Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Nation: "As long as the occupation continues, any Iraqi government or constitution will be tainted . . ."

I've spent the bulk of the night reading e-mails to the site and listening to radio coverage on Iraq (largely the BBC). I took a break from the e-mails (which I'll be returning to when this posts) to read through The Nation that arrived in the mail today. (Or, to read through the first two articles and the letters to the editor.)

I want to highlight the opening editorial from the issue (which is already in the archive section online). I'll also note that this editorial is available online only to subscribers.

As long as the occupation continues, any Iraqi government or constitution will be tainted and incapable of producing the compromises necessary for a stable and unified Iraq. Therefore, for the sake of Iraq's future and the safety of our young men and women, the United States must begin an orderly withdrawal, coordinated with stepped-up US and international economic assistance. We recognize that further violence and internal fighting among Iraqis may follow, but to believe that a continuing US military presence can prevent this is naïve or disingenuous; it will, rather, contribute to the instability. The best long-term outcome is for Iraqis to regain control of their own country and sort out their own future.
An increasing number of Americans recognize the worsening situation. In a recent Gallup poll, nearly half of those responding called for either US troop reductions or complete withdrawal. The politicians are beginning to hear them. Sixteen House Democrats recently signed a letter urging a total pullout. "This is the only way to truly support our troops," the group said. Senator Edward Kennedy reportedly will soon call for withdrawal by the end of the year. Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft warned that the election has "great potential for deepening the conflict" and said it was time to ask "whether we get out now." Conservatives from the Cato Institute to Pat Buchanan's American Conservative have called for withdrawal. The antiwar movement is regrouping.
In February the Administration will demand from Congress a stunning $100 billion supplemental appropriation to maintain US military forces in Iraq. The growing number of Americans who see an Administration blindly leading the nation toward more death and destruction should tell their representatives, "No more money for war!" That would be the best example of democracy we could offer the Iraqi people.

"Iraq's Lost Election" is available in the print edition so visit your libraries and bookstores (or if you're a subscriber, click on the link). Hopefully, the excerpt above was well chosen and conveys the points the editorial is making. (Points that The Nation has been making all along, perhaps the mainstream media will come around to offering some of the voices who agree with The Nation.)

There are still a number of e-mails to read and I can't promise that I'll get through all of them tonight. Tomorrow, we'll be highlighting more members and their opinions. I had hoped to do that tonight but hadn't anticipated that there would be so many to read. I would guess that I've read around eight hundred tonight. Again, I am sorry that I put in the place of automatic replies to e-mail but the amount of e-mail is honestly too much to handle with reading and replying (and being one person). I do not want to farm them off to some unsuspecting member because your input shapes The Common Ills and makes us a community. And I'll repeat once again, that you don't have to be willing to be quoted to e-mail in. There are a number of things that will be popping up in the next week (hopefully, fingers crossed for luck) as a result of your sharing so please know that I wish I could personally reply to every e-mail but I do still read them and they do have impact even if you don't wish to be quoted.

One person (whom I'm not naming since I don't have permission to) sent in a Katha Pollitt column from The Nation that I meant to highlight some time ago (I think it was during the week when I was trying to make sure there were posts saved to draft for Wednesday evening and Thursday while I was in D.C. at the protests). We will highlight that tomorrow. And thank you to ____ for bringing the column to my attention because I had intended to highlight it and then quickly forgotten due to all the juggling involved in going to D.C.

The site e-mail is and I'll be reading for at least an hour more before calling it a night.

Reading Pollitt's article tonight also reminded me that I meant to praise and thank Kat of Kat's Korner and I'm not sure I ever did. While I was in D.C., I was really hoping Kat would post an entry. That she did made me very happy when I saw it. That she did three entries amazed me.
I had told Kat I had prepared entries in advance for Thursday (all entries prepared in advance were noted as such when they posted) but would probably only be able to blog once that day (which is what ended up happening) and it would be short and rushed (ditto).

I really felt the need to register my objection to the Bully Boy but I was also feeling like I was letting down members by not being here to blog on that day. Kat said not to worry about it and that she would post. Which she did. Three times. And I did and do appreciate that. I know from some of your e-mails that you did as well. So a big thank you to Kat for all her hard work.

