Tag Archives: Democracy Now

Earth Day, Hour, Minute now Memory. KRCC’s Democracy Now, Then, Was.

FrackedRemember Earth Day? It became Earth Hour, then I think Earth Minute. If there was an Earth Second you and I missed it. With every chance for commemorative environmental actions squeezed out by the newest condensed schedule, the Earth Moment became a void. Now for Earth Day we do nothing. We reflect in acquescence. It’s become another holiday, minus the time off, which is not ironic. Our uninterrupted industry on Earth Day is fitting. Earth Day is like Valentine’s Day. Happy Earth Day! 🙂

Earth Day
Who were those assholes who decided a whole day was too much for consumer culture to spare in reflection, potential enlightenment and transcendence? Those reformist subverted all hope of drawing popular support to the movement. They’re the same moderates who think people need warm cookies to be attracted to a revolution. They are the same Sunday schoolers who think protest must be made safe for picnic goers and their children.

These “innovations” appear well meaning, if naive, but sometimes outside-the-box thinking falls outside of all effectiveness. What passes for unschooled, so consistently, is very likely shepherded by handlers as clever as fox.

The function of subversives used to belong to the anti-establishment. The dark side is using them much more effectively. Rooting them out is depicted as fingerpointing by the Left, which initiates the circular firing squads. And we’re played for idiots.

So let me tell you about my Earth Day.

Democracy Now
My Earth Day featured a visit by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now. She came to Colorado College to speak on behalf of her program and her most recent book which is a twenty year retrospective about the social movements she’s covered. Amy spoke in the tiniest of lecture halls which was full because it was tiny.

Because guess what? The public radio station on which the program used to appear didn’t promote the event. The community radio station which streams her for now isn’t on the air as yet. Word only spread through a student organization on campus. Thus the audience was kept small. Amy’s previous appearance filled a venue much larger, and the one before that filled the school’s largest. Someone shrunk Democracy Now’s local reach by a combination of destructive intent on the part of CC’s regents and a lack of vigilence on the part of her local station KRCC and its supporters.

Not only did the cretinous traitors at KRCC sabotage the potential of Amy’s personal appearance, the event was put into the hands of a strange new student association dedicated to the project of nuturing communication between two Colorado Springs campuses: Colorado College and the Fucking U.S. Air Force Academy. Because apparently the two vocational vectors have things to share with one another.

So two students, one from each school, introduced Amy and before they did they spoke about the importance of people going into civil life collaborating with those heading into military leadership. As if.

These two insipid dwarf-people introduced DEMOCRACY NOW, the flagship news program of the PACIFICA Radio Network, dedicated to a media independent of corporations who profit from war.

The two representatives were clueless, as were their faculty sponsors, and of course they were applauded by liberals who probably think that the educated liberal arts students will have a chance to infect or soften the warmonger mentality of the military academy.

Except it’s of course the reverse. This exchange normalizes the jerk-off war lovers by giving them a seat at the table of academia as if Air Force Academy professors and students have anything to do with university level education.

Amy of course was gracious and didn’t offend her oblivious hosts or their audience. One can only hope the audience was patronizing, but probably not. Instead we’re all thankful for what civic engagement and communty building there is, regardless if it’s subverted by the poisonous outreach of the military state.

Too many do-goodests among us haven’t a clue we are carrying water for the purveyors of contaminants. They fracked Earth Day right under our noses. Where our shouting mouths are supposed to be.

Have a Nice Earth Day! 🙂

Democracy How?

Amy Goodman of the program Democracy Now was in Colorado Springs last night (Thursday) speaking to a small group of patrons of KRCC radio crowd which, along with Colorado College the owner of the station, did a royally piss poor job of building the event. Few people were aware of the event taking place and few showed up as a result of that lack of promotion for the show. Corporate pushing KRCC never seemed to have ever wanted to carry Democracy Now in the first place, favoring Mobil-Exon Oil promoted PBS (Corporate Broadcasting System) by far in their huge hours given to push PBS’s Democratic Party/ Republican Party ONLY politics nonstop over Colorado airwaves. KRCC is certainly not my idea of what a credible ALTERNATIVE media outlet should be sounding like. How could it be, with Sue Woolsey, wife of the former CIA director and notable Right Winger creep James Woolsey Jr., chairing the board of Colorado College and by extension, KRCC itself? The Woolsey family are big pushers for starting war against Iran.

