Kara e-mails that she finished reading The Third Estate Sunday Review and "after reading The Watchdog as Lapdog I was hoping you could do a blog report today."
I can't. I don't presume to know a great deal about blogs. I'm sorry. But what I can do is a "Link Report." So here's some of what's going on at the various links we have up.
In their TV section, The Third Estate Sunday Review, focuses on Will & Grace:
But before the "How will we live without Raymond?" craze gets started by the media, we thought we'd take a moment to mourn the passing of another show: Will & Grace.
What? you gasp.
No, it's cancellation hasn't been announced. It'll probably be back next year. But if NBC doesn't get their sh*t together quick, the show's dead. The life and novelty has long gone out of The Apprentice and Joey was D.O.A. Will & Grace is dragged down by both and reality shows and comedy do mix easily on the same night.
Over at BuzzFlash, there are many wonderful things as always. We'll highlight this BuzzFlash contribution from Cindy Sheehan whose son (Spc Casey Austin Sheehan) died in Iraq. Ms. Sheehan was ready to address the issue of what Iraq's election did or didn't mean but she
found herself bumped from Larry King's CNN show last night as the focus shifted instead to the very "pressing" "news" of the Michael Jackson case:
I would have asked Mr. King if he would want to sacrifice one of his children for sham elections in Iraq. Would he or George Bush send their children to be killed, or maimed for life, for a series of lies, mistakes and miscalculations? Now that every lie has been exposed to the light for the invasion and occupation of Iraq -- why are our sons and daughters still there? NOT ONE MORE DROP OF BLOOD SHOULD BE SPILLED FOR THIS PACK OF LIES.
We'll also note something BuzzFlash links to regarding MoveOn.org and Danny Schechter because, as noted before, I've met Schechter and because we added MoveOn.org to our links yesterday.
Danny Schecter: Time for MoveOn to Move On? (BuzzFlash is Not Taking a Position on the MoveOn Discussion. We are Just Posting Both Perspectives Because of the Interest of Our Readers.) 2/3
That's BuzzFlash's headline. Like BuzzFlash, we're not taking sides here. WMD is an amazing movie. I've seen it, I've heard the discussions it inspires. It's an important film.
Schechter wonders whether the lack of backing for WMD is the result of a reluctance to take on the mainstream media. That's a good question. But not just for MoveOn, for all the organizations.
Danny's point (and I'm calling him "Danny" because I'm getting tired of checking my spelling repeatedly) is valid -- Fox "News" is not the only problem. They broadcast factually challenged op-eds masquerading as news. Fox "News" needed to be addressed and Outfoxed did that. (And I can point to six people who saw Outfoxed and had their eyes opened when my comments alone didn't open their eyes.) However, as the first entry on this site each morning usually points out over and over, the New York Times has problems that need to be addressed.
Member comments repeatedly point that as well and often note other media that's not getting the story right for some reason. (For a recent example, see "The Times pushes Operation Happy Talk" for criticism of the Times and of broadcast news from the three major networks that members cite as faulty.)
The problem is not "just" Fox "News." On the second day of blogging, there was an entry entitled "Christmas In My Soul" that noted ten films that myself and five friends thought would make great holiday gifts. Robert Greenwald (director of Outfoxed) made the list with Unconstitutional (a great film). Another documentary that made the list was Orwell Rolls in His Grave. That DVD is not widely available (BuzzFlash is the exclusive distributor) but
of all the e-mails to this site on books, movies or albums, the most impassioned e-mail reviews have been on that film. It's got a life of it's own.
People pass that film around (and hopefully purchase it as well) (by passing around, I do not mean burning copies, I mean showing it to their friends) and it is making an impression. Danny's WMD is also making that kind of impression.
With or without promotion from organizations or groups, it will have an impact the same way that Orwell Rolls in His Grave has (and is having) an impact. The same way that The Control Room has a lasting impact on those who see it. (We'll continue to promote WMD at this site.)
I'm not going to take sides here. But it is my personal opinion that WMD would reach and speak to members of MoveOn.org and that it would be beneficial for the dialogue we need to have regarding the media if they promoted it. But if they feel they have other issues to promote and press, that's their right. We don't work off of talking points here and MoveOn doesn't have to toe anyone else's line either.
But the question Danny's raising is valid: Are we prepared to criticize all media or just the Fox "News" types (e.g. Fox "News," Rush Limbaugh, et al.)?
If you'd like to weigh in on this topic, the e-mail address is email@example.com; otherwise, we've noted it and we're moving on. (We will continue to spotlight WMD. Maria, please remind me to do so because I do get distracted.)
