the year 2005

the year in sex and politics and screeds and attitude

to the left, if this doesn't screw up in posting, is jake gyllenhaal.

so sherry e-mails and says that i have to do a retro on 2005. and that i 'must, must, must! include the photo of jake gyllenhaal!' from september 5, 2005's people magazine. she says it's a hot photo of 'the dirty boy cleaning up.'

sherry, do you have any idea how hard it is to find a magazine, in 1 day, from september 5th?

i went into boston, looked all over. found the mag at 1 used store and flip through but some 1 has already been there and torn out the page. so i go to t's to get my hair done and i'm telling her about it and she says, 'uh, hello, look around!' and sure enough in t's salon, the magazines do go back. we were going through them all and i was about to give up hope when t finds it. so thanks to t, we have the photo. the photo was taken by gama.

sherry, do you know that the trouble was only beginning? i usually play with the photos to make them pink to go with the site. but i really had to up the pixels to get the pic to turn out.

but we have it.

jake gyllenhaal is picked by sherry, darla and katie as personafying sex and politics and screeds and attitude for 2005.

at katie's urging, i saw brokeback mountain, the new film by ang lee. i like jake and think he was hot in the good girl with jennifer aniston and in a film c.i. recommended a long time ago called loving & amazing. but i wasn't looking forward to brokeback mountain due to heath ledger. he's over praised for the film.

but that's the whole problem with heath ledger, he's overpraised. he's a p.r. creation from the buzz, phoney, on the mel gibson dud (the patriot) to 10 things i hate about you, the films that 'made' him didn't really. i haven't seen such created buzz since a time to kill. but this wasn't just p.r., it was bad p.r. with, in both 10 and the patriot, being praised by 'critics' who didn't exist and that blowing up in the press.

it's not the rumors that heath's bald that bother me, it's just that he has all the magentism of a stick of butter. so he brings that same thing, the only thing he's been able to demonstrate so far, to the screen again and you see critics bending over backwards to impose their beliefs, desires upon the blank that is heath. so i wasn't impressed, obviously. (i did wonder how he ended up with michelle williams who is a wonderful actress and think that there's got to be something i'm missing but, whatever it is, the camera's been missing it too.)

so he's james vander beek before the fade currently but getting a lot of praise for a watery, out of focus performance. but jake is the real deal. and when darla and sherry joined katie in urging me to see the film, i knew i had to. it is a great film.

so the year 2005?

cocks & dicks?

for those who've forgotten or weren't readers then, shortly after i started, i explained that a dick is not a good thing. hillary clinton made the dick list early on and she's only remained on it. she found her voice to put herself front and center for 'values' voters by moving away from a strong support for abortion rights to her weak, watered down current approach (she's the heath ledger of the senate - which does explain the ridiculous hair cut they both sport). but she's 1 of the many suffering from 'war got your tongue' as hillary, the woman who was against the vietnam war, who helped draft and argue for nixon's war crimes to be included in the impeachment charges, now has nothing to say but 'send more troops into the quagmire!'

so hillary's the loser on the democratic side (or so-called democratic side) for 2005.

the winner?

i'd go with barbara boxer in the senate. she's strongly supportive of abortion rights and she's got a position on the war and she's not afraid to raise the issue of impeachment. while hillary tries to figure out which way the wind is blowing (out her ass?) barbara boxer can stand up and one of the best examples is being willing to stand with shirley tubbs jones in raising issues in january about the 2004 vote.

best in music?

this is a list pulled from e-mails.

bright eyes, tori amos, cowboy junkies, dolly parton, james blunt, joan baez, rolling stones, carly simon, black eyed peas, jack johnson and especially green day.

worst in music?

britney spears. while most of the disney kids were smart enough to lay low because they're superficial nonsense got old in 1998, britney just won't go away. no time to record a new album? well follow last year's best of with a remix cd of old crap.

some 1 forgot to explain the basics to her, so let me try. a woman who is most famous for being seen as a sex object doesn't sell cds to her young base via 2 marriages and 1 pregnancy. when she returns to the studio, she'll have to learn those basics. you can't be a 'focus of desire' to kids and live her life. apparently no 1 on her payroll grasped that.

with her limited talents, all she really had was her image and it's gone. it took long enough but she's finally entered her tiffany grows up phase and it will play as well (and as profitable) for her as it did for tiffany.

cindy sheehan is the pick for person of the year. she got a dialogue started in the summer of protest despite a lap dog media, despite the likes of hillary clinton and republicans (or are they the same thing?) and most of all despite the bully boy. reminding every 1 that war has a cost, cindy sheehan demonstrated the power of speaking out.

bully boy is the pick for villain of the year. it was a tight race. would his brain (karl rove) beat him? would his poor taste (karen hughes) pull it out in the final moments? what about donny rumsfeld who seems to be doing variations of 'i was only following orders?' but the dishonor belongs to bully who was nowhere to be found as hurricane katrina hit (shades of 9-11) only managed to take a break in his vacations twice. 1 time was to try to escape camp crawford, the other time was to rush back to d.c. to sign into law the 'no 1 has a right to privacy while i occupy the white house!' (terry schiavo). lying us into an illegal war, destroying the economic futures of so many (and possibly the country), blasting away at the wall between church and state, spying on americans ... the list could go on forever. fortunately, we only have 3 more years of the reign of the bully boy.

t had a pick and it was patricia arquette for hottest, most do-able woman. she's just started watching medium this year and wondered why she'd never noticed patricia before? i told her it was partly due to the fact that they had patricia in silly films like 'i just married a pre-teen mormon!' and other junk. but she is a good actress and, as ava and c.i. would point out, medium is a good fit on her.

the grooviest, sexiest, smartest people of the year? my readers.

trend of the year: protesting, speaking out!

huge losers of the year. the mainstream press. be thankful for real broadcasters like amy goodman, laura flanders and the entertainer janeane garofalo who blows the mainstream media out of the water. three strong women worth noting. i'm including janeane on the list and i know she's a comedian. but she means to make you laugh, the mainstream press doesn't mean to make you snicker at it. amy goodman gives you the best news program there is and laura flanders is like a news magazine with a wide range of topics.

and the mainstream press? the year of woody, the year of judy, the year of matty cooper. the year the white house asks that this be withheld or that be and the mainstream press goes along with it. the year that they showed no interest in the downing street memos. this was an embarrassing year for them. maybe more so than 2002 when they couldn't stop cheerleading? what was the difference? we have a network now where truth can get out to large number of people. they stand exposed.

so that's a look at the year 2005. on the plus side, a lot of people woke up. let's continue the trend.

sherry e-mailed and said 'you've got to post the picture of dirty boy jake gyllenhaal getting clean.' Posted by Picasa


'the then-liberal new republic' (somebody tell pristine)

William Greider writes: Ralph Nader and dozens of old friends got together recently to celebrate the fortieth birthday of a book -- Unsafe at Any Speed, his auto industry expose. It has its origin in "The Safe Car You Can't Buy," which first appeared in The Nation in 1959. The book was the starting gun for the consumer movement and, much more, for citizen activism. At the gathering Nader introduced some early collaborators -- Village Voice columnist Jim Ridgeway, who wrote a riveting account of Nader's campaing in the then-liberal New Republic, and publisher Richard Grossman, who created a hard-hitting genre known as "Nader books." Some of his young deep-digging associates described their work in what is an ongoing fight. The old crusader, we are pleased to report, has not mellowed.

