Saturday, November 19, 2005

Susan Sarandon on The Laura Flanders Show along with Ed Rampell

Title emphasizes Susan Sarandon with no sleight intended towards Juanita Millender-McDonald or any other guest. But Sarandon is on this afternoon/evening/tonight (depending upon your time zone) and after last week's mistake (mine) of saying Gloria Steinem would be on Saturday's show, I don't want to make the same mistake again. Susan Sarandon will be on The Laura Flanders Show today/night.

TODAY on The Laura Flanders Show
Air America Radio, 7-10 PM EST
What difference do movies make?
Oscar-winner actress and activist
ED RAMPELL, author of
'Progressive Hollywood.'
California Congresswoman
JUANITA MILLENDER-MCDONALD on the latest cruel GOP budget cuts.
And as FEMA abandons
New Orleans evacuees, we talk to people cleaning up homes one block at a time:
Common Ground Collective in NOLA
The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Rebuild Hope Now campaign.
Plus the price of protest for
GEOVANY SERRANO, an anti-war high schooler in Los Angeles.
You can listen to shows you missed:
Download archived shows HERE or Subscribe to the Free PODCAST through the iTunes Music Store
Go to the Laura Flanders Blog

You love Laura, I'm betting you love Susan. It should be a great show. And if all the guests noted above are on tonight's show, the only problem will hearing about so much that you should have heard about (but didn't) from the mainstream media all week, you'll beat yourself up for having wasted time on evening broadcasts of TV news. Pay special attention to Geovany Serrano's story.

And remember you can listen to The Laura Flanders Show via broadcast radio (if there's an AAR in your area), via XM Satellite Radio (channel 167) or listen online.

The e-mail address for this site is

Woody and Iraq

And I'm not the only one who's been left wondering. "Exactly what triggered Woodward's disclosure to [his editor] remains unclear," wrote Howard Kurtz.In his spin, Woodward is trying to put a positive face on things by making it sound as if he decided to come forward and disclose his Plamegate involvement to Len Downie of his own free will (a claim Downie seemed to back up when he told the Post that Woodward told him about the contact to alert him to a possible story). But a tell-tale excerpt from Woodward's appearance on Larry King the night before the Libby indictment indicates that he had to be prodded into coming clean.It reminds me of how Judy Miller suddenly and magically remembered the notes from that other meeting with Scooter Libby following her first grand jury visit. Jane Hamsher didn't buy Judy's claim, blogging: "It implies they all woke up one morning and spontaneously pulled the notebook out of their collective hindquarters, with no prosecutorial prodding. I'm not convinced..."
And I'm not convinced about the nature of Woodward's disclosure.Let's go to the tape:It's October 27. Woodward is part of the Larry King panel discussing the anticipated indictments. Coming back from a commercial break, King dramatically announces that Newsweek's Michael Isikoff (also on the panel) had whispered to him during the commercial that he had "a key question" for Woodward. Isikoff then pops the question, triggering an exchange that in hindsight is very revealing.

Isikoff announces that a White House source has told him that Woodward has information about Plamegate that he has not yet revealed. Excited, King prompts Woodward to "come clean," but Woodward denies that he has anything to offer. In fact, he doesn't just deny it, he scoffs at the notion. "I wish I did have a bombshell. I don't even have a firecracker." Come on, Bob, being perhaps the first recipient of the Plame leak isn't even a firecracker? Just a touch misleading, don't you think?
Then Woodward helpfully provides the rope with which he will eventually hang himself.
WOODWARD: I got a call from somebody in the CIA saying he got a call from the best New York Times reporter on this saying exactly that I supposedly had a bombshell. Finally, this went around that I was going to do it tonight or in the paper. Finally, Len Downie, who is the editor of the "Washington Post" called me and said, "I hear you have a bombshell. Would you let me in on it?"
So this wasn't something that Woodward suddenly decided to do. Instead, the cat was already out of the bag and Downie was pressing him for answers. At that point Woodward realized he needed to fess up to Downie. Lying to the public on national TV is one thing, but directly lying to your editor when confronted is apparently quite another in Woodward's ethics book.

The above is from Arianna Huffington's "Bob Woodward's 'Firecracker,' the Second Coming of Judy's Notebook?" (The Huffington Post) and we're doing a link-fest.

Where is Ruth? We'll post her tomorrow or later in the week. (As sure as I type this, she'll have her Ruth's Morning Edition Report finished. But on the phone, she said she needed more time for a polish.) So we'll do a link-fest.

On the topic of Woody, we'll note Ron's "Bob Woodward Sent Questions" (Why Are We Back In Iraq?):

Another unexplained oddity from Bob Woodward's statement derived from his appearance on Monday before Patrick Fitzgerald for the Plame leak investigation:
I also testified that I had a conversation with a third person on June 23, 2003. The person was I. Lewis "Scooter'' Libby, and we talked on the phone. I told him I was sending to him an 18-page list of questions I wanted to ask Vice President Cheney. On page 5 of that list there was a question about "yellowcake'' and the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate regarding Iraq's weapons programs. I testified that I believed I had both the 18-page question list and the question list from the June 20 interview with the phrase "Joe Wilson's wife'' on my desk during this discussion. I testified that I have no recollection that Wilson or his wife was discussed, and I have no notes of the conversation.
Woodward claims he sent Libby an "18-page list of questions I wanted to ask Vice President Cheney."
Later from Bob's statement:
"I testified that on June 27, 2003, I met with Libby at 5:10 p.m. in his office adjacent to the White House. I took the 18-page list of questions with the Page-5 reference to "yellowcake'' to this interview and I believe I also had the other question list from June 20, which had the "Joe Wilson's wife'' reference."

[. . .]
But putting aside the ethics question: what the hell happened to those 17 questions?
On September 30, 2003 White House employees were
ordered to comply with the grand jury request for all records related to the leak:
PLEASE READ: Important Message From Counsel's Office
We were informed last evening by the Department of Justice that it has opened an investigation into possible unauthorized disclosures concerning the identity of an undercover CIA employee. The Department advised us that it will be sending a letter today instructing us to preserve all materials that might be relevant to its investigation. Its letter will provide more specific instructions on the materials in which it is interested, and we will communicate those instructions directly to you. In the meantime, you must preserve all materials that might in any way be related to the Department's investigation. Any questions concerning this request should be directed to Associate Counsels Ted Ullyot or Raul Yanes in the Counsel to the President's office.
The President has directed full cooperation with this investigation.
Alberto R. Gonzales, Counsel to the President

What happened to the "18-page list of questions [Woodward] wanted to ask Vice President Cheney" that was sent to the Vice President's office?

Turning to Iraq, we'll note Andrew Stromotich's "The Advocate" (The Forum, Iraq Dispatches):

