Friday, April 14, 2006

Other Items

Americans see illegal immigrants as using more public services than they pay for and want the government to do a better job of controlling the borders, but they favor legal status for current illegal immigrants under specific conditions, according to national polls released this week.

The above is from Marjorie Connelly's "In Polls, Illegal Immigrants Are Called Burden" in this morning's New York Times. Which doesn't tell you much of anything but it does demonstrate how the paper continues to portray the issue -- in the wide shot, from a distance. It was true of the demonstrations coverage, it's true of the undocumented workers coverage. Having never made any real effort to portray the undocumented workers, they're now happy to play "A poll says." Some call it reporting (others think of it as the equivalent to a junior high book report).

Cindy notes Juan Gonzalez' "Out From the Shadows" (New York Daily News via Common Dreams):

Jose Chicas had longed for this moment ever since 1982, when as a young man he fled the civil war in his native El Salvador and crossed illegally into California.
Over all those years of pickup construction jobs for low wages, Chicas kept dreaming that all hardworking immigrants like himself would one day step out of the shadows, cast off their fears of being deported and finally demand respect.
Yesterday afternoon, Chicas stood proudly on the back of a pickup truck watching his dream come true in the brilliant spring sunshine of lower Manhattan.
Around him were hundreds of fellow members from Local 79 of the Laborers' International Union, all signing in with Chicas for their union's contingent at the big immigrant rights rally at City Hall. He carefully distributed the union's bright orange T-shirts to each of them.
By 5 p.m., the throngs from the big City Hall rally stretched north along Broadway for more than 15 blocks, as police seemed surprised by the size of the turnout.
The torrent of chanting faces and flags stretched past Canal St., paralyzing rush-hour traffic in every direction.
The same scene was repeated all across America, as hundreds of thousands of janitors, hotel workers, gardeners, nannies and unskilled factory hands streamed into the streets of more than 100 cities.
Never -- not even at the height of the civil rights movement of the 1960s - has there been such an outpouring of our nation's huddled masses as during the past few weeks over this immigration debate.
Don't buy for a moment the nonsense that these protests don't matter, that all these marchers are illegal immigrants who can't vote so the politicians can simply ignore them.

Juan Gonzalez? Remember to listen, watch or read Democracy Now! today. Also note that the topic will be covered by Kris Welch on KPFA today (time given is Pacific):

12:00 pm
Living Room
The leaders of the Republican Party have awakened a giant: the massive, active movement of immigrants. Meanwhile, the Congress fiddles with immigration legislation, and more marches are coming.

Zach notes Robert Parry's "George W. Bush IS a Liar" (Consortium News) which continues the anti-Connelly nature of the other highlights:

The White House is taking umbrage over new press reports that George W. Bush misled the American people on a key justification for invading Iraq. But Bush's latest excuse -- that he was just an unwitting conveyor of bad information, not a willful purveyor of lies -- has been stretched thin by overuse.
Nevertheless, White House spokesman Scott McClellan lashed out at a Washington Post report that in May 2003, Bush described two Iraqi trailers as mobile biological weapons labs although two days earlier a Pentagon field investigation had debunked those suspicions in a report to Washington.
"The lead in the Washington Post left the impression for the reader that the President was saying something he knew at the time not to be true," McClellan said on
April 12, 2006. "That is absolutely false and it is irresponsible, and I don’t know how the Washington Post can defend something so irresponsible."
But the truth is that Bush has been caught, again and again, relying on lies and distortions to confuse the American people about the Iraq War. Sometimes, he can blame U.S. intelligence agencies for the false information, but other times, he simply lies about facts that he personally knows.
For instance, just weeks after Bush made his false statement about the bio-labs, he also began rewriting the history of the Iraq War to make his invasion seem more reasonable.

If you use the link and would like more, or if you prefer audio, as Rebecca noted in "flashpoints and indymedia," Robert Parry was a guest on yesterday's Flashpoints (audio available at the previous link or at the archives for KPFA or KPFT).

Charlie notes Margaret Kimberley's "McKinney, DeLay and Distraction" (Freedom Rider, The Black Commentator):

The corporate media and the American political system have a relationship that can only be described as corrupt. The media long ago rendered themselves incapable of informing the public of anything important or providing any meaningful analysis. They no longer even bother to hide their bias in favor of right wing politics and corporate interests.
The conflict of interest was made obvious when Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney became involved in an incident with a Capitol Hill police officer. At the same time, Republican House majority leader Tom DeLay, indicted for conspiracy and money laundering, announced that he would not run for re-election.

If Cynthia McKinney hadn't gotten into a shoving match with a cop, she would have to have been invented. The media would have had to tell us more about Katie Couric's move to CBS, celebrity gossip, or a runaway bride, anything to distract us from Republican criminality.
DeLay continued his snake-like ways until the very end. He stayed in a race he was likely to lose because campaign funds can also be used to pay for legal fees. Tom will have to pay plenty for his lawyers, hence the eleventh hour announcement that he was bowing out.

Also from The Black Commentator, and on the same topic, Carl notes Glen Ford and Peter Gamble's "The McKinney Affair:"

There are profound lessons to be learned from the ongoing travails of Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), under siege by white America at large, the leadership of her own party, and the chairman of her own caucus.
In the aftermath of McKinney’s run-in with a Capitol Hill police officer, we have witnessed an orgy of unadulterated defamation that is actually directed at Black women in general. In rejecting and denouncing McKinney's defense, her tormentors demonstrate that the very concept of racial profiling was never sincerely accepted among most white Americans, and that 9/11 is just an excuse for undoing decades of legal and political struggles against the abominable practice.
So virulent and shameless have been the attacks on McKinney -- spewing caricatures of the six-term lawmaker that reflect whites’ own hallucinatory visions of Black people -- it leads us to conclude that racists are conducting a kind of ritual, an exorcism to cast the "militant Black" out of the national polity, once and for all. Disgustingly, a number of Black voices have joined mob, in order to prove that they are reasonable and trustworthy Negroes who won’t intrude on white folks’ illusions of innocence.
Most distressingly, the McKinney affair dramatically demonstrates that the Congressional Black Caucus has been eviscerated as a body. The CBC is revealed as collectively gutless, devoid of any semblance of Black solidarity, without which it has no reason for being.

And we'll close out the highlights with the anti-Dexter Filkins, Brenda notes
David Enders' "Letter From Baghdad: The Growing Sectarian Divide" (The Nation):

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.

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