Saturday, April 08, 2006

NYT: Mel's Diner is back in business

So here's how it starts. Alice is seen in evening dress and fur. People to turn to look. Then she steps forward in the non-graceful manner that was a hallmark of Alice. Then she speaks in the decidedly non-smooth voice. People giggle. You hear a bell ring and Mel yell, "Pick up!"

What does the above mean? Only that the New York Times' own Linda Lavin is back in print and elicting howls. The difference between Scott Shane and Linda Lavin appears to be that Lavin was trying to make you laugh as she played a character while Shane's own misteps aren't intended for laughs. But as Janis once sang, "Get It While You Can."

And what you get in "For President, First a Leak; Now, a Jam" are the type of howlers that haven't been seen in the paper the 2004 version of Jodi Wilgoren. Would even she (then) have opened with the following:

That President Bush authorized an aide to disclose classified intelligence on Iraqi weapons, as asserted in court papers, comes as no shock to official Washington.

Shane does. It's as laughable as Lavin's Alice in an evening dress. Apparently all those Saturdays of working the big mop increased Shane's forearms but decreased his brain size. "Official Washington" (which has no use for Shane) is where we open the story? It appears so and it's already been noted (by PJ) that this "official Washington" is twice as laughable when one remembers how many times Scotty's gone snotty and cried 'conspiracy theory' while trashing "Hollywood" in print. ("Official Washington"? "Hollywood"? Are we reading Shane or Louella?) (As members know PJ works for a competing paper. I don't believe that influences his judgement on this matter.)

So while attempting to suck up to "official Washington" (but failing to get in their good graces), he runs to Rick Shenkman who offers a bland judgement which may result from the fact that it's hard for Shenkman (who's gotten props from John Tierney) to provide soundbytes endlessly. This may be the closest to "official Washington" that Shane will ever get; however, someone should clue him in that people eager to publicly interject themselves into every story of the day aren't usually "official Washington."

In his stock boys days, handling the big mop and cleaning up for the Elite Fluff Patrol, he apparently harbored a secret desire to enlist. He's now almost fully on board with the Elite Fluff Patrol and Elisabeth Bumiller should watch her back (that's David D. Kirkpatrick and now Shane challenging her on her own turf for leadership of the Elite Fluff Patrol).

Shane confuses leaks (intentionally?) and offers examples of JKF and LBJ. That's to prove it's "bipartisan" -- this non-surprising leaking. Of course, the leaking of classified information and outing of a CIA agent is something quite different than a president deciding to share some anecdotes about a conversation he recently had. Somehow Scotty misses that basic, that very basic, difference. No one's ever maintained that Bully Boy didn't speak to the press on background for his own benefit (in fact that Times is currently refusing to participate in meet & greets that Bully Boy's holding). There's a world of difference between flattering anecdotes and leaking a classified report or the name of a CIA agent. Another Scotty -- McClellan -- is dancing around when the information was declassified which Shane doesn't note or the disbelief which the DC press corps greeted his remarks yesterday.

There's no news in Shane's "reporting." There's a great deal of padding. Possibly, with Todd S. Purdum sliding over to Vanity Fair, Shane inherited Purudm's old cup and found that he couldn't fill it? Maybe that's why he pads? Whatever the reason, his story, shaped by Shenkman (who couldn't get more press ink without hiring a press agent), offers no news. Here's the only bit of news (and it's not noted directly in Shane's report): Judith Miller continues to refuse to speak to the paper of record. A smart move (and one that was even applauded when a Bully Boy appointee refused to go on the record for Bumiller). The "nicer" reason for that is that Miller will be a witness in Scooter's case. The less "nice" reason is that Miller was screwed over by the paper.

That is what happened. Miller's reporting was bad. (People can debate whether that was out of zeal for scoops or a desire to misinform the public.) Dexter Filkins' "reporting" was even more ficition based. He remains. As do the people above Miller who were more than happy to run with those stories. Miller was cut loose when the paper wanted to act as though they had a rogue reporter on their hands -- ' a bad apple.' But just as Abu Ghraib was blamed on indivuals and not higher ups or policy, so Miller got blamed for all the problems with the paper of record.

Set it in the forties and the official version makes a hilarious comedy. Picture Miller setting her own type, pulling front page stories by others while she cackles and brushes her bangs thereby smearing ink on her face. The Times wants to talk consiparcy theories? How about the conspiracy theory that Miller wrote, edited and published the paper? That's one for the 'tin-foil hat' crowd.

Originally, this entry (which was done much earlier) noted three issues with regards to the Times. Two have been pulled. One will go up at The Third Estate Sunday Review. The other will go up here at a later date. We'll keep the following in it, however, in a "wrap up" kind of way. E-mails trickle in on Todd S. Purdum (one of the other topics is a stream of e-mails, not a trickle, we'll address it at a later date).

Visitors wonder in their e-mails about Purdum, chiefly: Does Todd S. Purdum really smell? No. That was a joke. And that's been noted here before. But there's not been a week that's gone by in the last three months that this hasn't come up. Those visitors who continue to ask about it, if they receive any reply, will receive this entry e-mailed to them.

Elisabeth Bumiller earned the ridicule she's been the target of. She's brought it on herself. Her free floating op-ed really shouldn't be written by a reporter. (So actually, the paper's aided in the ridicule that's been heaped upon her.) I have no problem with the ridicule and think people should speak/critique in any manner that's consistent with their own way of speaking.

The problem Ava and I had was when we did a joint entry on a Sunday morning and she noted another floating op-ed. I don't read the op-eds (floating or otherwise) or the editorials in the morning. I may (though not often) go back and read them later in the day. But I explained that the "memo" was like Bumiller's "letter." Reading it, Ava remarked on how it was opinion based and written by a reporter or reporters -- male (whether it was one or two). Why was it that they weren't derided all over the place?

If people are comfortable tossing out "knee pads" next to Bumiller's name, they should. Everyone needs to speak in their own voices. But were males who fluffed getting the same treatment? No, they weren't. Even Adam Nagourney didn't get held to the same standards Wilgoren was held to in 2004.

So it was decided that Sunday that the next male who pulled a Bumiller would get the full Bumiller treatment. Todd S. Purdum was the next male at bat and, as has been noted, he's a big boy and he could take it. I don't know that a smelly jock strap is on par with knee pads, but the Times does strive for a very masculine, very locker room type office feel. (Do they kid themselves? I think they do, which is why the joke worked for me.) The smelly jock (which may now be attached here to Scott Shane based on his recent "reporting" -- though the Linda Lavin comparison is popular with members -- no disrespect to Lavin, members get that she was playing a character) was an attempt to level the criticism field which, as noted many times here, should be people speaking in their own voices, with whatever terms they desire but should be applied equally. Too often, it's seemed that there was a standard (and this has been noted here many times as well) where a male makes a glaring howler and it's ignored, treated as a one time thing or something for which "redemption" can be found. When some males are still carrying on, at this late date, about a statement Jane Mayer made in an interview six years ago (about how sexism could come into play with criticism -- which it can), but turning their eyes on very real howlers or rushing to redeem the males they criticized while there's no "out" for women once ridiculed, this was something we were going to address here.

Purdum's a nice person whom I don't know but have met (and no, he doesn't stink) (I do know his wife from her Clinton days). His contributions for the paper of record are now of the opinion nature so we won't be noting those and his journalism will be at Vanity Fair which offers several levels of conflict of interest for me so we won't be noting that either. Michael Wolff is someone I do not know. He's been noted here in commentary by me -- about the attacks on him for making some very pertinent statements about Matt Cooper that enraged many of Cooper's friends who, while attacking Wolff or covering up for Cooper didn't reveal themselves as friends of Cooper. In that entry, I noted that I do not know Wolff. I also made a comment on the article about Judith Miller, et al and said that talk appears to suggest . . . That was a huge mistake on my part. Factually, the talk wasn't accurate. I corrected that as soon as a friend from Vanity Fair (who was waiting for that entry to go up -- the one about how the Times was trying to justify their misidentification with the false claim that Vanity Fair had done so as well -- Van Fair did not falsely identify the "man in the photo" -- they noted repeatedly in their article, one the Times didn't note when they were acting like they had an exclusive -- that the man's claims couldn't be proven and that he may not be the man in the hood from the photos of Abu Ghraib) phoned me about it. (I think that was four to five hours after it went up.) Talk did "appear to suggest." The mistake was in commenting on that article even in an aside. I was wrong to have done so. (Miller's story did not change and the article and the public record should be read more closely. She's added to it, she hasn't changed it.)