However, all is hardly perfect with Democracy Now itself either. Today’s Counterpunch tells the story of another Amy Goodman-Democracy Now visit to another city which was Baltimore, home of the author of this particular Counterpunch published commentary. Read the piece and get a glimpse of how Democracy Now looks to some of us out here in America’s Left Wing. We need many more shows like Democracy Now to counter the continuing and constant lies of the corporate run American media, but we need to look at what we have broadcasting for OUR side with open and clear eyes and ears, too. See No Questions for the Questioner Democracy How!?

Slavoj Zizek Not Gaga for Pop

Slovenian philosopher Slovaj Zizek has a cult following like Lady Gaga, but denied this weekend any romantic connection. I write this with tongue in cheek, Slavoj’s, because of his comic protestations. Zizek was cajoled by Amy Goodman at Saturday’s London Fronline Club event: did he categorically denied the rumor? Zizek said “Absolute denial on everything.” But he wasn’t dissing Gaga or the notoriety of the mischievous meme, even as he protested: “I didn’t even listen to not one of her songs!” The audience ate it up; how total a rejection. Except Zizek continued playfully: “My God, I listen to Schubert and Schumann songs. Sorry, I’m a conservative.” And there you have the reigning academic of pop cultural references, who cannot make a point without recalling a movie scene, rejecting not Lady Gaga, but Pop. Obviously Zizek’s pop culture isn’t yours.

It may escape the notice of average film goers that when themes evoke cinematic moments to Zizek’s memory, they’re not from There’s Something About Mary. Saturday’s discussion brought up Marx Brothers, yes, in the company of Lubitsch and Truffaut, moments of cinema verité, touches of social comment with Zizek’s nuance already scripted. Yes he’s famously evoked Tom & Jerry, and more recently tried to project Hosni Mubarak’s attention to Wiley Coyote’s fatal overrun of the cliff, but I think it’s clear, like Schubert and Schumann, we’re talking about classics. Academia may like to paint Zizek a populist, but his material is not plebeian.

For the curious, from the Marx Brothers: “My client may look like an idiot, and act like an idiot. That shouldn’t distract you, he is an idiot.” (About Rumsfeld being a liar.)

From Night And Day: A young lover finally yields unceremoniously to her suitor’s whining entreaties, to which he puts on the brakes like a reluctant prude. (About the West’s rejection of what it’s always pretended to want, a secular revolution in Egypt.)

From Ninotchka: Customer “May I have a coffee with cream?” Waiter: “We don’t have cream, we have milk. May I offer you a coffee without milk?” (About speaking the unspoken pretense.)

Where Zizek hits low perhaps are his wildly off-color jokes, gleaned from friends over drinks –I like to imagine– as opposed to circulated in morning emails. Zizek was full of sexism-loaded analogies on Saturday, and one joke in particular looks to have fallen between the edits which Democracy Now is re-airing, and even off the published transcript of the full event.

So I’ll retell it, and you tell me if Zizek could have made his point without getting so obscene. He’s addressing human nature’s desire for favorable news, even as by definition it masks atrocity.

A man’s wife is treated in the hospital for a potentially fatal condition. The doctor comes out and tells the husband, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is, we saved your wife, she will live. The bad news is, well, due to circumstances we couldn’t avoid, her rectal muscles no longer function, so she’ll be shitting uncontrollably the rest of her life, and her vagina will be secreting a substance, very unpleasant, and so on, her mouth, her nose, disgusting, and so on. Noticing the husband’s discomfort increasing to an unbearable pitch, the doctor tells him: Relax, I’m kidding, don’t worry, your wife died.

Zizek was illustrating the new Wikileaks state of affairs, our corporate government and its press rejecting the truths which emerged from the leaks, preferring the more palatable, no matter the horrors it perpetuates. Between reality and Zizek’s joke, which was the more obscene?

I also love Zizek’s propensity to drop “and so on” between statements, like verbal checkmarks on the points he’s hit. It’s post-graduate lecture shorthand for “you know the rest.” Chomsky does it too, by fading into mumbles, and it is frustrating to those of us who haven’t covered the assigned reading. But it’s a reminder too, of how much out there we cannot hope to master. That shouldn’t stand in our way of trying to grasp the bigger picture.

