Saturday, May 28, 2005

Laura Flanders interview with Martin Mubanga, "What Really Happened at Guantanamo Bay?"

From the "about the show" page for Air America's The Laura Flanders Show:

In his first interview with the US media, freed Guantanamo Bay detainee, Martin Mubanga tells Laura Flanders 'What Really Happened at Guantanamo Bay'. Read the article, or LISTEN to the interview, first broadcast on The Laura Flanders Show on Sunday, May 22, 2005.

The article "What Really Happened at Guantanamo Bay?" is posted at AlterNet. Here's an excerpt:

Laura Flanders: Did Newsweek lie about abuse of the Qu'ran? What did you see?
Martin Mubanga: From my own personal experience and from what I know of what occurs in Guantanamo Bay, this is actually an ongoing thing for the past three years, so we don't need Newsweek to corroborate or substantiate these accusations. We who have been in Guantanamo Bay know that these and other things occur in degradation of our religion.
You described a situation where your cell was searched by six or seven military police and a Qu'ran was thrown to the ground. Can you explain why that was so offensive to you?
In our religion, firstly, the Qu'ran is believed to be the word of God, who we refer to as Allah in our religion. Basically the Qu'ran is supposed to be treated with respect and most people believe that the Qu'ran should be placed in a high place in a house or only taken with respect in a certain condition of purification or ablution. It's never to be placed on a floor, on a dirty floor or to be treated or to be mishandled in any way.
What did those six or seven military police do?
At the time, there was a story going around that I was supposed to be a top-notch fighter, as they said, and they tried to provoke me in many ways to see what I could do. This was one of the methods that was used to see if I would fight and I believe that's why they chose me on this particular occasion and threw the Qu'ran on the floor.

To read more, click the link.

One more time, Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive, will be on The Laura Flanders Show tonight.

The e-mail address for this site is

The Laura Flanders Show: Sat. Matthew Rothschild, Deece Eckstein, Sue Niederer, Ned Sublette; Sun: Medea Benjamin, Reg Keys, Molly Ivins, Todd Boyle..

The Laura Flanders Show (7pm to 10 pm eastern time, Saturdays and Sundays on Air America Radio) gets its own entry (actually two, another to follow). Yes, it's one of the favorite shows of members (and a favorite of mine) but Matthew Rothschild will be on tonight so we really need to note that since he's also a favorite of the community. (Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive.)

Here's Saturday's line up again:

On Saturday, what's worth fighting for? Did the Senate's Dems cave too soon? And what does a fallen soldier's mom want from Donald Rumsfeld? We’ll get a reality check on Priscilla Owen and Tom Delay’s convicted treasurer from DEECE ECKSTEIN, director of People for the American Way in Texas. Then, yes - Bush and his top cammanders did commit war crimes - and should be held accountable. Progressive magazine Editor MATT ROTHCHILD on his explosive new article. And SUE NIEDERER on her letter to Rummy. Plus NED SUBLETTE, who created Cowboy Rumba music, on his new book extolling Cuban music.

Sunday is a compilation but one worth listening to:

On Sunday, best-ofs on telling the truth about war. We start with REG KEYS, who lost a son in Iraq and ran against Prime Minister Tony Blair in his hometown, Sedgefield, England. Then, what to do when military recruiters come to your school? We'll talk to TODD BOYLE on efforts to limit military recruiting in high schools and Colorado High School journalist DAVID MCSWANE on how he went undercover and taped recruiters telling him to lie. The hear MOLLY IVINS rip on the Downing St. Memo on fixed facts for war. That and more thoughts about the political animals running amok in Washington. Plus MEDEA BENJAMIN, co-founder of CodePink and co-editor of 'STOP THE NEXT WAR NOW: Effective responses to Violence and Terrorism.' and a British Member of Parliament BRIAN SEDGEMORE, who left the Labour Party to protest Tony Blair's lies on Iraq and a conservative takeover of his country's judiciary.

Note, this isn't a repeat of one show. This is compilation. I missed Medea Benjamin's interview (I had a really intense headache that night and focused on getting the what-are-they-reporting-in-the-rest-of-the-world posts up as quickly as possible and then called a night) so here's a chance to hear it. Molly Ivins was funny and insightful (Kayla, make sure you listen). I'm remembing Reg Keys (strong interview) but I'm blanking on Brian Sedgemore and Todd Boyle, but I'm sure that, as with David McSwane whose interview I do remember, those are interviews worth hearing.

Remember that you can listen on the radio if you have satellite or have a station in your area that carries AAR (fifty-six cites currently carry it). In addition, you can listen online via Real Player or Windows Media Player. (And, if you do not have RP or WMP, you can install it at the listen live page.)

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Air America Radio line up for this weekend (Saturday & Sunday)

Weekend schedule for Air America's programs from the Air America home page. Please note, I've rearranged them so that they appear in the order they originally air.


So What Else is News?
Summer is right around the corner, but does that mean we have to burn lots of gas on the way to our meaningless vacations? This weekend on So What Else Is News, get travel tips that can change the world. Plus, a summer movie preview you won't hear anywhere else. With host Marty Kaplan.
[Note: So What Else Is News? airs Saturday at 3 5 pm eastern time. It repeats on Sundays at the same time.]

Ring of Fire
Saturday: Yoshi Tsumari, professor of international business at Baruch College,City University of New York, reminisces about an innocent and ignorant former student: George W. Bush. Bobby welcomes Bobby Muller, president of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation. Charles Mathis, veteran of the civil rights struggle, talks to Mike about the Republican spin on African-American voters. 5-7PM
[Note: Ring of Fire repeats on Sundays at the same time.]

The Laura Flanders Show
Saturday and Sunday 3 to 7 pm.Saturday: We’ll get a reality check on Priscilla Owen, and Tom Delay’s convicted treasurer from DEECE ECKSTEIN, director of People for the America Way in Texas. Then, yes - Bush and his top commanders did commit war crimes - and should be held accountable. Progressive magazine Editor MATT ROTHCHILD on his explosive new article . And SUE NIEDERER on her letter to Rummy. Plus NED SUBLETTE, who created Cowboy Rumba music , on his new book extolling Cuban music.
Sunday, Best of the truth about war: REG KEYS, who lost a son in Iraq and ran against Prime Minister Tony Blair's party in Sedgefield, England. Then, TODD BOYLE on military recruiting in high schools and Colorado High School journalist DAVID MCSWANE on how he taped recruiters telling him to lie. Hear MOLLY IVINS rip on the Downing St. Memo and the political animals running amok in Washington. Plus MEDEA BENJAMIN, co-founder of CodePink and co-editor of 'STOP THE NEXT WAR NOW.' Finally, British MP BRIAN SEDGEMORE, who left the Labour Party to protest Tony Blair's lies on Iraq.

Kyle Jason
Saturday: Special best of show! 10-12AM


Sunday 7-8 pm. Join veteran broadcast journalist Betsy Rosenberg for an hour of hard-hitting questions and candid answers about the health of our planet—and learn what you can do about it.

Politically Direct
Sunday: David takes a Memorial Day walk down "short term" memory lane! Best of Politically Direct guests Senators Hillary Clinton, Robert Byrd, Dick Durbin, actors Alec Baldwin and Whoopi Goldberg and PGAW president Raplh Neas. 2-3pm

Here is where Saturday's episodes of So What Else Is News? and Ring of Fire repeat.

The Laura Flanders Show
Sunday 3 to 7 pm.
Sunday, Best of the truth about war: REG KEYS, who lost a son in Iraq and ran against Prime Minister Tony Blair's party in Sedgefield, England. Then, TODD BOYLE on military recruiting in high schools and Colorado High School journalist DAVID MCSWANE on how he taped recruiters telling him to lie. Hear MOLLY IVINS rip on the Downing St. Memo and the political animals running amok in Washington. Plus MEDEA BENJAMIN, co-founder of CodePink and co-editor of 'STOP THE NEXT WAR NOW.' Finally, British MP BRIAN SEDGEMORE, who left the Labour Party to protest Tony Blair's lies on Iraq.

The Revolution Starts Now
Sunday: Steve hosts Michael Penn, acclaimed songwriter in the 80's who also scored the films Hard Eight and Boogie Nights. 10-11PM

On The Real
Sunday: Chuck D. is back on the air and talking to the one and only Jamie Foxx. 11-1AM

Note: This is the debut of Chuck D's new show On the Real. Chuck D, Lizz Winstead and Rachel Maddow hosted the gone but not forgotten Unfiltered. If Air America wanted to extend an olive branch to those still smarting over the cancellation of Unfiltered, they could bring Lizz Winstead back on the airwaves with her own show.

From the home page, we'll again note this item on Chuck D's show:

Air America News
Chuck D back "On the Real"
Air America Radio expands its programming with "On the Real," an inspirational Sunday night show co-hosted by Public Enemy founder and previous Unfiltered host, Chuck D and writer, actress, producer
Gia Garel. "On the Real" launches Sunday, May 29th from 11:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m. ET. Actor Jamie Foxx will be included in the guest line-up.

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Heads up on Betty's Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man

Betty's posted "Thomas Friedman wants a little more night music" at her blog Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man.

We were talking this morning (Third Estate Sunday Review is getting an early head start) and I told her I'd put it up here (I'm assuming it will be noted at The Third Estate Sunday Review in some form and Rebecca will mention it at her site Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude).

For anyone unfamiliar with Betty's blog (Rebecca calls her Blog Betty), it's a parody site. Betty's a community member who always sent these very funny e-mails. She is a very funny person and a very talented writer. When she decided to start a site, she worked forever to find her focus and her voice. I'm remembering it as at least a month where she was doing test items -- entries that she wasn't going to post but were being done for her to find her footing. In addition to that, she started assisting with The Third Estate Sunday Review to get a feel for what was involved. (Most famously on the Third Estate Sunday Review article "At the rallies, we ask, 'Why Are You Here?'" For more on Betty, besides Rebecca's interview, you can also check out The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Meet Blog Betty -- the blogger behind Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man").

