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

Thursday, January 19, 2006

"Has America given all sense of 'government of the people, by the people, for the people' in order to sell it to the highest bidder?"

There are a few topics for tonight. Remember to check out Mikey Likes It! for Mike's take on the news.

Today's the 19th. The Alito vote is due to take place in the Senate on the 24th. Make sure you're views are known to your senators. We need a filibuster. We can make this happen. C.I. noted something that community member Rhoda found on the Feminist Wire:

January 19, 2006
No on Alito Momentum Building
The momentum to stop the confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court is growing. Several Democratic Senators have already announced their intention to oppose Alito.
These Senators include Patrick Leahy (VT), Ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee; Judiciary Committee member Ted Kennedy (MA); Barbara Mikulski (MD); and Max Baucus (MT). Senators Leahy and Baucus had voted to confirm John Roberts in September. The option for a filibuster to block Alito is still on the table.
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: Feminist Majority

At the start of this week, when we were all depressed and (as Rebecca pointed out) shocked, it did seem like a "done deal." But look at what we're doing right now as we pull together. On Tuesday, when I opened the gina & krista round-robin, I told myself, "Okay, this is what you have to do." I didn't have a great deal of hope then. But I called my senators' office, I used the resources provided and took the "Tell Ten People A Day" pledge. I have hope now. And I'm still keeping the pledge and still weighing in. I call each day to ask, "Has a position been reached on the filibuster? I support a filibuster." We can do this if we keep working.

HRW Says Bush Foreign Policy Undermining Human Rights (Democracy Now!):
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."

If there's any surprise in the above story it's that the Bully Boy's Scott McLellan continues to feel the need to make empty statements that no one believes. HRW are correct, actions have consequences and we will be stuck with the fall out from the Bully Boy for many years to come. If we can impeach him, that would help in the eyes of the world. In 2092 when a dictator says to the US that s/he will continue torturing an American citizen because the Bully Boy did it to her/his people, we can at least point out, "We impeached him. We forced him out of office. He left in disgrace. His actions were not the actions that America points to with pride."

IAEA Announces Meeting On Iran (Democracy Now!):
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.

This is what the Bully Boy takes pride in, a new stage, a new battle ground, a new war zone. If we'd had an adult as a leader in September 2001, would we really have two wars going on currently? Would we have a leader itching for a third? He's itching. He's got the blood lust. Add in that nothing has silenced criticisms of his actions before as much as war and it's a natural response for him.

In 2003, we went to war with Iraq based upon lies. We need to be prepared for more of them and willing to confront them.

Part of working together is knowing when to give thanks and Cedric did yesterday.

"Filibuster" (Cedric, Cedric's Big Mix):
I've got church shortly and I don't usually even try to blog on Wednesdays but
Wally called today and asked me if I saw the nice thing C.I. wrote about us at The Common Ills?I did and Wally appreciate the kind words but Wally's back in college and trying to get into the swing of that while also helping out with the gina & krista round-robin this evening. So I told Wally, I'd take care of it.Gina and Krista are doing a great thing, each day between now and the 24th, they will be putting out daily round-robins with action tips and explaining why you need to contact your senators to tell them to filibuster Alito. That's more than an e-mail or an e-mail and a petition.Gina and Krista deserve huge thanks.But like Wally pointed out, slice off some of that thanks for C.I. too.

Let me join Cedric, Gina, Krista and Wally in saying, "Thank you" to C.I. Speaking only for myself, if C.I. had given up and "moved on" after this weekend, I wouldn't have felt the need to do anything myself. I was depressed, upset, you name it. C.I.'s ability to push on and persist gave me the nudge I needed.

Finally, because peace isn't a "pipe dream" but a potential reality, I'm doing something a little different with the "Peace Quote." We've highlighted Monica and Kevin Benderman before and I had an e-mail reminding me that Monica posts letters from Kevin regularly. I've meant to note the Bendermans regularly but I have forgotten. Information can be found at the Kevin Benderman Defense Committee and I'lll try to highlight their case at least twice a month. Hold me accountable.

"Peace Quote/ Reality Check" (Kevin Benderman, Kevin Benderman Defense Committee):
Has America given away all sense of "government of the people, by the people, for the people" in order to sell it to the highest bidder? Jack Abramoff, a lobbyist guilty of buying members of Congress, seems to be trying just that along with the members of Congress who are willing to sell it to him.
The sorry thing about this is that members of both the Democratic and Republican parties have taken money from him and the agencies he represented, and yet both parties continue to point the finger at the other, implying that it must be the "other side" that is doing something criminal. The people who are supposed to be represented by these members of Congress are not getting the service they deserve from their elected representatives, or are they?
We as American citizens, are so caught up in getting more, more and yet more, that we turn a blind eye to the illegal actions of these people. We act indignant about such an outrageous attack on our constitutional laws and representative government for a minute, then we turn on MTV or Maury Povich, and forget about what is actually going on around us.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

"We cannot change the past, but we can change our attitude toward it"

Mike and I are sharing a number of highlights. Be sure to check out his site Mikey Likes It! for his comments.

US Refuses to Apologize For CIA Bombing in Pakistan (Democracy Now!):
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.

That cuts it? For Americans, Sean McCormack's statement is supposed to cut it? Six children died and we're supposed to hear that nonsense and think, "Oh, well okay, if that's why, sure."
It doesn't cut it. We're not supposed to be killing innocent children, that's not how we're taught to see our country and it's unacceptable. "Collateral Damage" and other terms can mask reality but only if you want to be in the dark, only if you want to look the other way. We've got a Bully Boy with a blood lust and all he can think is, "Kill! Kill! Kill!" It's having an effect on the world and it's having an effect on us.

Swiss Senator Says Evidence Confirms CIA Renditions in Europe (Democracy Now!):
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.

Does anything outrage us anymore? Six children die because one of our predator drones does some "smart" bombing. We've been kidnapping people and holding them in secret jails. Thirty years ago, if you heard a leader railing against this behavior, it would have been Ronald Reagan talking about "the evil empire" (U.S.S.R.). And some of us would have watched and felt so superior because America doesn't do that. We're in the gutter now and the Bully Boy's dragged us there.

And what happened in Pakistan happens in Iraq all the time. Innocents are killed all the time and the US can blame it on "insurgents" or "terrorists" but that's not the only cause of death for innocent Iraqis.

Fly Boys and Lie Boys" (Brian Cloughley, CounterPunch):
The gallant fly-boys and their video-game controllers back in the US obliterated a house in which there was a family of Iraqis preparing to go to bed. The family had no connections with the Iraqi insurgency. They just had to die. And who cares? The official line is that the slaughtered kids "May have been drawn into the air strike" that was essential to "defend our forces fighting insurgents on the ground."
Even in the ludicrous Orwell-speak of modern military truth-destruction, the phrase "drawn into the air strike" achieves a new low in iniquitous distortion. The word 'may' is mandatory for all lie-speakers and serves to inject just that insidious doubt that is meat and drink to the pro-war media.
The kids who were killed by US bombs and cannon fire directed deliberately by gung-ho yippee-shooting jet-jocks were not "drawn into" their barbaric bombing. This is one of the most disgusting attempts at mind-bending yet achieved by the robotic brain-washed fanatics of the US propaganda factories. These children were killed because the people who ordered their death and those who murdered them are devoid of pity and revel in the technical expertise that separates killer from victim. They have no connection with spouting blood and shattered limbs. They play real-life video games in which they cause children to die in many horrible ways. They are clinically detached from the death and destruction that is their joy and professional climax. They are monsters.
Then the wondrous Colonel Johnson declared "We're now trying to determine in coordination with Iraqi security forces in the area exactly what casualties occurred, and why they occurred". This was after he assured the world that "precision-guided munitions" had been used and that all the dead people were bad people.
Then the Washington Post recorded that its correspondent "watched as the corpses of three women and three boys who appeared to be younger than 10 were removed Tuesday from the house outside the town of Baiji, 150 miles north of Baghdad" and that "Emergency workers also retrieved the bodies of three women -- a bloodied older woman whose head was wrapped in a black veil and two younger women whose hair was uncovered and who were dressed for bed. The head of one of the two young women was crushed."

This is the airwar Norman Solomon's pointed out that the mainstream media doesn't want to explore. There's a lot they don't want to explore and I'm excerpting for the final highlight but I would suggest you read the entry in full.

"NYT: '2002 Memo Doubted Uranium Sale Claim' (Eric Lichtblau)" (The Common Ills):
As noted on Sunday Salon with Larry Bensky
Sunday, there's hostility from some in the mainstream press towards Dahr Jamail and "[i]t's because, in some cases, he makes people look stupid." (The quote's from David Enders.) That would be the embeds who parrot military press releases and have apparently staked so much of their reputations (such as they currently are) on a created narrative that they're unable to break from it now. They appear to be too young to remember that war truths come out. Being old enough to remember Ronald Reagan's semi-successfully stage-managed wars, they're of the mind that truth is something that can come out years from now and, as then, there will be a shrug and that's all. That's not the case here. Call it self-interest if you want, but this war's not one of Reagan's illegal adventures that can be seen as happening to "them." It's happening to "them" and "us." And the American people will remember the enablers.
[. . .]
There's a moment in the film Black Widow that the
Go Go Boys Gone Wild in the Green Zone might want to pay attention to. Cocky and confident, assured that she's yet again gotten away with deceit, Theresa Russell bemoans the "fact" that it's over. "The truth is," Debra Winger informs her, "it's not over." Go Go Boys might want to study that moment (with or without their army of bodyguards). It'll help them prepare for what's coming.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center):
We cannot change the past, but we can change our attitude toward it. Uproot guilt and plant forgiveness. Tear out arrogance and seed humility. Exchange love for hate --- thereby, making the present comfortable and the future promising.
Maya Angelou

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

"And we are against them all"

Mike and I are doing the same two items from today's headlines on Democracy Now! and Kristle e-mailed asking that I ask Mike if the Arundhati Roy headline could be included. Kristle, I didn't have to ask. Mike and I both wanted that in. Be sure to visit Mikey Likes It!

Arundhati Roy Refuses Writing Prize to Protest Indian Policies (Democracy Now!):
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."

I really don't have any work to do on this one. Arundhati Roy is obviously correct and Kristel found a link.

"The Opposite of a Nuclear Bomb" (Arundhati Roy, Ms. Magazine):
The theme of much of what I write, fiction as well as nonfiction, is the relationship between power and powerlessness and the endless, circular conflict they're engaged in. The term "anti-American" is usually used by the American establishment to discredit its critics (myself included). Once someone is branded anti-American, the chances are that the person's argument will be lost in the welter of bruised national pride.
But what does the term "anti-American" mean? Does it mean you are anti-jazz? Or that you're opposed to freedom of speech? That you don't delight in Toni Morrison or John Updike? That you have a quarrel with giant sequoias? [Audience laughter] Does it mean that you don't admire the hundreds of thousands of American citizens who marched against nuclear weapons? Does it mean that you hate all Americans?
This sly conflation of America's culture, music, literature, the breathtaking physical beauty of the land, the ordinary pleasures of ordinary people with criticism of the U.S. government's foreign policy is an effective strategy. It's like a retreating army taking cover in a heavily populated city, hoping that the prospect of hitting civilian targets will deter enemy fire. But there are many Americans who would be mortified to be associated with their government's policies. [Applause]
It is dangerous to cede to the Indian government or the American government the right to define what "India" or "America" are or ought to be. To be "anti-American" (or for that matter, anti-Indian or anti-Timbuktuan) is not just racist, it's a failure of the imagination. An inability to see the world in terms other than those the establishment has set out for you. If you're not a Bushie, you're a Taliban. If you're not Good, you're Evil. If you're not with us, you're with the terrorists.

Al Gore: Bush "Repeatedly and Persistently" Broke Law (Democracy Now!):
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."

If you're missing news of this speech, here's a section of it.

"'We the People' Must Save Our Constitution" (Al Gore, Common Dreams):
At present, we still have much to learn about the NSA's domestic surveillance. What we do know about this pervasive wiretapping virtually compels the conclusion that the President of the United States has been breaking the law repeatedly and persistently.
A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government. Our Founding Fathers were adamant that they had established a government of laws and not men. Indeed, they recognized that the structure of government they had enshrined in our Constitution - our system of checks and balances - was designed with a central purpose of ensuring that it would govern through the rule of law. As John Adams said: "The executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers, or either of them, to the end that it may be a government of laws and not of men."
An executive who arrogates to himself the power to ignore the legitimate legislative directives of the Congress or to act free of the check of the judiciary becomes the central threat that the Founders sought to nullify in the Constitution - an all-powerful executive too reminiscent of the King from whom they had broken free. In the words of James Madison, "the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."

Now how might you have missed the speech? Because a lot of the mainstream media is ignoring it.

"What Would Happen if an American Politician Told the Truth and No Mainstream Media and Establishment Democrats Listened -- It Happened on Martin Luther King Day. Al Gore Was That Man" (BuzzFlash):
As expected, the mainstream press, ever afraid to offend Bush, has largely ignored or marginalized Al Gore's spectacular speeches holding up a mirror to the reality of the Bush Administration. Indeed, in the front page of the morning January 17th Internet editions of the Washington Post and The New York Times, not a single story could be found on the Gore speech (except for a story in the rolling AP list on the NYT about the current Bush consigliere -- and U.S. Attorney General -- Alberto Gonzales "refuting" Gore!).
[. . .]
No, lackluster Senators like Dianne Feinstein do the administration's work by signaling there won't be a Democratic filibuster of Alito. Di-Fi says that Alito did just fine in the hearings. Yeah, she says she won't vote for him, but that is meaningless without a filibuster.
Di-Fi has long been an administration enabler, never risking much of anything on a vote or a pronouncement. She'll not join a filibuster, even though Alito adamantly believes in the concept of Bush as the "unitary executive," which, in the vernacular means, a man with dictatorial powers. Di-Fi would rather allow an egomaniac of immense mediocrity and incompetence to become an entrenched ruler with dictatorial powers than speak out for our Constitution.
''I was impressed with his ability to maintain a very even demeanor," Feinstein added about Alito, on CBS's ''Face the Nation." Is Di-Fi reading from a Ken Mehlman script? This sort of statement is sort of emblematic of the establishment Democrats who go along with the Republican "script" every time, despite reality-based records that entirely contradict the script. It's like enabling an alcoholic -- giving it its best spin -- or trading off democracy for financial favors at its worst (Di-Fi's husband gets large Defense Department contracts.)
Yes, people like Di-Fi have forgotten about our Constitutional system of checks and balances -- or they just don't care anymore. They have other priorities, more personal ones.

End Zone e-mailed the editorial to C.I. who highlighted it this morning and asked that it be passed on to me as well.

Any time I write about Diane Feinstein's husband, even when I've got a link to a major paper, I end up getting e-mails that say, "It can't be true!" It is. So if you're one of the hold outs still praying I've made a mistake, check out BuzzFlash's editorial.

"Peace Quote" (Arundhati Roy Quotes):
The mullahs of the Islamic world and the mullahs of the Hindu world and the mullahs of the Christian world are all on the same side. And we are against them all.
Arundhati Roy

Monday, January 16, 2006

"The Open Space of Democracy" (Terry Tempest Williams)

The human heart is the first home of democracy. It is where we embrace our questions. Can we be equitable? Can we ben generous? Can we listen with our whole being, not just our mind, and offer our attention rather than our opinion? And do we have enough resolve in our heart to act courageously, relentlessly, without giving up, ever -- trusting our fellow citizens to join us in a determined pursuit of a living democracy? The heart is the house of empathy, whose door opens when we receive the pain of others. This is where bravery lives, where we'll find our mettle to give and receive, to love and be loved, to stand in the center of uncertainty with strength, not fear, understanding this is all there is. The heart is the path to wisdom because it dares to be vulnerable in the presence of power.

That's from Terry Tempest Williams' "The Open Space of Democracy" which you can find in CODEPINK's Stop The Next War Now (pages 36-39, the paragraphs from page 39). Stop The Next War Now is a book that I keep thinking of as the Bully Boy makes more and more war noise with regard to Iran.

I'd love to tell you that tonight I am as high minded as Williams, but that's not the case. I'm very concerned that Bully Boy's eager to launch a war with Iran for a number of reasons including the 2006 elections. Iraq got everyone's mind off the failing economy, the corporate scandals, the fact that despite bombing Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden was not captured (dead or alive Bully Boy once blustered). So on the eve of the 2006 elections, I wouldn't put it past him to attempt to rally the nation to yet another war. (That would be our third under Bully Boy for those trying to keep track.)

Possibly you think the Democrats have wised up and wouldn't go-along-to-get-along again? They were slaughtered in 2002 due to silencing their own voices. But it's four years later and they do not appear to have learned anything at all.

Last week, they couldn't even question a potential Supreme Court Justice with any guts, strength or grit. So I don't have a great deal of hope that they'll finally find the guts to stand up to the Bully Boy if he attempts to launch a third war (while the other two are still ongoing operations but possibly Iraq will fade from our memories the way Afghanistan did once we invaded Iraq).

Rebecca and I were on the phone earlier today and we both think C.I. summed up the mood in yesterday's "NYT: Carlotta Gall brings you news, Adam Nagourney brings you fluff" and today's "NYT: 'Dianne Feinstein's comment is very disturbing' - Kate Michelman." When the party can't even defend a woman's right to privacy, the party's demonstrating that they're useless.
I say Harry Reid needs to step down as Minority Leader in the Senate and that Diane Feinstein needs to step down from the committee along with Herbert Kohl. (I'll continue to spell it "Diane" because I don't care how she spells her name. I've got a knife in my back, it's only important that I can pick her out of line up, not write her a thank you note.)

So I'm trying to find my peaceful zone and not having a great deal of luck after the betrayal of the Democrats in the Senate who are intent upon sending signals of no filibuster for Alito. If you don't fight for my rights, don't expect my donations.

Right now, I wish CODEPINK was a political party because I know they'd stand up and be counted. I'm sick of the Democrats and their ideas of a slap on the wrist being swatting Bully Boy on the snout with a tissue.

I'm listening to Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach's Painted From Memory tonight and I only listen to that when I'm very depressed. It's a good album and probably not depressing for everyone. But I'm only in the mood for it when I'm depressed like tonight, like today, like all weekend. The last track, track twelve, is "God Give Me Strength" and that pretty well sums up my mood.

I actually prefer the version on the Grace of My Heart soundtrack but I was in the mood to wallow in my despair tonight.

I firmly believe that you have to experience your feelings. It does no good to close them off. Feel it. Own it. Explore it. That's the only way to get through it. I know people who are able to bottle up their feelings and function. I don't think that's healthy for everyone, possibly the ones who do that are exceptions.

So if you came here hoping for a pep talk, I'm going to disappoint you tonight.

If you're feeling as angry and betrayed as I am, maybe my sharing helps.

This is where I am tonight. Hopefully, I'll explore these feelings and get them in some sort of order by tomorrow but today they are still too fresh and close to the bone.