Am I right, Slavoj Zizek big picture speaks to us using the vocabulary of the big picture show? It’s the silver screen to be precise, and as yet he’s limited himself to visuals, not lyrics. I think Zizek’s candid revelation about his musical preferences leaves a hint for us that the bigger picture isn’t to be found in today’s compression sculpted pop sound, no matter how politically clever or Gaga the music.

Obama imprisons civil rights attorney Lynne Stewart instead of George Bush

I’ll admit to a disquieting feeling of topsy-turvy. Until now I would have advised war resisters to take the brig and let Bush’s Democratic successor grant them amnesty. But now a trial for the accused 9/11 conspirators approaches, worrying some that the additional protections of a civilian court might result in the accused might be found not-guilty. To which Attorney General Eric Holder says “Failure is not an option.” Hello? And did I hear President Obama correctly –suggesting the 9/11 perpetrators will get the death penalty? I’d be all for it, IF Obama’s hangmen were eyeballing the real perps! Instead this administration has taking civil rights attorney Lynne Stewart to prison, and rehiring Bush spokesperson Dana Perino. What in Hope’s name is going on?

You can send a letter of support to Lynne Stewart at the following address.

Lynne Stewart
53504-054
MCC-NY
150 Park Row
New York, NY NY 10007

Here’s the interview she gave Democracy Now, in her way to turn herself in:

AMY GOODMAN: Civil rights attorney Lynne Stewart has been ordered to prison to begin serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence after a federal appeals court upheld her conviction on Tuesday.

Lynne Stewart was found guilty in 2005 of distributing press releases on behalf of her jailed client, Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, also known as the “Blind Sheikh,” who’s serving a life sentence on terror-related charges. Prosecutors had sought a thirty-year sentence, but Stewart was sentenced to two-and-a-half years after the judge rejected the prosecutors’ argument that she threatened national security and ruled there was no evidence her actions caused any harm.

On Tuesday, a three-judge appeals court panel ordered the trial judge to revoke Stewart’s bond and said she must begin serving her twenty-eight-month sentence. The panel rejected Stewart’s claim she was acting only as a “zealous advocate” for her imprisoned client when she passed messages for him. The appellate ruling said, quote, “a genuinely held intent to represent a client ‘zealously’ is not necessarily inconsistent with criminal intent.”

The panel also described Stewart’s twenty-eight-month sentence as, quote, “strikingly low” and sent the case back to the trial judge to determine whether she deserved a longer prison term. The ruling said Stewart, who’s seventy years old, was to surrender to US marshals immediately, but her lawyers won her an extension until at least 5:00 p.m. today.

Well, Lynne Stewart has come to our studios here in New York. And we welcome you, Lynne, to Democracy Now! Can you describe your reaction to the ruling?

LYNNE STEWART: Well, in its sweeping and negative tone, I must say I was first a little bit shocked, because we had expected, or had hoped, at least, that some of these important constitutional issues would be decided, and then very disappointed, on my own behalf, certainly—personally, you can’t discount—but actually, for all of us, Amy, because these important constitutional issues—the right to speak to your lawyer privately without the government listening in, the right to be safe from having a search conducted of your lawyer’s office—all these things are now swept under the rug and available to the government.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you, for people who haven’t followed your case, explain exactly what happened, why you were charged?

LYNNE STEWART: I represented Sheikh Omar at trial—that was in 1995—along with Ramsey Clark and Abdeen Jabara. I was lead trial counsel. He was convicted in September of ’95, sentenced to a life prison plus a hundred years, or some sort—one of the usual outlandish sentences. We continued, all three of us, to visit him while he was in jail—he was a political client; that means that he is targeted by the government—and because it is so important to prisoners to be able to have access to their lawyers.

Sometime in 1998, I think maybe it was, they imposed severe restrictions on him. That is, his ability to communicate with the outside world, to have interviews, to be able to even call his family, was limited by something called special administrative measures. The lawyers were asked to sign on for these special administrative measures and warned that if these measures were not adhered to, they could indeed lose contact with their client—in other words, be removed from his case.

