Wednesday, December 07, 2005

"Peace is not the product of a victory . . ."

As always, Mike and I both have two of the same headlines from Democracy Now! so visit Mike's site (Mikey Likes It!) to get his take on them.

Democrats Split Over Iraq War (Democracy Now!):
In this country, the war in Iraq is threatening to open up a serious divide within the Democratic Party. On Monday, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean told a San Antonio radio station: "the idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong." Dean’s remarks came after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi last week endorsed Congressman John Murtha’s call for withdraw US troops from Iraq within six months. Several Democrats rebuked Dean on Tuesday. Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman said: "It's time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge he'll be commander in chief for three more years. We undermine the president's credibility at our nation's peril."

I'm really sick of Joe Lieberman and glad to know that Lowell P. Weicker thinking of running against him. For more on that, see C.I.'s entry.

On that entry, I agree with C.I. completely. Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights, No. 04-1152 is not about free speech for the government. Free speech is for citizens. Free speech does not apply to the government since the government already has the power and structure behind it.

Universities should be allowed to bar military recruiters because the military discriminates against gays and lesbians. To argue that the university is infringing upon the government's "free speech" is ludicrous. That argument is the same nonsense that's allowed corporations to have "personhood." It goes against the reason free speech was cited in the Constitution.

More importantly, recruiters are not part of a market of ideas.They are an area of employment.
The ACLU is one of the staunchest defenders of free speech. If the government had a free speech issue, the ACLU would be filing a brief for their side.

Back to Joe Lieberman, it's past time that Democrats stopped putting out the kind of nonsense he does. If he wants to play Republican-lite, go ahead and switch parties already because he does Democrats no favors. If this is how he feels, he's only a few years away from a Zell Miller turn.

I don't like his politics and I don't care for him. I remember seeing the Democratic candidates for president at an ice cream social on PBS's NewsHour. John Edwards and John Kerry ate the icecream the children made and went out of there way to be supportive of the kids. Joe Lieberman was apparently worried about his figure.

I didn't like his politics before that. Seeing the way he refused to interact with the children, he fell even lower in my eyes.

Government Fails to Convict Palestinian Professor on Terror Charges (Democracy Now!):
In a case observers are calling a major blow the Bush administration, a prominent Palestinian-American professor has been acquitted of several terrorism charges. Sami Al-Arian was accused of helping finance and direct the militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Al-Arian was found not guilty on eight charges. Jurors deadlocked on nine others, leading the judge to declare a mistrial. Three other co-defendants were also cleared of most of the charges against them. We’ll have more on the Al-Arian case in a few minutes.

It was a huge blow for the government. They have pushed this case as proof that their so-called Patriot Act works. It doesn't work. It chills dissent and goes against the principles this nation is supposed to stand for. Sami Al-Arian's life was nearly destroyed. Hopefully, he'll be able to pick up the pieces of his life. Be sure to check out Democracy Now! because his daughter speaks with Amy Goodman. The government threw everything they had at him and a jury of his peers found him not guilty on eight charges and couldn't find guilt on nine more. The administration couldn't prove their case. After years of spinning to the press, they couldn't prove their case. As C.I. pointed out, their "wins" are not convictions but on plea bargains.

There's been a lot of blogging in the community. Be sure to read Kat's "White mobs do love their Bobby Dylan," Wally's "Florida, Florida, Florida" which brings more news about the after effects of Hurricane Wilma, Cedric's "Carols, etc" and Rebecca's "peanuts and the press" which should make you laugh.

Mike's Motto: The Common Ills community is important and the Common Ills community is important to me. So I'll do my part for the Common Ills community.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center):
Peace is not the product of a victory or a command. It has no finishing line, no final deadline, no fixed definition of achievement. Peace is a never-ending process, the work of many decisions.
Oscar Arias

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

"If we do not change our direction . . ."

In an editorial at The Third Estate Sunday Review ("Editorial: Looks Who's Screaming 'Special Rights'"), this was noted:

Elaine and C.I. saw a ridiculous "film" about the "haters" this week. "Haters" try to deny rights, the film argued, they want everyone to believe as they do. Do you know who the haters were? Everyone living in a secular world. (Regardless of their own personal beliefs.) The whole world, according to the film, was out to get evangicals. Talk about a persecution complex.

