Mike is still sick (with chicken pox) but he is posting tonight so please visit Mikey Likes It!
"Republicans Reach Agreement on Controversial Tax Bill" (Democracy Now!):
On Capitol Hill, House and Senate Republicans have agreed on a new tax bill critics say will disproportionately favor the wealthiest Americans. The $70 billion dollar measure would extend the 15 percent tax rate on capital and dividends until the year 2010. According to the Tax Policy Center, households earning more than $1 million dollars would save $42,000 dollars in taxes. Meanwhile, households earning around $45,000 dollars would save $46 dollars.
The purpose of taxation is? To pay for the services the public needs. Under Bully Boy, the purpose of taxation is to take from the low income and give even more to the highest income bracket. In the meatime? Are the roads being fixed? Is New Orleans being repaired? Are our public commons being maintained? If you're confused the answer to that is the same answer to this question: Do we have universal healthcare?
"US Peace Activists Travel to Tehran" (Democracy Now!):
Twenty-two US citizens have traveled to Iran to promote peace between Washington and Tehran. "(We are here to promote) understanding between our peoples so that our governments don't get us into a situation where we go into a Conflict," said delegate member Dave Robinson, Executive Director Of The National Catholic Peace Movement."We're here to learn about Iran firsthand so that we don't succumb to the enemy building and demonising that's going in the United States at the moment."
Mike was asking me what I thought about the prospect of this adminstration declaring war on Iran? Honestly? I think if Bully Boy can get it off the ground before November, we'll be at war.
He needs some trick to help his sinking party's chances in the upcoming elections. Iran will be tougher than Iraq, my guess. With Iraq (and a compliant media), he got six weeks of incredibly fawning press. I think he can count on three weeks tops. So my guess is, if they're calculating it for that effect, Bully Boy will declare war (he'll bypass Congress) three and a half weeks prior to the elections.
I'm not a psychic and I hope I'm wrong. But I think that's why there's been a delay in implementing the plans. They don't want a third quagmire going into the elections.
On WBAI today, after Democracy Now! they played a speech that Robert Fisk gave at M.I.T. (he was introduced by Noam Chomsky). Fisk spoke of how it was a repeat, Iraq was. He felt that reporters should be required to pack history books. England had thought it would be a cake walk at the early part of the last century. They claimed to be going into Iraq for "liberation" of the people. Falljua? It was the sign of a slaughter then as well. It's all a repeat. He also had a few words for the New York Times which has their own stockade (my term) with towers and bodyguards. Check the WBAI archive to see if it's there. It'll be the program (regardless of title) right after Democracy Now! This is a speech you should make a point to hear. There are parts of it that will make you laugh. Fisk can find humor in dark times. But you really should hear it. (If you already did hear it, you know how great it was so share it with someone.)
"Democracy Now: Lior Halperin, James Carroll, Juliet Schor debates Marc Landy on Condi" (The Common Ills):
Chaos and violence.
But apparently those days over because Condi Rice is confident and Jalal Talabani (president of Iraq) is issuing statements on the need to stop the killings (1,1000 Iraqis, according to Talabani, in the month of April -- BBC says 1,091). Yeah, that'll end the conflict.
Meanwhile, back on planet earth . . .
RTE updates the death toll on the Tal Afar bombing yesterday, from 17 dead to at least 24 currently with the "US military" saying at least 134 wounded.
Australia's ABC and AFP report that the "coalition-run Fort Suse prison" has seen five Iraqi "terror suspects" break out. On a similar topic, the Iraqi parliment, that's supposed to be on track and moving forward, hit a stumbling block today "over who should head the oil ministry." Now didn't you just know oil was going to be involved?
Though bombs, car bombs or otherwise, are no longer uncommon in Iraq, CBS and AP report that that a bus was targeted not only by "gunmen" but that the "gunmen" went on to plant "a bomb aboard the vehicle" which killed at least eleven and wounded at least four. The BBC notes that the bus "reportedly" carried "employees of a state-run electricity company." RTE places the death toll at at least 12. The attack on the bus took place near Baquba. In Baquba, Lt. Col. Kanan Hassan and two of his body guards were killed, Reuters notes.
