Flanders Show line up posted regardless because it is the show the community loves. (And it's a wonderful show.) My apologies to members who also enjoy other weekend shows. (I know Steve Earle is popular as well and, time permitting, we'll note that and Chuck D's show tomorrow but right now I'm about to start the weekly marathon with The Third Estate Sunday Review.)
This week was thought to be a two days in D.C. tops and was a test run for this coming week. It ended up being a great deal more than two days. But on the plus side, though many issue were missed (by me, not the community), the site didn't go "dead" (thanks to a lot of help from members and friends). Joan's e-mailed today wondering if that will be the case next week as well and it will be. In addition, we are all committed to making sure The Third Estate Sunday Review has an edition of some kind. It may be easier than usual despite the schedule since Ava, Jess, Ty, Jim, Dona (The Third Estate Sunday Review), Rebecca (Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude), Cedric (Cedric's Big Mix), Betty (Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man), Kat (Kat's Korner), Mike (Mikey Likes It!), Elaine (Like Maria Said Paz) and myself will all be in D.C. (and all staying in the same location).
Somewhere during that time or after, two members are planning to start up sites. I hesitate to put that in because until a site's active, people can (and sometimes do) change their minds. If they start up during the weekend of protest, that will probably suffer from less attention than they'd get normally from community sites and that's been explained. (Meaning highlights and adding to permalinks by all sites.) If they do start up during next weekend, do not think they're being intentionally slighted, it's just going to be a time of activism and they'll be noted as much as possible during that and more so after next weekend is over.
Lastly, Marci e-mailed regarding a story noted on Friday here. I had Dallas check regarding the byline online and I've checked the print edition now that I'm home (during the week, I only read the copy and pastes from members). The article in question is "Bush Pledges Federal Role In Rebuilding Gulf Coast" and it ran on the front page of the print edition (upper right hand story). Marci is correct that the article in the print version is credited to Elisabeth Bumiller and David Sanger in the official byline. However, the version sent in by a member (the one we link to) is credited (official byline) solely to Bumiller. (Both print version and online contain "end credits." Unless there's a point to them, we're not noting end credits.) (The end credits for the online version are: "Anne E. Kornblut, Robert Pear and David E. Sanger.") I prefer to work from the print version (or, as I like to think of, the one I'm paying for) but this week, I didn't look at a physical copy of the paper until Saturday. If the Times changes credit from online to print while I'm again in D.C., people will be omitted again.
We try to give writers credit (and blame) for what they deserve. But I was working from the article e-mailed by a member and that version was credited (in the official byline) solely to Bumiller. If you use the link to "Bush Pledges Federal Role in Rebuilding Gulf Coast," you'll see that it still is credited (in the official byline) solely to Bumiller. Thanks to Marci for the heads up to this because it could happen again next week so it's good that we addressed it.
The e-mail address for this site is firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Examining Race, Class and Katrina"
by Juan Williams
Morning Edition, September 16, 2005 · Juan Williams examines what the response to Hurricane Katrina says about race and poverty in the United States. One man says the hurricane ripped the covering off the class lines and racism of America.
Juan Williams is supposed to be addressing race and poverty. Race takes a back seat from the and is reduced to a sidebar in a story that is supposed to examine both equally. By the time Mr. Williams offers that Bully Boy had long been planning to introduce an anti-poverty plan, listeners may have lost confidence in both Mr. Williams' reporting and the one-sided claim.
Is race an issue? From this report, it is not. This is troubling because of the reporter they've assigned to the story.
As I discussed last week, Juan Williams made his feelings very clear on whether race was an issue or not on Fox "News." I did that by highlighting CounterSpin. From their program last week, here is Juan Williams addressing the remarks that racism may have been involved in the slow response to the victims of Hurricane Katrina:
"I think that's ridiculous. I think that's kind of spouting off of people who don't know know the president, don't know this administration, don't know the people who work there."
Here again is CounterSpin's editorial reply:
Evidently in Williams view people who don't hang out with White House staffers have no right to comment on them or their actions.
Mr. Williams' remarks on Fox "News" should have prevented NPR from assigning him to this story. There is no excuse for NPR not being aware of the remarks, if they choose to claim that.
There is no excuse for Mr. Williams accepting an assignment to cover something that he has already dismissed as "ridiculous." From the start, listeners aware of his remarks on Fox "News" may question his objectivity.
Are they correct to question it?
The people allowed the most air time are the ones rejecting the idea. Coincidentally, they are also from White House present and past: Laura Bush and Donna Brazile. Which goes to the criticism made by CounterSpin that "in Williams view people who don't hang out with the White House staffers have no right to comment on them or their actions."
The report should have been assigned to another journalist. Having failed to do that, NPR should have seriously reviewed Mr. Williams' report before it aired. Had they done so, they would have noted that CounterSpin's criticism was demonstrated to be accurated and they could have avoided embarrassing themselves.
NPR operates under a strange principle and we see it with Mr. Williams' reporting this week. "Fair" means, at NPR, that critics of the Bully Boy are slighted or silenced while those who support him are given more leeway. If that criticism seems too strong for some, I'll direct you to C.I.'s November comments in "When NPR Fails You, Who You Gonna' Call? Not the Ombudsman." For those who missed that, I'll summarize briefly.
NPR political correspondent Michele Norris was restricted in her political duties during the election because her husband, in the words of NPR's ombudsman, "Broderick Johnson was a senior adviser to the Kerry campaign. For that reason, NPR management decided that Norris should not do any political interviews."
That is the policy . . . if you are not connected to the Bully Boy. However, a different standard operates for the other side. Juan Williams, a serial offender, did a commentary/analysis on Senator John Kerry's remarks that resulted in complaints from listeners. To correct the problem (Media Matters, among others, cited Mr. Williams' commentary as faulty), they brought on another person to comment/analyze the same remarks by John Kerry.
Listeners had felt that Mr. Williams had distorted Senator Kerry's remarks. So the corrective analyst should have been chosen by NPR to provide listeners with a more objective commentary/analysis. The person they chose was Robert Kagan who appeared to choke up as he gave, basically, the same analysis as Juan Williams had. The only real difference was that, when he spoke of it, he choked up and said he that he hoped this was not what Senator Kerry had meant.
Who is Robert Kagan? He is the husband of Victoria Nuland. Who is Victoria Nuland? Dick Cheney's deputy national security adviser. Michelle Norris was banned due to her husband's affiliation with the Kerry and Edwards camp. Objections to listeners from Mr. William's commentary on John Kerry led NPR to bring on the husband of a woman who worked for Dick Cheney to address Senator Kerry's remarks.
That is apparently what passes for fair at NPR. Another issue is that listeners were never informed that Mr. Kagan was married to anyone working in the administration. He was presented as an outsider with no ties to either candidate.
NPR has, to this day, not addressed the issue of bringing on the husband of someone working in the administration to critique the Democratic candidate for president. They have ignored the issue. After Juan Williams dismissed race as an issue in the response to Hurricane Katrina on Fox "News," NPR assigns him to provide an "objective" look at whether race had anything to do with the response. This appears to demonstrate that NPR has learned nothing from the issue of Mr. Kagan and that there are two sets of standards for "fair" at NPR.
More to the point, this appears to be an ongoing pattern. Media Matters caught another instance this week. From Media Matters' "All things considered? NPR host failed to mention that TNR's "liberal" Rosen endorsed Roberts for chief justice:"
In a September 13 discussion of ongoing hearings on the nomination of John G. Roberts Jr. to be chief justice, National Public Radio's (NPR) All Things Considered hosted two commentators who endorsed Roberts. Moreover, senior host Robert Siegel failed to disclose that the guests -- Douglas W. Kmiec, Pepperdine University law professor and former head of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, and George Washington University professor and The New Republic legal affairs editor Jeffrey Rosen -- both agreed on this central question of whether Roberts should be confirmed.
The above three issues are not isolated incidents. The three issues are a problem that NPR has failed to address and part of a larger pattern that NPR seems to believe listeners will not notice.
When C.I. noted that NPR has a larger audience than cable news combined, Ruth's Morning Edition seemed like something I could do to add to the community here.
I have attempted to support the concept of NPR while addressing problems with the programming. For instance, we have noted here Cokie Roberts' commentaries that seemed to rely on uncredited speculation ("people are saying"). The issue of the fertility panic that NPR pushed was noted here as well. Their attempt to correct the problem, after numerous complaints from listeners, once again was not a correction.
Members who e-mail cite issues such as the "NPR sound" of the voices of the anchors, the annoying music and the deference to corporate sponsors and the administration. I still support the concept of NPR but I am not pleased with the execution of it.
Members have also urged me to listen to Pacifica's programming. This has resulted in the focus shifting to public radio beyond NPR. If there is a program you enjoy, on Pacifica or NPR, please e-mail the site and C.I. will pass on your e-mails. I have a long list that I am working from. I had hoped to do a review for my grandson of a program he and three members enjoy but it did not air this week due to special programming on Pacifica.