the above is from the january 2, 2006 issue of the nation, page 27. c.i. saw it in the magazine and thought i might find it interesting which i do. 'the then-liberal new republic.' talk about a blast from the far away past.

people like 'pristine' just don't get that the new republican isn't liberal and hasn't been in decades. it's not their fault that they're uninformed, i guess.

i mean it's not like they can take the trouble to, i don't know, READ!

every 1 of my readers know that robert parry is 1 of my favorite voices that speaks to me and i've read every 1 of his books (and give them out as gifts). if any 1's confused about the new republican, all they have to do is pick up one of his books. but if you're a woman of a certain age who cares more for watching tv shows about high school kids, reading probably isn't high on your list of things to do.

you're probably, instead, chasing down the american idol cds and finding other ways to make yourself a useless adult because god forbid you know a thing about the world around you beyond what is on your tv screen.

that's more than sad, it's flat out disgusting. to be so far past 18 and to be so into what 15 year-olds are doing is disgusting. i should say, 'to be so into what you think 15 year-olds are doing' because i have high school readers and 2 middle school 1s and they're much more interested in the world around them then 'pristine' is.

it's not her fault that she's uninformed. of course it is her fault, since she had freak out (1st freak out, she's had multiple freak outs) over what was originally written, that the new republic attempted to encite violence against arundahti roy. that's apparently a-okay with 'pristine.'
she loves to read her new republican. it gives her 'ideas.' guess she can't count on veronica mars for everything, huh?

well, she reads the arts coverage in the new republican anyway. she can't seem to move away from music and tv. and everything she writes about is 'the best!' and 'the most wonderful!' she's like a wide-eyed intern at a p.r. firm. (i saw many like her when i was in p.r.) she's just such an eager beaver desperate to be noticed. you'll never catch me linking to the new republican because i do have a code of ethics.

if a mag is:

1) neocon
2) publishes falsehoods regularly (it goes way beyond stephen glass but she probably never even heard of him - they did make a movie but no refugee from a joss whedon show was in it)
3) anti-woman
4) encourages violence against women

i don't link.

i have self-respect. i have ethics.

to act like a p.r. intern year after year means 'pristine' has to chase trends, has to prop them up constantly and can't ever have a moment of critical thought.

this is really sad.

so when you wonder, if you still do, why she can't speak out against the war, the answer's simple: veronica mars hasn't addressed the war yet. 'pristine' can't mouth anything, repeat it, unless it's first been said by a 20 something playing a high school teen.

i was so busy with family last weekend but if i'd known they'd be doing 'all puff and no politics (parody)' at the third estate sunday review, i would've tried so hard to make time for that. i'm glad ruth was there because i know the gang was short handed. but they did a great edition and speaking of great, please check out betty's 'the prig of paxil' because she was so frustrated by that.

we were doing the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin last night and betty was just dogging it. i told her that thomas friedman had been off for 6 weeks and this was her getting back into the swing of things post so not to be hard on it no matter what it was like. i hadn't read it yet. after we all got off the phone, the 1st thing i did was read it and it's hilarious. betty deserves praise for that and if it hadn't been so late last night, i would've called her. tonight's her church night so i won't bother her because she has so much to do on wednesday nights. but i'm calling her tomorrow to say 'stop it' because it's funny. she's too hard on her work.


a few thoughts on the year 2005

Student Admits to Book Watch List Hoax
And in Massachusetts a college student has admitted he fabricated a story about being questioned by federal agents for seeking to borrow a book by written by Mao. The report first appeared in the Standard-Times in New Bedford Massachusetts and was picked up around the world. The student initially told his professors about the visit and claimed Mao's Little Red Book was on a watch list of books.

that's from democracy now.

as c.i. noted today, i had an anecdote i was working involving mao's little red book and a little black dress. student hoax has rendered it useless.

but guess what else is rendered useless? the next person speaking out about something that really happened. student hoax didn't just call his own honesty into question, he called everyone's honesty into question.

so if a some 1 claims in the next few months that something similar happened, they'll have a harder time being believed because some 1 couldn't tell the truth.

i honestly think it's disgusting.

let's note reality hear on planet earth. danny schechter has an article worth reading called 'The News About the News: More Media Decline in 2005:'

Perhaps it's just me-but news seems to be coming our way faster and with a greater fury than ever before. A tsunami of "Breaking News" bulletins courses through the veins and ganglia of what passes for an information system. A corporate news system pumps it on more platforms dedicated to "more news in less time" on the web, on TV, on the radio, and now on the phone. It's hard to escape the deluge.
Before we have time to digest it, or understand any story's implications, it's on to the next, making it more and more difficult to focus on any one item or connect it with another. The author Larry Beinhart of "Wag the Dog" fame speaks of the proliferation of "fog facts" in which important information systematically disappears from view.
No wonder a paralysis of analysis has set in with "on message" spin machines making it harder and harder for us to assess trends objectively, construct meaning or let us think for ourselves. Rather than inform, much of the news often disinforms distorts and deceives. Rather than strengthen our society by talking truth to power, our media system increasingly undermines democracy by making a civil discourse harder and harder to practice. The loud-mouthed partisans in the punditocracy turn substantive debate into noise. Heat, not light, proliferates.We are all under attack-some from bombs, others from bullet points. The media system has become a battlefield of competing values and often the absence of any values.
2005 was a year in which the media not only brought us news but also became part of the news as scandals usually associated with government and politicians rippled through the media companies, their boardrooms and newsrooms.

it seems not all that long that the election of 2004 had taken place. 2005 has moved so quickly. we had the downing street memos. we had the hurricanes. we had john conyers standing brave when others waivered. we had the 'summer of protest.' c.i. called that right. i could tell you the grief we gave c.i. for that phrase when we were all working on an editorial at the third estate sunday review. but looking back, that's exactly what it was and the protests continue.

i remember thinking 1/2 way through 2004, 'at last the country is waking up.' that was nothing compared to 2005.

my favorite e-mails are the 1s where some 1 writes to say they thought they were all alone until they stumbled across the community. as a part of the community, i do understand that feeling.
i am glad and proud to be part of a community that stood up against the war loudly and proudly while others had their thumbs up their ass and couldn't find a voice (some still can't now, you know who i mean).

musically, i finally found a cd to listen to as much as i do otis redding's otis blue, jack johnson's. i'm not even sure of the title. it lives in my multi-disc cd player.

speaking of community, i wasn't able to help out with the latest edition of the third estate sunday review last weekend. but it's a great edition and i hope you'll check it out. i'll note their editorial tonight.

Editorial: Bully Boy Spying and Lying But The Press Wants To play "Some Say"
George Bush and the other purveyors of pain can take a day off from spying on Americans without due process to celebrate the holidays with their families. Dick "the Grinch" Cheney made a "surprise" visit to Iraq the other day. His black heart feels no pain for the tragic loss of life that his greed has caused. How dare he show his face in a country which is destroyed by his insatiable quest for black gold and his obscene lust for profits for his company Halliburton and the other war profiteers?