In Baghdad, "Defense Ministry press office employee" Mohammed Musab Talal al-Amari died when his car when assailants ambused his car and opened fire. Also injured in the gunfire was a pedestrian. The Associated Press notes the killing of "two traffic" police officers, a taxi driver and a civilian. A roadside bomb took the life of one Iraqi soldier. And corpses continued to turn up -- today thirteen were discovered("signs of torture").
A victim of a roadside bombing, US soldier, is Cal Perry's entry point in a report he does on the conditions army medics face in Iraq.
He estimates the American troop wounded at "roughly 17,500." (17,869 is the figure that Iraq Coalition Casualties gives.)
The Associated Press notes that road side bombs took the life of at least one and wounded at least three.
I know this takes a lot of time for C.I. and requires a lot of reading (more is read than is squeezed into the snapshot and a lot of duplicate reading as well, I'm sure). But I really do think it's a service and a needed one. Seeing the snapshot and seeing everything that goes on, each day, really drives home the point of what's going on. I know Nepal and other countries (including Afghanistan) miss out on coverage.
But the fact of the matter is that you've got Pacifica and that's really all. (By the way, it's fundraising time for Pacifica Radio. Please give if you have it. If you're someone who already gave, congratulations. I had three e-mails from people who signed up for a monthly figure. If you've given in the last twelve months, that's great. If you give every month that's great. But if you're someone who has never given and you can afford it, please consider giving.)
There's Dahr Jamail and Brian Conley and Riverbend of Baghdad Burning.
I'm not taking anything away from those three people, but they are three people. Pacifica, in all of its stations, is many people and can offer many reports and perspectives. In terms of The Common Ills, Iraq has always been a big issue. While Moveon.org and others were "moving on" after the election, C.I. stepped in to fill the void. There has never been a fear of "Oh, I can't take on Dexter Filkins!" Nor has there ever been a statement of "Well, we're there so we have to say." You did read that at a lot of other websites. Supposed left websites, mind you, supposed sites run by people supposedly against the war but willing to drink the Kool Aid and spit it out online. I'm aware that it's not as bad as it was when The Common Ills started up. Even some on the right say we need to pull out now. I also know that for the first year, it was the Iraq perspective that pulled people into the community. I know that there are issues that have to be addressed whether it's Ireland or whatever else it seems like no one else wants to talk about. On Ireland, I am fully aware that in the United States, our blogosphere has chosen to look the other way except on Saint Patrick's Day and then only if there's something the administration is pushing. If there's a radio program that's addressing the realities and the coverage of Ireland, please e-mail me because I'm not aware of it. (I think WBAI has a program. Trina said it did and I'm trying to figure out when that airs.) There are other issues that people don't want to touch. Maybe, like Iraq after the 2004 election, it's something that a consensus builds is "damaging" to elections so we can't discuss it or address it. That's cowardly and shameful. Possibly people just think the New York Times, which gets so much wrong, gets it right on Ireland? Maybe they're like the "online, latter day Dylan" and think the paper was perfect until Bill Clinton got into office or that Judith Miller was the only reporter worth examining?
I don't know. I know that I don't need to hear a lot of people acting like Cokie Roberts in an online text form. I also know that I don't offer much here. But I can note C.I.'s Iraq snapshot
"Kat's Korner: Need deeper? Check out Josh Ritter's The Animal Years" is Kat's latest. She's planning another tonight. She listens to KPFA and when we spoke today, she said Andrea Lewis had some amazing comments on music (The Morning Show). I'm going to try to note at least one more Pacifica show on Friday (I'm off Thursdays because I have an evening group) and I may be able to listen to that broadcast. Ruth is on vacation so we're all trying to do something if we're able to. I'll note Cedric's "Rove about to be indicted?"and Betty's latest chapter "The hopping mad Thomas Friedman" and urge you to read them.