[A note on BuzzFlash premiums. Dallas e-mails that they waited for the NCR CDs BuzzFlash was offering due to recovering from holiday spending -- waited too long because NCR is no longer available as a BuzzFlash premium. Orwell Rolls in His Grave is still available and so is Outfoxed. If you've been thinking of purchasing either, you might want to do so soon because the premiums offered change frequently.]
Democracy Now! is the best hour of broadcast news (the only hour?) in the country. Hardhitting and reality-based, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez anchor a show that will inform you better than the New York Times or any television broadcast.
We've made a point to highlight that show. We, not just me. I do post their summaries and links for each show, Monday through Friday; however, members e-mail in all the time requesting that we highlight some segment of the show because Democracy Now! was the only news outlet they heard addressing that story or issue.
This week alone, we saw Monday's episode focus on Iraq and what the elections meant or didn't mean in a way that far exceeded the multitude of stories that the Times has run on the subject.
Tuesday, we saw (or heard, or read) an amazing interview with Gareth Peirce regarding the British detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, and Rob's already weighed in about how refreshing the debate on the Sudan that aired today was ("a real discussion, not a sound byte, not a parrot the standard line, an honest to God debate").
At Iraq Dispatches, Dahr Jamail continues to report hard hitting, on the ground stories that you won't find if you never venture out of the Green Zone. From today's report:
He writhes in pain, moaning with every other breath. The Iraqi police colonel's chest is covered in bandages, his legs from the knees down nearly completely hidden from view due to thick bandages holding what is left of his shins together.
"We gave him first aid and requested a transfer because we don't have any specialists left," Dr. Aisha tells me, her name changed as requested since doctors are now technically forbidden to talk to the media or allow them to take photos in Iraqi hospitals unless granted permission from the Ministry of Health and its US-advisor.
And even then we are only allowed to talk with "spokespeople" at select hospitals.
Yarmouk would certainly not be on the top of their list of hospitals for the press to visit, as being one of Baghdad’s larger and busiest hospitals and located in the middle of the capital city the majority of casualties are brought here.
Did you read about that in the Times? I didn't.
While noting Dahr Jamail's hard work, I want to note something he's working on. If you don't have anything to give, don't worry, there's no attempt to guilt trip. But if you can give something (a dollar, five, whatever):
*Date:* February 10th-13th, 2005*Location:* Rome, Italy*Details*:
Dahr Jamail will be presenting at the next session of the World Tribunal on Iraq: Media Wrongs Against Truth and Humanity - Exposing the Politics of Disinformation.
For more information visit http://www.worldtribunal.org/Events/rome.htm
*In order for the tribunal to be able to afford to bring more Iraqi witnesses, I volunteered to cover my own expenses there.
**Thus, I am appealing for donations to support this important endeavor.
**In addition, I am hoping to collect enough donations to cover the expenses, including the flight, for one of the Iraqi witnesses who has been invited to present at this very important tribunal.
. . .
*You can click here if you wish to donate to this cause:
Over at the always enjoyable Ms. Musing, many issues are always being discussed. Members are always mentioning Gloria Steinem so I'm going to post the item on Steinem:
USA Today has a nice piece about Gloria Steinem's ongoing commitment to multiple causes and the busy schedule she keeps at age 70 (she’ll be 71 March 25). A big deal is made about her looks -- even Le Tigre's Kathleen Hannah says, "Maybe it's sexist to talk about what she looks like, but, Jesus, she's a fox," then adds, "I think part of that comes from keeping things interesting in your life and still having this glow about you."
It's a neat way of recognizing true beauty, which the piece ultimately does as well.
There are plenty of great quotes from Steinem, including this response to criticism from Ann Coulter: "If Ann Coulter said anything positive about me, I'd know I was doing something very wrong."
Naomi Klein's (No Logo) latest feature is an interview with AlterNet:
[Lakshmi Chaudhry] So the answer is not to beat the Republicans at their game but counter it with something real.
[Naomi Klein] When you have genuine conviction standing next to extremely expert and successful marketing, it exposes the latter as marketing. Whereas when you have bad marketing next to expert marketing, it actually makes the other person look good. The more Kerry tried to be a third-rate John Wayne, the more believable Bush looked as John Wayne.
You've also taken on the Kerry campaign for their failure to tackle Iraq. How did that play to the GOP's advantage?
Karl Rove understood that if he wanted to galvanize his base, he should make sure they could vote for the things that stirred the strongest passions — which in his analysis were abortion and gay marriage. The Kerry campaign took the exact opposite approach. They felt that the best strategy was to muzzle their base on the issue that they cared most passionately: the war in Iraq. And the campaign so took for granted their loyalty that they ran a pro-war campaign.
