Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Bully Boy and check out Annette Rubenstein on Law and Disorder

Q The flip side of all that was the rescue of Jessica Lynch.
Q Did you get advanced notice that that operation was going down?
THE PRESIDENT: I did. I did. Secretary Rumsfeld told me not to get my hopes up, but there was going to be a very sensitive operation into a hospital where he thought that there would be an American POW. And that's all he said. He was very circumspect, as he should be, to a lot of people, because he didn't want any information to get out that might have jeopardized the operation. But he gave me a heads-up. And then when we heard that she had been rescued, it was a joyous moment.
Q Let me ask you about some of the larger policy questions. Before we went to war against Iraq, one of the reasons that you justified this war was that he posed a real threat to the United States. If he couldn't defend his own country -- and we have not yet been able to find the weapons of mass destruction, which were not even launched in defense of Iraq -- was that overstated?
THE PRESIDENT: No, not at all. As a matter of fact, I think time and investigation will prove a couple of points. One, that he did have terrorist connections. And, secondly, that he had a weapons of mass destruction program -- we know he had a weapons of mass destruction program. We now know he's not going to use them. So we've accomplished one objective, and that is that Saddam Hussein will not hurt the United States or friends or our allies with weapons of mass destruction.
Secondly, we are learning more as we interrogate or have discussions with Iraqi scientists and people within the Iraqi structure, that perhaps he destroyed some, perhaps he dispersed some. We also know there are hundreds and hundreds of sites available for hiding the weapons, which he did effectively for 10 years from the -- over 10 years from the United Nations. And that we've only looked at about 90 of those sites so far. I mean, literally hundreds of sites.
And so we will find them. But it's going to take time to find them. And the best way to find them is to continue to collect information from the humans, Iraqis who were involved with hiding them.
Q As you know, there's still a lot of skepticism around the world about American motives in Iraq.
Q Why not fold in some of the U.N. inspectors to this effort, not turn it over to them, but make them a part of it? Would that help with the credibility, do you think?
THE PRESIDENT: I think there's going to be skepticism until people find out there was, in fact, a weapons of mass destruction program. One thing there can't be skepticism about is the fact that this guy was torturous and brutal on the Iraqi people. I mean, he brutalized them, he tortured them, he destroyed them, he cut out their tongues when they dissented. And now the people are beginning to see what freedom means within Iraq. Look at the Shia marches, or the Shia pilgrimages that are taking place.
The world will see that the United States is interested in peace, is interested in security and interested in freedom.
Q But it is important to find the weapons of mass destruction, or the evidence that he had a massive program underway, isn't it?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. I think we will. I'm pretty confident we will.

I know. You'd be laughing right now if we hadn't lost over 2406 troops, if countless Iraqis hadn't been killed, their homes destroyed, their land turned into a war zone. That's the Bully Boy speaking to Tom Brokaw in April of 2003. Wally passed that on to me (thank you, Wally). He'd called C.I. about what he wanted to do today ("THIS JUST IN! BULLY BOY LAGGING!" read it, it's funny) and C.I. told him, "You know he didn't come out against boycotts when he was asked of the Dixie Chicks by Tom Brokaw." So Wally grabbed that interview online and sent it to me saying I might want some of it. I did. Bully Boy there were no, in fact, WMDs in Iraq. Are you still "pretty confident"? If so, that explains this:

"Bush: Iraq At A Turning Point (Again)" (Democracy Now!):
Meanwhile President Bush announced on Monday that the formation of a new Iraqi government marks a turning point in the war. His comments came three years to the day after he proclaimed that major combat operations were over while standing under a banner that read Mission Accomplished. On Monday he spoke briefly on the White Hose lawn while standing next to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, both of whom had just returned from Iraq. "We believe this is a turning point for the Iraqi citizens and it's a new chapter in our partnership," Bush said. "The secretaries began building this new partnership during their trip. In other words, the Iraqi leaders saw that we are committed to helping them succeed." This doesn't mark the first time the president has declared Iraq has reached a turning point. He did so back in June 2004 when the occupying U.S. forces announced they would transfer sovereignty back to the Iraqi people. Bush also said the 2005 election in Iraq would mark a turning point.

Are you "pretty confident" on that too, Bully Boy? What's your fat gut telling you now?