When Blog Betty went "live" the voice and focus had been determined. The parody has her writing as Betinna. Betinna's a woman we knew next to nothing about at the beginning. She was being given vitamins (drugs) by her husband New York Times columinst Thomas Friedman. At various times, she's either taken lower dosages or no dosages and we've learned a little more about Betinna. (Translation, she's not from the Third World as she's been told.) It's a very funny blog and always a pleasure to read the latest entry.

But when Betty started, Thomas Friedman appeared in the Times on Sundays and Thursdays.
Sundays wasn't a problem in terms of writing because Betty, who works outside the home full time and is also a single parent with several young children, could swing a Sunday entry. She goes to the church with her kids in the morning, then over to her mother's for lunch. That's a lot of added activity to raising children but it's one of her easier days.

So she felt she'd be able to address Thomas Friedman's Sunday column on Sundays and his Thursday column on Thursday or Friday at the latest.

Then the Times changed the op-ed schedule. Friedman's now published on Wednesdays and Fridays. Wednesdays are becoming a problem due to the evenings, problem for her to get something up, so she's posting on Thursdays. Then on Friday, she's looking at another Friedman column.

She's working from an outline in terms of Betinna's growth and revelations coming down the pike so any column has to be processed into that framework first before she can even start to think of how to address it creatively and humorously.

So she voiced the belief this morning that she felt she was letting some down by not having a Friday entry. Both entries each week are probably going to run the day after a Friedman column appears at the earliest.

I'm sure community members who read her writing will agree that's not a problem. But since she's in character as Betinna, she's not able to break character and say, "Hey everybody, this is going to be the new schedule." So we'll pass it on here.

Knowing how many drafts she goes through versus what gets posted, I can tell you she does a great deal of work. (I don't do drafts. Unless I feel the outrage over something is harming the entry, it goes up as it's written the first time.) So no one should be surprised that after a full day's work on Wednesday (or Friday), then taking care of her children, she's going to have time to run through four drafts (that's the lowest number of drafts I'm aware of her doing on something before it posts), let alone figure out where in her outline the latest Friedman column fits in. There's a great deal of work that goes into each entry.

So consider that a heads up.

I asked Betty if it was okay to excerpt the opening of her latest (she plans for another to go up today but it may be Sunday) and she swears I won't step on punch line further in the entry by excerpting, so here's the opening of "Thomas Friedman wants a little more night music:"

I read my husband Thomas Friedman's column and could only think: "That's what happens when I make the mistake of thinking I can listen to my music. I'm rocking out while hand washing Thomas Friedman's boxers -- not just the silk ones but the cotten-poly blends as well -- and he's ripping off Lenny Kravitz."
Ever since we spent 8 days on the road to hell and heartland, Thomas Friedman has taken to referring to himself as a refugee of the road.
Honestly, you'd think Thomas Friedman just got off the chitlin circuit opening for the Ike & Tina Turner Review the way he keeps moaning about "life on the road." In his column, I noticed that eight days became six weeks. I asked him about that and Thomas Friedman replied "poetic license. Didn't you learn anything from Laura Bush posing as a Desperate Housewife!"

Read the entry in full. Again, it's intended to be a twice a week blog, it's a parody, and expect a delay of at least one day between Friedman's columns and Betty's entries.

And while we're talking about community members, for those e-mailing, Ruth is on a vacation with members of her family. She'll be doing Ruth's Morning Edition Report next week. What? Only people at the Times can take vacations?

For those wondering about Ava and my TV reviews. We have one written and our notes from two other shows. Time permitting, we'll have three TV reviews in tomorrow's The Third Estate Sunday Review edition but don't be surprised if there are only two. (Or if we combine two shows into one review.)

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NYT: Bully Boy "asked a federal appeals restore its ability to compel Internet service providers to turn over" customer information

The Bush administration asked a federal appeals court Friday to restore its ability to compel Internet service providers to turn over information about their customers or subscribers as part of its fight against terrorism.
The legal filing with the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New York comes amid a debate in Congress over renewal of the Patriot Act and whether to expand the FBI's power to seek records without the approval of a judge or grand jury.
U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero of New York last year blocked the government from conducting secret searches of communications records, saying the law that authorized them wrongly barred legal challenges and imposed a gag order on affected businesses.

That's from the Associated Press' "White House Wants Search Limits Overturned" and was e-mailed by Gareth for us to highlight.

We'll note an AP article that's too brief to pull quote. It's entitled "Head Start's Director Quits Amid Review." Windy M. Hill has resigned. We'll quote the full statement online at the Head Start site (it's a government site, the information is public record):

Associate Commissioner for the Head Start Bureau Windy Hill announced today her resignation. Ms. Hill’s resignation will take effect immediately. The Head Start Bureau is part of the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Joan Ohl, who currently serves as Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, will also oversee the Head Start Bureau on an interim basis.
"Windy is a caring and devoted person who has always been interested in the well-being of children," said Assistant Secretary for Children and Families Wade F. Horn, Ph.D. "We appreciate her service and wish her well in future endeavors."

The Associated Press article alerts readers to questions "over accusations of financial abuses at the Head Start center she ran in Bastrop, Tex." and notes that, despite no official reason being given for her departure, she was "under review by the Health and Human Services Department's inspector general."

The article alerts readers to allegations by the National Head Start Association but doesn't inform what the alleagtions were. At the National Head Start's Associationweb site, you can find an article from the New York Times (dated June 30, 2004, published July 1st):

Advocates for Head Start day care centers on Wednesday accused the national head of the Head Start program, Windy M. Hill, of violating federal ethics rules in an effort to cover up evidence of mismanagement at a Head Start center she ran in Texas before coming to Washington.
The advocates also said that Ms. Hill announced in a management meeting several weeks ago that she planned to step down as head of the $6.7 billion program in November. Ms. Hill, accused by Head Start providers of mismanaging her own Head Start program in Texas, has been under investigation by the inspector general's office at the Department of Health and Human Services for several months.
Wade F. Horn, assistant secretary for children and families, said in a statement that Ms. Hill had not submitted her resignation and that he did not expect her to.

The article is by Jean Schemo and entitled "Head Start Group Accuses Program Official of Ethics Violations."

That's two AP articles the Times is carrying online (the Head Start piece appears in print in my edition, the other doesn't) that they could have utilized staff to write. Maybe everyone's working on some big story or maybe everyone's on holiday?

Douglas Jehl and Carl Hulse's "McCain Urging Accord on Bolton and Secret Documents:"

One of John R. Bolton's leading Republican backers, Senator John McCain of Arizona, signaled his support on Friday for a compromise in which the White House might allow Senate leaders access to highly classified documents in return for a final vote early next month on Mr. Bolton's nomination as United Nations ambassador.
The conciliatory signal from Mr. McCain came as Senate leaders traded blame over who was responsible for the miscalculation that led to Mr. Bolton's nomination being blocked Thursday. But the White House showed no sign that the Bush administration might change course.

Back to Associated Press (seriously, how many Times staffers are on vacation right now?), we'll note "Microsoft Cuts Ties to Lobbyist:"

The Microsoft Corporation said on Friday that it had severed ties with Ralph Reed, a Republican lobbyist and former leader of the Christian Coalition who is running for lieutenant governor of Georgia.
"Ralph Reed is no longer on retainer with Microsoft," said a company spokeswoman, Ginny Terzano.

Question for Terzano, why was he ever on retainer to begin with?

Gina: Did I miss some revelation that Reed was a computer genius?

Ned: Microsoft tried to stand apart from MSNBC during the airing of Michael Savage's program. I wonder if they'd be cut as much slack if it happened now since we've learned that Microsoft has gone far beyond it's stated core principles of respect? Abandoning support for gay rights and hiring a Reed or a Savage go hand in hand.

Brandon e-mails another Associated Press article "Nuclear Plants Lack Warning Sirens, Study Says." (Short article, so utilize link.)

Again, how many people at the Times are already on holiday? Now during the tsunami, the coverage from the Times benefitted from the fact that reporters we hadn't usually heard from (or heard from as much) were able to break through with strong reporting. But how many AP articles is the Times running this morning? (Only the Microsoft and the Head Start pieces appear in my print edition.)

Carl e-mails to ask if I'm going to discuss Elisabeth Bumiller's latest which isn't a "White House Letter" (therefore, not an op-ed). I may read it later, Carl, but honestly, right now I'm willing to note that at least Bumiller didn't start her holiday Friday. (Though I'm not sure that's a good thing with regards to Bumiller's content.)

Erika e-mails to note Thomas J. Lueck and Kareem Fahim's "Mass Bicycle Ride Leads to Few Arrests:"

The monthly Critical Mass bicycle ride, which has often been met by a large police presence and many arrests, began more peacefully last night and ended with a brief show of force by the Police Department. The ride included fewer arrests and what appeared at first to be an accommodating tactic by the police, according to people who took part.
[. . .]
"We are really excited, and we are hoping this is a good sign," said Bill DiPaola, the director of Time's Up!, an advocacy group that is closely allied with the monthly ride, before hearing news of riders' being detained. Participants in the Critical Mass rally, who maintain that it has no formal organization, say they participate in the monthly ritual to promote pollution-free transportation.

Randy e-mails to note John Tierney's latest op-eds. (Members are allowed to comment and editorialize on them.)

Randy: Is he suffering from Mad Cow? What world does he live in and why does the paper publish this nonsense. He's a complete idiot and a Happy Talker of the worst sort. The house around him could be burning down and he'd be calling for franks and sausages he could roast.
[David] Brooks is bad enough with his psuedo research but Tierney has assumed the dottering old fool mantle from Safire quicker than I would have expected. It's amazing how early senility has set in. You picture him wondering around the room in a shawl, clucking like [Charles Dickens'] Miss Havisham.

Lastly, Keesha e-mails to note Raymond Bonner's "Indonesia Sentences Australian to 20 Years on Marijuana Count." Keesha notes: "He did end up having an article in Saturday's paper." From the article, here's the opening:

A drug smuggling case that has captivated and outraged Australia came to a climax on Friday when a 27-year-old Australian woman was given a 20-year prison term for trying to bring nine pounds of marijuana into Bali hidden in her bodyboard bag.
The verdict, read in a packed courtroom in Bali, was carried live on Australian television and radio. The three judges who heard the case could have sentenced the defendant, Schapelle Corby, to death, a fate met by many foreigners convicted of drug offenses in Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries.
Ms. Corby has steadfastly maintained her innocence [. . .]