On September 29, 2005, shortly after 8 p.m., Amal Kadhum Swadi, and her youngest son Safa were arrested by U.S. forces in the Ghazaliya district of Baghdad on suspicion of planting an improvised explosive device.
They were just leaving their Baghdad home with other family members, and had opened their garage door to take out the family car, when the Swadi family were swarmed by multiple Humvees and numerous heavily armed U.S. Soldiers with weapons drawn.
Haloed by headlights and surrounded by agitated soldiers, mother and son were separated from each other and hidden from view of other family members behind a wall of troops and humvees. They were blindfolded and handcuffed tightly with the plastic zap straps and hoods that have become potent symbols of the dehumanization of Iraqis under occupation.
Ms. Swadi and Safa were made to squat on the highway’s dirt embankment while Zaid, her eldest son, was issued a handwritten receipt for his mother and brother. As Zaid yelled into the crowd of soldiers, trying to get response from his mother, Ms. Swadi and Safa were being packed into humvees for the trip to the
Airport Detention Facility for further processing, leaving Zaid in a cloud of dust, clutching his receipt and trying to console his sobbing sister.
I first met
Amal Swadi in Istanbul, at the culminating session of The World Tribunal on Iraq. Ms. Swadi was part of the Iraqi delegation invited to give testimony on their experiences of occupation; as a lawyer representing women held in Abu Ghraib and other U.S. and British detention facilities in Iraq, Ms. Swadi was there to speak on the degenerating state of human rights.
As I found out,
Ms. Swadi is no stranger to the occupation, or the media covering it. As a lawyer willing to take on the mass of occupation, she is well known for her outspoken advocacy for those unfortunates caught in the machinery of occupation.
Amal Swadi is 52, and was accompanied to the Istanbul tribunal by her daughter, and eldest son Zaid, who is also a lawyer. At the events opening party, I was presented to Ms. Swadi and Zaid, whose love and respect for his mother were instantly apparent. He studied me closely as I was introduced, and when I put my hand out to shake his mother’s, he smiled and took it warmly.
Ms. Swadi, a humble religious woman, immediately forgave my lack of understanding of Islamic culture, and after a short conversation, agreed to be interviewed (the video of this interview will be available shortly).
Ms. Swadi's involvement with investigations into female prisoners of the occupation started when she was told about a message the women detained in Abu Ghraib were trying to get to the resistance. The message, which had become public knowledge in the streets of Bagdad, was begging the resistance to attack Abu Ghraib with rockets, as the women held inside had given up hope, and could no longer bare the gross abuses and torture inflicted upon them daily. In Islam, as in Christianity, suicide is regarded as an ultimate sin, so these women were asking to be killed. Since then, Ms. Swadi has tirelessly worked for the recognition and release of these detainees (at the time I met her, she was representing nine of these shadow women).
Ms. Swadi told me of her visits to Abu Ghraib, and the difficulties she experienced in trying to gain access to the women held inside, including U.S. force’s outright denial of the women’s existence. When attempts to intimidate her did not work, dismissive guardsmen simply turned her away. When Ms. Swadi returned to Abu Ghraib for her second visit, she was accompanied by a determination cast in the previous sleepless night. Her resolve was eventually rewarded, and after waiting all day in one of the compound’s courtyards under the desert sun, without water or food, she was finally allowed access to her clients (six in total). Ms. Swadi told me the emotion of the experience was overwhelming, and she broke down and sobbed along with the first detainee presented.

Lastly, we'll note BuzzFlash's GOP Hypocrite of the Week:

Don't you love those little 20-minute gabfests between Bushevik partisan judicial hacks and senators? You know the tête-a-têtes that are supposed to reveal the "true" feelings and thoughts of the Republican foot soldier nominees. We love how Sam Alito, supposedly one of those "decent guy" Bush judges, is trying to weasel his way out of a 1985 application he filled out to join the Ed "Police State" Meese Justice Department. "The Constitution," Alito asserted, "does not protect a right to an abortion."
As even the New York Times noted, "Equally alarming is the notion that he fudged the truth to tell a potential employer what it wanted to hear." He didn't fudge anything on that application. But now it's his hypocrisy that's as clear as his right-wing agenda. That's why he merits being honored as the BuzzFlash GOP Hypocrite of the Week.

The e-mail address for this site is Note to members, do not use the public account. There are too many e-mails in there and I'm about to call it a day on working my way through there. Use the private e-mail account instead, please.

NYT: "Federal Jury Finds Salvadoran Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity in 80's" (Julia Preston)

In a verdict that brought back a dark time in the United States' forgotten wars in Central America, a federal jury in Memphis yesterday found a former military colonel from El Salvador responsible for crimes against humanity during that country's civil war in the 1980's and ordered him to pa $6 million in damages.
The nine-member jury found that the colonel, Nicolas Carranza, had "command responsibility" for the torture of a Salvadoran who was forced to confess falsely to the 1983 killing of an American military adviser, Lt. Cmdr. Albert Schaufelberger.

The above is from Julia Preston's "Federal Jury Finds Salvadoran Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity in 80's" in this morning's New York Times and it is our spotlight story (the one you need to know about) and was selected as such by Francisco, Miguel, Shirley, Billie, Kara, Rob, Brady and Erika.

In the article, you learn that Carranza testified that he was on the CIA payroll for two decades, as "a paid informant . . . including the years that were the focus of the trial." Robert White ("American ambassador to El Salvador at the time") backs that up.

Historical perspective (not in the article). Reagan backed the Salvadoran government. When nuns were raped and murdered on December 2, 1980, like a Bully Boy spin campaign, you had attacks on the nuns as opposed to the government forces that had committed crimes against humanity. (Jeane Kirkpatrick famously accused the nuns of being "not just nuns" but "political activists!" as though, if true, that justified the rapes and murders. Heart beat away Al Haig offered that possibly there was an exchange of gun fire because . . . he entertains thoughts of pistol packing nuns apparently.)

A number of e-mails (there were 36 on this article) expressed surprise that the CIA would even be mentioned in an article by the Times. For one thing, you have US official -- an ambassador -- going on record (they do love their "official sources"). But it should also be noted that, as pointed out in Jennifer K. Harbury's Truth, Torture, and the American Way, the Times' Philip Taubman noted Carranza was "a paid CIA informant" years ago. (In May of 1984, in fact.)

The Reagan administration backed this oppressive government (and others) and did so knowingly and willingly. Which is but one reason that the week long "Is he still dead?" tribute to Ronald Reagan was so offensive. (Honestly, with that kind of build up it was as though they expected Reagan to rise from the dead on the seventh day.)

Billie called the case to our attention on November 1st and on the same day, Marcus also noted it. But the mainstream media wasn't interested in this case. (The argument might be, "We were letting the AP cover it!" Does that explain the lack of editorials as well as the lack of coverage? No.)

For more information on this case, you can check out The Center for Justice and Accountability.

From the website, we'll note the plantiffs:

Erlinda Franco is the widow of Manuel Franco, one of six pro-democracy opposition leaders of the Frente Democrático Revolucionario (Democratic Revolutionary Front, or FDR) who were abducted from a Jesuit school in San Salvador on November 27, 1980 by members of the Security Forces. They were later found murdered, and their bodies showed obvious signs of torture. The assassinations were among the most gruesome and shocking incidents carried out by the Security Forces during 1980, and led directly to the commencement of the full-scale civil war. The United Nations Commission on the Truth for El Salvador found that the FDR murders "outraged national and international public opinion and closed the door to any possibility of a negotiated solution to the political crisis at the end of 1980."
Ana Patricia Chavez is the daughter of Humberto and Guillermina Chavez, who were members of the teachers union ANDES 21 de Junio. They were murdered in cold blood by plainclothes gunmen in July 1980 in the family’s home in Ahuachapan, El Salvador. Ana Patricia was forced to watch the beating of her mother and listen to the shots that took her life. Ana Patricia now lives in California.
Francisco Calderon was a worker at a cigarette factory in September 1980 when, late one night, uniformed members of the National Police knocked on his door. As he opened the door, plainclothes gunmen grabbed him and forced him to the floor. Francisco’s father, Paco Calderon, a school principal and member of ANDES 21 de Junio, came to the door and told the men to let his son go. The men then tried to carry away Paco Calderon, and when they were unable to do so, they shot him directly in front of his son. Francisco now lives in California.
Cecilia Santos was a student at the National University and employee of the Salvadoran Ministry of Education when she was arrested in a shopping center in San Salvador in September 1980. Cecilia was held in the National Police headquarters for eight days and tortured repeatedly. She was never given adequate legal representation or a fair hearing, and remained in prison for three years. She fled to the U.S. in 1983 after being released under a general amnesty. Cecilia now lives in New York, where she is the director of the Centro Salvadoreño, an organization that encourages socioeconomic and cultural progress among Latino immigrant communities.
Daniel Alvarado was an engineering student in San Salvador in 1983. He was abducted by five men dressed in civilian clothes while he was watching a soccer game at a friend’s house. He was taken to the headquarters of the Treasury Police, where he was tortured severely. In order to stop the torture, Daniel confessed to being involved in the assassination of U.S. military advisor Albert Schaufelberger. After a polygraph examination, U.S. officials correctly concluded that Daniel was not responsible in any way for the assassination and that he had only admitted to the killing in order to stop the torture.