Will Shane be the new whipping boy? His work of late certainly indicates that he has "the goods" for it. We'll note his theme song of late:

Early to rise, early to bed.
And in between I mopped and cleaned and went out of my head.
Going through life my truth on, was tough, you see
I had to get up, get out from under and look for me.
There's a new fluffer in town and he's looking good.
There's a fresh freckled fluffer, in the neighborhoood.
There's a new fluffer in town, with a brand new style.
He was just passing through, but if things fluff out he's gonna stay awhile ....
Ba ba bum bum bummmm

(Based upon "There's a New Girl in Town," by Alan and Marilyn Bergman & David Shire which was the theme song to Alice.)

The e-mail address for this site is (And except for a break from The Third Estate Sunday Edition later tonight, I probably won't check that account so members should use the private e-mail account and I'll also try to check the backup e-mail account.)

RadioNation with Laura Flanders: Tom Hayden, Alexander Cockburn, Daryl "DMC" McDaniels, Eliza Gilkyson ...

Kat here. Offering the heads up to this weekends RadioNation with Laura Flanders. What's on the Air America radio program that broadcasts Saturdays and Sundays from seven p.m. to ten p.m. EST? Here it is:

As Laura works on her book on progressive success stories, we rebroadcast one of the inspirations: our show from Reno, Nevada, where the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada has been making the kind of gains in a red state that DC Democrats only dream of.
Guests include: PLAN state director Bob Fulkerson, and Northern Nevada coordinator Jan Gilbert; Nevada Assembly Assistant Majority Leader Sheila Leslie, Julia Ratti of the Human Services Network. Teresa Benitez, Past Miss Nevada and social worker, Ireri Rivas of the Nevada Immigrant Coalition, Janet Serial, of the Reno-Sparks NAACP, Pat Elzy, of Planned Parenthood Monte Mar, the Largest PP affiliate in the US, Vicky LoSasso, Co-chair, Nevada Women's Lobby, and Susan Lynn, with the Great Basin Water Network.
On Sunday, we'll play a recording of Laura's interview with lifelong activist TOM HAYDEN, which took place at The Strand bookstore in New York City in March, upon the republishing of the early 1960s political manifesto, "The Port Huron Statement," by Students for a Democratic Society.
Then Native American women's health care advocate CHARON ASETOYER announces her campaign for South Dakota state senate.
The Nation's Alexander Cockburn puts the president in his place -- in history and more. Kaveh Ehsani, editor of Middle East Report on what's behind W's saber-rattling toward Iran. Run-DMC's Darryl 'DMC' McDaniels, on music, meaning and politics, and singer-songwriter Eliza Gilkyson on her latest CD, another conscious call to action.
As always, a one-hour version of last weeks program (with guest host Ned Sublette!) is available at
It's all on RadioNation with Laura Flanders this weekend on Air America Radio.

The book? Laura had asked for personal experiences people had during the 2004 campaign, asked on air for a book she was going to write and I think that's the book they're talking about. (Thanks to Martha for the e-mail forward. You can sign up for e-mail alerts, like Martha did, at and get all the information delivered directly to your inbox.)

I'll also say that we may or may not highlight it this week at The Third Estate Sunday Review. (We will note that Tom Hayden's interview will be broadcast on Sunday.) That's because we're all in one place for a change and have a ton of plans for the day (some of which we've already done this morning). It's a busy weekend and C.I., Wally, Jess and Ava insisted we write up an idea last night so that we'd have one feature for Third done with. (And one less to work on last night.) Each weekend there's the hope that the marathon writing that starts no later than when Laura's show starts broadcasting will be done long before sun up Sunday morning and that doesn't usually happen. (Okay, it never happens!)

But with everything that has to be done today and tomorrow (and "fun stuff" is included on the to-do list but activism is "fun" as well), I know there's going to be a lot to do so with the show repeating tonight/this evening/today (depending upon your time zone), I want to make sure to give a heads up. I'm also guessing that I'll be first up. C.I. worked on the main entry this morning and finished it except for tags and links. However, it was the topic of much discussion as we took part in morning activities and C.I.'s going to pull one large section and toss it to Third so that we'll have the spine of another feature to work with (and hopefully be ahead of the game in terms of completing the edition at a decent time). Ruth's working on a concluding paragraph to her report (tags and links still need to be located) so that will be going up as well.

But since my heads up is the easiest thing to complete, I'm going to post it ahead of the other two. (C.I.'s actually pulling two things from the main entry -- one for Third and one to be used at a later date because to pull the thing for Third means pulling another commentary or the entry will seem out of balance). Blog twins Mike and Elaine and discussing what news items to include at their sites from Democracy Now! so that will be going up as well (and they may have something up before I finish this because I need to add links myself). Be sure to catch Laura tonight and tomorrow night and remember that tomorrow night's interview with Tom Hayden is being broadcast for the first time.

And mentioning Democracy Now! reminds me that Amy Goodman's got an appearance today:

*Amy Goodman in New Orleans, LA
Sat, Apr. 8
Time: 5 PM
Benefit for WTUL
Tulane University
McAlister Auditorium
Free and Open to the Public
For more information: Contact Jeremy,

If you're in that area (I'm not) make a point to show your support for unembedded media.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Bush acusado de autorizar filtración de informacion clasificada

Maria: Buenos dias. De parte de "Democracy Now!" diaz cosas que vale hacer notar este fin de semana. Paz.

Bush acusado de autorizar filtración de información clasificada
El ex jefe de personal del vicepresidente Dick Cheney, declaró que el Presidente Bush lo autorizó a filtrar a la prensa un documento de inteligencia altamente confidencial sobre Irak, en un intento de defender la decisión del gobierno de comenzar la guerra. Este hecho vincula a Bush por primera vez con la filtración de información clasificada y hace surgir nuevas interrogantes con respecto a si Bush estuvo directamente vinculado con la revelación de que Valerie Plame era agente encubierta de la CIA. El testimonio de Lewis "Scooter" Libby ante un gran jurado fue citado en documentos de la corte, presentados por fiscales el miércoles. Libby fue acusado en octubre, por cargos de mentir a los investigadores sobre su participación en la revelación de que Valerie Plame era una agente encubierta de la CIA. Plame es la esposa del ex embajador Joseph Wilson, quien criticó públicamente la guerra. El 30 de septiembre de 2003, el Presidente Bush formuló advertencias contra cualquier persona de su gobierno que filtrara información clasificada. Bush dijo: "Permítanme decir algo sobre las filtraciones en Washington. Hay demasiadas filtraciones de información clasificada en Washington". Y agregó: "Hay filtraciones en el Poder Ejecutivo; hay filtraciones en el Poder Legislativo. Hay demasiadas filtraciones. Y si se produce una filtración en mi gobierno, quiero saber quién es el responsable". En Capitol Hill, Bush fue muy criticado por los demócratas el jueves. El Senador Charles Schumer de Nueva York dijo: "Cada vez queda más claro que este caso va más allá de "Scooter" Libby. Al menos, el Presidente Bush y el Vicepresidente Dick Cheney deberían informar a la población estadounidense de cualquier participación que hayan tenido en permitir la filtración de información clasificada". Y agregó: "¿Creyeron que tenían derecho a hacerlo? Y si es así ¿en qué circunstancias? ¿O simplemente es algo que hicieron para satisfacer las necesidades políticas del Presidente en ese momento? Según los documentos judiciales de hoy, "Scooter" Libby dijo que el Presidente autorizó al Vicepresidente a que le ordenara revelar a los periodistas información clasificada, para incrementar el apoyo a la guerra en Irak".

Comunidades de Wisconsin aprueban medida de retirar soldados
En Wisconsin, dieciocho comunidades aprobaron una medida votada el martes, que solicita a Estados Unidos retirar inmediatamente a todos los soldados de Irak. Seis comunidades rechazaron la medida. El tema fue sometido a votación tras la campaña de base organizada por grupos contrarios a la guerra.

