Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Democracy Now: Sheila Jackson Lee; Michael Ratner, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Brian Conley

Supreme Court Votes Not To Rule on Jose Padilla Case
The Supreme Court has voted not to take a case that would have determined whether the president has the power to indefinitely jail U.S. citizens without ever pressing charges. By a 6-3 ruling, the Court decided not to hear an appeal filed by Jose Padilla. He is the U.S. citizen who was held without charge on a Navy brig for three and a half years. He accused of plotting to set off a dirty bomb. The majority of the justices on the court said Padilla’s claim was merely hypothetical because Padilla is no longer being held as an enemy combatant.
Jury: Moussaoui Is Eligible For Death Penalty
In Virginia, a federal jury ruled Zacarias Moussaoui is eligible for the death penalty in connection to his role in the 9/11 attacks. Moussaoui was arrested in Minnesota in August 2001 but did not tell law enforcement about an eminent plan to attack the World Trade Center and Pentagon with hijacked planes. The jury determined that by lying to the FBI after his arrest, Moussaoui was directly responsible for at least one death in the 9/11 attacks.
Nationwide Protests Continue in France
In France, nationwide protests are occurring again today to protest a new law that will make it easier for companies to fire young workers. Transport strikes have been reported in 32 towns and cities.
Haitian Government Urged to Reopen Probe Into Killing of Jean Dominique
And in Haiti, the group Reporters Without Borders is urging the Haitian government to reopen an investigation into the killing of the pioneering radio journalist Jean Dominique. He was gunned down in the courtyard of Radio Haiti Inter on April 3rd 2000. Dominique was profiled in Jonathan Demme’s documentary The Agronomist two years ago.
The above four items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by Markus, Zach, Belinda and KeeshaDemocracy Now! ("always informing you," as Marcia says):
Headlines for April 4, 2006

- Former GOP Majority Leader Tom Delay to Resign
- Nine U.S. Troops Die in Deadliest Day of Year
- Sunnis Form Militias To Protect Neighborhoods
- U.S. Falls Far Short of Goal to Build 142 Health Clinics in Iraq
- Supreme Court Votes Not To Rule on Jose Padilla Case
- Liberian President Charles Taylor Pleads Not Guilty to War Crimes
- Sudan Blocks UN Humanitarian Trip to Darfur
- Report: Abramoff Attempted to Lobby For Sudan
- Haitian Government Urged to Reopen Probe Into Killing of Jean Dominique
The Hammer Leaving Congress: DeLay Announces Resignation Amid Controversy

Republican Congressman Tom Delay has announced he is resigning and will give up his House seat within the next few months. The former House Majority Leader has been one of the most powerful - and controversial - Republicans on Capitol Hill. We speak with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D - TX) about DeLay's resignation. [includes rush transcript]
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee: Immigration is the Civil Rights Issue of Our Time

On Capitol Hill, heated debate continues over immigration reform. We speak with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D - TX) who has submitted an immigration bill in Congress that would allow for legal permanent residency for undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States for the past five years, would double the cap for family visas and would increase the number of work visas.
Cynthia McKinney Accuses Capitol Police of Racial Profiling

Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) has complained she was the victim of racial profiling that led to a run-in with a Capitol police officer last week the officer last Wednesday. Prosecutors are now reviewing whether to bring charges against her. We speak with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee about the incident and we look at when several members of the Georgia General Assembly were denied entry to Coretta Scott King's funeral in February.
FBI Whistleblower Colleen Rowley Warns Zacarias Moussaoui Trial May Mark Last Time Bush Administration Use Courts to Try Terror Suspects

Although a jury ruled Moussaoui is eligible for the death penalty on Monday, Rowley says administration officials may stop using criminal courts for future cases. "If you don’t deal with them in the criminal court then you are allowed to go around all criminal procedure and the Constitution," she said.
 Former Liberian President Charles Taylor Pleads Not Guilty Before UN-backed War Crimes Tribunal In Sierra Leone

Taylor appeared before the war tribunal on Monday a week after he was apprehended. This marks the first time a former African leader will be tried on African soil for crimes against humanity. We speak to Corinne Dufka of Human Rights Watch.
Duke University Rape Case Raises Issues of Race and Class in Durham

We look at the latest in the Duke University rape case. A black female student from North Carolina Central University says she was beaten, raped and choked by three white members of Duke's Lacrosse team last month. The case is stirring racial and class tensions in North Carolina.
Iraq?  CNN reports that at least ten Iraqis are dead and at least 28 wounded from a cra bomb in Baghdad. Also in Baghdad, a judge was gunned down, while in Dora, an ice cream vendor, a police officer and others were gunned down, and in Basra a police officer was gunned down.  The body of a US marine was found near Haditha. In Baghdad, two children died in their home . . . from a bomb.  At Fort Bragg, Alberto B. Martinez may face additional court martial charges (already charged with premeditated murder) for allegedly fragging Philip Esposito in Iraq. Have you heard much about the sgt. allegedly fragging the captain?  No.  Only in the myths of the Bully Boy do we live in a nation where the corporate media tells the brave truth even when it might be negative or harmful to the Bully Boy.
So that's Iraq.  Highlights?  We will start with Molly's highlight, Michael Ratner's "ABOVE THE LAW: Bush claims the right to spy on everything, including attorney-client conversations" (Salon via Center for Constitutional Rights):
It's hard to remember how shocked Americans used to be when their presidents broke the law.  In a 55-page letter sent on March 24 the Senate Judiciary Committee, the office of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales brazenly asserted that President Bush had every right to secretly order the National Security Agency to engage in warrantless eavesdropping for what it called the "Terrorist Surveillance Program." On the last page, after he essentially refused to answer most of Congress' questions about the illegal program, which had been revealed in December ("It would be inappropriate to discuss in this setting the existence or nonexistence of specific intelligence activities"), Gonzales let slip a bombshell. "Although the Program does not specifically target the communications of attorneys or physicians," his office wrote, "calls from such sources would not be categorically excluded from interception."
Sen. Russ Feingold has called for a censure of the president for breaking the law, and civil rights groups, including the Center for Constitutional Rights where I work, have called for impeachment.
Yet President Bush seems to be betting -- as he has, successfully, before -- that the public will overlook his crimes and allow him to continue destroying, as Feingold put it, both "the separation of powers and the rule of law."
Indeed, Friday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Feingold's censure proposal under chairman Arlen Specter, who has characterized the proposal as baseless, are expected to be brief.
Thirty years ago, President Nixon's warrantless wiretapping scandalized the nation and became one of the articles of impeachment against him. And though Nixon invoked "national security," Congress and the Supreme Court insisted that the law had to govern all intelligence and counterintelligence gathering by the government, even when it was undertaken to protect against terrorism.
After Nixon's disgrace, new laws were written to enable the government to continue the surveillance of both U.S. citizens and foreigners on intelligence and national security grounds. In 1978, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FSIA) was established, as the "exclusive means by which electronic surveillance" could be conducted; a secret court was empowered to authorize phone taps and, later, e-mail and physical searches. The FISA court was set up to oversee highly sensitive U.S. counterintelligence objectives, and government agencies could get approval to spy if they showed the court their activities were intended to counter espionage, sabotage, assassinations, and international terrorist activities. FISA, which provides criminal penalties for unauthorized wiretapping, has been a virtual rubber stamp for government requests: In the more than 18,000 known cases, there have been only five refusals to authorize surveillance.
Others?  Jess, Ava and I went over the suggested highlights.  And?  I don't see much.  Maybe I'm in a mood?
For one thing, I will never knowingly highlight a piece of writing where someone dubs ultrasounds for women wanting abortions "SENSIBLE."  Sensible?  (Or sensible adivce.)  Will it be "SENSIBLE" in ten or twenty years, when the Fright-wing tries to insist that virtual ultrasounds of children-to-be (not yet conceived)  must be screened before a patron can purchase birth control?   In the same piece wait periods and parental notification are also termed "SENSIBLE" so I guess we can assume we've now heard from the great SOCCER MOMMA contingent of SUBURBIA.  Don't they have a pilate class to rush off to?
I don't have time for nonsense.  That column may improve at some point but for me it can never recover by the casual dubbing of ultrasounds "SENSIBLE."  Possibly SOCCER MOMMA bought into the notion that women sit around asking themselves,  "Today?  Highlights?  No, I think I'll keep this hair color.  I know!  Abortion!" 
There's nothing "SENSIBLE" about that column to me.  It won't be highlighted here.  Two members have noted it.  And noted the problem statement to be sure it was noted and registered when deciding whether or not to highlight.  (Thanks for the heads up.)  SOCCER MOMMA needs to open the hatchback to the mini-van, shove the SENSIBILITY into the back, and drive through suburbia on her way to another topic because reproductive rights are under attack and for Dems to be craven and weak willed is one thing, for a writer supposedly defending reproductive rights (a writer writing for a non-mainstream publication) just strikes me as  useless.
