Monday, January 16, 2006

Democrats blew it and people should be pissed

Good evening. Happy MLK Day. And if you missed it, Democracy Now! honored MLK today with a full hour:

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929-1968
Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. He was born January 15, 1929. If he lived, he would have turned 77 years old. In the early 1960s, King focused his challenge on legalized racial discrimination in the South where police dogs and bullwhips and cattle prods were used against Southern blacks seeking the right to vote or to eat at a public lunch counter. After passage of Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, King began challenging the nation's fundamental priorities. He maintained that civil rights laws were empty without "human rights" -- including economic rights.

So be sure to check that out. A number of you are using my e-mail ( to write my mother which is cool but Dale asked when I was going to get off my lazy butt and help her set up her own account? Good question. She's been busy all day or I would have done it today. She really is busy a lot which is why she only plans to blog on Saturdays.

That's at Trina's Kitchen, by the way. I hope everyone checked out her post Saturday.

Other big question is where is everyone? Well C.I. posted Sunday and today. But last week took a lot of time for everyone. Obviously for C.I. who was in D.C. for the hearings. But besides everyone blogging, they were also participating in roundtables for the gina & krista roundrobin and those things could last three hours. So we were all wiped out.

Elaine's posting this evening or tonight. And Seth's been posting lately so check him out. He's going to write about Brokeback Mountain soon so that should be worth reading.

We're also bothered by the jerk who's stalking Rebecca. I don't think he reads this site but in case he does . . . Dude, since this summer you've been trying to convince her you've got some bond with her. She's not interested. Take a hint. If a woman blows you off for over six months, take a hint. Leave her alone already.

That's bothering everyone. And we really are bothered by what we saw in the Alito's hearings.
Do the Democrats know how to do a damn thing? They've already tossed in the towel on this. I'm not saying we should give up. We should try to force them to put their spines back in the bodies. We should pressure them on this. But they have really been a cowardly bunch of wimps. And don't pin your hopes on the hearings into Bully Boy spying cause if they can't find a backbone, it won't make a damn difference.

If you missed C.I. this morning, I'll note this:

Douglas Jehl's "Specter Vows a Close Look at Spy Program" recaps Arlen Specter's statements on ABC's This Week. Bully Boy acted in good faith, blah, blah, blah, we won't give him a blank check, blah, blah, blah, no one's talking impeachment. If impeachment is off the table (the strongest measure the Congress has) and Specter knows Bully Boy acted in good faith, exactly what sort of check is being handed other than a blank one? He's limited options before the hearings have even started and he's vouching for Bully Boy's motives before they've been examined. So exactly what is the point of the hearings?

Dems better find a backbone real damn quick. The November elections aren't that far off and waiting until this summer to show some life ain't gonna cut it. We, my family, isn't giving to the DNC. Elaine, Ava and C.I. took that pledge awhile back when it was obvious the DNC was backing off from reproductive rights and when I found out about it, my folks found out and asked, "What's that about?" I really didn't know. But Elaine explained it to us and we'll support individual candidates, if they fight, but we won't give a thin dime to the DNC. Dad's also thinking we should be giving money to Bernie Sanders even though he is out of state because he thinks Bernie's one of the few sane people in Congress.

But the national party better realize no one's impressed with a damn thing they've done. We're impressed with individuals, but we're not impressed with the party. From the backing off of reproductive rights to the cowardice on the war, we ain't impressed.

So along with pressuring your senators to vote against Alito and to filibuster, I'd suggest you don't give a cent to the DNC. Give to the election of someone you believe in. If there's no one in your area, think about Bernie Sanders or Barbara Lee or John Conyers or Maxine Waters or someone like that who has a voice and will use it.

The idiots who made nice in 2000, made nice in 2002, made nice in 2004 and if they think we'll part with our hard earned money so they can make nice in 2006, they're full of crap.

I'm a Democrat but you should probably look around to see if the Green Party has a candidate running in your area and check him or her out too.

But don't give to the DNC that wants to water down everything the people believe in. Screw the DNC. Don't believe their empty promises in e-mails and letters. They always talk big but when it comes down to it, they keep caving.

Where we are is ready to see the troops brought home, keep abortion legal, get real wages for real work and have health care that doesn't break your back on premiums. The party's not interested in that on the national level. On the national level, they're weak and sucking off corporations. I'm tired of their cowardly behavior. They could have made the Downing Street Memos a huge thing but most of them stayed away from John Conyers hearing. Same with Ohio.

