Archive for April, 2004


Friday, April 30th, 2004

Friday, Apr 30, 2004

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) issued the following letter today to Mr. David Smith, President and CEO of Sinclair Broadcast Group, in response to the preemption of this evening’s Nightline program:

I write to strongly protest your decision to instruct Sinclair’s ABC affiliates to preempt this evening’s Nightline program. I find deeply offensive Sinclair’s objection to Nightline’s intention to broadcast the names and photographs of Americans who gave their lives in service to our country in Iraq.

Fox News. Not here yet, but already hilarious

Friday, April 30th, 2004

Thanks to Arkansas Tonight for the tip on this.

From Wednesday’s Globe and Mail

I’ve never been called ‘’a douche-nozzle'’ before. At least, not that I know about anyway. The insult came from one supporter of the Fox News Channel. But then I don’t think The Globe and Mail has ever been called ‘’the far-left Toronto Globe and Mail'’ before. That’s what this great newspaper was called by Bill O’Reilly on the Fox News Channel on Monday night.
Reacting to my column, which cheerfully suggested that the proposal to bring the Fox News Channel to Canada should be acted upon promptly, so that we can all take a look, and get a laugh, O’Reilly gave us a Fox-style whacking. In his segment The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day, he quoted from my column (which called him “pompous”), dismissed The Globe as a lefty outfit and said, “Hey you pinheads up there, I may be pompous, but at least I’m honest.”

Right. But the very idea that The Globe and Mail is “far left” only proves my point that the Fox News Channel is the most hilarious thing on American TV since Seinfeld. When we get to see it, we’ll decide if, like Seinfeld, it’s about nothing.

Spurred by O’Reilly’s remarks, dozens of Fox News viewers wrote to me. Remember now that I only suggested that Fox News be available to us — not only as a vital window on the United States, but as an outright tonic. Before the channel has even appeared, I can tell you I was in stitches reading the voluminous response from Fox News supporters in the U.S. By Monday evening, I was so paralytic with laughter I had to call off the writing of yesterday’s column. I was incapacitated with the hilarity.

Fire the FCC

Friday, April 30th, 2004

FCC Regulations: Censorship

Vanishing Votes

Friday, April 30th, 2004

Vanishing Votes


[from the May 17, 2004 issue]

On October 29, 2002, George W. Bush signed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Hidden behind its apple-pie-and-motherhood name lies a nasty civil rights time bomb.

First, the purges. In the months leading up to the November 2000 presidential election, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, in coordination with Governor Jeb Bush, ordered local election supervisors to purge 57,700 voters from the registries, supposedly ex-cons not allowed to vote in Florida. At least 90.2 percent of those on this “scrub” list, targeted to lose their civil rights, are innocent. Notably, more than half–about 54 percent–are black or Hispanic. You can argue all night about the number ultimately purged, but there’s no argument that this electoral racial pogrom ordered by Jeb Bush’s operatives gave the White House to his older brother. HAVA not only blesses such purges, it requires all fifty states to implement a similar search-and-destroy mission against vulnerable voters. Specifically, every state must, by the 2004 election, imitate Florida’s system of computerizing voter files. The law then empowers fifty secretaries of state–fifty Katherine Harrises–to purge these lists of “suspect” voters.

The purge is back, big time. Following the disclosure in December 2000 of the black voter purge in Britain’s Observer newspaper, NAACP lawyers sued the state. The civil rights group won a written promise from Governor Jeb and from Harris’s successor to return wrongly scrubbed citizens to the voter rolls. According to records given to the courts by ChoicePoint, the company that generated the computerized lists, the number of Floridians who were questionably tagged totals 91,000. Willie Steen is one of them. Recently, I caught up with Steen outside his office at a Tampa hospital. Steen’s case was easy. You can’t work in a hospital if you have a criminal record. (My copy of Harris’s hit list includes an ex-con named O’Steen, close enough to cost Willie Steen his vote.) The NAACP held up Steen’s case to the court as a prime example of the voter purge evil.

We Are Supposed to Be Better Than This

Thursday, April 29th, 2004

Photos show jail abuse by US troops
April 30, 2004

United States soldiers at a prison outside Baghdad have been accused of forcing Iraqi prisoners into acts of sexual humiliation and other abuses.

The charges, first announced by the military in March, were documented by photographs taken by guards in the prison.

Some of the photographs, and descriptions of others, were broadcast in the US on Wednesday by a CBS television news program and were verified by military officials.

Of the six people reported in March to be facing preliminary charges, three have been recommended for courts martial.

The program reported that poorly trained US reservists were forcing Iraqis to conduct simulated sexual acts in order to break down their will before they were turned over to others for interrogation.

