Monday, April 10, 2006

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Singing, chanting and waving placards and American flags, a sea of demonstrators — police estimates ran as high as 500,000 -- marched in downtown Dallas in the largest of the protests. Some 20,000 rallied in San Diego, 7,000 in Miami, and 4,000 each in Birmingham, Ala., and Boise, Idaho.
Thousands more gathered in Salem, Ore., and other cities in peaceful, forceful displays of support for the cause of immigrants.

The above is from Robert D. McFadden's "Across the U.S., Growing Rallies for Immigration" in this morning's New York Times and Amanda noted it and wanted the following noted:

Look at the photo with the article and you'll see what Billie was talking about last night. Look at the turnout! It's amazing. Think too about how long it's taken the paper to leave the halls of Congress and cover what was actually going on -- not predict, as they wrongly did last week, what would pass -- but what was happening in the country. Most of all, read the article and think about the information Billie passed on last night -- then see who gave you the better summary.

Here's the section from last night's entry that Amanda's speaking of for anyone who missed it:

Sidebar, bit of hope in the gloom, Billie reports that the crowd in Dallas today to protest the immigration law proposals was the largest Dallas had ever seen and that the police are estimating the number at between 250,000 and half a million. There was one arrest and there was also a police car that was hit . . . by a police van. The protesters were peaceful and she notes Domingo Garcia ("who is married to Dallas City Council person Elba Garcia") gave "a really impassioned speech." She'll be writing about that and other actions in the area for the gina & krista round-robin. She got a few pictures but says to note that Eddie was not present because he was covering neighboring Fort Worth's protests. The Dallas protest was downtown at City Hall and Billie says she's never seen so many people in one place. Gina and Krista would like to again make the focus of this Friday's round-robin on this activism going on around the country so if you have stories to share, please e-mail them. If you don't want to write up something, they're happy to interview members.

Eddie noted in an e-mail that Fort Worth's turnout wasn't as high as Dallas but that it was a large turnout. Protests will be going on today. Remember, if you attend one, let Gina and Krista know (you can write up something or they'll interview you) and if you don't but it's the topic at your workplace, campus, whatever, same deal goes. Dallas noted, in regards to the demonstration in Dallas, that the public transportation system was utilized by many to travel to downtown and there were waits for up to three hours after the demonstration ended as one train, one bus, after another had to repeatedly announce that it was full and could take no more riders. As Amanda says, look at the photo online of the turnout. (It's an ariel photo.) The turnout is huge for any area but especially for Dallas whose history is not noted for large demonstrations. In the sixties and early seventies, while Joan Baez crisscrossed the country raising awareness and entertaining with song, she never played in the Dallas area (includes Fort Worth). It wouldn't be until the eighties that she would perform there. (A point Billie and other members have made in e-mails.) While Austin did take part in the events around them during that period members in Dallas feel that the activism of that period largely passed the area by. So it is amazing that it was the location of the biggest turnout yesterday and that is has seen such strong activism. Members in that area are very excited (as they should be) by what they're seeing.

Again, events are taking place across the country and Brad notes Nancy Trejos and Aruna Jain
"Organizers Expect Crush for Immigrant Rights Rally: Up to 180,000 Protesters May Converge on Mall" (Washington Post):

In churches, shops and sidewalks across the Washington region yesterday, thousands of people bustled in preparation for a rally that immigration advocates say could be a pivotal moment for Latinos and other groups seeking to demonstrate their political clout.
Organizers of the National Day of Action for Immigrant Justice -- or La Marcha , as some volunteers are calling it -- said it could draw as many as 180,000 people to the Mall and hundreds of thousands more in nearly 100 cities nationwide.

If you're able to participate in your area, please do. See it with your own eyes. Amanda's correct that the mainstream media has been more interested in covering Congress than in showing readers what was actually going on around the nation. For things that shouldn't be believed, Martha notes Thomas E. Ricks' "Military Plays Up Role of Zarqawi: Jordanian Painted As Foreign Threat To Iraq's Stability" (Washington Post):

The U.S. military is conducting a propaganda campaign to magnify the role of the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to internal military documents and officers familiar with the program. The effort has raised his profile in a way that some military intelligence officials believe may have overstated his importance and helped the Bush administration tie the war to the organization responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The documents state that the U.S. campaign aims to turn Iraqis against Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian, by playing on their perceived dislike of foreigners. U.S. authorities claim some success with that effort, noting that some tribal Iraqi insurgents have attacked Zarqawi loyalists.

For the past two years, U.S. military leaders have been using Iraqi media and other outlets in Baghdad to publicize Zarqawi's role in the insurgency. The documents explicitly list the "U.S. Home Audience" as one of the targets of a broader propaganda campaign.