In 2000, I visited the sheikh, and he asked me to make a press release. This press release had to do with the current status of an organization that at that point was basically defunct, the Gama’a al-Islamiyya. And I agreed to do that. In May of—maybe it was later than that. Sometime in 2000, I made the press release.

Interestingly enough, we found out later that the Clinton administration, under Janet Reno, had the option to prosecute me, and they declined to do so, based on the notion that without lawyers like me or the late Bill Kunstler or many that I could name, the cause of justice is not well served. They need the gadflies.

So, at any rate, they made me sign onto the agreement again not to do this. They did not stop me from representing him. I continued to represent him.

And it was only after 9/11, in April of 2002, that John Ashcroft came to New York, announced the indictment of me, my paralegal and the interpreter for the case, on grounds of materially aiding a terrorist organization. One of the footnotes to the case, of course, is that Ashcroft also appeared on nationwide television with Letterman that night ballyhooing the great work of Bush’s Justice Department in indicting and making the world safe from terrorism.

The course of the case followed. We tried the case in 2005 to a jury, of course sitting not ten blocks from the World Trade Center, and an anonymous jury, I might add, which I think went a long way to contribute to our convictions. And all three of us were convicted. Since that time, the appeals process has followed. The appeal was argued almost two years ago, and the opinion just came like a—actually like a thunderclap yesterday. And to just put it in perspective, I think, it comes hard on the heels of Holder’s announcement that they are bringing the men from Guantanamo to New York to be tried. That—I’ll expand on that, if you wish, but that basically is where we’re at. It’s said that I should be immediately remanded, my bail revoked.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Lynne Stewart. She could be going to prison at any point. Lynne, I wanted to read to you from the Times, their description, saying,

“In addressing whether [Ms.] Stewart’s sentence was too lenient, Judge Sack wrote that Judge Koeltl had cited her ‘extraordinary’ personal characteristics, and had described her as ‘a dedicated public servant who had, throughout her career, “represented the poor, the disadvantaged and the unpopular.”’

“But Judge Koeltl had declined to determine whether Ms. Stewart had lied at trial, a factor he should have considered in weighing her sentence, Judge Sack wrote. ‘We think that whether Stewart lied under oath at her trial is directly relevant to whether her sentence was appropriate.’”

What they talking about? What is their accusation about you lying at trial?

LYNNE STEWART: Well, of course, I’m not rendering a legal opinion here, Amy, because I’m officially disbarred. But I will say that my understanding of the law is that the judge may consider whether or not a client or a person who testified in their own defense lied or even shaded the truth to their own benefit. And my sense of reading—and I haven’t read them over recently, but my sense of the sentencing was that the judge did consider it, at least in a manner. He basically said he did not think it was relevant, and the court of appeals argued with this.

I, of course, committed no perjury. I spoke on my own behalf. I described what I did. I’m not sure that the court of appeals may have liked what I said, but that is, you know, because the US attorney went into my politics at great length, as if to say, “See, she has radical politics, so we know she would have done something radical.” I’ve always said my politics are very, very different from the sheikh’s politics, and that was an unfair cut. But notwithstanding that, they do have the right to consider it. It can be something, if the judge believed you lied, that can increase your sentence.

I have every reason to believe that Judge Koeltl, who is a most careful judge, a most—a judge described, in the opinion by Judge Calabresi, as being someone who makes very wise decisions, considered it—considered it, rejected it, and went ahead. This was the number—the sentence he arrived at, twenty-eight months, and we hope that he will retain the courage that he had in making that sentence, to stick with it now that the government, through the Second Circuit, has challenged it.

AMY GOODMAN: Lynne Stewart, as you were being sentenced in 2006, you had breast cancer. How are you today? How’s your health?

LYNNE STEWART: The breast cancer is good; I have no recurrence. I just had a mammogram, even though I’m seventy. I don’t know how that falls into the new warnings. But at any rate, I’m cancer-free. I have some other aging problems, woman plumbing stuff, which I actually am scheduled for surgery on December 7th. My lawyers are hoping to be able to go to the Second Circuit and ask them to extend the period of time that I would have to surrender, in order that this surgery may be accomplished right here in New York at Lenox Hill Hospital. We’re not sure of that. It does seem that they’re—

AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain how this happens today, because at this point you have an extension until 5:00 p.m. today—

LYNNE STEWART: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: —before going to prison? What will happen today?