The pain that these people have caused the world is inestimable. The people of the world want an accounting of the pain and for the people who seem to be getting off Scott free to be brought to some kind of justice for the damage they have wrought on humanity.
The above is from Cindy Sheehan's "Language of the Heart" (BuzzFlash). As 2005 draws to a close, it seems appropriate to note the voice that touched off the summer of portest that woke up the country. The invasion/occupation continues. Both in Iraq and in the oval office.But we can now talk about bringing the troops home now (even as the mainstream media snickers at the idea -- how many publishers of newspapers have sons and daughters or grandsons and daughters serving in Iraq?). We're also hearing "impeachment" pop up quite a bit.Most of all, we're hearing about the government spying on citizens. Apparently, it's okay to spy on activists, for the Pentagon to. Which is why news of that (or news of the NYCPD spying on activists) is a one day story.
The mainstream press has demonstrated a little more interest in the issue of the NSA spying on citizens.
If Bully Boy's last name was "Clinton," he'd be simmering in hot water about to boil. Instead, reporters who do cover the story seem to struggle real hard to find the silver lining of "balance" that can raise the reasonable doubt that the actions of the NSA (ordered by the Bully Boy) were not a crime. (In fact they were a high crime.)
The commander-in-chief caveat gets walked around the block a lot. It's so hard for some to grasp that the Constitution does not make a president the commander-in-chief of the general population. Commander-in-chief of the military, yes. Not commander-in-chief of non-military Americans. Unless the mainstream press is attempting to argue that we've traded a democracy for a military junta, it's a point they should have absorbed some time ago.
They also seem to really struggle trying to attempt to figure out why FISA was created in the first place. FISA is the secret court that can issue warrents for wiretaps, the court that Bully Boy elected not to utilize when he attempted a power grab that spat on the very notion of checks and balances.
We frequently feel as though we run a remidial school for the mainstream press here so let's once again open our books (or web pages) and let's note Democracy Now!'s "An Impeachable Offense? Bush Admits Authorizing NSA to Eavesdrop on Americans Without Court Approval:"
JAMES BAMFORD: Well, before I get into that, just one other comment on what we just have been talking about. When the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was created in 1978, one of the things that the Attorney General at the time, Griffin Bell, said -- he testified before the intelligence committee, and he said that the current bill recognizes no inherent power of the President to conduct electronic surveillance. He said, 'This bill specifically states that the procedures in the bill are the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance may be conducted.' In other words, what the President is saying is that he has these inherent powers to conduct electronic surveillance, but the whole reason for creating this act, according to the Attorney General at the time, was to prevent the President from using any inherent powers and to use exclusively this act.
Now that was a long quote for those with short attention spans. And surely "reporters" who've spent the last few years being spoonfed probably haven't developed the skills to analyze. So let's walk you through that slowly. Griffin Bell was the Attorney General of the United States of America. Under President Jimmy Carter. At the time that the FISA courts were being created. When Congress was considering the bill that would create the FISA courts, ATTORNEY GENERAL Bell testified that the bill did not create a new power for a president.
So one of Bully Boy's many talking points can be rejected now.
Another fun talking point is to argue that apparent minimal briefings to a small number of members serving in the Congress implies Congressional consent. That talking point is laughable on its face. Congressional consent is not something that's granted lightly nor something that should take place away from the public eye.
Furthermore, note this:
Daschle: Bush Administration Was Denied Spy Authority
In Washington, former Senate Minority leader Tom Daschle has disclosed previously unknown details that challenge the Bush administration's claim it has legal authority to eavesdrop on Americans and foreign nationals in the US. The White House says the authority was implicitly granted in the joint Congressional resolution authorizing the use of force passed shortly after 9/11. But in today's Washington Post, Daschle claims the Bush administration requested, but was denied, the authority it now claims it was granted.
Former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle: "Literally minutes before the Senate cast its vote, the administration sought to add the words 'in the United States and' after 'appropriate force' in the agreed-upon text. This last-minute change would have given the president broad authority to exercise expansive powers not just overseas -- where we all understood he wanted authority to act -- but right here in the United States, potentially against American citizens. I could see no justification for Congress to accede to this extraordinary request for additional authority. I refused."
Consent was not granted by Congress. Daschle states that the administration attempted to carve out those powers but was rebuffed.
Some argue that the Bully Boy doesn't have to answer to Congress at all. One talking point is that he notified them (some, in a minimal manner) and that's all he needed to do. Again, is this a democracy or a military junta?If it's a democracy, we have rules both for the governed and for those doing the governing.
Now they haven't been applied for the bulk of Bully Boy's tenure but we're talking about a very serious issue. To cover it, the mainstream press may need to leave their "Bully Boy says" versus "some critics argue" stance. Just as if they witnessed a shooting, they'd be unlikely to report, "the accused states that he did not shoot the person but some witnesses argue that he did. We'll leave you with both arguments and won't venture to state the obvious facts."2005 has been a wild ride. The fatigue and depression following election 2004 lifted slowly, but it did lift. Americans are taking issues quite a bit more seriously than the mainstream press. Maybe it's a desire to start those vacations that won't end until after New Year's Eve? Maybe it's just a tendency to want to have fun, fun, fun during this seasonal time?
But the fact is Americans were spied on by their government. First, Bully Boy says only if one end of the call was international. Now it turns out that Bully Boy's claim was yet another lie. The spying took place without utilizing the court in place to grant permission -- the court created for that very reason. This is a power grab that would leave Richard Nixon gasping in awe at the sheer audacity of the move. So perhaps it's finally time for the mainstream press to attempt reporting and not mere stenography?
As Kat noted at the end of a recent music commentary, "Truth to power in 2006."
[This editorial was written by The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jess and Jim, C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, and Ruth of Ruth's Morning Edition Report.]

news you shouldn't miss

i hope everyone had a pleasant weekend. posting late due to the fact that we all worked on one entry. here it is:

"News roundup including did Bully Boy break the law?"
Did Bully Boy break the law by authorizing spying on American citizens and circumventing the FISA courts? If so, how many years can someone be sentenced to for that crime? We'll highlight a radio discussion on that issue, but first, news on Iraq, Morocco, Afghanistan, the Phillipines, Russia, Chile, Israel, activism and more.

As reported on The Daily Iraq Wire, December 25th wasn't a day of peace in Iraq. Two bombs went off in Iraq injuring seven Iraqis. In addition, a reported al Qaeda group in Iraq announced Sunday that they had kidnapped and killed four Arabs who had been "working with the US authorities and the Iraqi government in the fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad."
Monday violence and unrest continued. Deepa Babington, reporting for the Irish Examiner, notes that Baghdad saw five explosions today killing eight and wounding thirty-eight. Outside of Baghdad, there were attacks in Falluja where a suicide bomber killed himself and two police recruits. In Dhabab, five Iraqi soldiers were killed.

Reporting for IPS, Gareth Porter reports today a "looming confrontation" between Shi'ites in Iraq and the American officials who are urging the disbanding of Shi'ite paramilitary groups. American officials fear groups may have close ties to Iran. The "looming confrontation" emerged when American officials decided to make an issue of the "torture houses" run by Shi'ites. "Decided?" Major R. John Stukey and others first reported the existance of "torture houses" in June of 2005. From June to November, US officials remained silent.

As of Monday, US military fatalities in Iraq stand at 2169, official count with 56 of those fatalities for the month of December. Iraq Body Count, which gathers totals by following media reports, estimates that as few as 27,592 and as many as 31,115 Iraqis have died thus far since the invasion.

In other war news, Agence France-Presse reports the American military is claiming that "very soon" the number of troops serving in Iraq will drop from 19,000 to 2, 5000.

In activism news, NOW is calling for action on Samuel Alito, Jr.'s Supreme Court nomination:

There is work to be done, both in Washington, DC and throughout the country. As a part of Freedom Winter 2006, NOW and Feminist Majority Foundation are working together to bring grassroots activists to DC between January 3 and January 20. We're also encouraging activists to organize in their communities.