Zach e-mails to note Robert Parry's "Woodward & Washington's 'Tipping Point'" (Consortium News):

In my book, Secrecy & Privilege, I track how the Washington press corps changed from the Watergate/Vietnam era of the 1970s, when journalists took some pride in challenging the powerful, to the Iraq War, when many national news outlets cowered and fawned before a White House that equated skepticism with disloyalty.
This gradual but unmistakable shift in the ethos of Washington journalism marked a hard-fought victory for conservatives who invested billions of dollars over the past three decades in building a media/political machine for gaining as much control as possible of the information flowing through the nation’s capital to the American people.
Journalists who bucked the trend confronted ugly attacks from right-wing media "watchdogs," almost inevitable betrayal by news executives, and dashed careers. Journalists who played along were rewarded with fame, money and access.
Today, no journalist personifies this transformation more than Washington Post assistant managing editor Bob Woodward, who made his name unraveling Richard Nixon's Watergate cover-up but now has been caught misleading the public while protecting the Bush administration’s cover-up of a scheme to smear an Iraq War critic.
Yet the entanglements of the Washington Post's most famous journalist -- and the New York Times star reporter Judith Miller -- in advancing propaganda themes from George W. Bush’s White House also have tugged Washington’s Establishment to the edge of what might become a historic tipping point.
Because of the investigation into the outing of CIA officer Valerie Plame, the incestuous relationship between big media and the Bush administration has been stripped bare as never before. The exposure has reached a stage where the American people might finally realize that the reality of Washington is much different than they were led to believe.
While conservatives will still complain about the "liberal media," it's now clear that the supposed flagships of that "liberal media" -- the Washington Post and the New York Times -- mostly were sailing in Bush's press armada. That alignment made sense because the most effective way to protect one’s career was to keep out of the Right's line of fire.
However, in the wake of the news media's humiliation over Iraq's non-existent weapons of mass destruction, some outlets have begun to chart more independent courses. Millions of Americans also are furious that the press did so little to prevent the nation from being misled into a disastrous war in Iraq that has killed more than 2,000 U.S. soldiers.
Whether the recent trend toward more press skepticism will harden into real independence may depend heavily on the outcome of the debate over the Iraq War and particularly the issue that tripped up Woodward and Miller, the outing of Plame.

We're including Parry in this entry not just because his article's worth highlighting but also because Parry has documented the abuses and war crimes in Central America. There's a link to Secrecy & Privilege at the start of his article but his book Lost History focuses even more on that period. And, disclosure, I've never purchased a book by Parry. I've never had to. Rebecca gives out books by him to everyone she knows. While she is correct that I mass gifted the hardcover version of Backlash (by Susan Faludi) one year, it's equally true that if you're on Rebecca's list, you will get books by Robert Parry. (And they are great gifts. As is Susan Faludi's Backlash.)

While we're talking books, Danny Schechter has many worthy of note (disclosure, I know Danny), but we'll cite The Death of Media: And The Fight To Save Democracy and When News Lies: Media Complicity and the Iraq War. A year ago, we made a Christmas list here ("we" being myself and some friends who were over -- it was the second day of this site) and if you've got some ideas for books that would make good holiday gifts, e-mail and next weekend I'll try to have something up.

Remember, Susan Sarandon on The Laura Flanders Show today.

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NYT: Saturday blahs

Rousing himself from yet another nap on his office couch, Ethan Bronner does a smear job on Robert Fisk's new book. Doing so requires playing dense, Bronner's up to the task. Further analysis? When Bronner throws out inflamatory statements with no backing, he doesn't deserve further analysis. ("Least informed" is a phrase Bronner tosses out that flies back to hit him in his smug, willfully uninformed face.) Go back to your couch, Bronner, you've earned your nap today. You, and the bulk of the paper, have a bad case of the Saturday blahs.

There's not much worth reading in this morning's New York Times.

One exception is Erik Eckholm's "Halliburton Case is Referred To Justice Dept., Senator Says:"

Pentagon investigators have referred allegations of abuse in how the Halliburton Company was awarded a contract for work in Iraq to the Justice Department for possible criminal investigation, a Democratic senator who has been holding unofficial hearings on contract abuses in Iraq said yesterday in Washington.
The allegations mainly involve the Army's secret, noncompetitive awarding in 2003 of a multibillion dollar contract for oil field repairs in Iraq to Halliburton, a Texas-based company. The objections were raised publicly last year by Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, then the chief contracts monitor at the Army Corps of Engineers, the government agency that handled the contract and several others in Iraq.

For those unfamiliar with Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, BuzzFlash's Wings of Justice selected her as an honoree for the week of August 24, 2005.

(Mary Mapes is this week's BuzzFlash Wings of Justice honoree.)

On the Tom DeLay front, Anne E. Kornblut's "DeLay Ex-Aid Likely to Plead In Lobby Case" reports that "Michael Scanlon, a former top official for Representative Tom DeLay and a onetime partner of the lobbyist Jack Abramoff" will plead guilty on Monday to "a single conspiracy charge." From the article:

In the eight-page criminal information, prosecutors accused Mr. Scanlon of taking part in a "corruption scheme" between January 2000 and April 2004, working alongside a "Lobbyist A" who was identified by lawyers involved in the case as Mr. Abramoff.
The pair "provided a stream of things of value" to Representative No. 1 and members of his staff, the charge read. In return, both Mr. Scanlon and Mr. Abramoff received agreements from Mr. [Bob] Ney ["chairman of the House Administration Committee"] "to perform a series of official acts," including "agreements to support and pass legislation, agreements to place statements into the Congressional Record," and meetings with their clients.

Eric Schmitt's "Uproar In House As Parties Clash On Iraq Pullout" is probably worth reading but I was able to catch The Randi Rhodes Show yesterday and she hit hard on this topic so it's all old news to me. (Anyone who's listened to The Randi Rhodes Show will grasp that as not being an insult to Schmitt's reporting, just acknowledging that when Rhodes marshalls the facts and hits hard, you've got what you need and then some.)

There is a spotlight story and we'll be noting it after this post.

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NYT: Juan Forero campaigns for Maria Corina Machado

"The Rose That Is a Thorn in Chavez's Side" is a laughable article for Juan Forero. (It's laughable even for the New York Times which should be forever haunted for their editorial coverage of the coup that ousted Hugo Chavez.)

Ava and I are reviewing Commander-in-Chief for The Third Estate Sunday Review and one of the main reasons for the decision to review that show (which we've both avoided until last week) is that, as Laura Flanders has pointed out many times, Bully Boy's war on the world often cloaks itself in language promising (false) empowerment to women while trotting out a variety of hand maidens to hide behind.

Forero's so taken with this "rose" that he can't inform readers of reality.

To read Forero's careful narrative, are readers aware that Sumate isn't Machado's first organization? No, they're not. (It's her third -- she infamously attempted with one organization to privatize homeless shelters -- her attacks on the poor are well known outside of articles by Forero.) Forero misses her two previous attempts.

Forero writes of her as just another mother (albeit a wealthy one, though Forero takes pains to avoid identifying her as such) concerned with the plight of others. Then her marriage breaks up (no explanation given on that) and she's ready to do her part for her country -- which apparently means holding hands with Bully Boy and anyone else who can fund her organization.

At one point, she wins/woos Forero (when she "leaned across the table, slightly embarrassed") proving that Notting Hill has an audience outside of the US even if Forero hasn't seen it. ("I'm just a girl . . . standing before a boy . . .")

She's hardly the Singing Nun (with sex appeal and a push up bra) but that's how Forero, the headline writer and the photographer play it up. The hills are alive, apparently, with the sound of spinmeisters. (I'm mixing nuns, I am aware.)