That was two Sundays ago. This past Sunday (in "NYT: 'Report Finds Cover-Up in an F.B.I. Terror Case' (Eric Lichtblau)"), C.I. noted:

Note on the film mentioned in the editorial above. I have no comment on it other than a friend brought it over as a laugh (it's seeking distribution but finding no takers at present) on the Thanksgiving holiday. That's why Elaine and I ended up watching it. There were a few e-mails wondering about it. I'll pass the interest on Elaine and she can write about it at her site (Like Maria Said Paz) if she wants.

There have been several e-mails on it. We watched it the day after Thanksgiving when a friend of C.I.'s brought over a DVD copy. It was brought over as a joke. I thought it would be interesting (C.I. didn't want to watch it). So we sat down and watched and it was laughable. The plot? The "haters" are destroying the world (but it all took place in America -- "all" was really just a few "sets"). The 'poor put upons' were headed for salvation, provided they continued hating gays and lesbians, opposing women's rights, go down the list. All these groups were "haters." They were forcing the poor 'vangicals (to use C.I.'s term) to embrace their lifestyle because that is their 'goal.' The haters wanted everyone to be gay was a point that was made over and over. The 'logic' was that gays and lesbians can't reproduce so they have to recruit and they were doing some major recruiting.

It was badly acted and had a few F-list celebs that you wouldn't be able to name because they are so forgettable. "I thought he was dead" was something I said about one to which C.I. replied, "No, just his career."

I was laughing at the thing because it truly was created by someone with a persecution complex unless they were just trying to ride some Mel Gibson wave. It's not getting distribution or that was the hunch. It's really poorly lit and poorly acted with everyone saying their lines in a wooden manner. There's an 'explosion' that looks like someone just turned on the light switch.

So that's what the movie was about. Someone's deluded belief (or belief that delusions could be marketed) that the whole country wants to destroy churches and turn everyone into a gay male or lesbian woman preaching respect for all and embracing equality for all races. (There was a subplot about races "mixing" as a result of an interracial marriage. Both died. Apparently for their 'transgression.')

Now let's move on to Democracy Now! and remember to check out Mike's commentaries at Mikey Likes It!

Rice Denies U.S. Engages In Torture (Democracy Now!):
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice denied Monday that the U.S. is engaging in torture and defended how the Bush administration's waging of the so-called war on terror. Rice's comments came ahead of a trip to Europe where she is expected to be questioned about the existence of secret CIA prisons and about the CIA's practice of kidnapping wanted individuals overseas. Rice did not deny the U.S. has secretly picked up detainees overseas and flying them to other countries but she denied this is being done "for the purpose of being tortured." "The United States does not permit, tolerate, or condone torture under any circumstances. Moreover, in accordance with the policy of this administration, the United States has respected and will continue to respect the sovereignty of other countries," Rice said. "The U.S. does not transport and has not transported detainees from one country to another for the purpose of being tortured. The United States does not use the airspace or the airports of any country for the purpose of transporting a detainee to a country where he or she will be tortured."

Mike and I both felt like C.I. covered all we could say on this with "NYT: 'U.S. Interrogations Are Saving European Lives, Rice Says' (Joel Brinkley)." The only thing I can add to that is that it truly is shocking how in this country skepticism greets every reports from a human rights's group or report from the foreign press (or our own independent press) but Condi just has to move her lips and it's taken as reality.

Iraqi VP Al-Yawer Criticizes State of Iraqi Security Forces (Democracy Now!):
The bombings come just a day after Iraq's Vice President Ghazi al-Yawer publicly disputed comments made last week by President Bush about the improved state of the Iraqi security forces. Al-Yawer said the training of Iraqi security forces has suffered a big "setback" in recent months because the army and other forces have been increasingly used to settle personal and political scores. In addition al-Yawer warned that armed Shiite militias in the south might be trying to incite a civil war in Iraq.

Which follows up on the previous comments. Above you learn reality. From the mainstream, you learn what Bully Boy pushes as reality. Flaps his lips and it's truth and worth noting without questioning. That passes for reporting. I don't think it even qualifies for "minutes" let alone reporting.

Katrina was supposed to have been the big change in the press. It was their wake up call, supposedly. But not much has changed. They're still happy noting statements with the weight of truth even though it's quite obvious that there's no truth to be found in the statements even from the most casual examination. Which brings us to the peace quote. Think about it.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center):
If we do not change our direction we are likely to end up where we are headed for.
Chinese Proverb

Monday, December 05, 2005

"No matter how big a nation is . . ."

