Monday, April 03, 2006

Democracy Now: Noam Chomsky, David Bacon;Haliburton, Maxine Hong Kingston in Hawaii

Anti-War Protesters Greet Rice in Britain
Protesters greeted Condoleezza Rice throughout her trip to Britain. In Blackburn, the hometown of Britain's Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, demonstrators chanted "Shame on you" so loud that the screams could be heard inside the city's town hall where Rice was meeting. A planned visit to the town's mosque was canceled because of the protests. At the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts, half a dozen students, with the school director's permission, lined up just inside the school's front door and stood with arms crossed over black T-shirts that read: "No torture. No compromise." Then when Rice attended a performance by the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, one prominent musician refused to perform, in protest against the Iraq war.
Nixon's Legal Counsel John Dean Calls For Censure of Bush
In Washington, President Nixon's former legal counsel John Dean testified on Friday in favor of censuring President Bush for ordering the National Security Agency to conduct domestic surveillance without legally required court warrants. Dean spoke at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to discuss Sen. Russell Feingold's calls to censure the president. Also testifying in favor of censure was Bruce Fein, a conservative legal scholar and former Reagan administration official. He said that Bush's claim of inherent constitutional authority "has no stopping point." So far Feingold has received little support from his own party --- only two other Democrats attended Friday's hearing: Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Herb Kohl of Wisconsin.
UK Military Officials Discuss Impact of Possible U.S. Strike Against Iran
The London Telegraph is reporting senior military officials from Britain are meeting today to discuss possible military strikes against Iran and the consequences of a U.S. attack. According to the paper, British officials now believe that the Bush administration is prepared to attack Iran on its own or with the assistance from Israel even if there is little international support. The paper outlined one possible attack scenario like this: U.S. ships and submarines stationed in the Gulf would begin by firing tactical tomahawk cruise missiles at Iran's air defense systems. Then B2 stealth bombers would drop satellite-guided bunker-busting bombs on suspected sites connected to Iran's nuclear program. One senior official in the British Foreign Office told the newspaper "The belief in some areas of Whitehall is that an attack is now all but inevitable." But some British officials are concerned that an attack within Iran will unhinge southern Iraq where British troops are stationed.
Janitors At Second Florida School Go On Strike
In labor news, janitors at Nova Southeast University have voted to join janitors at the University of Miami in a strike against UNICCO -- the company hired by both schools to clean the campus. Janitors at both schools have accused the company of unfair labor practices.
Transit Workers in Denver Stage First Strike in 24 Years
Meanwhile in Denver, transit workers have gone on strike for the first time in 24 years.
Tens of Thousands March in NYC Immigration Rally
Protests are continuing throughout the country against proposed legislation that could criminalize the nation's 12 million undocumented workers. In New York, tens of thousands of immigrants and immigrant rights activists marched across the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday. Meanwhile student walkouts are expanding across the country ever since 40,000 students walked in the Los Angeles region last Monday. Since then walkouts have occurred in San Diego, Houston, Detroit, El Paso, Las Vegas, Denver, Dallas, Tucson, Phoenix, Austin, Washington D.C. and Washington state. In Ennis Texas as many as 130 students were barred from their high school prom on Saturday night for taking part in walkouts earlier in the week. We’ll have more on the New York march in a few minutes.
The above six items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by James in Brighton, Lucy, Pru, Wally, Ben and Rachel.  (Yes, six.  Members made strong cases for each of the above items.  As always, there is far more than what we note. That's true of the entire program.) Democracy Now! ("always informing you," as Marcia says):
Headlines for April 3, 2006

- Tens of Thousands March in NYC Immigration Rally
- Calls for Iraqi Prime Minister al-Jaafari To Resign Intensify
- Condoleezza Rice: U.S. Made Thousands of Mistakes in Iraq
- Anti-War Protesters Greet Rice in Britain
- Freed Journalist Jill Carroll Reunited With Family
- Nixon's Legal Counsel John Dean Calls For Censure of Bush
- UK Military Officials Discuss Impact of U.S. Strike Against Iran
- U.S. Experts: Attack on Iran Would Result in Greater Terrorism
- UK Government Admits London Bombings Tied to Iraq War
- Over 2,000 March in New Orleans For Voting Rights
Immigration Reform, Big Business, NAFTA and the Impact on the African American Workforce

