Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Third Estate Sunday Review News Review 10-09-05

C.I.: Welcome to The Third Estate Sunday Review News Review 10-09-05. The news review is the brainchild of The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona and we do it in one hour time frame. This is rough transcript. We'll have reports on nature and the environment, entertainment news, a commentary on Bully Boy's latest chat buddy and news on what's happened to The Smurfs. I'm not kidding on that last item. This is a news review for the left. First up, Iraq. We begin with Mike of Mikey Likes It!

Mike: In Baghdad, a killing spree is taking place and Hala Jaber of The Sunday Times of London reports that speculation is the killings are linked to the Iraqi police force. The speculation is that "ethnic cleansing" is going on and that Sunnis in the Shi'ite neighborhoods, specifically Sunni men married to Shi'ite women are being killed. Claims of "insurgents" being targeted are weak when you consider that one of the men assassinated, Najah al-Rassam, worked for "interior ministry’s Maghaweer special police force." al-Rassam was pulled from his bed by the police, taken to the Badr Brigade for confirmation and then killed.

C.I.: To jump in here for a moment, the Badr Brigade is the paramilitary group of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. They've been accused, including by Allawi, of killing intelligent officers at the behest of Iran. While Saddam Hussein ruled Iran, the Badr Brigade was stationed in Iran, a composition of Iraqi exiles, but they returned to Iraq following the 2003 invasion. Along with the report you're addressing, they've also been accused of targeting British troops. How many Sunnis have been reported killed?

Mike: 22. And they were not turned over to their families. The 22 bodies were found in the desert, wrists still restrained by handcuffs, plastic and metal, or ropes. There are concerns that a civil war is emerging. The 22 men were all blindfolded and had been killed via gunshots. The bodies were dumped in the desert and that's something that should be concerned whenever reports come out of a newly discovered group of bodies. A total of 539 bodies have been found at present. The tensions come as Iraq prepares to vote on their constitutional referendum and measures are being imposed including curfews and border closings as the election approaches.

C.I.: Thank you, Mike. Now we go to Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix with further thoughts on the Iraqi Constitution.

Cedric: At Iraq Dispatches, Dahr Jamail has posted "Open Letter to Amnesty International on the Iraqi Constitution." In the letter, an Iraqi writes:

To hold the election, thousands of people were killed and the entire city of
Fallujah was demolished. Now, what is needed to impose a constitution? A civil
war ?

Cedric (con't): The letter questions the assumption that a constitution is currently needed considering both the process under which it was written and the upcoming elections in the face of the current climate
that finds Iraq on what appears to be the brink of civil war. Will the constitution provide more than a photo op? How are Iraqis being helped by the push for the constitution? Also noted is an article from The Guardian, by Haifa Zangana, that attempts to remind people this constitution is being written in a war zone and is on imposed timeline that is coming from outside of Iraq. The article also notes that:

Just a few weeks ago, a highly significant judicial decision, comprising more than 130 pages, was handed down by the German Federal Administrative Court. With careful reasoning, the judges ruled that the assault launched by the United States and its allies against Iraq was a clear war of aggression that violated international law.
The occupation itself constitutes the gravest violation of human rights and dignity. The legitimacy and autonomy of this government, installed and completely controlled by the US occupation forces after an illegal and illegitimate war of aggression, is not only challenged by a large part of the Iraqi population, but also by the international peace movement and international lawyers.

Cedric (con't): The constitution, if passed, will not provide Iraqis with any means to address the violations and war crimes that have taken place in Iraq under the occupation or by the occupying forces.

C.I.: Thank you, Cedric. The open letter is from the Brussels Tribunal which was one of the groups participating in this summer's World Tribunal on Iraq. The Brussels Tribunal also has addressed what the two British intel agents may have been doing in Basra when they captured last month. The two, attempting to pass for Arabs, were stopped by Basra police and found with weapons including explosives. That hasn't been addressed in the United States but in Scotland and other nations, it has made the news. More information on this can be found in "The Salvador Option exposed. Who's Blowing Up Iraq? New evidence shows that bombs are being planted by British in Basra" at the Brussels Tribunal Organization. Now we go to Jess of The Third Estate Sunday Review with an update on the unrelated threat announcement of last week, Operation Scare The Hell Out Of America.

Jess: Operation Scare The Hell Out Of America has not gone over as well as some might have hoped. The terror alert, which came just as Bully Boy began once again linking the occupation of Iraq with 9/11, is being questioned after unquestioning acceptance. Michael Weissenstein reports for the Associated Press of the alleged threat to NYC subways that "Almost as soon as the threat was made public, officials in Washington began talking it down, and Homeland Security still downplayed the threat Saturday." In D.C. the Washington Monument was closed for two hours on Friday due to an alleged bomb threat. After police searched and found nothing, the Washington Monument was reopened. Operation Scare The Hell Out of America has led to many stories being ignored such as the fact that the library group whose records are sought under the Patriot Act are still under gag order as a result of the Supreme Court denying their appeal. New opponents to the Patriot Act include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.

C.I.: Jess, this comes as two bills are working their way through Congress.

Jess: Correct. A provision in the original Patriot Act, added due to concerns on the part of some lawmakers, would have certain aspects of the legislation sunset out. As the expiration date approaches, there is a push for renewal. In the House, the renewal of components that would otherwise be phased out would renew them for ten years. The Senate version would renew them for four years.

C.I.: Republican Bob Barr's group is favoring the Senate version as the lesser of the two evils.

Jess: I hadn't found anything on that. I did find that, no surprise, Alberto Gonzales is favoring the House version. Business groups now coming out against the Patriot Act have spoken of the fact that we are no longer under threat which may offer additional explanations for the launch of Operation Scare The Hell Out of America.

C.I.: Thank you, Jess. We now go to Elaine with commentary on Bully Boy's new chat buddy, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz.

Elaine: Scotland's The Herald delves further into the claim by Bully Boy George W. Bush that God speaks to him. Palestinian Information Minister Nabil Shaath asserts that in June of 2003, Bully Boy explained his conversations with the Lord Jesus Christ who speaks back or possibly, like Diane Keaton says in Love & Death, Bully Boy does "both parts"?
William Tinning notes that Bully Boy claims: "God would tell me . . . George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan. And I did. And then God would tell me . . . George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq. And I did."
If Bully Boy is indeed hearing voices the two most likely explanations are as follows. One, William Kristol and Robert Kagan's gentle whispers have been mistaken by Bully Boy for the voice of God. Two, the strange behavior that's included numerous falls and stumbles that put the klutzy experiences of Gerald Ford to shame, despite little commentary from the press, and the psychosis claim of hearing God speak to him are signs of a serious illness that goes beyond the mere delusions many have abscribed to the Bully Boy.

C.I.: Elaine, there are people who feel that they get signs from various religious figures. What's the difference between that and what you're reporting on Bully Boy?

