Monday, March 27, 2006

Democracy Now: Dolores Huerta, Javier Rodriquez; latter day Dylan goes after KvH (again!)

If you are in New York City, please come out for a talk I will be giving on my new book WHEN NEWS LIES: Media Complicity and The Iraq War at Housing Works' handsome Used Book Café on Cosby Street just below Houston, one block east of Broadway at 7 PM March 29. CSPAN will be in the house broadcasting so it is especially important to have a crowd. Please tell your friends. It is free.

The above is a Danny Schechter the News Dissector event. It's this Wednesday. 7:00 pm. NYC.

Now Roberta Flack. Micah e-mailed that he wasn't sure of the WBAI program but Ruth says it's Home Fries which airs from nine to ten p.m. (Eastern Standard Time). Joyce Jones will be filling in as host and she will be speaking with Roberta Flack, fresh from the Apollo. So that's Roberta Flack on WBAI tonight (and you can listen online, remember) and that's Danny Schechter giving a presentation, a free presentation, in NYC Wednesday night.

Scalia: Guantanamo Detainees Have No Rights
Questions are now being raised as to whether Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia should recuse himself from an upcoming case about the U.S. military prison at Guantanano Bay. Newsweek is reporting Scalia recently gave a speech in Switzerland, where he dismissed the idea that the detainees have rights under the U.S. Constitution or international conventions. During the speech Scalia said he was "astounded" at the "hypocritical" reaction in Europe to Guantanamo. Scalia said "War is war, and it has never been the case that when you captured a combatant you have to give them a jury trial in your civil courts." On Tuesday the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in a case that will decide whether the Bush administration can try Guantanamo detainees in special military tribunals. Two years ago Scalia recused himself from a case about the Pledge of Allegiance after he made public comments about the issue.

Papers: Kissinger Ordered U.S. Support for Argentine Military Junta
Meanwhile newly declassified documents reveal that then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger ordered immediate U.S. support for the military junta shortly after it seized power in Argentina 30 years ago. According to the minutes of one meeting, Kissinger said "I do want to encourage them. I don't want to give the sense that they're harassed by the United States." Kissinger said this even though his own top deputy in Latin America was predicting Argentina would face "a fair amount of repression [and] probably a good deal of blood" under the new regime. In addition State Department cables show that U.S. officials had prior knowledge of coup plotting. More than a week before the coup, the commander of the Argentine Navy requested the U.S. embassy recommend public relations firms inside the United States which would work for the future military junta.

Between 500,000 and 2 Million Protest Immigration Bill in LA
In Los Angeles between 500,000 and a million people filled the city's streets Saturday to protest the new anti-immigrant bill, HR 4437. The Los Angeles Times reported it was possibly the largest gathering in the city's history. One local Spanish-language tv station in Los Angeles put the crowd total at over two million people. "We are in favor of an immigration reform, but not in criminalizing our children," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the city's first Latino mayor. The House of Representatives has already approved legislation that would criminalize 11 million undocumented immigrants and make it a crime for priests, nuns, health care workers and other social workers to offer them help. Other large immigrant-led protests occurred throughout the country. 50,000 people took to the streets in Denver. 20,000 rallied in Phoenix in what may have been the city’s largest protest ever. In Atlanta, 70,000 immigrant workers took part in a work stoppage on Friday. Other protests occurred in New York, Charlotte, Dallas and Sacramento. In Washington, the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to begin debating the Senate version of the immigration bill today.

U.S. Accused of Killing 17 in Raid of Shiite Mosque
Meanwhile conflicting reports are coming out of Baghdad over a U.S.-backed raid killed around 17 supporters of the Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Iraqi police said U.S. troops raided a Shiite mosque. One eyewitness said, "American and Iraqi forces came after prayers with some other people and opened fire. Local residents came to the mosque when they saw what was happening. Around 17 people were dead". The dead included the mosque's 80-year-old imam. The U.S. military has said none of its troops entered the mosque but admitted that U.S. special forces troops were at the scene advising Iraqi troops. Earlier in the day a mortar shell nearly hit Moqtada al Sadr's home in the southern holy city of Najaf.

