Friday, May 05, 2006

Other Items (Matthew Rothschild on KPFA's The Morning Show this morning)

A former Marine security attaché who worked in the White House in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations pleaded guilty in federal court to passing top-secret information and documents to political opponents of the current Philippine government.
The former marine, Leandro Aragoncillo, 47, a naturalized American citizen who came to the United States from his native Philippines in 1983, also confessed that he had continued mining top-secret and classified material after leaving the Office of the Vice President in the White House in 2003. He took a job as an intelligence analyst for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2004.

The above, noted by Brenda, is from Ronald Smothers' "Former Marine Admits Passing Secret Documents" in this morning's New York Times. Not a whole lot in the paper this morning.

Trey notes David Cay Johnston's "Analysis of Tax Bill Finds More Benefits for the Rich:"

The tax cut bill that Senate and House leaders have generally agreed upon is expected to save Americans at the center of the income distribution an average of $20 each, according to estimates by the Tax Policy Center, a nonprofit research organization in Washington.
The top tenth of 1 percent, whose average income is $5.3 million, would save an average of $82,415. Those in the top group would see their tax bill cut 4.8 percent, while Americans at the center of the income distribution -- the middle fifth of taxpayers, who will earn an average of $36,000 this year -- could expect a 0.4 percent reduction in their tax bill, or about $20.
Those who make less than $75,000 -- which includes about 75 percent of all taxpayers -- would save, at most, $110 each. Those making more than $1 million would save, on average, almost $42,000.

I hadn't seen the article and thought I'd read it because Johnston (rumored to be among those trashed in Daniel Orkrant's upcoming "book" -- stringing together columns with a wrap around text) is a facts and figures person. I don't shy from dry and the paper really needs an article that amounts to something this morning. Look closely for it. It's on page C11. The business section. There's a pull quote that makes it look like it's larger than it is.

You have to wonder how long reporters for the paper are going to put up with the "briefer!" dictates? Does it really want to resemble USA Today in terms of layout and story length? At another time, Johnston's piece would have been twice the length and began on the front page (whether it continued in the main section or the business section). Today, they're really not interested in it. Johnston's a "name" for the paper. His reporting is noted, he's a best selling author. When even the "names" are treated this way, it may be time for readers to really start noticing the changes Keller's implementing.

As for the Okrent "book," we'll side with Johnston. There was nothing "public" about public editor Daniel Okrent's tenure. (Consider what he did to one reader, it truly could be called Enemy of the Public and no one would bat an eye.) A few e-mails have asked whether we'll review it at The Third Estate Sunday Review? The answer is no. Those are books worth highlighting and there's also another issue at play. If it's noted at all, between the two sites, it would be here. Although we might work up a nice parody of it at The Third Estate Sunday Review.

Remember that the gina & krista round-robin is in inboxes this morning. And Lucy wondered if Trina was posting this weekend? Yes. She plans to post Saturday. (She took last Saturday off, as did many, because we were all in NYC for the protest and march.) I should have noted that last night but forgot so thanks to Lucy for asking.

Also remember to listen, watch or read (transcripts of) Democracy Now! today. And an Amy Goodman event today:

* Amy Goodman in Davis, CA:
Fri, May 5
A Conversation About Guantanamo
Freeborn Hall, University of California, Davis
For more information: 530-752-1915
For Detailed Directions:
Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas
5211 Social Science and Humanities
University of California at Davis
Davis, CA 95616

Taking part in the event is Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights, et al). One of two events in that area today.

Lloyd notes Matthew Rothschild's "Impeachment Momentum Builds" (This Just In, The Progressive):

Slowly and steadily, the drive for the impeachment of George W. Bush is building.
Neil Young's song, "Impeach the President," has given the effort increasing visibility.
And a story in the
Boston Globe by Charlie Savage on April 30 showed just how necessary the impeachment drive is.
"President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with the Constitution," Savage wrote. Bush has done so by issuing so-called signing statements on "more than one out of every ten bills he has signed."
Administration spokesmen told Savage that Bush "will faithfully execute the law in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution."
But there's the rub.
It's not up to him to judge that.
It's up to the courts.
He is sworn to execute the laws, not to sit on them.
Fortunately, Americans all over the country are rising up against this imperial President.

The second event features Matthew Rothschild. Andrea Lewis of KPFA's The Morning Show will be the moderator/host. Details will be noted on The Morning Show on KPFA this morning. (Which airs from seven to nine a.m. Pacific time.) We'll note those details in today's next entry. (Will Durst will be there and it will be in Mill Valley, that's all I can think of right now.)

The New York Times offers a brief on Rumsfeld in the print edition, page A21, "National Briefing:"

RUMSFELD INTERRUPTED Prostestors repeatedly interrupted Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld during a speech in Atlanta. In a question-and-answer session, a former C.I.A. analyst, Ray McGovern, asked, "Why did you lie to get us into a war that caused these kind of casualties and was not necessary?" "I did not lie," Mr. Rumsfeld replied. Three other protestors were escorted away by secruity after interrupting the speech. (AP)

That's it, in full. Again, maybe they're working on a "news analysis" for this weekend?

Billie notes "Saber Rattling Over Iran" (The Nation):

In the run-up to the Iraq War, the Bush Administration proved remarkably adept at the art of "diplomacy" for war. Now the White House seems to be using the same game plan for Iran. It is exaggerating the threat Iran poses, is making demands that go beyond Iran's treaty obligations and is now pushing for a UN Security Council resolution that would impose sanctions and other punishments. The Administration has created a premature crisis that is distracting public attention from Iraq but is also stiffening Iran's defiance and maybe even accelerating its efforts to enrich uranium.
The White House strategy so far has played into the hands of Iran's radical regime. It is not clear how much power President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad actually has. But the Administration's threats against Iran--including talk of "regime change" and its refusal to rule out using tactical nuclear weapons--have helped Ahmadinejad distract attention from his broken economic promises and have bolstered his sagging popularity. The leaders of both countries seem to be pursuing, for their own political and ideological purposes, a reckless game of chicken that could end in disaster not only for the two countries but for the Persian Gulf region, perhaps even the world.
Some Democrats may be tempted to run to the right of Bush on the issue of Iran's nuclear program. If they do, they will only deepen the unfolding crisis and make it hard to resist a future White House request to Congress for the authority to use force. The better strategy would be to return the question of Iran's nuclear program to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and to engage Iran in regional diplomacy to prevent a widening civil war in Iraq. Engaging Iran would not be an endorsement of its regime but would appeal to its interest in bringing more stability to the region. There are three reasons for pursuing this diplomatic approach.

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