We'll highlight the writer on other topics (and have in the past) but never again on the issue of choice.  The site's called The Common Ills, not SOCCER MOMMA Outreach.
I belive the White, middle-class of suburbia has more than enough outlets.  Columns like that belong to those outlets, not to this site.  (And if you want to see someone hit the roof -- e-mail the column to Rebecca or Elaine because I'm biting my tongue here -- assuming that the writer felt she needed to "reach out" to the anti-choice community -- why she'd think she could, I have no idea -- or made a poor word choice or was attempting to appear "reasoned."  Regardless, the day will never come when that sort of nonsense will get a "Check out . . ." here.)
There is a war on reproductive rights, there is a war on women.  And I have no use for women who are silent while "Poland" is invaded.   (Or worse yet, 'reasoned.')  Silence won't prevent the Bully Boy from trampling over everything.  He will try to trample everything regardless.  That's what bullies do. 
You either stand up to him now or you wait around until even something like a breast exam becomes an issue for the obgyn Jesus to determine.  ("The Lord gave you two breasts!  He wants you to have two breasts!  You do not have the right to have a mastectomy!  He gave you cancer!  You must keep what you have been giveth!")  
It is a war and a lot of people (men and women) have played as if it weren't  -- as though abortion can be restricted and restricted and restricted some more and we're all just "compromising" with one another.  Who's compromising? 
Is the compromise that wack jobs don't bomb abortion clinics?  Is that the "effort" on the part of the fright wing?  I'm sorry, you either fight for the right of choice, for reproductive rights and for the right of women to make their medical decisions or you do not.
I am outraged by that column and I asked,  "Is it just me?"  Ava and Jess said it pissed them off too.  So it's not going up here.
Then what?  A number of things on the ABC producer.  I know the person.  I'm not friends with him.  I actually found his e-mail more interesting than anything he ever said in person. 
I'm not interested in a bunch of articles about ABC forcing an apology (given to the Bully Boy) when the coverage doesn't note that just as hideous is the fact that Mad Maddy Albright got an apology.  (From the network.)  This isn't about the Bully Boy as it's being presented, this is about a network kissing butt of the powerful.  It's about the love of official sources. 
I despise the Bully Boy.  I have no problem pinning anything on him.  But reality is that Mad Maddy is a part of the story, the way the network sucked up to her, and to act like it wasn't is to miss the point.  (The point is made clearly in Amy Goodman and David Goodman's Exception to the Rulers.)
So those highlights? 
Not in the mood for it.  I'll also add that I'm not sure the e-mail is anti-Bully Boy.  It's anti the incessant repetition of a phrase.  My views are well known.  Around this time, a number of us were discussing Bully Boy and the producer was present.  He gave a generic response.  A bland statement.  Bland was what I thought of him.  (No offense to him and my sympathies on the public humiliation.) 
This would have been the perfect time for him to let loose with a string of Bully Boy bashing.  He didn't.  Was he just attempting to be objective in a semi-public event/public gathering?  Was he a supporter of the Bully Boy?  Did he have no real opinion?  I don't know.  I know that he could have expressed an opinion (others were, some pro-Bully Boy, some anti-Bully Boy).  He chose not to. 
The private e-mail indicates only that a phrase was getting on his nerves as it was repeated over and over.  "Makes me so sick" is mild and it doesn't mean "Makes me so sick on everything" or "all the time."  I think way too much was made of the incident by the network -- and that the real story is the network's response -- both to Bully and to Maddy.  It's another case of special treatment for some.  It's another case of a news organization behaving in a craven manner.
And they didn't just crawl on their knees to kiss Bully Boy's feet, they also crawled on over to the corns on Mad Maddy's feet.
So I'm not interested in that.
I'm also not interested in hearing about how the right wing "giants" went after Jill Carroll.  They did.  That's what they do.  It's not surprising.  What was surprising was that the New York Times gave credence to the attacks by treating them as "normal" and worthy of coverage. 
So those highlights are gone as well.
Again, maybe it's my mood today.  (This is a dictated post, by the way.)
But I'm not in the mood for nonsense.  That means I have no use for highlighting a presumed pro-choice piece of writing that wants to state it's "SENSIBLE" for a woman wanting an abortion, to have to WAIT and to have to watch an ultrasound.  Spare us all of "sensible" talk from SOCCER MOMMAS.  I'm not in the mood to hear how Bully Boy cowed ABC when the issue of Mad Maddy isn't brought up.  And I'm not interested in hearing today about how Midget's son attacked Jill Carroll (last week) in writings that don't note that the supposed non-partisan press had no duty to pick up on a smear campaign of a kidnapping victim who'd just been released. 