More information can be found online at NOW as well as online at the Feminist Majority Foundation. In related news, Ms. Magazine has compiled "the top ten news stories for women in 2005." Topping the list, Sandra Day O'Connor's announcement that she will step down from the Supreme Court bench. Planned Parenthood has also compiled a look back at the year 2005. Their look back begins with a listing of the five best and five worst places to get birth control prescriptions filled:

Brooks/Eckerd Corporation
Rite Aid

In international news, Al Jazeera reports that Augusto Pinochet will finally stand trial for the deaths and disappearances carried out under his dictator regime as the head of Chile. Chile's Supreme Court, in a three to two vote, ruled that Pinochet is fit to stand trial. The BBC reports that charges will be filed Tuesday against four US marines for rape. The four are currently at the US embassy in Manila and "it is unclear whether it will hand over the marines." Abdul Rahman Khuzairan reports, for Islam.Online. net, that on Sunday a sit in was staged in Casablanca by Morocco's Equity and Reconciliation Forum "to protest the mass grave found recently with the remains of 82 people." Canada's Star Phoenix reports that Monday in St. Petersburg, shoppers in one store were exposed to a mysterious gas: "Boxes containing timers wired to glass vials were discovered at the scene of the attack and three other stores in the same chain in Russia's second-largest city." And in Tut-tut Tuttle news, the Finanical Times reports that car dealer and contributor of $70,000 worth of donations to the GOP in 2004, Robert Tuttle continues to stumble in his post as US ambassador to England. For the second time, Tuttle has been forced to issue a correction to the BBC following an interview. Embassy work, not as easy as moving cars off a lot.

"Have we made poverty history?" asks The Independent of London? The debt relief in 2008 will go not to Africa but to Iraq and Nigeria. In addition the United States is backing off from it's earlier committments. Also reporting for The Independent, Maxine Frith notes that charities and aid workers believe that Live 8, and those involved in the concerts, "hijacked" the effort and gave the world a false sense of resolution when the problems of world poverty contine. Meera Selva reports from Africa that the people supposed to benefit from the concerts in London's Hyde Park have seen little difference in their lives. One woman tells Selva, "We have problems in Africa, big problems. What can plastic bracelets and pop concerts do to solve them?"

Reuters reports Israeli helicopters firing three missiles into Gaza. This comes as Al Jazeera reports that the Israeli government has announced intentions to build an additional 200 homes on the West Bank. The BBC reports, in other news from the region, that Ariel Sharon has been urged to "curb his appetite" by doctors as he awaits sugery "to close a small hole which doctors found in his heart after he had a minor stroke."

For The KPFA Evening News Anthony Fest spoke Monday evening to Christopher Pyle, "a consultant to Congress in the drafting of the surveillance act, today he teaches political science at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusettes." (What follows is a rough transcript, use the link to listen to the archived broadcast.)

Pyle: The Church Committee was set up because during the Watergate era we had discovered extensive domestic surveillance operations by a number of agencies including the FBI, military intelligence, the CIA and, the largest intelligence agency of all, the National Security Agency. It does electronic intercepts worldwide. It has stations around the world. It picks up communications off of statellites. It picks them off of landlines and it searches them with a dictionary of watch words. And during the 1970s, we discovered that the National Security Agency had maintained files on about 75,000 Americans and they particularly targeted political activists like Dr. Martin Luther King, the folk singer Joan Baez, and the anti-war protestor Dr. Benjamin Spock. We sought to end that massive surveillance, which had no judicial authority what so ever, by passing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. That law said that if the government, when the government wanted to monitor electronic communications it had to go to a special court to gain a national security authorization, a speciall warrant. And for a number of years, it appears that the government did go to the special court and was able to conduct its monitoring with special warrants. But three years ago, the Bush administration decided that this was inconveinent for some reason that's not fully understood. And they just ignored the court and began collecting, uh, information rather broadly. The law itself says that it's the exclusive method by which monitoring may take place and that anybody who violates the law is guilty of a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
Fast: So there's no leeway for interpretation here, it's uh, it's black and white that if you don't go through the FISA court, you are in violation of the law?
Pyle: Exactly. So what we have here is the rather extraordinary situation of a president who has admitted to committing a felony. Now he says that Congress excused him by passing the resolution against al Qaeda but that says nothing about electronic surveillance. And then he says that the Constitution excuses him because the Constitution places him above the law. There's actually a secret memo produced by the Justice Department to justify torture that says that a war time president can ignore the criminal law of the United States. There's no basis for this in law, there's no basis for this in the history of Constitutional law and Constitutional interpretation and that's of course why the memo was kept secret because if it had ever seen the light of day it would have been laughed out of court. Well now it's seen the light of day and assertions based on that theory have seen the light of day and we're not laughing because we realize the government is really out of control.
Fast: Doubtless the techonology of surveillance is incrompably more powerful today than it was in the 1960s. Is there any indication yet exactly how wide, how wide a net the NSA was casting or how many people had been surveilled?
Pyle: No. The initial reports by the New York Times were that up to 500 people at a time had been targeted but perhaps thousands had been intercepted. And if they were, let's say, monitoring all e-mails and searching all e-mails in the United States for certain code words or phrases then it would be probably hundreds of thousands or millions of people who would have been monitored, not simply 500 people targeted at any given time. But we really don't know. But what we know is that the judges on the FISA court are extremely upset. One of them has already resigned because of this. The others want to know particularly whether this warrant-less spying was being used to then produce probable cause for specific warranted spying. In other words, infecting the very process with illegaly obtained information.
Fast: Since the administration was apparently conducting surveillance that was more in the nature of data mining then watching individuals is there any legal grounds under which they could conduct that kind of operation?
Pyle: No, that is what was known in the common law as a general search. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution forbids general searches. The second clause of the Fourth Amendment says that the warrants must be obtained that specify the place to be searched and and the things to be seized. The FISA warrants specify the persons who are the targets of the intercepts. There has to be specifity. There can't be a great dragnet collecting everything and then sorting it by computer and putting everybody under suspicion.

Did Bully Boy break the law? Better question, after trotting out Vicky Toe-Jam in print and on TV to put forward false claims about the Congessional act passed in the 80s to prevent the outing of CIA agents, why has the mainstream media been so reluctant to pursue people who helped with the drafting of the FISA act?

