Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Democracy Now: Krugman, soldiers accused of rape; Big Brass Blog, wotisitgood4, Tom Hayden, Iddybud, Why Are We Back in Iraq, Daily Howler

Democracy Now! "always worth watching" (Marcia).

Headlines for March 29, 2005
- Up to 2,000 Die In Indonesian Earthquake
- Ex-Diplomats Criticize Bolton As UN Ambassador Pick
- Soldier Sentenced to 7 Months In Jail For Refusing Orders
- New Documents Show FBI Helped Saudis Leave Post 9/11
- Iraq Gov't Minister Warns Against Protests
- James Baker To Head Election Reform Commission
- McDonalds To Pay Rappers For Mentioning Big Macs

Pulling the Plug: Rep. Tom DeLay and Terri Schiavo's Dad Supported Their Own Parent's Right to Die
While the media has covered the Terri Schiavo case extensively over the past two weeks little coverage has been given to the history of two of the key players: Schiavo's father and Rep. Tom DeLay. Both men faced a similar dilemma years ago and both supported their parents right to die. We talk to reporters who broke these stories. [includes rush transcript]

U.S. Soldiers Accused Of Raping Iraqi Women Escape Prosecution
On International Women's Day, Guardian reporter Suzanne Goldenberg broke the story about how soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Brigade accused of rape were able to escape the charges. The soldiers were from the same military unit whose troops fired on the car carrying freed Italian hostage Giuliana Sgrena. [includes rush transcript]

"Social Security: Is It Really A Crisis?" A Debate w/ Paul Krugman, Michael Tanner, Josh Michah Marshall
We play excerpts from a recent debate on social security between New York Times columnist and Princeton economist Paul Krugman, Michael Tanner of the CATO Institute and Josh Micah Marshall of TalkingPointsMemo.com. [includes rush transcript]

Over at Big Brass Blog, Pam's addressing Paul Krugman's op-ed:

Paul Krugman has an excellent column in the NY Times today about the dangers of letting the religious right continue to strengthen their stranglehold on the government unfettered. Connecting the dots between Congress' intervention in the Schaivo case, "conscience legislation" (i.e. pharmacists legally able to refuse to fill prescriptions based on their religious beliefs), and the encroachment of religion into the public educational system, he isn't really saying anything that one hasn't been able to find on blogs such as this one for quite some time, but it’s a good sign (I think, I hope) that we're starting to see from people in positions like Krugman's a determination to quash this radical uprising before it gets completely out of control. The notion Krugman poses, that we're collectively wary to address the threat to our nation's future posed by the extremists within our own borders, goes back to what I wrote earlier in the month about the need for selective intolerance. Cloaked in the protective chain mail of their religion, Christian fundamentalists, and more importantly their political ideas and objectives, have become unassailable.
Any criticism of the increasingly voracious appetite of the religious right for power within and over the government is denounced as religious intolerance, irrespective of the source of the criticism; even other Christians, moderates and liberals alike, are held in contempt by their conservative counterparts, dismissed and vilified as "false" Christians--a denouncement the media is strangely willing to embrace as it fans the flames of this culture war, conjuring elaborate stories of Christmas-haters out of the thinnest of air, and inevitably juxtaposing the godly conservative Christians and the heartless, bah humbug secularists. If one only existed in the false reality of television news, one would never know there were plenty of Christians who respect the public sphere, and the non-Christians with whom they share it. So it becomes a Christian versus non-Christian (or, if you're watching Fox, anti-Christian) argument, a specious and likely deliberate misconstruing of reality; two sides indeed exist, but they are comprised of those who have respect for the public sphere and everyone who travels in it, and those who have no respect for anything but satiating their ravenous hunger for control.

Billie notes our friend Luke and his blog wotisitgood4 where he's addressing
a number of issues:

* xymph on the aipac thing. go read it. and the haaretz version
* amanda nails it: "It seems to me that there's an effort going on to convince Americans that the number of us that are Crazy Christians is bigger than it really is. But why?..... It's time to start asking--who benefits if Americans believe that half the country has joined the American Taliban?" i posted this in the comments:"blue folk (and rest of world): "how could bush possibly get re-elected?"karl rove: "we energised the xtian base"blue folk (and rest of world): "surely they arent all that stupid?"karl rove: "look at your tv""
* "Doctors or other health care providers could not be disciplined or sued if they refuse to treat gay patients under legislation passed Wednesday by the Michigan House... The bill allows health care workers to refuse service to anyone on moral, ethical or religious grounds." link
* josh notes a lovely example of nepotism amongst this crew who dont like nepotism in other countries (or in the
UN). as u know, i think its odd that they criticise others given say, the bush synasty, or powell or cheney or any of the other proud members of the meritocracy.
* the AEI is "not exactly singing Peter Tosh songs, but that's a pretty radically sane position to take."http://www.reason.com/hitandrun/2005/03/aehigh.shtmlshorter AEI: we cant fight no war on drugs, we've got a war on terror to fite. our prisons are too full with non-muslim terrorists.
* speaking of drug wars, heres one thing i dont understand. given that the pharma companies own congress (et al), why the whole anti-contraception thing? u'd think theyd love to be able to sell 'the pill' to say 25% of the population. they can get nearly every kid on ssris......*
speaking of drug wars: "Jesse Kearns blames the anthrax vaccines, pumped into his right arm over 14 months while he served in the navy, for leaving him saddled with the medical woes of a man three times his age."