I'm adding this paragraph to this post from earlier. If you didn't see it earlier it's because Blogspot accepted it but told me I'd have to come back later and publish. I was wiped out from the day and just wanted to go to sleep. Unlike what Rebecca thought (and wrote), I didn't go to bed. I grabbed an afghan and laid down on the couch. If I'd gotten into bed, I probably wouldn't have woken up when Rebecca phoned a few minutes ago.

Please read Rebecca's post 'obligations' because she's very upset. She's not sure it makes sense. I read it and it does. She was bothered by CBS Evening News "reporting" on Saddam Hussein's trial because they felt they could spin because no one would challenge them on it. I agree with Rebecca that when reporting something that won't lead to anyone challenging them because the subject is so unpopular you do see the actual news "ethics" at work. I also think it applies to the peace quote I'd selected for this entry. What follows is my original post plus I'll add Rebecca to the tags at the bottom.

So Blogger/Blogspot is having problems today and you can't view some sites. Mike's posting anyway and I was on the fence about whether to or not? I was thinking about waiting and posting later but I'm really sleepy despite the hour. So I'll go ahead and attempt this despite my fear that since the sites aren't viewable, I'll hit "post" and learn that my entry is lost.

Be sure to check out Mike's site because he's going to cover the same two headlines from Democracy Now!

U.S. Acknowledges Admits It Paid Iraqi Press to Run Propaganda (Democracy Now!):
The U.S. military acknowledged on Friday for the first time that it has paid Iraqi newspapers to carry positive news about U.S. efforts in Iraq. The admission came after a series of news reports indicated the U.S. paid a private company called the Lincolon Group to plant stories in the Iraqi press and to pay off sympathetic Iraqi journalists. The Knight Ridder news agency reported U.S. psychological-warfare officers have been involved in writing news releases and drafting media strategies for top commanders. In addition the news agency reported that on at least one occasion, psychological warfare specialists took a group of international journalists on a tour of Iraq's border with Syria.

They aren't even ashamed by this. They're arguing that you do what you have to. They lied. They were caught. There's no apologizing and there's no embarrassment. To them, it appears to be business as usual. They lie with impunity.

They are caught planting stories in a supposed free press and it's not a big deal to them. That tells you everything you need to know about the "values" of this administration as they continue to practice situational ethics and demonstrate their disregard for democracy and the free exchange of information.

Tens of Thousands in 30 Cities Protest Global Warming (Democracy Now!):
Tens of thousands of people demonstrated Saturday in 30 cities across the globe to call on world governments to do more to halt global warming. The largest protests took place in Montreal which is hosting the UN Climate Change Conference -- the largest international conference ever on global warming. In London environmentalists held banners declaring President Bush to be wanted "for crimes against the planet." In Washington, drivers of hybrid cars circled the White House. And in New Orleans, residents held a "Save New Orleans, Stop Global Warming" party in the French Quarter. On Saturday environmental groups presented a petition signed by 600,000 Americans urging President Bush to do more to stop global warming. The Bush administration has rejected the Kyoto Protocol to limit greenhouse gases. The United States emits 25 percent of the world's greenhouse gases even though it has just five percent of the world's population.

Mike was depressed by this story when we spoke of it. He's aware that environmentalism is a global movement of many years but it saddened him that a movment that began before he was born (by many years) is still having to battle. As a feminist, maybe I'm more accustomed to it.
Feminism started a century prior to my birth. Like feminism, environmentalism is a long term movement.

Which doesn't mean that I'm not worried. It seems like the damage we've done is now surfacing in hurricanes. The hole in the ozone is no longer an abstract worry. I think we're seeing the results of pollution and there's no quick fix.

But in terms of the movement itself, I never knew anyone who thought, "I'll sign a petition and tomorrow everything will change." The desire to choose profit over the environment is one that business and governments have acted on for years.

I think great strides have been made in awareness. I'm honestly not sure where we stand at this moment. But I'm trying to remain hopeful.

