Friday, January 20, 2006

Bully Boy Tribunal, Army still can't find recruits and Momentum against Alito continues to build

Good evening, Friday, let's kick things off with Democracy Now! and get the weekend started:

Second Commission of Inquiry On Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration Opens Today
The second gathering of the International Commission of Inquiry On Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration will begin today in New York. The commission will look into a series of charges the Bush administration has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. The indictments were drafted at the first commission held in October. Those scheduled to testify before the commission include the former head of Abu Ghraib, Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski; former British ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray; the entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte, and former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter.

Tribunal! Tribunal! Elaine and I both are going with this one becuae if you can go, that's great, get there. Now. Seriously, stop reading, and go. :D

But if you're not in or near NYC, like C.I. would say, "You need to be aware of it. You need to know it's out there." How come?

Because you need to know that not everyone's buying into Bully Boy's lies. And when you start realizing how many people are speaking out and fighting back and let's you know you're not just not alone, you've got millions on your side. We got the numbers.
And speaking of numbers . . .

US Army Raises Enrollment Age Limit, Bonuses
In military news, the US Army announced this week it was raising the age limit for new soldiers by five years and doubling monetary incentives for enrollment. Under the new rules, the maximum age for enlistment will be 39 years old. The Army is also doubling enlistment bonuses to up to $40,000 dollars for the regular Army and up to $20,000 dollars for the Army Reserve. The announcement comes after the US Army missed its recruiting targets in 2005.

Yep, the Army missed its recruiting targets for the year. They tried to spin, then they tried to lie, but the truth is they missed it. By a wide mark.

Will it make a difference? You think 37 year olds have been sitting around saying, "If only they'd raise the enlistment age, I'd march on over to the killing fields"?

This was the best year they were going to have. Awareness and word of mouth travels and travels.

Now be sure to check out Elaine's comments because we chose one headline to both do and then one to do our own. So get over to Like Maria Said Paz right now.

Unless you can attend the Tribunal. And here's information from Ruth on that:

The Bush Commission . . . will be holding a tribunal in New York City from January twentieth to the twenty-third. The first day of the hearing will take place at The Riverside Church on 123 Riverside Drive and will begin at 5:00 pm. The second day will take place at the same location and begin at 10:00 am. The final day, Sunday, the hearings will move to the Law School at Columbia University and will begin at 1:00 pm. More information can be found online at Bush Commission and also by calling (212) 941- 8086. Also at the Bush Commission website, you can find information on the October 2005 hearings including audio and videos you can watch online as well as text excerpts.

It's been a long week. I've enjoyed helping out with the gina & krista round-robin and I've enjoyed working on the Alito issue on campus. I've met people who I didn't know and hopefully formed some new friendships. I hope you've been active. I hope you'll stay active. We need to. Swiping from C.I.:

From the Feminist Wire:

More Senators Announce Opposition to Alito
More Senators have announced their opposition to Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court. Encouragingly, no additional Democrats have announced support for Alito since Ben Nelson (NE). Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), the Democratic Whip, announced his opposition to a packed auditorium at Northwestern University School of Law. "In the record, the writings, the words, and the life of Samuel Alito, I searched for evidence of his caring heart -- evidence that for the next two or three decades he would use his position on the Supreme Court to enlarge our freedom, protect our privacy, and respect the delicate balance of power and responsibility our Constitution creates," said Senator Durbin. "At the end of the day, at this historic moment, I cannot say with confidence that Samuel Alito meets that test."

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), in announcing his opposition, said, "Based on his record, I am gravely concerned that Judge Alito does not believe the Congress has the authority to protect the fundamental rights of all Americans." Other Senators who have announced publicly their opposition to Alito include Patrick Leahy (D-VT) (the Ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (the only woman on the Judiciary Committee), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Ken Salazar (D-CO), and Max Baucus (D-MT). Senators Leahy, Baucus, and Salazar all voted for John Roberts in September.
GET THE INSIDE SCOOP with The Smeal Report and the New Leif blogs at
TAKE ACTION Call your Senators and urge them to oppose Alito
DONATE Make an emergency contribution to the Feminist Majority's Save Roe Campaign. We must be a strong voice in this crucial fight to save Roe and the Supreme Court for women’s rights.
Media Resources: Harkin statement 1/19/06; Durbin statement 1/19/06; Feminist Majority

Remember how this week started? With spineless Dems shrugging and saying "Oh well." We lit a fire under them and we got to keep it burning. So keep working. And, like Susan said, keep hoping.