LYNNE STEWART: Well, the judge has asked the lawyers to research whether he has the power at this point—I mean, this is like ancient English Magna Carta law. You know, the case has been appealed. It’s in the Second Circuit. In order for him to order me to prison, it has to be before him. In other words, the papers, I guess, have to be carried from the upper floor to the lower floor to the district court. He wanted them to research whether or not he can do anything before he has that mandate. He, of course, can decide that I’m turning myself in tomorrow. He can also decide that he doesn’t have it until—usually the mandate takes a week to ten days to come down. So we’re sort of on the edge. It will not preclude my lawyers from going to the circuit directly and asking them to stay their order of my immediate remand and revocation of bail. So we’re sort of on the edge. We’re—

AMY GOODMAN: Do you know where you will be imprisoned?

LYNNE STEWART: Say that again?

AMY GOODMAN: Do you know where you will be imprisoned?

LYNNE STEWART: No. See, that’s one of the other reasons. It’s not only my surgery. It also is the fact that I’ve never been designated and also the fact that the pre-sentence report on which they usually base these designations is three years old at this point. It doesn’t take into account anything that has happened since then.
So we think there are some grounds for extending the time, but I think it’s fair to say that at this point I have brought my books and my medicines with me to go to court this afternoon, and I expect—I expect the worst, being Irish, but hope for the best, because I’m a leftist and always optimistic.

AMY GOODMAN: What books have you brought with you?

LYNNE STEWART: I have Snow by—I never pronounce his name right—Orhan Pamuk. I have The Field of Poppies; I can’t remember the author, terrible, given to me by a dear comrade, Ralph Schoenman. And I have a couple of mysteries, because I’m an addict of mysteries, and it passes the time quickly for me.

AMY GOODMAN: Lynne, would you do anything differently today, or would you do anything differently back then, if you knew what you knew today?

LYNNE STEWART: I think I should have been a little more savvy that the government would come after me. But do anything differently? I don’t—I’d like to think I would not do anything differently, Amy. I made these decisions based on my understanding of what the client needed, what a lawyer was expected to do. They say that you can’t distinguish zeal from criminal intent sometimes. I had no criminal intent whatsoever. This was a considered decision based on the need of the client. And although some people have said press releases aren’t client needs, I think keeping a person alive when they are in prison, held under the conditions which we now know to be torture, totally incognito—not incognito, but totally held without any contact with the outside world except a phone call once a month to his family and to his lawyers, I think it was necessary. I would do it again. I might handle it a little differently, but I would do it again.

AMY GOODMAN: Lynne Stewart, I want to thank you for being with us. I hope we can talk to you in prison. Lynne Stewart has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail, to be served beginning today, unless a judge is able to intervene. Thanks so much for being with us.

Amy Goodman looks at Barack Obama

Amy GoodmanAmy Goodman gives Barack Obama a fair lookover during a discussion with investigative journalist John Pilger in Britain, Columbia University professor and Africa scholar Mahmood Mamdani, Laura Carlsen of the Center for International Policy in Mexico City, Iraqi analyst Raed Jarrar, Pakistani author Tariq Ali, and Palestinian American Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada.
President-Elect Obama and the Future of US Foreign Policy: A Roundtable Discussion The focus is on foreign policy and the conclusions are rather gloomy about what 4 years with Barack as the Great Helmsman in the White House will actually soon begin to look like.

What a breath of fresh air Amy Goodman gives America with this program. It is nice to see intelligent discussion of reality as opposed to adulatory and adolescent fantasies about the new president that border on worship services at a Pentecostal Church. It is clear that all of these people who participated in this round table discussion on Goodman’s program understand that Barack Obama is not alone at sail on The Seven Seas, but is clearly part of a leadership teem astride an American aircraft carrier armed to the teeth. None of them seem to be very positive about what the future will bring from this sad perspective.

Since the focus of this discussion with Amy is Obama’s future foreign policy, there is little mention of what his future domestic policies will probably be like. It would be great if she continues the dialog with yet another round table discussion that examines just that question! I rather think that the conclusions from an informed group of Leftists about the future Democratic Party’s agenda under Obama will be just as dreary if she does look at his plans on the domestic front as well. After all, we have already seen just what it will appear like with the bipartisan giveaway to the companies from the Federal Treasury that the Democrats and Republicans worked out together that is currently continuing to contribute to sinking the world economy, not to mention just ‘our’ own.

