Friday, January 27, 2006

"Peace will come when we work together"

I called senators today. Did you? Do you know what I'm talking about?

Sens. Kerry, Kenneyd To Lead Filibuster Against Alito (Democracy Now!):
On Capital Hill, Democratic Senators John Kerry and Edward Kennedy have announced they’ll attempt a filibuster to block the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. In response, Republicans said they will force a vote early next week. Kerry said: "Its our right and our responsibility to oppose [Alito] vigorously and to fight against this radical upending of the Supreme Court."

Bill Frist wants to force the vote on Monday. So it's time to get active. We need to be heard on this.

"Group of Senate Democrats Launch Filibuster on Alito" (Feminist Wire):
A group of Democratic Senators, led by Massachusetts Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, has launched a filibuster to block the confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) has called for a cloture vote on Monday at 4:30 p.m. to end debate and move to a vote on Alito. To win a cloture vote, Frist has to muster 60 votes in favor of ending debate.

"Millions of people have called and emailed their Senators, urging them to save the Supreme Court for women's rights, civil rights, environment protections, civil liberties, separation of church and state, disability rights, and to stop a Bush power grab. The Democrats have heard this message loud and clear," said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority. "This filibuster is historically important because it is sending a message to the President -- people will not tolerate his packing of the Supreme Court."
TAKE ACTION Urge your Democratic Senators to filibuster Alito!
GET THE INSIDE SCOOP with The Smeal Report and the New Leif blogs at
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.

Need more help?

"Kerry is filibustering Alito!" (Progressive Democrats of America via The Common Ills):
Call Senators Immediately!
Call the Senators listed below, as well as your own, and tell them:

* a "No" vote is meaningless without a filibuster
* it is cowardly to only fight a fight when assured victory
* the American people need to see the Senate standing up for separation of powers and against the "Unitary Executive" Use these toll free numbers to call the Capitol:
888-355-3588 or 888-818-6641.
If you can't get through, look up the Senator's District Office number in your phone book or here:
First: Call the three Democrats (Mary Landrieu, Ken Salazar, and Dianne Feinstein) who oppose Alito but also said they oppose a filibuster. We must persuade them that a vote against Alito is meaningless if they don't support a filibuster.
Senator Salazar (D-CO) 202-224-5852
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) 202-224-5824
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) 202-224-3841
Second: Call your own Democratic Senator:
888-355-3588 or 888-818-6641.
* If you can't get through, look up the Senator's District Office number in your phone book or here:
Third: Unbelievably, three Democrats (Ben Nelson, Tim Johnson and Robert Byrd) support Alito! Tell them to either support filibuster or at least "don't get in the way."
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) 202-224-6551
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) 202-224-3954
Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) 202-224-5842
888-355-3588 or 888-818-6641.
If you can't get through, look up the Senator's District Office number in your phone book or here:
Fourth: Call the "Red State" Democrats:
(Message same as above -- "No" is meaningless)
Tom Carper (DE)
Kent Conrad (ND)
Byron Dorgan (ND)
Blanche Lincoln (AR)
Mark Pryor (AR)
Fifth: Call these "Blue State" and pro-choice Republicans: (Message: A "Unitary Executive" is dangerous to balance of powers--please do not get in the way of a filibuster.)
Lincoln Chafee (RI)
Susan Collins (ME)
Lisa Murkowsky (AK)
Bob Smith (OR)
Olympia Snowe (ME)
Ted Stevens (AK)
For extra credit, call all of the 2008 Presidential candidates who are sitting Senators--Evan Bayh, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Russ Feingold, and John Kerry--and tell them to either LEAD THE FILIBUSTER or KISS YOUR SUPPORT GOODBYE.
888-355-3588 or 888-818-6641.
If you can't get through, look up the Senator's District Office number in your phone book or here:
You can also send that message to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (202-224-2447) and the Democratic National Committee (202-863-8000).

So we've got to be active.