Midget's son had a talking point.  He always has one.  (And they're all useless.)  There's no need for the mainstream press to join in by repeating a baseless smear or by going to doctors who've never treated Jill Carroll, never even met her, and asking them to offer a diagnosis.  That was tabloid press. The fright wing will always pull that nonsense and it deserves noting (and I'm sure Media Matters has noted it from the moment it started) but at this late date to act as though the mainstream media didn't promote the talking point is either missing the larger offense or ignoring it. 
I'm not in the mood for nonsense today.  That includes the gatekeepers who want to gripe at the young adults who bring flags of Mexico to a protest -- exactly where do they think many of the immigrants targeted are coming from?  Ohio?
In some areas, we've seen the largest protests ever.  And some want to fret over flags?
"It sends the wrong message," they want to whine.
Again, whom do they think the immigration law is aimed at?
Instead of clucking about a totem, they might want to utilize that time attempting to increase the turnout or focusing on the issues.  Instead that will, yet again, be the soundbyte on much of the media coverage.
Maybe the cluckers think that it sounds "sensible"?
So what highlights do we have besides Michael Ratner?
Trevor notes Salim Muwakkil's "The Battle for Fred Hampton Way" (In These Times) and we're focusing on the historical section:
In 1968, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover announced the Panthers were "the greatest threat to the internal security of the country," and developed a counterintelligence program (COINTELPRO) to "neutralize" the group. Various police agencies, spurred by the FBI’s threat assessment, began conducting raids on Panther offices across the country.
On Dec. 4, 1969, the Chicago police did their part, ambushing Panther members as they slept and claiming it was a shootout. Hampton and Mark Clark, a Panther from Peoria, were killed in the assault and several others were injured. Later investigations revealed that all but one of the more than 100 bullets fired in that pre-dawn attack were from police guns.
Despite the fact that no one has ever been punished for the assassinations of Hampton and Clark, police are acting as if they are the aggrieved party. What’s more, white Chicagoans with little knowledge of historical context are supporting the side of those who seemingly got away with cold-blooded murder.
"The question is: whose side are you on?" said Conrad Worrill, Chairman of the National Black United Front at a news conference introducing the coalition. "Are you on the side of law enforcement agencies who want to cover up what happened or the great work of the Black Panther Party?"
Billy notes that Katrina vanden Heuvel's responded to Michelle Malkin (if the fright-winger's name is  mispelled, I honestly don't care).  From "Talk About a Smear Merchant" (Editor's Cut, The Nation):
And before Ms. Malkin asserts that Rep. Tancredo "has done nothing more than insist that we enforce our borders and that the federal government fulfill its obligation to provide for the common defense," she might try explaining his insistence that undocumented immigrants are "a scourge that threatens the very future of our nation," and that "they are coming here to kill you and to kill me and our families."
After slamming me, Malkin goes on to slam the demonstrators in Los Angeles: "These are people who believe that the American Southwest belongs to Mexico…. Who do nothing more than try to sabotage our sovereignty." In her column she labeled Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and California Lt. Gov. Bustamante "Latino supremacists." Talk about smearing people.
My interest on this issue is the same as with any pressing issue: to pursue constructive debate, examine the facts, and advocate the path I believe represents our nation's greatest ideals and values.
I sincerely doubt Ms. Malkin can say the same.
Brian Conley's "End Sectarianism and Ethnic Division in Iraq's Security" (Alive In Baghdad):
Yesterday I posted Ali Shalal Abbas Al'Kaissi's proposal for ending the occupation and minimizing the chances for civil war in Iraq. I’m going to provide an analysis based on my own perspective and experiences in Iraq, and I will take one piece at a time, to provide a detailed discussion, without being too excessively long winded.
I’ll add some links to this post later to further bolster my assertions.
1. The men who will be in charge of the security of Iraq must not be sectarian or ethnic in focus.
When thinking about this point from Ali's proposal, readers should consider that the current structure of the security is such that sectarianism and ethnic divides are the determinant for membership in the security apparatus.
Although there are some exceptions, the very framework established by the Coalition Provisonal Authority and the occupation bureaucrats that remain virtually assured these divisions would occur.
The Ministry of the Interior is controlled by the Badr Militia, which now bears the slightly less confrontational title, "Badr Organization." The Badr Militia is the armed wing of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, initially founded by Tehran to export Iran’s Islamic Revolution to its neighbor, Iraq. Being the armed wing of the Council, Badr’s initial focus was to provide protection and enforcement of the Council's goals.
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