Without Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now, alternet, counterpunch, and antiwar.comm, we would only be left with a group of totally abject Democratic Party cheerleaders now. Each and everyone of these websites is worthy of any financial donation that you can make? We rely on all of them for informative reporting. Let’s hope that they keep up the good work and hope that other important sources of discussion and reporting can be developed, too.

The Shock Doctrine at Colorado College

The Shock Doctrine by Naomi KleinCOLORADO COLLEGE- If you catch Democracy Now on KRCC, you are already up to speed on Naomi Klein‘s SHOCK DOCTRINE: THE RISE OF DISASTER CAPITALISM. Otherwise you can hear the author of No Logo and Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate at 7:30pm tonight at Armstrong Hall; an uncharacteristically critical voice among CC’s usual lineup of neoliberal panderers.

Amy Goodman of DEMOCRACY NOW arrested without cause at RP convention


Amy Goodman Arrested at RNC. The police are like a bunch of rabid dogs at this point in time in America. More video at TheUptake.

Mark Lewis has forwarded this ACTION ALERT:

ST. PAUL, MN—Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman was unlawfully arrested in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota at approximately 5 p.m. local time. Police violently manhandled Goodman, yanking her arm, as they arrested her. Video of her arrest can be seen here.

Goodman was arrested while attempting to free two Democracy Now! producers who were being unlawfuly detained. They are Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar. Kouddous and Salazar were arrested while they carried out their journalistic duties in covering street demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. Goodman’s crime appears to have been defending her colleagues and the freedom of the press.

Ramsey County Sherrif Bob Fletcher told Democracy Now! that Kouddous and Salazar were being arrested on suspicion of rioting. They are currently being held at the Ramsey County jail in St. Paul.

Democracy Now! is calling on all journalists and concerned citizens to call the office of Mayor Chris Coleman and the Ramsey County Jail and demand the immediate release of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar. These calls can be directed to: Chris Rider from Mayor Coleman’s office at 651-266-8535 and the Ramsey County Jail at 651-266-9350 (press extension 0).

Democracy Now! stands by Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar and condemns this action by Twin Cities law enforcement as a clear violation of the freedom of the press and the First Amenmdent rights of these journalists.

During the demonstration in which they were arrested law enforcement officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and excessive force. Several dozen others were also arrested during this action.

KRCC promoting Amy Goodman and DN!

Amy Goodman of Pacifica Radio and Democracy Now!I stand corrected. In case you missed it in the comments, Delaney Utterback of KRCC wrote: “Amy Goodman will be at KRCC at about 3pm on Sunday, April 20th. She’ll speak out back–mid-music fest–pitch on air a bit and sign books . . . We’re planning our open house blitz next week, where, naturally, we will announce Amy’s appearance.”

In the meantime, let’s make sure the word does get out across all channels. There will be plenty of room for an audience at the KRCC event, and the pledge drive kick-off will be a great chance for YOU to ask KRCC for a drive-time slot for Democracy Now. HD2 won’t reach the masses. Most people listen to the radio in their car, and for KRCC listeners that is the FM signal. And most people do not change the station. Far too much corporate disinformation is reaching Colorado ears via NPR. It’s not enough to know where you can go for an alternative. Our average Colorado Springs friends and neighbors need to OVERHEAR real news reporting. Then they can figure out for themselves that NPR is only a hoity-toity version of FOX, disguised in familiar voices speaking in lower tones, lacking all but pretend critical analysis.

Trying to keep ‘Democracy Now’ from sounding too much like PBS news

William Blum is a noted radical commentator, author, and historian. Here is a recent commentary of his about Amy Goodman’s reporting on Cuban ‘dissidents’ just freed by the government there.

……..
Democracy Now!
I’m a fan of Amy Goodman and her morning radio program “Democracy Now”. It consistently covers a wide range of issues of interest to the progressive community and undoubtedly recruits many new members to the cause. But perhaps their range is too wide to expect the Democracy Now! staff to have done all of their homework on all of the issues. Cuba is one such issue where the program tends to stumble. The latest example was on April 26. In the opening news report, Amy informed us: “In Cuba, six dissidents have been released from prison nearly two years after they were jailed. The Cuban government had drawn international condemnation after the jailings in the summer of 2005.”

