Monday, April 24, 2006

Democracy Now: Roger Toussaint, DN! goes to a FEMA trailer park

Remember, Jane Fonda, scheduled guest for  KPFA Cover to Cover with Denny Smithson today:
It airs on KPFA at 6:00 pm Eastern, 5:00 pm Central, 4:00 pm Mountain and 3:00 Pacific. You can listen online, for free, or you can listen over the airwaves in the Berkeley area on KPFA (94.1 FM) and probably on KPFB (89.3 FM) in Berkeley as well as KFCF (88.1 FM) in Fresno.
And note  that Juan Gonzalez, co-host of Democracy Now!, is scheduled to be a guest on Lou Dobbs Tonight . . . tonight.  (6 pm to 7 pm, EST on CNN). 
Protesters At Stanford Univ. Block Bush Motorcade
In California, over 1,000 protesters greeted President Bush on Friday during his visit to Stanford University. Protesters blocked the only street to the site of the president’s meeting at the Hoover Institution. This forced the White House to move the planned meeting to the residence of former Secretary of State and Hoover Fellow George Shultz on the outskirts of the campus. Over 100 police dressed in riot gear attempted to clear the street. Three students were arrested for blocking the road. On Saturday, another 2,000 protesters lined the streets of Sacramento where the president gave an Earth Day speech on fuel cell technology. 500 protesters also gathered in San Jose where Bush met with California governor Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and high-tech leaders at Cisco Systems.
Over One Third of Vermont State Legislators Back Impeachment
In Vermont, over one third of the state's legislators have signed a letter calling on Congress to consider impeaching President Bush. The letter was signed by 56 members of the House in Vermont and 13 members of the Senate.
Report: UK Warned Illegality of Supporting U.S. Attack on Iran
In Britain the Sunday Herald of Glasgow reports Foreign Office lawyers have formally advised Tony Blair's government that it would be illegal under international law for Britain to support any US-led military action against Iran. In the run-up to the Iraq invasion in 2003, Foreign Minister Jack Straw received similar private advice but it was largely ignored.
Hundreds of Thousands Protest In Nepal
In Nepal, opposition groups are calling for a major protest in Katmandu on Tuesday outside the gates of King Gyanendra’s palaces. A half million people are expected to participate in what would be the country’s largest pro-democracy rally to date. Earlier today the government imposed a daytime curfew for a fifth day in the capital city. Police were ordered to shoot anyone violating the curfew. On Saturday, up to 300,000 marched within a mile of the king’s palace before police beat them back. A British tourist named Ian Chalmers said the police attacked a peaceful protest. "What we saw was a very peaceful protest. Towards the back of that, there was all of a sudden, tear gas came flying in and there is a stampede of people, chaos, absolute pandemonium, every runs all over the place," said Chalmers. "We tried to get to the side on the basis that we won't get baton charged. But just a stream of people trying to get out but everyone seemed to be cornered as more and more tear gas rained down on us and as we managed to get away, we saw a couple of bodies just lying limp on the floor." On Sunday, thousands defied a daytime curfew to hold more protests but police opened fire on the demonstrators with rubber bullets, tear gas and live ammunition. At least 27 people were injured. Since the general strike began on April 6, police have killed at least 14 people and injured hundreds more. On Friday the opposition groups rejected an offer by the King to select a prime minister of their choosing.
Land Dispute on Mohawk Land in Ontario Intensifies
In Ontario, a standoff between Mohawks from the Six Nations Territory has entered its 56th day. On Thursday, Canadian police arrested 16 people in a pre-dawn raid. Over the weekend the Mohawks decided to maintain a blockade of a local highway and to keep occupying land that is being developed into a new housing subdivision. The Six Nations Confederacy has been called the oldest living participatory democracy on earth.
Civil Rights Activists Gather to Mourn Death of Anne Braden
In Louisville Kentucky, civil rights activists from around the country gathered to pay tribute to Anne Braden who died last month at the age of 81. Braden was one of the leading white civil rights pioneers in the south. In 1954 she and her husband made national headlines when they bought a home in an all white neighborhood and signed it over to an African-American family. The Bradens were charged with sedition and the house was firebombed. Anne's daughter Beth Braden said her mother was dedicated to fighting three things: racism, poverty and war. Speakers at Sunday's memorial included Angela Davis and Bernice Johnson Reagon of the musical group Sweet Honey in the Rock.
The above six items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by West, KeShawn, Lynda, Brad, ??? and AmandaDemocracy Now! ("always informing you," as Marcia says):
Headlines for April 24, 2006

- Rumsfeld OKs Expansion of SpecialOps Forces Across Globe
- Hundreds of Thousands Protest In Nepal
- CIA Official: Bush Ignored Iraq WMD Intelligence
- Report: UK Warned Illegality of Supporting U.S. Attack on Iran
- Number of Terrorist Attacks in 2005 Top 10,000
- Bin Laden Says Crusade Being Waged Against Islam
- CIA Fires Official For Leaking Info About Secret Prisons
- Protesters At Stanford Univ. Block Bush Motorcade
- Civil Rights Activists Gather to Mourn Death of Anne Braden
Nagin, Landrieu Face Run-Off in New Orleans Election, Tens of Thousands of Displaced Residents Barred from Voting

New Orleans held its first election after the Hurricane Katrina disaster on Saturday. Mayor Ray Nagin and Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu won the two top spots and will face each other in a run-off in May. Tens of thousands of displaced residents were no allowed to vote. We speak with Ted Shaw of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. [includes rush transcript - partial]
FEMA's Dirty Little Secret: A Rare Look Inside the Renaissance Village Trailer Park, Home to Over 2,000 Hurricane Katrina Evacuees

