Friday, April 07, 2006

Other Items (Robert Parry on KPFA's Living Room today)

Unless your primary concern is what does Judith Miller think of the New York Times, David Johnston and David E. Sanger's "Cheney's Aide Says President Approved Leak" (in this morning's New York Times is a total waste). Court documents reveal that Scooter Libby was authorized to leak classified information to the press. And? Not a whole lot in yet another account of the official formerly known as Scooter.

What should have been a time for the paper of record to provide readers with a best of Bully Boy statements on how opposed he is to leaks (statements coming from the public record) is just another hum-drum "Today this happened and there's no real context we can offer because our research is confined to phone calls." Truly, Ava and I do more for a TV review at The Third Estate Sunday Review than the so-called reporters do at the Times.

Wally, under a tighter "deadline" than anything the Times had, provided more news you can use in yesterday's "THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY SAYS "DO AS I COMMAND NOT AS I DO." And remember, Wally runs a humor site.

It's left to R. Jeffery Smith's "Bush Authorized Secrets' Release, Libby Testified" (Washington Post) to pursue those details of the public record:

Bush has been a major critic of leaks of classified information, and his aides have repeatedly said they want to "get to the bottom" of who leaked the name of Wilson's wife, covert CIA operative Valerie Plame, to the media, which touched off Fitzgerald's investigation . But in the past 33 months the White House has never disclosed Bush's apparent involvement in the deliberate disclosure of information meant to undermine Wilson.

And what does Miller think of the paper of record? Not enough, as the story notes, to return its calls.

The Times continues to bungle the coverage of Congress' attacks on undocumented immigrants. We won't highlight their nonsense here. Instead, we'll go with Kayla's highlight, "Immigrants and Us" (The Nation):

More than half a million in Los Angeles, 300,000 in Chicago, 50,000 in Denver, 30,000 in Washington and Milwaukee. Tens of thousands more in Detroit, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, Reno, Newark and New York City, as well as places like Grand Rapids and Nashville. Sparked by the punitive Sensenbrenner bill, which would criminalize undocumented workers and anyone who helps them, immigrants flooded the streets of cities and suburbs across the nation. The rest of the country watched in astonishment as the wave of immigrants that has swept our economy crested into a mass movement that will transform our politics.
The key word is will. The comprehensive reform of immigration policy that the movement wants is not going to come from this Congress, riven as it is with splits among Republicans who want to keep the poor huddled masses out; Republicans who want to keep them in but keep them poor; and Democrats too weak and anxious to light the way down a better path. At this writing, in fact, the best outcome for now appears to be no resolution at all. Nonetheless, whether it takes two years or ten, this movement, bolstered by its growing social and electoral clout, will have its demands addressed: family reunification; a solution to the visa backlog, now at 6.2 million and counting; and the coveted "path to citizenship" that allows immigrant workers to build lives with a future.

Also worth noting on immigration is Margaret Kimberley's "Immigration and America's Bad Karma" (Freedom Rider, The Black Commentator):

Lou Dobbs, Bill O'Reilly and other cable television blowhards have appointed themselves crusaders against illegal immigration to the United States. If tempted to succumb to their awful siren song, just think of the Wampanoag Indians.
In 1621 the Wampanoags watched as the Pilgrims landed at what is now known as Plymouth Rock. You know the rest of the story. The Indians were killed by warfare and disease. Treaties were broken and land was stolen. The horrific scenario played out across the rest of the nation for almost 300 years. The Iroquois, Seminoles, Choctaws, Lakotas, and Apaches all got the same treatment.
You reap what you sow. What goes around comes around. Payback is a bitch. All of those colorful expressions are apropos when the issue of immigration arises and especially when Dobbs, O'Reilly, and Congressional Neanderthals foam at the mouth.

