Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Ruth's Morning Edition Report

Ruth: Law & Disorder did air on Pacifica's WBAI yesterday. If you missed it, you can visit the WBAI archives or the Law & Disorder website and listen to the program.

While doing the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin Monday evening, Jess mentioned that an e-mail had already come in asking about the Beatles song played during the program. I went back to my notes and found I had written "John Lennon." I had no idea why I wrote that down until I remembered that the song "John Sinclair" was used. Jonah, you can find that song on Sometime in New York City which is a John Lennon, Yoko Ono, the Plastic Ono Band and Elephant Memory album. My guess is the CD would be under John Lennon. Staying on music for a moment, Ty was advised that the excerpt of "Woodstock" that played on the December 19th broadcast of Law & Disorder was Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" off her Ladies of the Canyon album. Lori had asked about that earlier. If it is a song from the fifties, sixties or seventies, I probably stand a good chance of knowing it. Otherwise, I will try to consult my children and grandchildren and, of course, Kat is great resource as well.

A number of topics were addressed on Monday's broadcast. I think the community will be interested in the Bush Commission which will be holding a tribunal in New York City from January twentieth to the twenty-third. The first day of the hearing will take place at The Riverside Church on 123 Riverside Drive and will begin at 5:00 pm. The second day will take place at the same location and begin at 10:00 am. The final day, Sunday, the hearings will move to the Law School at Columbia University and will begin at 1:00 pm. More information can be found online at Bush Commission and also by calling (212) 941- 8086. Also at the Bush Commission website, you can find information on the October 2005 hearings including audio and videos you can watch online as well as text excerpts.

C.I. was kind enough to note the following for me yesterday:

Those interested in the McCain amendment and the Graham amendment should make a point to listen to this week's broadcast of Law & Disorder.

Danny Greenberg also was on the show to take part in a discussion on the New Orleans evictions. Mr. Greenberg was one of the attornies that successfully fought the January 7th cut-off date FEMA was attempting to impose on some New Orleans evacuees that had been lodged in hotels and motels but were still without homes due to the events and after effects of Hurricane Katrina.

While that news was pleasing, the discussions about the McCain Amendment and the Graham Amendment stressed unfortunate realities. I can now distinguish Dalia Hashad and Heidi Boghosian's voices. That should be a simple task but remember that I am listening with my young and very active grandson Elijah. I still, however, can get lost when the other two hosts, Michael Ratner and Michael Smith, are speaking. I believe it was Mr. Ratner who explained how the McCain Amendment was "no good at all" due to the legal loophole in the legislation which allows for the law to be broken if the soldier does not belive he is breaking the law because a legal opinion exists. Mr. Ratner called this "the Yoo Amendment" after John Yoo who is infamous for writing the administration's "torture memos." It was also noted that at the signing of the amendment, Bully Boy basically declared that, "I'm glad Congress did this . . . [but] if I feel it's necessary I will still do it." It being torture.

The other amendment is the Graham-Levin Amendment. This legislation, credited to Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic Senator Carl Levin, strips those imprisoned at Guantamo Bay of their legal rights. I am using the term "imprisoned" because I agree with C.I. and Elaine that the administration's term, "detainees," is not reflective of what has been done, and is being done, to people locked away for years who have never stood before a jury and had their day in court.

The amendment takes away jurisdiction from the federal courts on the issue of those held in Guantanamo Bay. Which means that "our [Center for Constitutional Rights] clients in Guantanamo can no longer sue for torture." This strips the clients of habeas corpus which has been "on the books" since 1789. As a result of the amendment, "evidence from coercion can be used in court." This week, the adminstration will now move to argue that all cases involving the people imprisoned in Guantanamo be removed from the courts as a result of Graham-Levin which means the amendment would also be a retroactive law.

Bill Goodman, of the Center for Constitutional Rights, was the guest for the discussion of the NSA spying and, as I rush to finish this in time for it to be posted this morning, the point that may interest the community the most is why did the administration choose to avoid the FISA court which has a solid record of issuing warrants when requested to do so by any administration? Was it possibly due to the target of the wiretapping being a shocking one? If lawyers, for instance, were the intended target, might the judges on the FISA court be reluctant to issue a warrant?

Law & Disorder was the last program broadcast on WBAI Monday before Pacifica began their special live coverage of the Senate hearings on Sameul Alito Jr.'s nomination to the Supreme Court. Today's special coverage begins at 9:00 am EST and 6:00 am Pacific. This will allow time for hosts Verna Avery Brown, Mitch Jeserich and Larry Bensky to address the issues raised Monday. Among the guests during Monday's coverage were Nan Aaron of the Alliance for Justice, Chip Pitts of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and Nancy Zirkin of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. All three provided interesting commentary but I know Mr. Pitts is only noted at this site if a member highlights him* so I made a point to take down some of his comments.

"Judge Alito is not the mainstream conservative the adminstration's trying to paint him as," Mr. Pitts stated. The administration and Senator Lindsey Graham appear to be working very hard indeed to paint Judge Alito as mainstream. One wonders when the administration last worked so hard? Probably while they were selecting Americans to spy on without court warrants is my guess. Mr. Pitts also felt that the area of executive privilege may be the most important issue facing the country today.

The Pacifica Radio Network continues its live coverage throughout the hearings. As Rebecca and others have noted, NPR has demonstrated on interest in live coverage. So if you are listening to more than news summaries of the hearings, you are listening to Pacifica.

[*C.I. note: Ruth's referring to the fact that, as disclosed here before, I know Chipp Pitts and try to avoid noting people I know to avoid being accused of favoritism. We can note anyone that a member brings up.]