On Capitol Hill, the debate over immigration reform is heating up in Congress as protests for immigrant rights continue across the country. We speak with labor journalist David Bacon and University of Maryland professor Ron Walters.
"A Silent People Will Never be Heard" -- Tens of Thousands March for Immigrant Rights in New York

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in New York Saturday in support of immigrant rights in what has been described as the largest rally of its kind in the city. We speak with some of the marchers about why they took to the streets.
Noam Chomsky on Iraq Troop Withdrawal, Haiti, Democracy in Latin America and the Israeli Elections

Part II of our interview with world-renowned linguist and political analyst Noam Chomsky on Iraq troop withdrawal, Haiti, democracy in Latin America and the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Chomsky's latest book is titled "Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy."
AMY GOODMAN: And the argument that they will just descend into civil war and that the sectarian violence will increase, and the U.S. went in and now has a responsibility not the leave a mess?
NOAM CHOMSKY: Yeah, I mean, the Germans could have given the same argument and occupied Europe, the Russians in the satellites, the Japanese in Asia, and so on. Yeah, they could have all given the same argue: well, we went in, and now we have a responsibility to ensure that terrible things don't happen, and so on. And the argument had some validity. So, when the Germans were driven out of France, let's say, there were thousands, maybe tens of thousands of people killed by -- as collaborators, and in Asia, even more so. But is that an argument for them? No. It’s none of their business.
We don't know what will happen, and it’s not our decision to make. It’s the decision of the victims to make, not our decision. Occupying armies have no right to make the decision. We could have an academic seminar about it, in which we could discuss the likely consequences. But the point is it’s not for us to say. Well, until that enters into the discussion, and the critical issues of the war, like what right do we have to invade in the first place, enter into the discussion, the media and the journalism and so on are simply part of the government propaganda system, as I say, like a high school newspaper or like Pravda during the Afghanistan war.
JUAN GONZALEZ: And what of the role of the American people in this process? Clearly, it seems to me that so much of the antiwar sentiments quickly gets channeled into one or another political candidates, rather than into continuing to build a mass movement that, regardless of the political folks in office, will move to extricate the United States from this invasion.
NOAM CHOMSKY: Yeah, you’re absolutely right. But that's our problem. I mean, you cannot expect power centers , whether in the government or in the economic system or in the media, which are all closely linked. I mean, they aren't going to try to stimulate popular movements that will be critical of power and try to erode power. In fact, their task is the opposite. So, yes, this has to be done by a popular movement. I mean, that's the way every constructive change has taken place in the past. I mean, how did we get civil rights to the extent that they exist, minority rights, women's rights, the benefits system that does exist, and so on? I mean, these things are not gifts from above; they are won from below. And it’s going to be the same on this.
Yes, part II was aired today.  If you missed part one, be sure to check out "EXCLUSIVE...Noam Chomsky on Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy."
The chaos continues in Iraq (planned and intended chaos on the part of the Bully Boy).  Sunday's total, according to John Ward Anderson's article in the Washington Post, was fifty Iraqis, six US troops.  And today?  AFP reports 14 Iraqis have died in violent attacks today.  The Associated Press reports that three US Marines and one  US soldier. They note this brings US military deaths in Iraq to a total of nine since the weekend.  Didn't Wong and Semple just try to tell us how things were less deadly?  (Yes, they did.)  On the deaths of Iraqis, the Associated Press notes that two sisters, their brother and uncle were killed by a gunmen.  Six months prior, the father of the sisters and brother was also killed. Al Jazeera reports that two bombs went of Baghdad today and that a police officer was killed in a drive-by (outside his house).. 
We're moving to Polly's highlight, Oliver Poole's "Rice gets a taste of Iraqi fear on road to Baghdad" (Telegraph of London):
Jack Straw and Condoleezza Rice experienced something they had never witnessed before in Baghdad: the fear faced by ordinary Iraqis every day in this city.