Forero skims over everything that might make Machado seem like something less than Julia Roberts in a knee high boots. Take the 2004 referendum. She didn't just question it, her group strongly advocated it and once voting took place, she loudly argued the results based on her group's exit polling. That's missing from Forero's article as is the criticism of Marchado's organization from the Carter Center and OAS.

And what of how she happened to be in the palace in 2002?

She was visiting an old friend, just dropped by to visit an old friend, she had no idea what was going on, she explains to the always willing to swallow Forero. And what of what she signed that day? Not brought up in the Times article, that fanciful statement might have been too hard for even Forero to stomach. But let's note it here because she's pimped that claim to every other news organization. Chavez had just been ousted in a US backed coup (the Times has waffled there but in 2005 finally seemed committed to reality on that) and what's a girl to do when there's a coup but call up an old friend (wife of the newly installed -- it's a very small circle), within hours of the coup, to say, "Hey, can I check out your new digs?"

While at the palace -- again, not noted in the Times -- she signed a piece of paper. The paper endorsed the coup and legitimized the puppet government. While Forero leaves that out (which will confuse the reader but it doesn't play that well), other publications (the Christian Science Monitor for one) have been happy to print her claim that she just thought she was signing some sort of reception book.

Though well educated and the great-great-granddaughter of a famous author, apparently reading isn't one of Machado's skills?

The administration's tried backing a variety of poster boys against Chavez. It was only a matter of time before they went for a woman. She's Karen Hughes in a pretty package.

And the spin is she wasn't 'a political,' just a working mom who heard a calling from her country and decided that gosh, golly, gee the (business) people needed her representation.

It's not reality but if the Times wanted reality they would have fired Forero long ago. They backed the coup (they applauded it in fact and didn't label it a coup in real time) and now they're trumpeting Machado. With a head shot. David Rochkind, your future at Wilhelmina awaits.

As the First Fembot, Laura Bush, is trotted out to claim Harriet Miers is the victim of sexism (as opposed to the victim of her own weak resume), as Afghanistan is portrayed as Title IX battle taken to the extreme (or are we forgetting the Fembot's radio address on the eve of the invasion), as the myth of improvements for women are presented as facts, it's not surprising that Bully Boy would attempt co-opt feminist language. It's also not surprising that the New York Times, historically no friend to feminism, would play along. But if they succeed in promoting corporate interests as "feminism," we're going to need a smarter sisterhood. It's doubtful Geena Davis' Commander-in-Chief will lead us down that road.

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Air America Radio Saturday lineup: Susan Sarandon, Ricky Powell, Larry David, Ward Sutton, Wen Bo, Theresa Marquez, Lisa Speer, Jenny Kurzweil ...

From the Air America Radio home page, new programming airing today:

Saturdays Noon-1PM EST
Another victory in Congress, at least the opening round -- Last week drilling in ANWR was blocked in a budget vote and Wednesday, in a rare bipartisan move, senators from both sides of the aisle teamed up with religious leaders and environmentalists to introduce legislation that would jump start cleaner car technology and promote development of alternative fuels. We'll get reaction from Deron Lovaas, Vehicles Campaign director for the NRDC, on the significance of this drive. Now that drilling prospects in Alaska have been thwarted -- at least for the time being -- there's a new push to open up more coastal drilling. What's at stake and what can be done? Lisa Speer, with the NRDC's Ocean Protection Initiative, will weigh in. And how is China's changing landscape, and growing footprint, putting global pressure on resources from oil and water to steel? We'll speak with Chinese eco-activist, Wen Bo, of
Pacific Environment, for a first hand report. And speaking of china, what's on your dinner table this Thanksgiving and where did it come from? We'll meet Theresa Marquez, catalyst for The Earth Dinner, a festive new way to celebrate food, farms and our bountiful planet. Also, the author of a new book that celebrates organic farming called "Fields That Dream: A Journey To The Roots of Our Food -- Jenny Kurzweil will check in. Last, but not least, are our national forests under fire from Bush and Co. and are your tax dollars contributing to the destruction? What you should know, and why you should care, from Carl Ross, Founder of Save America's Forests.

Ring of Fire
Why was Bush's trip to South America a complete diplomatic disaster? Mike consults Michael McCaughan, author of
"The Battle of Venezuela" and the Irish Times' political correspondent in Latin America.
Caroline Kennedy joins her cousin Bobby to reminisce about their family tradition of poetry and talk about her new book titled,
"A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for Children".
Acclaimed political cartoonist
Ward Sutton talks with Mike about the power of cartoons to reflect and reinforce a political mood (and why the New York Times stopped featuring his work after 9/11). His new book is "Sutton Impact: The Political Cartoons of Ward Sutton".
Larry David, star of HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and creator of "Seinfeld", joins Bobby and Mike to discuss what's funny about environmental devastation - namely a 2-hour comedy special Sunday night on TBS, "Earth to America".
The Pap Attack: Reining in the Robber Oil Barons

The Laura Flanders Show
Oscar-winner actress and activist
SUSAN SARANDON and ED RAMPELL, author, of "Progressive Hollywood." Meanwhile, as FEMA abandons New Orleans evacuees, we talk to people cleaning up homes one block at a time: SUNCERE ALI SHAKUR of the Common Ground Collective in NOLA and NANCY HARVIN of The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Rebuild Hope Now campaign. Plus the price of protest for Geovany Serrano an anti-war high schooler in Los Angeles.

The Kyle Jason Show
10PM - Midnight
If you don’t know who Ricky Powell is, this Saturday night is the time to tune in and find out. A native New Yorker, Powell has made a career of being in the right place at the right time, camera in hand, gaining access where other photographers fear to tread. For two decades he’s been documenting seminal moments in music, art, and pop culture at large, and he’s got the pictures to prove it, including candid snaps of hip hop legends like Run DMC, Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Method Man, and many more. He’ll be joining Kyle to talk about his new book of photographs,
"Public Access: Ricky Powell Photographs 1985-2005",featuring collaborations with prominent NYC graffiti artists such as ZEPHYR, QUIK, and HAZE, and released by phenomenal New York indie publisher powerHouse Books. Ricky has seen the city from every angle, as a busboy, bike messenger, comic, dog walker, public television host, substitute teacher, and columnist for Mass Appeal magazine, and he’ll be sharing his stories with our listeners, so don’t miss it. While you’re here, jump on our blog to share your thoughts with your fellow listeners!

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Friday, November 18, 2005

Democracy Now: Steve Clemons on Woody, debate on Wal-Mart; Margaret Kimberley, Elizabeth de la Vega, Grace Lee Boggs

Hawkish Democrat Calls For Immediate Troop Withdrawal
In an important development in the growing Congressional debate over the US occupation of Iraq, a hawkish Democrat who voted to authorize the war has introduced a bill calling for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops. Democratic Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania said: "It is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interest of the United States of America, the Iraq people or the Persian Gulf region." Murtha is an army veteran with close ties to military commanders. He's also the top Democrat on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, and has visited Iraq several times since the war began. His proposed bill reads in part: "The deployment of US forces in Iraq, by direction of Congress, is hereby terminated and the forces involved are to be redeployed at the earliest practicable date." The bill marks the first time a resolution has been submitted to Congress calling for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq. In response, White House spokesperson Scott McClellan said: "Congressman Murtha is a respected veteran and politician who has a record of supporting a strong America. So it is baffling that he is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic Party."
Congressional Democrat Leaders Keep Distance to Troop Pullout
Although Murtha joins a growing list of pro-war Democrats that have reversed their positions, Democratic Congressional leaders distanced themselves from Murtha's stance. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said: "Mr. Murtha speaks for himself," while Senate Minority Harry Reid added: "I don't support immediate withdrawal."
Pentagon to Review Feith's Intelligence Activities
Congressional officials announced Thursday the Defense Department will investigate the pre-war activities of one of the Iraq war's key architects. The office of the Pentagon's inspector general says it will comply with a Senate request to review the intelligence activities of former U.S. defense undersecretary Douglas Feith. The investigation will focus on whether Feith gave the White House uncorroborated evidence to support the case for invasion in the lead up to war.
The above three items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by Melinda, Charlie and Grace. Democracy Now! ("always worth watching," as Marcia says):
Headlines for November 18, 2005