Lastly, sorry for the delay in posting. Ava phoned. She and Jess are speaking to any group they can find about the need to filibuster Alito. C.I.'s either speaking or enroute to a speaking thing and Ava wasn't sure when she and Jess would be done. So she asked me if I could publish The Common Ills. It was an honor. This week a Democracy Now! post disappeared and to be safe, they've tried to publish it after it went up (e-mailed entry) as soon as possible. With C.I.'s schedule and Ava and Jess being busy tonight, Ava wasn't sure if it would be up by the time she or C.I. had a chance to publish. So I said "Gladly." That thing took 23 minutes to publish. It takes about 2 to 3 minutes tops to publish here. I guess it's because The Common Ills has so many entries. I've heard C.I. talk about those morning entries and how they're a hassle now with the technorati tags because each entry has to be published by itself and before C.I. could just publish it and then publish the next one and then publish the entire blog. But for the tags to register, you have to publish the entire blog after each entry. I get now why when C.I.'s in a hurry those tags are a pain in the ass.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bully Boy undermines Human Rights, Target Iran and the cost of the Defense State

Good evening, today's Democracy Now! devoted the full hour to Craig Murray: "Murray was fired as ambassador to Uzbekistan after he openly criticized the British and U.S. governments for supporting human rights abuses under the Uzbek regime." Be sure to check that out.

HRW Says Bush Foreign Policy Undermining Human Rights
Here in the United States, Human Rights Watch released its annual report Wednesday. The report includes a scathing critique of the Bush administration, accusing it of undermining human rights around the world by the way its waging the so-called war on terror. The group also called on Congress to set up an independent panel to investigate U.S. human rights abuses.
Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth : : "I'm sorry to report that the global defense of human rights has been profoundly compromised by the Bush administration's policy level decisions to flout some of the most basic human rights norms out of a misguided sense that is the best way to fight against terrorism. It's long been understood that the Bush administration's torture and inhumane treatment could not be blamed on a handful of low level soldiers on the night shift. At minimum, we understand until now, that policy decisions taken at the top had created an atmosphere of tolerance for abuse. And among those policy decisions that one could cite would be, for example, is the Bush Administration's ripping of the Geneva Convention with respect to Guantanamo, its extraordinarily narrow definition of torture to the point that most forms of abuse are not considered torture."

The report comes at time when we last weekend we used a predator drone in Pakistan and six children were killed. What's it like for the people that got bombed, the ones who survived and how do they see us?

IAEA Announces Meeting On Iran
This news on Iran -- The International Atomic Energy Agency announced Wednesday it will hold an emergency meeting on Iran's nuclear program early next month. The Iranian government sparked an outcry last week when it removed U.N. seals on its uranium enrichment equipment and resumed nuclear research. Iran insists it removed the seals to resume research activities, and has maintained a freeze on full-scale uranium enrichment, which can produce nuclear reactor fuel that can be used for bomb material.

Target Iran, that's what it feels like. Bully Boy's got his eye on them and as he sits in the Oval Office and jerks off. And I wonder if we're smart enough to stop the spin this time or if we're going to be idiots all over again? Will the press push each lie? Will no one check out the claims? Who's going to tell it to the UN with, this time, Porter Goss sitting behind them? Condi?

They'll need better than Condi. Every other sentence she's known for begins with "No one could have guessed . . ."

C.I. passed this on thinking I might find it interesting but saying not to sweat it if I wasn't interested. I am, this is from Winslow T. Wheeler's "Just How Big is the Defense Budget?"

On Dec. 21, 2005, Congress passed a defense appropriations bill, which according to the press releases of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, and many news articles subsequently written, funded "defense spending" for the United States for the current fiscal year, 2006. The impression made by the press releases and the news articles was that the $453 billion advertised in the bill, H.R. 2863, constitutes America's defense budget for 2006.[1]
That would be quite incorrect. In fact, the total amount to be spent for the Department of Defense in 2006 is $13 billion to $63 billion more, the latter figure assuming full funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you also count, non-DOD "national defense" costs, add another $21 billion, and, if you count defense related security costs, such as homeland security, the congressional press release numbers are more than $200 billion wrong.
Having observed, and in past years participated in, the obscuration of just how much the United States actually spends for defense, this author believes it would assist the debate over the defense budget in this country by identifying its actual size. The "defense spending" bill
enacted in December had the title, "Making appropriations to the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2006 and for other purposes." It was a little heavy on those "other purposes" [2] and it did not comprise all the money the Defense Department received and will receive for 2006.