Mujeres británicas afrontan condena de un año en prisión por protestar frente a base militar
En Gran Bretaña, dos abuelas de más de 60 años de edad podrían ser condenadas a hasta un año en prisión, por haber realizado protestas frente a una base militar. Estas mujeres, Helen John y Sylvia Boyes, serán procesadas en virtud de las leyes contra el terrorismo que prohíben todas las protestas frente a bases militares e instalaciones de investigación nuclear.

Camarógrafo iraquí es absuelto pero permanece en prisión
En Irak, un camarógrafo iraquí que trabaja para "CBS News" fue absuelto el miércoles de los cargos que lo mantuvieron un año en prisión. Sin embargo, a pesar de la absolución, el juez ordenó que lo llevaran de vuelta a su celda en Abu Ghraib. El camarógrafo, Abdul Ameer, estaba filmando enfrentamientos en Mosul cuando soldados estadounidenses le dispararon y lo arrestaron. Ameer fue acusado de incitación y de reclutamiento para la insurgencia contra Estados Unidos. El abogado de Ameer, Scott Horton, dijo luego de la audiencia: "Primero me gustaría decir que este ha sido un gran día para la justicia en Irak, creo que ninguna de las personas que haya presenciado los procedimientos de esta mañana pensará que ha sido justo, pero pensemos en otra cosa; en una sala de tribunal de prácticamente cualquier otra parte del mundo, cuando un acusado es absuelto y se determina que es completamente inocente de los cargos presentados en su contra, queda libre a partir de ese momento. Hoy no sucedió eso. Las autoridades estadounidenses aún tienen detenido a Abdul Ameer. Todos debemos enfocarnos en el hecho de que aunque fue totalmente absuelto permanece en prisión, y debemos dirigir nuestras preguntas sobre su liberación a las fuerzas estadounidenses".

Senador Harkin exhorta a demócratas a respaldar censura de Bush
Mientras tanto, el Senador demócrata de Iowa Tom Harkin, admitió en una entrevista radial que se avergüenza de que más demócratas no apoyaran la moción de Russell Feingold para censurar al Presidente Bush, por ordenar ilegalmente a la Agencia de Seguridad Nacional (NSA) que lleve a cabo espionaje interno.

Asesor legal de Nixon, John Dean, pide censura de Bush
En Washington, el ex asesor legal del Presidente Nixon, John Dean, declaró el viernes a favor de censurar al Presidente Bush por ordenarle a la Agencia de Seguridad Nacional que lleve a cabo vigilancia interna sin las órdenes judiciales que exige la ley. Dean habló en la audiencia del Comité Judicial del Senado para discutir los pedidos del Senador Russell Feingold de censurar al presidente. Bruce Fein, un jurista conservador y ex funcionario del gobierno de Reagan, también declaró a favor de la censura. Fein dijo que la afirmación de Bush de que tiene facultad constitucional inherente "no tiene fin". Hasta ahora, Feingold ha recibido poco apoyo de su propio partido, ya que sólo dos demócratas asistieron a la audiencia del viernes: Patrick Leahy de Vermont y Herb Kohl de Wisconsin.

Cardenal de Los Ángeles oficia misa para apoyar a los inmigrantes indocumentados
Mientras tanto en Los Ángeles, el Cardenal Roger Mahoney ofició una misa especial en señal de solidaridad con los inmigrantes indocumentados. Mahoney prometió ordenarle a los curas que ignoren una ley propuesta, debido a que dicha ley convertiría en delito que tanto curas, como trabajadores sociales y trabajadores de la salud, ayudaran a los trabajadores indocumentados. Mahoney dijo: "Bien, estamos en un momento realmente crítico en la historia de inmigración de nuestro país, y tenemos la oportunidad que no hemos tenido en muchos años de aprobar una ley que es humana y justa y que trata todos los asuntos referidos a la inmigración". Dolores Huerta, co-fundadora de sindicato United Farm Workers (Agricultores Unidos), también habló en Los Ángeles: "Es muy bueno que esto ocurra ahora. Estamos viendo el inicio de un nuevo movimiento por los derechos civiles constituido por latinos. Que el Cardenal oficie la misa es un gran apoyo, porque ésta es una organización nacional. Al decir que el Cardenal cometerá desobediencia civil en nombre de los inmigrantes, el Cardenal estará inspirando a otros a hacer lo mismo. Esto repercutirá en Washington". Grupos de inmigrantes de todo el país planean protestas masivas a nivel nacional el lunes.

Subsecretario de Prensa del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional arrestado por seducir a una menor en Internet
Volvemos a Estados Unidos. El Subsecretario de Prensa del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional fue arrestado en Maryland el martes, por intentar solicitar relaciones sexuales con una niña a través de Internet. Brian Doyle fue arrestado luego de haber contactado a través de Internet a un oficial de policía encubierto que se hizo pasar por una adolescente de 14 años de edad. Doyle fue acusado de 23 cargos por utilizar su computadora para seducir a una adolescente y trasmitir materiales perjudiciales a una menor. Según la policía, Doyle se había identificado en sus comunicaciones a través de Internet, y había proporcionado el número de teléfono de su oficina.

Sunitas de las milicias protegerán los barrios
En otras noticias sobre Irak, nuevas estadísticas indican que el número de iraquíes que murieron en marzo en asesinatos de tipo ejecución superó en casi ocho veces al número de iraquíes que murieron en atentados suicidas con bombas, o en atentados con bombas al costado de las carreteras. Esto provocó que muchos iraquíes que anteriormente no estaban involucrados en luchas, ahora porten armas para protegerse. El Financial Times informa que los barrios sunitas de clase media ahora están formando sus propias milicias para contraatacar a las milicias chiítas y a los escuadrones de la muerte.

Estados Unidos no alcanza meta de construir 142 clínicas de salud en Irak
Esta noticia es sobre la reconstrucción de Irak. El "Washington Post" informa que Estados Unidos está lejos de alcanzar su meta de construir 142 clínicas de salud con servicios básicos. El gobierno estadounidense le entregó a la empresa Parsons 200 millones de dólares para terminar el proyecto, pero hasta el momento sólo se han construido 20 clínicas. El sistema de salud de Irak fue devastado por la guerra, y por una década de sanciones impuestas por Estados Unidos.

Maria: Good morning. Now in English, here are ten stories from Democracy Now! Peace.

Bush Accused Of OKing Leak of Classified Info
Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff has testified that President Bush authorized him to leak a highly classified intelligence document on Iraq to the press in an effort to defend the administration's decision to go to war. This marks the first time Bush has been linked to the leaking of classified information and raises new questions if Bush was directly tied to the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's grand jury testimony was cited in court papers filed by prosecutors late Wednesday. Libby was indicted in October on charges that he lied to investigators about his role in the outing of Plame, the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson who was a vocal critic of the war. On Sept. 30, 2003, President Bush warned against anyone in his administration leaking classified information. "Let me just say something about leaks in Washington. There are too many leaks of classified information in Washington," Bush said. "There's leaks at the executive branch; there's leaks in the legislative branch. There's just too many leaks. And if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is." On Capitol Hill, Bush was widely criticized by Democrats on Thursday. This is Senator Charles Schumer of New York. "It is increasingly clear that this case goes far beyond Scooter Libby. At the very least, President Bush and Vice President Cheney should fully inform the American people of any role they played in allowing classified information to be leaked," said Schumer. "Did they believe they have the right to do this and if so, in what circumstances? Or is this just something that may have been done to accommodate the president's momentary political needs? According to court documents today, Scooter Libby said that the president authorized the vice president to direct him to disclose classified information to reporters in order to bolster support for the war in Iraq."

Wisconsin Communities Approve Troop Withdrawal Measure
And in Wisconsin, eighteen communities approved a ballot measure Tuesday that calls on the US to immediately withdraw all troops from Iraq. Six communities voted down the measure. The issue was put on the ballot following a grassroots campaign organized by anti-war groups.
British Women Face One-Year Prison Term For Military Base Protest
In Britain, two grandmothers above the age of 60 years old are facing up to a year in prison for protesting outside a military base. The women, Helen John and Sylvia Boyes, will be prosecuted under anti-terrorism legislation that outlaws all protests at military bases and nuclear research facilities.