During Democracy Now's recent trip to New Orleans, we managed to get inside the largest FEMA trailer park set up after Hurricane Katrina. Shortly after we interviewed hurricane evacuee Donna Azeez, we were kicked out of the park by security guards working for Corporate Security Solutions, the private company hired by FEMA to police Renaissance Village.
NYC Union Chief Roger Toussaint Remains Defiant Hours Before Heading to Jail for Leading Transit Strike

Roger Toussaint, president of the Transport Workers Union, Local 100, heads to jail today to serve a 10-day sentence for authorizing a strike in December that shut down New York City's Transit system for a little more than two days. Hours before heading jail, Toussaint joins us in our firehouse studio to discuss the strike, the future of the union and what he calls the "extortionist media." [includes rush transcript]
The Associated Press notes that on Sunday "at least three U.S. soldiers and 31 Iraqis were killed, including seven who died when mortars hit just outside the heavily guarded Green Zone."  The Chicago Tribune reports that private contractors in Iraq have been confiscating passports from labor brought in (from outside Iraq) and that General George Casey has ordered that all passports must be returned by May 1st. Reuters notes that Iraqi firefighters are fighting "a large blaze" at an oil center between Kirkuk and Baiji.  Australia's ABC notes that John Howard, that country's prime minister who is saying the illegal war is not "a disaster," stated today that the prospect of US troops was conditional (and didn't appear optimistic it would happen).  Ian Bruce, with the UK Herald, reports that Carle Selman, James Cooke, Joseph McCleary and Martin McGing will stand trial (court martial) in Colchester, Essex for their actions in the death of Iraqi Ahmed Jabber Kareem. Seventeen-year-old Kareem was beaten along with three others and then ordered "into the Shatt al Basra waterway."  Kareem, who could not swim, drowned. Bruce notes that an estimated 30 British soldiers "have either been convicted, are awaiting court-marital, or are being investigate" for their actions in Iraq. China's People's Daily Online reports that the costs of the (illegal) Iraq war are rising to one trillion in US dollars.  Meanwhile, New York Daily News notes that costs for Iraq and Afghanistan will hit $117.9 billion and that the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments is predicting the cost could reach 660 billion dollars by the year 2016.
In Tikrit, four Iraqi police officers were killed during a gun battle and two more were killed after the attack on the police station. In Mosul, Sandra Lupien noted, three corpses were found and
 Al Jazeera notes that at least seven car bombs have gone off in Baghdad ("two of them at a Baghdad university"), CNN reports eight (a more recent report).  The Los Angeles Times (going with the figure of seven) reports the death of at least 14 civilians and the wouding of at least 139 -- Sandra Lupien noted that the 139 included "a ten-year-old boy."
Seventeen corpses were found in Iraq today, the Associated Press reportsSandra Lupien (a more recent report) noted at least 20 from secratarian violence with many, if not all, showing signs of torture.
Sandra Lupien does newsbreaks on KPFA in the early half of the day, including during one of Ruth's favorite programs: The Morning Show.  Please note audio reports whenever one stands out -- not all members have the same abilities -- and Lupien has four news breaks in the now archived broadcast of The Morning Show, click on the links in the previous paragraphs and you'll be taken to today's two hour broadcast -- Lupien comes in on the hour and half hour.  Lloyd has reminded me to add a radio show to the permalinks -- added last night.  It's not showing up.  But as I dictate this, nothing is showing up.  Hopefully members are using the mirror site where this morning's entries (thanks to Jess) are up and VISIBLE.  
It's a Blogger problem that's happening to everyone whose site is on Blogger -- for those wondering.  (Thanks to UK Computer Gurus for setting up the mirror site all that time ago.) 
One highlight (I don't want a long post in case it doesn't go up at the main site and members are forgetting to utilize the back up site).  Mary notes Jeff Chester's "Congress Poised to Kill Community TV" (The Nation):
Congress is about to strike a blow that would eliminate the last remaining policy insuring local oversight of communications companies. A GOP-led effort on behalf of the telephone lobby (principally Verizon and AT&T), also backed by many Democrats, is about to toss in the dustbin the longstanding policy enabling cities or counties to negotiate a "franchise" agreement with companies that provide cable TV service. A key House committee is poised to pass legislation that would strip away the rights of communities to have any say in how phone and cable networks serve them in the digital era.
As Verizon and AT&T roll out their broadband Internet and video services, they wish to remove any obstacle to securing lucrative revenues from signing up customers from the wealthiest parts of the country. The phone giants complain that current law requires them to negotiate with each town (as cable TV currently does) to develop a unique deal that benefits the community, and that giving local officials the authority to have an oversight role is slowing down their business plans.
With the backing of House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and in exchange for some likely Tom DeLay-style quid pro quo that will give the GOP lots of "Baby Bell" campaign cash, legislation is being rushed through Congress. Local oversight is to be replaced by a "national franchise" that will permit the most powerful communications giants in the Internet era--large cable and phone companies--to operate without regard for local concerns. Under the bill (co-sponsored by House Commerce Committee chair Joe Barton, a Republican from Texas, and Bobby Rush, a Democrat from Illinois) phone companies could engage in a form of economic redlining, serving only the most affluent parts of town; the current local franchise system prevents such discrimination. Communities would not be able to enact any consumer safeguards, such as privacy protection; the bill would permit our very corrupt Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to set such protection rules.
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