In "STRATEGY FOR ENDING THE IRAQ WAR," Tom Hayden takes a look at where the anti-war movement is:

How can anti-war activists conditioned to street protests and confrontations make progress towards expanding public support for withdrawal from 25 to 50 percent? Films, debates, books and articles are part of the persuasion process. So are candidacies and campaigns like those in Vermont, because they require outreach to the uncommitted. Much depends on whether activist groups set organizational goals like doubling their membership.
If persuasion goes too slowly, the fate of public opinion will depend on the casualty rates and costs reported from the battlefield, as filtered through the Pentagon and the media. The Bush strategy is "Iraqization", which means putting an "Iraqi face" on the Baghdad governing process and the fighting. Bush is forced to do this because of evident opposition by the American public to continuing deaths of American soldiers, and the latent opposition to restoring the draft.
[. . .]
After the hoopla over the elections, the media is not reporting, and the anti-war movement is not demanding to know, the most important story perhaps since the fabricated tales of weapons of mass destruction. The US still may be manipulating the process is had designed for the Iraqi elections in order to prevent the emergence of a new regime offering to open peace talks with the insurgents in exchange a fixed timetable for US withdrawal.. In the absence of critical journalism, the evidence is hard to assemble, but the Times reported on the eve of the Jan. 30 elections that the projected winners would "almost certainly ask the United States to set a specific timetable for withdrawing its troops." (Jan. 19, 05) Indeed the dominant Shiite coalition promised voters they would press for such a timetable. Then two things happened that should concern all students of electoral fraud. First, the Shiite coalition fell short of the vote total it was projected to win, preventing them from organizing a new government. Second, the doors closed and the jockeying began, presumably with American direct or indirect participation, including all sorts of funding promises to future coalition officials. The chance for peace initiatives emerging as a result of the elections was lost. According to the Times and many others, the US wants any withdrawals to be based on "the military situation", which means the defeat of the insurgents at some unknown time in the future.
All this leads to one final observation to be pondered by those who are conflicted about whether the US should withdraw. They complain that the US needs an exit strategy, oblivious to the possibility that there is no exit strategy because the US has no intention whatever to withdraw from its planned outpost in the Middle East.

Hayden's summarzing where we are and where we need to be going. And on a similar note, community member Elaine has a post to share with the community. I've e-mailed her about the problems with blogger and she knows her post isn't being ignored. Fingers crossed, it will go up tonight.

Maggie notes that over at Iddybud, Jude's also dealing with where we are now:

Consider the words of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Slavador, who was killed 25 years ago. He gave his last homily on March 24, 1980 moments before a sharpshooter from a death-squad felled him, silencing his radical message of love. Two months earlier, Romero had written to U.S. President Jimmy Carter pleading with him to cease sending military aid to El Slavador because, he wrote, "it is being used to repress my people." The U.S. had sent $1.5 million in aid every day for 12 years. His letter went unheeded.
[. . .]
Oscar Romero was once a little boy like the one who may be sleeping warm and snug in your cribs or tiny beds tonight. Being a witness to unspeakable injustice changed his heart and gave him focus. He was a prophet who lived in our time.George W. Bush beats a mean drum when it comes to giving rhetorical lip service to Jesus, but he isn't going to be the one to save the world through his perverted politics. It's up to us - every one of us - to see that justice comes to the poor in the name of true liberation, regardless of their country of origin or their religion. They must be free to be the masters and protagonists of their own struggles. I am not ashamed to say that I am committed to bear the force of love, no matter how radical that idea may seem to you; no matter how hard it may be for your ears to hear or your eyes to see.

Lance notes Ron of Why Are We Back In Iraq?'s post entitled "Kenneth Blackwell's Confession:"

Last week, at a congressional hearing on the 2004 elections, Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell had this to say: "I confess: I’m a Republican. And with every other Republican elected to statewide office, I was an honorary co-chair of President Bush’s Ohio campaign. It was an honor – one shared by previous Ohio secretaries of state of both parties, in presidential elections – but it was one that carried no responsibilities."
No responsibilities.
"Blackwell, who said he was asked by Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman earlier this year to do "surrogate work" on gay marriage in Ohio...Blackwell stands by his statement to 1,500 state GOP leaders last month - in a letter written on "Blackwell for Governor" letterhead - that the amendment could help Bush carry Ohio and thus win the election. But that's a side benefit, he said." (
"Today, supporters of the amendment, known as Issue 1, will start a statewide radio ad campaign featuring Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell. "Ohio families are stronger with a wife and a husband," Blackwell says in one 60-second spot. "Our children do better with a mother and a father. That’s just common sense." The ads are paid for by Citizens for Community Values, a Cincinnati group that gathered the signatures to put the amendment on the ballot. President Phil Burress would not say how much the ads cost or what the group is spending on its ad campaign." (

