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May 31, 2005

Deep Throat Revealed

Deep Throat - the anonymous source for the WaPo articles on the Nixon Watergate Coverup - was revealed today by Vanity Fair to be none other than Mark Felt. Don't know him? He was a deputy in the FBI. Currently 91, he's retired and livin with his daughter in Santa Rosa, California. Mi chavo tipped me off to this story earlier this morning - he said it was mentioned during a presidential news conference that interupted his teevee watching. I couldn't find anything on the web till just now.

More info:
"Vanity Fair reports that former top FBI official Mark Felt was Deep Throat," by Canadian Press in (their) National Post

(Can't find it on Vanity Fair's confusing website.)

Posted by cj at 11:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 26, 2005

Protestors - Esp Women - Attacked in Cairo

Horrific things are happening in Egypt, with USG approval and support. Shame on our elected and unelected officials, especially Laura Bush.

From WaPo:

CAIRO, May 25 -- A nationwide referendum on multi-party elections in Egypt turned violent Wednesday as pro-government mobs attacked and beat demonstrators on the streets of the capital.

Officials of President Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party, or NDP, led hundreds of young men who attacked anti-government demonstrators. Journalists and witnesses at the scene of several incidents, including this correspondent, saw riot police create corridors for stick-wielding men to freely charge the demonstrators. Women were particular targets, with at least five pulled from the mass of mostly male demonstrators on the steps of the Journalists' Syndicate in central Cairo and subjected to slaps, punches, kicks and groping. The blouses of at least two were ripped.

Emphasis added.
More info (including specifics on the attacks against women) at:"Protesters Attacked in Cairo: On Voting Day, Pro-Mubarak Mobs Beat Dissenters," by Daniel Williams in WaPo

Last graph from the LAT:

A British employee of the Los Angeles Times was among the journalists who were assaulted. She was groped and harassed by a crowd of pro-Mubarak supporters, then forced to the ground and kicked in the stomach and back. She escaped with bruises.
"Anti-Mubarak Protesters Beaten in Cairo," by Megan K. Stack with contributions by Jailan Zayan and Hossam Hamalawy in LAT

Posted by cj at 10:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 25, 2005

Official US Relations with Egypt and the Middle East

I don't know how many of you have been following the news about
"changes" in Egypt's election laws. I've been reading about it in the
Washington Post and saw the Prime Minister on Meet the Press two
Sundays ago. It's very frustrating that there isn't more outcry
against the Mubarak regime's pretend reform of election law. What's
particularly irritating (though not surprising) is that the First Lady
defended their "steps towards democracy" on Sunday and reiterated her
support yesterday. She also endorsed the creation of the Apartheid
Wall in Palestine / Israel.

Further Reading:
"First Lady Says Mideast Change Will Be Slow: Diplomatic Mission Ends With a Nod to Differences," by Jim VandeHei, WaPo

"In Egypt, Opposition Stymied by the State," by Daniel Williams, WaPo

Posted by cj at 12:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 21, 2005

Cars and Jobs

The rust belt in the Midwest is crumbling. Newest proof - new, non-union, foreign-owned auto plants in the South. There are two major things that separate union plants from the non-union ones: free healthcare and pension plans. That is, unionized auto workers have a right to healthcare and a right to retire with dignity. Unfortunately, that isn't good for business. It cranks up costs and in our ridiculous country, makes it extremely difficult to compete. Add that to poorer quality vehicles with fewer standard safety measures, and you get a US auto industry on the brink of bankruptcy.

I believe there are several solutions to this matter. First and foremost, we need universal, single-payer healthcare. In plain English, we need a system like Canada where taxes pay for every single citizen's healthcare. It's the only way to rail in the ridiculous, skyrocketing cost of healthcare here in the States. Second, we need to make it easier for people to join unions - it should be something everyone is able to do without the threat of job loss. That way, the workers in the South could join their Midwest brethren and fight for a real pension in a union contract instead of a 401(k) plan. People deserve a steady stream of income after retirement - not money tied to the turbulent stock exchange.

More info:
"Asian Carmakers Settle Into the South," by Greg Schneider with contributions by Warren Brown in WaPo

Posted by cj at 1:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 13, 2005

With Victories Like This, Who Needs Defeat?

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday did not recommend approval of John Bolton's nomination to be the US Ambassador to the UN. Instead, in a bit of mealy-mouthed morality, a single Republican Senator - George V. Voinovich from Ohio - voted no on recommending the nomination and yes on sending the nomination to the full Senate. Why the flip flopping? Well, he's still a Republican and unable to stand up to the pressure of the entire Republican machine. It was a compromise worked out during those weeks of fact finding the committee just did.