Iraqi Cameraman Acquitted, Yet Remains Imprisoned
In Iraq, an Iraqi cameraman working for CBS News was acquitted of charges Wednesday that have kept him in prison for one year. But despite the acquittal, the judge ordered him returned to his cell at Abu Ghraib. The cameraman, Abdul Ameer, was filming clashes in Mosul when US troops shot him and arrested him a year ago Wednesday. He was accused of incitement and of recruiting for the anti-U.S. insurgency. Ameer's lawyer, Scott Horton, commented after the hearing: "I would like to observe first that this is has been a great day for justice in Iraq I think no one who witness the proceedings this morning would think that justice was served there, but let us think about something else - in a court room almost anywhere else in the world when an accused is acquitted, is to determined to be completely innocent of charges brought against him, he walks free from that court room. That didn't happen today. Abdul Ameer is still in detention by the American authorities. We should all focus on the fact even though he was completely acquitted he remains in prison and we should all direct our question to the Americans forces about his release."

Sen. Harkin Urges Democrats To Back Censure of Bush
Meanwhile Democratic Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa has admitted in a radio interview that he is embarrassed that more Democrats have not supported Russell Feingold's motion to censure the President for illegally ordering the NSA to conduct domestic spying.

Nixon's Legal Counsel John Dean Calls For Censure of Bush
In Washington, President Nixon’s former legal counsel John Dean testified on Friday in favor of censuring President Bush for ordering the National Security Agency to conduct domestic surveillance without legally required court warrants. Dean spoke at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to discuss Sen. Russell Feingold's calls to censure the president. Also testifying in favor of censure was Bruce Fein, a conservative legal scholar and former Reagan administration official. He said that Bush's claim of inherent constitutional authority "has no stopping point." So far Feingold has received little support from his own party -- only two other Democrats attended Friday’s hearing: Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Herb Kohl of Wisconsin.

Los Angeles Cardinal Offers Mass In Support of Undocumented Immigrants
Meanwhile in Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahoney held a special mass as sign of solidarity with undocumented immigrants. Mahoney has vowed to order priests to ignore a proposed law that would make it a crime for priests, social workers and health care workers to help undocumented workers. "Well, we are at a very critical moment in the history of our country with immigration and we have the opportunity that we haven't had in many years to actually pass a law that is humane and just and deals with all the issues around immigration," Mahoney said. Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers also spoke in Los Angeles: "This is really great right now. We're seeing a new civil rights movement being formed by Latinos. The Cardinal having the mass is such good support because this is such a national organization. When the Cardinal says he's going to commit civil disobedience on behalf of the immigrants, then this is going to inspire others to do the same. This will have an effect on Washington." Across the country immigrant groups are planning for massive nationwide protests on Monday.

DHS Press Secretary Arrested for Online Seduction
Back in the United States, the deputy press secretary for the Department of Homeland Security was arrested in Maryland Tuesday for trying to solicit sexual relations with a child over the internet. Brian Doyle was arrested after he made contact online with an undercover police officer posing as a 14-year old girl. Doyle has been charged with 23 counts for using his computer to seduce a child and transmitting harmful materials to a minor. According to police, he had identified himself in his communications online and given his office phone number.

Sunnis Form Militias To Protect Neighborhoods
In other news from Iraq, new statistics show that nearly eight times as many Iraqis died in March in execution-style killings than in suicide and roadside bombings. This has prompted many Iraqis not previously involved in fighting to begin carrying weapons for protection. The Financial Times is reporting middle class Sunni neighborhoods are now forming their own militias to counter the Shiite militias and death squads.

U.S. Falls Far Short of Goal to Build 142 Health Clinics in Iraq
In news on the reconstruction of Iraq the Washington Post reports the U.S. is far from reaching its goal of building 142 primary health clinics. The U.S. government gave the private company Parsons $200 million to complete the project but so far only 20 clinics have been built. Iraq's medical system has been devastated from the war and a decade of U.S.-imposed sanctions.

sylvia boyes
helen john

Democracy Now: Robert Fisk, Murray Waas,; Robert Parry on KPFA's The Living Room

Senate Delays Vote on Immigration Reform
In other news from Capitol Hill, the Senate failed last night to agree on passing what had been described as the most far-reaching changes to the nation's immigration laws in two decades. During the day on Thursday a bipartisan group of Senators announced they had reached a deal that would put millions of undocumented immigrants on a path to citizenship and to establish a guest worker program. But after a long night of debate, no vote was taken and it now appears a vote might be put off until after the Senate's Easter break.
Los Angeles Cardinal Offers Mass In Support of Undocumented Immigrants
Meanwhile in Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahoney held a special mass as sign of solidarity with undocumented immigrants. Mahoney has vowed to order priests to ignore a proposed law that would make it a crime for priests, social workers and health care workers to help undocumented workers. "Well, we are at a very critical moment in the history of our country with immigration and we have the opportunity that we haven't had in many years to actually pass a law that is humane and just and deals with all the issues around immigration," Mahoney said. Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers also spoke in Los Angeles: "This is really great right now. We're seeing a new civil rights movement being formed by Latinos. The Cardinal having the mass is such good support because this is such a national organization. When the Cardinal says he's going to commit civil disobedience on behalf of the immigrants, then this is going to inspire others to do the same. This will have an effect on Washington." Across the country immigrant groups are planning for massive nationwide protests on Monday.
Bush Accused Of OKing Leak of Classified Info
Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff has testified that President Bush authorized him to leak a highly classified intelligence document on Iraq to the press in an effort to defend the administration's decision to go to war. This marks the first time Bush has been linked to the leaking of classified information and raises new questions if Bush was directly tied to the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's grand jury testimony was cited in court papers filed by prosecutors late Wednesday. Libby was indicted in October on charges that he lied to investigators about his role in the outing of Plame, the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson who was a vocal critic of the war. On Sept. 30, 2003, President Bush warned against anyone in his administration leaking classified information. "Let me just say something about leaks in Washington. There are too many leaks of classified information in Washington," Bush said. "There's leaks at the executive branch; there's leaks in the legislative branch. There's just too many leaks. And if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is." On Capitol Hill, Bush was widely criticized by Democrats on Thursday. This is Senator Charles Schumer of New York. "It is increasingly clear that this case goes far beyond Scooter Libby. At the very least, President Bush and Vice President Cheney should fully inform the American people of any role they played in allowing classified information to be leaked," said Schumer. "Did they believe they have the right to do this and if so, in what circumstances? Or is this just something that may have been done to accommodate the president's momentary political needs? According to court documents today, Scooter Libby said that the president authorized the vice president to direct him to disclose classified information to reporters in order to bolster support for the war in Iraq."
The above three items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by Francisco, Kat and BradyDemocracy Now! ("always informing you," as Marcia says):
Headlines for April 7, 2006

- Bush Accused Of OKing Leak of Classified Info
- Senate Delays Vote on Immigration Reform
- LA Cardinal Offers Mass In Support of Undocumented Immigrants
- Gonzales: Gov't Has Power To Monitor Domestic Calls
- Whistleblower: AT&T Cooperated With NSA Over Spying
- Sen. Harkin Urges Democrats To Back Censure of Bush
- Report: U.S. Forces Int'l AIDS Programs To Focus on Abstinence
- UN Accuses Haiti of Illegally Detaining 4,000
- U.S. Reduces Spending on "Democracy Promotion" in Iraq
Libby Says Bush Authorized Leaks of Highly Classified Iraq Intel to Bolster Case for War

Lewis "Scooter" Libby -- the Vice President's former chief of staff - has testified that President Bush authorized him to leak details of a highly classified intelligence assessment to the press to defend the Bush administration's decision to go to war with Iraq, according to court papers filed Wednesday. We speak with investigative journalist Murray Waas.
Amy Goodman Questions Fmr. Chief Military Spokesman in Iraq About U.S. Killing, Detaining of Journalists and Planting of News Stories in Iraqi Press