The above is news you may have missed and was compiled by Wally, Rebecca, Mike, Kat, Jim, Jess, Ty, Cedric, Elaine, Betty, and C.I.


christmas and no nerves of steel

i'm writing later than intended. fly boy gave me 1 early christmas present - my name is barbra on dvd. so we watched that with bowls of popcorn and candy. (fly boy's partial to lemon sours.)

okay, it was the boxed set. of barbra's specials. so we watched my name is barbra and then, of course, we had to watch color me barbra. they are bookends. 1 is in black & white, the other is in color.

i'll share that i'm nervous about the holidays because we're spending them with my family and i know people, especially 1 aunt, are going to assume that we're back together (whcih we kind of are) and that we'll be getting remarried or something along those lines.

i was so freaked out imaging that at 1 point today that i had to call elaine and ask her to do a quick fix on her best friend. there are fringe benefits to having a pyschologist for a best friend.
so she talked me through the best and worst that could happen and then suggested that i write something about it tonight because there are probably a lot of people with various levels of of worries.

so if you're 1, join me in pressing on through.

i have a reader who's planning to come out to his family sunday. he's nervous about it. he'll be there with his boyfriend for the 4th year in a row. but every 1 acts as though they're just roommates. so he's going to say what he thinks every 1 already knows but even with that, he's still nervous.

my nervousness pales in comparison to that.

but when you're going to be around people who you know and who have expectations that you know, it can be stressful.

i've already sent out the word that fly boy is attending but that people shouldn't be talking reunions or planning for the future.

but knowing your family means knowing their expectations. the minute we arrive together any caution will be tossed aside. and the 1 aunt? i know she's going to pull aside and attempt to give me advice on how to 'make it work.'

so it's nerve wracking. if you're going through something similar, you aren't alone.

be sure to check out kat's latest 'Kat's Korner: Breaking through the "conventional truths" with No Secrets.' like i told you last night, she's reviewing carly simon's no secrets. like i told you last night, it's amazing. so be sure to check it out and check out wally because he has the 411 on why eli asked kat to review that album.

and let me note something that c.i. and wally are noting. in case there's a fox 'news' loon you're around this weekend, arm yourself with knowledge from democracy now:

JAMES BAMFORD: Well, before I get into that, just one other comment on what we just have been talking about. When the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was created in 1978, one of the things that the Attorney General at the time, Griffin Bell, said -- he testified before the intelligence committee, and he said that the current bill recognizes no inherent power of the President to conduct electronic surveillance. He said, 'This bill specifically states that the procedures in the bill are the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance may be conducted.' In other words, what the President is saying is that he has these inherent powers to conduct electronic surveillance, but the whole reason for creating this act, according to the Attorney General at the time, was to prevent the President from using any inherent powers and to use exclusively this act.

happy holidays. i'll be back on monday.


bully boy's illegal spying

The secret spying program was said to be necessary because getting court approval under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is too time-consuming. That position is difficult to accept: Warrants requested under FISA can be approved in a matter of hours, and the statute allows the government in emergency situations to put a wiretap in place immediately, and then seek court approval later, within 72 hours. But the true reason behind the administration's position is less difficult to decode - the desire to circumvent a key limitation of FISA. Despite the statute's breadth, it permits wire taps only on agents of foreign powers, and would not have permitted them on persons not directly connected to al-Qaida. Apparently seeking to cast a much wider net after 9/11, the president simply ignored the law and unilaterally - and secretly - authorized warrantless wiretaps on Americans.
Was it legal to do so? Attorney General Alberto Gonzales argues that the president's authority rests on two foundations: Congress's authorization to use military force against al-Qaida, and the Constitution's vesting of power in the president as commander-in-chief, which necessarily includes gathering "signals intelligence" on the enemy. But that argument cannot be squared with Supreme Court precedent. In 1952, the Supreme Court considered a remarkably similar argument during the Korean War. Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, widely considered the most important separation-of-powers case ever decided by the court, flatly rejected the president's assertion of unilateral domestic authority during wartime. President Truman had invoked the commander-in-chief clause to justify seizing most of the nation's steel mills. A nationwide strike threatened to undermine the war, Truman contended, because the mills were critical to manufacturing munitions.
The Supreme Court's rationale for rejecting Truman's claims applies with full force to Bush's policy. In what proved to be the most influential opinion in the case, Justice Robert Jackson identified three possible scenarios in which a president's actions may be challenged. Where the president acts with explicit or implicit authorization from Congress, his authority "is at its maximum," and will generally be upheld. Where Congress has been silent, the president acts in a "zone of twilight" in which legality "is likely to depend on the imperatives of events and contemporary imponderables rather than on abstract theories of law." But where the president acts in defiance of "the expressed or implied will of Congress," Justice Jackson maintained, his power is "at its lowest ebb," and his actions can be sustained only if Congress has no authority to regulate the subject at all.

that's from david cole's "Bush's Illegal Spying."

bully boy could have gone to fisa but chose not to. it goes to the arrogance at the heart of the bully. he barged into office feeling he was above the law and he's never lost that sense of entitlement.

so using the youngstown precedent, constitutional law professor cole explains that there should be no legal ground for bully boy to stand on. cole explains how the bully boy falls into the 3rd catergory which is where presidential power rests 'at its lowest ebb.'

what there's no backing for, bully boy pretends there is and blusters and bullies.

i think the david cole article is important and that it's something you should familiarize yourself with. it places the issue in a legal context that cuts through the spin and moves beyond the 'objective' reporting that says 'bully boy claims that' and 'some democrats argue that'. this is a pretty clear cut issue. bully boy could have gone to fisa for a warrant. and he didn't have to do it right away. he could do after the spying had started. but the laws in place weren't flexible enough for a bully who thinks he's god or at least king. so he does what he wants and says screw you to the courts, congress and the people.

this week thom hartman has been substituting for janeane garofalo and sam seder on the majority report. i mention that because i know community members were bothered last year that there were so many repeats on air america for about two weeks in the lead up to christmas and until after new year's eve. there's too much going on to be stuck in reruns. a news network can't take two weeks off except for their five minutes of news at the top of each hour. peter werbe has filled in for mike malloy on the mike malloy show and mike malloy has filled in for randi on the randi rhodes show. randi and her staff are usually on top of things (community member eddie has praise for tim and randi) and so it's no surprise that the website for her show has the schedule up for next week (tomorrow is a best of randi show):

Mon, 12/26 - Best of Randi
Tue, 12/27 - Mike Malloy
Wed, 12/28 - Best of Randi
Thu, 12/29 - Mike Malloy
Fri, 12/30 - Mike Malloy

this was an issue last year to the community. and when big brain came back in january tut-tutting that unfiltered was the place where you had to go to hear the news and here she was telling you about the tsunami - uh, excuse me, the tsunami happened while you were on vacation and unfiltered was in repeats. big brain was just so proud of herself for ... going on vacation? you can't do that. as c.i. stated (so nicely) after this happened last year (too nicely?) people do need their vacations but a talk show network that focuses on the news shouldn't go into repeats when people are counting on it for news. for some listeners, it was as though abc world news tonight had taken 2 weeks off.

it's not a way to build up an audience and a number of members began listening to pacifica for the first time during this period last year when c.i. noted that they had programming.

with a radio network, you never know when some 1's going to discover you for the 1st time. and if they discover you by going up and down the dial and it's dec. 27th and your show is going over something happening in november, especially if it's something that has been resolved or that more is known on, you sound like some 1 who is out of touch. that doesn't encourage trust.
and if you're listening to get perspective on the day's news, you really aren't in the mood for nonstop repeats. i'm not surprised that radio pros like randi rhodes and mike malloy get that or that janeane garofalo and sam seder (who've become radio pros though janeane always downplays her own abilities - she's very good).

i'm also not surprised that baby cries a lot doesn't and that he thinks what the country is a week of repeats from him. best ofs, he's called it this week. he has a prime slot and is carried most of the stations (probably all) that carry air america programming. (no surprise, some of them are messing with randi rhodes' show - which should make every 1 watch clear channel closely, they refused to syndicate randi rhodes before air america began because she was beating rush in markets where she aired and they didn't want to anger rush.) to provide a week of dead air in a prime spot that's carried on so many stations is something air america should have addressed.

