Welcome to Left Out, reality-based independent radio broadcasting on WRCT 88.3FM and podcasting on the worldwide web at leftout.info. Left Out discusses the news from a perspective left out of the mainstream media. Left Out is co-hosted by Bob Harper and Danny Sleator. Today's program is produced by Producer Hank. Listeners are invited to call the program at (412) 268-WRCT (9728), or to join the Left Out chat room on AIM, which we will monitor during the show.
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Glen Greenwald has written a poignant post about the attitude of the beltway pundit class. Among other brilliant points, he notes there's a persistent meme from them that the people "don't want investigations". This is just patently false, as he documents in several recent polls. Rene Montagne talking with Cokie Roberts on NPR did the same thing recently.
On a related note, there's an interesting story in today's salon entitled Iraq: Why the Media Failed. He talks among other things about the "appropriate" story that the mainstream media must tell. It's followed up by another interesting Glenn Greenwald post. My (Danny Sleator's) own response to this was to send this letter in April 2003 to thousands of people.
In a story only lightly covered by commercial news outlets, a U.S. citizen named Mohammed Munaf has been condemned to death in Iraq under extraordinary circumstances. A naturalized citizen born in Iraq and living in Romania, Munaf was serving as a translator for a team of three Romanian journalists in Iraq in 2005 when they were ambushed and kidnapped at gunpoint. Munaf was arrested by the Iraqi government during a raid to free the journalists and was turned over to the U.S. military, which held him in captivity at Camp Cropper, which is used for so-called "high-value detainees". Munaf was charged with collaboration with the kidnappers in the case, and was held by the U.S. for trial in Iraq. Last October 13 Munaf's case came to trial. The judge was about to dismiss the charges for lack of evidence when two U.S. soldiers, including one general, arrived with Munaf and intervened. After a 15 minute private discussion with the judge, he returned to the bench and sentenced Munaf to death, without a trial or any possibility of a defense. The U.S. military claimed it was acting on behalf of the Romanian government, and stated that Munaf had confessed to complicity in the kidnapping (allegedly under threat of violence to himself, his children, and his wife). But the Romanian government denies that anyone was acting on their behalf, and states that it does not wish Munaf to be charged in the case. On Friday the Federal appeals court in Washington, DC determined that it has no jurisdiction in the case, citing a World War II era case involving Japanese citizens held as prisoners in post-war Japan by the U.S. military. In Bush world even the most basic principles of justice are dispensable, and one can be convicted and sentenced to death on the say-so of the government.
In Bush world the prime directive is to impose the lowest possible wages on the working man so that the ownership class can reap short-term profits. The recent layoffs by Circuit City exemplify the Republican ideal. When workers reach the top of the wage scale (at a whopping $10-$11 per hour), they are fired, but are permitted to re-apply for their old jobs at a starting wage. Meanwhile corporate CEO's rake in record amounts in salary, compensation, and stock options.
Ever since Reagan Americans have been duped into thinking that labor unions are outmoded. The Democrats have introduced the Employee Free Choice Act to make it easier for employees to form unions. Needless to say, the Republicans are fiercely opposed to this simple, common-sense measure.
FAIR has added some much-needed background to the recent flap involving Don Imus' racist remarks regarding the Rutgers women's basketball team. In this action alert FAIR points out that Imus has been spewing racial and ethnic slurs (followed by lame apologies) for decades. These things are part of his persona, and he cannot excise them. The solution is that he should be fired. And if he is not fired, then any celebrity who goes on his show is conding his behavior.
Allawi served as Iraq's trade, defense, and finance minister at various times since 2003. Here is a review of this just-released book in Mother Jones Magazine. And below are some snips from the book:
"The corroded and corrupt state of Saddam was replaced by the corroded, inefficient, incompetent and corrupt state of the new order."
First came the "monumental ignorance" of those in Washington pushing for war in 2002 without "the faintest idea" of Iraq's realities. "More perceptive people knew instinctively that the invasion of Iraq would open up the great fissures in Iraqi society," he writes.
What followed was the "rank amateurism and swaggering arrogance" of the occupation, under L. Paul Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), which took big steps with little consultation with Iraqis, steps Allawi and many others see as blunders.