Reuters sponsored a debate this week in New York asking the question: "Iraq -- is the media telling the real story?" At the event, Amy Goodman asked Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, the former chief military spokesman in Iraq, about the killing and detaining journalists by U.S. forces and the paying of Iraqi journalists to plant stories in the press.
Robert Fisk on Iraq, Palestine and the Failure of the U.S. Corporate Media to Challenge Authority

We speak with one of the most experienced war correspondents in the world today, Robert Fisk -- chief Middle East correspondent of the London Independent -- about Iraq, Palestinian and Israeli elections, the corporate media and much more.
There are always more headlines than we can spotlight here, more headlines from Democracy Now!, and today's no different.  We're spotlighting one more  because members and some visitors are e-mailing about it and some things that have been up here.  Here's the item:
Village Voice Staffers Protest Firing of James Ridgeway
In media news, about 20 staffers at the Village Voice have written a letter of protest over the firing of investigative reporter James Ridgeway. Ridgeway, who wrote for the paper for 30 years, was fired just months after the Voice was bought out by New Times Media, a chain of weekly newspapers based in Phoenix. The Voice staffers wrote the firing "sends a terrible message as to the sort of coverage that the new ownership portends." Major changes have already been seen at the paper since February 1 when the new owner of the paper Mike Lacey first traveled to New York to meet with Voice staffers. After that initial meeting the Voice's prize winning press critic Sidney Schanberg quit. Veteran columnist Nat Hentoff reportedly also resigned and then reconsidered. According to one account of the meeting, the new owner criticized the news section of the Voice because it was full of commentary and criticism of the Bush administration. That same week the new owners cancelled the Voices' online blog called "The Bush Beat."
Members have it right in their e-mails, thirteen visitors do not. So let's clear that up.  Micah's the one who noted "The Village Voice is dead."  That was his call.  It's one that members agreed with. And obviously it was the correct call.  So give Micah the credit, not me.  (As members did, but the visitors seemed confused.)  When we noted that, I summed it up because Micah asked me to sum up his comments.  Those were his comments so credit Micah who noted it.
Members are having trouble finding it.  This is a dictated entry so if the person I'm dictating it to can't find the links when he types this up, I'll note them in the next entry I do.  But Micah's views are summarized, I'm almost positive Micah's comments are on March 30th.  The other commentary members are noting,  which was about alternative weeklies offering fluff come the week before.  Those are comments based on members observations and my own -- and I note in that entry that I'd asked Micah to share his feelings, he wasn't ready to at that time. 
The Village Voice has "died" (to use Micah's term) but it's not the only corpse still walking (and we noted that the week before).  An "alternative" weekly needs to be a bit more than the yellow pages for various events and eateries.  Most of them aren't.  They do a sports story or a drug story ("juiced" sports stories are even better), make some anti-woman attacksin  their movie and music reviews (Meg Ryan's a favorite target but it's true of all women -- and all the more sad when the reviews are penned by women) and they act as though they've done something. If their goal was to treat any music release by a male as "authored" by the male but to strip a female of her "authorship" and give it to a male (see Alanis reviews, see Fiona reviews . . .) they achieved that. 
If they think there's anything alternative about their actions . . . As Ava and I wrote of Josh Duhamel's hair, "Well we all have our self-delusions."  I can think of nothing sadder than presenting as an alternative weekly and having nothing to offer than White Frat Boy -- Print Version!  But apparently some people are happy with that.  They're fine with dumbing down the same as the daily papers.  That's especially sad in areas that really need an alternative paper because media consolidation has left them with one daily paper that may or may not also own the big TV station in town and possibly the radio station.
The Voice, as Micah noted, is dead.  It won't be reborn by the syndicate flaunting the same "'tude" they've flaunted elsewhere in their other products. 
Zach's had two highlights and we noted one earlier today.  Here's the second one --
Robert Parry's "Did Bush Lie to Fitzgerald?" (Consortium News):
Lewis Libby's testimony identifying George W. Bush as the top official who authorized the leaking intelligence about Iraq's alleged nuclear weapons program raises two key questions: What did the President tell the special prosecutor about this issue in 2004 and what is Bush's legal status in the federal criminal probe?
Bush's legal danger came into clearer focus with the release of a court document citing testimony from Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff who claimed that Bush approved the selective release of intelligence in July 2003 to counter growing complaints that Bush had hyped evidence on Iraq's pursuit of enriched uranium.
Remember that Robert Parry is a scheduled guest on KPFA's Living Room today.  It airs live at three p.m. Eastern Standard Time, two p.m. Central Time and noon Pacific time.  You can listen online, for free, and KPFA's website provides several streaming options (in case anyone has problems with the streaming). If you want to listen but are unable to listen live, you can check out the archived broadcast later today.  Ruth notes that Howard Zinn was one of the first guests interviewed by Andrea Lewis in the first hour (I think she said Bill Goodman of the Center for Constitutional Rights was the first guest but we had a bad phone connection).  If you missed that broadcast of The Morning Show, you can go to the archives if you'd like to hear it. 
Lloyd notes Matthew Rothschild's "Libby, Gonzales Provide More Grounds for Censure or Impeachment" (This Just In, The Progressive):
Two blockbuster revelations on April 6 provide ample additional grounds for censuring or impeaching George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
The first is the disclosure by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that I. Lewis Libby has testified that Bush and Cheney authorized him to reveal information from an otherwise-classified National Intelligence Estimate in order to discredit former Ambassador Joe Wilson.
"The Vice President advised defendant that the President specifically had authorized defendant to disclose certain information in the NIE," Fitzgerald's court filing of April 5 states. "Defendant testified that the circumstances of his conversation with Judith Miller--getting approval from the President through the Vice President to discuss material that would be classified but for that approval--were unique in his recollection."
Here is evidence that the President and the Vice President were using the intelligence agencies of the U.S. government to discredit a political opponent. This is precisely one of the reasons why the House Judiciary Committee voted to impeach Richard Nixon.
The second bombshell was delivered by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales himself when he testified on April 6 to the House Judiciary Committee that the Administration may engage in warrantless wiretapping of purely domestic calls in the United State (as opposed to calls where one party is abroad).
"I'm not going to rule it out," Gonzales testified.
I want to note Mike's "Ireland." The murder of Dennis Donaldson has led the press to speculate that it's the IRA that's done it to halt the peace process.  Mike builds on the information of who attempted to derail the 2002 peace process and notes that the mainstream media could run that way with it but instead they run from it. 
And for visitors who are confused, "I want to note" means I'm noting it.  "___ wants to note . . ." means a member is noting it.  "We'll note" means more than one person has noted it or someone's noted it that doesn't want to be noted as noting it. 
Martha notes that Seth posted "Some Highlights" this week.  (He intends to post again on Sunday.)  For those wondering about Betty's chapters, she tried to post Tuesday and Blogger was down.  She tried to post Wednesday before church and the same problem.  Last night?  You obviously didn't read Kat's post last night if you're asking about that.  On Kat, a visitor's asked where her review of Ben Harper's new CD is?  Go to the source.  I did.  She's saying right now that it's not written and she can do activism of the type she's done this week or she can do a review.  She thinks activism is more important.  But she adds she will have it done before next Friday.
(I'll add that Kat's writing model when it comes to deadlines is Hunter S. Thompson so I'll believe that when I see it.)
Sherry notes Rebecca's "mini essay:"
but these centrists/realists want to move the party to the center. they want to do that because it's easy. i don't think some 1 who's battle plan is 'do what's easy' belongs in the white house.
after bully boy leaves (impeach, impeach, impeach), our country's going to be in a huge mess and some 1 who's just going to do a little light dusting and maybe move the couch around isn't going to fix the problems.
hillary can't even address the problems so the idea that she's the candidate we should all drool over is hard to stomach.
we're seeing the problems with this choose evil or just bad right now as our elected officials talk immigration. undocumented workers aren't being helped by what's going on. corporations are being helped. i'd like to see an issue approached from the perspective of how it will help people - not from how it will help corporations while doing the least damage to people.
we're given these false choices and encouraged to believe that it's this or it's that. life is generally quite a bit more complex as are the issues.
joan baez has a great version of steve earle's 'christmas in washington' on her live album (kat reviewed it here) where she sings about how democrats means '4 more years of things not getting worse.' that's a perfect description by steve earle. i don't think we have to settle for hideous or not worse. i think there are other options.
Amy Goodman has two events this weekend:

*Tonight: Amy Goodman in Baton Rouge, LA:
Fri, Apr. 7
Time: 7:30 PM
Media-ocracy: How the American Media Compromises Democracy
Cambell Auditorium in the Cox Communications Academic Center
Louisiana State University
Free and Open to the Public
*Amy Goodman in New Orleans, LA
Sat, Apr. 8
Time: 5 PM
Benefit for WTUL
Tulane University
McAlister Auditorium
Free and Open to the Public
For more information: Contact Jeremy,
Tom Hayden will be on RadioNation with Laura Flanders Sunday.  Kat can go over this tomorrow but as I understand it, this weekend is rebroadcasts.  That's true of Saturday.  I think it's true of Sunday, plus an interview Flanders did with him on March 31st (that hasn't been played on the show or anywhere).
I believe Hayden's noted that the United States government is in talks with the Iraqi resistance (if not, just call it transition).  The Guardian of London reports today that Zalmay Khalizad (US ambassador to Iraq) has confirmed that.  Three more US troops have been killed in Iraq -- one in Baghdad, one near Baiji and the third in the Al-Anbar province. Deutsche Presse-Agentur reports that, in al-Shahaimiya, a man's corpse was found (decapitated). IRIB reports that four Iraqis were found dead "in and around the Iraqi city of Baquba" as well as two more in Baghdad. In Kirkuk an Iraqi has been kidnapped.  The Associated Press notes that at least 79 people have been killed and over 160 wounded in bombing on a mosque in Baghdad. And that's the snapshot of life under occuaption in Iraq.
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Other Items (Robert Parry on KPFA's Living Room today)

Unless your primary concern is what does Judith Miller think of the New York Times, David Johnston and David E. Sanger's "Cheney's Aide Says President Approved Leak" (in this morning's New York Times is a total waste). Court documents reveal that Scooter Libby was authorized to leak classified information to the press. And? Not a whole lot in yet another account of the official formerly known as Scooter.

What should have been a time for the paper of record to provide readers with a best of Bully Boy statements on how opposed he is to leaks (statements coming from the public record) is just another hum-drum "Today this happened and there's no real context we can offer because our research is confined to phone calls." Truly, Ava and I do more for a TV review at The Third Estate Sunday Review than the so-called reporters do at the Times.

Wally, under a tighter "deadline" than anything the Times had, provided more news you can use in yesterday's "THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY SAYS "DO AS I COMMAND NOT AS I DO." And remember, Wally runs a humor site.

It's left to R. Jeffery Smith's "Bush Authorized Secrets' Release, Libby Testified" (Washington Post) to pursue those details of the public record:

Bush has been a major critic of leaks of classified information, and his aides have repeatedly said they want to "get to the bottom" of who leaked the name of Wilson's wife, covert CIA operative Valerie Plame, to the media, which touched off Fitzgerald's investigation . But in the past 33 months the White House has never disclosed Bush's apparent involvement in the deliberate disclosure of information meant to undermine Wilson.

And what does Miller think of the paper of record? Not enough, as the story notes, to return its calls.

The Times continues to bungle the coverage of Congress' attacks on undocumented immigrants. We won't highlight their nonsense here. Instead, we'll go with Kayla's highlight, "Immigrants and Us" (The Nation):

More than half a million in Los Angeles, 300,000 in Chicago, 50,000 in Denver, 30,000 in Washington and Milwaukee. Tens of thousands more in Detroit, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, Reno, Newark and New York City, as well as places like Grand Rapids and Nashville. Sparked by the punitive Sensenbrenner bill, which would criminalize undocumented workers and anyone who helps them, immigrants flooded the streets of cities and suburbs across the nation. The rest of the country watched in astonishment as the wave of immigrants that has swept our economy crested into a mass movement that will transform our politics.
The key word is will. The comprehensive reform of immigration policy that the movement wants is not going to come from this Congress, riven as it is with splits among Republicans who want to keep the poor huddled masses out; Republicans who want to keep them in but keep them poor; and Democrats too weak and anxious to light the way down a better path. At this writing, in fact, the best outcome for now appears to be no resolution at all. Nonetheless, whether it takes two years or ten, this movement, bolstered by its growing social and electoral clout, will have its demands addressed: family reunification; a solution to the visa backlog, now at 6.2 million and counting; and the coveted "path to citizenship" that allows immigrant workers to build lives with a future.

Also worth noting on immigration is Margaret Kimberley's "Immigration and America's Bad Karma" (Freedom Rider, The Black Commentator):

Lou Dobbs, Bill O'Reilly and other cable television blowhards have appointed themselves crusaders against illegal immigration to the United States. If tempted to succumb to their awful siren song, just think of the Wampanoag Indians.
In 1621 the Wampanoags watched as the Pilgrims landed at what is now known as Plymouth Rock. You know the rest of the story. The Indians were killed by warfare and disease. Treaties were broken and land was stolen. The horrific scenario played out across the rest of the nation for almost 300 years. The Iroquois, Seminoles, Choctaws, Lakotas, and Apaches all got the same treatment.
You reap what you sow. What goes around comes around. Payback is a bitch. All of those colorful expressions are apropos when the issue of immigration arises and especially when Dobbs, O'Reilly, and Congressional Neanderthals foam at the mouth.

We're noting Robert Parry right now (Zach's highlight) and we'll note him again later today. From Parry's "Bush, Wiretaps & Watergate" (Consortium News):

But the actual history of Watergate reveals a more complicated reality, with neither Dean nor Graham getting the story precisely right. Based on the most recent revelations, it appears that Nixon may bear more responsibility for the break-in than Dean believes -- and the lessons of Watergate are more relevant to Bush's domestic spying today than Graham wants to admit.
Like Nixon, Bush may find -- or may have already found -- the temptation to blur the lines between spying on national security threats and his political enemies too tempting to resist. Presidents who come to see themselves as vital to the nation can easily slip into the delusion that any challenger or dissenter is out to hurt the country.That risk, which was recognized in the 1978 passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, was a principal lesson of Watergate. In his first term, Nixon came to view domestic opposition to the Vietnam War and to his policies as national security threats deserving of extra-legal responses.
I address this history in
Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, but a summary of the Watergate section is below:
Nixon's Obsessions
Nixon relished the intricacies of world power politics, but his obsession with domestic challenges -- his Vietnam War critics and his insecurities about possible electoral defeat -- merged as Campaign 1972 grew near.
Nixon searched for new ways to destroy domestic adversaries, the likes of former Defense Department official Daniel Ellsberg, who had leaked the secret Pentagon Papers history of the Vietnam War. After the Pentagon Papers were published, revealing the deceptions used to lead the United States to war, Nixon demanded a more aggressive strategy to stop leaks.
On July 1, 1971, Nixon lectured chief of staff H.R. Haldeman and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger about the need to do whatever it takes, including break-ins at sites such as the Brookings Institution where Nixon suspected incriminating information might be found about Ellsberg.
Nixon criticized Attorney General John Mitchell for worrying about what "is technically correct" in countering those who leaked the secret history.
"We're up against an enemy, a conspiracy," Nixon raged. "They're using any means. We are going to use any means. Is that clear? Did they get the Brookings Institute raided last night? No. Get it done. I want it done. I want the Brookings Institute safe cleaned out and have it cleaned out in a way that makes somebody else" responsible.
"Now, how do you fight this [Ellsberg case]?" Nixon continued. "You can't fight this with gentlemanly gloves ... We'll kill these sons of b**ches." Nixon then referred to an obscure White House official named Cooke, who had given Ellsberg some papers when Ellsberg worked at the Rand Corporation.
"I want to get him [Cooke] killed," Nixon said. "Let him get in the papers and deny it. ... Get a story out and get one to a reporter who will use it. Give them the facts and we will kill him in the press. Isn’t that clear? And I play it gloves off. Now, Godd***it, get going on it."
One of Nixon's schemes for discrediting the Pentagon Papers release was to transform it into a spy scandal, like the Alger Hiss case of the 1940s where Nixon made his national reputation. He saw a role for the successor to the House Un-American Activities Committee, the House subcommittee on internal security.