you have people who would have seen filling in as a mission or an honor. you also have people who would have done it to get some exposure for causes they believe in. more importantly, you have some people who do not celebrate christmas either for personal or religious reasons. a substitute host or hosts could have been brought in. instead it's dead air as you listen to jokes (or 'jokes') on a timely issue that may not be timely because it's old.

will we hear more on impeachment? not in a show that in nonstop repeats.

that's not how you handle a political network. when an issue will be responded to on fox 'news' and by right wingers here, there and everywhere, if air america is supposed to offer an alternative perspective, it can't do that via nonstop repeats.

the radio pros seem to realize that and i'll applaud them. baby cries a lot seems to be doing ego stroking, and i'll call him out for it. you have more flexibility on the weekends (when most listeners are already used to nonstop repeat and a lot of stations carrying air america programming are creating their own programming to air in those spots). but during the week, if you're covering what's in the news and giving political commentary on it, you need to be there or offer a substitute host who can be.

in this community, elaine, wally, mike and c.i. are very aware that the community doesn't want community sites going dark. so we have provided daily content. (c.i. several times a day.) we know that other members need time off and i know wally plans to take time off at some point when every 1's back to blogging (or 'resource/review'ing in c.i.'s case). i may take a week off at some point in the new year. but with impeachment finally breaking through as a what-if to the mainstream media, i wouldn't feel right taking off without providing a fill in or having other members not be on vacation.

if i do provide a fill in when i go on vacation, i have some 1 in mind. when i went on vacation this summer, i asked elaine to fill in and she did a wonderful job. she now runs her own site and i wouldn't dream of asking her to fill in. some 1 i would ask is betty.

i think she'd do a great job (and have suggested it to her). at her site, thomas friedman is a great man, she has to stay in character and be 'betinna' wife of thomas friedman. there are things she wants to comment on but can't because it's hard to work them into betinna's character and betinna's world. when i mentioned it to her, her 1st comment was she wouldn't have the time. then she said 'well maybe a paragraph or 2 each day.' then she really got excited.

i think she'd do an amazing job and if i go on vacation in the near future, she'll be the 1st person i ask.

i plan to blog tomorrow. if i miss it, i will blog on saturday. i won't blog both days short of bully boy announcing that he's resigning. due to holiday plans, i won't be able to participate in the third estate sunday review's edition for sunday and i want to thank every 1 for being so nice about that and so supportive. as it stands now, the people who will be participating are jim, jess, cedric, c.i., mike, elaine and 'probably' ava. ava really wants the time off but says that at the very least she will try to make time so that she and c.i. can do a tv commentary.

every 1 needs down time, whether it's a holiday or not. though some people may think, for instance, that kat's done nothing because her site has been 'dead' this week, the reality is she's writing music commentary for the common ills that will start going up tomorrow. so look for her latest then. (i'll break the news, tomorrow, the review she did for eli of carly simon's no secrets, will go up. i have read it and thought it was wonderful.)

but i want to close by noting c.i. who has not missed a day. not just this week, but every day for over a year. c.i.'s been running the common ills since november 2004. there has been no day off. sometimes that means dictating entries over the phone, sometimes that means e-mailing them in. protests? c.i.'s at them and still has new content. going out of town on the weekends to speak on issues, c.i.'s still got new content up there.

i hope in 2006, c.i. will consider taking some time off. c.i. and i have been friends for years and knowing work and political committments as well as social 1s, i still shake my head in disbelief that the common ills has had new content every day. 1 thing that jim and i agree strongly on (we agree on many things) is that c.i. and ava need some time off. their tv reviews are the biggest draw at the third estate sunday review judging by the e-mails. readers love it. the 1 week they addressed a movie, readers were thrilled but asked, 'where was the tv commentary?' so the next week, ava and c.i. came back with 2 reviews (and 2 review was of 2 shows so they actually reviewed 3 shows in one edition). that's a lot to expect of 2 people who do the reviews by themselves. the other pieces are group efforts. this week, when ava's incredibly busy, you have her trying to figure out how she's going to swing time to manage to co-write tv commentary with c.i. we all love their commentaries but we are aware that they deserve a break. so we're tossing some ideas around that would give them at least 1 week off.

guess who else deserves some time off? you the reader. i hope you're making time for yourself this week. this can be a stressful time of year and you don't need to add to your stress. take the time you need for you.


bully boy will scare the hell out of you, mike will make you laugh

AMY GOODMAN: We talk to the watched, Jeff Kerr, General Counsel and Director of Corporate Affairs of PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals; Matt Daloisio of the New York Catholic Worker; and John Passacantando of Greenpeace USA, he’s the Executive Director. Let’s begin with John Passacantando; what do you know about what they know about you?
JOHN PASSACANTANDO: Well, good morning, Amy. We know that the F.B.I., since January 1, 2000, gathered approximately 2,400 pages of information on Greenpeace. This is everything from copies of web pages to reports by corporate-funded think tanks doing analysis of Greenpeace; it's clippings; it's write ups of protests, peaceful protests that we have engaged in; and that's about half of it. The other half of it has been redacted. It's blanked-out pages. So you can't tell if there's eavesdropping. You cannot tell if there's intercepted email traffic. You simply can’t tell; you get multiple boxes of photocopied paper, and only half of them actually have the print still on them.
AMY GOODMAN: Jeff Kerr, you're with PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. We have been looking at documents that are almost fully redacted, except for the name of PETA.
JEFF KERR: Good morning, Amy. Yes, you're right. What the documents show, as far as we can tell, is a gross abuse of power and a waste of resources, as the F.B.I. investigates and infiltrates an organization that it admits in these documents is a lawful charity engaged in First Amendment-protected free speech activity. It's outrageous, and this kind of secret spying has got to stop.
AMY GOODMAN: What exactly do you understand the F.B.I. has been doing in your case?
JEFF KERR: Well, to the extent we can glean it from the documents, we know they're surveilling speeches on college campuses. We know they have gone to some of our protests on public sidewalks, where people are laying naked in a cage to protest cruelty in the fur trade, and we know that they have harassed and questioned our employees on roadsides, and we know they have gone to their homes and businesses to interview them. There's really just such a wasteful type of threat that comes through this, and one indication in one of the documents, Amy, there's reference made where they accuse us of being actively involved in a campaign against a company that we had protested six years before that and hadn't done anything previously. You know, the American people know the difference between a terrorist and somebody in a chicken suit handing out a leaflet against KFC's practices. But the F.B.I. apparently doesn't seem to know that.
AMY GOODMAN: Matt Daloisio, you're with the New York Catholic Worker. What have you read in the documents?
MATT DALOISIO: From the documents I've seen, it looks like the F.B.I. was concerned with the Los Angeles Catholic Worker and their work around Vandenberg Air Force Base and National Missile Defense. Mostly, it seems just sad that the F.B.I. would use resources to investigate a group that's always open about what we do and take responsibility for what we do and is really based in a faith that believes in the God-given dignity of every human being.
AMY GOODMAN: The documents refer to the Catholic Worker’s semi-communist ideology.
MATT DALOISIO: Yes, I guess if we are against war and working with people who are poor, that makes us semi-communistic.

did you watch democracy now today? if not, you missed a chance to hear, as amy goodman noted, 'the watched' speak. i agree with c.i.'s comments this morning about eric lichtblau and james risen's article. i'm not sure what that article was supposed to do, the headline did say it all. and it's really too bad that they can cover everything but 'the watched.' so to hear 'the watched' you need to go to democracy now's 'New Documents Show FBI Spying on Domestic Activist Groups.' maybe some time the new york times will find an interest in 'the watched'? way, way in the future? till then we'll have to be content to read the headlines like today that told us that the nsa was intercepting domestic calls.