You know what? Ma's got an e-mail. She doesn't care what the name is and she can change the password if she wants to later. I went ahead and created it for her, it's and when she gets back in a bit I'll help her get it up on her profile and see if she wants to put some stuff up there while we're doing that.

That's something I accomplished today.

If you're thinking, "Gee Mike, you're in a foul mood" I am. And I don't think I'm the only one.
We're tired of this crap where the Democrats want our votes and our monies but won't stand up for us.


The Democrats were predictable, baiting Alito, and trying to use comments he made in the 1980's as well as his dense judicial record against him. Like many Generals, they were fighting the last war-the one against Court nominee Robert Bork who took on his attackers but whose arrogance and argumentative approach did him in.
Significantly, when Bork himself was asked to comment on Alito's well-choreographed but evasive performance, he said, "The object nowadays is to get confirmed. People will say pretty much -- or avoid saying pretty much in order to get confirmed."
Didn't the Democrats realize that the Republicans would anticipate their knee-jerk approach, and then neutralize its dated and poorly executed confrontation strategy? Why weren't they on alert for dirty tricks like the phony crying spell by Alito's wife publicized by the very firm that promoted the Swift Boat veterans who smeared John Kerry?

By the way "Dianne" Feinstein. C.I. kept asking us all last week, "Doesn't it have two ns?" and we kept going, "No." C.I. was right. But I don't give a damn how she spells her name after the way she acted in the hearings.

Almost forgot Maria's rundown of important stories last week via Democracy Now!

Comandante de Abu Ghraib se acoge a Quinta Enmienda en juicio militar
Maria: Hola. De parte de "Democracy Now!" doce cosas que vale hacer notar este fin de semana. Paz.

Comandante de Abu Ghraib se acoge a Quinta Enmienda en juicio militar
El "Washington Post" informa que un oficial de alto rango del ejército estadounidense se acogió al derecho a no autoincriminarse cuando testifique ante el tribunal militar que juzga a dos soldados acusados de utilizar perros para intimidar a detenidos en la prisión de Abu Ghraib en Irak. La decisión fue tomada por el General de División Geoffrey Miller -- que ayudó a organizar interrogatorios en Abu Ghraib -- poco después de que el Coronel Thomas Pappas, comandante en jefe de Abu Ghraib, aceptara esta semana la inmunidad judicial ofrecida y se le ordenara testificar en un juicio militar a realizarse próximamente. Según el "Post", se le podría pedir al Coronel Pappas que contara cómo surgieron las tácticas abusivas, quién ordenó que se utilizaran y qué posible conexión hay con autoridades de Washington. Michael Ratner, presidente del Centro para los Derechos Constitucionales, afirmó que: "Es un peldaño más arriba en la cadena de mando, y eso es bueno. Podría demostrar que no se trató solamente de unos pocos casos aislados de oficiales corruptos."

Tribunal público presenta acusaciones ante la Casa Blanca
Y en Washington este martes, la Comisión sobre Crímenes de Bush, un grupo de acción pública, presentó ante la Casa Blanca un conjunto de 5 acusaciones. Las acusaciones sostienen que el gobierno de Bush ha cometido crímenes de guerra y crímenes de lesa humanidad. Las acusaciones fueron elaboradas en la primera Comisión Internacional de Investigaciones sobre Crímenes de Lesa Humanidad Cometidos por el Gobierno de Bush, reunida en la Ciudad de Nueva York en octubre. La segunda comisión de investigación se reunirá en la Universidad de Columbia a partir del 20 de enero.

NSA espió intensamente a grupo pacifista de Baltimore
Esta noticia es sobre el programa de espionaje nacional del gobierno de Bush. El sitio web "" obtuvo documentos del gobierno que indican que la Agencia de Seguridad Nacional (NSA, por sus siglas en inglés) espió al grupo Pledge of Resistance de Baltimore, un grupo pacifista vinculado a los cuáqueros. Los documentos indican que el grupo fue intensamente vigilado, con registros detallados de sus viajes, rutas de traslado y hasta los globos de helio que utilizaron en una manifestación. Incluso un día se registraron los movimientos del grupo cada 15 minutos. Y en una manifestación durante la "Semana a favor de Mantener el Espacio para la Paz" (Keep Space for Peace), la NSA tenía previsto realizar una vigilancia aérea y tener cerca un Equipo de Respuesta Rápida a Armas de Destrucción Masiva.

