Friday, April 07, 2006

Democracy Now: Robert Fisk, Murray Waas,; Robert Parry on KPFA's The Living Room

Senate Delays Vote on Immigration Reform
In other news from Capitol Hill, the Senate failed last night to agree on passing what had been described as the most far-reaching changes to the nation's immigration laws in two decades. During the day on Thursday a bipartisan group of Senators announced they had reached a deal that would put millions of undocumented immigrants on a path to citizenship and to establish a guest worker program. But after a long night of debate, no vote was taken and it now appears a vote might be put off until after the Senate's Easter break.
Los Angeles Cardinal Offers Mass In Support of Undocumented Immigrants
Meanwhile in Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahoney held a special mass as sign of solidarity with undocumented immigrants. Mahoney has vowed to order priests to ignore a proposed law that would make it a crime for priests, social workers and health care workers to help undocumented workers. "Well, we are at a very critical moment in the history of our country with immigration and we have the opportunity that we haven't had in many years to actually pass a law that is humane and just and deals with all the issues around immigration," Mahoney said. Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers also spoke in Los Angeles: "This is really great right now. We're seeing a new civil rights movement being formed by Latinos. The Cardinal having the mass is such good support because this is such a national organization. When the Cardinal says he's going to commit civil disobedience on behalf of the immigrants, then this is going to inspire others to do the same. This will have an effect on Washington." Across the country immigrant groups are planning for massive nationwide protests on Monday.
Bush Accused Of OKing Leak of Classified Info
Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff has testified that President Bush authorized him to leak a highly classified intelligence document on Iraq to the press in an effort to defend the administration's decision to go to war. This marks the first time Bush has been linked to the leaking of classified information and raises new questions if Bush was directly tied to the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's grand jury testimony was cited in court papers filed by prosecutors late Wednesday. Libby was indicted in October on charges that he lied to investigators about his role in the outing of Plame, the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson who was a vocal critic of the war. On Sept. 30, 2003, President Bush warned against anyone in his administration leaking classified information. "Let me just say something about leaks in Washington. There are too many leaks of classified information in Washington," Bush said. "There's leaks at the executive branch; there's leaks in the legislative branch. There's just too many leaks. And if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is." On Capitol Hill, Bush was widely criticized by Democrats on Thursday. This is Senator Charles Schumer of New York. "It is increasingly clear that this case goes far beyond Scooter Libby. At the very least, President Bush and Vice President Cheney should fully inform the American people of any role they played in allowing classified information to be leaked," said Schumer. "Did they believe they have the right to do this and if so, in what circumstances? Or is this just something that may have been done to accommodate the president's momentary political needs? According to court documents today, Scooter Libby said that the president authorized the vice president to direct him to disclose classified information to reporters in order to bolster support for the war in Iraq."
The above three items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by Francisco, Kat and BradyDemocracy Now! ("always informing you," as Marcia says):
Headlines for April 7, 2006

- Bush Accused Of OKing Leak of Classified Info
- Senate Delays Vote on Immigration Reform
- LA Cardinal Offers Mass In Support of Undocumented Immigrants
- Gonzales: Gov't Has Power To Monitor Domestic Calls
- Whistleblower: AT&T Cooperated With NSA Over Spying
- Sen. Harkin Urges Democrats To Back Censure of Bush
- Report: U.S. Forces Int'l AIDS Programs To Focus on Abstinence
- UN Accuses Haiti of Illegally Detaining 4,000
- U.S. Reduces Spending on "Democracy Promotion" in Iraq
Libby Says Bush Authorized Leaks of Highly Classified Iraq Intel to Bolster Case for War

Lewis "Scooter" Libby -- the Vice President's former chief of staff - has testified that President Bush authorized him to leak details of a highly classified intelligence assessment to the press to defend the Bush administration's decision to go to war with Iraq, according to court papers filed Wednesday. We speak with investigative journalist Murray Waas.
Amy Goodman Questions Fmr. Chief Military Spokesman in Iraq About U.S. Killing, Detaining of Journalists and Planting of News Stories in Iraqi Press

Reuters sponsored a debate this week in New York asking the question: "Iraq -- is the media telling the real story?" At the event, Amy Goodman asked Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, the former chief military spokesman in Iraq, about the killing and detaining journalists by U.S. forces and the paying of Iraqi journalists to plant stories in the press.
Robert Fisk on Iraq, Palestine and the Failure of the U.S. Corporate Media to Challenge Authority