Also on Iraq, Cindy notes David Enders' "Letter From Baghdad: The Growing Sectarian Divide" (The Nation via Common Dreams):

The Imam Al-Ridha neighborhood in north Baghdad is one of the city's newest. Its houses have been hastily constructed of cinderblocks, and the streets are unpaved. There are fifty-five families here already, and more are on the way. At the entrance to the neighborhood a photo-mural depicts recent Shiite tragedies: the death of more than 1,000 people during a pilgrimage in 2005, the burial of martyrs during uprisings against the US military in 2004 and the end of the 1991 uprising against Saddam Hussein, with his military occupying a holy shrine.
The neighborhood itself is a testament to an event that is not depicted: All the families here have left their homes in other parts of central Iraq, fleeing escalating sectarian violence. "One of my neighbors, a Sunni, came to me and said, 'I advise you to leave this area,'" says Abu Ali, who left his home of fifteen years in Taji, about forty-five minutes north of the capital, for Imam Al-Ridha two months ago, after his brother was abducted.
The problems in Taji, a mixed city with a Sunni majority, began shortly after the US invasion. "We thought the American soldiers came here to protect us," Abu Ali says. "So when someone would plant a bomb or try to attack them, we would tell the Americans." Providing aid to the occupier quickly led to retribution from the Sunni resistance. But the violence has escalated since December's elections, and again following the destruction of the Shiite Askariya shrine in Samarra in February. In the past two months tens of thousands have fled.

A friend at Vanity Fair notes that Bill Keller and others are following the Washington Post's lead and this week will be participating in online Q&A's. The friend wonders if anyone will ask why when Hassan Fattah's "exclusive" was seen as an "exclusive" they couldn't credit Vanity Fair for the story they ran a year prior but when the "exclusive" exploded due to not being an "exclusive" they were happy to hide behind Vanity Fair and to distort what Vanity Fair did report? If you've forgotten this or missed it the first time, see "NYT: Can't own up to mistakes, be it the paper or Michael Gordon" which addresses war pornographer Michael Gordon and then walks through the "exclusive" that never was and that exploded in the paper's face.

In this morning's paper, Hassan M. Fattah's "Democracy in the Arab World, a U.S. Goal, Falters" can be seen as more of the same. He writes of democracy, not 'democracy.' He takes everyone at their word -- which is how ended up taken in by the man claiming to be the one in the hooded photo from Abu Ghraib. Democracy in the "Arab world"? A goal of the administration? You have to be a true believer or highly naive (or adjective of your choice) to believe at this late date that democracy, not chaos, was the aim of the administration in Iraq.

And the John Kerry proposal? Mia notes John Walsh's "Kerry Advocates Iraqization" (CounterPunch):

In the first place this is not a call for withdrawal, but for "Iraqization" of the conflict, the same strategy that failed in Vietnam and in the process cost so many lives, a strategy which Kerry decried at the time. Secondly, Kerry does not call for total withdrawal of troops but rather for "troops essential to finishing the job of training Iraqi forces" to remain behind. However, the distinction between combat forces and "training" forces is a tricky one. Are the U.S. forces that "accompany" the sad sack Iraqi forces combat troops? Or are they "training" forces? And it would seem that those training forces will require "enduring bases" to house them.
Kerry followed his op-ed by introducing a Senate Resolution revealingly entitled: "S. J. Res --. To provide for a strategy for successfully empowering a new unity government in Iraq." Whereas in his NYT piece, Kerry calls for two deadlines, the second to get "combat forces" out by year's end, the second deadline is missing in the resolution.

Remember that Democracy Now! broadcasts live from New Orleans today. (Listen, watch or read transcripts.) Sunday Ruth noted a broadcast later today that Rachel had passed on and Rachel asks if we can note it one more time, so from Ruth's Public Radio Report:

And Rachel e-mailed to note this Monday night program (air time is Eastern Standard Time) on WBAI:
SAMUEL BECKETT 100: A Special Presentation
Monday, April 10, from 9:00-11:00 pm:
Commemorate Beckett's centenary and the 50th anniversary of the American premiere of his masterpiece, Waiting for Godot, by listening to a special broadcast of the play featuring the original Broadway cast: Burt Lahr, E.G. Marshall, Alvin Epstein and Kurt Kasner. Hosted and with an introduction by Simon Loekle.

On WBAI, three members report that the streaming problems they had last week are no more and Liang notes that there are now several streaming options so if you had any problems listening live, please try the new streaming options. (Remember that Law and Disorder broadcasts a new episode today.)

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