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.