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.