Justice Dept. Argued Against By-Passing FISA in 2002 (Democracy Now!):
In other news, uncovered statements made by the Justice Department appear to contradict several of the Bush administration’s key arguments in defense of its eavesdropping on US citizens without court warrants. In July 2002, the Justice Department told a Senate Committee the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- FISA -- was working well. It said efforts to circumvent FISA would need "serious review." The Justice Department made the statement in an argument against a proposal that would have made it easier to obtain the warrants – something the Bush administration now claims is needed today. The apparent contradiction was first pointed out by Internet blogger Glenn Greenwald, on his weblog Unclaimed Territory.

Step right up, America, round and round the Lie Wheel goes and when it stops, no one knows.

Check out Mikey Likes It! and get Mike's take on today's news.

We need to fight the Alito confirmation. We need to show that we are fighters who will stand up for what we believe in. You want an impeachment? It's not going to happen if the elected Congress doesn't see that we are serious. We need to infuse them with spines and let them know that we expect them to use it.

Peace Quote:
Peace will come when we work together.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

"Nothing could be worse than the fear that one had given up too soon"

Who's my blog twin? Mike so please visit his site Mikey Likes It! for his comments and views.

Report: Gonzales Says Bush Doesn't Need Patriot Act (Democracy Now!):
The Boston Globe is reporting that Bush administration has apparently argued it is free to continue with the broad investigative powers granted by the USA Patriot Act -- even if Congress does not extend the act. The Globe says the argument comes in a footnote in Attorney Alberto Gonzales' 42-page legal memo defending the NSA spy program. According to the Globe, Gonzales wrote Congress already gave President Bush the broad investigative authority when it authorized him to use force against Al Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks. Despite its apparent position, the White House has lobbied intensively for Congress to re-authorize the Patriot Act.

This is so sneaky and underhanded and, as usual, the Bully Boy says one thing and does another. I am so sick of this administration and their lies. They lose and they change the rules. That's been the way they've conducted business since they stole the election in 2000. "State rights! State rights!" they screamed until they went begging to the Supreme Court to stop the recount in a clear opposition to the state rights principle. Are people starting to get worried? They should be. They should be very worried because once again Bully Boy's saying he doesn't need Congress to do whatever he wants. This is a power grab as much as his claim that his spying on American citiziens without a warrant, in clear violation of the Fourth Amendment, is a power grab. People need to wake up and see what's going on.

US Delays Decision on Luis Posada Carriles (Democracy Now!):
This news on the case of detained Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles -- the US government has announced it will delay a decision on his extradition until April. In September, a U.S. immigration judge ruled Carriles won't be deported to Cuba or Venezuela, where he is wanted for his role in blowing up a Cuban jetliner in 1976 killing 73 people. A US immigration spokesperson said the government has not ruled out deporting Carriles to a third country. Meanwhile, in Cuba Tuesday, hundreds of thousands of Cubans held a rally outside the US interests section in Havana to protest Carriles’ possible release. Venezuela is threatening to cut ties with the United States over its refusal to hand over Carriles.

More "Wake up!" news. Tough talking Bully Boy who 'smites' all terrorits is okay that Carriles, a terrorist who killed at least 73 people, at least, sneaks into the United States and isn't immediately deported. Venezuela wants him to put him on trial. He's a murderer. 73 people, that we know of, are dead because of him. I doubt he killed 73 people and never killed again or had never killed prior. That's not usually the pathology.

We don't need to harbor him in this country. He needs to stand trial for his murders.

"PA: Anti-Choice Democratic Senate Candidate Casey Supports Alito" (Feminist Wire):
Robert Casey, an anti-choice Democrat who is challenging Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) in November, has outraged women's rights supporters by announcing his support for confirming Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.
"It's very disturbing and should worry, I think, Pennsylvania women and civil rights advocates and people concerned about unchecked executive power to wiretap and eavesdrop on Americans," Kate Michelman, former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, told the Patriot News.
Casey's decision to support Alito shows that women "cannot count on a Senator Casey to protect our liberties," Michelman continued.
On the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Alito was the lone judge who voted to uphold a spousal notification requirement in Pennsylvania's Abortion Control Act, a bill that Casey's father, then-Governor Robert P. Casey, Sr., had signed into law. The case, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, was decided by the Supreme Court in 1992, which overturned Pennsylvania's harsh restrictions on abortion.
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: Patriot News 1/25/06; Philadelphia Inquirer 1/25/06

What was the Democratic Party thinking when they went with Casey Junior? He's a lousy candidate who falls apart before the home stretch. He also holds repugnant views. If they wanted the seat, shouldn't they have offered a contrast to Rick Santorum?