The above four items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by Kara, Liang, Miguel and Carl. Democracy Now! ("always informing you"):

Headlines for March 27, 2006

- Between 500,000 and 2 Million Protest Immigration Bill in LA
- U.S. Accused of Killing 17 in Raid of Shiite Mosque
- FEMA Reneges On Promise to Reopen No-Bid Katrina Contracts
- Barbara Bush Directed Katrina Donation to Son's Company
- Scalia: Guantanamo Detainees Have No Rights
- Thousands Mark 30th Anniversary of Coup in Argentina
- Kissinger Ordered U.S. Support for Argentine Military Junta
- South Dakota Activists Aim to Overturn Abortion Ban
- France Prepares for General Strike Over Labor Law
- Coalition of Immokalee Workers Launches McDonald's Campaign

Between 500,000 to 2 Million Take to the Streets of L.A. To Demonstrate Against Anti-Immigrant Bill

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in downtown Los Angeles Saturday to demonstrate against a new anti-immigrant bill being considered by Congress. Crowd estimates range from 500,000 to 2 million. We speak with longtime immigrant rights activist Javier Rodriguez and United Farm Workers of America co-founder Dolores Huerta. [includes rush transcript]

Freed British Peace Activist Norman Kember Tells World Not to Forget Plight of "Ordinary Iraqi People"

The three recently freed kidnapped members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams have returned home. Last week, Norman Kember of Britain, and Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden were found after nearly four months in captivity. We play Kember's statement to the media shortly after arriving in London. [includes rush transcript]

Bush Signs Statements to Bypass Torture Ban, Oversight Rules in Patriot Act

When President Bush signed a law banning torture he quietly signed a statement saying he could bypass it. Earlier this month, Bush signed the USA Patriot Act but signed a statement that said he did not consider oversight rules binding. We speak with the Boston Globe reporter who broke the story.

Blood Money? As Divestiture Movement Heats Up, Sudan Government Pays Close to $1 Million for New York Times Supplement Advocating Investment and Praising "Peaceful, Prosperous and Democratic Future"

As a student-led campaign urging divestment from companies doing business in Sudan gains momentum in the U.S., the Sudanese government pays close to $1 million for an eight-page supplement in the paper. The ad advocates investing in companies operating in Sudan. In response, Sudan activists flooded the New York Times with demands for an apology.

Highlights? Not many. Due to the fact that a number of e-mails came in on a topic. (Keelan was the deciding factor on this since he noted not just today's post but also "Saturday"'s -- read on.) But before we get to that, let's note Eddie's highlight -- BuzzFlash's latest editorial, "Did You Know that Signing the Wrong Law and Violating the Constitution is Just a Technicality? America Under a Junta: An Update:"

This is so unlawful that you have to think that there is more to the Congressional leadership shunning Feingold and leaving Waxman and Conyers to their lonely struggles on behalf of the Constitution.
There are only two explanations for the behavior of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Rahm Emmanuel and their cohorts in leadership. Either they think that the American people condone Bush's unlawful and UnConstitutional behavior -- or some people in leadership are in the tank with the White House (and there are others we could name, like Dianne Feinstein and Joe Lieberman, but they aren't in leadership).
Those are the only two explanations that could possibly explain why the top Democrats appear more interested in margianlizing Feingold -- and basically ignoring Waxman and Conyers -- than in sending Bush (and Cheney) to jail.
Re-read the editorial above.
We have a renegade junta in the White House that brazenly violates the law and the Constitution -- and the D.C. Beltway Democrats (with the exception of our heroes and a few others) just keep acting is if it is business as usual. (Forget about the Stepford Republicans. They are just outright traitors.)
Since 2000, when Bush stole the election, the Democratic leadership has treated him with kid gloves, interspersed by occasional huffing and puffing without any action. As a result, we now have an outlaw regime in the White House.
These are not idle words. We have an executive branch that regularly and defiantly breaks the law -- and doesn't care if it evens signs the wrong laws that Constitutionally don't even pass the muster of being enacted law.
You are either for a Constitutional form of government, with all Americans accountable to the law -- or you are against it.
The BuzzFlash message to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi is simple: Make the Choice.

Keelan steers us to our online, latter day Bob Dylan who's so eager to lecture Katrina vanden Heuvel that he fails to check his own closet. It's all very confusing so stick with it if you can. (If you can't, just think, him and women and you'll know the gist.)

So, leaping in, today Dylan's back on the issue of Naomi Wolf and the lie that she advised Al Gore on how to dress. He's all over George Steph for repeating the lie on ABC's This Week today. Here's where it gets interesting.

He posts a post for Saturday today. Do we follow that? He couldn't get it up (Mama Cass: "Sh, no rumors") on Saturday for whatever reason so he posts it today as thought it were up on Saturday. He's even labeled it Saturday. If the New York Times missed a day of publication, they wouldn't come back the day after and put the prior day's date on the edition.