- Hawkish Democrat Calls For Immediate Troop Withdrawal
- Congressional Democrat Leaders Keep Distance to Troop Pullout
- Iraq Bombings Kill at Least 60
- U.S. and Iraq To Probe Detention Facilities
- Socialist PM Wins Sri Lankan Elections
- Report: CIA Runs Joint Intelligence Centers in Several Countries
- Congress Approves Budget, Tax Measures
- Thousands Rally at APEC Summit in South Korea
Woodward Downplayed CIA Leak Case Despite Involvement

Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward was told of Valerie Plame's identity in June of 2003 - before Judith Miller or any other reporter. Woodward never reported this in the pages of the Washington Post and only mentioned it to his editors last month. We speak with Steve Clemons, editor of the popular news blog, The Washington Note. [includes rush transcript]
A Debate: Does Wal-Mart Work or is it a High Cost for Low Price?

Wal-Mart - the world's largest retailer - has been in the headlines recently with the release of a new documentary "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price" that criticizes the company's labor practices. A film defending the company, "Why Wal-Mart Works: And Why That Makes Some People Crazy," has also been released. We host a debate over Wal-Mart with the communications director of Wal-Mart watch and the filmmaker of "Why Wal-Mart Works."
KeShawn e-mails to note Margaret Kimberley's "Ohio Vote Theft, Now and Forever" (Freedom Rider, The Black Commentator):
On Election Day in Ohio, four ballot provisions that would have brought greater integrity to the elections process went down to defeat at the polls. Not only were all four defeated, but polls predicted that all four would either win, or be decidedly by thin margins.
Reform Ohio Now had initiated the four proposals. The proposals would have changed rules on campaign finance, established a legislative redistricting commission, allowed the option of voting by mail, and put electoral issues in the hands of an independent commission, beyond the reach of Secretary of State Ken Blackwell.
Polling conducted by the Republican newspaper, the Columbus Dispatch, has a history of accurately predicting Ohio election results. Is it possible that the Dispatch pollsters suddenly lost their touch? Anything is possible, but the decisive loss of all four proposals by unexpected margins is highly improbable.
In November 2004 Republicans used a combination of schemes to insure victory in Ohio for George W. Bush. Some of the chicanery was decidedly low tech and simple. Black voting precincts didn’t receive all of the voting machines they needed. More than 60 machines sat in storage while thousands of Ohioans waited on lines for hours to cast their ballots. Inevitably, some could not spend an entire day attempting to vote.
If the Dispatch polls were wrong, they were very wrong indeed. If the outcome is to be believed, every voter who was previously undecided on the ballot proposals had to vote no and many of those expressing support had to have changed their minds. Undecided voters usually remain undecided, skipping candidates and provisions that they find confusing or just not worthy of their attention. We are asked to believe that Ohio voters behaved unlike voters anywhere in the country.
Tracey e-mails to note Elizabeth de la Vega's "Scooter Libby's Doomed Defense" (The Nation):
Shortly after Vice President Cheney's former Chief of Staff, I. Lewis ("Scooter") Libby, was indicted for obstructing justice and making false statements to a government agent and a grand jury, Libby's attorneys suggested that they would use the standard he's-a-busy-man-who-can't-remember-everything defense. But now, with Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's revelation that a senior Administration official other than Libby told him, in mid-June 2003, that Joseph Wilson's trip to Niger had been arranged by Wilson's CIA operative wife, Valerie Wilson, it appears the Libby team has added another favorite, the SODDI defense--as in, "some other dude did it."
Unfortunately for Libby, that turkey won't fly. Here's why. According to Libby's attorney, Theodore Wells, Woodward's disclosure is a "bombshell" that "undermines the prosecution" because it disproves special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's alleged contention that Libby was the first senior Administration official to reveal to a reporter that Valerie Wilson worked as a CIA analyst. Not true.
For starters, a prosecutor's press conference statements are irrelevant to, and not admissible in, the trial of the case. And Fitzgerald never said Libby was the first official to have disclosed information about Valerie Wilson; he said Libby was the first official known to have disclosed such information. More important, though, it is of no help to Libby that another Administration official, "some other dude," disclosed classified information about Valerie Wilson's employment in order to discredit her husband before Libby himself did so. (By the way, Woodward's impression that the disclosure by his source was "casual" proves nothing about whether the smearing official knew that the information being leaked was classified.)
Liang e-mails to note Grace Lee Boggs' "How Can Young People Honor the Legacy of Rosa Parks?" (The Boggs Center)
I was moved and grateful to be among the
many thousands (mostly 50 and over) who gathered
at Greater Grace Temple on November 2 to thank
Rosa Parks for triggering the civil rights
movement that has changed all our lives and
the trajectory of this country.

But I am also troubled by the way that
Rosa Parks is being turned into an icon whom
politicians identify with in order to advance
their own agenda. That kind of image-making
obscures the reality that she was a movement
activist who for many years did the dangerous
nitty-gritty work necessary to build the NAACP
in the deep South. It isolates her from her
comrades like NAACP director E.D. Nixon and
Jo Ann Robinson, the Women's Political Council
leader who actually issued the bus boycott call.

It also overlooks the hard decisions that
moulded her character.

For example, three years ago when I accepted
the Walter P. Reuther Humanitarian Award on her
behalf, I reminded the gathering of how, over
the objections of her beloved husband Raymond
and at the risk of being labeled a "Communist'
and losing her department store job, she took
two weeks off from work to participate in a
Highlander Institute workshop devising new
activist techniques.

Among those who applaud her today how many
are willing to take comparable risks?
Liang and Keesha's highlights came in earlier this week (both yesterday). Apologies for the delay. This entry isn't dictated (and oh, how I miss the ease of those entries). Due to time constraints, the e-mails piled up each day and when doing this entry on Wednesday and Thursday, I went with the most obvious highlights (based on subject headings of e-mails). (All e-mails were read by nightfall but I'm really not overly fond of linkfests and prefer to do them only when I'm too tired to do anything else.) There's a highlight that we'll do tomorrow which is a strong one but it doesn't fit in with the theme of this entry. Which is? All highlights are by women. We did that five times (once a week) before anyone noticed. (Or e-mailed that they noticed.)
We could be like a certain book reviewer at the New York Times and be blind to the contributions of women (or women other than herself) or we can devote an entry to excerting some of the strong work being done by women online. On Wednesday, I'd already decided this would be the focus for Friday (due to the selections we were highlighting during the week). But apparently many members were already gearing up for it because there were so many highlights that came in this morning. The ones included are a small sample.
Anne is addressing a topic that Larry says he hasn't seen elsewhere, Cheney's secrecy regarding his travel, "Choose" (Peevish...I'm Just Saying):
He's also arguing that where he goes, who he sees, and what he does is none of our business.
P.S. Going to make speeches to right-wing think-tanks is not "official travel." If they want to have Cheney come talk to them, fine. They can pay for it.
You think any "small government" Republicans are going to cry foul! over this unnecessary expense?