More info:
"Divided Panel Passes Bolton to Full Senate: Committee withholds its recommendation after a Republican member rebukes Bush's choice for U.N. envoy. But confirmation is likely." By Sonni Efron and Mary Curtius with contributions from Janet Hook and Richard Simon in today's Los Angeles Times. (It is also on the front page of today's Chicago Tribune, courtesy of media conglomeration synergy.)

Posted by cj at 9:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 9, 2005


Sometimes I wonder why I allow comments on my blogs. It's not that I don't want to have a conversation. My problem is that sometimes it feels like I spend more time deleting spam than writing posts. Since my friend and helpful web-host added an MT Blacklist Plug-in, the spamming hasn't been quite as bad, but it's still annoying.

Then today I found an extremely offensive comment. There is nothing coherent to the comment and it is derogatory not just towards me, but to all progressives and all queer people. Part of me just wanted to delete it and be done with it, but I felt like I needed a second opinion. Personally, I am not offended by cursing. Occasionally, I have even cursed in my writing. But when I'm called a "dumb faggot" and a "shit-coward," I tend to be annoyed. I don't care that people have different opinions. I welcome healthy debate. Clearly, the comment is not part of a healthy debate. Part of me looks at that comment and shouts "why the hell should I give a nano-second more of my time to the idiot?!?" Why not just delete the comment and move on? I think that would be censorship and since very few people bother to talk to me on any level about the ideas I express on this blog, I'm compelled to give Greg (the commentor) some air time.

Mi chavo, aka Blind Boy Grunt, convinced me to post the comment and offer this explanation. Maybe this idiot will compel you to leave a word or two. No need to respond to him. But you can tell me if you think the comment deserves to be saved and why or why not.

Posted by cj at 4:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

My Senator, Richard Durbin, on John Bolton's Nomination

Through one of several activist websites, I sent emails to my Congressional representatives stating my disapproval on Bolton as the next UN Ambassador. (Frankly, I think the man belongs in prison for his crimes against humanity during the 80s, but that's just me.)

Here is Senator Durbin's response, minus my address:

May 9, 2005

Ms. Cynthia Minster
[my address ommited from this posting]

Dear Ms. Minster:

Thank you for letting me know of your opposition to the nomination of
John Bolton as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

I share your view that John Bolton is the wrong person to serve in this important position. Mr. Bolton has strongly disparaged efforts to pursue international cooperation on important global issues through the United Nations; he has brow-beaten intelligence analysts who refused to alter their findings to suit his political views; and he has belittled the value of peacekeepers in solving civil conflicts. More broadly, and most importantly, Mr. Bolton has been dismissive of the basic notion that it is frequently in our national interest to work with other nations in addressing issues of international concern.

At a time when we should be strengthening our ties with our allies and the broader international community, President Bush's choice of John Bolton as our representative to the U.N. is particularly inappropriate. I will oppose Mr. Bolton's nomination should it be brought to the full Senate for a vote.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me, and please feel free to stay in touch.


Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator

One other note: his emailed letter was not right-justified. I did that to make it easier to read.

Posted by cj at 3:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 5, 2005

Simple Explanation of US Nuclear Weapons

True Majority created a 90 second video to explain what's at stake at the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty Review Conference. They'll also email your Congresspeople about the issue on your behalf.

Posted by cj at 11:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 4, 2005

Lynndie England's Guilty Plea Rejected

from CBS/AP: "Lynndie England's Plea Rejected"

Posted by cj at 5:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brazil Spurns US Terms for AIDS Help

Via Blind Boy Grunt, Sarah Boseley and Suzanne Goldenberg of The Guardian report that Brazil rejected the USG's demand that Brazil agree to a declaration condemning prostitution in order to receive $40 million in AIDS funding.

Brazil, like most of the global public health community, believes in treating health crises without discriminating. Since Brazil is interested in protecting prostitutes and their clients from HIV and AIDS, it is refusing the USG's money.

I do not believe Brazil's decision makes a blanket statement in support of prostitution. Clearly, you could still be opposed to prostitution and work for the health of those affected by it. To me, this is similar to the idea of making condoms available in high schools. I hope high school students think long and hard before having sex, but recognize that some of them are going to continue to have sex regardless of what I want them to do.