NSA niega pedido de denunciante de testificar ante el Congreso
Por otra parte, ABC News informa que la Agencia Nacional de Seguridad ha rechazado el pedido del denunciante Russell Tice de testificar ante el Congreso. A Tice, un ex agente secreto de la Agencia de Seguridad Nacional y la Agencia de Inteligencia de Defensa que denunció el programa de espionaje interno, se le informó que no podrá testificar debido a que los miembros del personal de Capitol Hill no tienen suficiente autorización de seguridad para escuchar la información secreta que revelaría. Tice hizo públicas sus revelaciones por primera vez en declaraciones oficiales publicadas la semana pasada por "Democracy Now."

Padilla se declara inocente en Miami
En Estados Unidos, José Padilla se declaró inocente de los cargos de terrorismo en Miami. Un juez le negó su pedido de fianza. Padilla fue acusado recién en noviembre luego de estar detenido durante tres años en aislamiento en la sede de una brigada militar en Carolina del Sur. Al momento de su arresto, en mayo de 2002, el entonces Fiscal General John Ashcroft acusó a Padilla de estar involucrado en un "complot terrorista para atacar a Estados Unidos utilizando una 'bomba sucia' radioactiva". Los cargos actuales en su contra no incluyen estas acusaciones. El mes pasado, un tribunal federal de apelaciones insinuó que el gobierno de Bush acusó a Padilla sólo con el fin de frenar una apelación que este tenía pendiente ante la Corte Suprema. La fecha del juicio fue fijada para septiembre.

Wal-Mart considera impugnar ley sobre asistencia médica aprobada en Maryland
En Maryland, legisladores estatales aprobaron una ley el jueves que exigiría al gigante minorista Wal-Mart que aumente el gasto en cobertura médica para sus empleados. Se espera que otros estados adopten la misma medida. La ley de Maryland revirtió un veto del gobernador y culminó una intensa batalla de presión política entre Wal-Mart y grupos laboristas. En virtud de la nueva ley, empleadores con 100.000 o más trabajadores deben destinar por lo menos el ocho por ciento de su nómina salarial a la contratación de seguro médico, o pagar la diferencia al fondo estatal de Medicaid. Un portavoz de Wal-Mart dijo al "New York Times" que la empresa está considerando presentar una demanda para impugnar la ley. La Senadora estatal demócrata Gloria G. Lawlah, quien patrocinó el proyecto de ley, dijo: "Este no es un proyecto de ley de Wal-Mart, es un proyecto de ley de Medicaid". Según Lawlah, este proyecto de ley le dice a los conglomerados que "No se deshagan de los empleados a quienes le niegan el seguro en nuestros servicios de Medicaid".

Contaminantes más grandes del mundo ignoran metas de gas en reunión inaugural
Y en Australia, seis de los países más contaminantes del mundo anunciaron la creación de un fondo multimillonario para el desarrollo de energía no contaminante -- pero insistieron que seguirán utilizando principalmente combustibles fósiles contaminantes para operar sus industrias y economías. Estados Unidos, China, Japón, India, Corea del Sur y Australia -- que conjuntamente representan casi la mitad de las emisiones peligrosas de gases de efecto invernadero del mundo -- se reunieron en la sesión inaugural de la Asociación Asia-Pacífico sobre Desarrollo Limpio y Clima. Los seis países formaron este grupo como alternativa al Protocolo de Kyoto, que estableció metas firmes para las emisiones. A la reunión también asistieron representantes de las empresas mineras y energéticas más grandes del mundo. En la declaración final se afirma que se alentará, pero no se exigirá, a las compañías privadas a que reduzcan sus emisiones de gases. Se asegura también que los combustibles fósiles: "serán una realidad perdurable, que trascenderá nuestras vidas."El Secretario de Energía de Estados Unidos, Samuel Bodman, afirmó que: "No considero que esto sea un cambio de política. Lo que es, si se quiere, es aprovechar al sector privado. Es reconocer el hecho de que es el sector privado el que toma las decisiones de inversión, en todos estos países, no sólo en Estados Unidos, y en todos estos países es el sector privado el que desarrolla la tecnología. Es el sector privado el que obtiene beneficios de esas inversiones y está en condiciones de compartirlos."Grupos ambientalistas tildaron de farsa a la reunión. La vocera energética de Greenpeace, Catherine Fitzpatrick, dijo que: "La comunidad empresarial mundial y los gobiernos gastan actualmente entre 250 y 300 mil millones de dólares por concepto de subsidios al sector de combustibles fósiles. Si queremos atacar la problemática del cambio climático necesitamos que se deriven esos fondos a energía limpia."