We're noting Robert Parry right now (Zach's highlight) and we'll note him again later today. From Parry's "Bush, Wiretaps & Watergate" (Consortium News):

But the actual history of Watergate reveals a more complicated reality, with neither Dean nor Graham getting the story precisely right. Based on the most recent revelations, it appears that Nixon may bear more responsibility for the break-in than Dean believes -- and the lessons of Watergate are more relevant to Bush's domestic spying today than Graham wants to admit.
Like Nixon, Bush may find -- or may have already found -- the temptation to blur the lines between spying on national security threats and his political enemies too tempting to resist. Presidents who come to see themselves as vital to the nation can easily slip into the delusion that any challenger or dissenter is out to hurt the country.That risk, which was recognized in the 1978 passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, was a principal lesson of Watergate. In his first term, Nixon came to view domestic opposition to the Vietnam War and to his policies as national security threats deserving of extra-legal responses.
I address this history in
Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, but a summary of the Watergate section is below:
Nixon's Obsessions
Nixon relished the intricacies of world power politics, but his obsession with domestic challenges -- his Vietnam War critics and his insecurities about possible electoral defeat -- merged as Campaign 1972 grew near.
Nixon searched for new ways to destroy domestic adversaries, the likes of former Defense Department official Daniel Ellsberg, who had leaked the secret Pentagon Papers history of the Vietnam War. After the Pentagon Papers were published, revealing the deceptions used to lead the United States to war, Nixon demanded a more aggressive strategy to stop leaks.
On July 1, 1971, Nixon lectured chief of staff H.R. Haldeman and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger about the need to do whatever it takes, including break-ins at sites such as the Brookings Institution where Nixon suspected incriminating information might be found about Ellsberg.
Nixon criticized Attorney General John Mitchell for worrying about what "is technically correct" in countering those who leaked the secret history.
"We're up against an enemy, a conspiracy," Nixon raged. "They're using any means. We are going to use any means. Is that clear? Did they get the Brookings Institute raided last night? No. Get it done. I want it done. I want the Brookings Institute safe cleaned out and have it cleaned out in a way that makes somebody else" responsible.
"Now, how do you fight this [Ellsberg case]?" Nixon continued. "You can't fight this with gentlemanly gloves ... We'll kill these sons of b**ches." Nixon then referred to an obscure White House official named Cooke, who had given Ellsberg some papers when Ellsberg worked at the Rand Corporation.
"I want to get him [Cooke] killed," Nixon said. "Let him get in the papers and deny it. ... Get a story out and get one to a reporter who will use it. Give them the facts and we will kill him in the press. Isn’t that clear? And I play it gloves off. Now, Godd***it, get going on it."
One of Nixon's schemes for discrediting the Pentagon Papers release was to transform it into a spy scandal, like the Alger Hiss case of the 1940s where Nixon made his national reputation. He saw a role for the successor to the House Un-American Activities Committee, the House subcommittee on internal security.

Robert Parry is a guest on KPFA's Living Room today at noon Pacific time. Also, unless I heeard wrong, Howard Zinn is a guest on KPFA's The Morning Show (I believe in the second hour) which airs from seven to ten Pacific time.

Cedric notes Grace Lee Boggs' "THE ART OF WEAVING FAITHS" (Michigan Citizen via Boggs Peace Center):

In early February I participated in a transformative weekend that I wish could be experienced by people of all faiths, walks of life, cultures and ages, everywhere in this country and the world.
The occasion was a Retreat at the Senshin Buddhist Temple and the Omar Ibn Al Khattab Mosque, two sacred spaces within walking distance of one another in South Central Los Angeles.
It was conceived and led by my old friend, Nobuko Miyamoto, an artist whose songs, theater works and dances have opened boundaries between people of different cultures for over thirty years. As the artistic director of Great Leap, a Los Angeles-based group, Nobuko conducts workshops, seminars and lectures.
The invitation to this workshop was also a challenge.
"We are living in a world of divisions and violence that touches each of us. How can we as people of faith help to create peace, harmony and understanding? Perhaps it best begins within ourselves, with those closest to us, and then taking a step beyond our own boundaries to share with strangers."
About 25 people of diverse faiths and cultures responded. They included Americans of African, Asian, Arab and European descent, and Muslims, Buddhists and Christians. Among many other things I learned that there are over a million and ahalf Muslims in California, half of whom are African American. Nobuko's son, an African American Muslim, was one of the guest leaders.

