Be sure to check out Mike's thoughts on the two items we picked out from Democracy Now! (his site is Mikey Likes It!).
Report: CIA Used Spanish Airports for Secret Flights (Democracy Now!)
The Spanish newspaper El Pais is reporting that CIA planes made at least 10 secret stopovers inside the country while transporting detainees. The secret stops occurred at airports in Spain's Baleaic islands. Spain's opposition party - the United Left Party - has called on the country's interior Minister to explain the use of Spanish airports for what it describes as the CIA's "plane-prisons." Another Spanish newspaper -- Diario de Mallorca - reports that a CIA plane that took off from the Spanish island of Mallorca was involved in the alleged CIA kidnapping of a Lebanese-born German who says he was snatched up in Macedonia and then transported to Afghanistan. The man - who has since been released - claims that in Afghanistan he was shackled, beaten, injected with drugs and questioned persistently about his alleged links with al-Qaida. A number of probes are underway in Europe over covert CIA operations there. The Italian and German governments are both investigating allegations that the CIA has kidnapped individuals within their borders. Italy is seeking the extradition of 22 CIA agents for the involvement in one such kidnapping. The Washington Post also recently reported that the CIA has two secret prisons in Eastern Europe countries.
We kid ourselves that we're in a "clean" war. Less so now. But I can remember when the invasion began, deaths were treated as nothing big. We had a "purpose" so what were a few lives?
Of course those "few" lives were all Americans and we never stopped to study the other deaths, the ones that TV wasn't interested in and, pretty soon, the print media took a pass on as well.
"Clean" war, "safe" war. When you outsource it, it's all the harder for the people to know what you're doing.
What Bully Boy's doing is kidnapping people, who have not been found guilty in a court of law of anything, and then allowing them to be tortured. As C.I.'s pointed out, apparently our rules, laws and mores aren't things we carry inside of us, but only things we hold dear while our feet are planted on domestic soil.
It's as though Bully Boy's strutting around the Oval Office saying, "It's Abu Ghraib, baby! What happens in Abu Ghraib, stays in Abu Ghraib!"
It doesn't work that way. Forget blowback, which is very important, for a moment and just ask yourself, especially all you flag wavers, if the country you support, the ideas you were raised with, mean so little that you dispose of your American citizenship and duties just by leaving the country.
Alito: "The Constitution Does Not Protect A Right To An Abortion" (Democracy Now!):
Newly released documents show that Supreme Court Justice nominee Samuel Alito said 20 years ago "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion." Alito made the statements in a job application to become deputy assistant to Ronald Reagan's Attorney General Edwin Meese. In the job application he wrote "I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government argued that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion." Alito said it had been a "source of great personal satisfaction" to help advance such legal causes because he believed in them "very strongly." He also wrote at the time "I believe very strongly in limited government, federalism, free enterprise, the supremacy of the elected branches of government, the need for a strong defense and effective law enforcement, and the legitimacy of a government role in protecting traditional values." In the same document he revealed that he was a "lifelong registered" Republican, a Federalist Society member and that he had donated money to the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Conservative Political Action Committee. Sen. Patrick Leahy, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said the documents reveal that Alito is an "aggressive participant in an ideological movement intended to withdraw discrimination protections from workers." Alito's confirmation hearing is scheduled to begin on January 9th.
Alito meets with Diane Feinstein today. What does DiFi gush to the press? Alito told her he was seeking a political appointment so his remarks shouldn't be taken too seriously. And DiFi gushes that he seemed sincere.
Let's break it down for DiFi.
1) Leave the "peering into the soul" for the Bully Boy.
2) He's seeking an appointment now. The supreme appointment, one to the Supreme Court. There's no higher appointment.
Wait, that's wrong. Usually that's true. But in 2000, we found that a higher office than Supreme Court Justice could be appointed. That's the year where we found out that the office of president wasn't an elected one necessarily, it could also be an appointed one.
3) What he told you, DiFi, should disturb the hell out of you. He told you that he'd say anything for an appointment.
4) Gee, DiFi, do you think he might trot out that trick again?
She embarrassed herself in the John Roberts confirmation hearings. She needs to get her act together. That doesn't mean saying a lot of pleasing things about how as the only woman on the Judiciary Committee, you feel a special obligation.
Don't give anymore empty words. Show some action.
"Other Items" (The Common Ills):
Carl Hulse writes about a plan to get the troops out of Iraq in "Senate Republicans Pushing for a Plan on Ending the War in Iraq:"
In a sign of increasing unease among Congressional Republicans over the war in Iraq, the Senate is to consider on Tuesday a Republican proposal that calls for Iraqi forces to take the lead next year in securing the nation and for the Bush administration to lay out its strategy for ending the war. The Senate is also scheduled to vote Tuesday on a compromise, announced Monday night, that would allow terror detainees some access to federal courts. The Senate had voted last week to prohibit those being held from challenging their detentions in federal court, despite a Supreme Court ruling to the contrary.
Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who is the author of the initial plan, said Monday that he had negotiated a compromise that would allow detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to challenge their designation as enemy combatants in federal courts and also allow automatic appeals of any convictions handed down by the military where detainees receive prison terms of 10 years or more or a death sentence.
Let's file this under believe it when it happens. Not the "plan." Not it being "passed." Elaine and I have said for some time that with the 2006 elections approaching, the occupation so unpopular with the people, a "secret plan" would be announced by Bully Boy. His arrogance has apparently forced Repubes in the Senate to step up first.
I don't want a bumper sticker analysis of the "plan." Before the press trumpets it in headlines, they better examine every detail. (Provided it passes.)
Are the Republicans sincere? Who knows? But the Democrats aren't even pretending at this point. (There are individuals who break the silence on this issue, and certainly in the House we see bravery and leadership, but I'm speaking of those in supposed leadership roles as well as the bulk of the Dems in Congres.)
Maybe the Repubes are sincere? But this trick's been played before, "We'll be out next year!", and Congress passing a slogan isn't going to solve anything (but the election "crisis" faced in November of 2006). Sound cynical? Nixon's "peace plan" seems to be echoing here.
Here's how it went today. A Democratic proposal gets shot down in the Senate today. A similar proposal made by Republicans gets passed. Why?
Because the "plan" is no plan. It's just an attempt to look good in the upcoming elections.
There's no teeth in what was passed. It's non-binding.
Nixon pulled out a "peace plan" when facing elections. In fact, he apparently had Kissinger screw over a plan in 1968, a real plan, because it was more important that he get elected than that the war be ended and the troops brought home. Sound familiar?
So don't get excited by sleight of hand or tricks pulled out as Bully Boy tanks in the polls and as Republicans fret over the elections this month. We've lived through this nonsense before. It's sop tossed out to make you think that something's going to change and they want you to think that until after you vote in 2006.
"Peace Quote" (from me):
Peace doesn't arrive on empty promises.
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the common ills