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The Common Ills


Friday, April 08, 2005
The Common Ills

THE COMMON ILLS
This entry was done for yesterday.  Problems with the program Blogger prevented it from going up.
UK Gurus have helped set up this space you're viewing and firstly, thank you as always to our UK Computer Gurus who save my butt more times than one would think possible; secondly, no decision has been made re: walking away from Blogger at this time.

The title for this entry is "Democracy Now: Realities re: Iraq, DeLay and Celebrating The Black Commentator's Third Anniversary."

Democracy Now! "always worth watching" (Marica):
 
 - Kurdish Leader Talabani Sworn In As Iraqi President
- U.S. Accused of Taking Iraqi Women Hostage
- Gonzales: Secret Warrant Used in Botched Terror Case
- Report: Valerie Plame Investigation Wrapped Up
- Schiavo Memo Linked to GOP Senate Office
- Gov't Criticized For Plans to Safeguard Nuclear Plants
- White supremacist Matthew Hale Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison
 
 
Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani is named president of Iraq, becoming the first non-Arab president of an Arab country. Veteran Middle East journalist Dilip Hiro talks about Talabani's ties to the CIA, Iranian intelligence and Saddam Hussein. [includes rush transcript]
 
Outgoing finance minister Adel Abdel Mahdi was named by the Iraqi parliament to be one of the country's two vice presidents. We speak with author and activist Antonia Juhasz about Abdel Mahdi's ties to neo-liberal institutions and his plans to privatize Iraq's oil.
 
Zalmay Khalilzad, the current U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan prepares to head to Iraq. We look at his history from supporting the mujahadeen in the 1980s, his relationship to big oil and his role in the Project for the New American Century.
 
Pressure mounts on House majority leader Tom DeLay to resign after several more scandals come to light. We'll speak with Texas journalist Lou DuBose, author of "The Hammer: Tom DeLay: God, Money, and the Rise of the Republican Congress." [includes rush transcript]
 
Rod e-mails to note Steven Sherman's "Why the NYT is Not 'Assertively Left'" from CounterPunch.  Here is an excerpt: 

There isn't anything wrong with producing a publication with a political agenda. But there is a problem with two ways of describing the Times, both of which you (somewhat inconsistently) indulge in. First, when one describes the Times news reporting as striving for 'objectivity', there is implicit the notion that this is a high-minded enterprise better able to arrive at the truth than those who openly admit to a political agenda, whether of the right or the left. In fact, the Times has as much of an agenda as anyone else. Readers ultimately need to critically scrutinize all journalism and opinion pieces for logic and evidence, and try to consider what is left out, rather than trust that some techniques can arrive at an 'objective' standpoint.

The second position, that the Times is a liberal or even a left paper, is usually associated with ideologues of the right. It is easy enough to see what is gained when the right denounces the Times (and NPR, CBS, etc) as 'liberal'. It undermines The Times' claim to objectivity. It may, at first, be a little more confusing to understand why the Times' public editor would make a similar claim. There are two possibilities. By describing the Times as liberal or left, you are basically trying to delegitimize opinion further to the left of the Times. As the late John Hess, a former Times reporter, noted in his memoirs, My Times, the Times is notoriously intolerant of dissent from its left. You are basically saying, why bother? We are the liberals/left! As you noted in another column, readers who dissent from the Times from the left only raise points of economics or foreign policy (as if these aren't important), unlike right wingers, who disagree with the Times about everything (including the presumably more important social issues, which the major political parties also openly debate-although I'm not so sure that those on the left agree with the Times about all of these, particularly recent celebrations of stay-at-home mothering). The other possibility is that the Times is trying to demonstrate to the right that it is fair and willing to accept criticism. In general, in your columns you seem almost deferential to critics to your right, while irritated with those on your left.

Becky points us to corrente, where RDF has some strong, to the point commentary:
 
With the continuing pope-o-rama, endless shots of an old man’s corpse lying on a bier, relentless detailed coverage of his every living and dying fart and belch (you reckon the Dalai Lama will get this coverage when he cashes it in?), it’s easy to miss interesting stories like this one from AP:
Gov. Jeb Bush said Tuesday he intends to sign a bill that would allow people who feel threatened -- even on the street or at a baseball game -- to "meet force with force" and defend themselves without fear of prosecution.
[. . .]
So, say I’m at a bar in Pensacola and someone says, “I oughtta kick your ass for taking the last peanut,” I can whip out my jammy and fill him full of lead. After all, I was threatened. Like mini-W says about the law, “it’s a good, common sense, anti-crime issue." Ah, the NRA, long noted for its common sense.
 