That was it. CBS or NPR couldn’t have followed the State Department script any better. There must be many thousands in American prisons who could be called “dissidents” for having at one time or another expressed serious disgust with what the US was doing in some part of the world and who had taken part in a protest; or done the same in regard to some vital economic, civil rights, or civil liberties issue at home. “Oh,” you declare, “but they were not imprisoned because of their dissidence.” Yes, that’s true about almost all of them. But it’s also true about almost all Cuban prisoners.

To grasp this, one must first understand the following: The United States is to the Cuban government like al Qaeda is to Washington, only much more powerful and much closer. Since the Cuban revolution, the United States and anti-Castro Cuban exiles in the US have inflicted upon Cuba greater damage and greater loss of life than what happened in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001. Cuban dissidents typically have had very close, indeed intimate, political and financial connections to American government officials, particularly in Havana through the American Embassy (the United States Interests Section). Would the US government ignore a group of Americans receiving funds from al Qaeda and/or engaging in repeated meetings with known leaders of that organization inside the United States? In the past few years, the American government has arrested a great many people in the US and abroad solely on the basis of alleged ties to al Qaeda, with a lot less evidence to go by than Cuba has had with its dissidents’ ties to the United States, evidence gathered by Cuban double agents.

From the Bill Blum Report
……….

Last week I spent some of my time listening to ‘dissidents’ from Sudan and Yugoslavia who had come to America who had also allied with the US government’s plans for their regions. We can expect more ‘dissidents’ to come forth from places like Iran and Somalia in the months ahead, too. They will be paraded before the world press and American public, most especially, as they us tell their varying tales of villainy, that somehow must be alleviated principally through our Emperor’s help, and with the help of the Emperor’s troops, too, as enforcers.

While we should not be unsympathetic to their appeals, we should understand that little liberation for the people of the world can be achieved by us in the US allowing our government to act as world ‘policeman’. US ‘policemen’ work for the US super rich ultimately, and not for the oppressed anywhere.

There are much better ways for Americans to support peoples’ rights in other countries than supporting manipulation by the US gangsters now in power in D.C., as they use one group or another against each other in foreign countries. We should reject appeals for foreign interventions with US controlled troops PERIOD, and get our own house in order.

Democracy Now’s adulatory interview with Gen. Wesley Clark, war criminal

America’s ruling elite have split about whether Bush’s decision to expand the War to Steal Iraq’s Oil into the neighboring countries of Syria, Lebanon, and Iran is likely to succeed or not. Wesley Clark, Clinton’s mad war criminal bomber of Yugoslavia, certainly is on the side that fears future failure by the Bush Administration.

He even has his own website dedicated to trying to stop the expansion of US government started warfare into Iran. But in the Amy Goodman interview, it appears that he actually wanted to attack Iran, and not Iraq, first. Now he feels that it is a mistaken strategy to do this attack he previously supported, after 6 years of Bush’s bungling, incompetence, and failure.

Amy Goodman all but begged Wesley Clark to run for president, echoing the incomprehensible stupidity of Michael Moore in the previous election. These liberals seem to be looking for some Dwight Eisenhower type to latch on to? How pathetic, since Wesley Clark is absolutely nothing more than a war criminal who started a war with a sovereign country illegally, and sat quiet as Clinton/ Gore killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi innocents through economic sanctions and continual bombings of Iraq during the 8 years of that Administration. These are the type of imperialist liberals who now talk of helping citizens of Sudan out, when during their time in office they were bombing illegally targets in that country, specifically one of Africa’s largest pharmaceutical factories. Clark, and his Slick Commander Clinton, sat and twiddled their thumbs, while hundreds of thousands of Rwandans were cut down. The US and French could easily have stopped that slaughte, but they were occupied with ‘stopping the Serbs’.