And I should also thank ___ who house sat for me and got online to turn my drafts into posts Wednesday night and throughout Thursday.

Let me close with a link to The Nation which I'm sure many of you are familiar with. If you're not, please take the time to check it out. We've highlighted stories from the magazine and Katrina vanden Heuvel's blog Editor's Cut. The Nation is a magazine that speaks to me and to enough members to be cited as a magazine that nourishes the heart, soul and mind in our year-in-review last December.

But if you're not familar with it, please visit the web site (or check it out in bookstores or your local library). If you find something in it that speaks to you, great. If you don't, just be aware that it's a resource that's out there. The Nation is a weekly magazine that started in 1865. It also has the highest circulation of any political weekly (left, right or moderate).

"Keitel ... got a death sentence in Germany ... said 'Genevea Convetions? Obsolete rubbish.'" Gonzales also used "obsolete" to describe Geneva

From Friday's Democracy Now!, I want to highlight this on Alberto Gonzales and torture.
Michael Ratner: Gonzales "Has His Hand Deep in the Blood of the Conspiracy Of Torture"
is LWR (listen, watch or read):

MICHAEL RATNER: You know, I don't get it. It's not only systemic, you had Gonzales essentially admitting it, essentially saying this is the way we do it. This is what we're willing to do and these guys are going to confirm this guy. I think almost anybody who votes for him could conceivably be, if this were Germany, part of a conspiracy to commit and cover-up war crimes that are being committed at the highest level of officials. We’re having that vote next week, we have a Senate that’s 55-45 in favor of the Republicans. I don't know what the vote will be like. That eight Democrats finally voted against him -- I think had there been a screaming outcry in the beginning against Gonzales by all these -- all human rights organizations, all the Democrats, it's possible the guy could have been beaten. But I agree with you. The media has been a disaster here. I'm saying to you right now no one is complaining in any of the major media about the fact that we are saying we can inhumanly treat people right now as we speak who are non-citizens all over this globe.
AMY GOODMAN: Speaking of Germany, Michael Ratner, you went to Berlin. We spoke to you when you filed suit against Donald Rumsfeld, the war secretary, the Defense Secretary. He is now not going to a conference in Germany in February because the German government did not quash this suit. Can you explain?
MICHAEL RATNER: There is actually a lot going on here in Germany right now. There was an article in the Washington Post today that said that the Pentagon denies that he isn't going because of the lawsuit. What I think is really happened here is floated a – it’s not a rumor, it may be true he’s not going – but floated it as a way of putting pressure on the German government to say: “Get rid of this lawsuit.” This is serious business, we're considering not sending Rumsfeld there. But on the high -- on the level of calling them, “No, no, no, this isn't what this is about.” And I think what the conferences February 11 and 12, it is the major security conference for Europe, the Secretary of Defense has been going for 40-some years. My view is we're reaching a point in this lawsuit in Germany where something is going to give. We're filing major new papers, actually, today and Monday. One of them, of course, names Alberto Gonzales now as an additional defendant in the case. His testimony is one that really they could have put into a war crimes trial in Germany and said, “You're convicted.” Someone told me this incredible story about Germany and what happened with torture. One of the key people, Keitel, who got a death sentence in Germany was the man who scrawled on a memo to the high command about Russian soldiers that said, “Geneva Conventions? Obsolete rubbish.” Remember the word that Gonzales used to describe Geneva, “obsolete”. And when they sentenced Keitel to death, what they said was one of the reasons we're giving you the death penalty is for basically saying the Geneva Conventions are obsolete. So this is a very serious issue in Germany. We hope to have some really big news about this case in terms of our filing next week. But one of the things we've done is add Alberto Gonzales. Again, this is crunch time. I mean, if there's listeners out there who want to support this case or oppose Gonzales, go to the center website, it’s Send a letter to the German prosecutor, send a letter to your Senator about Gonzales. It’s just critical. I mean, we should not be implicated, as Americans, in what our government is doing right now.