i was surprised that c.i. didn't note a front page article on the strike in nyc so i called about that this morning. c.i. noted juan gonzalez's "Arrogance of the MTA made strike a certainty" which is a strong article. but i call and c.i. asks if i read the editorial? i hadn't.

how embarrassing for the new york times. trashing the labor movement for, among other things, being concerned about their pensions. who's in prison for destroying worker's pensions?
not for running off with the money but to funneling into bad investments (sometimes intentionally)? i'm not thinking of any name.

i'm sure there's some 1 but they aren't a poster boy. (or girl.) the new york times never looked more out of touch on workers than it did today with that hideous editorial. (no link, i don't want to give it traffic.)

here's something else the editorial didn't grasp. if you keep benefits or percentages withheld from a check for the workers in place but change the rules for new 1s, you change the rules.
you also set one group of workers against each other. which is the intent, to weaken the union. and the new york times never cares about a worker, they've made that clear for years.

i could hear the anger in c.i.'s voice when i was asked about the editorial.

i still hadn't expected to be as angry as i was until i read that piece of crap.

i'm focusing on governmental spying these days but that editorial angered me so a comment was required.

so let's talk about what we know today. (and you can check out c.i., elaine and mike for more on this and, i'm sure, wally as well.) we know that a judge stepped down:

Surveillance Court Judge Resigns in Protest of Bush Spy Program
This news on the Bush administration's domestic espionage program: the Washington Post is reporting a judge has resigned from the country's top spy court in protest of the secret program in which the National Security Agency has eavesdropped on Americans without court-approved warrants. U.S. District Judge James Robertson, one of 11 members of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, submitted his resignation Monday. The court is regarded as the only authority to authorize wire-taps for domestic espionage.

why do you think that happened?

could it be that bully boy overstepped and violated the constitution? yes, i think it could be.

high crimes? i think so. if we controlled the house, we'd be bringing charges of impeachment against the bully boy.

i want to note something mike wrote yesterday because c.i. and i were talking about how funny it is. he notes a news headline from democracy now and then offers a sarcastic take on the news:

Documents Show FBI Agents Tracked PETA For Years
According to the Washington Post, the documents offer no proof of PETA's involvement in illegal activity. But more than 100 pages of heavily censored FBI files show the agency used secret informants and tracked the group's events for years. The FBI also monitored political activities on college campuses. One FBI file included a contact list for students and peace activists who attended a 2002 conference at Stanford University aimed at ending sanctions then in place in Iraq.
Better spy on PETA because Pamela Anderson's gone after KFC! "They are crammed by the tens of thousands into pens. . . . They routinely suffer broken bones from being bred to be top heavy. . . . KFC refuses to do even the bare minimum . . . " It's like a communique from the Weather Underground! (Thanks to Jess for help with that.) We must stop Striparella! We must put the mastermind of V.I.P. beyond bars! If we don't, the terrorists have won!
After many hours carefully studying the Pamela Anderson Lee & Tommy Lee tape, J-Ass has detected many things that raised his interest. He passed the tape onto Alberto Gonzales for further study. Gonzales is said to be aroused and passionate by the contents of the tape.Who will save us from Pamela Anderson? Only the Bully Boy!

mike cracked me up but i don't doubt that somewhere there's a republican who will read it and think, 'that guy's right!' missing the point of the sarcasm and the point of the news. that's it for tonight.


the outrage is building

so it's tuesday and i'm hearing outrage over bully boy's spying.

i was beginning to wonder how many people were paying attention because if i didn't start the conversation, it wasn't getting covered.

but today, friends visiting brought it up, friends and family calling brought it up.

i think the outrage is building.

we should be outraged. what's been allowed to go on is so against everything we are supposed to stand for.

kat had recommended eurythmic's new greatest hits which is called the ultimate collection.

i'm glad she did. here's something from a song annie lennox and dave stewart wrote:

i've got a light

though it refuses to burn

i've got a life

it ain't over

it ain't over

i've got a way

it's the only thing that's mine

the song's called 'i've got a life' and it's 1 of 2 new songs for this collection.

when i was feeling low today, i'd put this cd on and there's a lot to enjoy.

it's easy to get discouraged because we have known, most of us anyway, that this was going on. we've known it for some time. now it's been confirmed and we know it's much worse than anything we've heard yet. so we look around and wonder where the outrage is? it's building, slowly.

but it's important to keep the pressure on.

we need to be getting the word out on this.

while the shock is still out there.

this isn't just a left issue for every 1 on the right. shock jocks and others will act like it is but this is exactly why some conservatives were hesitatnt to vote for the bully boy.

they feared the sort of actions that we now know the administration regularly engages in.

in our community c.i.'s staying on this topic as are elaine, mike and wally. that's because this is an important issue. under bully boy, the government thinks it can spy on you for any reason and they're not prepared to go to the fisa courts for a warrent.

we should be outraged. there are rules and laws the rest of us need to abide by and then there's bully boy who seems to think that he's immune to the rules. (and prosecution.)
so we should be outraged that he's now resorting, again, to his 'with us or without us."

he didn't take an oath to represent half the country. he did take an oath to uphold the constitution and that's not being done. we should all be alremed.


time to open your eyes and find your voice

a lot is going on these days. i hope everyone read c.i.'s 'NYT: Raymond Bonner on Guantanamo Detainee, Linda Greenhouse on Jose Padilla's case.' we are torturing. we are what we accuse others of being.

bully boy's spying on us. he thinks that's okay. he's spent today and yesterday and saturday full of himself and how he's protecting the nation ... by destroying what we stand for.

maybe you caught the war lust the bully boy had when he was raving after 9/11 (several days after) and you thought, 'well this is what we have to do.'

why did you think that?

to save the country?

so how do you justify what's going on now?

how is the country being saved when everything we stand for is being twisted and perverted?

the nsa has been spying on american citizens. bully boy could have tried for a fisa warrent which rarely refuse to grant a warrent. that wasn't the route he wanted to take.

no legal route for the bully boy.

he'd prefer to just grab powers that don't exist.

he's perverted our nation.

we're supposed to stand for freedom but every move the bully boy makes is an attempt to take away another freedom.

john dean's must read book called it 'worse than watergate.'

how much more do we have to witness before we realize dean got it right?

the opposition party has flinched at the sight of their own shadow. they are only now beginning to find their voices.

now is not the time to be silent. now is not to the time to prop up your silence with 'no 1 knows what i believe.' it's time to speak out loudly.

this is our nation that's at stake.

if you're not using your voice and objecting to this latest assault on our freedoms, than you are not doing anything but wasting people's time.

it really is that simple.

if you watched democracy now today, you know that a student, college, was visited by homeland security. the reason he was under suspicion? he attempted to get mao's little red book via interlibrary loan. you can read more about it in gary leupp's counterpunch article.

it's past time for people to open their eyes and find their voices.


goldie and ruth and robert parry

it's the weekend. i'm here.

i'm not sure what to think of saturday blogging. i intended to do it 2 saturdays and then determine what i wanted to do.

i'm going to go ahead and carry it through the month and then decide.

with the reach out i'm doing to attempt to stop the confirmation of alito, there are honestly evenings when i'm too tired. and after 3 or so hours talking about alito, the last thing i want to do is write about him.