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[Note: Entry corrected to spell "marijuana" correctly. Obviously I'm an idiot and, presumably, have never been around marijuana hence my ignorance of the spelling. Unless, of course, I've so baked my head with marijuana that, as a result, I'm no longer able to spell it correctly. Or possibly somewhere in between the two positions.]

NYT: State Department says no to deporting Luis Posada Carriles

A State Department official said the Venezuelans were told that their request, which called for the arrest of Luis Posada Carriles to prevent his escape as a first step to extradition, did not contain sufficient information regarding the facts and circumstances of his involvement in the 1976 bombing. The midair explosion of a Cuban airliner off the coast of Barbados killed 73 people, including several Venezuelans.
[. . .]
Mr. Posada is in American custody. He escaped a Venezuelan jail in 1985 while awaiting trial on charges he planned the bombing. Now 77, he reappeared on May 17 in Miami.
The Venezuelan government, which said on Sunday that it would consider severing diplomatic ties with Washington if the extradition was denied, responded with a statement, from its embassy in Washington saying it would "present all the necessary documentation to request the extradition."

The above is from Steven R. Weisman and Juan Forero's inside the paper article entitled "U.S. Rejects Venezuelan Move on Extradition of Bombing Suspect."

Wendy e-mails to note James Dao's "Coins Go Missing, and G.O.P. Insider Becomes Outcast:"

But this week, Mr. Noe's lawyers said that as much as $13 million of the state's $50 million investment in his two funds could not be accounted for. Mr. Noe, meanwhile, has become the focus of at least six investigations or audits involving either his handling of the coin investments or his campaign fund-raising. Federal investigators are also looking into his contributions to President Bush's 2004 campaign as a "Pioneer," raising more than $100,000.
And suddenly, Republicans who once stood staunchly at Mr. Noe's side, and at his fund-raising parties, cannot seem to run from him fast enough.

Charlie e-mails to note David E. Sanger's "Month of Talks Fails to Bolster Nuclear Treaty:"

A monthlong conference at the United Nations to strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty ended Friday in failure, with its chairman declaring that the disagreements between nuclear-armed and non-nuclear states ran so deep that "very little has been accomplished."
The conference, which takes place every five years, had once been seen as a chance to deal with gaping loopholes in the treaty that have allowed a resurgence in the spread of nuclear weapons.
But in the months leading up to the meeting, it became clear that little progress was likely, and in the end the bickering between the United States, which wanted to focus on North Korea and Iran, and countries demanding that Washington shrink its own arsenals, ran so deep that no real negotiations over how to stem proliferation ever took place.

Third Party e-mails to note Michael Slackman's "In New York, Fringe Politics in Mainstream." I know very little about the Independent Party (among other things), so I e-mailed back to Third Party requesting an excerpt:

But Dr. Newman and his followers have accrued benefits since the Bloomberg administration took over. Mr. Bloomberg has contributed $250,000 to the Independence Party; he appointed a lawyer who often works with organizations affiliated with Dr. Newman to a mayoral commission charged with revising the city charter. And city economic development officials granted $8.7 million in low-interest financing to a nonprofit group tied to Dr. Newman so that it could buy a Manhattan building that it then used to run several programs designed by Dr. Newman.
Perhaps more important, though, is the credibility that Dr. Newman's other organizations gain through their association with the mayor. In offices of several organizations affiliated with Dr. Newman, there are pictures of Mr. Pataki and Mr. Bloomberg on the wall. When his one of organizations, the All Stars Project, has held galas, Mr. Schumer and other officials have attended.
Equally important is how the mayor and other politicians have helped reinforce the idea that the Independence Party represents independent voters, or unaligned.

[. . .]
Such stature is a sharp departure from the past, but Dr. Newman says he still adheres to many of his original beliefs and principles. In the 1970's, he created something called the International Workers Party, which was identified as a Leninist-Marxist organization. Dr. Newman said that the party has been transformed into a "core collective" that is made up of people working in his political, psychological and theatrical ventures, and that helps set the agenda for most of his projects. He said members of the collective then team up with other people - often unaffiliated with any of his organizations - to carry out their plans.

If a member feels the Times article is soft or harsh on the Independent Party, please e-mail and note if you want to be quoted. (And yes, I stated member. I don't want sixty e-mails from visitors who want to argue one point or another but don't wish to be quoted. I don't know enough to comment on the Independent Party and your e-mails on the topic will not help shape the community. Members can e-mail their comments -- to be quoted or not -- and they will be read. If that seems harsh, some of the visitor e-mails of late have dealt with assorted topics that I truly don't care about. Such as the lengthy assertion that ____, someone we cite here, is evil because in a past life they were ___. That was a 40K e-mail that the person didn't want to be quoted on. I'm wading through that and wondering why it was sent in -- with the person maintaining it was all true -- to begin with. Those and other e-mails are why we'll be posting a new policy this weekend. I'm saving the entry I pulled on Friday -- it popped up in the middle of the Democracy Now! post -- for when I'm tired or busy this weekend. Again, it doesn't apply to members and, in answer to ___'s e-mail, people whose work is commented on at this site are always encouraged to respond in any manner they see fit. Some e-mailers from the Times, for example, have made valid points. Continue to make them if you like. Certainly, we always try to note now that a byline doesn't mean the published article is what the reporter intended to be printed.)

We'll note Leslie Eaton's "Mrs. Clinton's Former Top Fund-Raiser Is Acquitted of False-Filing Charges:"

A federal jury on Friday acquitted David F. Rosen, the chief fund-raiser for Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2000 United States Senate campaign, of charges that he caused false filings to be made to the Federal Election Commission.
The jury deliberated for less than five hours before it found Mr. Rosen, 38, not guilty on two counts, for which he had faced as much as 10 years in prison.
Mr. Rosen's wife, mother and in-laws gasped and sobbed as Judge A. Howard Matz read the verdict, and Mr. Rosen's lead lawyer, Paul M. Sandler, embraced him and thumped him on the back.

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Mag Report: The Progressive (June issue with heads up to Matthew Rothschild's "Stripping Rumsfeld and Bush of Impunity")

New issue of The Progressive arrived in the mail today so we'll do a highlight.

It's the June issue with an interesting illustration on the front cover. (I like the blue background, by the way. Makes the illustration stand out -- my opinion.)

In his Editor's Note (page four), Matthew Rothschild notes near the end:

When Saul Bellow died, I was struck by the hagiography that accompanied him graveside. We turned to Anne-Marie Cusac, our investigative reporter and a published poet, to assess Bellow's work judiciously.
I highly recommend her essay to you. It's right on the mark, and the trajectory is beautiful.

That's "Saul Bellow Reconsidered" and here's an excerpt:

I had an unfortunate introduction to Saul Bellow. In 1988, as a college senior, I took a contemporary novels course with one of my favorite professors, a discerning, fervent, word-loving Shakespeare expert.
The course had filled with friends, most of us young women, and I remember groups talking with passion at lunch about Italo Calvino, Iris Murdoch, and Gabriel García Márquez. Mr. Bellow had stiff competition that semester.
We had to wait for his latest novel, More Die of Heartbreak. The book was available only in hardcover, and on back order. The professor altered the syllabus because of the delay. When the book finally came in, so did the high expectations reserved for the long awaited.
Within days, More Die of Heartbreak led a friend of mine to approach some of us outside of class. She said that the book was unfair, that it was blaming Uncle Benn's troubles on women in general and on Matilda, the beauty he secretly marries, in particular. "Uncle Benn was a woman-battered man," says the narrator. Alerted, we read and criticized. We came to class ready to battle. My friend raised her hand. She pronounced the criticism that some reviewers of More Die of Heartbreak were also making: misogyny.
Bellow dealt with the criticism by saying that women would better understand his work. "A woman is more likely to see the truth of what I've said," he told the London Sunday Times.
Bellow's ideal woman reader hadn't enrolled in our class. The professor responded to the insurrection by agreeing with us. The novel, written more than ten years after Bellow received the Nobel Prize for Literature, was not his best, she said. We should read his early books.

That's the opening (and yes, we linked to it earlier this month).

Before Isaiah became our community illustrationist/comic (I'm not sure of the term he prefers), I usually skipped over illustrations but I'll note Troubletown by Lloyd Dangle on the letter page which is "Life In Post-Science America." It's very funny and Dangle's work can be found at

Pages six through ten are this month's Comment entitled "Energy Company Policy." Here's an excerpt of the first five paragraphs:

George Bush's idea of an energy policy is to dish out goodies to his buddies in the oil, gas, coal, and nuclear power industries, hold hands with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, and send the U.S. Army to Iraq. He pays lip service to energy independence but provides no way to get there. He slights conservation. He starves research into safe and renewable alternative energies. Meanwhile, he despoils our pristine places and contaminates our air and water.
The House energy bill, which the Administration shepherded through on April 15, reveals the Bush approach in all its shabby details. And his energy speech almost two weeks later, while more high-minded in its rhetoric, reinforces this retrograde path.

Bush has a seemingly unquenchable desire to dole out favors to the oil giants, which have amassed enormous profits as petroleum sells at $50 a barrel. In the first quarter alone, the four biggest companies--ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch/Shell, BP, and Chevron-Texaco--earned $97 billion in profits combined. Yet the House rewarded energy companies with at least $12 billion in tax breaks and subsidies. Even Republicans admitted that these wouldn't do much to lower prices at the pumps.
But it's Christmastime year round for big business. Bush and Tom DeLay piled high the presents in the House bill. And these go way beyond drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a foolish proposal that will amount to just a drop in the global bucket.
Here are some of the hidden goodies:

(Read on via the link or in the print edition to know some of the hidden goodies.)

Page eleven is "No Comment." Like Ms., The Progressive does a "No Comment." Ms. focuses on questionable ads, The Progressive focuses on items published in periodicals. Here's one example:

Saladin the Superhero
The U.S. military is hoping to woo young people in the Middle East with a series of comic books.
An advertisement posted on the U.S. Government's website says "the series will be based on the security forces, military, and the police, in the near future in the Middle East." The army hopes to involve the ministries of interior of some countries.