C.I. highlighted a piece by Tom Hayden that I wanted to note but I don't remember where it appeared and The Common Ills, like all the other Blogspot sites isn't viewable. I'll catch that tomorrow. I also wanted to highlight C.I.'s comments about Green Zone "reporting" from this morning. I can't for the same reason but Julie did e-mail me about that so I have the link at least. If you missed it and Blogspot is not still having problems, click here to read the commentary.

I don't have a link for Ruth's latest Ruth's Morning Edition Report. But I did read it this weekend and did listen Sunday to Sunday Salon. The topics were Iraq and executions. Tom Hayden was a guest for both hours so if you missed it, it's worth listening to.

I wasn't familiar with another guest who impressed me and I called C.I. about that Sunday evening. Her name is Judith Coburn and they spoke of an article she'd written. C.I. was kind enough to e-mail the article to me and I'll note it in a moment.

But I want to say thanks to Ruth for the heads up to Sunday Salon and to remind everyone of her other heads up. Pacifica Radio is digging into their archives Tuesday for a broadcast that will begin early in the morning and last through Wednesday morning. This is part of a pledge drive to preserve the Pacifica Radio archives so, if you have the money, please donate. If you don't, you should still listen, without guilt because it's public radio. If you've never listened to Pacifica Radio you don't know what you're missing. Tomorrow they'll focus on a number of things including civil rights and a reading of War & Peace. (Partial reading from their original marathon reading where various notables read from Tolstoy's classic.)

I want to talk about the guilt factor for a moment because I know guilt can be a burden. Pacifica Radio depends on the donations of their listeners and if you can afford to give, I can't think of a better cause. However, Pacifica Radio also has power through it's reach and you can contribute by listening as well as by getting the word out.

Some won't have the money to give, especially during the holidays. That shouldn't prevent you from enjoying the broadcasts or getting the word out.

"Worse than Watergate?" (Judith Coburn, Mother Jones):
On July 31, 1973, while the Vietnam war was still being fought, Representative Robert Drinan, a Massachusetts Democrat, introduced the first impeachment resolution against President Richard Nixon. One of the grounds for indictment Drinan proposed was the secret bombing of Cambodia, ordered by the President. To Drinan, this was a crime at least as great as the domestic scandals which had already come to be known as "Watergate." The fourteen months of massive B-52 "carpet bombings," which killed tens of thousands of Cambodian villagers and an unknown number of Vietnamese communist soldiers in border sanctuaries, were run outside the military's chain of command. They were also kept completely secret from Congress and the public (until exposed by New York Times reporter William Beecher). In recently
released transcripts of telephone conversations between Nixon and his closest aides, the President ordered "a massive bombing campaign in Cambodia [using] anything that flies on anything that moves." (The transcript then records an unintelligible comment that "sounded like [General Alexander] Haig laughing.")
The secret bombing of Cambodia involved the same abuse of power and political manipulation of government agencies as Watergate, but only a few Congressional representatives like John Conyers, Elizabeth Holtzman, and Edward Mezvinsky supported Drinan's Cambodia article, which was soundly defeated by the House impeachment committee 26-12.
There are many myths about Watergate -- among them that Woodward and Bernstein rode into Dodge and rescued the republic all by themselves, that the impeachment of Richard Nixon saved American constitutional democracy from destruction, and that the grounds on which Nixon was impeached were a fair reflection of what he and "all the President's men" had actually done. In American mythology, "the system worked."
To most Americans, the slaughter of millions of Cambodians, Vietnamese, and Lao, as well as the destruction of their countries, seem unrelated to "Watergate." Henry Kissinger, one of the architects of the secret bombing of Cambodia, who had ordered his own dissenting staffers and several journalists illegally wiretapped to stop leaks, escaped indictment and would soon be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Few now remember that it was Indochina, not the burglary of Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Complex that really set Watergate, the scandal, in motion and led to a pattern of Presidential conduct which seems eerily familiar today. In his 1974 book,
Time of Illusion, Jonathan Schell wrote of "the distortions in the conduct of the presidency which deformed national politics in the Vietnam years -- the isolation from reality, the rage against political opposition, the hunger for unconstitutional power, the conspiratorial mindedness, the bent for repressive action." He concluded that three presidents "consistently sacrificed the welfare of the nation at home to what they saw as the demands of foreign affairs."

Peace Quotes" (Peace Center):
No matter how big a nation is, it is no stronger that its weakest people, and as long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you might otherwise.
Marian Anderson