Sunday, January 29, 2006

Reporting from outside the US mainstream media

Monday night at 9, Randi Rhodes will be on CNN's Larry King Live! She'll be participating in a panel discussion along with Jim Hightower and Dennis Prager discussing Alito, the upcoming State of the Union Address and more. Watch Larry King Live on CNN at 9pm EST.

Ty and Jess here. C.I. called and said, "You realize that the State of the Union is Tuesday, not Monday, right?" We chuckled (and changed it) and then said, "You realize you're out the door in a few minutes, right?" No, C.I. hadn't realized that. "That's this Sunday? Really?" Yes. So we're doing the news from outside the United States mainstream media and we saw the above in the e-mail accounts and felt we'd lead with it. Randi Rhodes is a popular voice in the community (and Eddie especially loves her, see we do read The Common Ills religiously -- we're good members). Janelle forwarded the e-mail and only asked that we highlight Randi Rhodes. No problem with that. But we will note that it's surprising that Air America sends out an e-mail that promotes one show so much (not Randi's). We'll also note that we're not really sure why they think someone who's a Republican and almost ran against Obama is someone anyone cares to hear as a guest on Air America, let alone one worth being promoted. Now Wally and Mike love to do their "FOR THE HOUR!" Larry King impressions but we don't think even they could sit through Larry "FOR THE HOUR!" most nights. But Monday, you've got Randi and you've got Jim Hightower, so if you get CNN, tune in.

By the way, ANNOUNCEMENT, C.I.'s planning to do entries tomorrow morning, but we did call Ruth when we started pulling from the e-mails. We explained that it will be a late night for C.I. and Ruth said "Delete it." She said just delete her e-mail and she'd do a new report for Tuesday instead. She really wanted to focus on a poem anyway. She felt she'd written it in a way that was "my usual way" and she'd talked about it at lunch with her family on Saturday. She said Jayson (her grandson) told her that it was her report and the only rules were the ones she made. When she saw the message this morning, she thought, it might be fated and when we called her she said it was a chance to highlight something she really was interested in but wasn't sure how many members would be. We know what she's wanting to highlight and we think everyone will enjoy it. So look for that on Tuesday and look forward to it too.

Olive wondered if Henry Kissinger had any children (we don't know the answer) and if he or Nixon's children would ever be arrested? Why does she wonder that? Because of her highlight,
"Pinochet's daughter arrested on arrival in Chile" (Australia's ABC):

Former dictator Augusto Pinochet's eldest daughter has been arrested in Chile, where she faces tax evasion charges, after abandoning an asylum bid in the United States, an airport official said. Lucia Pinochet-Hiriart, speaking to reporters accompanying her on her flight back, denied the charges levelled against her and said she returned to Santiago because she preferred to "face the consequences."

We know the Bush twins have had run ins with the law, if that helps, Olive. Now C.I. asked us to please find Denise's highlight because it went into Saturday morning's lost entry and there wasn't time to put it back in when the entry was redone. So this is Denise's highlight and it's an important one, Elizabeth DiNovella's "Blogging the 2006 World Social Forum fromCaracas, Venezuela" (The Progressive):

Thursday p.m., Jan. 26. On Thursday night, writer Luis Rodríguez shared his poetry at a reading in the USA tent. He had to fight to be heard over the noise from the other tents nearby, but still the reading was enjoyable.
What I appreciate most about Rodríguez is his belief in transformation, that people can change and that art and creativity are crucial. He and his wife run a cultural center and bookstore in East LA called Tia Chucha.
You can find more info at his website:
Rodríguez read from his memoir, "Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in LA." The book tells how he went from being a gangbanger in LA to the man he now is. He wrote the book for his son, who he saw falling into the gang life.
"Young people can change, can be transformed, with community and with consciousness," he said. He added that the USA cannot continue to jail poor people and noted we have more people in jail than any other country.

Kara notes this analysis on the recent Palestinian elections, Peter Hirschberg's "'Israel Will Work at Ignoring Hamas'" (IPS):

It took acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert more than 12 hours to respond. Maybe, like most Israelis, he was caught off guard by Hamas's stunning victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections.
Maybe, having stepped into the role of acting prime minister just three weeks ago after Ariel Sharon suffered a massive stroke, he did not want to hurry his reaction. When he did finally respond, it was clearly the reaction of a man caught between the need to balance immediate electoral considerations with broader diplomatic ones.
A government headed by Hamas, said Olmert, could not be a "partner" for peace, and Israel would act to make sure it was marginalised.
"If a government led by Hamas or in which Hamas is a coalition partner is established, the Palestinian Authority will be turned into an authority that supports terror. Israel and the world will ignore it and make it irrelevant," he declared.
That was strong rhetoric, so as to ensure he cannot be portrayed as being too conciliatory by parties on the Israeli right, especially the Likud headed by Benjamin Netanyahu. But also no announcement of immediate punitive measures against the Palestinian Authority, so as not to invite pressure from an international community that was equally shocked and disappointed by the results, but which finally got what it wanted -- a democratic election in the Arab world.
In the wake of the Hamas victory, Israelis are asking themselves two questions: will it send the moribund diplomatic process into an even deeper freeze, and what impact will it have on the outcome of their elections on March 28. Olmert is likely to adopt a wait-and-see approach. He knows that taking measures aimed at punishing a Hamas-led government, like holding back vital funds in the form of tax duties that Israel forwards to the Palestinian Authority, will raise eyebrows in the United States and in the European Union (EU).
Even though the Americans and the EU have listed Hamas as a terror organisation, their almost sanctified goal -- especially that of U.S. President George W. Bush -- of spreading democracy throughout the Middle East will make it impossible for them to delegitimise the results, at least until it becomes clear how Hamas behaves once in government.
The Americans have got what they wanted: a democratic election in an Arab state -- or a quasi-state in the case of the Palestinians -- in the Middle East. But democracy, as they found out this week, has a price: you cannot choose the winner.