Tribunal de apelaciones confirma veredicto de 54 millones de dólares contra ex generales salvadoreños
En Estados Unidos, un tribunal federal de apelaciones confirmó un veredicto de 54 millones de dólares contra dos generales salvadoreños retirados que fueron acusados de cometer torturas en su país de origen hace dos décadas. En febrero del año pasado, el Tribunal de Apelaciones del 11° Distrito de Atlanta, revirtió un fallo anterior contra los Generales Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova y José Guillermo García. En 2002, ambos militares fueron hallados culpables en virtud de la Ley de Protección a las Victimas de Tortura de 1991 en una demanda entablada por un trabajador de la iglesia, médico y profesor que debió huir a Estados Unidos tras ser torturado brutalmente por soldados salvadoreños.

Informe: 95% de las armas ilegales de México provienen de EE.UU.
Noticia de México -- el diario "Los Angeles Times" informa que aproximadamente el 95% de las armas confiscadas a sospechosos en México fueron vendidas primero en forma legal en Estados Unidos. Oficiales mexicanos entrevistados por el "Times" culparon a las leyes estadounidenses de armas de fuego, que son muy laxas y contrastan fuertemente con las de México. En México hay menos de 2,500 propietarios registrados de armas de fuego, sin embargo la policía dice que confiscan más de 250 armas por día.

Hugh Thompson, rescatista de My Lai, muere a los 62
Y Hugh Thompson, ex piloto de helicóptero del ejército que ayudó a rescatar a civiles vietnamitas de soldados estadounidenses durante la masacre de My Lai, murió de cáncer. Tenía 62 años. El 16 de marzo de 1968, Thompson y otros dos soldados aterrizaron su helicóptero frente a tropas estadounidenses que disparaban contra civiles vietnamitas en la aldea My Lai. Le apuntaron sus armas a sus compañeros estadounidenses para impedir que siguieran la matanza y luego ayudaron a evacuar a los aldeanos. Después de muchos años de ser ignorados e incluso vilipendiados, en 1998 Thompson y los miembros de su equipo recibieron la Medalla al Soldado, el más alto galardón militar otorgado al coraje por acciones que no suponen enfrentamientos con el enemigo.

Maria: From Democracy Now!, here are twelve headlines. Remember that, as Marcia says, Democracy Now! is always informing you and that it provides each day's headlines in English and in Spanish, text and audio. Peace.

Abu Ghraib Commander Takes 5th Amendment At Trial
The Washington Post is reporting a high-ranking US army official has invoked his right not to incriminate himself while testifying in the military tribunal of two soldiers accused of using dogs to intimidate detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The decision by Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller – who helped set up interrogations at Abu Ghraib -- comes shortly after Col. Thomas Pappas, the commanding officer at Abu Ghraib, accepted immunity from prosecution this week and was ordered to testify at an upcoming military trial. According to the Post, Col. Pappas, could be asked how abusive tactics emerged, who ordered their use and their possible connection to officials in Washington. Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, said: "It's a steppingstone going up the chain of command, and that's positive. It might demonstrate that it wasn't just a few rotten apples."

Public Tribunal Delivers War Crimes Indictments to White House
And in Washington Tuesday, the public action group the Bush Crimes Commission delivered a set of 5 indictments to the White House. The indictments allege the Bush administration has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. The indictments were drafted at the first International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration, held in New York City in October. The second commission of inquiry will be held at Columbia University beginning on January 20th.

NSA Extensively Spied on Baltimore Peace Group
This news on the Bush administration’s domestic spy program – the website has obtained government documents showing the National Security Agency spied on the Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore, a Quaker-linked peace group. The documents indicate the group was extensively monitored, with detailed records of their travel movements, driving routes -- and even the helium balloons they used in a protest. On one day, the group’s movements were reported every 15 minutes. And at a protest during "Keep Space for Peace Week", the NSA planned to conduct ariel surveillance and have a Weapons of Mass Destruction Rapid Response Team nearby.

NSA Denies Whistleblower's Demand To Testify Before Congress
Meanwhile, ABC News is reporting the National Security Agency has denied the request of whistleblower Russell Tice to testify before Congress. Tice, a former intelligence agent at the NSA and Defense Intelligence Agency who has spoken out against the domestic spy program, was told he is not free to testify because staff members on Capitol Hill do not have high enough security clearance to hear the secrets he has to tell. Tice first spoke out on record on Democracy Now last week.