(though note, my position on alito is known. i don't shy from expressing it.)

i'm going to note robert parry's "Is Bush Leveling With America?:"

George W. Bush is winning praise from the major U.S. news media for finally leveling with the American people about the difficulties in Iraq. But Bush is still making many of the same false or fuzzy assertions that guided the United States through the first 1,000 days of war.
By refusing to correct or discard these fallacies in four recent speeches and in other comments on Iraq, Bush seems to be holding to an unrealistic course that will lead to an ever-lengthening list of dead American soldiers and Iraqis.
For instance, one of Bush’s favorite arguments continues to be that the U.S. invasion was justified by the goal of imposing democracy on Iraq because "democracies are peaceful countries" -- and, therefore, presumably an Iraq with democratic institutions should become peaceful.
The internal contradiction of this rationale -- from the leader of "the world’s preeminent democracy" which invaded Iraq in 2003 under false premises -- goes unnoticed by the U.S. press corps even though it watched the invasion unfold. In an Orwellian fashion, the news media accepts that Bush’s going to war was evidence of his peaceful intent.
Bush’s notion that democracies are intrinsically "peaceful" is also not supported by history. Democracies as diverse as the United States, France, Great Britain and India have fought wars against neighbors, in colonial possessions or in nations far away -- Vietnam, Mexico, Algeria, South Africa, the Philippines, Cuba and Kashmir, to name a few.
The United States and other powerful democracies also have supported proxy wars in even a longer list of countries. U.S. interventions of various types have touched nearly every country in Latin America and many of the islands of the Caribbean Sea.
War Hysteria Democracies also have shown themselves to be no more immune from war fever than autocratic states, as was demonstrated by the war hysteria that swept the United States in late 2002 and early 2003.
As Bush’s supporters poured French wine into gutters and ran trucks over Dixie Chicks CDs, the U.S. political debate was drowned out by full-throated calls for invading Iraq. Skeptics were largely silenced, often excluded from the major media. Constitutional checks and balances did nothing to slow Bush’s rush to war.

consider that your set up to tomorrow's third estate sunday review because 1 of the books we are going to be discussing is robert parry's fooling america.

that is an important book to me. it's 1 that i've given to friends over the years at christmas time. (i've also given robert parry's other books and enjoy them all but i think this book is overlooked in terms of the other books he's written because when i meet people who've read parry, more often than not, they've never heard of this book.)

the holidays are upon us and many people will gather for new year's eve. when you're around people, i hope you're discussing things that matter. i know my high school readers are taking these conversations into their class rooms. i am glad and i am proud.

goldie e-mailed. she's 15. she's a regular reader. and she's either enjoying her winter break or about to be. she said she takes the issues raised by all of us in the common ills community to her classes. she takes them into the hallways on breaks. she takes them to lunch period.

goldie wrote that i encourage her. no, goldie, you encourage me. you fill with me awe. you're carrying your weight and then some at a time when so many adults are acting like children, you've got a little more on your mind than junk.

goldie credits her mother with getting her to care about the world. she writes that her mother 'is an inspiration' and she must be to have raised such a wonderful, caring and committed young woman.

goldie read what c.i. wrote about talking about the war this week and making it an issue with the people around her and she wanted to comment on it but writes that she wasn't sure she'd sound smart enough.

goldie is more than smart enough and i'll share her comments here. i already shared them with c.i. over the phone this morning and c.i. echoes that goldie, so don't hesitate to share.

1) 'i am already bringing up the war on a regular basis and i read that and thought, "i'm doing all i can do." i was wrong. the plea or challenge forced me to leave the usual groups of people and raise the issue with others. i am really glad i did. a year ago, there was a group of kids in my school that i totally wrote off thinking they just didn't get it. a year ago that was true but today it is not.'

2) 'with people who still do not get it, after i raised the issue with them, i felt good about myself. maybe they haven't been forced to think about but i raised that issue and if they shot me down, some did, they had to deal with the issue for that moment.'

3) 'i had no idea that the mood in my school was so against the war. i told you i read the common ills religiously and that i'm kind of intimidated. my mouth dropped when a girl told me she was so glad i was talking to her about the war because she heard me talking about it in classes all the time and always wanted to say something to me but felt like she wasn't "smart" like me. she is very smart and the sharing we did was probably the best conversation i had. i also ended up with a new friend.'

i hope others talked about the war this week. if you're some 1 like goldie who raises the issue regularly, i hope that, like goldie, you found a way to do even more this week.

we really need to be using our power.

bully boy is addressing the nation tomorrow.

aren't we honored? don't we feel lucky?

he's only speaking because there is shock over his authorizing the nsa to spy on americans. he's in damage control.

but people are waking up to reality.

i want to note ruth's morning edition report because it is as a must read as always. i love ruth. she's compared me to her friend treva before and i take that as a huge compliment.


screech has no customer service skills (are you surprised)

yesterday, i mentioned an e-mail from belinda but didn't go into it. i had some questions about the e-mail and had written belinda back but hadn't heard from her.

she wrote back. this is what she's comfortable with me sharing. she's in 1 of the top 5 ranked, population, cities. companies bring her in to do customer service training. she trains a vareity of people and she was thinking about mike's interview with ryan and how ryan was treated by 'screech.'

she sent me some of her training material today.

belinda kept getting stuck on the comment 'screech' posted in reply to maria's comment. about how the tone was not her kind but the people were coming from a bob dylan site. and what belinda thought about was that 'screech' was acknowledging 1 problem to maria, and only 1, but in her e-mail to ryan, who was the 1 whose feelings got hurt by those people, she can't even mention that.

belinda stressed this point yesterday and today: when your company makes a mistake, you correct it quickly, immediately and express regret over the mistake. she notes that screech didn't do that.

she also notes screech broke the basic rule of customer service:
1) be fair (first come, first serve)
2) prioritize - customers are always your 1st priority
3) give full attention to your current customer

belinda sees that when 'screech' finally wrote ryan, she had already broken the 1st 2 rules by waiting so long to contact him. but what's worse, and belinda thinks this is 1 of the reason's ryan's wife is so upset, she threw #3 out the window.

'give full attention to your current customer'.

she's writing ryan but she's not even acknowledging the problem - how ryan's been hurt. instead, she comes off 'surly and nasty' and some 1 who 'needs to seriously upgrade her people skills.'

belinda: did she ryan as a 'difficult customer'? if so, she didn't follow the basic guidelines there either. she failed miserably and it's rare that you can fail so badly in an attempt to reach out, but she did. if she does have any people skills at all, i'm in doubt, then she wasn't attempting to apologize. she just wanted the last word. that trumped ryan's feelings and the reason she is supposedly writing in the first place. this was an interaction nightmare. she needs to seek out some 1. an analysist, a professional in customer service, some clergy member. but she needs to seek out some 1 and quick. this was a nightmare and it's her fault. i could use this as a test case in training and may well. could you please pass my e-mail to ryan?

i have done that and if he wants to, he will pass his e-mail from 'screech' onto belinda. i agree with her that it was a nightmare. ryan and his wife were obviously very hurt by screech's actions. if any 1 can learn from it, they should. more power to belinda.

so bully boy has no plans to leave iraq. i know that because scotty mclellan was on the tv saying that the elections didn't mean the terrorists would leave. i'll assume scotty was speaking for bully boy and dick cheney.

i'm so tired tonight (a lot of women over tonight and we grabbed stationary and worked on writing our reps to say 'no' on alito) so this will be it for tonight.