Another part of the failure has to do with the way you answer the language of faith. You don't answer the language of faith with the language of more effective bureaucracy, which is the image that John Kerry's campaign presented: more effective administrators, more effective bureaucrats of war. You have to answer the language of faith with the language of morality. You can speak in powerful moral terms about the violence of war and the violence of an economic system that's excluding ever more people.
That didn't happen because there were no policies in the Kerry campaign that coincided with that language of morality. These were policies such as a withdrawal from Iraq, an end to the violence, and serious economic alternatives at home, which weren't on the table either. The campaign, in essence, tinkered with the Bush agenda, along with a message that they were more credible than Bush.
At The Daily Howler, Bob Somerby continues to address the realities of social securities (he and Paul Krugman have done excellent work refuting myths and lies). Today, he notes:
It’s almost impossible to fathom the total incompetence found in this disgraceful report. Indeed, CBS seems unwilling to report on Social Security without dragging some deluded 20-something on the air (links below). But then, most of the CBS staff seems to fit in this category too. "Trish Regan, thank you so much," the scrub-faced Mitchell pleasantly said as his helpless correspondent concluded. Mitchell and Regan looked good on the air. They also committed malpractice.
In any industry that actually mattered, incompetence like this would not be accepted. Regan and Mitchell would be out the door fast, so fast that they wouldn't have time to say good-by to their make-up, wardrobe, hair and nails people. But CBS has routinely bungled this topic, and there's no sign the network intends to stop. And oh yes—all over the country, citizens hear about this net's "liberal bias." Major scribes don’t voice a word of dissent. Next week, a key question: Why is that?
Over at Science And Politics, many issues are being addressed. Here's my own personal favorite from Friday:
The Election 2004 brought a new awareness of the way Republicans invested billions of dollars into think-tanks in which the only thinking that is going on is thinking up the deceptive language for swindling the electorate to buy into the Reverse Robin Hood economics and Medieval ideology. The response on the Left is that liberal think-tanks are needed to counter this effort (with an added bonus that the language need to reflect the actual truth), for instance the Rockridge Institute.
Now, Mike the Mad Biologist writes:
What we need to do is get some private money and fund an institute, "The Institute for the Study of Evolution", whose purpose is to publicize evolution and attack creationism and ID. With luck, there would also be national and state lobbying arms, as well as educational outreach and 'rapid reaction teams.'
I agree, but most scientists want to do the science and not waste time on fighting the old tired meaningless ideological battles all over again.
At Interesting Times, Chris is addressing the statements Adam Nagourney quoted from Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in today's paper (also check out the comments to the post):
I am a big fan of both Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, especially Reid, who has done a remarkable job of stiffening the spine of the Senate Democratic Caucus in both the Gonzalez and Social Security Fights. But this kind of behavior is just childish
At Why Are We Back In Iraq?, Ron's delving into the Bully Boy's past:
On October 23, 2004 Meg Laughlin wrote an article for the Philadelphia Inquirer entitled "Some Dispute Bush’s Account of ’73 Charity Work." Some former associates of White, who died in 1988, speaking on the record for the first time, say that Bush wasn't helping to run the program but was instead a volunteer, and that White hadn't asked Bush to come aboard. Instead, the associates said, White told them he agreed to take Bush on as a favor to Bush's father, who was honorary cochairman of the program at the time. They say White, a tight end for the Houston Oilers in the '60s, told them Bush had gotten into some kind of trouble, but White never gave them specifics."
Meg cites more than three sources to back up her claims, five to be exact. But there is one person quoted in the article defending George W. Bush. That person, yet again, is Ernie Ladd: "Ladd says Bush was "an excellent bridge for the kids." "He connected them to the white community on a level they could understand," said Ladd, who's now a minister in Louisiana.”
NOW is highlighting the passing of Tobi Hale:
NOW lost a national board member and a passionate activist when Tobi Hale passed away on Jan. 24. In addition to the national board, Hale was serving as NOW's South Central regional director, the Colorado state coordinator and the Estes Park NOW chapter coordinator. NOW members across the country are deeply saddened to lose our friend Tobi, who was only 55, so early in such a vibrant life.
Tobi Hale is remembered for her exuberant sense of humor and optimism, her dedication to women's rights, and her lovable service dog, Sapphie, who was always by her side.
