Thursday, December 29, 2005

Other Items

Marcia notes "Group Drops Bid to Ban Same-Sex Marriage" which is another AP article the New York Times uses to pad out a really embarrassing day (maybe they should start staggering vacations?). The so-called group (and most of the real important marital battles must surely happen online) is dropping its efforts to get a measure placed on California's 2006 elections. One group's still trying. The so-called is still attempting to gather enough signatures and funds to place the issue before voters next fall. The group dropping out states they were unable to gather enough signatures or raise enough funds and blame that on the donations made to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. (I guess we've finally moved on from using 9-11 as the catch all excuse.) Another possible reason, one not brought up by the AP, is that this is a "wedge issue" and "donations" from all of the country are much more likely to come in if they can get before voters for a presidential election.

Eric Lichtblau is one of the few Times reporters not on vacation (either physically or mentally) and he contributes "Supreme Court Is Asked to Rule on Terror Trial" today. From the article:

The Bush administration asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday to allow for the immediate transfer of Jose Padilla from a military brig to civilian custody to stand trial on terrorism charges, a move that came in response to an appellate court ruling last week that blocked the transfer.

The Bully Boy's war on the courts continues and now the administration takes on the Fourth Circuit "widely known as one of the most conservative appellate courts in the country, and it has sided with the Bush administration on a number of issues involving matters of terrorism and national security." Apparently the emergence of Bully Boy's illegal authorization of the NSA spying has neither shamed the administration or caused them to cease their overreach.

From Lichtblau's article:

"Nothing in this case surprises me anymore," Donna Newman, one of Mr. Padilla's lawyers, said after the Justice Department's filing in the case on Wednesday. "This is an unusual turn of events for the Justice Department to come out against the Fourth Circuit like this, because anybody who looks at precedent would see the Fourth Circuit is a very pro-government circuit that generally finds in favor of the government."

We could sit and tick down all the AP stories, time permitting, in this morning's Times. The reporters for the paper not on vacation are interested in "human interest stories." So you get a look at a governor, a look at a family of a bank robber* ("Oh if only Daddy hadn't started it all!" can be the subtext of that article), etc. You get Juliet Macur giving the war glory in "In Training for Iraq, Learning to Work as a Team." I was hoping to note Howard Zinn in a magazine summary entry (on the latest issue of The Progressive, worth checking out, by the way) but reading Macur's nonsense (the warrior as little leaguer -- has someone inherited Todd S. Purdum's jock strap?) I'll go ahead and note Zinn's "After The War" now:

I came to a conclusion about the psychology of myself and other warriors: Once we decided, at the start, that our side was the good side and the other side was evil, once we had made that simple and simplistic calculation, we did not have to think anymore. Then we could commit unspeakable crimes and it was all right.
I began to think about the motives of the Western powers and Stalinist Russia and wondered if they cared as much about fascism as about retaining their own empires, their own power, and if that was why they had military priorities higher than bombing the rail lines leading to Auschwitz. Six million Jews were killed in the death camps (allowed to be killed?). Only 60,000 were saved by the war--1 percent.
A gunner on another crew, a reader of history with whom I had become friends, said to me one day: "You know this is an imperialist war. The fascists are evil. But our side is not much better." I could not accept his statement at the time, but it stuck with me.
War, I decided, creates, insidiously, a common morality for all sides. It poisons everyone who is engaged in it, however different they are in many ways, turns them into killers and torturers, as we are seeing now. It pretends to be concerned with toppling tyrants, and may in fact do so, but the people it kills are the victims of the tyrants. It appears to cleanse the world of evil, but that does not last, because its very nature spawns more evil. Wars, like violence in general, I concluded, is a drug. It gives a quick high, the thrill of victory, but that wears off and then comes despair.

Lloyd notes Matthew Rothschild's latest, "Stop the Bombing" (This Just In, The Progressive):

Bradley Graham of The Washington Post reveals that the number of U.S. air strikes has gone up by a factor of five in the last year, with U.S. pilots now going on four sorties a day and dropping their 500-pound bombs.
Military analysts expect this reliance on air power to continue--or even to increase--as the U.S. withdraws some of its ground troops.
Those sorties are killing civilians, though we're not seeing the video on our nightly news and the Pentagon is not tabulating the deaths, or at least not making the tally public.
But "scores of noncombatants" have died in the U.S. offensive in western Iraq, many from U.S. airstrikes,
Ellen Knickmeyer of the Post reports.
Some of these noncombatants were children, and some died when they were in buildings that insurgents were also using, Knickmeyer reports.
The killing of children is nothing new in war, but we don't hear Bush or Rumsfeld focusing on it.

I believe Lloyd subscribes to the magazine but if he doesn't, and for any one else interested, Rothschild tackles this topic (and more) in the "Commentary" of the latest issue (with the Dahlai Lama on the cover).

Kevin notes Cindy Sheehan's "2006: The Year the Chickenhawks Will Go Home to Roost" (Common Dreams):

From Camp Casey to Katrina to use of chemical weaponry and extraordinary rendition to illegally spying on American citizens without due process, Bushco has miserably failed our country and the world. We as Americans said "enough is enough." We sacrificed a lot when we showed up in DC and other cities around the country in the hundreds of thousands to protest against and show that we withdraw any consent to be governed by murderous thugs. We started to peacefully, but forcefully resist the notion that this government has any right to govern us when they have betrayed their offices and their sacred trusts as "defenders" of the Constitution so horribly.
This was also the year that we also began to hold such Republicans in Democratic clothing like: Hillary Clinton, Joe Lieberman, Joe Biden, and Diane Feinstein (list is my no means all inclusive) accountable for their support of what George is doing in Iraq. When we as Democrats elect our leaders we expect them to reject and loudly repudiate the murderous and corrupt policies of this administration: not support and defend them.
There are Camp Caseys in front of Hillary's and Chuck Schumer's offices in Long Island every Friday, as well as one in front of Diane Feinstein's Los Angeles office on Fridays, also. There has been a Camp Casey in front of Kay Bailey Hutchinson's office in Dallas since August. Several protestors have been arrested in Dallas exercising their First Amendment rights. We need to let these warmongers, as well as the Republican warmongers, know that we mean business when we say "bring them home now." Set up Camp Caseys in front of your Senator's or Congress person's office if they support George in his wars of aggression.
Gold Star Families for Peace is planning many activities for the first part of 2006. I would like to give you all a heads up on them, so you can make your plans accordingly to support us and to join us if at all possible.
On January 31st , we will be in Washington, DC for the State of the Union address when George gets in front of Congress and the world and lies through his teeth about how great everything is going in Iraq and here at home. His idiotic policies have ruined Iraq and New Orleans and made the world a more dangerous place…allowing that terrorist attacks have tripled world wide since he decided to "fight them over there." He also may be laying the ground work for further acts of needless aggression against Syria and Iraq. GSFP and representatives from other peace organizations and refugees from New Orleans will be gathering in DC to give the "Real State of the Union." Check our website for place and time.

Don't forget to listen, watch or read Democracy Now! today.

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[Note: Post corrected. "Dalia" Lama. *"Of a bank robber."]