Monday, January 31, 2005

Voices that speak to you: Laura Flanders, Patrick Cockburn, Ruth Conniff, Bob Somerby, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Danny Schechter, Iddybud

Carl used the link in a post yesterday on John L. Hess to go to Seven Stories Press -- Seven Stories was linked in that because I was quoting from a Noam Chomsky book that they published.

While there, he found that not only does Seven Stories Press offer Hess's book My Times, they also offer some of the article Hess wrote and a review of My Times by the New York Press'
Alexander Zaitchik whom was quoted in yesterday's post writing about Hess's passing.

Will notes that Laura Flanders is a voice that speaks to him and sends in her "Did Democracy Come to Iraq?":

In all the discussion of Iraq's election this week, we've heard a lot of what you might call "democratic relativism." We know what we mean by democracy – Iraqis don’t have that, exactly, but they have something and they should be grateful for that, we're told.
. . .
I suspect that we mean by the term "democracy" isn't so different from what Iraqi men and women have in mind. It’s a process, not a moment and it's measured by the faith of the people involved, not statistics.
Genuine democracy hasn't yet been achieved right here. Did Democracy come to Iraq today? You tell me.

Brad cites Patrick Cockburn as a new voice he's recently come across and would like to share.
This is from CounterPunch's "But the Occupiers Will Remain in Power
A Victory for the Shia

The reason there was a poll yesterday was that the US, facing an increasingly intensive war against the five million Sunni, dared not provoke revolt by the 15 to 16 million Shia. The price the US paid was to have an election in which the Shia would show that they are a majority of Iraqis.
But will the election yesterday involve a real transfer of power to the Shia? Last June, Iraqi sovereignty was supposedly transferred to the US-appointed interim government of Iyad Allawi. The change was largely a mirage. The government still depends for its existence on the presence of 150,000 US troops.
The wall-to-wall media coverage of the election yesterday obscured several of the realities of political life in Iraq. The National Assembly now being elected will have limited powers. It is constituted so no single community can dominate the others. But, as in Lebanon, this may be a recipe for paralysis. The assembly must elect a president and two vice-presidents and they will in turn chose a prime minister and ministers. The successful candidate will be the person with the fewest enemies.

Terrence notes that Ruth Conniff is someone he's always felt "had a pretty solid grasp and an interesting style." Conniff writes for The Progressive and now is blogging at their web site every Monday. Here's an excerpt from her latest, "Citizen Stan":

Government pressure, spying, efforts to silence the press, ultimately failed in the Ellsberg case. And the rest is history.
Today it seems like the liberals, the campus radicals, the anti-war marchers won. But how close it was to being the other way around! If Stanley hadn't raised $50,000 from his Hollywood friends (he married Hollywood scion Betty Warner and the two live in L.A.) to keep the Ellsberg trial going, the defense would have had to fold and, Ellsberg says, the war would have gone on.
Neither Stanley nor Ellsberg started out as a radical. Both had establishment backgrounds. Both were smart, decent guys doing their jobs, until they were forever changed by a challenge to their conscience.
The whole atmosphere of that time is so similar to our current moment.

Marc e-mails: Bob, Bob, Bob! Don't forget Somerby!

Somerby did address John Kerry's appearence on Meet the Press in today's The Daily Howler

Hopeless! Leave it to the modern Dems -- to cite only the facts and figures which are least helpful to their position! In citing the year 2042, Kerry is using the projection of the SS trustees -- the gloomiest projection around! According to the CBO, SS is fine for an extra ten years. But Kerry uses the gloomier figures, omitting data which would help inform the public and would favor his party’s position. Senator Kennedy did the same thing on Face the Nation two weeks ago.
It's bad enough when journalists cite the trustees' figures without providing any context (see
THE DAILY HOWLER, 1/28/05). But the DNC message-machine is just hopeless. We wouldn't suggest that the Dems invent spin. But Kerry and Kennedy are boys against men when they insist on using the least helpful figures. Our judgment? To all appearances, this gang doesn't care. They'll only start to care when you make them.

Sally wanted to note Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation and The Nation's blog Editor's Cut.

From the blog, here's an excerpt (the topic is Howard Dean):

Exley--former director of organizing for, and former Dean and Kerry net mobilizer--describes a new kind of politics emerging and lays out a fascinating scenario for how the Democratic Party can build a vast, permanent field organization with the "New Grassroots" by leveraging email, the web and a little technology.
. . .
Dean gets what Exley is talking about. As he said about one of the central jobs facing the DNC, "In order to make good on the new empowerment, we have to genuinely give power to the states and grassroots. I believe in order to have power, you have to give up power." Power needs to come from the grassroots." Dean gets it. Exley gets it. Do the DNC's 447 delegates get it? We'll soon find out.

Maria said not to forget Danny Schechter and noted that his News Dissector blog has a new look. Here's an excerpt from Schechter's latest entry:

Democracy paid a visit to Iraq yesterday with the semblance (charade?) of a free and fair election featuring 111 different slates, and 7400 candidate who could barely campaign and were mostly unknown. 44 people died in violence. The absence of even more violence was taken for the presence of democracy. Can we believe the hype?
Sunday was the anniversary of the l968 Tet offensive. (Historical note: the US staged an election months earlier in South Vietnam, in September 1967, that was also deemed a big success by Washington at the time, a"breakthrough" for democracy.) Peter O'Neill notes another parallel in the San Franciso Chronicle. Yesterday marked the "33rd anniversary of a tragedy with disturbing parallels to those in Iraq – Bloody Sunday, when members of the British Parachute Regiment gunned down 14 unarmed civil-rights marchers in Derry, Northern Ireland."

Rob wanted to note the "incredible work" done at Iddybud and wanted this excerpt noted:

I oppose the confirmation of Alberto Gonzales for one main reason:I believe that a vote for the confirmation of Mr. Gonzales would be a vote to marginalize the slap to the face of the Rule of Law, in light of the Abu Ghraib 'torture memo'. It would be like saying that the torture just didn't matter, in the long run. The world is watching us from a distance, but the world is not such a large place these days. We have seen how the distance has closed in upon us. We remember the morning of September 11th, 2001. Let's show the world we still have a soul, even after what we faced on 9/11, as a nation of decent and civil people.