Keelan e-mailed about both today's post and Saturday's. (Megan, Joan, Lynda and Natalie were among the ones who e-mailed on Monday's post only.) But let's stay on Saturday's post (or "Saturday"'s post). Somerby's giving a heads up to Naomi Wolf appearing on ABC's This Week Sunday. (Again, this posted today but whatever, let's all pretend it was up Saturday. Apparently all scraps are worthy? somebody should have rethought that.) Because Keelan was so vocal in his e-mail about how he couldn't believe someone would do that. (Dylan informs in Monday's entry, proper, that he's done it. Those stumbling across Saturday's entry are given no heads up.)

But here's what I noticed. It's a problem with Dylan and with the issue of the distortion of Naomi Wolf. Dylan's "Saturday" post discussed the lies about Wolf for six paragraphs (plus two pull quotes). Wolf and the lies about her are clearly the topic of this post.

And? He goes out with a one paragraph note entitled "KUDOS TO ALTERMAN." Kudos to Eric Alterman? In the post talking about lies and liars of Naomi Wolf?

Did George Steph write this:

They mocked him, fairly, I suppose, for taking advice from the high-priced feminist writer/consultant Naomi Wolf about his earth-tone wardrobe.

No. George Steph's idiotic repeating of a lie on a TV program (that most people don't watch) perpetuated a lie from a few years back -- on a TV program most will probably never see. The statement in bold above? It's from a book. What book? What Liberal Media by Eric Alterman. The statement appears in the hardcover edition. Despite it being pointed out as a LIE within the month it was published (Feb. 2003), it was also included in the softcover version. Exactly when is our latter day Dylan going to take Alterman to task on the same level he takes Maureen Dowd, George Steph, et al for this same issue? And if the topic of "Saturday"'s post is the distortions/lies about Naomi Wolf (which it is), why does he end it with "KUDOS TO ALTERMAN"?

He can't have it both ways. (Well, actually he can and has for over three years. But in terms of his "I'm so fair minded" pose . . .) He can't slam George Steph for this and let Alterman off the hook. Not only is Alterman WRONG (and it's been pointed out so at this point we say "LYING") but he builds on the LIE by saying "fairly, I suppose" (okay, by lisping "fairly, I suppose"). For Dylan to have handled this issue (one of his pet issues) with kid gloves when Alterman's book came out in hardcover was one thing. When he continues to velvet-finger it for Alterman after the lie continues in softcover is quite different. When the topic of his "Saturday" post is Naomi Wolf and the lies about her, for him to end his post with "KUDOS TO ALTERMAN" is very sad. Dylan, in "Saturday"'s post, writes that you will/have (it's all so unclear -- on so many levels) see Naomi Wolf slandered. SLANDERED. And then he ends that post by noting "KUDOS TO ALTERMAN" who's repeated the SLANDER and done so in print.

He gives Alterman a pass. He never does more than bat Alterman with a kleenex.
But note that he can trash Katrina vanden Heuvel (AGAIN!). Bob Somerby's issues with women are beyond the scope of anything that can be helped online. But he can damn well learn to hold his friends and favored ones accountable. Or does a shout out in a lousy book mean that Somersby can never criticize Alterman for the same dead fern he drags out over and over to slap the entire press (except Alterman) around with?

Monday (or the entry labeled "Monday"), he accuses KvH of "stealing a line from George W. Bush." Of course she did in his SEXIST mind. No woman could use "viligantes" unless a man had used it before, right? That's how it works in the middle-aged, decaying Windmills of His Mind.

Paraphrasing the tired, very, very tired, latter day Dylan, we'll note that "It's very bad politics" when supposed fair-minded critics give some (Alterman) a pass while rehashing the lie on Naomi Wolf (rehashing it yet again). "It's a great way for pseudo-libs to feel good" and for sexists to stick together in the locker room -- whether that's sweat causing them to stick or something else . . .

Katrina vanden Heuvel has a column I disagree with. Click here to read it. Somerby can't resist the urge to slime her again (sliming may be the closest he gets to physical experiences with women) saying that her comments in the shorter version of the column (shorter version run by the Wash Post) contradicted with her statements on This Week. As is so often the case when he slams a woman, he won't quote. (We all remember, right, how he slammed a woman a few weeks back, allegeing that she was "cherry picking" quotes? What exactly has he done, over and over, to Jane Mayer for six years plus?) I didn't catch the show (I avoid the chat & chews normally but had considered watching for KvH -- that was before the nightmare, never ending, marathon edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review).