And I'll also note Amy Goodman's speaking schedule this weekend (one Common Ills member lives in Ireland and says he will be going to hear her speak, two from London are attempting to spread the word):

Amy Goodman Comes to Ireland and London
Saturday, January 29th, 14:30
Feile Bride 2005
Afri Conference
Celebrating Solidarity
St Joseph's Academy
Kildare townIreland
For more information, contact Joe Murray on 01-8827563 or 086 3946893

Saturday, January 29th, 20:00
Independent Media in the Time of War
Chaired by Vincente Browne
ATGWU Building
55 Middle Abbey St.
Dublin City Centre
Free admission
For more information, contact Damien Moran, 087 963 8398

Sunday, Janurary 30th, 14:00
THE EXCEPTION TO THE RULERS: Independent Media in a Time of War
Room D202, Clement House
London School of Economics
Aldwych, London WC2
Free admission
Organized with Red Pepper magazine and the Radical Activist Network. For more information, contact Omar Waraich:

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that at least one of the Ireland events has already taken place (remember the time change) when this posts but please get the word out to anyone you know in Ireland or England.

What the Fluff Patrol (Sanger, Stevenson & Bumiller) left out of Thursdays with Bully Boy

Beth e-mailed asking that a section of the post on Democracy Now! be highlighted because I'd made a note that "reduced to an aside something very important."

Here's the entry (we're starting with a link to the Democracy Now! segment and after it and the section from yesterday we'll be commenting on a story in today's New York Times):

U.S. Claims Maher Arar "Extraordinary Rendition" Lawsuit Jeopardizes National Security
The U.S. government is attempting to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Canadian citizen Maher Arar, claiming the litigation would jeopardize national security. Arar was jailed by the U.S. and secretly deported to Syria where he was held for almost a year without charge and repeatedly tortured.
---------------------------------------------------[I'm editing this line to shorten it]

Note, our government claims it jeopardizes national security and today in the New York Times, page A7, Bush says: "Torture is never acceptable. Nor do we hand over people to countries that do torture." And the Times prints it with no comment. A lot of sucking up went down to get this interview -- David E. Sanger, Richard W. Stevenson and Elisabeth Bumiller conduct the interview -- but what good is it when statements like that aren't questioned -- during the interview or in print?
The Times demonstrated extremely poor judgement in running the article on the "interview" -- as well as the pull quotes section -- today. But they finally got their "access" and perhaps that's all they care about?
The Times had access to Maher Arar's story but they don't appear overly interested. A year ago (almost to the day) they offered us this national briefing (

World Briefing Americas:
Canada: Inquiry In Deportation Case
Published: January 29, 2004, Thursday
The government announced a public inquiry into what role Canadian officials played in the detention and deportation of Maher Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian citizen detained in New York in 2002 and deported to Syria, where he has said he was tortured. Since Mr. Arar's return to Canada in October, the government had firmly resisted calls for a public inquiry. Colin Campbell (NYT)Published: 01 - 29 - 2004 , Late Edition - Final , Section A , Column 4 , Page 6

They're aware of the story. Presumably at least one of their three reporters conducting the "interview" was aware of it and an editior should have noticed it.
But they just put in the Bully Boy's quote and provide no context or, for that matter, reality. And this is reporting?

That section comes in the middle of the Democracy Now! post from yesterday ( Beth wanted it in a seperate post to highlight it because "this Bush nonsense doesn't belong in a paper!"

No, it doesn't, not as it was "reported." The Bully Boy can write an op-ed if he wants to give his opinion, but when three New York Times reporters interview him and then write it up, they can damn well get their facts right.

The three were David E. Sanger, Richard W. Stevenson and Elisabeth Bumiller.

There's an attitude here of "he said it so it's news!" No, he said it so it was said. News is made when something is newsworthy. And bragging in the locker room that you got access to the Bully Boy may just get approving towel snaps for Sanger, Stevenson and Bumiller, but outside the locker room, we'll ask what your access resulted in?

Yesterday, not a damn thing. The Bully Boy (to go back to the thing highlighted above) gave three reporters for one of nation's best selling newspapers a story that it is in direct conflict with reporting from organizations and publications that still traffic in real news (among others, Democracy Now!, The New Yorker, The Nation and Matthew Rothschild of The Progressive have addressed reality). Instead of noting that in their long, boring article (or making that the thrust of an article) the Times triplets (and editors) decide not to let that ugly reality intrude upon the Bully Boy's glory moments.