Penn. is not an anti-choice state. They have a pro-choice senator currently, Arlen Specter. Even with the right-wing attempting to smear him for being pro-choice (and other things) in 2004 and mount a primary challenge, Specter still was re-elected.

This wasn't about "electibility." This was about leadership in the Democratic Party sending a message that they weren't going to take any "guff" from the women-folk. Well don't whine to me when he loses. God forbid he wins, but if he does, don't whine to me when he breaks ranks with the Party in vote after vote. He's sent his message, he will stab the Party in the back before election day even rolls around.

Now, if you're reading this, I'm guessing that you've had some down time and are ready to get back in the fight. You have your action lists in the gina & krista round-robin that went out Tuesday. That's a fight we need to fight and, look around, there's nothing but battles to fight.
(Don't believe it? Read C.I.'s "NYT Loses Will to Cover the NSA story.") If you feel tired or you start to lose focus, it's okay to take time for yourself. Every voice is needed in every fight but you can't fight if you've got no energy left. So take time for yourself and you'll be stronger and ready for the battle. Taking care of yourself is healthy, it's not dropping out or turning your back. We've got a lot of battles to fight and it's important to learn to pace yourself.

"Peace Quotes" (Peace Center):
Nothing could be worse than the fear that one had given up too soon, and left one unexpended effort that might have saved the world.
Jane Addams

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

"Peace requires common sense and energy"

The judiciary committee voted, from the Feminist Wire:

Judiciary Democrats Vote Solidly 'No' on Alito
In a straight party-line vote (10-8), the Senate Judiciary Committee voted this morning to approve Alito's confirmation, sending the debate to the Senate floor.

"The strong statements from Democrats on the Judiciary Committee demonstrate that the confirmation of Judge Alito is too risky for a nation divided in a time of crisis," said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority.
"This unusual straight party vote on a Supreme Court nominee shows that the Republican Party has moved too far to the right, deserting basic women"s rights and individual rights, and it shows a willingness on the part of Republican Senators to give the President a blank check in expanding presidential powers, even to the extent of breaking the law, such as in the domestic surveillance," Smeal continued."Women in this nation must recognize that the dominant force in the Republican Party has decided to take away women's fundamental right to an abortion. We cannot continue to fool ourselves and call some Republicans pro-choice when they continue to vote to empower those who would take away our rights," Smeal said.
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

Can you believe how much work it took to get that vote? Can you believe how much work still lies ahead of us? Those whose nerves were frayed and beyond tired should now read "'How do you think a story can change a life?' (Laura Flanders to Robert Redford)" and take the breather they've earned.

Speaking as a health professional, there is no guilt or shame in down time. If you need it, and I'm guessing many do, take it. Take it right now without guilt. There's no date set for the full Senate to vote on Alito. There's no reason for you to feel guilty. So if downtime for you means taking a break, take it now. You've earned it.

You'll come back rested and ready to fight. You cannot run a marathon forever. You need a finish line. This was the finish line. Go get some rest prior to the next track meet.

I applaud the work of Gina and Krista in their round-robins and of C.I. They worked their butts off. I hope they'll take some downtime. But whether they do or not, those of you who've e-mailed saying you were exhausted and didn't know how much you had left in you, take the break you've earned. Do it for yourself because you need it. Do it for the movement because you're no good to anyone if you've got nothing left.

Depending upon what's in the news tomorrow, I'll take tomorrow off. You take the downtime you need. There will always be something popping up in the news. But I know many of you have gone beyond anything you knew you were capable of. Take some time to absorb what you did, what others did and what the effect was. It will make you all the more stronger for the next battle.

Bush Vows Anti-Choice Movement "Will Prevail" (Democracy Now!):
Back here in the United States, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote today on whether to recommend the confirmation of Samuel Alito as a Supreme Court justice. The vote is expected to be split largely along party lines. Meanwhile on Monday, President Bush told activists who are tying to make abortions illegal that they are pursuing a "a noble cause." To mark the 33th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade, Bush said "This is a cause that appeals to the conscience of our citizens and is rooted in America's deepest principle. And history tells us that with such a cause we will prevail." Several groups include the National Organization of Women have urged Democratic Senators to filibuster Samuel Alito's confirmation because they fear he will overturn Roe v. Wade. In 1985 Alito wrote that the Constitution does not protect the right to an abortion.

Need another reason to recharge for the next wave of this battle? Bully Boy wants to win it. Unlike the Dems, he's playing to win. We'll need to light an even larger fire underneath the Dems for the full vote. Go recharge.

Military Jury: No Jail Time For Interrogator Who Killed Iraqi (Democracy Now!):
In other Iraq news -- a military jury in Colorado ruled last night an Army interrogator who killed an Iraqi general would not have to serve any time in jail. The interrogator -- Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer Jr. - killed the Iraqi man after putting a sleeping bag over his head, wrapping him in electrical cord, sitting on his chest and covering his mouth. Over the weekend the military jury convicted Welshofer of negligent homicide which carries a maximum prison term of three years. But the jury chose instead to fine him $6,000 and ordered him to spend the next 60 days restricted to his home, office and church. The Los Angeles Times reports soldiers and officers inside the courtroom broke out in applause after the jury announced Welshofer would not be jailed for the killing.

While it appears fairly obvious that others (such as the CIA) were involved, the fact that there's no punishment for Welshofer is appalling. He walks. Must be nice to be able to walk away. The dead man doesn't have that luxury.

Peace Activist Gets 6 Months in Jail For Recruiting Station Protest (Democracy Now!):
In upstate New York, a peace activist has been sentenced to six months in jail for pouring blood inside a military recruiting station in March 2003 in order to protest the invasion of Iraq. The man, Daniel Burns, 45, was one of a group now known as the St. Patrick's Four. The other three members will also be sentenced this week.

Daniel Burns also doesn't walk. For pouring blood in a recruiting station, he gets six months time. Abed Hamed Mowhoush is dead and Welshofer walks. Burns killed no one and gets six months in jail. Our logic and priorities seem to be in question.

Thanks to Cheryl for her e-mail highlighting something from BuzzFlash that C.I. linked to. I wasn't in the mood for links this morning when I checked The Common Ills. No offense to BuzzFlash or Robert Parry, the excerpts showed strong writing. Cheryl did read the BuzzFlash editorial in full and highlighted a section. (Cheryl, I mentioned your e-mail to Mike who had read it and he's going to note the editorial as well.)

"The Power of One" (BuzzFlash):
The timid will lose. In avoiding risk, in bypassing the filibuster of Alito, the Joe Bidens and the Dianne Feinsteins of the world will have taken the biggest risk of all.
George Bush has broken the law and signaled in every way that he intends to keep doing it -- and to ignore the rule of law whenever he sees fit. He and Cheney are showing daily contempt for Congress and packing the Supreme Court with supporters of the "Unitary Executive," or dictatorship.
It is a concept that disdains democracy, that finds no support in the Constitution, and that destroys our system of checks and balances.
Those who would shrug off an Alito confirmation with a "No" vote -- without a filibuster -- are giving into the mugging of democracy.
This will not stand.

Go to Mikey Likes It! to get his take. He's tired but sounded (on the phone) like he had more energy than I do.

Peace Quote:
Peace requires common sense and energy. Recharge your energies.

Monday, January 23, 2006

"Peace, like all things that truly matter, is worth standing up for"

Judiciary Committee Votes Tomorrow on Alito; Filibuster Possible, Says Durbin
Tomorrow, two days after the 33rd anniversary of Roe v Wade, the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Samuel Alito, a Supreme Court nominee who in 1985 wrote that the Constitution does not protect a woman's right to an abortion. Women's rights leaders and activists rallied last night at the Supreme Court in support of the landmark Supreme Court ruling.