So what's the actual cost Wheeler arrives at? $669.8 billion dollars. Where's your money going? Not to food stamp programs for people who are in need. Not to making really nice parks with good courts all over the country so we can have a nice place to relax and play hoops. Not to healthcare. It all goes into the war machine.

I think Betty was the one who pointed out that it's like the plant in The Little Shop of Horrors. Which reminds me, Betty wrote a new chapter "Thomas Friedman tries to get his war on wagging" that you should check out.

Now on Tuesday, Tony asked me which of C.I.'s entries from Sunday and Monday I liked best: "NYT: 'Dianne Feinstein's comment is very disturbing' - Kate Michelman" or "NYT: Carlotta Gall brings you news, Adam Nagourney brings you fluff" and I picked "NYT: 'Dianne Feinstein's comment is very disturbing' - Kate Michelman." Some people are pointing out that Pakistan is important and it's in the one Tony picked and not the one I picked. And C.I. does call it what it is, state-sponsored terrorism. So both are good. I'll pass on to C.I. about the comments this weekend when we're all working on The Third Estate Sunday Review.

Remember check out Elaine's site. Always something worth reading at Like Maria Said Paz.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Drones, Airwar and Rendition

Good evening and let's get things started with Democracy Now!

US Refuses to Apologize For CIA Bombing in Pakistan
In other news, the US government has refused to express regret over last week's CIA bombing in Pakistan. The attack killed a reported 17 people, including women and children. The U.S. has said little about the bombing but it is believed to have been carried out by a CIA Predator drone. On Tuesday, State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack told reporters only: "The United States clearly values innocent human life. And that is why we're fighting the war on terror." Meanwhile, Pakistani officials said Tuesday the strike had killed up to 5 suspected militants.

"Up to 5 suspected militants." Are they telling that to Pakistanis? Or is this just sop as they try to make it look okay that at least 17 people died, 6 of them children? We're not fighting the war on terror, we're terrorizing.

Swiss Senator Says Evidence Confirms CIA Renditions in Europe
In Europe, a Swiss Senator has said there is no longer any question that the CIA undertook in illegal activities in Europe by secretly transporting and jailing suspected terrorists. The official -- Dick Marty -- is heading up a European investigation into allegations that the CIA operated secret prisons in Poland and Romania. He also said blame has to be placed on all European nations who have helped the U.S. carry out its covert operations.
Swiss Senator Dick Marty : "I'd like it to be clear that the problem does not only concern Rumania and Poland. It would be too simple to criminalize these two countries. I think it's to whole of Europe that accepted to keep quiet, because if it's true that something happened in Rumania and Poland, something also happened in many other countries, and many of them were certainly aware of what was going on. And to me, in such a situation, knowing and keeping quiet is as bad as tolerating that such activities be led on its territory."
Last week a Swiss newspaper published the text of an intercepted Egyptian memo about U.S. interrogation centers in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. The memo had been faxed from the Egyptian foreign ministry to the Egyptian embassy in London. But it had been intercepted by the Swiss secret service and then leaked to the press.

Let me pick back up on my last sentence, "We're terrorizing." We're not fighting a war on terror, we're tossing aside everything we're supposed to believe in. It's time the country pulled the Bully Boy's blank check and told him to stop his "war on terror" talk. How long would Japanese Americans have been interned if Americans had said, "That's not how we do things. Stop it." Instead, that's a shame we live with. We need to start living up to what we're supposed to believe in.

Now be sure to check out Elaine's site because we both found some stuff we wanted to share tonight and her comments will probably be more deep than mine -- whatcha' want to bet! :D So check out Like Maria Said Paz.