As their plane from Liverpool landed nearly three years to the day since American troops first entered the city bringing promises of a brighter future it was being lashed by thunderstorms.
The helicopters that would normally have flown them directly to the security of the heavily fortified Green Zone for the normal rounds of diplomacy with political leaders and coalition military briefings were grounded.
They had to go by road and they did not like it.
Baghdad's airport road is no longer the most dangerous stretch of tarmac in the world, as it was six months ago. It now has Iraqi police posted at every access road.
But it is still a place where roadside bombs are laid regularly and potshots taken routinely at vehicles.
Iraq is a big focus this morning in the e-mails which is different because usually after Thursday or Sunday nights (when we do the "And the war drags on . . ." entries), there are a number of other topics that members note.  (Rightly note.)  But we'll stay with Iraq for the other two highlights since this was the main topic. 
We will, however, note it from different angles.  Eddie had a suggested highlight that was different (topic) from many of the other suggestions, so we'll go with that.  (I also hadn't heard of this court case, maybe other members had.)  Eddie notes Louie Gilot's "Workers hurt in Iraq sue" (El Paso Times):
The fiery ambush of a fuel convoy in Iraq two years ago in which two area truckers were wounded, six private contractors were killed and American hostage Thomas Hamill was captured could have been prevented, a lawsuit alleges.
Truckers Raymond Stannard of El Paso and Eddie Sanchez of Silver City are among the 11 survivors of the convoy who, with the families of the six deceased truckers, are suing Haliburton and its subsidiary KBR for an unspecified amount in federal court in Houston. 
[. . .]
Court documents filed in the lawsuit allege that officials with the military contracting giant knowingly sent the civilian truckers to Baghdad International Airport on a road where three convoys had been attacked the same morning and at least five had been attacked the day before.
Speaking of courts, if you didn't hear yet, the Court refused to hear Jose Padilla's case. Back to the topic of Iraq, an activist, a peace activist is our focus.  Julie notes an article on an author this community enjoys and asks that we please get the word out on her appearances in Hawaii.  From Nadine Kam's "Author Kingston returns to isles with thoughts on war and peace" (Honolulu Star-Bulletin):
There is nothing urgent or aggressive in Maxine Hong Kingston's voice. Even as the author talks about the life-and-death issue of peace in the world, she bears not an ounce of frustration, nor ill will or anger toward those who have failed to learn the lessons of past wars. Her approach is that of the dove.
The National Book Award winner and renowned author of "The Woman Warrior" and "China Men" will be in Hawaii through April to participate in several literary events. She will also appear at a writing and meditation workshop at Church of the Crossroads, once a sanctuary for Vietnam soldiers gone AWOL.
"It was a different era, different time. Now we've gone into war in Iraq and it's looking like the endless war in Vietnam. It's getting less and less popular, yet it keeps going," Kingston said by phone from her home in Oakland, Calif.
As keynote speaker at the 2006 Biennial Writers' Conference presented by the National League of American Pen Women, Honolulu Branch, on Friday and Saturday, Kingston will speak on "The Art of Creating Peace Through Writing." Her latest book, "The Fifth Book of Peace" (Knopf, 2003), considers the existence in China's literary past of three mysterious lost books of peace.
From the article, these are the three upcoming appearances in Hawaii by Maxine Hong Kingston:
Celebrate Reading Festival: Hawaii Literary Arts Council event for educators and children 12 and older takes place 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 8 at the University of Hawaii Campus Center Ballroom. Admission is free.
Hawaii Book and Music Festival: This April 22 and 23 event at Honolulu Hale includes readings by guest authors and music performances, with proceeds directed toward improving literacy in Hawaii. Visit, or contact Barbara Garofano at
Writing and Meditation Workshop: 2 to 5 p.m. April 22 at Church of the Crossroads, 1212 University Ave. Veterans will read from their writing, collected in the soon-to-be-released anthology "Veterans." Call 949-2220.
So if you're in Hawaii and in those areas or if you have friends or family that are, please make sure to pass on the information.
The e-mail address for this site is

New Yahoo! Messenger with Voice. Call regular phones from your PC for low, low rates.