Maybe the Times is content to bask in the fact that after four years, the Bully Boy finally gave them a sit down interview. Maybe they are proud to be able to brag about their access. But the access came with a cost.

The Bully Boy and his people may not have insisted that his version of events be printed without question. He might not have had to insist upon that. But what ran read like a wet dream of Pat Kingsley and any other p.r. hack who's been able to set the rules for any coverage of their celebrity clients. The Times should be grossly ashamed.

It wasn't reporting and if they justify it to themselves in any way by saying "it's official record" -- don't kid yourself. To be part of the official record, it needs to be correct. There was nothing truthful or honest in the way Thursdays with Bully were reported yesterday.

Coverage elsewhere and court documents refute large portions of what the paper printed yesterday. The official record refutes what the paper reported.

Today, buried inside the paper (A4), you'll find a long article by Raymond Bonner entitled "Australian's Long Path in the U.S. Antiterrorism Maze." Here are the opening paragraphs:

For more than three years, Mamdouh Habib, an Egyptian-born Australian with a volatile temper and an intense devotion to radical Islam, was in American custody, transported from Pakistan to Afghanistan to Egypt to the prison at Guantánamo Bay.
The Americans designated him an "enemy combatant," saying he had admitted to having prior knowledge of the Sept. 11 attacks and to having trained some of the hijackers. He said he confessed while in Egypt only to stop the waves of torture.
But Mr. Habib's journey came to an unexpected end on Friday afternoon at Sydney's international airport when he stepped off a white executive jet and was set free.

Another section of the article:

. . . what distinguishes Mr. Habib's case are the severity of the accusations on both sides - the Americans' allegations of his connection to Sept. 11, and his charges, in legal papers made public earlier this month, that he was subjected to a process called "rendition," under which the United States sent him to Egypt. There, he says, he was tortured with beatings and electric shocks, and hung from the walls by hooks.
In a statement, the Department of Defense said, "There is no evidence that any Australian detainee in D.o.D. custody was tortured or abused." United States officials have acknowledged using renditions but say they do not condone torture.
Australian officials confirmed that Mr. Habib was indeed taken to Egypt, and added that when they interviewed him at Guantánamo, he told them of being beaten and given electric shocks in Egypt.
In separate interviews, three senior Australian officials agreed to discuss the case on condition of anonymity, in part because they were discussing intelligence material and sensitive diplomatic negotiations. Moreover, some of what they said went beyond what has been asserted publicly.
. . .

In early October, Mr. Habib was heading to Karachi to catch a flight home when his bus was stopped by Pakistani police officers, who seized two Germans wanted in Germany in connection with a terrorism investigation. When Mr. Habib protested to the officers about the arrests, they took him away, too. Within weeks, the Pakistanis turned Mr. Habib over to the Americans, but not before they, too, tortured him, Mr. Habib told his lawyer, Joseph Margulies.
One form of torture in Pakistan, Mr. Habib said, involved hanging him on hooks with his feet on the side of a large drum. Wires from the drum ran to what seemed to be a battery. When the interrogators were not satisfied with his answers, they threw a switch and a jolt of electricity shot through the drum, causing it to rotate and leaving him "dancing" on it. When he slipped off, he said, he was left hanging.

. . .
Australian officials said this week that consular officials had sought access to him in Egypt, although at the time the Egyptian government said repeatedly that he was not being held there. When Australian investigators visited Mr. Habib after he had been taken to Guantánamo, he told them he had been tortured with electric shock and beatings in Egypt, an Australian official said.
The Egyptian Embassy here declined to answer any questions about Mr. Habib.
Mr. Margulies's affidavit contains further statements by Mr. Habib about his time in Egypt.
For almost six months, the affidavit says, Mr. Habib was kept in a small, roach-infested, windowless cell, roughly 6 feet by 8, with a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling. He slept on the concrete floor. He was taken out for interrogations, sometimes in the middle of the night. Sometimes he was hung from hooks on the wall, he said. He was "kicked, punched, beaten with a stick and rammed with what can only be described as a cattle prod," Mr. Margulies wrote.

I want to stay on the torture for a moment to note the Democracy Now! segment and what Michael Radner (Center for Constitutional Rights) noted while discusssing Maher Arar:

MICHAEL RATNER: He was never charged with anything. He’s completely – I mean whether he was charged or not, we took him over there to be tortured, but the guy is completely innocent of everything. It was nothing. He has a couple of kids sitting up in Canada. It was devastating for his family. He was never charged. They never gave him an attorney. We’ve said Syria's tortured for the last 10 years in our State Department reports and then Ashcroft said, “I received assurances from the Syrians that they wouldn't torture the guy,” and we send him to the very branch of security that does the torture, and we fed them the questions. I mean this is set-up. This is Arar in Syria, this is Habib in Egypt. This is x number of people, hundreds of people possibly, really in detention facilities in other countries that the U.S. is implicated deeply in their torture. This is what's going on right now. These are memos we haven't seen.

So today Raymond Bonner's left to not just do his job but also do the job Bumiller, Sanger and Stevenson abdicated doing yesterday? Also on mop up duty is Benedict Carey with "Experts Dispute Bush on Gay-Adoption Issue" (page A12). Carey's opening:

Are children worse off being raised by gay or lesbian couples than by heterosexual parents?
Responding on Thursday to a question about gay adoption, President Bush suggested that they were.
"Studies have shown," Mr. Bush said in an interview with The New York Times, "that the ideal is where a child is raised in a married family with a man and a woman."
But experts say there is no scientific evidence that children raised by gay couples do any worse - socially, academically or emotionally - than their peers raised in more traditional households.

Carey's left to mop up and provide the reality that Sanger, Stevenson and Bumiller were too busy to bother with. Common sense alone should have led the elite threesome to realize that their Bully Boy was once again weighing in on something he knew nothing about. In a country where many children still go unadopted, being raised by one or two persons who care about them is the "ideal" regardless of the person (or persons) sexuality.

(Maybe in a day or two we'll also get an article refuting that a child raised by one parent is harmed since the Bully Boy also implicated them as being at bad at parenting. I'm honestly surprised there isn't an outcry over that since that goes to widows and widowers and since we are at war that includes a number of families who've lost one parent who was sent to Iraq.)

The Elite Fluff Patrol got their access at the expense of context, reality and anything resembling reporting. The Times has nothing to be proud of regarding running Stevenson, Bumiller and Sanger's article Friday. And the three of them should be assigned to do mop up duty for themselves. More importantly, having front paged that interview with the Bully Boy, these realities that weren't addressed by the Fluff Patrol need to be front paged, not buried inside the paper.

Michael Chertoff: some sort of legal Dear Abby or torture advocate?

Mr. Chertoff's division was asked on several occasions by the intelligence agency whether its officers risked prosecution by using particular techniques. The officials said the C.I.A. wanted as much legal protection as it could obtain while the Justice Department sought to avoid giving unconditional approval.
One technique that C.I.A. officers could use under certain circumstances without fear of prosecution was strapping a subject down and making him experience a feeling of drowning. Other practices that would not present legal problems were those that did not involve the infliction of pain, like tricking a subject into believing he was being questioned by a member of a security service from another country.
But in other instances Mr. Chertoff opposed some aggressive procedures outright, the officials said. At one point, they said, he raised serious objections to methods that he concluded would clearly violate the torture law. While the details remain classified, one method that he opposed appeared to violate a ban in the law against using a "threat of imminent death."
Mr. Chertoff and other senior officials at the Justice Department also disapproved of practices that seemed to be clearly prohibited, like death threats against family members, administration of mind-altering drugs or psychological procedures designed to profoundly disrupt a detainee's personality. It is not clear whether the C.I.A. or any other agency proposed these techniques.
But Mr. Chertoff left the door open to the use of a different set of far harsher techniques proposed by the C.I.A., saying they might be used under certain circumstances. He advised that they could be used depending on factors like the detainee's physical condition and medical advice as to how the person would react to some practices, the officials said.

That's from David Johnston, Neil A. Lewis & Douglas Jehl's front page story "Nominee Gave Advice to C.I.A. on Torture Law" from the front page of this morning's New York Times.