Posted by cj at 5:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kuwaiti Parliament Blocks Women's Participation in City Council Elections

Let's be clear on what recently happened in Kuwait: a bunch of men, fearing the loss of their political jobs, voted to deny women the right to vote in city council elections and blamed their backwards thinking on religious beliefs. From "Lawmakers Block Women From Voting in Kuwait," by Hassan Fatah in today's NYT:

While the city council holds little political significance, winning the right for women to run for office there was seen as a first step in gaining the right to run for Parliament.
Another interesting quirk of Kuwaiti law is that police officers and military personnel cannot vote. Imagine if the entire military industrial complex in the US were denied participation in the political process. That is, imagine if the United States was no longer governed by politicians who get a large amount of campaign contributions from military contractors and their employees. Would that change our budget priorities? As my fellow WILPFers said in 1979 (and copyrighted) - It will be a great day when schools have all the money they need and the military has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.

Posted by cj at 1:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Women Beware! Traditional Hospital Procedure During Labor Is Harmful

From "Procedure On Women In Labor Adds Risk: Study Urges Halt To Episiotomies," by Rob Stein in today's WaPo:

One of the most common surgical procedures performed in the United States -- an incision many pregnant women receive to reduce the risk of tissue tears during delivery -- has no benefits and actually causes more complications, according to the most comprehensive analysis to evaluate the practice. ...

An episiotomy is an incision that doctors make in the perineum -- the skin between the opening of the vagina and anus. The idea is that the incision will make delivery of a child easier and that a deliberate surgical incision will heal more quickly and with fewer complications than tears that occur spontaneously, minimizing the risk of sexual problems and other complications, such as incontinence. Because the procedure has been in widespread use since the 1930s, it has been subject to careful evaluation only fairly recently.

So here's the deal: there's no reason to allow a doctor to tear up your body before you give birth. The article doesn't mention it, but just as a public service announcement, let me add this: vaginal birth is safer than Caesarean section. One is totally natural and the other is surgery where someone cuts up your body. (And yes, there's actual medical science behind this statement. Here's a Google search on risks of Caesarean section.)

Posted by cj at 1:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 3, 2005

Blaming Young Enlisted People for Systemic Prison Abuse Problems

Army Pfc. Lynndie R. England plead guilty yesterday for her part in the Abu Graib prison abuse scandal. The judge almost rejected her plea, because she initially told him that she received an order from a superior who was a trained military police officer and assumed it was a legal order.

By the way, the superior officer was Cpl. Charles A. Graner Jr. who is believed to be the father of England's infant son.

The court took a recess so England could be taught by her lawyers to declare her personal culpability in the crime.

More info:
"Army Private Pleads Guilty to Prison Abuse: Jury to Decide Her Sentence This Week," by T.R. Reid with contributions from Josh White in WaPo

Posted by cj at 12:34 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Local Journalists Receiving Death Threats From Iraqi Officials

Add this to the growing list of examples of how the USG is funding an anti-democratic state in Iraq:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A photographer for a Baghdad newspaper says Iraqi police beat and detained him for snapping pictures of long lines at gas stations. A reporter for another local paper received an invitation from Iraqi police to cover their graduation ceremony and ended up receiving death threats from the recruits. A local TV reporter says she's lost count of how many times Iraqi authorities have confiscated her cameras and smashed her tapes.
From "Iraqi press under attack from authorities in Iraq," By Mohammed al Dulaimy with contributions by Hannah Allam, Knight Ridder Newspapers

Ain't it great to know we're fostering a culture of freedom in Iraq?

And in case you missed the NYT Magazine cover story on Sunday, you must check it out. It explains how American advisors to the counter-insurgency in Iraq are the same war criminals who worked in El Salvador. Here's a link - "The Way of the Commandos" by Peter Maas

Posted by cj at 12:20 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 2, 2005

Nuclear NonProliferation Op-Eds and Articles

"What Does Not Exist Cannot Proliferate" by Celso Amorim, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Dermot Ahern, Luis Ernesto Derbez Bautista, Phil Goff, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Laila Freivalds in the International Herald Tribune

"Jimmy Carter: Erosion of the Nonproliferation Treaty,"by Jimmy Carter in the International Herald Tribune

"Threats by Iran and North Korea Shadow Talks on Nuclear Arms," by David Sanger in Sunday's NYT

News In Review, a daily publication during the NPT Review Conference by the Reaching Critical Will project of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

Posted by cj at 5:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack