Sunday, January 01, 2006

"Peace Will Come"

So how is 2005 shaping up for you? I'm wiped out from celebrating and from helping out at
The Third Estate Sunday Review. Let me swipe from C.I. and note what's up there:

There you'll find a feature on movies with New Year's themes, a "feature on what we're thankful for in 2005 and what our hopes for 2006," an essay refuting the "we were all wrong" nonsense, an editorial (Susan and Julie will especially enjoy that) and Ava and my TV review which focuses on what's coming to your small screens shortly.

I think you'll find a lot worth reading so utilize the links.

There was too much in the headlines for Democracy Now! Friday. Mike and I could have selected two from any of the items because they are all worthy of highlighting. We hoped that the immigration bill would be covered by Maria (which it was) and decided we could select something else. We wanted to try to highlight two items that fit together and that helped us narrow down the selection some more. However, all of the items were things we could have weighed in on. Be sure to check out Mikey Likes It! to get his take on these items.

Gitmo Hunger Strike Jumps To 84 Detainees (Democracy Now!):
This news from Guantanamo Bay -- a five-month hunger strike at the US military prison now involves at least 84 detainees. The US military said 46 detainees joined the strike last Sunday, on Christmas Day. Only nine of over 500 detainees at the prison have been charged with any crime.

On Terry Schiavo, Bully Boy said, "It is wise to err on the side of life." When it comes to the prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, there's no similar concern on his part. I think we may need to stop using the term "detainees." The reason is that when you pass the one year mark, let alone several years (as is now the case), we're looking at prisoners.
We're looking at prisoners who've never had their day in court. They've just been tossed into prison at the whim of the Bully Boy. But we'll all avert our eyes and pretend this is what happens in a democracy.

Secret Prisons, Renditions Enacted Under Broad CIA Program (Democracy Now!):
The Washington Post is reporting new details of the covert CIA program enacted shortly after 9/11 by the Bush administration. The Post says the program, known by its initials GST, marks the largest CIA covert initiative since the height of the Cold War. It includes a range of controversial programs that have been recently uncovered or subjected to public scrutiny -- including the kidnapping of terror suspects abroad, the maintenance of secret prisons in at least eight foreign countries, the use of interrogation techniques considered illegal under international law, and the operation of a fleet of aircraft to move detainees around the globe.
Powers authorized by President Bush include permitting the CIA to create paramilitary teams to hunt and kill designated individuals anywhere in the world. The Post reports the CIA is working to establish procedures that would allow for the quick cremation of a detainee’s body in the event the detainee dies in custody.
A government official who has been briefed on the program said: "Everything is done in the name of self-defense, so they can do anything because nothing is forbidden in the war powers act. It's an amazing legal justification that allows them to do anything."

It's time for Congress to provide oversight, serious oversight. It's time for the Bully Boy to be brought into check. He is not a divine ruler. He is not the only authority in this country. The courts and, to a larger degree, the Congress have allowed Bully Boy to act as though the executive branch is the only branch of government, as though the legislative and judicial branches are mere handmaidens to the executive branch when, in fact, they are equal branches. Bully Boy cannot continue to operate outside the realm of checks and balances. If this continues, let's go ahead and hold a funeral because it is the death of democracy.

I'd hoped to post on those Saturday because Friday was out of the question due to personal obligations. Then we ended up starting early on The Third Estate Sunday Review. The essay required huge pre-work before a word was ever written. We were all going through our magazines for hours picking things worth noting. Due to time issues, only a very small sample of the research was used. We're hoping to pick it up at some point in the future.

If you missed it Friday, Democracy Now! aired part-one of their two-part look back at 2005:

2005 in Review: Power, Politics and Resistance
Today, part one of our special look back at 2005, including George W. Bush'sinaugeration and protests against election fraud, the occupation of Iraq, the conviction of attorney Lynne Stewart, the appointment of John Bolton tothe UN, the revelation of Deep Throat, the conviction of Edgar Ray Killenfor killing the three civil rights workers in 1964, and much more.
Featuring the voices of: Colin Powell, Allan Nairn, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Jessie Jackson Jr., George Bush, Ossie Davis, Maya Angelou, Harry Belafonte, Dahr Jamail, Robert Fisk, Ghazwaan Al-Mukhtar, George Galloway, Barbara Boxer, Condoleezza Rice, Robert Byrd, Peter Kornbluh, John Negroponte, Alberto Gonzales, Orrin Hatch, Ted Kennedy, Lynne Stewart, Bill Quigley, Tom DeLay, Ken Goodman, George Voinovich, John Bolton, Giuliana Sgrena, John Stauber, Tim Rieser, Ricardo Alarcon, Jose Pertierra, Scott McClellan, Bill Moyers, Timothy Karr, Jim Shultz, Carlos Mesa, Mike Gravel, Jennifer Dohrn, Donald Rumsfeld, Mike Honda, Amy Hagopian, Simbi Veke Mubako, Wellington Chibebe, Flash Sharrar, Michael Scherer, Magdalano Rose-Avila, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Cindy Sheehan, John Conyers, Claire Short, Chris Chafe, Linda Chavez-Thompson, Bernie Sanders, Carolyn Goodman, Steven Schwerner, Ben Chaney, and Keith Beauchamp.

If you missed it, you can access it online. Monday will bring part-two.

On the topic of year-in-reviews, C.I.'s pulling from printed e-mails to get the review up at The Common Ills. I was on the phone with C.I. a half-hour ago and the estimate is at least two more hours before that entry goes up.

Peace Quote for 2005 (from a song by Melanie utilized in the editorial at The Third Estate Sunday Review):
Well sometimes when I am feeling so grand
And I become the world
And the world becomes a man
And my song becomes a part of the river
I cry out to keep me just the way I am
According to plan
According to man, according to plan
According to man, according to plan
Oh there's a chance peace will come
In your life, please buy one

Let's all help peace out in 2006. Happy (belated) New Year.