Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Grab bag post

C.I.'s gotten some mail from visitors on my post last night. Jess told me about it. So Mike and I both relaxed this evening because we wanted Betty to have the "announcement." You have to be a community member and a careful reader. If you are, you'll know we're addressing it at The Third Estate Sunday Review this Sunday.

"Over 1.5 Million March in MayDay Immigration Protests" (Democracy Now!):
Over 1.5 million people took part in May Day demonstrations to support immigrant rights in one of the largest days of protest in the country's history. Across the nation immigrants refused to go to work or school in what was dubbed "A Day Without Immigrants." Major demonstrations were held in dozens of cities across the country. In Chicago organizers said up to 700,000 people took to the streets. Over a half million marched in Los Angeles. In Denver, at least 75,000 people -- about one-sixth of the city’s population -- participated in a march on the state capitol. 50,000 people gathered in a series of protests in Florida. In New York City, over 100,000 marched from Union Square down Broadway. Thousands of businesses closed for at least part of the day in solidarity. Students walked out of classes across the country. In Los Angeles about one in every four students was absent. In Chicago as many as one-third of students didn’t go to school. The Associated Press reported at least 1.1 million people took part in the protests but that estimate was based solely on police accounts. Organizers in several cities said the turnout would have been even larger but many undocumented immigrants were afraid to come out following recent immigration raids.

For some comments on May Day, visit Mike and Cedric tonight. They're both planning to discuss WBAI's Law and Disorder. Read C.I.'s "NYT: Millions protest so the Times highlights Small Business and the Minutemen." I was rushing this morning and walk into the office still half-asleep to hear Sunny hollering. It was in agreement with C.I.'s entry. I hadn't had a chance to read it yet, so she insisted upon reading it to me. If you care about social justice and felt like the New York Times had hiked up it's back leg and "showered" you this morning. Sunny said, "They should be ashamed." They should be.

I get irritated when they (intentionally?) fail to report on the peace protests accurately. But it is a whole different feeling when you see them spitting on immigrants. Which is, let's be honest, what the paper did. They've rendered them voiceless by focusing on business -- as those business was protesting for their "rights." Well maybe the oil companies, they did manage to kill Bill Frist's laughable proposal that would have done little for the people and really, considering their huge profits, wouldn't have been a drop in the bucket for big oil.

So business had a a forum repeatedly in the paper but they've had no time to focus on the immigrants. If you think about it, that's how they treated them before the demonstrations and that's still how the New York Times treats them. The whole point of the protests is for everyone to wake up and realize how many immigrants are here, how they do contribute to this country and how are this is very much their country. The demonstrations are an effort to be heard and when the paper renders them invisible, while they're fighting to be heard, it's all the more insulting.

I agree with C.I., the turn out has to be at least two million. That's not counting those who participated in some form without attending the demonstrations. That would include people who were not able to take time off from work (I'm one) or who were unable to attend due to fears about INS and the police.

"Sami Al-Arian Sentenced to 18 More Months in Jail" (Democracy Now!):
In Florida, a federal judge has sentenced the Palestinian professor and activist Sami Al Arian to another 18 months in prison. Al-Arian has been at the center of one of the most closely watched -- and controversial -- post 9/11 prosecutions. He was arrested over three years ago and accused of being a leader of the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad. In December a jury acquitted him of eight of the 17 federal charges against him and the jury deadlocked on the rest. The verdict was a major defeat for Bush administration prosecutors. Last month Al-Arian signed a plea agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to a lesser version of one of the charges and be deported.

I thought the plea baragain was a huge mistake. I understand why he did it. The government would have continued to attempt to try him. But I didn't think they'd just let him go if he signed an agreement. I doubt he'll be out in 18 months. Short of pressure on the government, he won't be out in 18 months and I think you're going to see less support because, with the plea agreement made, some will say, "Well he did plead guilty." I really think it was a huge mistake. It allowed a lot of people to avoid the issue and now the government can do whatever they want. I hope I'm wrong. I'm not saying, "This will happen!" I'm not Cokie Roberts or any of the others ones passing off predictions as fact. But my fear with the agreement was that it was an effort by the government to dilute support for Al-Arian.

"Bush: Iraq At A Turning Point (Again)" (Democracy Now!):
Meanwhile President Bush announced on Monday that the formation of a new Iraqi government marks a turning point in the war. His comments came three years to the day after he proclaimed that major combat operations were over while standing under a banner that read Mission Accomplished. On Monday he spoke briefly on the White Hose lawn while standing next to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, both of whom had just returned from Iraq. "We believe this is a turning point for the Iraqi citizens and it's a new chapter in our partnership," Bush said. "The secretaries began building this new partnership during their trip. In other words, the Iraqi leaders saw that we are committed to helping them succeed." This doesn't mark the first time the president has declared Iraq has reached a turning point. He did so back in June 2004 when the occupying U.S. forces announced they would transfer sovereignty back to the Iraqi people. Bush also said the 2005 election in Iraq would mark a turning point.

Cedric's going to dig back three years tonight (if he has time, he's got a lot to cover.) I love Democracy Now! for putting the "(Again)" in the title. It is more Operation Happy Talk. It's not reality, though some will mistake it for that. I don't wonder about them. They're going to be on board long after the ship has sunk -- they'll point to air bubbles rising above them to the surface and say, "Oh look, pretty."