Padilla Pleads Not Guilty in Miami
In this country, Jose Padilla has pleaded not guilty on terrorism charges in Miami. A judge denied his request for bail. Padilla was only charged in November after over three years in solitary confinement on a military brig in South Carolina. At the time of his arrest in May 2002, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft accused Padilla of involvement in "a terrorist plot to attack the United States by exploding a radioactive 'dirty bomb.'" None of his current charges include these allegations. Last month, a federal appeals court suggested the Bush administration only charged Padilla to thwart his pending Supreme Court appeal. His trial has been set for September.

Wal-Mart Mulls Challenge as Maryland Passes Health Law
In Maryland, state legislators passed a law Thursday that would require retail giant Wal-Mart to increase health care spending for its employees. The measure is expected to be replicated in other states. The measure overrode a gubernatorial veto and followed an intense lobbying battle between Wal-Mart and labor groups. Under the new law, employers with 100,000 or more workers must devote at least 8 percent of their payrolls to health insurance, or pay the difference into a state Medicaid fund. A Wal-Mart spokesperson told the New York Times the company is considering bringing a lawsuit to challenge the law. Democratic State Senator Gloria Lawlah, who sponsored the bill, said: "This is not a Wal-Mart bill, it's a Medicaid bill." This bill says to the conglomerates, 'Don't dump the employees that you refuse to insure into our Medicaid systems.' "

Leading Polluters Refuse Gas Targets At Inaugural Meeting
And in Australia, six of the world's leading polluting countries announced a multi-million dollar fund to develop clean-energy -- but insisted they will continue to rely on polluting fossil-fuels to run their industries and economies. The United States, China, Japan, India, South Korea and Australia -- which together account for nearly half the world's emissions of dangerous greenhouse gases -- were holding the inaugural Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate.They've formed the group as an alternative to the Kyoto Protocol, which has set firm emissions targets. Representatives of the world's biggest mining and energy firms attended the talks. The final declaration said private corporations will be encouraged, but not required, to cut gas emissions. It also said fossil fuels QUOTE: "will be an enduring reality for our lifetimes and beyond."
US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman: "I don't count this a change in policy. What this is is a, if you will, a harnessing of the private sector. It is recognizing the fact that it is the private sector that makes the investment decisions - in all of these countries - not just the U.S. and all of the countries - it is the private sector that develops the technology. It is the private sector that gains the benefits from those investments and is in a position to share."
Environmental groups slammed the talks as a sham.Greenpeace energy spokesperson Catherine Fitzpatrick : "Currently the global business community and governments spend 250-300 billion US dollars in subsidies to the fossil fuel sector. If we want to deal with climate change we need to shift that finance to clean energy."

Appeals Court Reinstates $54M Verdict Against Ex-Salvadoran Generals
In this country, a federal appeals court has reinstated a $54 million dollar verdict against two retired Salvadoran generals accused of torture in their home country two decades ago. Last February, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta reversed an earlier decision against Gens. Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova and Jose Guillermo Garcia. In 2002, the two were found liable under the 1991 Torture Victim Protection Act in a lawsuit brought by a church worker, doctor and professor who fled to the United States after being brutalized by Salvadoran soldiers.

Report: 95% of Illegal Weapons in Mexico Originate in US
This news from Mexico -- the Los Angles Times is reporting an estimated 95% of weapons confiscated from suspected criminals in Mexico were first sold legally in the United States. Mexican officials interviewed by the Times blamed the US' lax gun laws, which are a stark contrast to Mexico's. There are fewer than 2,500 registered gun owners in Mexico, yet police say they confiscate more than 250 weapons a day.

My Lai Rescuer Hugh Thompson Dies at 62
And Hugh Thompson, the former Army helicopter pilot who helped rescue Vietnamese civilians from fellow US troops during the My Lai massacre, has died cancer. He was 62 years old. On March 16, 1968, Thompson and two others landed their helicopter in front of US troops firing on Vietnamese civilians in the village of My Lai. They pointed their guns at their fellow service members to prevent more killings, and helped evacuate the villagers. After many years of being ignored and even vilified, Thompson and his crew members were honored in 1998 with the Soldier's Medal, the highest military award for bravery not involving conflict with an enemy.