Pakistanis were apparently killed by a predator drone, but we've got an air war going on in Iraq that no one likes to talk about so let's note Brian Cloughley's "Fly Boys and Lie Boys:"

Even the most accurately-delivered 500 pounder cannot destroy a building without damaging adjacent houses and killing people therein. Anyone who imagines or declares that this is possible is a liar or a moron or both.
Which brings us again to Lieutenant Colonel Barry Johnson, the military parrot who squawked on autocue that "Coalition forces employed precision guided munitions on the structure."
This man -- and all the others like him - - the dozens of uniformed and civilian clones who spout false statistics, misinformation, disinformation, twisted propaganda and sheer downright lies - - is untrue to his uniform and disloyal to the American Constitution. We should remember what one honorable US military officer said years ago to a Congressional Committee when accused of being disloyal to the evil Nixon : "Sir, I did not take an oath to defend the president; I took an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States". (I might not have this quotation verbatim, as I'm traveling at the moment and don't have access to 'The Best and the Brightest' by the brilliant Halberstam, in which it appears.)
After the slaughter of civilians by grotesquely inaccurate precision-guided weapons Lieutenant Colonel Johnson said "We are determining the facts in this particular case so we will know exactly how civilians may have been drawn into the air strike that was deemed necessary by our forces fighting insurgents on the ground."

That's a point C.I.'s been making for some time, that the oath is to the Constitution, not to a person. C.I. and Ava talked about this and the way Colin Powell seemed to believe it too, how he seemed to think his oath was to Bully Boy. They wrote about Powell's "blot" and you should check that out.

You should also ask yourself if you're okay with an air war dropping bombs on innocent people because that's what happens.

Tony said C.I.'s "NYT: '2002 Memo Doubted Uranium Sale Claim' (Eric Lichtblau)" "has" to be noted and I agree. Here's a section where C.I.'s doing the strong talk about the invasion/occupation that's usually the first thing members point to when they're asked by Gina and Krista why they became members:

The war was based on lies. The lies were well known by the administration. As Paul Wolfowitz suggested to Vanity Fair, they went with the best spin they could. Bringing "democracy" to Iraq didn't fly because Americans weren't keen on seeing people killed for the Bully Boy's notion of (or The New Republic's for that matter) concept of "democracy." So instead, we were whipped into a hysteria of "mushroom clouds" and "nuclear threats" (possibly the same sort of hysteria they'll attempt with regards to Iran).Blood on their hands. Blood of Iraqis (for which there is no official released count though it's obvious the Defense Department has long been keeping track in some manner of a body count), blood of Americans (2221 military fatalities is the offical count as I type this), blood of democracy, blood of the Constitution.
That's the reality and all the spin won't change the facts.

Last thing, Tom Hayden was on Democracy Now! and Irish-Americans stick together so let me plug his segment:

Eugene McCarthy (1916 - 2005): The Legacy of the Former Senator and Anti-War Presidential Candidate
We look at the life of former anti-war presidential candidate, Eugene McCarthy. Hundreds gathered for his memorial service this weekend. We speak with a reporter who covered him for decades and SDS founder Tom Hayden. [includes rush transcript - partial]

You'll learn a lot about Eugene McCarthy in this and, if you're my age, it'll be an important history lesson.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Arundhati Roy and Al Gore stand up (Dems in the Senate still have their thumbs up their ass)

Good evening. We'll kick things off with Democracy Now!

Arundhati Roy Refuses Writing Prize to Protest Indian Policies
In India, writer Arundhati Roy has refused to accept a prestigious Indian writing award in protest. Roy accused the Indian government of toeing the U.S. line by "violently and ruthlessly pursuing policies of brutalization of industrial workers, increasing militarization and economic neo-liberalization."

See, that's why Arundhati Roy's so cool. She takes stands and she's not about, "Love me! Praise me!" She's committed. She believes. The New Republican believes in nothing but lying to their readers. They got nothing, their reputation's gone, circulation's gone and they probably hocked their soul decades ago.

But Arundhati Roy's the real deal. She never suffered from "War Got Your Tongue?"
And some cowards want to pick on her and try to tear her down for it but you and me know nothing's going to stop her from speaking the truth.

Elaine had an e-mail asking that we pick this one but we would have picked it anyway because a) we need heroes now and b) we need to note the voices like Roy because they're brave ones. And speaking of bravery . . .