We speak with one of the most experienced war correspondents in the world today, Robert Fisk -- chief Middle East correspondent of the London Independent -- about Iraq, Palestinian and Israeli elections, the corporate media and much more.
There are always more headlines than we can spotlight here, more headlines from Democracy Now!, and today's no different.  We're spotlighting one more  because members and some visitors are e-mailing about it and some things that have been up here.  Here's the item:
Village Voice Staffers Protest Firing of James Ridgeway
In media news, about 20 staffers at the Village Voice have written a letter of protest over the firing of investigative reporter James Ridgeway. Ridgeway, who wrote for the paper for 30 years, was fired just months after the Voice was bought out by New Times Media, a chain of weekly newspapers based in Phoenix. The Voice staffers wrote the firing "sends a terrible message as to the sort of coverage that the new ownership portends." Major changes have already been seen at the paper since February 1 when the new owner of the paper Mike Lacey first traveled to New York to meet with Voice staffers. After that initial meeting the Voice's prize winning press critic Sidney Schanberg quit. Veteran columnist Nat Hentoff reportedly also resigned and then reconsidered. According to one account of the meeting, the new owner criticized the news section of the Voice because it was full of commentary and criticism of the Bush administration. That same week the new owners cancelled the Voices' online blog called "The Bush Beat."
Members have it right in their e-mails, thirteen visitors do not. So let's clear that up.  Micah's the one who noted "The Village Voice is dead."  That was his call.  It's one that members agreed with. And obviously it was the correct call.  So give Micah the credit, not me.  (As members did, but the visitors seemed confused.)  When we noted that, I summed it up because Micah asked me to sum up his comments.  Those were his comments so credit Micah who noted it.
Members are having trouble finding it.  This is a dictated entry so if the person I'm dictating it to can't find the links when he types this up, I'll note them in the next entry I do.  But Micah's views are summarized, I'm almost positive Micah's comments are on March 30th.  The other commentary members are noting,  which was about alternative weeklies offering fluff come the week before.  Those are comments based on members observations and my own -- and I note in that entry that I'd asked Micah to share his feelings, he wasn't ready to at that time. 
The Village Voice has "died" (to use Micah's term) but it's not the only corpse still walking (and we noted that the week before).  An "alternative" weekly needs to be a bit more than the yellow pages for various events and eateries.  Most of them aren't.  They do a sports story or a drug story ("juiced" sports stories are even better), make some anti-woman attacksin  their movie and music reviews (Meg Ryan's a favorite target but it's true of all women -- and all the more sad when the reviews are penned by women) and they act as though they've done something. If their goal was to treat any music release by a male as "authored" by the male but to strip a female of her "authorship" and give it to a male (see Alanis reviews, see Fiona reviews . . .) they achieved that. 
If they think there's anything alternative about their actions . . . As Ava and I wrote of Josh Duhamel's hair, "Well we all have our self-delusions."  I can think of nothing sadder than presenting as an alternative weekly and having nothing to offer than White Frat Boy -- Print Version!  But apparently some people are happy with that.  They're fine with dumbing down the same as the daily papers.  That's especially sad in areas that really need an alternative paper because media consolidation has left them with one daily paper that may or may not also own the big TV station in town and possibly the radio station.
The Voice, as Micah noted, is dead.  It won't be reborn by the syndicate flaunting the same "'tude" they've flaunted elsewhere in their other products. 
Zach's had two highlights and we noted one earlier today.  Here's the second one --
Robert Parry's "Did Bush Lie to Fitzgerald?" (Consortium News):
Lewis Libby's testimony identifying George W. Bush as the top official who authorized the leaking intelligence about Iraq's alleged nuclear weapons program raises two key questions: What did the President tell the special prosecutor about this issue in 2004 and what is Bush's legal status in the federal criminal probe?
Bush's legal danger came into clearer focus with the release of a court document citing testimony from Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff who claimed that Bush approved the selective release of intelligence in July 2003 to counter growing complaints that Bush had hyped evidence on Iraq's pursuit of enriched uranium.
Remember that Robert Parry is a scheduled guest on KPFA's Living Room today.  It airs live at three p.m. Eastern Standard Time, two p.m. Central Time and noon Pacific time.  You can listen online, for free, and KPFA's website provides several streaming options (in case anyone has problems with the streaming). If you want to listen but are unable to listen live, you can check out the archived broadcast later today.  Ruth notes that Howard Zinn was one of the first guests interviewed by Andrea Lewis in the first hour (I think she said Bill Goodman of the Center for Constitutional Rights was the first guest but we had a bad phone connection).  If you missed that broadcast of The Morning Show, you can go to the archives if you'd like to hear it. 
Lloyd notes Matthew Rothschild's "Libby, Gonzales Provide More Grounds for Censure or Impeachment" (This Just In, The Progressive):
Two blockbuster revelations on April 6 provide ample additional grounds for censuring or impeaching George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
The first is the disclosure by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that I. Lewis Libby has testified that Bush and Cheney authorized him to reveal information from an otherwise-classified National Intelligence Estimate in order to discredit former Ambassador Joe Wilson.
"The Vice President advised defendant that the President specifically had authorized defendant to disclose certain information in the NIE," Fitzgerald's court filing of April 5 states. "Defendant testified that the circumstances of his conversation with Judith Miller--getting approval from the President through the Vice President to discuss material that would be classified but for that approval--were unique in his recollection."
Here is evidence that the President and the Vice President were using the intelligence agencies of the U.S. government to discredit a political opponent. This is precisely one of the reasons why the House Judiciary Committee voted to impeach Richard Nixon.
The second bombshell was delivered by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales himself when he testified on April 6 to the House Judiciary Committee that the Administration may engage in warrantless wiretapping of purely domestic calls in the United State (as opposed to calls where one party is abroad).
"I'm not going to rule it out," Gonzales testified.
I want to note Mike's "Ireland." The murder of Dennis Donaldson has led the press to speculate that it's the IRA that's done it to halt the peace process.  Mike builds on the information of who attempted to derail the 2002 peace process and notes that the mainstream media could run that way with it but instead they run from it. 
And for visitors who are confused, "I want to note" means I'm noting it.  "___ wants to note . . ." means a member is noting it.  "We'll note" means more than one person has noted it or someone's noted it that doesn't want to be noted as noting it. 
Martha notes that Seth posted "Some Highlights" this week.  (He intends to post again on Sunday.)  For those wondering about Betty's chapters, she tried to post Tuesday and Blogger was down.  She tried to post Wednesday before church and the same problem.  Last night?  You obviously didn't read Kat's post last night if you're asking about that.  On Kat, a visitor's asked where her review of Ben Harper's new CD is?  Go to the source.  I did.  She's saying right now that it's not written and she can do activism of the type she's done this week or she can do a review.  She thinks activism is more important.  But she adds she will have it done before next Friday.
(I'll add that Kat's writing model when it comes to deadlines is Hunter S. Thompson so I'll believe that when I see it.)
Sherry notes Rebecca's "mini essay:"
but these centrists/realists want to move the party to the center. they want to do that because it's easy. i don't think some 1 who's battle plan is 'do what's easy' belongs in the white house.
after bully boy leaves (impeach, impeach, impeach), our country's going to be in a huge mess and some 1 who's just going to do a little light dusting and maybe move the couch around isn't going to fix the problems.
hillary can't even address the problems so the idea that she's the candidate we should all drool over is hard to stomach.
we're seeing the problems with this choose evil or just bad right now as our elected officials talk immigration. undocumented workers aren't being helped by what's going on. corporations are being helped. i'd like to see an issue approached from the perspective of how it will help people - not from how it will help corporations while doing the least damage to people.
we're given these false choices and encouraged to believe that it's this or it's that. life is generally quite a bit more complex as are the issues.
joan baez has a great version of steve earle's 'christmas in washington' on her live album (kat reviewed it here) where she sings about how democrats means '4 more years of things not getting worse.' that's a perfect description by steve earle. i don't think we have to settle for hideous or not worse. i think there are other options.
Amy Goodman has two events this weekend:

*Tonight: Amy Goodman in Baton Rouge, LA:
Fri, Apr. 7
Time: 7:30 PM
Media-ocracy: How the American Media Compromises Democracy
Cambell Auditorium in the Cox Communications Academic Center
Louisiana State University
Free and Open to the Public
*Amy Goodman in New Orleans, LA
Sat, Apr. 8
Time: 5 PM
Benefit for WTUL
Tulane University
McAlister Auditorium
Free and Open to the Public
For more information: Contact Jeremy,
Tom Hayden will be on RadioNation with Laura Flanders Sunday.  Kat can go over this tomorrow but as I understand it, this weekend is rebroadcasts.  That's true of Saturday.  I think it's true of Sunday, plus an interview Flanders did with him on March 31st (that hasn't been played on the show or anywhere).
I believe Hayden's noted that the United States government is in talks with the Iraqi resistance (if not, just call it transition).  The Guardian of London reports today that Zalmay Khalizad (US ambassador to Iraq) has confirmed that.  Three more US troops have been killed in Iraq -- one in Baghdad, one near Baiji and the third in the Al-Anbar province. Deutsche Presse-Agentur reports that, in al-Shahaimiya, a man's corpse was found (decapitated). IRIB reports that four Iraqis were found dead "in and around the Iraqi city of Baquba" as well as two more in Baghdad. In Kirkuk an Iraqi has been kidnapped.  The Associated Press notes that at least 79 people have been killed and over 160 wounded in bombing on a mosque in Baghdad. And that's the snapshot of life under occuaption in Iraq.
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