Page twelve is Howard Zinn's "The Scourge of Nationalism." Here's an excerpt from the opening (and, yes, we also linked to this earlier this month):

I cannot get out of my mind the recent news photos of ordinary Americans sitting on chairs, guns on laps, standing unofficial guard on the Arizona border, to make sure no Mexicans cross over into the United States. There was something horrifying in the realization that, in this twenty-first century of what we call "civilization," we have carved up what we claim is one world into 200 artificially created entities we call "nations" and armed to apprehend or kill anyone who crosses a boundary.
Is not nationalism--that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder--one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred? These ways of thinking--cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on--have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.
National spirit can be benign in a country that is small and lacking both in military power and a hunger for expansion (Switzerland, Norway, Costa Rica, and many more). But in a nation like ours--huge, possessing thousands of weapons of mass destruction--what might have been harmless pride becomes an arrogant nationalism dangerous to others and to ourselves.

Sidebar, as we mentioned Thursday:

Also note that BuzzFlash is offering the DVD documentary Howard Zinn: You Can't Stay Neutral on a Moving Train.

Page fourteen is Nat Hentoff's latest Bill of Rights Watch entitled "Mask of Moderation." Here's an excerpt:

On March 16, the House, little noticed by the media, passed an amednment by Edward Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, to the Iraq supplemental appropriations bill that prohibited the government from using any funds that violate the International Convention Against Torture. Another blow against renditions but only a preliminary action.
The next day, Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, submitted a bill, "The Convention Against Torture Act," that would put a definitive end to renditions. But there is no sign that the intermittently independent-minded Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will hold a hearing on the bill. Leahy will try to attach it to an appropriations measure, but the rigid Senate Republican leadership could kill it on the floor.

Page 16 is Ruth Conniff's latest Political Eye: "Back-Alley Vasectomies." (Ruth Conniff blogs on Mondays at The Progressive's online web site. Her latest, linked earlier this week, is "We Must Denounce Torture.") From "Back-Alley Vasectomies," here's the opening three paragraphs:

Here's a twist on the insanity of the U.S. health care system: the back-alley vasectomy.
I heard about this practice from a friend who is a labor and delivery nurse at a Catholic hospital. She and her fellow employees cannot get health care coverage for birth control pills or other forms of contraception. So some of their husbands are coming in for under-the-table snipping by sympathetic surgeons.
Apparently, the practice is not just limited to Catholic hospitals (which constitute the nation's largest nonprofit provider of health care). I've heard about health care workers at secular institutions who, ironically, pay huge deductables and co-pays for health insurance. I've also heard about part time nurses who have scaled back their hours to take care of young children and therefore lost their families' health care benefits. They, too, are resorting to the secret scissor approach.

Pages eighteen through twenty-one are a photo spread of various activities such as "War Tax Resistance," "Spank DeLay," "No Nukes Protest," "No On Bolton" (Gale Muphy of CodePink at the Bolton hearings), "Save the Libraries" (Salinas, California -- CodePink was took action there as well), "World Bank Protests," and "Students Strike."

From the text for "Students Strike:"

New York City
Graduate students at Columbia University and Yale University held a strike April 18-22. The Graduate Employees and Student Organization is calling for the right to form labor unions and have those unions recognized by the universities.
In 2004, the National Labor Relations Board ruled labor law protections no longer apply to graduate teachers at private universities. Graduate teachers can still form unions, but they are not protected by federal law.
For more information, contact the Graduate Employees and Student Organization at

Pages twenty-two through twenty-five is Erik K. Gustafson's "Abandoment of Iraq is Wrong."
Gustafson "is the executive director of the Education for Peace in Iraq Center (EPIC), based in Washington, D.C. and serves on the board of directors of Veterans for Common Sense."

His piece is not available online and the community won't agree with it, nor do I. We will do an excerpt:

Yes, Iraqi leaders want the U.S. to leave, but not immediately.
In January, the United Iraqi Alliance, the leading Shiite party that is close to the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, revised its position from a call for a definitive timetable for withdrawal of multinational troops to an emphasis on the importance of establishing Iraq's capacity to provide for its own security. This change reflects a growing understanding among Iraqi leaders that without a force capable of guaranteeing some measure of security, conditions would get even worse, no matter who was responsible for the situation to begin with.

We'll now move (with "no comment") to pages twenty-six through twenty-nine which is Norman Solomon's "U.S. Out of Iraq Now." Excerpt from the opening of his article:

Right now, our first responsibility to the Iraqi people is to stop killing them The occupation continues to be the main catalyst for Iraq's carnage. While major combat operations make big headlines, the American military engages in less-publicized routines such as using warplanes to bomb houses, further escalating the insurgency. "The leading cause of violence and loss of innocent life in Iraq is the U.S. military," says independent journalist Dahr Jamail, who has covered events on the ground for most of the last year. Estimates of the war's civilian death toll range from 21,000 to 100,000. And overall public health is appreciably worse than when U.S. forces arrived.
Before the invasion, many Iraqi children suffered from malnutrition, and one in eight died before their fifth birthday. Now the prognosis for Iraq's young is even more dire. "The latest reports show that acute malnutrition among children under five has nearly doubled in the last two years," UNICEF reported last November.
Then there are the U.S. losses -already more than 1,580 deaths and 11,000 serious physical injuries, along with the uncounted psychological damage. Officials in Washington never tire of saying that these casualities are profusely offered for squandering several billion dollars on the war each month.

A visitor may complain (no member will) that Solomon's excerpt is lengthier. It is. We've quoted Solomon here before (and should do so more, honestly). In the section quoted, he mentions Dahr Jamail (whom the community loves) and dealt with actual numbers. In the previous article we heard the usual "walking away isn't right!"

The members' belief (which I agree with) is that we are the cause. Forget "Pottery Barn" (which doesn't have that policy) and "we broke it so we must fix it." We hear that nonsense (sorry, that's what I think it is) all the time. We hear it from well meaning people and we hear it from saps. (I'll would argue Gustafson is well meaning.) It's not a view that's silenced by the mainstream media. It's the sort of thing you could hear Thomas Friedman arguing on TV or in his column.

We dealt with this notion of we broke it and we can fix it a long time ago. (See the December 2, 2004 entry "Should This Marriage Be Saved.") We dealt with the nonsense of Thomas Friedman, Nicky K, William Safire . . . then. Gustafson is well meaning and of the left so The Progressive was right to give him a hearing. But we've covered that view here before and the members agree on this so we're not going to waste time on it now. It would be as though we were awaiting for our order to arrive at the table and someone said, "Hey, should we order chicken?" We've already ordered. The orders' being cooked. We addressed this opinion already, add something new to it (facts, figures, history or first-hand observations) or we'll simply say "Next."

For visitors, I'll add simply that we're not your catch-all for the mainstream. If you've stumbled on this site and you feel the need to e-mail in "I think you should highlight Nicholas Kristof" (four e-mails this week) or other nonsense, sorry, not happening. First of all, you've missed the fact that you've arrived at a site that doesn't cover the op-ed pages of the Times. A member may comment on something, but I don't. That's why we ignore "White House Letter," et al. We may comment on a situation (such as Safire's departure, for some strange reason, meaning that the Times must replace him with another white, male conservative). We'll quote Bob Somerby's analysis of the op-ed writers. (He's a great critic and he's willing to wade through the op-ed pages, I'm not.) We noted Okrent because that wasn't supposed to be an op-ed. That was supposed to be a space to address the readers' concerns. (That rarely happened.) But if you're looking for "balance" and want the mainstream, walk on, walk
(That joke, from a friend, still makes me laugh, sorry.)

That view, a paternalistic one -- my opinion, is already out there all over the place. Members have heard it quite enough and we don't need it here. We know it. We've heard it. We disagree with it. Gustafson is well meaning (my opinion) and his article is in The Progressive that we're noting. So we did pull quote. That's quite enough, more than enough in fact.

Page thirty and thirty-one is Lloyd Axworthy's "Open Letter to Condolezza Rice." Here's an excerpt:

Dear Condi,
I'm glad you've decided to get over your fit of pique and venture north to visit your closest neighbor. It's a chance to learn a thing or two. Maybe more.
I know it seems improbable to your divinely guided master in the White House that mere mortals might disagree with participating in a missile defense system that has failed in its last three tests, even though the tests themselves were carefully rigged to show results.
But, gosh, we folks above the 49th parallel are somewhat cautious types who can't quite see laying down billions of dollars in a three-dud poker game.

Lloyd Axworthy is a "former Canadian Foreign Minister" and "currently president of the University of Winnipeg."

Page 33 is Will Durst's "Brand USA." Will Durst is a humorist. No excerpt provided here because I always fear I'll screw someone's set up with a joke. (Again, that's why we don't note Lizz Winstead's entries -- which are funny -- here unless a member sends in an excerpt that they do themselves.) "Brand USA" is not available online, however, "Daily Durst" is and you can check that out. In addition to "Daily Durst" at The Progressive, Durst contributes to BuzzFlash.
(His latest is at BuzzFlash is "Ring Around the Coercion.")

Elizabeth DiNovella has "Unembedded in Afghanistan" on pages 35 and thirty-six. Here's her opening:

"Afghanistan is safe," Laura Bush said after her six-hour visit to the country in April. "There are certainly parts of it that aren't right now. But, in general, I think it is a very safe place to travel."
Carmela Baranowska tells a different story from that of the First Lady in the documentary Taliban Country. The Australian filmmaker embedded with 800 U.S. Marines in Oruzgon province in May and June of 2004. After trekking with American troops, she returned to the isolated and dangerous region in central Afghanistan the Marines had dubbed "Taliban Country."
The film reveals an alliance between U.S. troops and a private army under the command of Governor Jan Mohammad, a man Baranowska calls "local warlord, police force and judiciary." Mohammed is an imposing figure with his shocking white beard, dark green cloak and turban, and an AK-47 slung behind his back.
We don't see much of Mohammad's army, though there is a terrific scene of Marines sharing the lad mad FHM with the militia. Both the American and Afghan young men giggle over photos of bikini-clad women.
MOhammad is corrupt, and the Marines know that. "From the first day, I was overhearing conversations, Baranowska told The Progressive. "They would say to each other, 'Oh, the governor is shady. We're paying him to be our friend.'"

Page 38 is a poem by Wendell Barry ("writer and a farmer in Porty Royal, Kentucky. His latest novel is 'Hannah Coulter' and the poem on the page is from 'Given,' his upcoming collection of poems."). The poem is entitled "Look Out" and here are the first seven lines:

Come to the window, look out, and see
the valley turning green in remembrance
of all springs past and to come, the woods
perfecting with immortal patience
the leaves that are the works of all of time,
the sycamore whose white limbs shed
the history of a man's life with their old bark,

Pages thirty nine to forty-three (Lloyd especially take note) is David Barsamian conducting The Progressive Interview with Robert Fisk. Here's an excerpt:

Q: The U.S. is building permanent military bases in Iraq. Their intention is to stay for many years.
Fisk: I think so. The great equation, which causes much bloodshed in Iraq, is this: The Americans must leave, and the Americans will leave, and the Americans can't leave. They can't leave for a whole series of reasons, which we know. Because if they leave behind them chaos, what did they achieve by invading Iraq?
Q: What are the historical parallels here?
Fisk: If you go back to the British invastion of Iraq in 1917, I have a document that was put up on the wall by General Stanley Maude when he arrived in Baghdad. "To the people of Baghdad: We come her not as conquerors but as liberators, to free you from generations of tyranny." We were saying the same things then. What happened when the insurgency started agains the British? It started in Fallujah, and we shelled Fallujah and half destroye dthe town. We surrounded Najaf and claimed we wanted a Shiite prelate who was an insurrectionist to be handed over to us. In the House of Commons, Lloyd Geroge stood up and said, "If the British Army leaves Iraq, there will be civil war." For some reason, the Americans didn't read the history books.
Q: What about Iraqi casualities?
Fisk: The Americans are not interested; they don't want to know. The authorities won't tell us. The health ministry, run by American appointees, won't tell us. Almost every day I go to the mortuary in Baghdad and find twenty or thirty people -- men, women, children -- dead of gunshot wounds, shot at American checkpoints, shot in family feuds, shot by insurgents for alleged collaboration. The Iraqis are paying a terrible, terrible price every day for our adventure. And this is just Baghdad I'm talking about, not Mosul, not Najaf, not Basra. And when you hear Iraqis say it was better under Saddam, it's time we listen to them. They know what Saddam waslike. They don't want Saddam. But they mean there was security. Do you want freedom and anarchy or do you want dictatorship and security? If you have a family, it's a big choice to make.

Fisk also praises the writing of Seymour Hersh and John F. Burns in the interview. Fisk also discusses his new book entitled The Great War for Civilization: The Conquest of the Middle East. I can't find it at Powell's Books, but Amazon notes that it's set for release on November 8, 2005.

The issue ends, page 50, with Molly Ivin's "Money and Santimony." For Kayla who asks for more Ivins here, we'll note the beginning (and hopefully, no one will feel I've spoiled the set up):

Meet Tom DeLay, in his new role as the Emily Post of politics. "It is unfortunate in our electoral system, exacerbated by our adversarial media culture, that political discourse has to get so overheated that it's not just arguments, but motives are questioned," said DeLay.
Did someone mention motives in those all-expense-paid vacations?

Hopefully, everyone's gotten a taste of the current issue of The Progressive. If there's something that interests you above, check your local libraries and bookstores if you don't already subscribe or regularly purchase The Progressive. (I've linked to everything available online.)

We'll note two more things from The Progressive online.

Matthew Rothschild's "Stripping Rumsfeld and Bush of Impunity" ("billed as "an advance look at the July cover story" -- June's issue just arrived this morning -- Friday morning, it was still Friday when I started this entry). From Rothschild's article, here's the opening:

When Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee last year, he was asked whether he "ordered or approved the use of sleep deprivation, intimidation by guard dogs, excessive noise, and inducing fear as an interrogation method for a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison." Sanchez, who was head of the Pentagon’s Combined Joint Task Force-7 in Iraq, swore the answer was no. Under oath, he told the Senators he "never approved any of those measures to be used."
But a document the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) obtained from the Pentagon flat out contradicts Sanchez’s testimony. It’s a memorandum entitled "CJTF-7 Interrogation and Counter-Resistance Policy," dated September 14, 2003. In it, Sanchez approved several methods designed for "significantly increasing the fear level in a detainee." These included "sleep management"; "yelling, loud music, and light control: used to create fear, disorient detainee, and prolong capture shock"; and "presence of military working dogs: exploits Arab fear of dogs."
On March 30, the ACLU wrote a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, urging him "to open an investigation into whether General Ricardo A. Sanchez committed perjury in his sworn testimony."
The problem is, Gonzales may himself have committed perjury in his Congressional testimony this January. According to a March 6 article in The New York Times, Gonzales submitted written testimony that said: "The policy of the United States is not to transfer individuals to countries where we believe they likely will be tortured, whether those individuals are being transferred from inside or outside the United States." He added that he was "not aware of anyone in the executive branch authorizing any transfer of a detainee in violation of that policy."
"That’s a clear, absolute lie," says Michael Ratner, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, who is suing Administration officials for their involvement in the torture scandal. "The Administration has a policy of sending people to countries where there is a likelihood that they will be tortured."
The New York Times article backs up Ratner’s claim. It says "a still-classified directive signed by President Bush within days of the September 11 attacks" gave the CIA broad authority to transfer suspected terrorists to foreign countries for interrogations. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International estimate that the United States has transferred between 100 and 150 detainees to countries notorious for torture.

The second thing we'll note is that Rothschild interviewed Amy Goodman for his show Progressive Radio. You can listen to it online: Amy Goodman Interview.

The e-mail address for this site is

Thought I was done, but I flip back and forth between posting and e-mails and Markus e-mailed to note Amitabh Pal's Blog which appears on Friday. Pal's latest is entitled "U.S. poor fare badly by comparison:"

The New York Times has been publishing an excellent series on class in America. One quote in that series particularly stood out for me. Berkeley economist David Levine told the paper that "being born poor in the U.S. gives you disadvantages unlike anything in Western Europe and Japan and Canada."
I decided to verify if that's true. One of the sources I used was the website of the
Organization For Economic Cooperation and Development.
The numbers spoke for themselves.

Click the link to continue reading Pal's latest. (And thanks to Markus because I would've missed that if you hadn't noted it.)

Friday, May 27, 2005

Dahr Jamail, "Habeas corpus sought for Briton in Iraq" (The Guardian), "Analysis: Surge in Iraq violence" (BBC), Media Matters, Bartcop . . .

At Iraq Dispatches, Dahr Jamail has a new post entitled "Sketchy Details:"

Yesterday Iraq's Minister of Defense, Sadoun al-Dulaimi, announced that starting Saturday 40,000 Iraqi troops will seal Baghdad and begin to "hunt down insurgents and their weapons." Baghdad will be divided into two main sections, east and west, and within each section there will be smaller areas of control.
There will be at least 675 checkpoints and al-Dulaimi said this is the first phase of a security crackdown that will eventually cover all of Iraq.
Keep in mind that most of Iraq has remained in a "state of emergency" since the beginning of the siege of Fallujah, on November 8th.
"We will also impose a concrete blockade around Baghdad, like a bracelet around an arm, God willing, and God be with us in our crackdown on the terrorists' infrastructure."
Also at the press conference was Bayan Jabor, the Minister of Interior who added, "These operations will aim at turning the government's role from defensive to offensive."
This is really, really bad news.

To find out why, continue reading Dahr Jamail's post.

From London's The Guardian, Marcia e-mails Audrey Gillan's "Habeas corpus sought for Briton in Iraq:"

Lawyers acting for a Briton detained in Iraq for eight months on suspicion of terrorism are to take the government to court and demand he be returned to the UK.
The man was named for the first time as Hilal Abdul-Razzaq Ali al-Jedda, though little more is known about him except that he is married with four children.
The human rights lawyer Phil Shiner has written to government lawyers demanding his release, and will ask for a writ of habeas corpus in the courts this week, arguing that the man should be returned to face any charges in the UK.

Pru e-mails Roger Hardy's "Analysis: Surge in Iraq violence" from the BBC:

Since the beginning of the month, more than 550 people have been killed in Iraq. Experts are left struggling to explain the escalation of violence.
The latest attacks by insurgents have been largely in the centre and north of the country. There have been attacks in different parts of Baghdad, in Tikrit about 175km (110 miles) to the north, and, further north, in the town of Hawija, near Kirkuk.
There has also been fierce fighting between US forces and suspected Islamic militants in what is often called Iraq's "wild west", near the Syrian border.
A big US operation is under way against a suspected network of the radical Jordanian Islamist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
The violence has shattered the lull which followed the Iraqi election at the end of January.
April saw a sharp increase in attacks, especially suicide bombings, and this month there has so far been no let-up.

Lloyd e-mails Media Matters' "Major newspapers largely ignored White House rejection of senators' call for consultation on judicial nominees:"

A Media Matters for America review of major newspaper coverage of the past two days has found that, with the exception of The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Reuters news service and the San Francisco Chronicle, the print media have largely ignored the White House's rejection of a bipartisan call for greater consultation on federal judicial nominees.
The bipartisan group of 14 senators announced their compromise the evening of May 23. Aside from the portion of the agreement that preserved the filibuster, the agreement also called for President Bush to "return to the early practices" of consulting with senators before making judicial nominations:
We believe that, under Article II, section 2 of the United States Constitution, the word "Advice" speaks to consultation between the Senate and the President with regard to the use of the President's power to make nominations. We encourage the Executive branch of government to consult with members of the Senate, both Democratic and Republican, prior to submitting a judicial nomination to the Senate for consideration.
Such a return to the early practices of our government may well serve to reduce the rancor that unfortunately accompanies the advice and consent process in the Senate.

Sally e-mails in the latest from Bartcop. We love Bartcop here but note that it is not a work safe environment site. (Meaning, if you have a job where the company or boss would write you up for going to a site with curse words or -- I swear I remember this -- a topless photo of Dr. Laura -- I swear I'd love to forget it -- you could get in trouble.) But Sally notes that she sees nothing that could get anyone in trouble. We're also in down time (most members have e-mailed that they'll be on vacation this week -- there will be posts here) so we can take a minute to highlight a great voice that we often don't get the time for. Bartcop is writing about a recent trip and there are some great photos. I agree with Sally about not seeing anything in this entry that could get anyone in trouble but (as always with links) you click at your own expense.

Before you click the link, it goes to the main page. Meaning if it's updated while Bartcop is on vacation, you'll get something else. As this is typed, if you're someone working the Memorial Day Weekend you should be fine currently but I can't promise that if it's updated.

Here's Bartcop detailing the lead up to the trip:

What an opening day we had. Since the trip was given to us, we didn't make our own travel arrangements. On the way to Tulsa International Airport, it was raining cats and dogs and at one point I thought I ran over a poodle. That's an old joke, but I wanted to get Tony Blair in this report somewhere.
So it's raining so hard we can't see - and of course we're running late - and Mrs. Bart double checks out itinerary and it says "Northwest Airlines." That threw us into a panic, because we're supposed to be flying Continental.
So after a couple of calls, they tell us that Continental doesn't really service Tulsa, so they use Northwest's facilities, instead. That makes sense - this is Oklahoma. So we get to the Tulsa airport and it's dark. Dark as in "no lights."
That figures. Our once in a lifetime trip to Hawaii - to be cancelled by a closed airport?
We asked the dudes in charge what was goin on and they said the airport generators failed, and with no power they can't screen the bags so obviously no planes were taking off until cousin IT figured out how to fix it.

(For new members and visitors, our policy is to be work place safe. That's why we use "f**k," for instance. As long term members know, because we've addressed this many times, I have a friend who was written up for visiting a site with foul language. The site, by the way, was the Washington Post. It was the article on Dick Cheney use of the f-word. Due to that, we've always tried to be a site that's work place safe. A number of our members visit while on the clock and I'd hate to ever have something up here that could lead to them getting into trouble. With all links, you're on your own. And as members know from private e-mails, I swear all the time myself. This isn't a "shame on you" policy or judgement on anyone else. I just never want to get an e-mail that reads "Thanks a lot! Because you used the f-word, I got written up today.")

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Sunday Chat & Chews

This Sunday, on the Chat & Chews, don't expect much.

Here's the line up for ABC's This Week:

Sen. Arlen Specter (R) Pennsylvania
Sen. Sam Brownback (R) Kansas
Mahmoud Abbas Palestinian President
Danica Patrick Indy Car Driver

Two Republicans? And of course there's no more pressing issue for the Sunday Chat and Chews than "Indy Car Driver"s.

Here's their roundtable:

ABC's White House Correspondent Terry Moran and Congressional Correspondent Linda Douglass join George Will to discuss the week that was.

NBC's Meet the Press:

Co-Chairman & CEO, Nuclear Threat Initiative Former Senator, D - Georgia
Chairman, Foreign Relations Committee
Chair, 9/11 Commission
Vice Chair, 9/11 Commission
FRED THOMPSON Actor, "Last Best Chance"
Former Senator, R - Tennessee

In a special edition of "Meet the Press," we will explore the threat of Nuclear Terrorism. How secure are the world's nuclear materials? How can we prevent terrorists from getting their hands on a nuclear weapon?

Obviously, from the set of one of NBC's many Law & Orders, Fred Thompson has all the answers. No doubt Helen Caldicott was too busy to attend so they got Thompson to go on in her place. (That was sarcasm.)

At CBS' Face the Nation, being the only one of the three to be a half-hour (This Week & Meet the Press are both hour long shows) hasn't stopped them from using valuable time to address the pressing issues of . . . steroids in sports. Here's their line up:

The War In Iraq, Memorial Day, Steroids In Sports
Gen. Richard Myers
Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
Rep. Tom Davis
Chairman, Government Reform Committee
Republican - Virginia
John Feinstein
Sportswriter and Author
Colbert King
The Washington Post

If you love the Sunday Chat & Chews, watch and enjoy.

This week, there's not one guest that would even make me think of facing that white noise/feedback. You'll note, Meet the Press and Face the Nation have no female quests. Linda Douglas and the Indy Car Driver are on This Week. Check your local listings for air times.

If you're seeing the world around you, as it is, you're not watching the Sunday Chat & Chews. (With thanks to Ty & Jess of The Third Estate Sunday Review on that. They're always riffing on that topic.)

The e-mail address for this site is

Democracy Now: Texans for Public Justice, Sister Carol Giblert; Bob Somerby, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Douglas Ireland

Headlines for May 27, 2005
- Iraq Resistance Downs US Helicopter
- Bomb Explodes In Pakistan, Killing 20
- Pentagon Acknowledges Koran 'Mishandling'
- Marine Cleared In Killing Of Unarmed Iraqis
- Democrats Block Bolton Vote
- Jesse Jackson And DNC To Pay Fines
- US Embassy Staff Ordered Out Of Haiti
- Egyptian Opposition Blasts Referendum

Texas Judge Fines DeLay's PAC Treasurer Nearly $200,000
A Texas judge ruled that Tom Delay's Texas political committee, Texans for a Republican Majority, violated Texas campaign law when it failed to disclose more than half a million dollars in corporate campaign contributions during the 2002 state legislative elections. We speak with the executive director of Texans for Public Justice. [includes rush transcript]

Pipeline to Promise or Pipeline to Peril? New U.S.-Backed Oil Route Starts Moving Crude Oil From Azerbaijan to the West
A U.S.-backed oil pipeline linking the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean opened on Wednesday, and began moving crude oil from Azerbaijan to the West. The route of the pipeline is reportedly designed to only go through nations with strong U.S. support like Azerbaijan and Georgia, which have both been criticized for human rights abuses. We also examine why many believe the pipeline could be could be an environmental disaster for the region. [includes rush transcript]

Report: U.S. Routinely Sends Arms to Undemocratic Nations
A new report from the World Policy Institute has found that the U.S. is routinely funneling military aid and arms to undemocratic nations. In 2003 more than half of the top 25 recipients of U.S. arms transfers in the developing world were defined as undemocratic by the State Department. [includes rush transcript]

"Martha Stewart is Totally Against the War in Iraq," Says Activist Nun Imprisoned With Her
Antiwar activist Sister Carol Gilbert returned home from prison this week after serving a 33-month sentence for a Plowshares disarmament action. During her time behind bars, she became friends with a high-profile prisoner at Alderson Federal Prison--Martha Stewart. In an interview on Democracy Now!, Gilbert says, "Martha [Stewart] is totally against the war in Iraq, there is no question about it...we need to understand that Martha is still under house arrest right now, and so, she still is very limited by what she is allowed to do and not do by this government.." [includes rush transcript]

An e-mailer who didn't want their name disclosed e-mailed to say we wouldn't be linking to The Daily Howler today because it's on Newsweek "and you've made yourself obvious this morning."

Did I make myself obvious this morning?

I'm not sure that I did (I'd have to be much more long-winded on the topic, and do something other than an aside to make myself obvious, trust me). But we highlight Somerby Monday through Friday (and anytime someone e-mails a heads up to a Saturday entry). The reason for that is he is a great critic. That doesn't mean I have to agree with him 100% of the time or that when I disagree we don't highlight. (Pauline Kael was a great critic with strong analysis -- and she was a very nice person -- but I didn't have to agree with her take on a film to enjoy her writing.) I see Somerby's points re: Newsweek. I also see Katrina vanden Heuvel's points. (And, if you want obvious, I'm more inclined to argue what KvH argued.) I (along with some members who e-mailed yesterday) am still upset that I missed Somerby's radio appearence.
He was going to be addressing the Newsweek issue (and if the pattern from past appearences held, answering questions from callers and exploring the issue). I understand the point he's making and agree it's important to make. I would have enjoyed hearing it.

We'll quote from him on Newsweek today:

As we have incomparably noted, Kevin Drum does endless, superlative work. But what in the world is going on with his endless defenses of Newsweek? No, Thursday's report in the Washington Post didn’t support what Newsweek reported--that an upcoming U.S. army report would confirm the Koran-in-the-toilet-bowl allegation. But Kevin glory-days over the fact that Newsweek isn't as bad as the White House. And he makes a silly, un-Drum-like, sweeping assessment of "the state of American media criticism:"
DRUM (5/26/05): The American media certainly has its share of problems these days, but the state of American media criticism is little short of buffoonish. How is it possible that our press critics have spent two weeks clucking nervously over the fact that Newsweek's source made a mistake about which report he saw the Koran allegations in, thus providing the White House with exactly the cover they needed to avoid responsibility for the fact that it's their disastrous policies that are responsible for what's happening in Afghanistan? Who needs Paris Hilton to distract attention from reality when America's media critics will do it for free?

As scholarship, this is pathetic. Is he auditioning for Dan Okrent's post?
In the first place, who exactly does Drum have in mind when he says "our press critics have spent two weeks clucking nervously" about Newsweek, "thus providing the White House with exactly the cover they needed to avoid responsibility" for their own gross misconduct? Who exactly has done this? For ourselves, we just spent an hour on public radio discussing these events, and we found it amazingly easy to state two things at the same time--that Newsweek bungled (then dissembled about) its report, and that the White House used this minor incident to try to distract attention away from its own massively larger misconduct. Surely some conservative pundits have tried to do what Drum describes. But why does he claim that "our press critics" in general have "buffoonishly" acted this way? Who does he have in mind?

Would we have quoted that without the e-mailer writing in? No. Because I think the section on Janice Rogers Brown is pretty important so we would have emphasized that. But we always quote the Howler and short of him marrying Midge Decter and doing the Norman transformation (which I don't see happening), as long as this community site is around, we always will. (That would hold even if I were to pass it on to Ava.) I know it's the weekend already for most people and that it's a long one so people may have plans but please consider taking the time to click on today's Howler because, besides the Newsweek quote, he's also addressing Janice Rogers Brown, Nancy Pelosi (which I thought, as I read along, would be the pull quote for here until I got to the last section), and Margaret Carlson (with a link to a past Howler -- if you go there click on that link to read the earlier entry). (There's also a discussion of John Warner's appearence on Hardball.)

Somerby's critique of Newsweek is a strong critique. It's valid. (And should continue.) But, my opinion, Katrina vanden Heuvel's statements (criticqued last week at The Howler) weren't really about defending Newsweek as an entity. They were about the issue raised. Somerby goes by the facts and is truthful to them. KvH was going by, my opinion, what's not been strongly reported and her concern wasn't Newsweek as much as it was social justice. Last week, I tried to present both sides because some members were angered by the Howler (as I knew some would be). But as for my full opinion, I haven't offered it. I can see both sides on this. Newsweek didn't do a good job (as Somerby's pointed out) but the issue goes beyond Newsweek's reporting (which is what I feel KvH was getting at in her statements).

Within Somerby's framework, he's one-hundred-percent right. Within Katrina vanden Heuvel's, she's one-hundred-percent right. And there were members expressing support for Somerby's critique. But it wasn't a fight between them (as some members saw it -- I don't think it was even a slap-down of KvH and KvH didn't respond to it -- nor was she required to do so -- so it's pretty hard to stretch it into a "fight"). Both had valid points.

We'll always link to The Howler, Somerby does great work. (We linked during his series on Lawrence Summers which I personally disagreed with, strongly disagreed with, but enjoyed reading his take on it.)

And we'll always link to Katrina vanden Heuvel. We don't quote her entries in as great length because her entries are shorter (not a slap down before any e-mails come in, besides her Editor's Cut blog, she's also putting together a magazine every week -- which is not a slap down of Bob Somerby and the incredible work he does at The Howler). And let's note her latest now, "Sweet Victory: Electoral Reform is On the March:"

Electoral reform is on the march. Burlington, Vermont, the state's biggest city, recently adopted instant runoff voting for its 2006 mayoral elections. On May 18th, Portland, Oregon became the first city in the country to approve full public financing of elections. And last week in Canada, a majority of voters opted for proportional voting in an important symbolic victory that could eventually lead to more voices and more choices in future elections.

This week we noted two views on media reform and most members either didn't mind that or took from it what they could and ignored the rest. (A number of members e-mailed to note that they were glad to see something up -- in the two views -- that represented what they felt.)
We don't march in lock-step here. We don't highlight marching orders or try to run with the pack (see Doug Ireland entry below on the dangers of pack running). There is room for disagreements among the left. And, contrary to what cable television or the NewsHour, would have you believe, you don't need a right winger and a "leftists" (centerist) debating a topic to have a full blown debate. *

Ryan e-mails to note Doug Ireland's DIRELAND where he has a post entitled "TWO SLAPS for GEORGE LAKOFF:"

George Lakoff's Don't Think of an Elephant unfortunately is a best-seller among Democratic progressives seeking a way out of their post-election doldrums (the caption for the illustration at left is "Crying Donkey".) Frankly, Lakoff's New Age-y psycholinguistics are an illusory substitute for real politics that leave me cold, and many of the reasons why can be found in two new articles that offer sound critiques of him. Longtime author-activist Frances Moore Lappé has penned "Time for Progressives to Grow Up: Beyond Lakoff’s strict father vs. nurturant parent, a strong community manifesto," which the Guerilla News Network has posted and Utne Reader Web Watch features as this week's lead choice. She argues that, "rather than reacting to [Lakoff's] 'strict father' frame by searching for a better use of a 'nurturing parent' frame, let’s reframe the entire conversation to one that begins with a definition of citizens as responsible grown-ups, not helpless children. In this progressive moral vision we strive to live in strong communities—safer and more viable than ones that rely on a strict father, who on deeper examination may turn out to be only a stubborn loner, a bully bringing on the very threats from which he claims to protect us?"
And, you must not miss the terrific send-up of Lakoff by my L.A. Weekly colleague and companero
Marc Cooper (see photo) in the May issue of The Atlantic, "Thinking of Jackasses: the grand delusions of the Democratic Party."

Want to see the photo? Click the
link and you can also continue reading. Ryan wanted the part on Lappe highlighted (and he's in the midst of working through her books and enjoying them all) but I may have pushed fair use. Obviously, Ireland would want Cooper noted as well (as he shold be) but in case people don't use the links (and a lot of people don't), I included the first sentence of the second paragraph to make sure Cooper got credited as well.

We'll also note this from Ireland:

Yours truly can be heard this coming Sunday on KFPA, the San Francisco-Bay Area Pacifica radio station, where I'll be analyzing Sunday's referendum in France on the proposed new European Constitution. The interview is scheduled for 6:00 PM PST (9:00 PM EST) -- by which time defintive election returns from the referendum should be available -- and can also be heard on the 'net by clicking on the KPFA website.

The e-mail address for this site is

* A long portion has been deleted before posting. That will go up in it's own entry either tonight or tomorrow. It has nothing to do with Bob Somerby or Katrina vanden Heuvel so it was pulled. It does have to do with e-mail policies at this site. Members, such as Rob, will be pleased when it's posted. It doesn't effect members but we will be making a change in an e-mail policy. But twenty-five members have been e-mailing advocating the change that's going to go into effect and if they read the above, they'll no doubt note that it was the perfect time for it to be noted if it were going into effect. It will go into effect but it's detracting from this entry and I want to work on the tone of it some more before putting it up.

Has Jayson Blair returned to the Times, where is Bill Clinton and does the Times hate Northern Ireland?

Has Jayson Blair returned to the New York Times?

Where has former president Bill Clinton been this week?

Does the Times hate Northern Ireland?

Those are interesting questions.

They all came about when Krista noted a "World Briefing" on May 25th.

Krista: Did you see the paragraph? What is that about?

Here's the paragraph (from "World Briefing" and by Brian Lavery) that Krista's referring to:

The Irish Republican Army continues to recruit and train new members and maintain an arsenal, and it retains the ability to return to a full-scale terror war, according to a report by the Independent Monitoring Commission, a watchdog group set up by the British and Irish governments last year to check paramilitary groups in the province. The 59-page report found that both republican and loyalists groups were involved in crime and that loyalists were responsible for four times as many shootings as republican groups. The report "presents a disturbing picture," the Irish government said in a statement, and Britain's secretary for Northern Ireland, Peter Hain, demanded "crystal clarity from the I.R.A." on ending it's activities. The four-member commission offered faint praise to Gerry Adams, the president of Sinn Fein, the I.R.A.'s political wing, for publicly urging the I.R.A. to seek an alternative to armed struggle. If the I.R.A. disbands, Mr. Adams "will have demonstrated leadership of a high order," it said.

The first interesting thing that stood out about the paragraph was that there was a much longer article that didn't appear in the national edition of the paper (my guess is the longer article didn't appear in print -- I could be wrong). The longer article (also by Brian Lavery) is dated May 24th online and entitled "I.R.A. Is Still Armed and Dangerous, Official Report Says." Again, it didn't make the print edition of the national paper. (If someone wants to argue that, please note the page number, I've been over the May 24th edition -- and am saving it in case someone wants to argue it "must" be in the paper.)

It didn't make the national edition on May 25th. Some may argue (and they could be right) that the earlier story was just too much even for the New York Times which becomes the New York Tantrum on the subject of Northern Ireland. Yes, on at least one topic the Timid can become the Tantrum. And the original article is a little more even handed (a little -- it also defines terms that readers new, or not well versed, need defined such as who are the "loyalists").

Let's deal with a basic first. The Times (Lavery or "Lavery" if what made it into print reflects editorial input and not Lavery's own writing -- something Times reporters have e-mailed to complain about) gets it wrong even on the basics. It's not a 59 page report. Look, I'm the last to slam anyone on math but the page numbers are printed on each page. We're talking about the Independent Monitoring Commission's Fifth Report (available online in PDF format). The last five pages are "annex" -- e.g. "appendix." The text is 54 pages and I'm having difficulty remembering another time that the Times has padded out a report by including the appendix in the page count.

Let's note something else, the non-published story addresses the membership of the committee. It's four people and one of them is a "a former deputy director of the United States Central Intelligence Agency among them." We're speaking of Richard "Dick" Kerr and you can read his online bio if you're interested. For some reason, the Times wasn't interested in printing that aspect of the story. Strange.

Equally strange is what made it into print -- a huge misrepresentation of the report. When Krista e-mailed, I found the report online (translation, it's really easy to find The Fifth Report). It's not the way the Times painted it. I couldn't believe Lavery would so distort it.

So what's going on here?

I have no idea. Lavery's original article was a bit more even handed. Someone decided to reduce it to a "World Briefing." Is Jayson Blair back on the Times' staff but now working as an editor?

What else, for instance, could explain the closing sentence of what appeared in print (and it appears in the unprinted, longer version as well):

If the I.R.A. disbands, Mr. Adams "will have demonstrated leadership of a high order," it said.

The Fifth Report doesn't say that. Excuse me, they do say "will have demonstrated leadership of a high order." That does appear in the report (page 48). But the start of that sentence does not refer to disbanding the I.R.A. The start of the sentence refers to the goals outlined in Gerry Adams' April 6, 2005 speech. In that speech, he called for the I.R.A. to give up arms and dedicate themselves to political goals. He did not call for them to disband.

The Times hasn't run a correction on that statement. Let's be really clear, The Fifth Report does not say what the Times says it said.

(For the record, page 48 of The Fifth Report reads: "In his statement of 6 April 2005 as President of Sinn Fein Gerry Adams indicated views related to some of the considerations we raised earlier in this Section and if he is able to develop this and to deliver as he seems to have suggest he will have demonstrated leadership of a high order." His speech didn't raise that. Nor did the commission say "the IRA needs to disband." They took the same position Adams took in his speech.)

You can read Gerry Adams speech here. The source is CounterPunch (that's where the link takes you). As a result, some might say (visitors), "Oh, they've left out something! You know those damn lefties!"

Well, let's give you another source. But before you go to that link (a U.S. government site), let's note that our State Department didn't interpret the speech the way Lavery or "Lavery" does.