If you missed Pacifica's special programming of the John Roberts' hearings, you missed a great deal. Along with airing the hearings live, something NPR did not do, Pacifica offered interviews, commentary and took calls from listeners during their coverage. Deepa Fernandes (WBAI's Wake Up Call), Mitch Jesserich (Free Speech Radio News) and Larry Bensky (national affairs correspondent for Pacifica) anchored the coverage. Each brought unique traits to the coverage.
Ms. Fernandes regularly voiced points that otherwise would not have been raised, Mr. Jesserich brought a laid back, amused style and Mr. Bensky brought a wealth of information that made me regret that this week was the first time I had heard him.
This was not coverage in the tradition of "I agree, Cokie!" where anchors all echo the same point and then throw out a useless factoid to demonstrate that they are doing more than acting as a cheering section for one another. There were serious questions raised. Mr. Jesserich participated in those and made strong points but, as someone very frightened that Roe v. Wade may become a thing of the past as the Bully Boy attempts to appoint two Supreme Court Justices, I especially appreciated Mr. Jesserich's humor so I've chosen to note that as his strongest trait.
I did appreciate humor during this and I appreciated the interest that the three had in the proceedings. There was not an attempt to talk down to the audience. Mr. Bensky, for example, walked listeners through the FISA court in an informed, though not stuffy, manner. Among other things, we learned that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court appoints the judges on the FISA court.
Ms. Fernandes is a favorite of my granddaughter Tracey. During the special coverage, I heard why. She was not reluctant to voice an issue that a guest had avoided.
The three broadcasters brought life to the proceedings and I know from the e-mails I have read thus far that a number of members were greatly impressed with the coverage. One person did complain and I was not familiar with her so I'm unsure if she was a visitor or a member. [Note from C.I.: a visitor.]
Her complaint was that this special programming should serve as a "wake up call" to Pacifica that they needed national coverage. She meant national programming. Her feeling was that she should be able to listen to any Pacifica station and hear the exact programming on all stations. She listed a number of shows on one station that she did not enjoy. One of which I have praised here and do enjoy.
I will disagree with her point of view. As someone who has followed NPR since it's inception, my own feelings are that one of the biggest mistakes has been the packaging of programs. Many members have written to complain about, for instance, All Things Considered and Morning Edition which they feel cover the same stories in the same manner and yet they lose out on local programming from their community's NPR because both shows are broadcast.
I believe the special programming was strong broadcasting. However, as I work through my list of programs that members enjoy and have asked me to listen to, I find voices that are unique and that are heard nowhere else. There are programs that I have sampled and thought weren't to my tastes. For example, if I am going to listen to music, I will usually listen to my own collection of music. But even not being a big fan of a program devoted solely to music, I have heard voices and opinions that added to my understanding. Someone else might feel that news programming was something they would rather skip.
Public radio is supposed to serve the listenership so those are decisions that should come from the local community. The programming should reflect the communities interest and my desire for news should not trump someone else's desire for music. All the programming, whether news, talk show, music, comedy or rebroadcasts of classic radio is about serving the needs of the community.
The alternative is that you end up with a situation Billie has written about where there is only one local radio program airing during the week on her NPR station. They broadcast Morning Edition twice in the morning and Fresh Air twice (once in the morning and once at night). Her community is largely served by nothing more than news breaks.
There must be something comforting for some in standardization otherwise a road trip would not result in the exact same fast food places up and down the highway. Standardization would probably result in the range of voices being greatly reduced.
That has been the result of the programming on NPR. Billie was one of the first to ask me if I noted any difference between All Things Considered and Morning Edition? I honestly have not. All Things Considered usually seems to take the topics a little more seriously than the post-Bob Edwards Morning Edition but they are covering the same topics with the same sort of guests and hosts, with the same sort of opinions offered.
I believe that Democracy Now! and Free Speech Radio News air on all the Pacifica stations. Those are strong programs but, as I understand the histories of each, they are strong programs because of the people behind them and not because of a desire to create a national program. If they were aired on only one station, they would maintain their unqiue points of view. But when nationally programming is packaged, the tendency is not to have a strong, unique point of view, but instead to appeal the widest range of listeners and that appeal usually results in watered down programming that offers a very limited range of information and voices.
That is what I personally feel has happened to NPR over the years. I would hate to see that happen to Pacifica. Stations that offer an evening newscast provide an example of how important local views are because on one Pacifica station, I will hear an item that another might not cover. It may be a regional story or something that caught the attention of the staff of that station.
Whatever 'comfort' standardized programming might provide would be at the expense of local coverage and the wide range of perspective that I have enjoyed most from all the Pacifica programming I have listened to.
As much as I enjoyed the live coverage this week, I did think, when I woke up Thursday, that as a result, I would not be hearing WBAI's First Voices which always offers perspectives that I toss around in my head throughout the day.
Connect the Dots, on KPFA Monday mornings from seven to eight Pacific Time, nine to ten Central Time, and eleven to noon Easter Time, had interviews with Norman Solomon and Dennis Kucinich. This was not my first time hearing either gentleman interviewed but Lila Garrett brought her own perspective to the interviews which made them different from past interviews. [Click here to access the archive of that broadcast.]
A number of you e-mailed regarding Dahr Jamail's appearance on Alternative Radio. Alternative Radio distributes its programming on Tuesdays. Here are stations that broadcast Alternative Radio and provide the option to listen online. This is not a complete list. For a complete list you can click here. If the stations are up to date [and not pre-empted or making scheduling changes; airtimes are in the time zone they are broadcast from] you have not missed the chance to hear Dahr Jamail yet:
KTSW San Marcos, Texas - 89.9 FM - 9 a.m. Saturday http://www.ktsw.net/ Internet simulcast
KAOS Olympia, Washington - 89.3 FM - 5 p.m. Saturday www.kaosradio.org
Saturday & Sunday:
Boise Community Radio Project, Idaho - webcast only8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday www.radioboise.org
WFSS Fayetteville, North Carolina - 91.9 FM - 3 p.m. Sunday http://www.wfss.org/
KAXE Grand Rapids, Minnesota - 91.7 FM; Brainerd - 89.5 FM; Bemidji - 105.3 FM - 7 p.m. Sunday www.kaxe.org
WFHB Bloomington, Indiana - 91.3, 98.1 FM - Noon Monday www.wfhb.org
WWUH West Hartford, Connecticut - 91.3 FM - Noon Monday http://www.wwuh.org/
KMUD Redway, California - 91.1, 88.3, 88.9 FM - 9 a.m. Monday www.kmud.org
KRFC Ft Collins, Colorado - 88.9 FM - 5:30 p.m. Monday www.krfc-fm.org
Since the Report reposts on Mondays, I've included some Monday listings. Of the e-mails forwarded by C.I., Ava and Jess this week, the biggest issue was "Will special coverage of the hearings mean I miss Dahr Jamail?" Hopefully, it does not mean that.
I will also offer that Weekend Edition on NPR may have a report of interest:
"'Night Draws Near': War from the Iraqi Perspective"
Weekend Edition - Saturday, September 17, 2005 · Scott Simon talks with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anthony Shadid about his book Night Draws Near: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War.
Shadid, a reporter for The Washington Post who also speaks Arabic, offers an account of the first 15 months of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, as seen by Iraqis.
That report can be listened to live or online (as of one p.m. Saturday, it will be available online).
Lastly, I would encourage members to check out CounterSpin. The syndicated, weekly, half-hour program can be heard on many stations as well as online.
Oficial de Guardia Nacional admite que despliegue en Irak afectó respuesta a Katrina
A decenas de guardias nacionales de Mississippi desplegados en Irak se les negaron licencias de 15 días para ayudar a sus familiares desplazados. Los comandantes les dijeron que la cantidad de soldados estadounidenses en Irak era demasiado escasa para que se pudiera prescindir de ellos. El 40 por ciento de los integrantes de la Guardia Nacional de Mississippi y el 35 por ciento de los de la Guardia de Louisiana se encuentran en Irak. Mientras tanto, por primera vez un oficial de alta jerarquía de la Guardia Nacional reconoció que la respuesta de esa fuerza al huracán fue dificultada por la gran cantidad de sus integrantes que se encuentran en Irak. El teniente general Steven Blum, jefe de la Guardia Nacional, dijo a la CNN que "posiblemente" se demoró un día o más en la respuesta debido a la ausencia de soldados de la Guardia que se encontraban en Irak. Dijo: "Si esa brigada hubiera estado en el país en lugar de en Irak, se podría haber aprovechado su experiencia y capacidad".
Senador Robert Byrd exhorta a retiro de tropas de Irak
Mientras tanto, en Capitol Hill, el integrante más antiguo del Senado, Robert Byrd, exhortó al gobierno de Bush a que se retire de Irak y traiga a los soldados de regreso al país. Byrd dijo: “No podemos continuar gastando millones de dólares en Irak cuando nuestro propio pueblo está pasando tantas necesidades, no sólo ahora en Nueva Orleans, sino en todo el territorio de Estados Unidos, y en toda clase de materias, desde educación y salud hasta seguridad interna y custodia de nuestras propias fronteras”.
EPA: Agua tóxica podría hacer que la ciudad sea inhabitable por una década
Un alto funcionario de la Agencia para la Protección del Ambiente (EPA, por sus siglas en inglés), advirtió que los productos químicos tóxicos en el agua que inundó Nueva Orleans harán que esa ciudad sea un lugar inseguro para la vida humana durante una década. Hugh Kaufman, veterano de la EPA, dijo al diario The Independent, de Londres, que la limpieza necesaria será "el mayor trabajo de obra pública jamás realizado" en Estados Unidos. Kaufman fue jefe de investigadores de la defensoría del pueblo de la EPA. Ahora es un analista de políticas en la Oficina de Desechos Sólidos y Respuesta de Emergencia de la misma agencia. El experimentado funcionario pronosticó que "solamente lograr que todo vuelva a funcionar y sea seguro llevará 10 años". Kaufman criticó la decisión de bombear el agua contaminada de la inundación al lago Pontchartrain y al río Mississippi. Dijo que esa medida podría poner en peligro a la gente que utiliza el agua río abajo.
Informe: Chertoff fracasó en la supervisión de la respuesta al huracán
Pasamos a una noticia sobre el huracán Katrina. La agencia de noticias Knight Ridder informa que el funcionario facultado para movilizar la respuesta federal al huracán Katrina era en definitiva el Secretario de Seguridad Nacional, Michael Chertoff, y no Michael Brown, el ex director de la FEMA que renunció a su cargo a principios de esta semana. Registros internos demuestran que Chertoff no delegó sus facultades a Brown hasta 36 horas después de que comenzara el impacto del huracán. Según Knight Ridder, Chertoff, podría haber ordenado a los organismos federales que tomaran medidas aunque no hubiera una solicitud de funcionarios estatales o locales, e incluso antes del paso del huracán. Según el Plan de Respuesta Nacional, era Chertoff, y no Brown, quien estaba a cargo del manejo de la respuesta nacional a un desastre catastrófico. Knight Ridder también informa que obtuvo un documento interno que sugiere que Chertoff se habría confundido acerca del papel principal que le correspondía desempeñar en la respuesta al desastre y la función de su departamento.
FAA advirtió en 1998 de que Al Qaeda estrellaría aviones secuestrados
Nueva información desclasificada del informe de la Comisión del 11 de Septiembre revela que la Administración de Aviación Federal (FAA, por sus siglas en inglés) advirtió, en 1998, que Al Qaeda podía "intentar secuestrar un avión comercial y estrellarlo contra un lugar simbólico de Estados Unidos". Esta es la primera advertencia conocida de que podía ocurrir un atentado similar al del 11 de septiembre. También hace surgir nuevos cuestionamientos acerca de la veracidad del testimonio de la entonces Asesora de Seguridad Nacional Condoleeza Rice ante la Comisión. Rice dijo a la Comisión "No creo que nadie pudiera prever que intentarían utilizar un avión como misil". Esta información estaba en el informe original de la Comisión, pero recién fue revelada esta semana. Otra sección revelada demuestra que funcionarios descubrieron meses antes de los atentados del 11 de septiembre de que dos de los tres aeropuertos utilizados por los secuestradores habían presentado fallas de seguridad en repetidas ocasiones.
Ministro de Justicia de Irak critica a Estados Unidos por arresto arbitrario de iraquíes
El Ministro de Justicia iraquí, Abdul Husain Shandal, criticó a Estados Unidos. En una entrevista con Reuters, condenó a las fuerzas militares estadounidenses por detener a iraquíes sin orden de arresto y por mantener a miles de iraquíes presos sin que haya cargos contre ellos. El Ministro de Justicia también dijo que quiere quitar la inmunidad a los soldados extranjeros.
Partido Republicano bloquea investigaciones sobre Katrina y Memorando de Downing Street
En Capitol Hill, los republicanos bloquearon varios esfuerzos de los demócratas para que se investigue o informe sobre el huracán Katrina, la guerra de Irak y la revelación de la identidad de la agente de la CIA Valerie Plame. En el Senado, los republicanos bloquearon una propuesta de Hillary Clinton para llevar a cabo una investigación independiente de la respuesta del gobierno al huracán Katrina. Esa iniciativa fue rechazada en una votación partidaria, por 54 votos contra 44. En una encuesta realizada por CNN-USA Today-Gallup, 70 por ciento de los consultados en todo el país apoyaron la realización de una investigación independiente. En la Cámara de Representantes, los republicanos rechazaron los intentos de los demócratas de obligar al gobierno de Bush a que entregue documentos sobre información anterior a la guerra de Irak, vinculada con el llamado Memorando de Downing Street. Ese memorando reveló las actas de una reunión de julio de 2002, entre el Primer Ministro británico Tony Blair y sus asesores, que indican que Estados Unidos se propuso atacar Irak casi un año antes de que la guerra comenzara oficialmente. El memorando también dice que la Casa Blanca “tergiversó” datos de inteligencia para justificar la invasión. También el miércoles, los republicanos de la Comisión Judicial y de Relaciones Internacionales rechazaron los intentos de los demócratas de obligar al gobierno de Bush a entregar información y registros relacionados con la revelación de la identidad de la agente de la CIA Valerie Plame.
El 72% de afroestadounidenses piensan que Bush no se preocupa por ellos
En una nueva encuesta de USA Today, 72% de los afrodescendientes consultados opinaron que al Presidente Bush no le importa la población negra del país. El 67% de los blancos que contestaron opinaron que sí.
Atentado estadounidense/ iraquí deja 200 muertos en Tall Afar
En Irak, al menos 200 personas murieron en la ciudad de Tall Afar, luego de que fuerzas estadounidenses e iraquíes lanzaron el fin de semana un importante ataque en esa ciudad norteña. El lunes, la Sociedad Iraquí de la Media Luna Roja envió ayuda a las familias desplazadas luego de tres días de bombardeos. Fue el mayor ataque desde la toma de Fallujah.
Funcionarios estadounidenses inicialmente describieron los ataques como necesarios para detener el ingreso a Irak de combatientes extranjeros, procedentes de Siria. Pero el Washington Post informa que los objetivos fueron en gran parte turcomanos sunitas. Según el Post, el ataque no fue dirigido por el ejército iraquí, sino por la milicia kurda conocida como "Peshmerga".
Mientras tanto, Estados Unidos niega la acusación de que los militares utilizaron gases tóxicos en el ataque. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi habría publicado un mensaje de audio en Internet acusando a Estados Unidos de haber utilizado algún tipo de armas químicas en la ciudad.
Tribunal de Apelaciones acepta detención por tiempo indeterminado sin juicio
En materia jurídica, un tribunal federal de apelaciones decidió que el Poder Ejecutivo puede detener por tiempo indeterminado a José Padilla, nacido en Brooklyn y acusado de haber conspirado para colocar una bomba sucia en Estados Unidos. Padilla, que es ciudadano estadounidense, permanece hace tres años en reclusión e incomunicado, en instalaciones de una brigada de la marina de guerra. Aún no se presentaron cargos en su contra y nunca compareció ante un juez. El fallo del tribunal de apelaciones revoca la decisión judicial anterior de que "la detención por tiempo indeterminado sin juicio" es inconstitucional.
Consejo electoral de Haití bloquea candidatura presidencial de Jean-Juste
En Haití, el Consejo Electoral intenta impedir que el sacerdote encarcelado Gerard Jean-Juste se presente como candidato en las primeras elecciones presidenciales en Haití desde el golpe de Estado que derrocó a Jean-Bertrand Aristide. El Consejo se niega a inscribir a Jean-Juste como candidato, con el argumento de que debe presentar su candidatura personalmente, y no desde la prisión. Jean-Juste es el candidato del Partido Lavalas, el mismo partido de Aristide, y permanece en prisión desde julio, pero aún no ha sido acusado de ningún delito. Amnisitía Internacional lo clasificó como prisionero de conciencia.
Chávez acusa a Estados Unidos de secuestrar cumbre de la ONU
En la Organización de las Naciones Unidas, el presidente venezolano Hugo Chávez acusó a Estados Unidos de intentar secuestrar la cumbre de los líderes mundiales. Exhortó a las naciones a realizar más esfuerzos para combatir la pobreza y mejorar el medio ambiente. La cumbre de tres días fue establecida para encontrar nuevas formas de combatir la pobreza, aunque en el documento definitivo acordado por los estados miembros de la ONU, temas como educación, enfermedades, comercio, ayuda y el desarme se vieron reducidos, en un intento por realizar un texto que todos los países pudieran aprobar al final de la cumbre. Chávez también describió a Estados Unidos como un país terrorista porque protege al pastor tele-evangelista Pat Robertson. Chávez dijo "pidió públicamente ante el mundo mi asesinato y anda libre, ¡ese es un delito internacional!, ¡terrorismo internacional!"
Bush: "Creo que necesito un receso para ir al baño"
Otra noticia relacionada con las Naciones Unidas. Una breve nota escrita por el presidente Bush a Condoleeza Rice durante la cumbre de la ONU está en primera plana de los medios internacionales. Un camarógrafo de Reuters tomó una foto de Bush mientras le escribía "Creo que necesito un receso para ir al baño. ¿Es posible?" La nota aparece en la tapa del Times de Londres con el titular: "Documento filtrado de la ONU: ¿Qué le pidió el presidente Bush a Condi Rice?"
Maria: Hello. En inglés here are thirteen stories from this week's Democracy Now! Get the word out. Peace.
National Guard Official Admits Iraq Deployment Affected Katrina Response
Scores of members of the Mississippi National Guard stationed in Iraq have been denied 15-day leaves in order to help their displaced families. The commanders told them that there were too few U.S. troops in Iraq to spare them. 40 percent of Mississippi's National Guard force and 35 percent of Louisiana's is in Iraq. Meanwhile, for the first time, a high-ranking National Guard official has admitted that the Guard's response to the hurricane was hindered by the high number of troops in Iraq. Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, told CNN that "arguably" a day or so of response time was lost due to the absence of the Guard troops in Iraq. He said, "Had that brigade been at home and not in Iraq, their expertise and capabilities could have been brought to bear."
Sen. Robert Byrd Calls for Withdrawal From Iraq
Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, the Senate's most senior member, Robert Byrd called for the Bush administration to withdraw from Iraq and bring the troops home. Byrd said "We cannot continue to commit billions in Iraq when our own people are so much in need, not only now, in New Orleans, but all across America for everything from education to health care to homeland security to securing our own borders."
EPA: Toxic Waters Could Make City Unsafe For A Decade
A top official at the Environmental Protection Agency is warning that toxic chemicals in the New Orleans flood waters will make the city unsafe for full human habitation for a decade. EPA veteran Hugh Kaufman told the Independent of London that the clean-up needed will be 'the most massive public works exercise ever done in this country." Kaufman is the former chief investigator to the EPA's ombudsman. He is now a senior policy analyst in the EPA's Office of Solid Wastes and Emergency Response. He said "It will take 10 years just to get everything up and running and safe." Kauffman criticized the decision to pump the contaminated flood water back into Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River. He said this could endanger people using the water downstream.
Report: Chertoff Failed In Overseeing Hurricane Response
In other news on Hurricane Katrina, the Knight Ridder news agency is reporting that it was Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff who was ultimately empowered to mobilize the federal response to Hurricane Katrina - not Michael Brown, the former head of FEMA who resigned earlier this week. Internal records show that Chertoff didn't shift power to Brown until 36 hours after Katrina hit. According to Knight Ridder, Chertoff -- even before the storm struck -- could have ordered federal agencies into action without any request from state or local officials. According to the National Response Plan, it was Chertoff - not Brown - who was in charge of managing the national response to a catastrophic disaster. Knight Ridder is also reporting that it has obtained an internal memo that suggests that Chertoff may have been confused himself about his lead role in disaster response and that of his department.
FAA Warned in 1998 of Al Qaeda Crashing Hijacked Jets
Newly declassified sections of the 9/11 commission's report reveals that the Federal Aviation Administration was warned as early as 1998 that Al Qaeda could "seek to hijack a commercial jet and slam it into a U.S. landmark." This is the earliest known warning that a 9/11-like attack could take place. It also raises new questions about the veracity of then National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice testimony before the commission. She told the commission "I don't think anybody could have predicted that they would try to use an airplane as a missile." This information was contained in the commission's original report but remained classified until this week. In addition another declassified section shows that officials realized months before the Sept. 11 attacks that two of the three airports used by the hijackers had suffered repeated security lapses.
Iraqi Justice Minister Condemns U.S. For Arbitrarily Detaining Iraqis
The U.S. is also coming under criticism in Iraq by the country's Minister of Justice, Abdul Husain Shandal. In an interview with Reuters he condemned the US military for arresting Iraqis without a warrant and for holding thousands of them without charges. The Justice Minister also said he wants to strip immunity from foreign troops.
GOP Blocks Investigations Over Katrina & Downing St. Memo
On Capitol Hill, Republicans have blocked several efforts by Democrats to seek investigations or information on Hurricane Katrina, the Iraq war and the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. In the Senate, Republicans killed a proposal by Hillary Clinton for an independent investigation of the government's response to Hurricane Katrina. Her proposal was rejected on a party line vote of 54 to 44. A new CNN/USA Today Gallup poll shows that 70 percent of the country supports an independent investigation. In the House, Republicans rejected attempts by Democrats to force the Bush administration to surrender documents on pre-war intelligence about Iraq connected to the Downing Street Memo. The memo revealed the minutes of a July 2002 meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his advisors that indicate the United States was already committed to attacking Iraq almost a year before the war officially began. The memo also says that the Bush White House "fixed" intelligence data to justify the invasion. Also on Wednesday, Republicans on the Judiciary and International Relations Committees rejected attempts by Democrats to compel the Bush administration to turn over information and records related to the outing of CIA officer Valerie Plame.
72% of African-Americans Say Bush Doesn't Care About Them
A new USA Today Poll has found that 72 percent of African-Americans feel that President Bush does not care about the country's Black population. 67 percent of white respondents said he did.
U.S./Iraqi Attack on Tall Afar Kills 200
In Iraq, at least 200 are dead in the city of Tall Afar after U.S. and Iraqi forces launched a major assault on the northern city over the weekend. On Monday the Iraqi Red Crescent Society sent in aid for families displaced by three days of bombardment. It was the largest attack since the siege of Fallujah. U.S. officials originally portrayed the bombing as essential to stop the flow of foreign fighters from Syria. But the Washington Post reports the targets were largely Sunni Turkmen. According to the Post, the Kurdish militia known as the Peshmerga - not the actual Iraqi army - led the assault. Meanwhile the U.S. is denying an accusation that the military used toxic gases in the attack. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi reportedly posted an audio message online claiming the U.S. was using some type of chemical weapons in the city.
Appeals Court Oks Indefinite Detention Without Trial
In legal news, a federal appeals court has ruled that the government can indefinitely detain the Brooklyn-born Jose Padilla who was accused of plotting to set off a dirty bomb inside the United States. Padilla, who is a US citizen, has been held for over three years in solitary conferment on a Navy brig. No charges have ever been filed against him and he has never appeared before a judge. The ruling overturns an earlier decision that "indefinite detention without trial" is unconstitutional.
Haiti's Electoral Council Blocks Jean-Juste Presidential Run
In Haiti, the country's electoral council is attempting to block jailed priest Gérard Jean-Juste from running for president in Haiti's first elections since the coup that ousted Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The council is refusing to enroll Jean-Juste as a candidate claiming that he has to enter his candidacy in person, not from prison. Jean-Juste is the candidate of choice for the Lavalas Party - the same party of Aristide. Jean-Juste has been in jail since July but he has not yet been charged with any crimes. Amnesty International has classified him as a prisoner of conscience.
Chavez Accuses U.S. of Hijacking UN SummitAt the United Nations Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez accused the United States of trying to hijack the summit of world leaders. He called upon nations to do more to tackle poverty and improve the environment. The three-day summit was set up to find new ways to tackle poverty but the final document agreed to by UN member states saw almost every issue from education, disease, trade, aid and disarmament scaled down in an attempt to produce a text all governments could endorse by the summit's end. Chavez also described the United States as a terrorist nation because it is harboring the tele-evangelist Pat Robertson. Chavez said, "He publicly asked for my assassination and he is still walking the streets. This is an international crime, terrorism, international terrorism."
Bush: "I Think I May Need a Bathroom Break"
And in other news from the United Nations, a short note written by President Bush to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice during the UN summit is making international headlines. A Reuters cameraman snapped a photograph of Bush writing the words "I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible?" The note appears on the cover of today's Times of London under the headline: "Leaked UN Memo: What did President Bush ask Condi Rice?"
NBC's Meet the Press offers Gwen Ifill (PBS's Washout Week? Washington Weak?), Judy Woodruff (no longer the anchor of Inside Politics, formely known as What's Cooking, Judy!), Eugene Robinson (syndicated columnist for the Washington Post who, I believe Elaine noted while subbing for Rebecca, now is in almost thirty papers across the nation) and Byron York (Irrational Review, er National) sit around the table with Tim Russert trying hard to get a word in. (Hint, toss him a compliment, he'll let you talk at length as he tries not to look modest).
They'll also have Vice Admiral Thad Allen who apparently has the time to direct hurricane relief and to become a fixture on the chat & chews. Finally, Meet the Press is really excited to announce that they have the first Sunday Chat & Chew with Bill Clinton since he left the oval office!
But wait! Over at ABC's This Week, they're also thrilled to have the first interview with Bill Clinton since he left the oval office! Oh, I see. This Week has the first This Week interview with Bill Clinton s.h.l.o. Meet the Press has the first Meet the Press interview with him since . . .