In the column (both versions), KvH is urging people to go for the higher ground. That's a noble urging. She is not making a "tone" argument. (She's the editor/publisher of The Nation, not The New Republican.) However, we noted Rumsfeld's Nazi comparison on Sunday, March 19th at The Third Estate Sunday Review in a piece entitled "Who uses free speech?" -- I stand by the comments we made there. I'll further add that when a Bully is threatening, it's not good for the threatened to assume that the rhetoric can be lowed. It can't. This has gone on from the right for years and years.

More importantly, we don't need to cut deals or agreements on free speech. People need to use their voices as they see fit. In the words they are comfortable with. It's a nice thought/goal, KvH's, it's just not practicial or feasible in my opinion. (My opinion.) Nor should it be.

Now what Dylan does is distort her columns to make his argument. Again, I haven't seen This Week (nor do I have the time to). In either version of her column, KvH didn't mention "David Duke." She was speaking of dead dictators. Presumably Dylan is aware that David Duke has never been in charge of a country. She also did not urge people to consider using terms other than "white supremacists" or "xenophobic." Does Dylan not grasp that? He grasps it.

It's just that sticking it to women (in writing) gets his thighs rubbing and KvH is one of his favorite targets. As reported by Dylan, KvH's statements on This Week are not in contradication with her column. Who's clowning?

Here's a clue it's not "analysts" who are "mordantly" chuckling. (And who aren't "young." Really now.)

KvH set out her terms quite clearly. (Again, I disagree with the column.) Dylan clowns because it gives him another chance to play "bash the bitch" (his favorite game). I hadn't noticed this pattern (as I readily own up to -- and I should have) until the issue of his treatment of women (of all women not named Naomi Wolf) came up shortly before we did the roundtable here. Nothing's changed and it's getting old and it is offensive.

In a piece addressing "slander" against Naomi Wolf, he not only stays silent on Alterman, he goes on to give Alterman "kudos" in the same post. That's his standard treatment for males. Men make mistakes, women commit crimes. Men have a chance at redemption, women never. Jane Mayer, for noting that sexism might play in to some criticism, has been trashed how many times by Dylan now? (I believe it's five.) Obviously her criticism struck a little too close to home for someone.

Keelan asked what any of this (what Dylan was writing about) had to do with education? Nothing at all. But he can't pass up an opportunity to bash women. That's why when acting shocked, yet again, that the media would repeat SLANDER against Naomi Wolf, he looks the other way on Eric Alterman. He can go to the well again on Maureen Dowd. But he refuses to seriously address Alterman -- whose SLANDER appears in a text, in all editions of it, and it's a text dealing with media distortions. That's rather serious and if he was the honest, first post-Socratic press corps review (or whatever that nonsense slug line was), he would have seriously addressed that. A book that sets out to explain how the media isn't liberal and to address spin and spinners shouldn't have such an error in it (in all editions). Nor should it have such an error when the author credits the work of our online, latter day Dylan and this is a topic Dylan's addressed at least fifty times.

Our latter day Dylan seems intent to destroy his own reputation. He does that by flaunting his sexist treatment of women. He does it by repackaging his past "hits."
Consider this at least the 50th "best of."

Is he incapable of doing anything else? Obviously education can't hold his attention. So he drags out a pre-2000 event for the fifty-plus time? Nothing else is going on in the world? Excuse me, let me rephrase that question because he has no interest in the world. Nothing else was going on in DC that was reported or misreported by the corporate media? That's where his interest lies.

As he attempts another repackage (with a Monday post and a "Saturday" one!), do people ever grow bored with the remixes? I'm not sure what will destroy his reputation more in the coming years, the sexism or the fact that he apparently has nothing new to say?

There's something really sad about a brave voice (or "brave voice") living off nothing but past "hits." He didn't die, just his ability to be relevant to today. In a few more years, when the internet starts its own "oldies" toir packages, look for our latter day Dylan to be top billed.

Danny Schechter has an essay disguised as a blog post today. ???, Lewis and Jenny all note it in e-mails. I'll note it but I may also add something this evening. (I get my foreign blond correspondents confused and I want to check on something first.) He's addressing the topic of the way the media covers the war, specifically 60 Minutes and Frontline. Also, there's a Thursday Schechter event in NYC:

On Thurdsday night, my neighbors in Chelsea’s anti-war group, Chelsea Neighbors United to End the War, will screen my film WMD at the Hudson Guild, 444 West 26th (Between 9th and 10th Avenues) at 7 PM. I will be there for a discussion. Tickets are $5 in advance, $7 at the door. Call 212-726-1385 for reservations or more information.

The e-mail address for this site is

[Typos corrected by Ava.]