06 April 2005
United States Welcomes Sinn Fein Call for IRA To Abandon Violence
The United States welcomes the April 6 statement issued by Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams calling for the Irish Republican Army (IRA) "to renounce violence and rely on purely political and democratic means," according to State Department spokesman Richard Boucher.
"We await concrete actions by the IRA to support the policy advocated by Mr. Adams," said Boucher.

After that statement, Adams' speech is reprinted. Note that this is the site for our embassy in England.

Adams speech did not call for the IRA to disband. Read it and you'll see that. Note Boucher's comments and you'll see that our government's reading of the speech didn't see it as a call for the IRA "to disband." For some reason Lavery (or "Lavery") pulls a section of a sentence in The Fifth Report to create the idea that the Independent Monitoring Commission said they'd praise Adams if the IRA disbanded.

How did the false announcement that the IMC was suggesting they'd praise Adams if the IRA disbanded make it into print?

If you're a visitor (welcome) you may be a little confused. But members long ago brought up the attitude of hostility that the paper has shown to Northern Ireland. We've dealt with that many times before.

In terms of editorials, the Saturday before St. Patrick's Day is still something shocking.

I say "shocking" because the peace in Ireland is tentative. And the paper presents itself as socially responsible. But in that editorial as well as in the slew of articles, the Times pushed an agenda with distortions of reality (and I'll stand by that claim) that shocked a lot of people because it was akin to throwing gas on smoldering fire. That wasn't "socially responsible." It was the sort of thing you'd expect from the New York Post, but not the Grey Lady.

Or at least not from the image the Times promotes for itself. Anyone who read the Times during the Clinton era is quite aware that the image isn't quite valid. Check out Bob Somerby's The Daily Howler for multitude of examples. Here we'll just note that Paul Krugman was discouraged from using "lie" (in any of its forms) while speaking of the Bully Boy in the 2000 campaign but it was fine to report on the "lies" of Al Gore. Forget for a moment that we're speaking about the Bully Boy and Gore. Just think about how the "staid" Timid was willing to nix a candidate being called a liar but perfectly happy to let a sitting vice-president be called that. It doesn't really jibe with the paper's promoted image. But it happened and it happens.

And for some reason, it's perfectly okay to be one sided in editorials and reporting (AND REPORTING) in the Times on the issue of Northern Ireland.

Some might wonder if that's little harsh. I don't think it is. When Krista e-mailed about the story, I replied to her that I'm sure the report popping up in the World Briefing had something to do with what was going on in Ireland that week and that I doubted the Times would tell their readers about that.

What am I talking about?

Where the hell has Bill Clinton been?

If you read the Times, you don't know he's been in Ireland. You also don't know that he met with Gerry Adams (the vile Gerry Adams to judge by the Tantrum's coverage).

This wasn't a hop-off-the-plane-take-a-photo-and-leave visit. Nor was it even a one day visit.
So why didn't the Times tell you about it?

Our former president feels the need to visit to Ireland and you'd think that would rate something, at least a paragraph. But if you got your news only from the New York Times, you never learned of his visit.

Now what else happened Tuesday, May 24th? That's when Lavery's original report was filed (and the paragraph appeared in print on the 25th). That's when the meeting took place.

It's a little strange that, when noting a report on the situation in Ireland, they can't work in a sentence to say, "Hey, Bill Clinton's there right now."

It took something like nineteen days (check my math) to report on the Downing memo but they're ready to go to print the next day with the "59 page" report from the Independent Monitoring Commission? (The report was released on the 24th of May.)

(Report on does not mean "mention in passing." Until Douglas Jehl reported on it, it wasn't reported on it. Paul Krugman did do an op-ed on it but I'm referring to the reporting in the paper. Douglas Jehl's "British Memo on U.S. Plans for Iraq War Fuels Critics" was the first reporting on the memo in the Times. The Sunday Times of London broke the story "The secret Downing Street memo" May 1st, Jehl's article ran in the New York Times on May 20th. )

If people are questioning the coverage of Northern Ireland in the Times, that's why.

It makes no sense at all that the Times has never informed readers that Bill Clinton's been in Ireland. It makes no sense at all that they run with a report on the situation that comes out the day Bill Clinton is meeting with Gerry Adams and the Times can't tell you about the meeting.

I don't know what the New York Tantrum's problem is with Adams and Sinn Fein or why they've used terms like 'bully.' (Used in their screeching editorial before St. Patrick's Day.) Possibly with Arafat dead and still nursing their red face over the "He's gone! He's gone! And the people want him gone!" reporting (and editorializing) on Hugo Chavez in 2002, they now need a new fall guy.

But it's pretty shameful and it's past time that the Tantrum was called on their childlike behavior. In March, when the war on Adams and Sinn Fein was in full bloom at the Tantrum, a lot of people took a pass on commenting on the realities at play in the area. (CounterPunch was one of the few to note it.) So maybe the Tantrum thinks it can still play readers?

And maybe this will continue to for sometime. I don't know. I know there were e-mails asking why we were bothered about it in the first place?

We were bothered about it in the first place because Dominick raised the issue. If you've forgotten, that's when the Tantrum was telling you it was all over for Adams and Sinn Fein was sure to see a huge defeat in the upcoming elections. Dominick has family there and that's not what they were seeing. I phoned people I knew (college professors and reporters) and that's not how they saw it. It's how the Tantrum saw it.

A "G.K." e-mailed me to tell me "You will be so humiliated when The New York Times is once again proven right!"

The elections have been held, the Tantrum was wrong.

They pushed a story that no one I spoke to saw. They pushed a story that went against everything I had ever learned about the area (for undergraduate and graduate work, Ireland was one of the few non-Latin American countries I emphasized).

I don't know how the paper got away with it at the time. But it still continues and I really hope people are noticing it. (I know we've noticed, and will continue to note it, in this community. But I'm speaking of outside this community which basically means, domestically, CounterPunch and only CounterPunch. If you saw it somewhere else, please e-mail the site. We'd be happy to spotlight articles on this topic.)

Bill Clinton truly achieved something with the Good Friday Accord (my opinion). For some reason, the Tantrum's decided that a war on Adams and Sinn Fein is in their best interest. It's not in the interest of the area. We stated back then that there was not the huge move away that the Tantrum was reporting. (And the elections proved our assertion correct.) But the Tantrum didn't get called on it after.

And the behavior continues. It wants to stamp its feet and scream like an angry toddler.

I have no idea why that is.

But anyone who knows about the area realizes that the Tantrum's coverage is questionable.
Reporting, not editorials, have maintained one line on the area for some time now. And if it were a realistic one, that would be fine. The claims that Newsweek caused rioting over their Koran story was nonsense, my opinion, because they were reporting what they were told. If there's a problem, big if because I don't think Newsweek is as influential in that area as the fright wing would have you believe, the problem wasn't with Newsweek, it was with the actions that took place. Newsweek just reported on the actions.

And there are some in Northern Ireland whom the the Tantrum's coverage has represented. They aren't in the majority and there's never been the groundswell that the Tantrum has claimed was present. Which is why to so many members of this community (including Eli and Krista) the Tantrum's coverage has read like a war on Northern Ireland.

I don't think any member has argued (and I haven't) that only good news needs to be printed. I feel I need to put that in for any visitor that stumbles across this. The issue is that the Tantrum has repeatedly misrepresented what was happening in Northern Ireland.

This week we saw the non-reporting of Bill Clinton's visit. (Omission.) We saw the Tantrum skew the reporting on the Fifth Report the Independent Monitoring Commission.

If the I.R.A. disbands, Mr. Adams "will have demonstrated leadership of a high order," it said.

The second section of the sentence (the quote) is from the report. The report did not say the IRA needed to disband. (Nor did Adams.) The Tantrum has been suggesting that -- in reporting and in their Saturday editorial preceeding Saint Patrick's Day.

Something's going on here and it needs to be noticed. We dropped all coverage of this the week of Saint Patrick's Day because if the Tantrum's distortions were going to take hold, it would be that week when even our lazy broadcast media will do a story on Ireland. All the members who wrote in during that week were advised that we were not mentioning here because we weren't going to promote the Tantrum's agenda in a week where any controversy could allow their agenda to take hold.

It never took hold. (One story the Tantrum pushed made it to CNN on St. Patrick's Day. A friend who barely pays attention to any news saw it during lunch and called to ask what was going on?) But for whatever reason the Tantrum is pushing one side of a story and presenting it as the majority opinion. (Perhaps the majority opinion of people at the Tantrum?)

Their reporting on this is akin to Judith Miller's grudge f**king of the United Nations. I think it's something people should be aware of.

I tried to pull this entry together the night of the 24th but, as I told Krista in an e-mail, it wasn't coming together. Last night it didn't either. I'm sorry Krista had to wait so long for this entry.
No, I don't think Jayson Blair's been hired by the Times as an editor. But to get to the point where I could write about this in something approaching a calm manner (and make a joke) took some time. I have no idea why this issue of coverage in the Times hasn't led to more discussion.
It's pretty important when you consider the history of the area and how much unrest has gone on there.

The Times reporting has been skewed and wrong (and in the case of Sinn Fein being 'over,' proven wrong by the elections). They give the impression that they're reporting on the will of the majority in Northern Ireland and that's frankly not the case. If they know something that others don't, they'd do well to print it flat out and quit allowing innuendo and slams to pass for reporting.

Bill Clinton was very interested and active in the peace process in the area (and obviously remains interested and active as evidenced by his visit). The Bully Boy, from the start, has shown no interest. While it's true that the Times spins in the wind, ever changing position to back up whatever the current position of the current State Department holds on a country, they've gone beyond what our State Department (at least publicly) expresses about the area.

A number of you e-mailed Daniel Okrent repeatedly in March about this issue. No surprise, Okrent's response was the silence that greeted anything that wasn't "what I want to write about." He's gone now (thankfully). Maybe the new public editor will address it?

I have no idea. But complaints to the Times haven't led to it being addressed. ("Big surprise" as Wally noted after he received no response to his e-mails on the topic.) It's really strange to see the Grey Lady so actively go from New York Timid to New York Tantrum.

The e-mail address for this site is

[Note: Shirely e-mailed about the link to the Times' "World Briefing" not working. It's been corrected. Hopefully. I'll make sure after this posts.]