The Sleeping Giant of Public Opinion

Thursday, April 29th, 2004

Washington > Support for War Is Down Sharply, Poll Concludes” href=””>The New York Times > Washington > Support for War Is Down Sharply, Poll Concludes

Support for War Is Down Sharply, Poll Concludes

Support for the war in Iraq has eroded substantially over the past several months, and Americans are increasingly critical of the way President Bush is handling the conflict, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll.

After initially expressing robust backing for the war, the public is now evenly divided over whether the United States military should stay for as long as it takes to stabilize Iraq or pull out as soon as possible, the poll showed.

Asked whether the United States had done the right thing in taking military action against Iraq, 47 percent of respondents said it had, down from 58 percent a month earlier and 63 percent in December, just after American forces captured Saddam Hussein. Forty-six percent said the United States should have stayed out of Iraq, up from 37 percent last month and 31 percent in December.

The diminished public support for the war did not translate into any significant advantage for Mr. Bush’s Democratic challenger, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. The poll showed the two men remaining in a statistical dead heat, both in a head-to-head matchup and in a three-way race that included Ralph Nader.

‘Goodwill is not enough’

Thursday, April 29th, 2004

As you continue to progress on the path of mutual understanding and acceptance, you become an instrument for social and political change. If you do not succeed in your community, don’t hope for quality, because without that base of operation you cannot achieve much. People are motivated to do things, there are plenty of them, but without the capacity of listening, of understanding, of being compassionate, what they do cannot help. They can make the situation worse. So, goodwill is not enough. There must be the capacity of understanding, of compassion, and of working together in harmony before you can hope to do something.

- Thich Nhat Hanh

Read more.

Taking it to the Bank (and the IMF)

Thursday, April 29th, 2004

Becky Lozada of the Philippines spoke of how water prices have more than tripled in Manila, depriving the poor, because of a World Bank-pushed privatization of the water system (a privatization that the World Bank charged $6.2 million to plan). The new owners, including mega-corporations Bechtel and Suez, have reneged on their initial promises to keep rates low.

Dickson Mundia of Zimbabwe described how his family was flooded out of their ancestral land, without any compensation, by a World Bank-funded dam on the Zambezi river. And Fides Chale of Tanzania reported that education, health services, and small farmers and miners have all suffered, while mortality rates have risen, under the “structural adjustment” forced on her country since the 1980s.

These are just a few of the thousands of people who showed up in Washington, D.C., last weekend to protest the 60th birthday of the World Bank and IMF. Both institutions, protesters charge, force countries in the Global South to adopt a cookie-cutter recipe of slashing social spending, selling off water and power services to multinational corporations, staying in bondage to crippling Cold War-era debts, and focusing on export-based economics that leave the poor behind.

Read more.

At What Cost Tough Tactics?

Thursday, April 29th, 2004

Tough US tactics quell Fallujah unrest, but at what cost? |

By Scott Peterson | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

BAGHDAD– US marines seal off the hotbed city of Fallujah in Iraq. American snipers approach Vietnam-era kill rates. Foot patrols use portable battering rams to enter through walls, to avoid booby-trapped doors.

President Bush vowed last week that “resolute action” would be used to quell the uprising in Iraq. Monday the hardening US military policy showed signs of working: Fallujah civic leaders called on militants to surrender their heavy weapons; if they do, US forces promised not to resume their offensive against the besieged city.

Bowing to Woodward

Wednesday, April 28th, 2004

Why every White House talks to Bob Woodward |

“Journalistically speaking, he is not doing his job, which is to get the news out to his readers, instead of saving it up and charging $28 for it eight months later,” says Fellings. “But on the other hand, I am sure it helps interviewees relax and confide in him.”

Also, those who know Woodward or have been interviewed by him talk of a “rock star quality” and a “power of seduction” that makes a person feel privileged to be interviewed by him at all. “You feel you can talk to him and say things to him that perhaps you would not say to anybody else - maybe to a priest in a confessional, maybe to your psychiatrist in the quiet of his study,” Mr. Gergen told NPR.

Kerry Takes on Chickenhawks

Wednesday, April 28th, 2004

MSNBC - Kerry: Bush intentionally exaggerated case

CLEVELAND - Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the presumed Democratic nominee for president, accused President Bush on Tuesday of having knowingly exaggerated evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, saying the president made “colossal mistakes” before, during and after the war.

AFSCME Endorses Kalyn Free

Tuesday, April 27th, 2004

Kalyn Free for Congress 2004
Public Employees Union Says Free “Has Walked in Our Shoes”

MCALESTER – Democratic candidate for Congress Kalyn Free today announced the endorsement of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Union (AFSCME). AFSCME is the nation’s largest public employees union with over 1.4 million members. There are 1200 AFSCME members in Oklahoma.