Hale was a social worker by profession, a dedicated organizer and an early believer in computer/Internet activism. An out lesbian who used a wheelchair and was legally blind, Hale strongly advocated on behalf of lesbian rights and disability rights, as well as issues relating to health, poverty and rural women. She challenged the world at large, and those within the feminist movement, to break down the barriers that hold women back.
In These Times has many strong articles online but we'll highlight Salim Muwakkil's "The Persistent Taint" which opens:
This is the time of year when the subject of race is almost mandatory for a black commentator. The period between King Day in late January and the public recognition of February as Black History Month offers an opportunity to obsess on race without guilt.
I’m tempted to skip the subject, just to confound expectations. But the topic is too serious.
Many white Americans already are convinced the problem of anti-black racism is a relic. The Republican Party encourages this belief because it opposes, on principle, the kinds of compensatory programs needed to mitigate the consequences of racism.
Folding Star at A Winding Road did a great post on the historical demography of the Senate and yestereday addressed Alberto Gonzales and the filibuster:
Gonzales is not alone in being responsible for the horrors that American soldiers visited upon detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan, and at Guantanamo Bay. But his role in what happened was a prominent one, and one in which his words were committed to paper in the now infamous memo. And Gonzales is the only one involved who is at this moment being held up to judgment by debate and a vote in the United States Senate.
The Democrats should be Filibustering this vote. If Reid is correct that only 30 will vote against him (and one wonders where Reid's vote will fall?), it would appear that they don't have the numbers to sustain a filibuster. More than 5 Democrats are willing to vote yes to install this man at the Justice Department, so I' m sure more than 5 would join the Republicans to break any Filibuster.
The good news is that Reid is still pledging to filibuster certain Judicial nominations when the time comes. Of course, that may well lead the hypocritical Republicans to do away with the ability of the minority party to filibuster at all. The Republicans used the filibuster plenty of times against Bill Clinton's nominees, and for them to try and do away with it signals quite clearly that they're short sighted fools who think they'll always be in the Majority.
Today, Folding Star weighs in on Senator Dick Durbin.
Rebecca at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude tackles social security for those confused by the numbers:
it's more nonsense from the bully boy who thinks if he scares enough we'll ignore reality and march in lock step with him while pleading 'save us, save us.'
reality is all around you. use your own eyes tomorrow. if you need more than that, ask around. talk to people who's lives have been lifted and are lifted by social security. you might find out 1 of your best friends depended on social security because she lost her father before she was 10.
you might find out that a neighbor who's struggling to make the increased fuel payment in this cold winter is barely getting by but wouldn't even be making it without social security.
the bully boy is using scare tactics. as usual. and when people are scared, they don't think clearly. so take a breath and look around.
sherry says that all the facts and figures tend to overwhelm her. that happens with a lot of people. so if all the talk of numbers is just confusing you, find real life examples in your area. it's not hard to do. this is a successful program that has helped many and it is a necessary program.
he lied us into war and now he wants to lie us into extreme poverty in our old age. remember that. and do what the mainstream media won't do for you, put a face on the issue so that it's not just numbers but actually has meaning to you.
The NAACP had their statement in response to the IRS posted:
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is refusing to comply with an Internal Revenue Service request for documents as part of its investigation into alleged improper political bias by the nation's largest civil rights organization.
According to the IRS, the NAACP's tax exempt status is being challenged because NAACP Chairman of the Board Julian Bond allegedly made politically partisan remarks while speaking at the NAACP National Convention last July. The NAACP has rejected the IRS’s premise that Bond’s speech constituted prohibited campaign intervention.
In a letter to the IRS, the NAACP said that Bond’s comments "were consistent with the organization's long-standing practice of advocating positions in the interest of minorities in the United States without regard to election cycles." Moreover, Angela Ciccolo, NAACP Interim General Counsel, pointed out that Bond criticized both political parties at points in his speech and both presidential candidates were invited to address the annual convention held in Philadelphia last summer.
. . .
NAACP Interim President and CEO Dennis Hayes said: "The IRS assault was clearly motivated by partisan politics and intended to divert us from the traditional impartial voter registration and get-out-the-vote activities we've carried on for almost 100 years." He noted that the IRS investigation was announced one month before the 2004 election, far in advance of the due date for federal tax filings, and rests on an IRS provision under which the agency has no legal ability to conduct an examination based on Bond’s speech.
MoveOn.org is has links for you to take action on a number of issues (social security, Alberto Gonzales, and tsunami relief among others) but I want to highlight this post on their victories
-- here are the top two:
CA Law Requires Voter-Verified Paper Ballots
Your phone calls had a real impact: Now, beginning in 2006, California voters will be able to verify our votes on secure paper ballots that can be counted, and re-counted if necessary. Our elections will be protected from electronic tampering, failure, and fraud.
