Good evening. Hope everyone had a happy holiday this month or, as Cedric pointed out, that they're in the midst of a happy holiday. And I hope Saturday is a good night for everyone celebrating New Year's Eve. Let's get started with Democracy Now!
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.
Elaine and I are including three tonight to include this one. We saw that C.I. noted it at The Common Ills and we figured we should as well to be sure that everyone knows that it was a hoax. We talked about this and I was pretty pissed at the dude but Elaine offered some reasons on how it could have happened so I'll just say he should have known better.
Telcoms Reportedly Aided NSA in Domestic Surveillance
Meanwhile new questions are being raised about the extent of the National Security Agency's surveillance program inside the United States. Both the New York Times and Boston Globe have run a series of articles suggesting the extent of unchecked domestic surveillance is far greater than previously reported. The White House has admitted the NSA has monitored the calls of individuals with suspected ties to Al Qaeda but the Globe is reporting that in fact the NSA has been using computers to monitor and datamine all international phone and Internet communications by Americans. The Times also revealed that the U.S. telecom companies agreed to give the NSA "backdoor access" to all of their networks.
Are you getting scared? You should be. You should be thinking, "Well where do they draw the line now?" Because they've pretty much crossed every line there is to cross. It's really like we're living in the film The Minority Report where people aren't guilty for anything they've done but are guilty for what they might do.
Editors of Barrons Suggests Bush Committed Impeachable Offenses
The latest call for the possible impeachment of President Bush is coming from an unexpected quarter - the prominent business publication Barrons. The editors of Barrons have criticized Bush for authorizing the National Security Agency to spy on Americans without court warrants. The editors wrote "Putting the president above the Congress is an invitation to tyranny. The president has no powers except those specified in the Constitution and those enacted by law. ... Willful disregard of a law is potentially an impeachable offense. It is at least as impeachable as having a sexual escapade under the Oval Office desk and lying about it later."
And if you think it's just me shooting off my mouth before, read the thing above about Barrons because they get it. What Bully Boy did is impeachable. It is a crime.
Martha and Shirley did a really cool thing for The Common Ills Sunday. If you missed it, you should check it out. They're talking about books and stuff. And they mention me and Wally because Zach and West ended up reading two books because me and Wally were talking about them, just yabbering on nonstop. So let's note the author of one of the books, Dave Zirin, and his
"The Bray of Pigs:"
This March's "World Series of Baseball" was supposed to celebrate the explosion of diversity that has forever altered the Major Leagues. Teams from the Dominican Republic, Japan, Puerto Rico, and the little seen but highly regarded Cuban national team were going to play the United States in an unprecedented contest to redefine the slogan "America's Pastime."
But then the Bush administration, yearning for more reasons to be internationally despised, decided to destroy it. In a beautiful act of small government at work, the White House Gang, through the Treasury Department, has denied the Cuban team entry into the United States, effectively gutting the harmless exhibition. As one Cuban citizen told The New York Times, "Enough already! It's unbelievable. This is about sports, not politics. In Cuba, baseball is our culture. Everyone was so anxious to see these games."
But the White House disagrees. "I think our policy regarding Cuba is pretty well known," Bush spokesman Scott McClellan said. "We want people in Cuba to participate in freedom." That is, the freedom to not be a constant source of irritation and embarrassment. The freedom not to criticize neoliberalism. The freedom not to have higher literacy rates and better health care than the United States. Of course, the lack of certain political freedoms in Cuba is very real. But to hear the Bush gang lecture any nation about freedom -- given the fact that they are currently engineering two occupations and defending domestic spying -- is like hearing Hugh Hefner pontificate about abstinence. In reality, this is consistent with a U.S. policy toward Cuba that began under Bill Clinton with the passage of the Helms-Burton Act. The U.S. wants Cuba to be a pariah nation, its life choked out by an embargo.
Dave Zirin is the author of What's My Name Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States
and I'm going to see if C.I. or Rebecca can scan the cover for me and I'll put up a picture of it and put some comments on it.
I hope everyone enjoyed the news roundup we did last night/this morning. I had an e-mail about why it went up at The Common Ills first? It was C.I.'s idea. But C.I. was saying let's put it up at Wally's or Betty's or Cedric's. They all go no, it should be up at The Common Ills and that's what the rest of us felt. I mean if Wally, Betty or Cedric has said, "Okay, cool" that would have been fine. But since they didn't want to take it, it made more sense to put it up at The Common Ills. It was a chance for all of us -- "Wally, Rebecca, Mike, Kat, Jim, Jess, Ty, Cedric, Elaine, Betty, and C.I" -- to work together and it was a way to make sure we all had something for our sites.
Now Kat did three album reviews over the weekend so be sure to check out her reviews of Carly Simon's No Secrets, James Blunt's Back to Bedlam and Bright Eyes' Motion Sickness.
Remember to check out Elaine's site -- Like Maria Said Paz -- for her commentary on Democracy Now!
Motto: The Common Ills community is important and the Common Ills community is important to me. So I'll do my part for the Common Ills community.
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