Monday, December 19, 2005

We are all the outlaws in the eyes of the Bully Boy

The evening entries are always more informal (to say the least) and probably more so this week.
I've got a house full of guests and a number of things to do. I'll assume that's true for many. But we will have our evening entries. They'll pop up later than I'd like, but they will be here.

In addition, Kat's busting her back/rear/take your pick to provide content here. This week, you'll see a review of an album from 1972 that she's reviewing for Eli. It's a favorite of his granddaughter's and now one of his great-granddaughters. That's not the only thing Kat's working on for this site but it will probably be the first thing she finishes. Working on all that's she's working on will probably mean that she won't be posting much (if at all) at her own site.

Which brings us an issue Ty, Dona, Jess, Jim and Ava posted in "A Note To Our Readers:"

Some of us will be working on it. Those who can't, can't. We respect that. And no one ever needs to feel guilty about that. Mike's going to be late posting this week but plans to work on something every day. Elaine plans to try ("to try") to do the same. Rebecca says she'll post at least four times. Wally's got extended family coming in starting Monday and is unsure how often he'll post. Betty notes that she's having huge problems with her latest but will have it ("I swear") up this week. C.I. will post something each day but will also need to work on the year-in-the review. You'll see stuff at The Common Ills from Martha & Shirley (their book list which was ready this week but is being held for Christmas day), Ruth and Isaiah. Isaiah was held today because C.I. wants Isaiah to have a week off. Kat is working on three things for The Common Ills and hopes to have them completed before the new year so she notes that she may only post once this week. With the church program he's involved in, Cedric thinks he will post only once this week.

"Some of us" is in reference to The Third Estate Sunday Review's edition that will publish on Sunday. Due to the holidays, not everyone will be able to participate. As noted above, I'll be doing entries throughout the week. (We're not going on vacation here.)

We'll note what Sela e-mailed to highlight, "Boxer Asks Presidential Scholars about Former White House Counsel's Statement that Bush Admitted to an 'Impeachable Offense'" (BuzzFlash):

Washington, D.C.-- U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today asked four presidential scholars for their opinion on former White House Counsel John Dean’s statement that President Bush admitted to an "impeachable offense" when he said he authorized the National Security Agency to spy on Americans without getting a warrant from a judge.
Boxer said, "I take very seriously Mr. Dean's comments, as I view him to be an expert on Presidential abuse of power. I am expecting a full airing of this matter by the Senate in the very near future."

Boxer's letter follows in this BuzzFlash news alert. We'll probably note it tomorrow as well.

This is an important issue. In terms of the spying on peace activists by the Pentagon (and local police), Micah notes Jarrett Murphy's "The Spying Game: New York cops and civil libertarians resume their fight over political surveillance" (The Village Voice):

If you've seen or attended a recent protest in New York City about the war or the president or even rent guidelines, you have probably seen the cops with the video cameras. They aren't making home movies. Instead, what they're likely filming is political speech that, in an earlier day, might have been off-limits to police snooping thanks to the First Amendment. They are also staking out ground in a 34-year-old legal battle between the NYPD and civil libertarians--a dispute that is probably headed back to court yet again early next year.
The argument this time is about Interim Order 47, a police department directive issued in September 2004 setting out new rules for when officers can videotape and photograph political demonstrations.
The order tells cops that they can use cameras to make training tapes or analyze police procedures, as well as "when a reasonable belief exists that unlawful activity, terrorist activity, or arrest activity will occur." No problem there. That language is in line with the 2003 version of the NYPD's "Guidelines for Investigations Involving Political Activity." A federal court approved those guidelines after the NYPD, citing "changed circumstances, based on the attacks and activities of international terrorists" after 9-11, asked to be freed from stricter rules that were part of the 1985 settlement in Handschu v. Special Services Division.
Handschu was a 1971 suit by activists who'd been targeted by the NYPD Intelligence Division; the case was named for one of the plaintiffs. It required cops who wanted to spy on political groups to get approval--within 48 hours of beginning their investigation--from a commission made up of two police officials and a mayoral appointee. Officers had to provide some rationale for why the surveillance was necessary.

There's a lot going on right now and if I seem to be hitting on this issue it's because it's important (judging by members' comments, it's important to many as well). Shirley noted in an e-mail that Britney Spears might not have made such a fool of herself (with her comment about trusting a president -- excerted in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11) if we knew our history, if we were taught our history. The work of the Church Committee and the Pike Committee should be taught in basic history but that's not how it goes and a large number of people have forgotten and some never knew.

Just as this period is forgotten -- or reduced to Nixon ordered the plumbers to break into the Democratic headquarters in the Watergate building and that's all he did. That's not all he did.
Or all the "heroic" things Mark Felt did. We need to be reclaiming our history.

On all things, but especially on the period of spying on US citizens. In the seventies, this generated outrage (this being similar behaviors). We're going to wrap this up (for tonight) by noting "Editorial: The Bully Boy divider" (The Third Estate Sunday Review):

"We are all the outlaws in the eyes of America."