The investigation into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes continues and Gareth notes the lastest development via Maxine Frith's "Special Branch 'altered official log' to cover up fatal Menezes blunder" (The Independent of London):

The family of Jean Charles de Menezes, the innocent Brazilian shot dead by police at Stockwell Tube station last July, have demanded a public inquiry into his death following allegations that Special Branch officers changed vital evidence in an attempt to cover up fatal blunders in the case.
An undercover surveillance team altered an official log to hide the fact that they had wrongly identified Mr Menezes as a suspect in the failed July 21 bombings in London, according to a leaked copy of the official report into the shooting.

[. . .]
A leaked copy of the report obtained by the News of the World said the IPCC found that the undercover surveillance team saw Mr Menezes coming out of a house in Tulse Hill and, according to a first draft of a police control room log, identified him as Hussein Osman, a suspect in the July 21 attacks. Commander Cressida Dick, the Scotland Yard officer responsible for the firearms team, then instigated Operation Kratos, the anti-terrorist strategy that permits suspected suicide bombers to be shot.
The IPCC report found that 10 hours after the shooting, by which time it was known the dead man was innocent, the Special Branch team attended a debriefing meeting in which they were allowed to make alterations to the log. A line in it was changed from saying the team said Mr Menezes "was Osman" by the insertion of the word "not" - passing the blame to the Scotland Yard team.

Now we're closing with more news on the World Social Forum via Pru's highlight,
Nicolas Van Labeke and Neil McAlister's "The WSF in Caracas, Venezuela and Bamako, Mali" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

The World Social Forum (WSF) opened on Thursday of last week with a 10,000 strong demonstration in the centre of Bamako.
West Africans make up the majority of delegates, mostly from Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Senegal.
Northern and southern Africa are also well represented.
There have been several meetings in opposition to neo-liberalism. Mali is one of the poorest countries in Africa and is a key target for neo-liberal attacks.
The Malian government is already spending twice as much servicing debt as the combined budget for education and health.
As highlighted by a couple of workshops run by Malian NGOs, cotton is one of the industries hit by neo-liberalism.
In Segou, about 125 miles from Bamako, heaps of cotton are rotting in the fields because the cost for a mere three hour drive to the capital is too expensive -- a result of an artificially low price on international markets.
A similar situation, caused by subsidised European chicken, is also destroying domestic production in the Ivory Coast.
At a forum on privatisation in South Africa speakers criticised not just neo-liberalism but capitalism as a whole.
The Malian hosts have done a fantastic job in organising the WSF.
However, as in previous events held in Brazil and India, the WSF is organised through different themes, and spread across the city.
This makes it very difficult to draw together all the contributions and reach concrete conclusion.
There is also debate about whether politics should have any place in the WSF -- there has always been a ban on the involvement of political parties.
During the opening demonstration, NGOs had a couple of camels bearing a banner about fair trade.
Nothing worth criticism you may think, but when they tried to enter the stadium for the opening rally they were barred on the grounds that it was supposed to be a cultural event and not a political one.
It is clear that this position is not universally accepted.
Despite these problems, the event in Bamako has been a very good experience and is a good sign for the next WSF, which will take place in Nairobi, Kenya, next January. See you there!
Pedro Fuentes is a leading member of the Brazilian radical left party P-Sol. He writes on the run up to the WSF meeting in Caracas
The event starting in Caracas, Venezuela, this week, takes place in the context of a new situation in Latin America.
The recent election of Evo Morales as president of Bolivia is the latest in a series of clear rejections of neo-liberalism.
Since 2000, Latin America has been rocked by huge mobilisations and the election of governments opposed to US domination of the region.
The new situations offer challenges for the anti-capitalist and socialist left -- particularly on the question of how to relate to movements and governments such as that of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.
Venezuela led the opposition to George Bush's Free Trade Association of the Americas at the recent summit in Argentina.
The deal suffered a serious blow, although it is not dead. Bush is working closely with several Latin American governments -- especially that of Lula in Brazil.
Venezuela, by contrast, has argued for an alternative form of Latin American integration through the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (Alba).
Whatever the contradictions of the Venezuelan government, Alba is very progressive, and a shining example compared to other treaties between Latin American countries.
However, not for the first time, we face a situation in which a government running a capitalist state, which is not a genuine representative of the workers, has come into confrontation with imperialism.
This process will spread in Latin America, where we will see the birth of other nationalist movements which are not genuinely representative of the working class and the poor, and which for that reason will have inconsistent and contradictory politics.
It is necessary for us to take part in the anti-imperialist movement – only by being part of it can we relate to the masses and build mass revolutionary socialist and anti-capitalist alternatives.
At the moment this means that Latin American revolutionaries must boldly support the Alba proposal, and the Venezuelan government’s progressive measures, within a framework of defending Venezuela against imperialism.
© Copyright Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original and leave this notice in place.If you found this article useful please help us maintain SW by supporting our »

The e-mail address for this site is