"Since we last gathered to commemorate Roe v. Wade, two seats have opened up on the Supreme Court, and George W. Bush has used both opportunities to nominate judges whose records show a disdain for privacy rights and individual liberties," said Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women. "The Senate is poised to vote on confirming Samuel Alito, who would replace Sandra Day O'Connor, a justice whose vote has upheld women's rights for nearly 25 years. How quickly the fate of women's reproductive rights could turn in this nation."
Already, at least nine Senators have come out publicly and strongly against Alito's confirmation, including four who voted in favor of confirming John Roberts as chief justice. In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), the Democratic Whip, said that a filibuster was possible.
"A week ago, I would have told you it's not likely to happen," Durbin said. "As of [Wednesday], I just can't rule it out. I was surprised by the intensity of feeling of some of my colleagues. It's a matter of counting. We have 45 Democrats, counting [Vermont independent] Jim Jeffords, on our side. We could sustain a filibuster if 41 Senators ... are willing to stand and fight."
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: Feminist Majority; NOW statement 1/22/06; Chicago Sun-Times 1/20/06

The item above is from the Feminist Wire. We are making a difference we can keep making a difference. If we lose this, it won't be because we didn't try. At a time when the Democratic Party lost its will to fight, the people held on to their own will. I am hoping this is either a filibuster or enough people with common sense cross party lines to vote "no." If it's a loss, it's a big one. But it's the Democrats in the Senate's fault, not the people. The people spoke. They wanted to see a real opposition. If we lose tomorrow, it will be awful. But the people did their job, their senators job and much more. So take a moment to congratulate yourself on what's been accomplished thus far and gear up for tomorrow's big battle.

U.S. Criticized For Downplaying Threat Of Radical Right (Democracy Now!):
Last year federal investigators told a Senate committee that environmental and animal groups like ELF and ALF represented the nation's leading domestic terror threat. The Southern Poverty Law Center however recently criticized the federal government for underestimating the threat posed by violent right-wing organizations. According to the Center, the radical right has plotted to carry out at least 60 terrorist plots inside the United States since the Oklahoma City Bombing. This includes plans to bomb or burn government buildings, mosques, synagogues and abortion clinics, plans to assassinate government officials and civil rights leaders and efforts to amass chemical and biological weapons arsenals.

But the focus is on so-called "eco-terrorists." What's an eco-terrorist? A term pols in the pocket of corporations bandy about to make sure people advocating for sound environmental policies are tarred and feathered. The real terrorists get a pass from this administration. Bomb a health clinic and John Ashcroft would meet with you to pray. Maybe he'd bring the doughnuts and orange juice?

It's funny to hear Bully Boy bluster about smoking out terrorists when we've certainly had a number of them in this country and it's look the other way. Especially if your acts of terrorism target women or Cuba.

New York Times Warns Against Alito's 'Radical' Views (Democracy Now!):
The editorial page of the New York Times came out today in opposition to Samuel Alito's confirmation to the Supreme Court. The paper's editors warns "He has a radically broad view of the president's power, and a radically narrow view of Congress's power. He has long argued that the Constitution does not protect abortion rights. He wants to reduce the rights and liberties of ordinary Americans, and has a history of tilting the scales of justice against the little guy."

You know what I think? I think if the reporters for the New York Times had done their job in reporting on Alito, it wouldn't be left to the editorial board to attempt to explain the problems with Alito. Here's another thought: maybe next time instead of treating it as a sporting match (as C.I. always notes, working for that paper seems to mean wearing an athletic cup -- males and females), they treat it as something that matters, something that effects our lives. Instead it was just a "game" to them and they were happy to tell you strategy. I thought, once upon a time, that reporters went after stories. I never thought they just watched a hearing, wrote up a piece and called it reporting.

C.I.'s got a strong section on the Times in "Democracy Now: James Petras, Anthony Fenton; Norman Solomon, Brian Conley & Isam Rashid, gatekeepers" (It's the last part of the entry.)

Mike's posting this evening so please visit his site Mikey Likes It!

Peace Quote for tonight:
Peace, like all things that truly matter, is worth standing up for.