They avoid the realities of Iraq. You shouldn't. Last highlight.

"Democracy Now: Over 1.5 Million March for Immigrant Rights and DN! takes you to the voices" (The Common Ills):
Iraq snapshot.
First, and important, 70 American troops did not die in the month of April. As
Elaine (rightly) noted yesterday, the government sits on its figures (which are questioned by many as is). So the reports were that 70 died in the month of April. The reality, that the administration attempts to sneak out, is that 76 died for the month of April.
Today, starting in Australia, Jake Kovco was laid to rest.
Australia's ABC notes that "mourners gathered at the Mechanic's Institute hall in his home town of Briagalong." Damien Murphy of the Sydney Morning Herald notes that 25 year-old Jake Kovco was the first Australian soldier to die in Iraq and that over 500 people attended the funeral. Among the family attending were his son Tyrie (age four) and his daughter Alana (11 months old). Among the music played, Murphy reports, were Nirvana's "Come As You Are" and James Blunt's "Goodbye My Lover." AFP notes that, in Baghdad, Australian troops held a pre-dawn service this morning. AFP also points out that the initial details emerging from the autopsy indicate that Kovco's death was not a suicide. Most reports are noting Shelley Kovco's statement, "He's just going to be in our hearts, but the SAS missed out on a bloody good soldier." Along with his wife (Shelley Kovco) an children, his parents (Martin and Judy), the funeral was also attended by Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Defense Minister Brendan Nelson. From Murphy's report: "Former classmates and teachers were at the funeral, standing alongside townsfolk, Vietnam veterans, WWII veterans and fellow 3RAR soldiers, many of whom cried openly as Blunt's song echoed down the main street."
In Iraq, the
Hindustan Times reports that Sibi Kora had died from a landmine. Kora, from India, had been "working in Kuwait for the last eight months" as a truck driver. Reuters reports that three corpses have been found in Yusufiya ("tortured and shot"). Corpses were also found in Baghdad including four ("bullet holes in their heads") found by police and 65 that are at the Yarmouk hospital ("mostly died from gunshot wounds . . . others were beheaded. . . . [among the dead] three schoolteachers who were gunned down." AFP notes that two more corpses were found (in Tikrit and Kirkuk). The Associated Press notes that an additional four corpses were found in Suwayrah.As the violence and chaos continues, in Buhriz, two civilians were kidnapped. In Ramadi, Maamoun Sami Rasheed's mortocade was attacked by a bomber leading to the death of at least three (with no word on Rasheed who is the "Anbar province governor"). In Baquba, an Iraq was "shot dead." This was a security guard and appears to be the same incident the AP reports "north of Baqouba," where a guard is killed and "the quarry owner's son" is kidnapped.
In Baghdad, drive by shootings have claimed the lives of at least two. The BBC notes that "a bomb planted inside a minibus" went of in a market and claimed the lives of at least two and wounded at least five. "South of Baghdad" was where a roadside bomb claimed the life of the first US solider to die in the month of May (Monday, 9:50 pm). At least three other roadside bombs have gone off in Baghdad today, claiming the lives of at least two and wounding at least four.
Reuters reports that,
in Baghdad, "U.S. private security contractors shot dead an Iraqi ambulance crewman." Though the Bremmer laws have led many to think there are no laws in Baghdad, Dahr Jamail's "Iraqi Hospitals Ailing Under Occupation" explains just what international laws, conventions and treaties do apply (regardless of the Bremmer laws). CNN reports that Reuters reports that another ambulance crew member said: "They opened fire and shot him in the heart. We are an ambulance crew, who help people when there are bombings. What did we do wrong?"
Barbara Starr reported for CNN on a military investigation into whether Iraqi civilians ("including women and children") were deliberatley murdered "by U.S. Marines in Haditha last November." And Ryan Lenz reports for the Associated Press on the increase in the need for donated blood on the battlefield in Iraq (which is, presumably, everywhere as defined by the US administration) -- demand "has grown 400 percent since the war in Iraq began."

Please visit Mikey Likes It! for Mike's thoughts. Oh, one more item.

"stephen colbert spits on women (past and present) and the web and e&p don't see the problem" (Rebecca, Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude):
read that b.s. and you'll realize why the work ava and c.i. do is so sorely needed. e & p offers commentary in spots. they never question the sexist remark, the sexist assumption that all reporters are male (or straight and married). must be a pretty diverse crowd over at e & p - what, you've got the white man who drinks jack daniels, the white man who drinks beer and the white man who doesn't drink anything?
that's a pretty observant bunch, huh? supposed reporters that can say a damn word when the 'funny' guy renders all women invisible with that remark - pretty damn disgusting.
helen thomas doesn't go home to her wife.
and guess what? she's not alone.
not anymore.
in the old days, it was helen thomas, sarah mcclendon and a smattering of others like may craig.
when they started out they had to prove they could do the job because, back then, it was assumed that reporters were naturally male.
back then.
back when?
last night.
to pretend that stephen colbert did not utter an insulting remark is surely an act of desperation and those rushing to applaud him might want to check themselves real damn quick.
it's not funny. it's not cute.
in a room full of a large number of female journalists, he insulted all women.
in a room that was only open to the female gender because of mavericks like thomas and mcclendon, he insulted all women, past and present, living and dead.