Tuesday, March 28, 2006

"Never . . . doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world"

Rebecca wrote about Roberta Flack last night. "Tonight, I Celebrate My Love" (her duet in the eighties with Peabo Bryson) is a great duet. Birdie wrote about that duet. I think both are wonderful but I do like the way the melody repeats in the accompaniment to "The Closer I Get To You." One song, Birdie wrote about a number of wonderful ones, that neither she, Rebecca or I mentioned was "Making Love" which is one I always forget. But it's a wonderful song as well. If you listened to Home Fries last night on WBAI, I hope you had a treat. I know I did. I had never heard of Gene McDaniels. He is a songwriter, performer, screenwriter and more. At one point, he mentioned that WBAI was one of the few to play his album at a time when he was blacklisted thanks to Richard Nixon.

I called C.I. to find out more (not to play "I'm going to stump you" -- that's a game you'll never win at) and Tricky Dick hated McDaniel's album Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse. He called up the head of Atlantic Records and put pressure on and McDaniels was dropped from the label. He's written many songs (over 2,000 is what I think he said) and the one I knew best was "Where Is The Love?"

If you listened for Roberta Flack, I'm sorry that you didn't hear her. Joyce Jones explained that something came up (scheduling wise). She should be on at a later date. I was crushed for a bit (she really is one of my favorite singers -- my music collection includes 45s and even when I already had the vinyl albums, I'd still buy the 45s -- please don't e-mail to ask what 45s are!). But I stayed with the program and really enjoyed it. I hope you did as well. It was a great mix of music and McDaniels was a wonderful guest. (I'm now looking for Headless Heroes on any format -- vinyl, CD, cassette.) I also thought Joyce Jones did a really great job. She was filling in and I hadn't listened to the show before. I'm sure it's wonderful show all the time but I thought Jones did a great job and had a really wonderful on air personality. Joyce Jones may be filling in next Monday as well and I'll be sure to listen. (No offense is intended to the regular host. I've never heard the program before last night and I just really enjoyed Jones' on air personality which went really well with the musical choices.)

Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's views on the news today.

"Iraqi Accuses U.S. of Massacre At Shiite Mosque" (Democracy Now!):
Iraqi officials are accusing the U.S. military of massacring at least 16 Shiite worshippers during a raid on a Shiite mosque Sunday night. The Guardian newspaper reports the killings have opened the biggest rift yet between the United States and Iraqi Shiites. Shiite leaders have suspended talks over forming a new Iraqi government. Iraq’s Interior Minister called the U.S. raid unjustified and horrible. The leading Shiite governing alliance is urging the U.S. to return full control of security to Iraqis. The Baghdad provincial governor has suspended all cooperation with U.S. forces. "The occupiers should be bought to account for this despicable crime,” said Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Shwaili. “It is committed by the occupiers against unarmed worshippers and we urge the Iraqi government to take an honest and positive stand towards this vicious attack against Islam and the worshippers Despite the political outcry, the U.S. military defended the raid on Monday. One official described it as a "hugely successful" operation against an insurgent hideout. The U.S. has denied its troops killed any Iraqis and said the massacre was staged.

"And the war drags on" Doesn't it? Nothing seems to touch the administration. Nothing seems to worry them. Not the lives lost, not the continued violence. It is so disgusting and so sad. It's also criminal. We're occupying Iraq and doing so illegally.
You can take any issue but let's take the hospital issue which Dahr Jamail has documented in "Iraqi Hospitals Ailing Under Occupation" and C.I. sums up Dahr's report here.

If you've never read Jamal's report, please take the time to. (It's in PDF and if that's a problem on your computer, at least read C.I.'s summary.) It's an indepth study of the reality of health care in Iraq under the occupation -- where ambulances are valid targets and doctors are told not to say anything about anything. Dahr's not writing about the hospitals under Saddam Hussein. He's writing about the way things are under the illegal occupation.

Here's one of the suggestions Dahr makes in his conclusion:

1. The fact that the US government has released so little of the $1 billion in reconstruction funds allegedly allocated to the Ministry of Health should be subject to an immediate congressional investigation to scrutinize the US government's expenditures and actions, as well as the expenditures and actions of western companies that have been awarded contracts in Iraq regarding the healthcare system. Investigators should be given the power to impose or seek punitive measures for contract violations and over-expenditures and to provide oversight, regulation and accountability of the work of these companies in regard to their individual contracts.

