Thursday, February 02, 2006

Democracy Now! in Doha: Al Jazeera; John Nichols, Barbara Ransby, Sharon Smith ...

Report: US Far Behind In Reconstructing Iraq Health Clinics
In Iraq, USA Today is reporting the US has failed to open any health clinics in the country -- despite initially promising to open 180 clinics by last December. Iraq's deputy health minister said the US has completed construction on only four clinics.

World Can't Wait Protesters Arrested in North Carolina
And in Greensboro, North Carolina, seven protesters are facing charges after being arrested Tuesday night during a State of the Union protest. The protesters reportedly got into an altercation with an undercover police officer who was photographing protesters. The Greensboro demonstration was one of 68 protests held around the country Tuesday night calling on Bush to step down. The main group behind the protests -- World Can't Wait -- is also organizing a protest on Saturday in Washington.

House Grants Patriot Act Temporary Extension
Meanwhile, the House approved a measure Wednesday to extend the USA Patriot Act until early March. The vote marked the second time in just over a month Congress has granted the Act a temporary reprieve. A long-term extension has been held up over bi-partisan concerns the legislation lacks adequate safeguards for civil liberties.

The above three items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by Bonnie, Zach and Doug. Democracy Now! in Doha ("always informing you," as Marcia says):

Headlines for February 2, 2006

- House Passes Bill Targeting Health, Welfare Programs
- GOP Tax Cuts Outsize Budget Bill's Spending Cuts
- House Grants Patriot Act Temporary Extension
- White House Rebuffs Requests for Spy Program Legal Views
- Bush Administration Says Mideast Oil Pledge "Purely an Example"
- West VA Governor Calls For Mining Halt After 2 More Deaths
- Officer Videotaped Shooting Unarmed Iraq War Veteran
- Capitol Police Apologize, Drop Charges Over Sheehan Arrest

Democracy Now! in Doha... How Arab TV Challenged the News: A Look at Al Jazeera's Origins

Over the years, the Arabic satellite television network Al Jazeera has come under intense criticism from governments around the Arab and Western world. Some leaders in the Gulf have objected to Al Jazeera's presentation of views critical of governments in the region, and members of the Bush administration have claimed that the network is biased against the U.S and its policies. We talk with author Hugh Miles about the origins of the network.

Democracy Now! in Doha... The Opposite Direction: Why This Al Jazeera Talk Show Draws Fire From Arab & Western Governments

We speak with Dr. Faisal al-Qasim, anchor of Al-Ittijah al-Muakis, or "The Opposite Directions." The political debate show is one of the most popular and controversial shows of its kind in the history of Arabic television and has drawn official protest and complaints from officials. Hugh Miles joins the discussion.

Democracy Now! in Doha... Al Jazeera Correspondent Ahmed Mansur On the Horror of the U.S. Siege of Fallujah

We now turn to another of Al Jazeera's most prominent journalists, Ahmed Mansur. He was in Fallujah in April, 2003 during one of the bloodiest assaults by U.S. forces in Iraq. He reported from Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation was brutally beaten while covering the elections in Egypt a few months ago.

There are a few things we need to note but first off, Pru notes this from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

100th British soldier killed -- Bring the troops home now

Bush and Blair's illegal and immoral war on Iraq claimed another life on Tuesday of this week as, tragically, the 100th British soldier died.
Rose Gentle, the mother of Gordon Gentle who died in Iraq in June 2004, said, "Soldiers in Iraq have told me they don't want to be there.
"They want to come home. They have told us to step up our campaign of resistance to this government's war policies. We must act now, bring the troops home and end this illegal occupation."
Respect MP George Galloway said, "These 100 deaths are the all too predictable consequences of the illegal and immoral war in Iraq. I don't want another British soldier to die occupying other people's countries.
"That's why all the British troops must be brought home now from Iraq and from Afghanistan and there must be an end to the threat of action against Iran."
John Rees, Respect's national secretary, added, "The full disastrous consequences of the British government's war in Iraq has now been brought home by the death of the 100th British soldier. This underlines in the most tragic way the foolishness of the current threats against Iran and the imbecility of committing another 3,500 troops to Afghanistan."
Vigils were being held across the country this week to remember the victims of the war--British and US soldiers, and over 100,000 Iraqis, whose exact number of dead the occupiers refuse to count.
Continued occupation of Iraq is increasing the horror for ordinary Iraqis.
There are daily bombing raids by US warplanes, death squads have been unleashed by pro-occupation forces, and the occupiers have attempted to play up ethnic and religious devisions to strengthen their grip on power.
Far from presiding over a gradual transition to democracy and peace, the occupation is making things far worse.
The horror will not end until all of the troops leave the Middle East.
That's why the Stop the War demonstration on Saturday 18 March, part of a global day of action, is more crucial than ever.
The following should be read alongside this article:
» Chavez backs anti-war demo

© Copyright Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original and leave this notice in place.

From the war to Coretta Scott King. We have a a highlight but before we get to that . . . Does the New York Times believe that Coretta Scott King's passing didn't matter?
This week Wendy Wasserstein passed away and it was a tragedy. On the day the New York Times front paged their article on Wasserstein, they also featured a lengthy editorial (signed by Gail Collins). One would assume, with Coretta Scott King's historical significance (a level few ever reach but she did), that at the minimum she would receive the same level of coverage as a playwright.