My apologies to community member Don who lives in the Houston area and feels there wasn't enough attention given to the fact that an Un-embed the Media event was going on there tonight. I don't know everyone members location because I only know what you share (we don't track visitors at this site in any way). We have highlighted Portland and Dallas because members from those areas have included local news and observations in their e-mail. (We have a number of members in Dallas.) So when I hear of event involving Amy Goodman or anyone else in that area, I do attempt to post those more than once.

Don's e-mail came in an hour before he was leaving for the event and the event in Houston has started now. If there's an event in your area that you'd like us to note, please e-mail the site at common_ills@yahoo.com and we will get it barring any problems with Blogger.

The dates for the Un-Embed the Media tour have been posted before but we'll note them again now (and my apologies to Don -- I honestly didn't know we had a member in Houston and had the e-mail come in sooner and Blogger been working, I would have posted an individual entry on the event in Houston):
3/30: Washington D.C.
3/31: Los Angeles, CA
4/1: San Francisco, CA
4/1: San Francisco, CA
4/2: Portland, OR
4/2: Seattle, WA
4/4: Philadelphia, PA
4/5: Sarasota, FL
4/6: Huntington, NY
4/8: Boulder, CO
4/8: Denver, CO
4/9: Omaha, NE
4/9: Lincoln, NE
4/10: Boulder, CO
4/11: Salt Lake City, UT
4/12: Ogden, UT
4/13: New York, NY
4/14: Tempe, AZ
4/16: Santa Fe, NM
4/17: Taos, NM
4/20: West Hartford, CT
4/20: Fairfield, CT
4/21: Los Angeles, CA
4/22: Berkeley, CA
4/23: San Francisco, CA
4/23: Ashland, OR
4/17: Los Vegas, NV
4/23: Ashland, OR
4/24: Los Angeles, CA
4/29: Tucson, AZ
5/2: New York, NY
5/3: Portsmouth, NH
5/5: Bloomington, IN
5/6: Albuquerque, NM
5/13: St. Louis, MO
5/15: Winnipeg, MB
5/20: San Francisco, CA
5/21: Philadelphia, PA
5/28: Ashland, WI
5/29: Los Angeles, CA

Amy Goodman will be at every stop. I believe Juan Gonzalez will be as well but click on an event to check that and to find out what other people will belong. Exceptions to the Rulers (by Amy Goodman and her brother David Goodman) has just come out in paperback. I know the book's very popular with community members and those who have the money and may be buying a gift in the coming weeks, months, might want to consider making a gift of Exception to the Rulers. Un-Embed the Media is a tour to raise awareness of independent media, community and the issues you aren't hearing addressed in corporate media. If you're able to attend an event, you should know that community member Billie found Amy Goodman's talk in Dallas "practical and inspirational." You'll also be meeting others in your community who are interested in real news.

We'll close with Bob Somerby of The Daily Howler who's always worth reading and today is addressing faux liberals:

GEISHA BOYS: Why do "liberal spokesmen" have so little to say about the press corps' recent conduct? More specifically, why do so few of your "liberal spokesmen" discuss the press corps' trashing of Clinton, then Gore? The question popped into our minds again when we opened this morning's New York Times and found this lengthy op-ed piece by The New Republic's Noam Scheiber. (Warning: Do NOT attempt to read this piece while operating heavy machinery.) Weird, isn’t it? Though TNR simply crawls with fiery liberals, the journal had virtually nothing to say about the press corps' two-year War Against Gore--a war conducted by the Washington Post and the New York Times, a war which put George Bush in the White House. Our reaction? Whenever one of their bright young editors writes a piece for the Post or the Times, we find ourselves recalling this peculiar circumstance. Why didn't TNR describe the New York Times' actual conduct? Did puppy-dog editors have their own career prospects in mind as Campaign 2000 rolled on to conclusion? We don't have the slightest idea. But for young hustlers who want to write for the Times, the conflict of interest is obvious.
Of course, this is a very old story. In days of yore, young Hamlet railed against Dad's murder. But all around him, he saw a court determined to ignore what had happened. Weak-willed courtiers gazed away, gaining advantage from their silence. With that in mind, if you want to read young Schieber's piece, we’re fairly sure you know what to do: Drink a pot of steaming black coffee. Finish it off with a chaser of Jolt. Fortified thus, just click here.

If this posts (big "if" today), I will attempt to do more tonight; however, Rebecca's having problems with her posts and I'll be using the next hour or so to attempt to help her. Also note, she may or may not grab today's Howler to comment on since it deals with The New Republic.
Although it's already been posted, I'll throw out the e-mail address again: common_ills@yahoo.com per Shirley.