Elaine: Good question. It's not uncommon for people to look for or ask for a sign from above when they're making a decision. It can be a big decision or a small one. But that's not uncommon. It's not uncommon for someone to state that they feel the presence of a higher power around them. These issues go to faith and how one practices a faith. With Bully Boy, we're not hearing that. With him, we're hearing, from Shaath, that he speaks and then he hears the Lord speak back. That is not a sign, that is not feeling God around you. That is claiming that you, and apparently you alone, are speaking one on one with the Lord. That is psychosis. If it's true. Not just if Shaath is retelling what he was told accurately, but also if Bully Boy was being genuine -- always a big if. This is very serious and the press, in this country, hasn't given it the attention it deserves. Another take on it, one that Mike offered this week, at his site Mikey Likes It!, that Bully Boy's pushing the responsibility of the decisions he made off onto God. That's a likely explanation as well because, as a personality type, Bully Boy does not take responsibility for his actions. Nothing that happens has ever been his fault, in his mind, by his public statements. It's always someone else. The Not So Swift Floaties launch their attacks on John Kerry and Bully Boy acts as though he's not responsible. John McCain is targeted in 2000 and Bully Boy acts as though he's not responsible. He's arrested for a DUI and isn't honest about that while running for the United States Congress and years later will offer that he had to keep quiet because of his children, his children that, as you have pointed out, weren't even born then. There's nothing in the public record that speaks of personal accountability on his part. So it's hardly surprising that with him in a leadership role, we'd have the least accountable administration/government in recent history. The White House has denied that Bully Boy made the remarks about talking to God and God talking back.
The domestic, mainstream press has not touched this story in any real manner. Possibly they're worried about offending people of faith. This isn't an issue of faith. This is a medical sympton and he needs to be asked on the record to explain or refute the remarks.

C.I.: Thank you Elaine. With entertainment news, we go to Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man. Betty, I understand that you suspect someone in the oval office has been checking out ABC's fall lineup?

Betty: Correct. The question to ask is: Has Condi Rice been watching Commander-in-Chief, ABC's drama starring Geena Davis as a vice-president who becomes president after the office holder dies? As she departs for a trip that will take her to Afghanistan and throughout Asia, the Sunday Times of London reports, via anonymice, that although Rice won't run for president, she is interested in the vice-presidential post. Always the handmaiden, never the leader. Saturday, playwright August Wilson was buried
in Pittsburg which was both the setting for nine of Wilson's plays as well as the town he grew up in. Wilson, who had announced in August that he was suffering from terminal liver cancer, died October 2nd. As we noted in August, the African-American playwright's ten play cycle won much praise and many awards. In an e-mail, Common Ills community member Keesha asked that I note Ma Rainey's Black Bottom as a masterpiece of the 20th century. The TV channel Al-Jazeera has added TV veteran David Frost to their lineup and he will join them this spring.
Ted Koppel will be leaving Nightline at Thanksgiving and not, as assumed, on December 4th when his contract expires. Finally, I'll note that Jennifer Lopez is currently filming Bordertown in which she will play a reporter investigating the murders and disappearances of women in Juarez.

C.I.: Lopez's co-star in that is Antonio Banderas, correct?

Betty: Correct. This will be their first onscreen teaming. The role is thought to be a return to the sort of strong role that Lopez played in Out of Sight opposite George Clooney who, since I have a few more seconds, is planning to produce a live, TV version of Network, the seventies film that took a look at the television news industry and is famous for the phrase, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

C.I.: Thank you, Betty. More information on the murders in Juarez can be found at Eve Ensler's V-Day. V-Day has been shining a light on that issue for some time. We now go to Rebecca, of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, with news from the world of nature.

Rebecca: C.I., tracking the melting of the polar caps will be more difficult as a result of CryoSat crashing into the ocean. CryoSat was a $224 million satellite launced to measure the thickness of the polar caps but it never went into orbit and instead is believed to have crashed in the North Pole region, into the Lincoln Sea. Some reports express the belief that it came apart in space before crashing to the earth. Regardless, the tracking transmitter was not thought to be working. Meanwhile, Canada's CBC reports that outbreaks of bird flu have been found in Romania and Turkey.
Want to ride a camel in Australia? Take along a "poo bag." Australia's ABC reports that "the amount of camel dung" on Cable Beach has become an issue and "poo bags" are now required.
The think tank Worldwatch Institute, speaking at the 18th World Petroleum Congress, declared that fossil fuels were becoming a thing of the past and that the oil executives in attendance should ask themselves if they were "in the oil business or the energy business." In other energy news, America get ready to get your war on harder. Oil sands in the far noth of Canada are thought to contain "the equivalent of 1.7 trillion barrels of oil." Kevin G. Hall's report for Knight Ridder also notes that "Canada already quietly has surpassed Saudi Arabia as the United States' largest foreign supplier of crude oil and petroleum products."
The Independent of London's Geoffrey Lean reports that genetically modified crops pollute the ground for "up to fifteen years after" harvesting. Of the study and its impact, Lean notes, "Financed by GM companies and Margaret Beckett's Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the report effectively torpedoes the Government's strategy for introducing GM oilseed rape to this country."