Victory on Overtime Pay Vote
MoveOn members asked their Representatives in Washington to stop a proposal to take away overtime pay from 6 million Americans. Thanks to your calls, the House of Representatives passed the Obey-Miller amendment to protect overtime, 223-193. Overtime isn’t safe yet, but we sent a strong message of public support.
The ACLU also has a number of take action opportunities but I'm going to highlight their post on Michael Chertoff's civil liberties record:
The 9/11 Detainees
Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, the FBI launched the most extensive criminal investigation in American history, called "PENTTBOM," an acronym for the Pentagon-Twin Towers-Bombing. One of the government’s investigative tactics, formulated at the highest levels of the Department of Justice,[i] involved the aggressive, pretextual detention of persons of interest to the investigation.[ii]
Of all the civil liberties infringements since 9/11, including the Patriot Act and other highly visible controversies, the events surrounding the PENTTBOM investigation detentions are the most detailed and documented. Author and journalist Stephen Brill, moreover, reported that Chertoff was given primary authority over these detentions, and "would make all decisions on who was released and even who was held in solitary."[iii] Brill names former INS Commissioner James Ziglar as a source, along with two people who were in a series of meetings with Attorney General John Ashcroft, Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson and Chertoff.[iv]
This is obviously a key topic for further Senate inquiry. To that end, it is worth summarizing the findings of the 198-page June 2003 DOJ inspector general report, which examined the detention controversy in great detail.
The Origins of the Detainee Roundup
According to the inspector general’s report, almost 1,200 citizens and non-citizens were detained and questioned in the two months following the attacks. DOJ used a variety of legal authorities to justify these detentions, including material witness warrants (discussed in more detail below) and criminal charges. Most non-citizens, however, were held for civil immigrations violations. In total, according to the report, 762 male immigration detainees were placed on an "INS Custody List" in the 11 months after the attacks.[v]
Notably, because immigration charges are civil, not criminal, the detainees were not entitled to government-appointed counsel.
None were ever charged with a terrorism-related crime.[vi]
The vast majority of these 762 men were Middle Eastern, South Asian or North African; close to half were from Pakistan or Egypt.[vii] Most were detained in New York and New Jersey,[viii] by FBI-led terrorism task forces following up leads that were often "quite general in nature."[ix]
An FBI agent interviewed by the IG’s office, for instance, said that as a matter of policy any person with an immigration violation who was in the company of an individual identified in a lead would be taken into custody.[x] Also, aside from such wrong-place-at-wrong-time arrestees, the individualized leads that prompted detention as a "September 11 detainee" were also frequently vague and indeterminate. For instance:
One detainee was taken into custody after he mentioned in casual conversation with a tipster that he would like to learn how to fly an airplane.[xi]
Three Middle Eastern men were held as 9/11 detainees even though their employer verified that building plans discovered by the police in their car were there because they were working on a construction crew at a school.[xii]
A Muslim man in his 40s was held as a 9/11 detainee because an acquaintance wrote a letter to law enforcement saying the man had made "very general," "anti-American" comments.[xiii]
Several others were taken into custody on tips that they were Arabs or Muslims keeping odd schedules.[xiv]
CodePink has much to check out on their home page but I'm going to highlight an upcoming event for March:
March 19-20 marks the two-year anniversary of the U.S. bombing and invasion of Iraq. After all of the death and destruction and with the Bush administration claiming a mandate to continue their war, there's a new urgency and a stronger determination within the global antiwar movement to bring the troops home now.
CODEPINK will organize vigils, rallies, marches and nonviolent civil disobedience throughout the country to call an end to the needless suffering, devastation, and loss of life. Help us let the Bush administration know loud and clear the world’s mandate has been and continues to be one of peace.
. . .
Less well-known is the fact that Fayetteville is also home to a growing base of anti-war activists and organizations. They are military folks, veterans, families of active-duty soldiers and veterans, students, workers, housewives, clergy, educators, and all are part of a vibrant, and growing, statewide network. They stand firm in the knowledge that organizing in Fayetteville is a key to bringing the troops home from Iraq. We hope those of you with the means will make this action your priority.More info go to to www.unitedforpeace.org and www.ncpeacejustice.org/.
[Note: These were listed in the order they appear -- top to bottom -- on the link list. Next time, we'll go bottom to top.]
[Note: This post has been corrected to add a link to Cindy Sheehan's BuzzFlash commentary.]