After much of the interview with Clark by Goodman conducted on a chit-chat friendly level, Goodman eventually felt the need to let Clark pretend to respond somewhat adequately to his record of continually bombing Yugoslav civilian infrastructure when he was top general in command of the Clinton war of Aggression Against Yugoslavia. This record includes the deliberate bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, also bombing the Serbian television station in that city killing journalists and and other civilians at work there, and bombing various factories along the Danube River, thereby contaminating that important waterway for years afterwards with toxic chemicals, as well as killing workers and neighborhood residents. The few parts of his miserable terrorist record Clark was asked to account for by Goodman, was predictably blamed on Milosevic and the Serbs themselves. Goodman made no effort to illustrate the dishonesty of his responses.

Further, Clark went on to support the continued US use of nuclear weapons and cluster bombs in US war making. Amy Goodwin let him walk on all of this, absolutely free as a breeze. How very sad to see this desperate desire for allies against the neocons turned into Goodman’s covert prompting of Clark towards a run for US presidency by this war criminal. Shame on you, Amy. I respect your show immensely but felt ashamed for you Friday night. Don’t let these rats off the hook when they try to desert the ship that Bush is trying to run aground. These imperialist just want a better vessel at hand to continue their imperialist aggressions against other countries. Certainly everything about Wesley Clark points towards continued disaster if he were actually to gain the presidency in 2008. Why prompt for more capable imperialists to regain command? Wesley Clark couldn’t even muster up a call for the impeachment of Bush or a description of the invasion and occupation of Iraq as being illegal. I guess not, since that would have been to illustrate how he himself had carried out and commanded an illegal war against Yugoslavia.

Democracy Now on KRCC

Mini fliers to urge KRCC listeners to actionThis week the Pacifica news program Democracy Now was added to the KRCC lineup on weekdays at 7pm. After listening this week when I could, I came away thinking: for the Colorado Springs community, the sudden juxtaposition of Democracy Now to the regular NPR and BBC-lite news programming has got to be turning some heads. Local critics had anticipated that Democracy Now would perseverate on only the bad and the ugly, but this inaugural week proved very much the opposite.

What happened this week? The Democrats ran roughshod over Congress. They introduced some key legislation ahead of their 100 hour pledge, leaving time even for a non-binding resolution on Iraq. In brief, they behaved quite the opposite of how the mainstream media would like to portray Democrats. On NPR, just as on the networks, we were given only brief summaries of what the Dems did. The little interest the reporters paid to the stories played into the inferrence that accomplishments in Congress this week were of little consequence. And the Senate’s non-binding resolution damns itself with its ineffectual appellation, if that’s all you say about it.

Contrast that with Democracy Now’s coverage. DN aired Representative Lynn Woolsey’s full address on behalf the corresponding bill in the House, the Bring Our Troops Home and Sovereignty of Iraq Restoration Act. To hear her rational and sober words left you wondering how anyone could still think otherwise about what to do in Iraq. American listeners are not accustomed to hearing politicians unspun. These days when a speech such as Rep. Woolsey’s reaches the public unfiltered, we think that person should run for president. The media doesn’t want to empower politicians like Woolsey if they can help it. Better for Americans to be impressed with TV celebrities than real public servants.

And so Democracy Now’s reports this week were affirming. They offered the ray of hope that the new House and Senate will move forward in spite of whether the mainstram media, including NPR, make light of their work.

The liberal media unmaskedI saw NPR’s Political Correspondent Mara Liasson speak at Colorado College back in 2004. She spoke about the likely contenders for the Democratic nomination. Asked afterwards why, incredibly, she never once mentioned Dennis Kucinich, she told us it was because she assumed we were interested in the candidates of consequence.

Now in Colorado Springs, like over 500 other communities in America in which Democracy Now is airing side by side with NPR, reporters like Mara Liasson are going to know they can’t play gatekeeper with the news. Although Fox and the MSM will be there to corroborate the mainstream NPR line, public radio listeners will be hearing other voices, such as Amy Goodman’s, pulling the cat from the bag. Increasingly, Mara and company will no longer get to decide for their listeners what persons or which issues are of consequence.

Colorado Springs’ first week of Democracy Now began with a memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The DN special was broadcast live from the media conference in Memphis and The Indy’s publisher John Weiss was there. Amy Goodman congratulated him on DN’s having broken into the Colorado Springs market. It was news to John, but it’s true he played a key role. At the end of the day though the credit goes to KRCC’s new station manager Delaney Utterback for all the right reasons.