C.I.: Thank you, Rebecca. For a grab bag of items not covered elsewhere, we go to The Third Estate Sunday Review's Ava.

Ava: C.I., following up on Rebecca's look at the environment, I'll begin by noting that a mudslide is thought to have killed 1400 people in Guatemala. Mario Cruz, spokesman for the Fire Brigrade, has stated that there are no survivors. India, Pakistan and Afghanistan have been rocked by an earthquake that's thought to have killed 1800 people in Pakistan alone, with 300 people thought to be dead in India. With regards to Afghanistan, Scotland's Sunday Herald reports that: "Given the remoteness of so many communities it may take weeks to know the full death toll. " The Sunday Times of London has an excerpt from James Yee's book For God and Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire. Yee, a Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, was falsely accused by the United States government of espionage, charges that were bandied about by various news outlets who assisted the government in smearing Yee. The book is his response and offers an inside look at conditions in Guantamao Bay. As noted by the International Federation of Journalists, workers at Canada's CBC have ended their fifty day walk-out and appear victorious in contract talks. Finally, what's happened to TV's The Smurfs since the animated cartoon stopped production of new episodes? Canada's The Windsor Star reports that, in a new cartoon put out by UNICEF, the village the animated cartoon characters reside in is destroyed by bombs dropped by war planes.

C.I.: Thank you, Ava for including the promised update on The Smurfs. The reason for the cartoon?

Ava: Unicef is attempting to raise awareness on the victims of bombings. The cartoon has already began airing in Belgium.

C.I.: Thank you. For our final report, on the world of music, we go to Kat of Kat's Corner (of The Common Ills). Kat?

Kat: This week, check your local listings, PBS will air a documentary on funk master and pioneer George Clinton on Independent Lens. Saturday's broadcast of The Laura Flanders Show featured a discussion on this documentary in the third hour. In other news, the Beastie Boys are denying rumors of a breakup. November 8th sees the release of the group's first hits collection entitled Solid Gold Hits. The Black Eyed Peas will be performing a free concert as part of Honda Civic Live that will take place October 22nd and 23rd. The Independent of London has a wide ranging interview with Carly Simon entitled "Carly Simon: Boho Queen" where Carly discusses breast cancer, meeting Mick Jagger, marriage to James Taylor, her current marriage to poet Jim Hart, and various other topics including Joni Mitchell. Carly's Moonlight Serenade is released in England Monday. Stevie Wonder, who played harmonica on "As Time Goes By" for Carly Simon's Coming Around Again, album not only has a new album coming out, as noted last week, entitled A Time To Love and due to be released October 18th, he's also discussing participating in a new surgery, involving microchips, that, if successful, would allow him to see. December 1st, Comedy Central's The Daily Show will feature it's first musical performance when the White Stripes come on to perform and be interviewed by Jon Stewart. Rolling Stone reports that Police guitarist Andy Summers is working on an autobiography to be entitled One Train Later. Rolling Stone also reports that a new concert film from Greenday will debut in select theaters at the start of November. On November 15, the film, entitled Bullet In A Bible, will be released on DVD.

C.I.: Thank you, Kat. And that wraps up The Third Estate Sunday Review News Review for 10-09-05. As always Jim and Dona, both of The Third Estate Sunday Review, worked behind the scenes to edit, research and keep things running smoothly. In addition thanks to Jess' parents who help with the research and to Dallas who hunts down links.

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