That still hasn't happened. The Times editorial board either doesn't appear to know King died or they just don't care. In addition to refusing to run an editorial on King's passing, there have been no op-eds on her passing. It's not Bob Herbert's job (as the only African-American columnist on the op-ed pages of the Times) to cover every 'Black' issue so the Times doesn't have to be bothered. Coretta Scott King is historical for every race in this country.

And let's not pretend Herbert covers Coretta Scott King today. He doesn't. He opens with a quote by her and she's not mentioned again until the second to last paragraph of a 21 paragraph column. The Times can't pretend that was a column about Coretta Scott King. (Check my math and I'm including the quote that opens the column as a paragraph.)

Exactly when will the New York Times get around to noting that Coretta Scott King passed away. Was she not friends with Gail Collins? Is that the criteria for getting an editorial on your passing written? At present, they have noted her death with only one article (which they did front page) and her passing is mentioned in a column today by Herbert (a column that's not about her life or her passing -- it's a state of the world column).

Now maybe some people missed it, but they want the King Center to be turned over to the government, the paper does. No surprise there, we noted that here before the editorial made it into the paper (ahead of the editorial by many days, I believe five or six days ahead of the editorial being printed). What to do with property, on that they have something to say. With regards to Coretta Scott King, they're strangely silent.

Sally notes Barbara Ransby's "Coretta Scott King was more than civil rights widow" (The Progressive Media Project, The Progressive):

The real strength of her character, however, is perhaps best evident in the work she did and the stances she took after her husband's death. She used the platform his name gave her to deliver some courageous and compelling messages.
For nearly 40 years, Ms. King was a syndicated columnist, public speaker and protester.
The founding president of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Atlanta, she joined civil disobedience actions to protest the racist system of apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s and later traveled to that country to express her solidarity with its people.
She lectured at Harvard University, St. Paul's Cathedral in London and in churches, schools and community centers all over the United States.
She called for more funding for HIV/AIDS treatment and research.
She demanded a moratorium on the death penalty.
She supported gun control legislation and a cancellation of Africa's debt as a strategy for development.
And in a significant move, when black ministers in Atlanta rallied in 2004 to oppose gay marriage, she opposed them as shortsighted and wrongheaded. She defended gay rights as a form of civil rights, and condemned gay bashing.
In short, she took stances on issues that went well beyond the civil rights consensus of the 1960s.

Taking stands on issues brings us to the arrest of Cindy Sheehan. Miguel notes John Nicols' "The War on T-Shirts" (The Online Beat, The Nation):

Before the arrest, media reports buzzed about official concern regarding Sheehan's presence. And, as she was being dragged from a room where the President would shortly extol the virtues of freedom and liberty, police explicitly told Sheehan that she was being removed "because you were protesting."
Capitol Police and other security officials, whose rough treatment of Sheehan was witnessed by dozens of people who attended the State of the Union event, said she was arrested for "unlawful conduct." Conveniently, she was held until after the President finished speaking.
Is there really a law against wearing a political T-shirt to the State of the Union address?
The Capitol Police, who on Wednesday dropped the charges against Sheehan, have acknowledged in an official statement that: "While officers acted in a manner consistent with the rules of decorum enforced by the department in the House Gallery for years, neither Mrs. Sheehan's manner of dress or initial conduct warranted law enforcement intervention."
What they have not acknowledged, and what is truly troubling, is the evidence that Sheehan was singled out for rough justice.

Now on the topic of Alito we have two highlights. First Brad notes Sharon Smith's "Alito and the Faux Filibuster" (CounterPunch):

Thus the tide began turning, as one Democrat after another reluctantly jumped on the filibuster bandwagon. Just two weeks earlier, California Sen. Diane Feinstein announced she would not block Alito's nomination unless he was guilty of "moral turpitude.'' By Friday, she issued a statement that she, too, would vote to delay his confirmation.
Senate Democratic Leader Harry M. Reid made his opposition to a filibuster clear last week, repeatedly urging that the decision be made "without too much more talking." But by Saturday he had joined the growing list of influential Democrats, including Senators Russell Feingold, Joseph Biden, and Barack Obama, along with Minority Whip Dick Durbin, vowing to vote to filibuster.
Their lack of enthusiasm was nevertheless notable last weekend. Reid told reporters, "everyone knows" Senate Democrats could not garner the 40 votes needed to win. Obama told ABC News' This Week, "These last-minute efforts-using procedural maneuvers inside the Beltway-I think has been the wrong way of going about it." Biden commented on CNN's Late Edition, "I think a filibuster makes sense when you have a prospect of actually succeeding"-but predicting that this effort was doomed.
If Democrats had sincerely intended to organize an opposition to Alito, they would not have waited until the eleventh hour to be dragged toward a last-minute filibuster attempt.

And Martha notes Eleanor Smeal's "Alito Confirmation Must Be a Wake-Up Call" (The Smeal Report From Inside Washington, Ms. Magazine):

Fifty-eight Senators turned their backs on progress for women and civil rights for all people. People, especially women, concerned with progress for human rights must be a significant force to change the current balance of the Senate. Women cannot take a backseat but must be in the leadership of this change.

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Font and three words in the first paragraph on Coretta Scott King corrected by Jess.