We'll note that The Black Commentator is celebrating it's third anniversary.  Glen Ford and Peter Gamble explain the meaning of this important milestone in "The Crying Need for Black Journalism:"
 
On this occasion of The Black Commentator’s Third Anniversary, we the publishers salute you, our readers. You are a very special group of people, now numbering between 30,000 and 40,000 unique visitors per weekly issue – nearly 100,000 individuals per month.
We know you are a special group, because we picked the first 20,000 or so of you, based on your political activism and influence, as we prepared to launch the site on April 5, 2002. Most of the rest of you were introduced to us by extremely intelligent friends and co-strugglers. Without a doubt, The Black Commentator is blessed with the smartest audience on the Internet -- people whose opinions shape the views of many others. You are the catalysts for change; we are simply here to assist as you contemplate how to effect these changes.
[. . .]
For most of the history of Black people in the United States, the obligations of advocacy for justice were a given among African American journalists. Oppression and exploitation are objective realities, not questionable notions to be carefully balanced by lies. Liars and thieves have no rights that honest men and women are bound to respect. There was a time when such values were near-universally understood among African Americans who called themselves journalists. No more. Now, for far too many, journalism has become simply one more route to individual upward mobility, devoid of social obligation and contemptuous of truth.
 
So congratulations to The Black Commentator as it celebrates its third anniversary.  From The Black Commentator, we'll also note Norman (Otis) Richmond's "Lawyers Against the War are After Bush:"
 

The movement of international lawyers is a good thing and should be supported. This is a people-to-people action which is positive. However, we should not be so naive as to believe that the governments of the U.S. or Germany have good intentions for the world’s people. Both are concerned about their bottom lines. German imperialists are no different than American or Canadian imperialists. We must always remember there is such an animal as inter-imperialist rivalry that will cause the imperialists to fight among themselves for a slice of the capitalist pie. While Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin refused to join the U.S. on the question of Missile Defense he did so to save his politic life.

Gerald Horne, author of a new book Black and Brown: African Americans and the Mexican revolution, 1910-1920 supports Law’s international efforts. Horne feels that internationalist has always aided African Americans. International support has always helped African Americans and American working people. There is a historic precedent for this. On Dec.17, 1951, Paul Robeson and William L.Patterson, two giants of the international African Liberation Struggle, delivered to the United Nations a petition titled, "We Charge Genocide: The Crime of Government Against the Negro People." Many feel that this act helped spark the modern civil rights and black power movements. The great El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X) was talking about an updated version of what Robeson, Patterson, George Crockett, Dr. W.E.B. Dubois, Claudia Jones and others had started in 1951.

At The Daily Howler, Bob Somerby is addressing a number of topics this morning including what Dallas has labeled "The Pope Goes On" (and the Sonny & Cher song "The Beat Goes On" has been trapped in my head ever since).  Somerby on the coverage:
 
No, there's nothing wrong with referring to one's religion on the air. And there's not necessarily anything wrong with "sharing a Catholic bond" with one's employers--even if that bond seems to produce an oddly monochromatic gang of big players at a powerful network. But there was something wrong--something badly wrong--with last night's MSNBC programming, which mixed computer doves and lachrymose hymns with a papal pep rally so unbalanced and silly that the evening would have seemed out of place even on EWTN (Eterrnal Word Television Network). On and on the Catholic piety went, through hour-long shows by Matthews, Tucker Carlson, and Joe Scarborough. Did anything actually happen this week right here in your actual country? You'd never know it on MSNBC! For a taste of how silly the programming was, read Keith Morrison's endless, ghoulish report about how blue John Paul's eyes really were (on Carlson's program; at some point, they'll get around to posting the transcripts here). But we suggest you read the transcripts from all three cited shows to get a taste of where NBC's "Catholic bond" may be taking this "news" operation.
 
Somerby also begins a paragraph with this:
 
And yes, at the risk of engaging in that “repeated and convulsive _expression of more or less contrived outrage” that Josh Marshall so piously warns us against, [. . .]
 
Lynda: When I read that, I thought, little Josh Mikey Marsh, shut the f**k up.  Who asked you?  This has been Bob Somerby's best week and that's saying a lot.  I think it's 'interesting' how certain people show up to clutch the pearls and cluck whenever someone's doing ground breaking work.  Joshy Mikey Marsh as an aging matron?  Maybe Cokes Roberts loaned him the pearls? 
 
E-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

Posted at 04:37 am by thecommonills
 


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