Friday, January 20, 2006

"We used to wonder where war lived . . ."

Friday, January 20th. The Alito vote is scheduled to take place in the Senate on January 24th. That means we dig in and really work this weekend.

C.I.'s noted this 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.
with The Smeal Report and the New Leif blogs at
Call your Senators and urge them to oppose Alito
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

Who noted the Feminist Wire yesterday in the community? Kat, Rebecca, Cedric, here and of course at The Common Ills. Let's see if we can amplify the word even more.

Second Commission of Inquiry On Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration Opens Today (Democracy Now!):
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.

Will the New York Times cover this? Should we take bets? The commission's being held in New York City but I'm sure they'll have something else to talk about in Saturday and Sunday's papers.

Mike and I picked this item because we think you need to be aware of it. When the World Tribunal on Iraq took place last summer, we learned about it at The Common Ills. And we waited and waited for it to hit the mainstream news or even the "centrist" blogs. As with so many topics that the press doesn't want to cover, I knew I could count on The Common Ills. I have my own site now and this commission is something I care about.

So, via Ruth, let's note some details:

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.

Why do we need a commission?

ACLU Files Lawsuits Over Police Measures At Bush Inauguration (Democracy Now!):
In Washington, D.C., the American Civil Liberties Union has filed three lawsuits against the district over police tactics during last year’s presidential inauguration. The ACLU alleges D.C. police made several false arrests and indiscriminately used pepper spray against people protesting the inauguration of President Bush. Arthur Spitzer, legal director of the D.C. branch of the ACLU, said: "People who come to the nation's Capital to demonstrate, or to observe major public events, are supposed to be protected by the police, not be assaulted and arrested. “Soaking people with pepper spray is not a game as the D.C. police seem to have treated it on Inauguration Day last year."

I'm reminded of the David Bowie song from The Falcon and the Snowman, "This Is Not America."

A little piece of you
The little piece in me
Will die
For this is not america

Poor Mike. I thought he was going to lose it earlier. We were working on what items we'd note and we usually toss out our ideas on it and get feedback from each other. While we were doing that tonight, Mike was publishing The Common Ills site as a favor to Ava. E-mailed entries have disappeared which was a huge problem about a year ago. But if C.I., Ava or Jess can get into the site and publish an e-mailed entry after it's hits the site but before a certain length of time passes, it doesn't disappear. All three are speaking right now. Ava realized no one would be able to get to a computer and republish the site in time so she called Mike. Mike was happy to do it but he thought it would be an easy thing. Twice the site failed to publish. I was aware of that from being at C.I.'s on Thanksgiving. That's a fairly common thing. But when Mike finally got it to publish without a failure message, it took over twenty minutes. Again, that's not a surprise from what I saw at Thanksgiving but it was a surprise to Mike. Be sure to visit Mikey Likes It! to read Mike's take on today's news.

We noted a letter from Kevin Benderman yesterday and today, C.I. passes on a piece by Monica Benderman.

"Dare to Make a Stand" (Monica Benderman, CounterPunch):
Terrorism is the use of fear tactics to coerce others to bend to your will or way of thinking. Terrorists employ threats as a means of controlling the actions of others.
The root of terrorist actions lies in simple aggressive behaviors, often referred to as disciplinary actions, designed to scare a person enough to make them 'tow the line' and follow directions even when the directions lead to a violation of their own ethical principles.
The most severe acts of terror are far less prevalent than those with less harmful physical results, and yet their foundation lies in a society's willingness to accept the simpler, less noticeably damaging acts as part of life, and turn a blind eye to the lasting effects.
People only want to recognize terrorists as those who commit the most heinous of threatening acts. Our society seems to not want to see the simple acts of terrorizing that can happen to all of us, that ARE happening to all of us right here in our own country. Eventually, we must realize that it is the fact that we have allowed ourselves to be apathetic toward these actions that the systems by which our country operates have now become corrupt.
Americans are deserting their duty to their country, and their Constitution, every time a member of government, a member of the military or a member of our community uses fear-based threats to cause them to run away rather than stand for what they believe.
Americans desert their country and the foundations upon which it was built every time they believe it is another's responsibility to bring about the changes necessary to keep our country strong; every time they run and hide to keep from facing the challenge of standing against a corrupt policy or law.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center):
We used to wonder where war lived, what it was that made it so vile. And now we realize that we know where it lives, that it is inside ourselves.
Albert Camus