Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Michael Hayden, FCC and spying, and more

Good evening! Let's kick things off with Democracy Now!

Senate Intel. Committee Approves Hayden Nomination
General Michael Hayden has moved a step closer to becoming the next head of the CIA. On Tuesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to recommend Hayden's confirmation. Four Democrats joined the committee's Republican members in supporting Hayden's nomination. During his confirmation hearing, Hayden staunchly defended the Bush administration's domestic wiretap program he oversaw as director of the National Security Agency. In a statement, Democratic Senator Russ Feingold, one of the three Democrats to vote against, said: "General Hayden directed an illegal program that put Americans on American soil under surveillance without the legally required approval of a judge."

How's that make you feel? You getting how lazy our Congress is? That's Republicans and Democrats. They ought to be ashamed. All but three said, "Oh who cares what you did to the American people, we like you!" I agree with Wally, Hayden does have a voice like a little girl. But he spies . . . just like a Bully Boy.

FCC Won't Investigate NSA's Access To Telephone Records
The Federal Communications Commission says it won't investigate whether the National Security Agency has obtained access to the telephone records of millions of US citizens. Calls for an investigation followed a USA Today report that three major telecom countries handed over customers' phone data to the NSA. The FCC says it cannot investigate because of the classified nature of the NSA's activities. Democratic Congressmember Ed Markey, one of several lawmakers who had requested the probe, said: "The FCC has abdicated its responsibility to protect Americans' privacy to the National Security Agency without even asking a single question about it."

So is the FCC scared of the Bully Boy? Nope, just in his pocket. Three Republican members (the head picked by Bully Boy) and they take their marching orders from the White House. With 29% approval ratings, people still can't find the guts to stand up to the Bully Boy. They probably never will. Maybe in 2006 things will change? If they do, I'm not sure it will be because of Democrats. I'm really disappointed in them and all their nonsense about how we can't do that and we mustn't do that. They've basically rolled over for six years. The bankruptcy legislation, the war, the Patriot Act, Bully Boy's nominations, investigating anything, they roll over and over.
They are supposed to be leaders but they're not and it's gotten really sad. Does that mean I'm voting Republican? No. But if there are Greens in my area, Democrats better be ready to fight for votes because I'm pretty disgusted with them. Be disgusted with NYT too (read C.I.'s "NYT: The New York Timid continues to ignore the NSA scandal").

you will laugh. You'll also laugh at Betty's latest chapter "His Head Is Fat." And for a story on an important film, check out "Retired Army Col. Charged With Sedition For Handing Flyer on Anti-War Vietnam Vets." (Sir! No! Sir! is the film.)

C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Chaos and violence -- the only consistents.
noted by Amy Goodman on Democray Now!,yesterday in Iraq: "at least 40 people were killed in violence around the country. In Baghdad, 11 people were killed and nine wounded in a bombing near a Shiite mosque".
Reuters notes that General Ahmed Dawod was shot by assailants. The AFP notes the death of Ahmed Daoud as well ("Daoud" is their spelling) and lists him as "Baghdad's deputy police commissioner." The Associated Press notes that drive-by shootings in Baghdad resulted in at least nine deaths: "a college student, a police officer, two street vendors, a university professor, two taxi drivers, the owner of a grocerys tore and a builder". Along with the shootings, bombings continued. Reuters reports on one that went off where people were seeking "day labouring jobs." The AFP notes two other bombs that wounded at least 10 (targets were a minibus and Palestine Street). AFP notes the discovery of eleven corpses in Baghdad.
Outside of Baghdad? The
Associated Press notes an oil blaze on a pipelin "south of Baghdad" as a result of a bomb. "Near Baquba," Reuters reports that a convoy was attacked resulting in the death of two bodyguards working for a provincial council member. In Basra, the AFP reports "gunmen" attacked a "British armored patrol."
AFP reports that Nuri al-Maliki, who couldn't keep his own deadline and barely kept the constitutionally mandated deadline, now says that by this weekend he expects to fill the posts of defense, interior and national security.
In the United States,
Michael Rowland reports on the case of Sergeant Santos Cardona -- prosecutors are arguing Cardona's actions at Abu Ghraib resulted from a desire "for entertainment." The Associated Press reports that seven people were arrested at the Port of Olympia protesting in Olympia, Washington where "military vehicles" and convoys were "to be loaded onto a ship." Five are charged with "pedestrian interference," one with trespassing and the seventh "was arrested a day earlier." Sam Green, activist, is quoted as saying, "Everybody's a little terrified right now. We were doing what we thought was legal." Finally. Remember Donald Rumsfeld's annoying smirk and dismissing the looting in Iraq -- joking it was one vase shown over and over in a media loop? Evonne Coutros takes a look at the looting and speaks with Marine Col. Matthew Bogdanos who tells her that "almost 6,000 of the 14,000 known missing antiquites" have been recovered (Bogdanos has been working on the recovery since April 2003).

Cedric read a thing by Samantha Power called "Why Can't We?" and had a few questions. I read it and did as well. (Such as why she didn't credit someone for using their slogan? Hint, it's a slogan used every week on RadioNation with Laura Flanders.) But the first page is talking about genocide. Rwanda is brought up and tied into Darfur. Why? Who knows?

But all good people are supposed to come together on Darfur. Guess I'm not "good people" because I'm not sending monies to an organization to arm up. (After Darfur, will the goods supplied be sold off?) Want to say it's a genocide? Then get them out of there. That was the whole point of "Darfur." I have no idea what someone's thinking when they think they can scream "Genocide!" and still act as though all that needs to be done is for the area to be policed. If it's genocide, get them out of there. Start putting pressure on your represenatives to open the borders and take them in. I mean, what's the alternative?

They're saying it's a genocide. Are you going to police from here until eternity? A genocide isn't something that strikes me as "mediation time." If someone wants to extinguish a population, they want to extinquish it. That doesn't change tomorrow just because you put some boots and guns on the ground. What is that? What Gore Vidal calls Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace?
Is the only way we resolve conflicts with violence?

If a genocide is going on, you don't need to set up patrols (that will only work some of the time at best). You get the people out of there. Which is what the world should have done prior to WWII. Instead, governments turned their backs and covered their ears.

Rwanda was a tragedy. Madeline Albright wants to say she waited too long to send in force. The same woman Colin Powell had to tell that the American military wasn't "toy soliders." Madeline Albright's answers were apparently do nothing or send in force. Is that really all we can do? Are those are only options?

Calling force "peacekeeping force" doesn't change it from being "force." Do we have no way of using peaceful solutions? Like we said in "Darfur" -- it's really easy to just send "toy soldiers" and act like whatever happens to them is fair game. It's really easy to respond to force with force. There may be times when you use force.

But is this one? If there's a genocide going on, force won't stop it. Force will mean using force for years and years. Get the victims out of the country. Everyone should open their borders to the victims, every country. But it's easier to send out soldiers and say "Oh, I took care of it!" then it is to actually do something. Opening the borders to refugees is helping.

I expect a little more thought from The Nation. But maybe it's time for all the ones who spoke out against war on Iraq to prove they're not weak-willed and that they can use force too! Just like the Bully Boy!

But hey, we can use force and we don't need to worry about an occupation, right? Bully Boy's never tempted to occupy anything.

Be sure to check out Like Maria Said Paz for Elaine's thoughts. And tomorrow on KPFA's The Morning Show Robert Jensen is going to address race and racism.