The occupation has never been about improving the lives of the Iraqis and what we are seeing now is the desire for chaos (on the part of the administration) really beginning to flow.

"New York Times Finally Reports On Secret UK Iraq Memo" (Democracy Now!):
In Washington the White House is denying reports that President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair agreed in January 2003 to attack Iraq regardless of whether diplomatic efforts at the United Nations succeeded or whether inspectors found weapons of mass destruction. According to the contents of a once-secret British memo, Bush penciled in the start date of the invasion to be March 10. The contents of the memo first became public almost two months ago in the book "Lawless World" by British international law professor Philippe Sands. But the memo received little attention by mainstream media in this country until Monday when the New York Times ran a front-page article. Earlier this month, however, attorney Phillipe Sands appeared on Democracy Now in one of his first U.S. interviews to discuss the importance of the memo: "[I]t confirms the absence of evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Why would the British prime minister and the American president be talking about the possibility of provoking a material breach if they had clear and compelling evidence? But more importantly, it also confirms, as some have thought and some have said, that the road to a second resolution was a sham. The decision had already been taken that already, by the end of January, a start date for the war was penciled in and the decision was set in stone and that both Bush and Blair had agreed."

I think C.I. said it well:

Democracy Now! listeners (viewers and readers) won't be surprised by anything in this article. The surprise is only that the Times is reporting on it. Van Natta mentions Colin Powell's UN testimony that came five days after Bully Boy and Blair's meeting. Mentions in passing. Without noting that Powell's presentation (discredited in real time by those not belonging now to the We Were All Wrong club) didn't hold up. Since even Powell can minimize it now as a "blot" on his record, it's amazing that Van Natta doesn't chose to note the discrediting of Powell's testimony.

It's really true, if you're following Democracy Now! you are informed. Sunny asked me to put that in today. She has time to surf the net (and she can surf at work, she does her job well, better than well, and I don't butt into how she uses her time) which I don't but she feels that Monday's story got a great deal of attention online but not a lot of attention went to Democracy Now! She asked me why that was at lunch when we were listening today. (By the way, there was a question about that last week. I asked her if she was bothered by my answering it and she wasn't. She has a one hour lunch. She is not required to stay in the office during that hour. It's her hour and she can use it however she chooses. The only rule we have is that it's lunch and we're not talking work. I went over that when we started both staying in for lunch because I am aware of the issues that go into employer-employee relationships and I wanted to be sure that I didn't use her lunch to go over things that needed to be done. That's her time and it shouldn't be about the office.)

So her question was why blogs on the left or Democratic blogs didn't note Democracy Now! when writing that up and I told her I honestly had no idea. The people with sites that I know all note the program. I have no idea why others don't. Maybe they aren't aware of it?

I honestly hope that would be the case. I hope that if they know of mainstream choices and if they know of Democracy Now! that they would always go with the latter to promote independent media. In terms of track records, I'll go with Amy Goodman and company any day.

Brandon wrote to ask where the peace quotes were? Good question. I'll close with this highlight and you can consider the last two lines to be the peace quote.

"They Just Don't Get It" (Kim Gandy, Below the Belt, NOW):
Early this week, while most of us were beginning our days, exactly three years ticked by since the start of the war in Iraq. Given the global protests and letters to the editors I saw over this weekend, most people agree with me: It's been three years too long.
George W. Bush keeps uttering those three little words--"stay the course"--while more and more people out there (you and I always knew!) are figuring out there never was a course.
Leaders in Iraq say the country is now deep into a civil war, with 50-60 Iraqis dying daily, and our country's own heartbreaking losses mounting. And for what? So George Bush can reach some imaginary goal?
If you're as angry about this whole situation as I am, I hope you'll join me and tens of thousands of others on April 29 in New York City, and together we will
March for Peace, Justice and Democracy. NOW is mobilizing with the anti-war, environmental, civil rights and labor groups, and religious communities who have joined our call for peace.
Death counts are rising, support is dwindling, and our voices are growing louder every day. The war-mongers can't ignore us anymore. Join us to speak out against the insanity.
Anthropologist Margaret Mead told us never to doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Just think of what all of us, together, can accomplish.