Marcia e-mails to note Jaclyn's "Never Forget" (Pop Politics):
Ronnie Paris, Jr., was 3 years old when he died from being slapped on the head over and over by his father, Ronnie Paris, Sr., until the child went into a coma. The father did not want to "raise a sissy," as the child had seemingly not been masculine enough for the father.
Karlien Carstens ran a small tuck stop out of her home. When her brother found her body, she was tied up with cords cut off of electrical appliances, with one cord tied tightly around her neck. She had also been strangled with some force.
Phool Chand Yadav was part of a drama company. He had been out with two men on a walk. Once these men discovered that he was biologically female by removing a false mustache and forcing him to disrobe, he was raped and murdered. After killing him, the killers replaced the false mustache.
They are just a few of the dozens of people who’ve been violently murdered in 2005 alone for a very simple crime: transgressing the gender binary.
I bring this up now because Sunday is the seventh annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is as good an opportunity as any to say: this bullsh*t must stop.
At Ruminations on America, Rita J. King notes the attention finally being given to white phosphorous and wonders when the attention will spread further in "White Phosphorous and other WMD:"
How about the use of depleted uranium? A unit of veterans who served in Iraq are currently suing the government because they believe they were knowingly exposed to DU. Many who served in Iraq believe that the nebulous, debilitating and often lethal Gulf War Syndrome is actually a combination of exposure to detonated chemicals, experimental vaccines and DU.
From NOW, Tori notes:
So much for due process and privacy
The U.S. Army proposes to collect comprehensive data on sexual assault victims and alleged assailants. The intrusive nature of this data collection will dissuade victims from reporting and deny the accused of due process. Activists must voice their concerns before Nov. 25!
And on NOW, Kara e-mails to note Katti Gray's "We Are Everyone" (Ms.) on NOW president Kim Gandy:
A lawyer by training and veteran NOW organizer by preference, Gandy, 51, won reelection in July to a second and final four-year term (NOW bylaws preclude a third) leading the 39-year-old women's-rights group.
She first set out on her feminist path at about age 13, declaring to her homemaker mom and banker dad that she would buck conventions of the Deep South and head to college. A girl verging on womanhood in Bossier City, La., Gandy's hometown, was pretty much expected to simply swap her parents' household for the one she would create with a husband. Gandy followed that script in part, taking as her first husband a schoolmate at Louisiana Tech University. She was just 18. Soon afterward, though, she stumbled upon a Louisiana law granting husbands control of their wives' paychecks, which is all the prodding she needed to join NOW. And seven years into the marriage, Gandy got a divorce. A math degree from Tech in hand, she went on to earn a law degree from Loyola University in New Orleans, work in the New Orleans district attorney's office and then establish a general practice in the bayou city. She also volunteered her services to Louisiana NOW, which, at the time, had no lawyers of its own. Later, noticing Gandy's zeal, former NOW president Molly Yard persuaded her to run for secretary/treasurer on Yard's winning 1987 national slate, and from there Gandy continued moving up the ranks.
NOW has a broad-ranging agenda under Gandy, lining up against privatizing Social Security and for expanded voting rights, paid family leave for men and women, and gay marriage. Out of her first presidential tenure came the two-year-old National NOW Young Feminist Task Force, which has produced a bevy of under-30 women who are state and local chapter officers--as well as 29-year-old African American New Yorker Latifa Lyles who, along with Melody Drnach, a 40-something white woman from Rhode Island, is one of Gandy's two newly elected vice presidents. Also on the summer's slate was Gandy's 50-something Cuban-born second-in-command, Olga Vives. "It's important to say that we are everyone," Gandy says.
And we'll close with Charlie's highlight, Trish Schuh's "Faking the Case Against Syria" (CounterPunch):
Another slam dunk forgery is being used to convict Syria. The United Nations' Detlev Mehlis inquiry into the murder of Lebanon's former Prime Minister Rafiq Hairri depends on a central witness, Zuhir Ibn Mohamed Said Saddik, who has faced accusations of being a swindler and embezzler. Der Spiegel exposed Saddik's brags of "becoming a millionaire" from his testimony to the Mehlis Commission. Saddik was referred to the Mehlis Commission by Syrian regime critic Rifaat Assad, the uncle of current Syrian President Bashar Assad. Rifaat has been lobbying the Bush administration to become the president of Syria in the event his nephew Bashar is ousted.

The record of the UN's investigator Mehlis does not inspire faith in his credibility. As Senior Public Prosecutor in the German Attorney General's office, Mehlis investigated the 1986 LaBelle Discotheque bombing in Berlin. Relying on alleged National Security Agency intercepts of coded messages between Tripoli and Libyan suspects in Germany (later revealed by former Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky as false telex signals generated by Mossad itself), Mehlis provided the 'irrefutable proof' of Libya's guilt that then justified Ronald Reagan's bombing of Libya.

In the case of the accusations against Syria, Mehlis's case revolves around a series of questionable phone conversations and intersecting calling card numbers allegedly dialled by the perpetrators. It contains no definitive forensics on the car bomb explosives used. Outside investigators have said it could have been RDX plastique, not TNT as Mehlis suggested in his report. The German Mercedes manufacturers were also perplexed at how Hariri's vehicle, reinforced by the heaviest steel-titanium alloy, was "melted by the force of the explosion," after-effects usually associated with high density DU munitions. The car bomb vehicle (stolen in Japan and never fully traced) was possibly driven by a suicide bomber, whose identity is still unknown. Mehlis's report then states: "Another only slightly less likely possibility is that of a remotely controlled device."

Mehlis conclusions on the case , due on December 15 could justify an attack on Syria, using the Hariri assassination as justification. But from Beirut to Damascus, the "Arab Spring" was a neocon forgery designed to destabilize the Levant and redraw the map of the middle east.
What do you know? Activism, criticsm, politics, "weighty" world issues and much more can be covered by women. (That's sarcasm to underscore a point.) And we didn't even note Delilah of A Scrivener's Lament (because three different entries by Delilah were sent in this morning by three different members and I couldn't choose between them). While the likes of our online, latter day Dylan busy themselves with butt pats to one male after another, women are making contributions in all areas. The contributions are made, it's just the shout outs that aren't forthcoming.
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NYT: Woody sees his shadow and goes back underground

The executive editor of The Washington Post said on Thursday that if other reporters at the newspaper independently discovered the identity of Bob Woodward's confidential source in the C.I.A. leak case, the newspaper might decide to publish the source's name.

Oh "might" they? The definition of "brave journalism" narrows with each day. The above is from Scott Shane and Katharine Seelye's "Post Editor Foresees Possibility of Naming Leak Source" in this morning's New York Times. There are two articles on the Woody fall out but we'll focus on Shane & Seelye's first.

1) "Mr. Woodward, an assistant managing editor at the newspaper and best-selling author, apologized on Wednesday for failing for two years to tell his Post bosses that he had learned from a government official about the C.I.A. officer Valerie Wilson."

Let's be clear, Woody didn't have the right to withhold. The Post frowns on confidentiality agreements that leave editors out of the loop regarding whom the source is, but that regards the name of the source only. Is Woodward an employee of the Post or not?

2) "But the newspaper, bound by Mr. Woodward's promise of confidentiality, has not shared the source's name with its readers."

That is simply not correct. (I'm not calling Shane & Seelye "liars!" I'm saying they were told something false.)

The position of Downie, publicly, is that they are bound by Woody's promise. That's not the reality. By all accounts, Woody made his promise for A BOOK he's writing. He didn't have the power or the right to speak for the newspaper or other reporters at it. The claim that he did is part of what's fueling the rage inside the Post at Woody (and Downie who is seen as continuing to "prop up" Woody at the expense of the paper).

The guidelines for sources, for the paper, promise no such nonsense. Since Woody's claim is that he discovered the information while researching for a book, the paper is not bound by any agreement he made with a source. Nor is any other reporter at the Post bound to an agreement Woody entered for a book or for an article by Woody in the paper.

As one reporter at the Post noted on a phone call this morning, to allow such a promise to apply to all reporters would mean that each and every "scoop" would have to first be vetted by Woody. It would give him approval over every article that appeared in the paper. That is not the way the paper works, no matter what spin Downie puts on it.

3) "Having revealed Mr. Woodward's involvement in the case in an article and a statement from Mr. Woodward on Wednesday and two follow-up articles Thursday, Mr. Downie said he no longer believed that The Post was 'in a bind or a dilemma' simply because it had not published the source's name.
" 'There are often things we know that our readers don't know,' he said. 'Sometimes it's for reasons of national security or public safety. Sometimes it's because we don't have it confirmed to our satisfaction. It takes us time to get information into publishable form.' "

The above was read to me over the phone by two at the Post and it was alluded to by all who phoned this morning. The best comment can't be posted here due to language guidelines (we try to be work environment friendly here) but I'll sum it up as "What the hell does that have to do with Woody?"

They are "in a bind or a dilemma" and Woody's secrecy has nothing to do with "reasons of national security or public safety"; nothing to do with a lack of confirmation "to our satisfaction";
and nothing to do with time required "to get information into publishable form."

Downie's spinning and people at the Post are enraged.

They're also very angry that Downie tries to bring in Walter Pincus to provide cover for Woody. Pincus reported on the outing of Valerie Plame. The feeling is that Pincus is being smeared "by association" and that it's yet another sign that these days the Washington Post exists not to report the news but to prop up Woody's book sales. (Remainder bins are the ultimate destination for Woody's books, by the way. Rebecca spoke to various friends who had helped promote his books over the years. She said she was in no mood for Woody and I could toss that tidbit out here. It's no surprise to anyone who's ever checked the remainder bins at any book store.)

Walter Pincus did also testify to the grand jury, Downie's correct on that. But that's all the people calling feel that Downie is correct about. They see no relation between Pincus, trying to cover the subject of the outing of Valerie Plame, and Woody, trying to conceal -- for two years -- that he had any knowledge of the outing of Valerie Plame.

Michael Getler gets high praise this morning on the phone for his "clear headed" statements:

"Leonard has to have a much more precise set of ground rules with Bob," Mr. Getler said, "or it may be that Bob's relationship with the paper should change. It's essential that the newspaper be first, that the credibility and reliability of the newspaper is paramount, as opposed to the situation of one reporter."

The other article in the Times this morning is Douglas Jehl and David Johnston's "Not Since Deep Throat Has a Woodward Source Held So Many." Jehl and Johnston provide a listing of potential suspects for the source to Woody. One reporter at the Post noted Judith Miller's statement (and didn't believe the sincerity of it but noted it was correct), that when a reporter is the news, there's a problem. (That was one reason Miller has offered for her departure from the paper.) It was felt that Bob Woodward feels he can hide away until "this blows over, but it's not going to blow over."

In this article, you learn that Downie, on CNN, offered the excuse that information on Valerie Plame was revealed as "a very brief part of a much longer interview." To which callers from the Post this morning asked, "What does that have to do with anything?"

Nothing. It has nothing to do with anything. That's akin to saying that Woody interviewed Jane Smith about her prize roses and, during the interview, she casually mentioned that she stole $50,000 from a company that she worked at.

By that "logic," Smith's theft isn't anything that needs to be followed up on. It's those minimized details, I'm paraphrasing one caller, that you need to most follow up on it -- the things offered casually. "That's what a reporter does."

We'll note the final paragraph of the article:

In interviews, Mr. Woodward and Mr. Downie have suggested that Mr. Woodward was hurrying to finish the book in June 2003, but t its publication 10 months later suggests that it may have been delayed.

That's led to people making the point that this information is not being used for a book and that if it was being used, it would have popped up in 2004's Plan of Attack. The feeling is Downie needs to "shut up" and let Woodward fight his own battles. It's also felt that Downie's "afraid" to take on Woodward.

"What would you like to see happen?" is the question I asked five this morning. They want Woodward to apologize to the paper and the reporters for "embarrassing" them. They want Woody to decide whether he's a reporter or an author. They want to see Downie take the same hard line with Woody that he would with "any of us."

Today's Democracy Now! addresses the issue of Woody. And before Keith e-mails asking what song they play either before or after that segement, it's Sly and the Family Stone's "Let Me Have It All." A song that more or less seems to sum up the attitude of Bob Woodward. Main topic today is Wal-Mart, by the way.

Keesha e-mails to note Arianna Huffington's "15 Questions for Bob Woodward" (The Huffington Post):

1. If you didn't tell your editor, Len Downie, about the CIA leak because you were so afraid of being subpoenaed, why did you supposedly tell Walter Pincus? Did you trust Pincus but not Downie?
2. Why were you afraid of being subpoenaed in 2003? Subpoenas of reporters
didn't begin until 2004.
And how would telling Downie lead to your being subpoenaed?
3. What are your ground rules for your books? Since Plan of Attack was published, weren't you free to use the material from your source?
4. Why did you
come forward to Len Downie in late October to reveal your source? This was supposedly before your source approached Fitzgerald, so what motivated you? Did the source call you or did you have sudden pangs of conscience? Why didn't this occur to you in 2003 or 2004?

Ben e-mails to note this from (and note, I'm almost positive I read something at Danny's News Dissector recently about talk of a podcast as part of the "Tell The Truth About the War" campaign):

Tell The Truth About The War Video Compilation
MediaChannel has been sent three video's in response to our "Tell The Truth About The War" campaign. You can watch them by clicking on the links below.
1) Catapult (the Propaganda)
2) Did You Ever Wonder What 2000 Looks Like
3) Tears for Soldiers Lost in Iraq
4) NEW: Fallujah - The Hidden Massacre

Cindy e-mails to note this KPFA sponsored event tonight:

Award-winning Foreign Correspondent Robert Fisk
Friday, November 18th

King Middle School Auditorium

781 Rose St
celebrating his new book (lecture & book-signing) The Great War for Civilization: The Conquest of the Middle East
Tickets $25
Special Reception at MECA,
Friday, November 18th,
901 Parker Street, (at 7th),
Berkeley, $75;
ticket includes preferential seating at lecture
More info and tickets

By the way, Dallas found the link (thank you, Dallas) for the 60 Minutes story on Woodward and Plan of Attack. You'll see that he shared the transcripts and tapes to some interviews with CBS for that report.

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NYT: "Vital Military Jobs Go Unfilled, Study Says" (Damien Cave)

The military is falling far behind in its effort to recruit and re-enlist soldiers for some of the most vital combat positions in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new government report.
The report, completed by the Government Accountability Office, shows that the Army, National Guard and Marines signed up as few as a third of the Special Forces soldiers, intelligence specialists and translators that they had aimed for over the last year.
Both the Army and the Marines, for instance, fell short of their goals for hiring roadside bomb defusers by about 20 percent in each of the last two years. The Army Reserve, meanwhile, failed to fill about a third of its more than 1,500 intelligence analysts jobs. And in the National Guard, there have been consistent shortages filling positions involving tanks, field artillery and intelligence.
The report found that, in all, the military, which is engaged in the most demanding wartime recruitment effort since the 1970's, had failed to fully staff 41 percent of its array of combat and noncombat specialties.

The above is from Damien Cave's "Vital Military Jobs Go Unfilled, Study Says" in this morning's New York Times and begs the long asked question, what if they had a war and no one showed up? This is Mike's issue so I'll leave it at that (and like others in the community, look forward to reading Mike's commentary this evening).

Instead, we'll note what Brad called to our attention last night, Courage to Resist's "TODAY! Army Natinal Guard Spc. Katherine Jashinski refuses to deploy" (Milwaukee Indymedia).