A visitor e-mailed this morning about an article that we'll note. First off, we do provide a link to CounterPunch on the permalinks and we do link to articles from it. The visitor was upset and wrote without checking our permalinks, I'm guessing, because he maintained that we needed to learn about "magazines that tell the truth." CounterPunch is highlighted here often. (I believe we've highlighted twice this week -- and that's something in a very busy week.) He also felt that I wouldn't link to this article because "You are just another person who blames Ralph Nader for 2000." I'll comment on that after the highlight. From Jozef Hand-Boniakowski's "Why Democrats Are At Least Half of the Problem" (CounterPunch):

In a recent give and take email with a liberal, "progressive" Democrat in Vermont, I discovered what Democrats really feel about people who vote for third party candidates, and especially what they feel about Ralph Nader. 2006 is, after all, an election year, and we, the people, must elect Democrats to "take our country back". No? The talk-show hosts say so, especially Air America Radio, so it must be important. The exact line from the email that I received is,
I feel it is because people voted for Nader who not only have I lost all respect for, but I think he has a huge ego and now I honestly hate him as much as I hate Bush.
There you have it. Liberal, "progressive" Democrats hate Ralph Nader as much as they hate George W. Bush. Perhaps, some therapy is in order, as hate is a self-destructive emotion if left unchecked. It also does not win elections. I'm not, however, surprised at this outpouring of Democratic venom, as liberals and so-called progressives prefer to blame the loss of elections on everybody and everything, except that is, on the lackluster, uninspiring, boring, bumbling, stumbling, and problematic campaigns of their own candidates. Democrats prefer to blame their presidential candidates' ineptitude on others, such as Ralph Nader and the people who voted for him and his platform. Liberal, "progressive", Democrats fail to place the responsibility for getting G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney elected where it belongs, that is, onto the people who actually voted for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney at the polls. The elections of 2000 and 2004 were both the Democrats to lose. And, they lost them both. The reality of the Democratic Party's electoral losses are compounded by its inability to accept responsibility for them. Democrats prefer the blindness of hatred over the reality of their own failures. It was not Ralph Nader's fault that 62,040,606 people voted for Bush and Cheney in 2004. But, damn you Ralph, anyway!
I have some advice for liberal, "progressive", Democrats. Stop blaming Ralph Nader for John Kerry's crappy performance at the 2004 polls. Stop blaming third parties. Stop blaming the people who voted in step with their conscience for 3rd parties. Stop blaming people who did not vote, believing that elections are fixed or manipulated by big money. They are. Start working for democracy instead! Imagine! The educated, wealthy, well-healed, Heinz ketchup fortune, two-time Purple Heart recipient, candidate John Kerry, was unable to defeat a candidate who stumbled over his own words, and who could not prove participating in his military service. John Kerry lost to a candidate that had his inept lines supposedly pumped into his ear via a hidden radio device during the "debates". Way to go John! I am sorry, but I have no sympathy for liberal, "progressive", Democrats whose candidates do not enthuse and whose ideas are much like their opponent. Ralph Nader was not the problem in the 2000 election. It was Al Gore who won the election and then rolled over and played dead, and the Democratic Party played dead along with him for seven years. Ralph Nader was not the problem in 2004 either. John Kerry was. And Ralph Nader is not the problem now. The problem was, and is, the Democratic Party, and its candidates, like John Kerry, who try to out-Bush George Bush. John Kerry voted for the Iraq war. That makes him no better than his opponent. John Kerry turned his back on his antiwar veteran comrades. He smote his buddies, the Winter Soldiers, in an attempt to win the election. Shame on you John. Democrats prefer practicality, and it doesn't matter much if it comes in the form of betrayal. How does such betrayal make John Kerry any different than George W. Bush? Brian S. Willson states it clearly in his "
Dear John" letter to John Kerry. See: See also a pictorial comparison of Kerry and Bush at my website. And the Democrats will do it again with Hillary Clinton in 2008.

That's the visitor's highlight. I have never maintained that Ralph Nader cost Gore (or Kerry) the election. On Wednesday, in fact, Elaine tackled this topic (with a similar postition to that of the highlight) in "This isn't finished but Blogger's about to go down" and noted that she was writing our position on Nader and 2000. Due to blogging problems, Elaine wasn't able to include all the links she had intended so Rebecca went and did the links for her last night. Rebecca added a few notes to that including this:

rebecca note: i'm adding links for elaine and a comment near the bottom, but i did speak to c.i. and was told there was no disagreement with the 2000 comments and 'in fact, no disagreement with anything elaine's written. it's a great entry.'

Nader has a right to run anytime he wants. Anyone has a right to run. I wouldn't vote for Paul Hackett but when he stepped out of his race recently, I said he should get back in. He should. Votes don't belong to anyone. A real election is appealing to voters, speaking to them. I have some friends who voted for Nader in 2000 and, were you to ask them, if they've guilted over their vote, I've pointed out two things, one, forget the guilt for practical reasons because they were in states that Gore carried and, two, they voted for who they believed was the better (or best) choice. The second reason is what an election is supposed to be. Advocating someone drop out of a race isn't something I support. I didn't support it when there was an attitude of a race belonging to Ferraro in the nineties (I thought Elizabeth Holtzman was the better candidate) and I don't support it in principle. If someone thinks they can do the job, they should run for office. And, if they're in a primary or a general election, they shouldn't be shamed out of it or told their candidacy makes no difference. Dennis Kucinich, to cite one example, didn't prevent the press from covering John Kerry. The press had already stopped covering Kucinich at the point that they attempted to shame him into stepping out.

An office doesn't belong to any one person. It belongs to the people and the people should be able to pick whom they want to vote for. There were people in 2004 who felt that Nader shouldn't run and I understood why they felt that way. It wasn't a position I supported. Nor did I support the notion that the primary field in the Democratic Party needed to be 'cleared.' People should have a wide variety of choices and be able to make their own selections. That's democracy.

I'm not mad at the visitor who wrote and wish I had time to write him back this morning (I don't). Hopefully, he'll see that we did highlight his suggestion. But in terms of assuming that this site is out to praise Democrats and to bash Nader (or any third candidate), he's incorrect. We don't usually highlight many suggestions from visitors because we have enough from members that we never get around to. But if there's a misconception on this issue, it needs to be dealt with. Bill endorsed a Green candidate for Senate last night. It was noted. I'm not using this space to endorse anyone but members can. Democrat Feingold's been endorsed by a member. Kevin Zeese (an independent candidate) has been endorsed by a member and Chris Lugo was endorsed last night (Green Party). Members can endorse whomever they want and if they want it noted it will go up. If Nader wants to run in 2008, he should run. We need more choices in a democracy, not less. "Safe elections" will probably lead to more compromising on the part of candidates and that's the last thing we need. (Many members argue there's no great difference between the two largest parties as it is.)

So I hope that clears it up. There are a lot of attacks on people who don't vote for either of the two largest parties (or don't vote for them consistently in some cases) and that's silly. My vote doesn't belong to anyone but me, your vote doesn't belong to anyone but you. No candidate should ever campaign assuming that they're entitled to votes, they need to fight for them. (And fight for them publicly, another problem in our current system.)

Today's scheduled topic for Democracy Now!:

* Veteran war correspondent Robert Fisk joins us in our firehouse studio.

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