Here's a question. Since Bill Clinton isn't exactly shy or the type to play Greta Garbo, exactly why has it taken either show five years to bring him on? It's not as though he didn't have a best selling book. It's not as though he has vanished since leaving the White House. What they're trumpeting as an accomplishment strikes me as an oversight on their part.
After five years of avoiding the ringing phone, Tim and George now both want to fight over Clinton. Ladies, ladies . . .
Also on ABC's This Week, Caroline Kennedy will review some of her family's favorite poems. Which is the shiny thing that gets you to move closer before the grizzlies that are the George Will, Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts surround you screaming, "I've got a point!" and "People are saying!" If you can't laugh at the ancient creeky roundtable (I think they're missing a leg) avoid This Week . . . this week.
CBS' Face The Nation, or as it prefers these days, "Face," lets us down. They go with Thad Allen as well. Who is directing the hurricane relief efforts while Thad is chatting and chewing! Karl Rove?
Here's the line up for "Face:"
CBS Evening News Anchor Bob Schieffer
The Aftermath Of Hurricane Katrina; Supreme Court Nomination; Iraq
Vice Admiral Thad Allen
Director, Hurricane Katrina Relief Operations
Sen. Arlen Specter
Republican - Pennsylvania
Chairman, Judiciary Committee
Sen. Patrick Leahy
Democrat - Vermont
Ranking member, Judiciary
Sen. Barack Obama
Democrat - Illinois
CBS News Correspondent
Carin Pratt is the Executive Producer of Face the Nation.
If I had to watch? I'd say This Week just because I wouldn't feel guilty about the suffering of the Katrina survivors as I watched Thad chat & chew it on two networks; however, fear may trump guilt here since I doubt I could keep my breakfast down and watch George Will, Cokie Roberts and Sam Donaldson reteam to shoot a remake of The Sunshine Boys.
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Federal officials are often unable to give local governments permission to proceed with fundamental tasks to get their towns running again. Most areas in the region still lack federal help centers, the one-stop shopping sites for residents in need of aid for their homes or families. Officials say that they are uncertain whether they can meet the president's goal of providing housing for 100,000 people who are now in shelters by the middle of next month.
The above is from Jennifer Steinhauer and Eric Lipton's "FEMA, Slow to the Rescue, Now Stumbles in Aid Effort" in this morning's New York Times and Charlie e-mailed to highlight it.
Randall e-mails to note the AP story at the Times web site entitled "Chavez: U.S. Plans to Invade Venezuela:"
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Friday he has documentary evidence that the United States plans to invade his country.
Chavez, interviewed on ABC's ''Nightline,'' said the plan is called ''Balboa'' and involves aircraft carriers and planes. A transcript of the interview was made available by ''Nightline.''
He said U.S. soldiers recently went to Curacao, an island off Venezuela's northwest coast. He described as a ''lie'' the official U.S. explanation that they visited Curacao for rest and recreation.
''They were doing movements. They were doing maneuvers,'' Chavez said, speaking through a translator.
He added: ''We are coming up with the counter-Balboa plan. That is to say if the government of the United States attempts to commit the foolhardy enterprise of attacking us, it would be embarked on a 100-year war. We are prepared.''
I'll note Richard A. Oppel Jr., Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker's "Baghdad Bombings Raise Anew Questions About U.S. Strategy in Iraq" (which is credited with this note: "This article was reported and written by Richard A. Oppel Jr., Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker."):
Although the attacks in Baghdad suggest that there may be cells of insurgents there, or at least that they can sneak into the city to plant bombs, senior officials at the Pentagon and in Iraq say they believe that Mr. Zarqawi and the insurgency's "center of gravity" is now in the bends and towns of the Euphrates River valley near the Syrian border.
Commanders say they plan to squeeze the Zarqawi leadership and Iraqi insurgents in those areas. Throughout the spring and summer marines and Army forces staged raids into those same towns, confiscating weapons and killing scores of insurgents. But many fighters melted into the countryside, and there were not enough coalition troops to keep a sufficient presence in the villages.
Commanders say new offensives in Anbar Province in coming weeks will be modeled on the siege of Tal Afar, which used 8,500 American and Iraqi troops.
"You will see the same thing down along the Euphrates Valley to push back out and restore Iraqi control to the area around Qaim," Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top American commander in Iraq, said in an interview in Baghdad. General Casey said the Iraqi forces had little control of the country's border with Syria on either side of Qaim, a desolate town on the Euphrates.
Why am I noting it? I think we should remember what "commanders" say in this piece for a future date. Also we've dropped to the figure "8,500" (the one Elaine noted was consistent with other reporting but inconsistent with the Times' claim on Sunday [11,000]). And because "you will see the same thing." Not what's reported in the Times, but the same actions in Tal Afar that you saw in Falluja will be repeated elsewhere. Unlike the optimists quoted in the report, this will not be the end of it (even with death squads) but fuel for more rage.
Hopefully, Christian Parenti was correct and the Times reporters (at least Dexter Filkins) are aware that there is reality and then there is the spin that's characterized too many reports from the paper. We're told, by commanders who lead in the story, that Iraqis are cooperating to halt the insurgency (they're supposedly outraged by the violence). We've heard that claim before. We heard that claim, in fact, before we invaded.
It's offered as new and developing as though we've all acquired early senility and forgotten all that's come before. And we're also supposed to believe not only that in choosing between their own citizens and the occupiers, Iraqis are siding with the Operation Enduring Falsehood "coalition," but that they're ratting them out.
"Secretarian" wasn't a word that popped up much in the limited Tal Afar coverage in the Times. But it's worth noting the term. No doubt many sects are turning on each other (some believe that has been the US plan). But the idea that a country of people embraces an invader over their own people goes against history and political theory. Today commanders present it as fact.
Here are the facts. Violence rages still. Violence has not been "subdued." It is unlikely that it will be "subdued" with these actions. We could let Negroponte unleash all the death squads his heart may desire but everyone that's killed will be replaced with friends and family. That's how a resistance breeds. That's historical.
There is no "subduing." This isn't a state in the United States (though certain policies seem to attempt to make it that). This is a foreign country. And to the citizens the US is a foreign force.
They will argue and fight amongst themselves and we may prove momentarily effective at playing them off one another but not in the long term. In the long term, they want us out and they will not be "subdued" or "channeled." This isn't an issue of "Give us ___!" whatever service. This is an issue of autonomy and it won't go away while we're there.
Our presence only adds to the problems. "Fine tuners" will no doubt trumpet today's claims by commanders with choruses of "See!" I'm not sure what they think they're seeing (possibly the happy talk the Times portrays and gives far too much weight to -- though give the paper credit for clearly identifying who reported what), but it's an ahisotrical approach (and, bluntly, an ignorant one) to think that this is a turning point in the favor of Operation Enduring Falsehood.
"Winning" defined by the terms of the administration will mean more massive killings and they may delay certain attacks, maybe planned ones in the works, but this is how a resistance breeds.
If you and I argue over the tree in the middle of both of our properties, I may kill you and claim the tree. Before I claim victory, I better be prepared to kill everyone close to you and everyone who's not pleased that I moved into the neighborhood.
We're talking a Biblical slaughter (term used intentionally). No baby Moses better be floated down a river.
If I don't kill everyone then they will be there to tell what happened, to stroke the outrage and to encourage it.
There is no turned corner here. Suggesting there is requires a denial of history and a denial of how a resistance operates. That a nation (the US) supposedly so consumed with the Bible can't grasp the basics suggests that maybe they might need to read a little more closely. Otherwise, cries of "Let my people go" may come as a shock to them.
These are points that are raised later in the article, after the happy talk:
But independent analysts suggest that the strategy of driving the insurgents from urban centers and trying to capture or kill as many as possible, aiming especially at leaders, may be flawed. The violence in Baghdad is only one problem. Another is that the fighting may work against the search for political consensus among Iraqis.
Whether it was an editorial decision or one on the part of the journalists, pushing reality down into the article, as opposed to leading with it, was a mistake.
In terms of past reporting, however, I'll give the writers (and the paper) credit for noting reality somewhere in the article. You lead with the most important information, however, and happy talk isn't important to anyone but the people spinning. Readers need reality from the start.
If I reassemble the article on my own, there are few quarrels I have with it. (As always with the paper, the reliance on "official sources" would be a quarrel I have with the article.) For a Times piece it's a strong one. But as assembled, weighted with happy talk at the start, it's not as strong as it should be.
A daily paper wants to provide you with a sense of "This just happened!" so possibly it's a problem with the form itself? However, I'd suggest that the opening paragraph could have been written in such a way that we'd have both history and what the military is spinning today.
Hopefully, this is a sign of stronger reporting to come from the Times.
(For anyone wondering, the official fatality count for US military stationed in Iraq for the month is fifteen. Or fifteen more thanks to Happy Talkers and "fine tuners." Make yourself heard next weekend at a rally.)
Brenda e-mails to highlight Norman Solomon's "The News Media Are Knocking Bush -- and Propping Him Up" (Common Dreams):
The country's largest media institutions operate on a basis of enormous respect for presidential power. Major news organizations defer to that power even while venting criticisms. Overall, mass media outlets restrain the momentum of denunciations lest they appear to create instability for the Republic.
Initially, when the lethal character of Bush's "leadership" became clear in New Orleans, the journalistic focus on federal accountability was quick to bypass the president. For several days, the national political story seemed to mostly revolve around the flak-catching FEMA director, Michael Brown, a cipher who obviously was going to be tossed overboard by the administration.
On Tuesday, the day after Brown resigned, President Bush adjusted the damage-control weaseling. "Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government," he said at the White House, "and to the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility."
It was a classic hollow statement, meant to sound important and meaningless at the same time. On Wednesday, more than a dozen paragraphs into its story headlined "President Says He's Responsible in Storm Lapses," the New York Times reported: "In saying he took responsibility for any failures of the federal response to the storm, Mr. Bush stopped short of acknowledging that he or anyone else had made mistakes."
So, according to the Times headline, Bush said that "he's responsible" for "storm lapses" -- but, according to the article, Bush did not say "that he or anyone else had made mistakes." Got that?
Patrik e-mails to note Gloria Steinem's "I'm a Hopeaholic. There's Nothing George Bush Can Do About It" (Common Dreams):
Still, I have hope. I have hope because majority opinion has turned against the invasion of Iraq in far less time that it took to wake up to Vietnam. I have hope because Bush's selling-off of the US government, one function at a time, has stumbled on the privatization of social security. I have hope because Americans are finally connecting, via the internet, with what the rest of the world thinks. I have hope because the only long-term solution to rightwing extremism was visible in the last election; I've seen people willing to vote before, but for the first time I saw people fighting to vote. Only an end to our status as one of the lowest-voting democracies in the world can keep a focused and financed minority from cutting through the majority like a hot knife through butter.
Hard times have made me realize that hope might be the most American of qualities, the reason why many immigrants come here and our best export by far. When I've lived in other countries, it's what I've been most homesick for. After all, unless we make a place in our imaginations for what could be, there's not much point in believing in anything. You might say I'm a hopeaholic.
I owe this not only to being born here, but to working as a feminist organizer. Terminal hopefulness is an occupational hazard. None the less, I've come to feel that hope is natural, a necessity of human evolution - and hopelessness has to be carefully taught by those who benefit from the status quo. Here's why.
I had the good luck of missing school until I was 12 or so. My parents thought that seeing the country from a trailer or caravan was as educational as a classroom, so I escaped the discouragement that, especially in my generation, came with it. I wasn't taught that boys and girls were practically different species, that America was "discovered" when the first white guy set foot on it, or that Europe deserved more space in my textbooks than Asia and Africa combined. I didn't even learn that people at the top were smarter than people at the bottom.
Instead I grew up seeing with my own eyes, following my curiosity, falling in love with books and learning mostly from being around grown-ups - which, except for the books, was the way kids had been raised for most of human history. With no one to tell me that some people were born to poverty or that women weren't leaders, but married or gave birth to them, I just assumed that hope could lead anyone anywhere.
Needless to say, school hit me like a ton of bricks. I wasn't prepared for gender obsession, race and class complexities or the new-to-me idea that war, male leadership and a God who mysteriously resembled the ruling class were inevitable. Soon I gave in and became an adolescent trying to fit in, pretending I didn't know what I knew, and keeping my hopes to myself - a stage that lasted through college. I owe the beginnings of rebirth to living in India for a couple of years and falling in with a group of Gandhians, then coming home to the Kennedys, the civil rights movement and protests against the war in Vietnam.
(Note, we've linked to Common Dreams before but apparently Nora Ephron's article this week caught members attention. We'll add it to the permalinks at the start of October.)
It seems appropriate in one of our NYT morning posts to note this, Misuse of Power: How the Far Right Gained and Misuses Power. What is it? A BuzzFlash premium, a book written by Ed Asner and Burt Hall. Remember when Asner played Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and we had more faith in our press? As the theme to another Saturday CBS show of the same period put it, "Those were the days."
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[Note: Correction ("my" from "your") and links added per Shirley. Thank you, Shirley.]
Four years after an unknown bioterrorist dropped letters containing a couple of teaspoons of powder in a mailbox in Princeton, N.J., what began as the largest criminal investigation in American history appears to be stalled, say scientists and former law enforcement officials who have spoken with investigators.
The failure to solve the case that the authorities call "Amerithrax" is a grave disappointment for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Postal Inspection Service, the investigative arm of the Postal Service. The letters were the first major bioterrorist attack in American history and killed five people, sickened 17 others, temporarily crippled mail service and forced the evacuation of federal buildings, including Senate offices and the Supreme Court.
The above is from Scott Shane's "In 4-Year Anthrax Hunt, F.B.I. Finds Itself Stymied, and Sued" which Erika notes as the spotlight story from this morning's New York Times. Erika, I've just now caught up on all the e-mails from both accounts (public and private) and now you invite the whiners to e-mail in sobbing we play favorites? (No entries last night because I focused on e-mails which piled up while I was in D.C. and unable to go through most. That's even with Jess & Ava's help. Members should use the private address when e-mailing because when time is short, that's the account I'll check.)
Erika shouldn't feel too bad because Wally & Eli both e-mail to note Douglas Jehl's article as a spotlight story and Jehl and Shane are the two that we are most accused of playing favorites with. From Jehl's "Republicans Join in Call for Release of Report on C.I.A.:"
Senior Republican members of Congress have joined Democrats in asking Porter J. Goss, the C.I.A. director, to declassify and make public an internal agency report that criticizes his predecessor, George J. Tenet, and others for lapses on terrorism in advance of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The requests were sent last week by leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, said members of Congress and their aides. They add to the pressures on Mr. Goss, who has made clear that he would prefer not to make the report public, at least in part because its publication could be damaging to the agency's morale.
Mr. Goss is also still weighing difficult decisions about whether to impose any kind of disciplinary action against the dozen or so current and former intelligence officials, including Mr. Tenet, who are said to have been singled out in the report.
The report was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency inspector general, John L. Helgerson, at the request of the joint Congressional committee that completed its own review in 2002 of the Sept. 11 attacks. Mr. Goss delivered a highly classified version of the document to Capitol Hill last month, and Mr. Helgerson has briefed the Intelligence Committees on his findings, but distribution of the report has otherwise remained very limited.
Also don't miss BuzzFlash's "
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Friday, September 16, 2005
Democracy Now: New Orleans militarized & journalists harassed; Cindy Sheehan, A New Leif, The Smeal Report, Murray Waas ....
6.5 Million Gallons of Oil Leak in Gulf Coast Region
In other news on the hurricane, The Guardian of London is reporting that the gulf Coast region is suffering from one of the worst oil spills in the country's history. Over the past two weeks a total of 6.5 million gallons of oil has leaked into the waters of the region. In addition, more than 250,000 cars were submerged underwater from the flooding as were many gas stations. This marks the country's most severe oil spill since the Exxon Valdez went ashore in 1989 leaking 11 millions gallons of oil in Alaska.
73-Year-Old Held w/ $50K Bail for "Looting" Sausages
More information is emerging from New Orleans over how the police are treating people accused of looting. A 73-year-old woman remains in jail on a $50,000 bond after police arrested her for looting sixty dollars worth of sausage. At the time of her arrest, the woman -- Merlene Maten -- was staying in a hotel with her 80-year-old husband. She said they had followed orders to stock up on food and had stored some sausage in her car. After she took the sausage from the car, she says police handcuffed her and threw her in jail. A judge then set the bail at $50,000 -- 100 times the maximum $500 fine under state law for minor thefts.
Bush: "I Think I May Need a Bathroom Break"
And in other news from the United Nations, a short note written by President Bush to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice during the UN summit is making international headlines. A Reuters cameraman snapped a photograph of Bush writing the words "I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible?" The note appears on the cover of today's Times of London under the headline: "Leaked UN Memo: What did President Bush ask Condi Rice?"
The above items are from Democracy Now!'s Headlines and were selected by Joan, End Zone and Taylor. Democracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says):
Headlines for September 16
- Bush Vows To Rebuild New Orleans
- 6.5 Million Gallons of Oil Leak in Gulf Coast Region
- Army Corps of Engineers Admits Mistakes Were Made
- 73-Year-Old Held w/ $50K Bail for "Looting" Sausages
- Louisiana Families Sue Over Insurance Policies
- O'Reilly: Many Katrina Survivors "Drug-Addicted"
- John Roberts Hearings Close
- Mass. Gov Calls For Wiretapping of Mosques
New Orleans Police Harass Independent Journalist
As President Bush says he'll rebuild New Orleans, we speak with Hip Hop activist and independent journalist Rosa Clemente about the crackdown in the shelters. She describes being harassed by a New Orleans police officer while doing interviews at a Red Cross shelter.
The Militarization of New Orleans: Jeremy Scahill Reports from Louisiana
We go to Louisiana to speak with Democracy Now! correspondent Jeremy Scahill who has been in New Orleans this past week. He has been looking into how the city has changed to a militarized zone and what that means for the residents who left.
George Galloway vs. Christopher Hitchens on the Bush Administration Response to Hurricane Katrina
We play an excerpt of a fiery debate Wednesday between British antiwar MP George Galloway and columnist and author Christopher Hitchens discussing the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina.
Trapped in New Orleans: Emergency Medical Worker Describes How Police Prevented Evacuation
We speak with emergency medical worker Lorrie Beth Slonsky who was in New Orleans attending a conference when hurricane Katrina hit. She describes how she spent most of the next week in New Orleans trapped by the flooding - and the police.
Todd e-mails to note Cindy Sheehan's "A Bright Spot in Bush World Amid the Miserable Failures on the Same Planet" (The Huffington Post):
It has been one month and one week since I sat in a ditch in Crawford, Tx. I can hardly believe it when I think of it myself. So much has happened in that time, and really, so little.
I got to Camp Casey III in Covington, La today, after getting up at 3am to head for the airport. Now it is 3am the next day and we are driving in a car to try and find a hotel to sleep anywhere around Jackson, Miss. I was prepared to be shocked by what I saw in Louisiana, but I guess one can never really fully prepare for such devastation and tragedy. After living in a country your entire life it is so difficult to see such callous indifference on an immense scale. When I reflect on how the mother of the imbecile who is running our country said that the people who are in the Astrodome are happy to be there, it angers me beyond comparison. The people in LA who were displaced have nice, if modest homes that are perfectly fine. I wonder why the government made them leave at great expense and uproot families who have been living in their communities for generations.
After we arrived at Camp Casey III, we took the Veterans for Peace "Impeachment Tour Bus" into New Orleans after stopping at the distribution center to pick up some supplies in Covington. The stench and the destruction are unbelievable. I saw some hurricane zones in the panhandle of Florida last year that were pretty bad but that couldn't have prepared me for this.
I saw in the paper that George Bush said the recovery in the Gulf States would be "hard work." That's what he said about sending troops to Iraq and looking at the casualty reports everyday: "It's hard work." That man has never known a day of hard work in his life. The people on the ground in Covington scoffed at George's little junket to Louisiana yesterday. He stayed in the French Quarter and a Ward that weren't even damaged a bit. The VFP took me to the city of Algiers on the West Bank. The part of Algiers we went to was very poor and black. The people of Algiers know what hard work is.
Algiers had no flooding. All of the damage was from winds. There are trees knocked over and shingles off of roofs. There are signs blown over and there was a dead body lying on the ground for 2 weeks before someone finally came to get it. Even though Algiers came through Katrina relatively unscathed, our federal government tried to force (mostly successfully) the people out of the community. Malik Rahim, a new friend of ours and resident of Algiers, told us stories of the days after the hurricane. The government declared martial law, but there was no effective police presence to enforce it. Malik said the lawlessness was rampant. People were running out of food and water and they were being forced to go to the Superdome. They didn't want to go to the Superdome, because their homes were pretty intact: they wanted to stay and have food and water brought to them. A town of 76,000 people dwindled down to 3,000. The die hards were rewarded last Wednesday when the VFP rolled into town with food and water. The Camp Casey III people were the first ones to bring any relief to Algiers. The people who were supposed to look after its citizens, our government, failed them.
Lynda e-mails to note Carol's "Smooth Operator?" (A New Leif):
I know John Roberts likes analogies. I've got one. John Roberts is the frat guy trying to get you to leave the kegger with him.
This guy is good. "That's a nice sweater. It would look even better crumpled up next to my bed." He is smooth. "Are you tired? Because you've been running around my head all night." I am actually about to go home with him. "Come on. It's totally cool. We can just talk." Only this particular guy is John Roberts and it's not me he's trying to talk into bed, it's the entire Senate Judiciary Committee.
"Do you believe in a right to privacy?" Arlen Specter, the girl in our scenario, asks smooth talking frat boy John "The Judge" Roberts. He looks sincerely into her eyes. "I do," he assures her. Cheesy, but it seems to be working. Maybe he does believe what I believe after all. I can trust him.
Saying you believe in the right of privacy is about as telling as asking you your sign. Arlen Specter, Aquarius, bought it. "Saying there is a right to privacy goes a long way on... a woman's right to choose." She's un-doing her bra hooks for him.
That's Carol Ann Leif and her blog, A New Leif, joins Christine's Ms. Musing as one of the three blogs Ms. now provides. The third blog is Eleanor Smeal's The Smeal Report and here's an excerpt of "More Stonewalling: Roberts Hearings, Day Four:"
Over the past four days, Judge Roberts has repeatedly refused to answer questions about his views on Roe v. Wade and the right to privacy and has given confusing and misleading answers to questions on Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment as it pertains to sex discrimination.
And the Bush Administration has continued to refuse to release Roberts' papers and memos when he was deputy solicitor general under Bush the First. Even when Democrats pared their request down to documents dealing with only 16 cases in which he played a key role, the Bush Administration refused to hand them over, despite the fact that similar documents were released for the confirmation hearings of Chief Justice Rehnquist.
Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), understandably frustrated, asked Roberts today, "What kind of a justice would you be, John Roberts?"
Roberts said, "I would hope you'd look at my briefs and my arguments before the Supreme Court..."
Yes, we have looked at his briefs. Roberts co-authored a brief arguing that Roe should be overturned in Rust v. Sullivan. Yes, we have looked at his arguments before the Supreme Court. In Bray v. Alexandria, Roberts argued on behalf of anti-abortion extremists, including a convicted clinic bomber, who were blockading access to women's health clinics and harassing health care workers and patients. His arguments led to preventing the National Organization for Women (NOW) and women entering the clinics from using civil rights statutes to protect themselves. Shortly after the Supreme Court decision against NOW, the clinics, and women patients in Bray, violence at clinics escalated.
Carol will make you laugh as she details the outrages, Eleanor will walk you through. Which brings us to Christine who is the template and then some. Day in, day out, she's raising issues and voices at Ms. Musing. Christine's a community favorite, so take some time to check out the two newest blogs from Ms. and see what you think.
And thanks to Melissa who e-mailed about them Wednesday to ask that they be noted. (Being part of Ms. makes them part of a magazine, so no committee decision was needed since I pick mags and orgs for our permalinks.) She also asked if other community members with sites could link to them. I believe everyone linked yesterday.
Remember, on Air America Radio, Laura Flanders is supposed to be filling in for Randi Rhodes today. Starts at 3:00 pm Eastern and ends at 7:00 pm.
Don't miss Betty's "Friedman and His Ego" (Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man).
Lyle e-mails to advise Susan to check out Murray Waas' site. Here's an excerpt of "House Intelligence committee votes down Plame" (Whatever Already!):
The House Intelligence Committee earlier today became the third congressional committee to derail a "resolution of inquiry"that would have required the Bush administration to turn over to Congress sensitive information and records relating to the outing of CIA officer Valerie Plame.
The 11-9 vote by the committee earlier today to adversely report H. Res. 418 follows similar votes yesterday (see post immediately below) by the House Judiciary and House International Relations Committee.
Had the resolutions of inquiry been adopted, they would have lead to the first independent congressional inquiries of the Plame affair, and perhaps even the public testimony of senior Bush administration aides, such as Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff, and I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, about their personal roles.
Republicans argued that any vote in favor of the resolution might impair the ongoing federal grand jury probe by special prosecutor Fitzgerald. In the case of the House Intelligence Committee, they were aided, when at the very last minute, the Justice Department informed the committee that Fitzgerald himself opposed any independent inquiry at this time by Congress.
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Rob: Brinkley can't get a comment from Nasser al-Kidwa?
(al-Kidwa is the Palestinian ambassador to the UN and was present for Sharon's speech.)
Kara: Sharon's in violation of more than Israel's own court but Brinkley can't find room for that? The usual problem with the mideast coverage is the paper's reliance on "official sources" which render all but the leaders, the ones recognized by the paper, invisible. Today Brinkley cherry picks who he'll quote and what courts he'll cite.
Rob: If you need a fan club bulletin on Sharon, Brinkley provides it. If you need to know what stalker Brinkley unearthed as he followed Sharon around, you've got it. What you don't have is the reaction of those present in the UN, their comments (one is quoted) or anything of merit other than "Sharon said . . ." It's a gossipy, little telephone call, overheard from a distance.
Greg Myre's "Court Says West Bank Barrier Must Detour by 5 Arab Villages" details the Israeli court finding. (The International Court of Justice in The Hague's ruling on the wall is noted in Myre's article.)
Micah e-mails wondering "how a bit of truth snuck into NYT?" He's referring to Matthew L. Wald's "Experts Assess Deregulation as Factor in '03 Blackout" and specifically to this paragraph:
"The most serious mistake we can make is pretending that markets do things that they do not do," said Kellan Fluckiger, executive director of the electricity division at the Alberta Department of Energy. "Markets allocate risk, they allocate capital, they provide price signals. Markets do not have a conscience, they do not provide social policy, and they do not do things they are not paid to do."
Beverly e-mails to note the Associated Press article "Study Attributes Stronger Storms to Warmer Seas:"
Storms with the power of Hurricane Katrina are becoming more common, in part because of global warming, according to a report from a team of researchers that will be published Friday.
The number of storms in the two most powerful categories, 4 and 5, rose to an average of 18 a year worldwide since 1990, up from 11 in the 1970's, according to the report, which will be published in the journal Science.
The researchers were led by Peter J. Webster of the Georgia Institute of Technology.
There was no increase in storms over all, the researchers said, just in their intensity. But the rise in intensity, they said, coincided with an increase of nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit in the surfaces of tropical seas around the world.
The Times offers many puff pieces to John Roberts, Jr. but we'll instead focus on what Lloyd's e-mailed (yes, he seems to live at The Progressive web site but it's a nice neighborhood populated with wonderful people), Matthew Rothschild's "The Roberts Mask" (This Just In, The Progressive):
I've watched a bit of the Roberts hearings, and the guy is smart and the guy is prepared and the guy is smooth.
But he may be too smart, too prepared, and too smooth for his own good--and for the country's.
I sense in Roberts a troubling patness.
He's figured out all the angles, he knows just what to say, and he says it with agility, aplomb, self-effacement, and humor.
But what lies behind the mask?
A summa cum laude from Harvard and Harvard Law School surely is savvy and self-aware enough to put Clearasil on his face.
And so he's presented this facade of moderation and modesty.
But beneath the façade lies a foundation of Republican hackwork, and behind the most studied modesty often lurks arrogance.
I suspect it does here.
Let's look beyond the rehearsed performance and examine the record.
Roberts was not just "working for a client" when he worked in the Reagan Justice Department and when he was principal deputy solicitor general under the first George Bush. "Roberts chose the 'client.' He chose to serve Administrations committed to rolling back civil rights protections, overturning Roe v. Wade, limiting access to federal courts, and undermining separation of church and state," as People for the American Way has noted.
He wasn't just some hired gun. He eagerly enlisted in the Reagan Revolution. And during the confirmation hearings, he beamed proudly at his association with it.
Elaine notes Katha Pollitt's "Intelligible Design" (The Nation):
Sometimes I wonder if the future, in some strange metaphysical way, reaches down into our psyches and readies us to accept what is to come. Maybe we know things before we know them. By the time change is plain to see, we've unconsciously adapted to it and have learned to call it something else--God's will, human nature, life.
Let's say, for example, that the American Empire is just about over. Let's say China and India and other countries as well are set to surge ahead in science and technology, leaving reduced opportunities for upward mobility for the educated, while capital continues to roam the world in search of cheap labor, leaving a shattered working class. Let's say we really are becoming a society of fixed status: the have-nots, an anxious and defensive middle and what George W. Bush famously calls his base, the have-mores. What sort of shifts in culture and social structure would prepare us for this looming state of affairs? A resurgence of Christian fundamentalism would fill the bill nicely.
Intellectually, scientifically, even artistically, fundamentalism--biblical literalism--is a road to nowhere, because it insists on fidelity to revealed truths that are not true. But religious enthusiasm is not all bad. Like love or political activism, it can help troubled souls transform their lives. And if what we're looking at is an America with an ever-larger and boxed-in working class and tighter competition for high-paying jobs among the elite, fundamentalism is exactly the thing to manage decline: It schools the downwardly mobile in making the best of their lot while teaching them to be grateful for the food pantry and daycare over at the church. At the same time, taking advantage of existing currents of anti-intellectualism and school-tax resistance, it removes from the pool of potential scientists and other creative professionals vast numbers of students, who will have had their minds befuddled with creationism and its smooth-talking cousin, intelligent design. Already, according to a study by University of Minnesota biology professor Randy Moore, 40 percent of high school biology teachers don't teach evolution, either because it's socially unacceptable in their communities or because they themselves don't believe in it.
Elaine also noted Pollitt's article in the roundtable late last night (early this morning?) so check your inboxes for the gina & krista round-robin. (It's many K because it's their regular Friday round-robin and it contains the Roberts commentary they've done all week in their special round-robins. They did a wonderful job. Not just my opinion, judging from the e-mails from members.)
Did you miss the George Galloway/Christopher Hitchens debate (moderated by Amy Goodman) (which, unless I missed it, and I may have, I didn't see the Times do a write up on)? Rod passes on this:
The Grapple in the Big Apple
The Debate between George Galloway and Christopher Hitchens, moderated byAmy Goodman on Wednesday evening will be broadcast on C-SPAN Book TV at the following times:
Saturday, September 17 at 9:00 pm (EST)
Sunday, September 18 at 12:00 pm (EST)
Monday, September 19 at 5:30 am (EST)
(Marcia says she heard that over 70,000 people listened to the debate.)
Scheduled topics for today's Democracy Now! include:
Fri, September 16: As President Bush travels to New Orleans to deliver a prime-time speech tonight, we continue our coverage of hurricane Katrina.
We'll get a report from the ground as well as hear an excerpt of a debate between British MP George Galloway and author and columnist ChristopherHitchens discussing New Orleans.
From the city that never sleeps, the journalist that never sleeps continues the Un-Embed the Media Tour:
* Amy Goodman in Huntsville, AL:
Fri, Sept 16
*TIME: 730 PM
Media-ocracy: How the American Media Compromises Democracy
Chan Auditorium Administrative Science Building
The University of Alabama
Huntsville, AL Admission is FREE
A sign language professional will provide interpretation
For more information, call 256-489-3884 or email Lahaynes@knology.net
Reception before the speaking engagement (Reservations are required!)
6:00 - 7:00 pm
Union Grove Art Gallery
The University of Alabama in HuntsvilleCost is $30. Includes refreshments and Goodman's book, The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media that Love Them.
Call 256-824-6210 or email email@example.com no later than Sept.9, 2005.
Space is limited.
* Amy Goodman in Birmingham, AL:
Sat, Sept 17
*TIME: 7 PM
Amy Goodman speaking event:
Hill University Center Alumni Auditorium
14th Street South @ University Blvd
Free and open to the public
Pre-event reception:Bare Hands Gallery
109 Richard Arrington, Jr. Blvd
For more information, visit: www.geocities.com/bhampeace
or contactDiane McNaron, firstname.lastname@example.org, 205.838.1391
David Gespass, email@example.com 205.323.5966
* Amy Goodman in Santa Fe, NM:
Mon, Sept 21
*TIME: 7 PM
Lannan Readings & Conversations
Robert Fisk with Amy Goodman
Lensic Performing Arts Center
211 W. San Francisco St
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Tickets: $6 general public, $3 with student ID
Tickets for each event go on sale the first SATURDAY in the month prior to the event.
505.988.1234 (Lensic Box Office), Mon-Sat, 10-5
Lensic Performing Arts Center, 211 W. San Francisco St, Santa Fe, NM 87501,
Order tickets online at the Lensic website, www.lensic.com
* Amy Goodman in Washington, DC:
Fri, Sept 23 *TIME: 5:30 PM
First Annual Unvarnished Truth Awards
Amy Goodman will be a recipient.
Busboys & Poets Restaurant
14th and V St. NW Washington, DC
5:30 Jazz Reception
6:30 Dinner and Awards Ceremony
Reservations for the dinner and awards ceremony are $150 per person
(fundraiser for Pacifica Radio's Washington Bureau)
Reservations (no ticket sales) for this event will be taken at (202)588-0999 x 348 beginning Sept. 1
* Amy Goodman in Washington, DC:
Sun, Sept 25
*TIME: 1 PM
Washington D.C. Convention Center
801 Mount Vernon Place NW
Day of Ticket Prices:
Adults--$15 each day
Kids 12 & Under--Free
Ride Your Bike--$5
For more information, visit http://greenfestivals.com
* Amy Goodman in Norfolk, VA:
Fri, Sept 30
*TIME: 8 PM
Independent Media: A Primer
Naro Expanded Cinema
1507 Colley Avenue
Norfolk, VA 23510
Minimum donation $10
Tickets available at Naro Cinema
For more information, visit www.narocinema.com
Rod asked that we note something that's "so obvious, people may miss it." Amy Goodman hosts Democracy Now! (with Juan Gonzalez) Mondays through Friday. A holiday means a special episode that's been prepared ahead of time. In addition to that, she's been on this Un-Embed the Media tour for months. She's moderated the debate this week, she's hosted a broadcast for a new low wattage radio station. She's done more things this summer than even Rod can keep track of. So Rod asks for a shout out to Amy Goodman and her dedication to real journalism. We're glad to note that here but you can do it one better by making sure that you're aware of any event in your area or that your friends and family in an area Goodman's visiting are aware of the event.
Rod's right about the level of dedication and the time the Unembed the Media tour and other events have taken and Goodman deserves to be noted for all that she does. Maria's doing the bilingual run down of Democracy Now! Headlines this weekend so, stealing from Maria, make sure you're passing on that Democracy Now! is providing their headlines in Spanish and English, text and audio.
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