Fort Benning, GA Army National Guard Specialist Katherine Jashinski, on active duty with the 111th ASG since January of this year, will make a public statement against war as a conscientious objector in the face of orders to participate in weapons training and deploy to the Middle East. She will be joined by several members of Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace. Jashinski applied for a discharge as a Conscientious Objector in 2004. The Army recently denied her claim and ordered her to weapons training and deployment this week. Speakers at the press conference include Aidan Delgado, an Army Conscientious Objector and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Iraq Veterans Against the War supports the right of every soldier to follow their conscience. Today's revelation that chemical weapons were used against citizens in Falluja is evidence that the war is illegal and immoral.Jashinski's counselor, Persian Gulf War Army Conscientious Objector Aimee Allison, will speak at tomorrow's press conference. Speaking today, Allison stated, "As the first woman GI to publicly take a stand against this war and to declare herself a Conscientious Objector, Katherine's actions are very significant. She is showing remarkable courage."Jashinski's lawyer, J.E. McNeil with the Center for Conscience and War, will also discuss her legal status and the case. She comments, "Denying Katherine CO status is yet another in a long line of actions by the military to defy its own rules in order to get the numbers of soldiers they need to continue this war."
Katherine is actively supported by Code Pink, a women-initiated grassroots peace group. Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink adds, "I applaud Katherine's courageous stand against the continued U.S. role in bringing violence to the Middle East."
Father Roy Bourgeois, a Vietnam War veteran and founder of School of the Americas Watch will also speak. Jashinki's statement comes on the eve of a national demonstration at the gates of Fort Benning calling for the closure the U.S. Army School of the Americas. "U.S. foreign policy as it exists today is fundamentally out of alignment with Americans values of peace and justice."

Back to the Times. Bully Boy can't get millions of Americans to fight in his illegal war of choice, but he can make sure the most questionable among us rake in the big bucks -- from James Glanz's "Issuing Contracts, Ex-Convict Took Bribes in Iraq, U.S. Says:"

A North Carolina man who was charged yesterday with accepting kickbacks and bribes as a comptroller and financial officer for the American occupation authority in Iraq was hired despite having served prison time for felony fraud in the 1990's.
The job gave the man, Robert J. Stein, control over $82 million in cash earmarked for Iraqi rebuilding projects.
Along with a web of other conspirators who have not yet been named, Mr. Stein and his wife received "bribes, kickbacks and gratuities amounting to at least $200,000 per month" to steer lucrative construction contracts to companies run by another American, Philip H. Bloom, an affidavit outlining the criminal complaint says. Mr. Stein's wife, who was not named, has not been charged with wrongdoing in the case; Mr. Bloom was charged with a range of crimes on Wednesday.
In the staccato language of the affidavit, filed in Federal District Court in the District of Columbia, Mr. Stein, 50, was charged with wire fraud, conspiracy, interstate transportation of stolen property and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

And in the house of mirrors of the puppet government of the occupation, Edward Wong's "Torture Charges Deepen Rift Between U.S. and Iraqi Leader" informs us:

A split between American officials here and one of Iraq's most powerful ministers widened Thursday as the minister played down reports that Iraqi police officers tortured prisoners while the American Embassy bluntly warned that such abuse would not be tolerated.
The embassy also said the Iraqi government should not allow militia or sectarian control of the security forces.
The Americans declared that their investigators would help conduct a much broader inquiry into all Iraqi detention centers. Together, the events show that the United States still exerts vast influence over the Iraqi government, despite the Bush administration's insistence that Iraqis have full control over the affairs of their country.
At a news conference, the Iraqi interior minister, Bayan Jabr, a conservative Shiite, accused the government's political opponents of bolstering the insurgency by exploiting the American military's discovery of torture at a secret police prison in the capital. Virtually all of the prisoners were Sunni Arabs, and Sunni groups have exploded in fury, saying that the discovery confirms their long-held suspicions that the Shiite-led government has been abducting and torturing or killing Sunnis.

For those interested in polls and reports on them, check out Meg Bortin's "Survey Finds Deep Discontent With American Foreign Policy" -- it's a report on a poll, it is not an analysis. (The results were released yesterday, the article is in print this morning. That's not enough time for an analysis. It is enough time to repeat the summaries provided by Pew of their results.)

Lori e-mails to highlight Cindy Sheehan's "Open Letter to George's Mama" (Common Dreams):

Dear Barbara,
On April 04, 2004, your oldest child killed my oldest child, Casey Austin Sheehan.
Unlike your oldest child, my son was a marvelous person who joined the military to serve his country and to try and make the world a better place. Casey didn't want to go to Iraq, but he knew his duty. Your son went AWOL from a glamour unit. George couldn't even handle the Alabama Air National Guard. Casey joined the Army before your son became commander in chief. We all know that your son was thinking of invading Iraq as early as 1999. Casey was a dead man before George even became president and before he even joined the Army in May of 2000.
I raised Casey and my other children to use their words to solve problems and conflicts. I told my four children from the time that they were small that it is ALWAYS wrong to kick, bite, hit, scratch, pull hair, etc. If the smaller children couldn't find the words to solve their conflicts without violence, I always encouraged them to find a mediator like a parent, older sibling, or teacher to help them find the words.
Did you teach George to use his words and not his violence to solve problems? It doesn't appear so. Did you teach him that killing other people for profits and oil is ALWAYS wrong? Obviously you did not. I also used to wash my children's mouth out with soap on the rare occasion that they lied…did you do that to George? Can you do it now? He has lied and he is still lying. Saddam did not have WMDs or ties with al-Qaeda and the Downing Street Memos prove that your son knew this before he invaded Iraq.
On August 3rd, 2005, your son said that he killed my son and the other brave and honorable Americans for a "noble cause." Well, Barbara, mother to mother, that angered me. I don't consider invading and occupying another country that was proven not to be a threat to the USA is a noble cause. I don't think invading a country, killing its innocent citizens, and ruining the infrastructure to make your family and your family-friendly war profiteers rich is a noble cause.
So I went down to Crawford in August to ask your son what noble cause did he kill my son for. He wouldn't speak with me. I think that showed incredibly bad manners. Do you think a president, even if it is your son, should be so inaccessible to his employers? Especially one of his bosses whose life George has devastated so completely?

American military fatalities in Iraq have reached 56 for the month and 2085 since the invasion.

NYT: "Extension of Patriot Act Faces Threat of Filibuster" (Eric Lichtblau)

A tentative deal to extend the government's antiterrorism powers under the law known as the USA Patriot Act appeared in some jeopardy Thursday, as Senate Democrats threatened to mount a filibuster in an effort to block the legislation.
"This is worth the fight," Senator Russell D. Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat who serves on the Judiciary Committee, said in an interview.
"I've cleared my schedule right up to Thanksgiving," Mr. Feingold said, adding that he was making plans to read aloud from the Bill of Rights as part of a filibuster if necessary.
The political maneuvering came even before negotiators for the House and Senate had agreed on a final deal to extend the government's counterterrorism powers under the act.

The above is from Eric Lichtblau's "Extension of Patriot Act Faces Threat of Filibuster" in this morning's New York Times.

Lloyd e-mails to note Matthew Rothschild's "Bush Victorious on Patriot Act" (This Just In, The Progressive), which runs down some of the problems:

Bush may be slipping in the polls, but he's still getting just about everything he wants out of the Congress.
Including reauthorization of the Patriot Act.
This week, a conference committee of the House and Senate agreed to make permanent almost every aspect of the Patriot Act. Even the most controversial measures--including allowing the FBI and local police to snoop on your library and bookstore activities--were given another seven-year lease.
The conference bill would still allow the FBI or local law enforcement to barge into your home when you're not there, ransack your house, rifle through your files, go onto your computer and implant in it a device called a "magic lantern," which records every single key stroke you make.
Then the cops can leave without telling you about it--at least for a while.
Here a compromise was made, but a minor one. Instead of being able to delay notification for a "reasonable time," as in the original, now the police could delay for an initial 30-day period, but this could be stretched indefinitely with an "unlimited number of 90-day extensions if approved" by a court, according to the
ACLU. The legislation also maintains the ridiculously broad definition of "domestic terrorism," which could be construed as covering nonviolent acts of civil disobedience.
And it gags you from telling anyone except your lawyers if the FBI comes after your records. In fact, it even makes it a new crime to violate that gag order.

Reminder, check your inboxes for the gina & krista round-robin this morning. (Patriot Act information is included in two stories and there's a roundtable on the topic.)

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