WBAI's Law and Disorder addressed MayDay Monday (so did Democracy Now! with "The Origins of May Day: A Story of Chicago, the First Labor Movement and the Bombing That Divided Gilded Age America" but I assume everyone in the community heard it, saw it or read it). So the guests were Zayd Dorn, Annette Rubenstein and Julie Ruben -- the last two are with the Brecht Forum. Ms. Rubenstein is 96 years-old and she's lived a wonderful life and seen it all. I really enjoyed her. She said she had some troubles with pinning down dates and that reminded me of Three Cool Old Guys and, I bet, of you and me when we're older. We'll remember really important events but I bet if we're lucky enough to live that long we'll be able to give a general date to some of our memories but not all because those are a lot of years.

She was a really informed person. I enjoyed all of her stories. She and Michael Ratner and Michael Smith talked about how MayDay was demonized and the government tried to weaken it -- which they did. They created a "Law Day" on that day to try to detract from it. But let me back up (as Amy Goodman would say) and start out with what MayDay is and was: a day for the workers. Workers gathered together to fight (and they fought for and won the eight hour work day) and march and celebrate.

You better believe that was as threatening to business then as the immigration rallies are to business today. (For a perfect example of how the organs of business dismiss and trash the immigration rallies, read C.I.'s "NYT: Millions protest so the Times highlights Small Business and the Minutemen.") Ms. Rubenstein could remember so many amazing experiences that she took part in. Someone (Studs Terkel?) should put a tape recorder in front of her if she doesn't want to write her own life story because it's amazing. Michael Smith pointed out that at MayDay events in the thirties, people might meet up, fall in love and marry.

It was these like minded people who cared about the world and weren't going to fool themselves that they or everyone else was getting a fair deal. I think those people still exist (I am one) but I think we've gotten so discouraged. It was really inspiring hearing those stories.

So the government creates Law Day to cut into MayDay. And then they followed that by establishing Labor Day. MayDay got demonized and was basically run out of town. Ms. Rubenstein talked about that happening over a period of many years. There was a funny story she told about how the Catholic kids in parochial school were let out and encouraged to heckle and yell at the people participating in MayDay. They did that at one of her marches and she started a cheer of "No homework" and pools for schools. That shut them up.

Amazing woman, Annette Rubenstein. She lost her job as a principal due to her politics. She's an editor of a magazine, teaches at the Brecht Forum and writes for Monthly Review. I can't find the magazine she edits for (Science Society?) and I'm surprised that she doesn't even have a biography at Wikipedia. But what she does have is a sharp mind, an amazing life that is still underway and a lot of things to share. So listen to the show, if you missed it, at WBAI's archives or at the Law and Disorder site.

Last thing for tonight. There were five e-mails I'd avoided that got answered today. If it's from a community member that I know or recognize their e-mails from the gina & krista round-robin, I'll read it right away. But if I don't know the e-mail, I'll usually let it sit until I'm ready to wade in. There are a lot of racists e-mails. I'm not like Betty (who follows Elaine's advice of waiting and only reading when she feels like) but I will wait if I don't recognize the e-mail address. I answered the five today. I'm sorry for being that way about it but if I don't know the sender (or think I don't), some days it's just not worth it to get that kind of e-mail. With Betty and myself, e-mails that disagree like to go racist. That really doesn't happen at The Third Estate Sunday Review even though Ty's responsible for answering most of the e-mails. (As Ty's pointed out, usually they assume that everyone at Third is White.) Instead they go for foul language aimed at women (which is probably because you get little TV babies wanting to trash Ava and C.I. for saying something "mean" about Nick Lachey or John Stamos or any other guy who really can't act). Rebecca gets that nonsense too. I think they're scared of Elaine because I'll talk to Jess or Ava and they'll say that instead of attacking Elaine in e-mails, they'll attack her in an e-mail to C.I. Wally's gotten the least hate mail. C.I. gets tons. There's always some right winger having a fit and Ava and Jess enjoy it best when it's a "name" right winger. They also enjoy the tantrums from certain reporters. But I think C.I.'s been around so long and posts so often that, except for the TV reviews, they just scream politics in their hate e-mails.

It's interesting, thinking about that. Some time when we need a story idea, some weekend, I'll try to suggest that.

Now who didn't I mention? Mike. Saving him for last because he's writing about WBAI's Law and Disorder too so hop on over there (but remember, he's a slow typer).

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