Robert Parry is a guest on KPFA's Living Room today at noon Pacific time. Also, unless I heeard wrong, Howard Zinn is a guest on KPFA's The Morning Show (I believe in the second hour) which airs from seven to ten Pacific time.

Cedric notes Grace Lee Boggs' "THE ART OF WEAVING FAITHS" (Michigan Citizen via Boggs Peace Center):

In early February I participated in a transformative weekend that I wish could be experienced by people of all faiths, walks of life, cultures and ages, everywhere in this country and the world.
The occasion was a Retreat at the Senshin Buddhist Temple and the Omar Ibn Al Khattab Mosque, two sacred spaces within walking distance of one another in South Central Los Angeles.
It was conceived and led by my old friend, Nobuko Miyamoto, an artist whose songs, theater works and dances have opened boundaries between people of different cultures for over thirty years. As the artistic director of Great Leap, a Los Angeles-based group, Nobuko conducts workshops, seminars and lectures.
The invitation to this workshop was also a challenge.
"We are living in a world of divisions and violence that touches each of us. How can we as people of faith help to create peace, harmony and understanding? Perhaps it best begins within ourselves, with those closest to us, and then taking a step beyond our own boundaries to share with strangers."
About 25 people of diverse faiths and cultures responded. They included Americans of African, Asian, Arab and European descent, and Muslims, Buddhists and Christians. Among many other things I learned that there are over a million and ahalf Muslims in California, half of whom are African American. Nobuko's son, an African American Muslim, was one of the guest leaders.

A visitor e-mailed this morning about an article that we'll note. First off, we do provide a link to CounterPunch on the permalinks and we do link to articles from it. The visitor was upset and wrote without checking our permalinks, I'm guessing, because he maintained that we needed to learn about "magazines that tell the truth." CounterPunch is highlighted here often. (I believe we've highlighted twice this week -- and that's something in a very busy week.) He also felt that I wouldn't link to this article because "You are just another person who blames Ralph Nader for 2000." I'll comment on that after the highlight. From Jozef Hand-Boniakowski's "Why Democrats Are At Least Half of the Problem" (CounterPunch):

In a recent give and take email with a liberal, "progressive" Democrat in Vermont, I discovered what Democrats really feel about people who vote for third party candidates, and especially what they feel about Ralph Nader. 2006 is, after all, an election year, and we, the people, must elect Democrats to "take our country back". No? The talk-show hosts say so, especially Air America Radio, so it must be important. The exact line from the email that I received is,
I feel it is because people voted for Nader who not only have I lost all respect for, but I think he has a huge ego and now I honestly hate him as much as I hate Bush.
There you have it. Liberal, "progressive" Democrats hate Ralph Nader as much as they hate George W. Bush. Perhaps, some therapy is in order, as hate is a self-destructive emotion if left unchecked. It also does not win elections. I'm not, however, surprised at this outpouring of Democratic venom, as liberals and so-called progressives prefer to blame the loss of elections on everybody and everything, except that is, on the lackluster, uninspiring, boring, bumbling, stumbling, and problematic campaigns of their own candidates. Democrats prefer to blame their presidential candidates' ineptitude on others, such as Ralph Nader and the people who voted for him and his platform. Liberal, "progressive", Democrats fail to place the responsibility for getting G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney elected where it belongs, that is, onto the people who actually voted for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney at the polls. The elections of 2000 and 2004 were both the Democrats to lose. And, they lost them both. The reality of the Democratic Party's electoral losses are compounded by its inability to accept responsibility for them. Democrats prefer the blindness of hatred over the reality of their own failures. It was not Ralph Nader's fault that 62,040,606 people voted for Bush and Cheney in 2004. But, damn you Ralph, anyway!
I have some advice for liberal, "progressive", Democrats. Stop blaming Ralph Nader for John Kerry's crappy performance at the 2004 polls. Stop blaming third parties. Stop blaming the people who voted in step with their conscience for 3rd parties. Stop blaming people who did not vote, believing that elections are fixed or manipulated by big money. They are. Start working for democracy instead! Imagine! The educated, wealthy, well-healed, Heinz ketchup fortune, two-time Purple Heart recipient, candidate John Kerry, was unable to defeat a candidate who stumbled over his own words, and who could not prove participating in his military service. John Kerry lost to a candidate that had his inept lines supposedly pumped into his ear via a hidden radio device during the "debates". Way to go John! I am sorry, but I have no sympathy for liberal, "progressive", Democrats whose candidates do not enthuse and whose ideas are much like their opponent. Ralph Nader was not the problem in the 2000 election. It was Al Gore who won the election and then rolled over and played dead, and the Democratic Party played dead along with him for seven years. Ralph Nader was not the problem in 2004 either. John Kerry was. And Ralph Nader is not the problem now. The problem was, and is, the Democratic Party, and its candidates, like John Kerry, who try to out-Bush George Bush. John Kerry voted for the Iraq war. That makes him no better than his opponent. John Kerry turned his back on his antiwar veteran comrades. He smote his buddies, the Winter Soldiers, in an attempt to win the election. Shame on you John. Democrats prefer practicality, and it doesn't matter much if it comes in the form of betrayal. How does such betrayal make John Kerry any different than George W. Bush? Brian S. Willson states it clearly in his "
Dear John" letter to John Kerry. See: See also a pictorial comparison of Kerry and Bush at my website. And the Democrats will do it again with Hillary Clinton in 2008.

That's the visitor's highlight. I have never maintained that Ralph Nader cost Gore (or Kerry) the election. On Wednesday, in fact, Elaine tackled this topic (with a similar postition to that of the highlight) in "This isn't finished but Blogger's about to go down" and noted that she was writing our position on Nader and 2000. Due to blogging problems, Elaine wasn't able to include all the links she had intended so Rebecca went and did the links for her last night. Rebecca added a few notes to that including this:

rebecca note: i'm adding links for elaine and a comment near the bottom, but i did speak to c.i. and was told there was no disagreement with the 2000 comments and 'in fact, no disagreement with anything elaine's written. it's a great entry.'

Nader has a right to run anytime he wants. Anyone has a right to run. I wouldn't vote for Paul Hackett but when he stepped out of his race recently, I said he should get back in. He should. Votes don't belong to anyone. A real election is appealing to voters, speaking to them. I have some friends who voted for Nader in 2000 and, were you to ask them, if they've guilted over their vote, I've pointed out two things, one, forget the guilt for practical reasons because they were in states that Gore carried and, two, they voted for who they believed was the better (or best) choice. The second reason is what an election is supposed to be. Advocating someone drop out of a race isn't something I support. I didn't support it when there was an attitude of a race belonging to Ferraro in the nineties (I thought Elizabeth Holtzman was the better candidate) and I don't support it in principle. If someone thinks they can do the job, they should run for office. And, if they're in a primary or a general election, they shouldn't be shamed out of it or told their candidacy makes no difference. Dennis Kucinich, to cite one example, didn't prevent the press from covering John Kerry. The press had already stopped covering Kucinich at the point that they attempted to shame him into stepping out.

An office doesn't belong to any one person. It belongs to the people and the people should be able to pick whom they want to vote for. There were people in 2004 who felt that Nader shouldn't run and I understood why they felt that way. It wasn't a position I supported. Nor did I support the notion that the primary field in the Democratic Party needed to be 'cleared.' People should have a wide variety of choices and be able to make their own selections. That's democracy.

I'm not mad at the visitor who wrote and wish I had time to write him back this morning (I don't). Hopefully, he'll see that we did highlight his suggestion. But in terms of assuming that this site is out to praise Democrats and to bash Nader (or any third candidate), he's incorrect. We don't usually highlight many suggestions from visitors because we have enough from members that we never get around to. But if there's a misconception on this issue, it needs to be dealt with. Bill endorsed a Green candidate for Senate last night. It was noted. I'm not using this space to endorse anyone but members can. Democrat Feingold's been endorsed by a member. Kevin Zeese (an independent candidate) has been endorsed by a member and Chris Lugo was endorsed last night (Green Party). Members can endorse whomever they want and if they want it noted it will go up. If Nader wants to run in 2008, he should run. We need more choices in a democracy, not less. "Safe elections" will probably lead to more compromising on the part of candidates and that's the last thing we need. (Many members argue there's no great difference between the two largest parties as it is.)