Al Gore: Bush "Repeatedly and Persistently" Broke Law
On Monday, former Vice President Al Gore gave a major speech in Washington accusing Bush of "repeatedly and persistently" breaking the law by authorizing the NSA wiretaps. Gore called for Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the abuses. Gore said Bush's illegal spying program threatened "the very structure of our government."

Al Gore gave a great speech and if you missed it, you should check out the print version of it at Common Dreams. If we lived in more peaceful times we could sit around and play "What if?" Like "What if the Supreme Court had kept their noses out of it?" If that had happened in 2000, Al Gore would be president. I know things would be different now if he were president and I bet he knows that better than anyone. But he's not playing "What if?" He's out there doing what every one of our leaders and would be leaders should be doing, speaking out against the corrupt Bully Boy regime.

Now let me say good going to Wally. Wally's so out of it in the best way. I got an e-mail from Leigh Ann where she asked why I hadn't congratulated Wally on his top ten list getting mentioned by Danny Schechter? Leigh Ann, I didn't know. And I call Wally, I go, "Dude, why didn't you tell me you got a shout out from Danny Schechter?" He goes, "Mike what have you been smoking? You been smoking that crack again? I told you Ted Koppel was not the man to buy it from! I told you that the really wicked cool stuff comes from Bill O'Reilly!"

Then I go, "For the hour!" And Wally goes, "For the hour!" And after about 4 minutes of that, when we're catching our breath from laughing hard, he goes, "Dude, why did you call?" I go, "Cause Danny Schechter mentioned you" and Wally starts in going, "Dude, you on that X again? I told you do not, do not, do not buy X from Rush Limbaugh because he bogarts all the best stuff --" and I go, "For real dude, for real."

Wally was blown away. It was the list he and his grandfather made together of people who stood out in 2005. Wally was all, "You funnin'?" "No, I ain't funnin'!"

We were quiet for about two or three minutes. Then Wally goes, "Hey, Mike?" And I go, "Yeah?" and he goes


We could do our Larry King impersonations all day.

For the hour!

But seriously, Leigh Ann, thanks for passing that on because I didn't know and Wally didn't know and it's pretty cool.

Now did anybody hear about Narco News' big scoop last week because I missed it. If you did too, check out Bill Conroy's "Leaked Memo: Corrupt DEA Agents in Colombia Help Narcos and Paramilitaries:"

The drug war is supposed to follow a very clear script: According to the official screenwriters, the U.S. justice system is pitted against corrupt players in foreign countries who are trying to flood American streets with illicit drugs. The narco-traffickers, crooked cops, and thieving politicians in the drug war are always over there, in Latin America, and elsewhere, and U.S. law enforcers and government officials are always the good guys battling these forces of evil.
But what happens when evidence surfaces that turns that script on its ear? What happens if proof emerges that it is the U.S. justice system that is corrupt?
A document obtained recently by Narco News makes those questions more than hypothetical queries. In this document, Department of Justice attorney Thomas M. Kent claims that federal agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s office in Bogotá, Colombia, are the corrupt players in the war on drugs. (The DEA is part of the larger Justice Department.)
The information in that document is also corroborated by a number of other sources that spoke directly to Narco News, including former government officials who are familiar with the DEA's Bogotá operations
Kent's memorandum contains some of the most serious allegations ever raised against U.S. antinarcotics officers: that DEA agents on the front lines of the drug war in Colombia are on drug traffickers' payrolls, complicit in the murders of informants who knew too much, and, most startlingly, directly involved in helping Colombia’s infamous rightwing paramilitary death squads to launder drug money.
The memo further claims that, rather than being simply a few "bad apples" who need to be reported to their superiors, these allegedly dirty agents are being protected by an ongoing cover-up orchestrated by "watchdog" agencies within the Justice Department.

Tony asked me today which was my favorite entry C.I. did on Feinstein and the spineless Senate Dems? I think "NYT: 'Dianne Feinstein's comment is very disturbing' - Kate Michelman" is my favorite. Tony goes, "No man, it's the other one."
He means "NYT: Carlotta Gall brings you news, Adam Nagourney brings you fluff" and it's good too I just like the other one better. I think in both of them, C.I. captures how the Senate Democrats are acting like cowards and turning their backs on the voters who stood by them. But read 'em both and make your own pick. They're both good. Know what else good? Like Maria Said Paz so get on over there and check out Elaine's take on things.

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.