That's the opening line to Jefferson Airplane's "We Can Be Together." That's also what the Bully Boy appears to see when he looks out on the nation.

"In Address, Bush Says He Ordered Domestic Spying" ("Says Program Will Go On") announces the headline on the front page of this morning's New York Times. The AP trumpets "Bush Defends Secret Spying in the U.S."

If you're missing the point, from Democracy Now!:

Report: Bush-Enacted NSA Program Monitors Phone Conversations, E-Mails
The New York Times is reporting the National Security Agency has been eavesdropping on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals without court-approved warrants. Under a Bush administration directive enacted in 2002, the agency has monitored the international phone calls and e-mails of hundreds, and possibly thousands of people inside the country. The National Security Agency’s mission is to spy on communications abroad. Although officials said the program had helped thwart at least two potential attacks, most people monitored by the N.S.A. have never been charged with a crime.
The Times says it delayed publishing details of the program after a request from the Bush administration at least one year ago. At the request of the White House, the Times also says it has omitted information administration officials said could be useful to terrorists. The disclosure comes two days after NBC News revealed the Pentagon has kept detailed records on the events and meetings of anti-war groups across the country.


Pentagon Monitoring Anti-War Events Across the Country
Meanwhile, NBC News is reporting the Pentagon has been extensively monitoring the events and gatherings of peaceful anti-war groups across the country. A military database obtained by the network lists small activist meetings and events among 1,500 "suspicious incidents" over a 10-month period. The events included a gathering at a Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Florida, to plan a protest of military recruiting at local high schools. In total, the database listed over four dozen anti-war meetings or protests.

Get it? We are all the outlaws in the eyes of the Bully Boy. (In the eyes of some senators as well.)

Last week saw the Patriot Act (temporarily, at least) put on hold. As BuzzFlash noted on the Bully Boy's strong push to renew it:

No, the real immediate threat is the Bush administration, which would take away our most basic liberties -- while ignoring the real terrorist risks -- in order to expand their secret powers. There is no logic to most of the Patriot Act except when viewed through the prism of extending this regime's imperial powers.

You and your rights are expendable to a Bully Boy administration. That's why the Pentagon (and others) can spy on peace activists without any hesitation or remorse.

This should make you think of the Nixon administration.This should alarm you.

On the Pentagon's spying, Matthew Rothschild notes:

The Pengaton's partial file on the spying is available [. . . here]
It lists 43 events in a six-month period alone, dating from November 11, 2004, to May 7, 2005. Pentagon political spying took place in the following states and the District of Columbia: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
One took place in Madison, Wisconsin, on April 26, 2005, according to the Madison Capital Times.
It was sponsored by the Student Labor Action Coalition and the Stop the War, the Capital Times reported. "Participants in the rally numbered only about 20," the paper said, and it was designed to protest recruitment in Madison. "
A planned Air Force recruiting drive was abandoned as a result."The Pentagon's database "listed the type of threat posed by the event as 'anti-DOD vandalism' and marked the source as 'not credible.' The case, however, was left on a status of 'open/unresolved,' " the Capital Times reported.

In his McCarthyism Watch, Rothschild has chonicled repeated outrages. We'd suggest it be called the Enemies List Watch because that does appear to be what's now emerging.

You are an outlaw, an enemy, if you read the wrong book, gather at a protest (any protest) against an administration policy or objective, if you merely try to live as a citizen in a democracy.

And Bully Boy will rush out to warble his tired, old song of, "If you don't support me, the terrorist will win!"

Quite the contrary, as BuzzFlash points out, "It is, let us remember again and again, the Bush Administration who puts us at greatest risk for terrorism. "

Last week, the mainstream media seemed to wake up (partially) from their long years of lethargy. The reports that emerged were alarming. Bully Boy's response to revelations of his outrageous behavior is to blame the media and to blame those who didn't rush to do his bidding on the Patriot Act. When he said you either with us or against us, he wasn't kidding, he wasn't joshing. But "us" wasn't "U.S." "Us" was his administration.

Silly ass pundits have been demanding a healing of the "divide" in this nation since the day after the 2004 election. Everytime they demanded a healing, they slapped the left with a ruler. We have to come together! We have to pull together! For the good of the country, Al Gore needs to concede!It hasn't been for the good of the country. It's been for the good of the Bully Boy. He's the one who's continued to divide the nation with his actions and words.

The reports on spying from last week make it quite clear that he divides "us" and "them" along partisan lines. These actions were not just an attack on those who disagree with him, they were an attack on the right to dissent, they were an attack on everything the nation is supposed to stand for.

In Bully Boy's America there is no concept of equal rights. Rights of expression and asembly belong only to those who would support Bully Boy. That should scare the hell out of you.

[This editorial was written by The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz; and Wally of The Daily Jot.]
posted by Third Estate Sunday Review @
Sunday, December 18, 2005

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