So I hope that clears it up. There are a lot of attacks on people who don't vote for either of the two largest parties (or don't vote for them consistently in some cases) and that's silly. My vote doesn't belong to anyone but me, your vote doesn't belong to anyone but you. No candidate should ever campaign assuming that they're entitled to votes, they need to fight for them. (And fight for them publicly, another problem in our current system.)

Today's scheduled topic for Democracy Now!:

* Veteran war correspondent Robert Fisk joins us in our firehouse studio.

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NYT: Buries spying and can someone please point out John Conyers to them?

A former AT&T technician said on Thursday that the company cooperated with the National Security Agency in 2003 to install equipment capable of "vacuum-cleaner surveillance" of e-mail messages and other Internet traffic.

The above is from "Court Filings Tell of Internet Spying" in this morning's New York Times and it's credited to a new kid we should all watch the work in the future: "The New York Times." Let's hear it for him and her and this three paragraph "article." (Noted by Ben.) Three paragraphs isn't a great deal of space, true. But then this topic must not be as important, say, as another this week -- the "trend" story of EATING DINNER TOGETHER! Or maybe this young scrapper didn't just have his/her friends to quote in the story?

It's got a lot to do with priorities. And something that might actually be a less than 5% increase (assuming a +/- 5% margin of error -- the trend story didn't give a margin) is certainly much more interesting than real news. Which is why EATING DINNER TOGETHER ran on the front page as though it were an honest to God news story and not the paper jerking off yet again and calling a no trend, a nowhere near a trend, event a trend story.

The above doesn't even rate a real byline. But a phoney "things have changed, believe you me!" story rates the front page. Priorities.

(The trend story was noted earlier in the week by Lucy. A friend at the paper noted it yesterday as well. Both felt it needed to be noted here.)

That's why the above appears on A20. Why it and another story don't make the front page, crowded out by breathless reporting over an ancient document instead -- one, that only inside the paper, in the second story on the alleged Gospel of Judas, does the paper wonder "Is It True?" Now when has truth ever been an issue with the New York Times? You start expecting truth in the New York Times, pretty soon readers may demand reality as well!

From Eric Lichtblau's "Gonzales Suggests Legal Basis for Domestic Eavesdropping:"

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales suggested on Thursday for the first time that the president might have the legal authority to order wiretapping without a warrant on communications between Americans that occur exclusively within the United States.
"I'm not going to rule it out," Mr. Gonzales said when asked about that possibility at a House Judiciary Committee hearing.

Here's the nutshell, Gonzales went before the House judiciary committee. The committee includes John Conyers as the ranking Democrat who, in fact, had a great deal to say, though you wouldn't know it to read the article. Maybe years from now, someone will find a decaying copy of a transcript of the exchange and wonder "Is It True?" They'll certainly wonder that since, to read to the paper of record, is to wonder if John Conyers really does exist -- so absent is he from their coverage.

So in front of the committee, Gonzales did his usual performance of I've Got a Secret and got away with it. At one point, he appeared to be ripping off The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Remember the episode where everyone in the newsroom is down because they're told by an expert that they've reached the highest ratings they'll either get? So Mary tells Murray and Ted that his opinion doesn't matter. And what if, before Mr. Fix It came along, a professional newscaster had seen their show while visiting the area and he had said it was one of the best local newscasts he had ever seen. When Lou questions her about the reality of the claim that lifted everyone's spirits, Mary says she didn't say it happen, she said "What if . . ."

So Gonzales doesn't say what happened. He's still tight lipped. But maybe, just maybe, what if, the Bully Boy has authority for the program. Maybe it's like what Woodrow Wilson did. Congress gets all excited and it's left for the Justice Dept. to note, after the testimony, to explain:

A department spokeswoman, Tasia Scolinos, said, "The attorney general's comments today should not be interpreted to suggest the existence or nonexistence of a domestic program or whether any such program would be lawful under the existing legal analysis."

In other words, don't give his non-concrete remarks any weight.

Especially considering that statement, Conyers' remarks should be noted (he accused Gonzales of thumbing his nose at Congress).

It's interesting to examine Gonzales' remarks as well. Such as when he pats himself (we hope on the back) and mentions the conviction of Ahmed Omar Abu Ali -- a conviction based upon a confession signed under torture and denied after the fact. Alberto loves heading the Injustice Department. All his examples are laughable but readers of the paper of record probably won't grasp why. "Is It True?" should be the motto printed on every edition of the paper, not "All the news that's fit to print."

What did he do? He said "I'm not going to rule it out." It's a play on Mary Richards' "What if . . ."

Gonzales, while testifying to the House Judiciary Committee, also went into gangs, not terrorists (or his concept of them), but into gangs. The man either has no idea where he is and what he's supposed to be tlaking about or else he's trying to run out the clock and bore everyone so they won't ask him any questions.

He needs to be forced to answer yes or no as to whether his Justice Department will operate by FISA. If they will not, there is no point in talking about this new law or that new law. Why attempt to pass laws if the administration isn't going to follow them?

FISA is the "exclusive means" for the surrveilance. There's no reason to monkey with it now if the administration is not going to operate by it. (I think there's no reason to change it for the administration period.)

Stonewall Gonzales' performance needs to be noted with another attempt at stonewalling over the illegal spying on US citizens. Molly notes Will Dunham's "Pentagon Admits to More Spying on Peace Activists" (Reuters via Truthout):

The Pentagon said on Wednesday a review launched after revelations that it had collected data on U.S. peace activists found that roughly 260 entries in a classified database of possible terrorist threats should not have been kept there.
But the review reaffirmed the value of the so-called Talon reporting system on potential threats to Pentagon personnel or facilities by international terrorists, said Bryan Whitman, a senior Pentagon spokesman. He said the Pentagon was putting in place new safeguards and oversight intended to prevent improper information from going in the database.
Whitman said "less than 2 percent" of the more than 13,000 database entries provided through the Talon system "should not have been there or should have been removed at a certain point in time."
Whitman disputed critics' assertions that the program amounted to Pentagon domestic spying, although he declined to state the nature of these entries or the people they involved, saying the database's contents are classified. Whitman stressed that to be properly placed in the database, a threat must have a suspected link to international terrorism.

The paper of record isn't interested in that. They're not interested in covering any of the illegal spying. Maybe they'll offer another editorial (the merits of which others can debate) but in their coverage they found themselves out in the cold and lost interest long ago.

I'm not sure how fair it is to pin blame on Lichtblau. He must know that the Times' not interested in the story (everyone at the paper should know it -- besides friends at the paper, it's been the topic of many e-mails sent to the public address of this site) and he's not given much space today. For a look at the issue that offers context, Martha recommends Dan Eggen's "Warrantless Wiretaps Possible in U.S." in the Washington Post which notes Gonzales' past testimony and includes this section Martha highlighted:

Gonzales previously testified in the Senate that Bush had considered including purely domestic communications in the NSA spying program, but he said the idea was rejected in part because of fears of a public outcry. He also testified at the time that the Justice Department had not fully analyzed the legal issues of such a move.
In yesterday's testimony, Gonzales reiterated earlier hints that there may be another facet to the NSA program that has not been revealed publicly, or even another program that has prompted dissension within the government. While acknowledging disagreements among officials over the monitoring efforts, Gonzales disputed published reports that have detailed the arguments.

Rod notes today's scheduled topic for Democracy Now!:

* Veteran war correspondent Robert Fisk joins us in our firehouse studio

Rachel notes this event today, "WBAI co-hosts: An Evening with Robert Fisk:"

Acclaimed journalist Robert Fisk speaks on War, the Middle East, and journalism
April 7 at the New York Society for Ethical Culture.
Fisk, renowned journalist (UK Independent), and author of Pity the Nation and The Great War for Civilization leads a discussion on war, the legacy of Western intervention in the Middle East, and journalism.
Book signings will follow the event.
FREE. Friday, April 7th at 7PM - Doors open at 6PM. No reservations. First come, first served.
At The New York Society for Ethical Culture: 2 West 64th St @ Central Park West. (Subways to Columbus Circle)
For information please call, 212-874-5210, or visit

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