The same front page where it share space with photos of Michael Jackson, Robert Blake and Phil Spector because the Times has apparently mistaken itself for Celebrity Justice. I remember howls and complaints when Howell Raines placed a front page article ("sociological examination" was the defense offered) on the front page. Will Keller be swamped with similar complaints?

He should be. Charlie LeDuff's, author of this embarrassing front page item, notes that "[e]ven People magazine has demoted Mr. Blake . . . It put him on the cover in May 2001 . . . but has not featured him prominently since." What People tosses into a garbage bag and sits out by the curb, the Times rushes over to claim and front page?

Possibly, after over dosing on sucking up to the administration and official sources for the long love fest that was the inauguration (Starstruck by the Bully Boy, 2005), the Times has decided to find or appeal to average citizens. If the Times feels that Michael Jackson, Robert Blake and Phil Spector are "average citizens" that goes a long way to explaining why so many people are rendered invisible by the paper. If the Times feels that "average citizens" are obsessed with celebrities on trial, they might want to take a survey next time of their readers.

This sort of fluff (which I wouldn't have said a word about had it been buried in the paper -- preferably in the arts section) is one of the main reasons I quit watching newscasts on the big three networks. I don't care about celebrity justice. I don't care about Scott Peterson. It doesn't effect my life and it keeps honest-to-God, real stories from being focused on.

So in reply to a survey that this subscriber never got (did anyone?), no, I don't want this junk on the front page.

But why take a survey when the Times apparent belief that "average citizens" care about this crap is just one more example of how condescending the paper can be to anyone who isn't an "unnamed official."

Friday, January 28, 2005

Community members speak out regarding Hillary's speech

A number of you wanted to weigh in on Hillary Clinton.

Frank in Orlando: I am just so mad and so angry at you for what you wrote about Hillary yesterday morning [see "The Times pushes happy talk (and hopefully gets their report on Hillary Clinton's latest speech wrong)"]. Who died and allowed you the right to peer into Hillary's head? I think you're looking into someone's else head, you might want to check that because Hillary is the finest person we have on the left and everyone needs to remember that because she will be our nominee in 2008 and we need to stop attacking her. It's time to shut your pie holes, get your b*lls out of your purse, and stand behind her. There is no time for attacking her or questioning her so just shut it. And since when do you accept what the Times prints as being true or the truth? Couldn't you have even raised the possibility that the Times might, MIGHT, have been wrong? Instead you just slam her and say she's turned her back on abortion. She will never do that! She is our strongest leader today and if she'd been a leader in the sixties, she'd be second only to MLK! Back off Hillary.

Sally: I was glad you noted that the paper could be wrong. It's gone after the Clintons with a rope for years. I have no idea why the paper hates them so but it does. And since I've taken the time to put that upfront, I want to stress how angry I am by what appears to be Hillary's backing off of abortion rights.

Tammy: What bothers me is the number of people rushing to Hillary Clinton's defense. NARAL and all the rest. Excuse me, she needs to speak for herself. And with all due respect to NARAL, I question their rating her 100%. Yes, she did vote against the ban on late term abortions. But she's been very clear that she supports such a ban. In her debate with Rick Lazo she said, and I quote, " My opponent is wrong. I have said many times that I can support a ban on late-term abortions, including partial-birth abortions, so long as the health and life of the mother is protected. . . But if your life is at stake, if your health is at stake, if the potential for having any more children is at stake, this must be a woman’s choice." This is not support for late-term abortions. And her vote against the proposal should not be read as support for late-term abortions. She also uses the term "partial-birth abortion" which is incorrect. NARAL can rate her however they want and I'll still make my donation to them. But the idea that she can make those statements and still be rated 100% is very sad and reminds me of when we all went out of our way (myself included) to defend Bob Packwood because he was a "friend of abortion."

Natalie: So Hillary weighs in, as any politican will, and suddenly the attack dogs come out telling us to back off, telling us not to dare question the great Hillary, not to pressure her to explain her remarks. What? She seems to be want[ing] to run for president so exactly, please tell me, when are we allowed to question her? Really now, when can we question her? Should she win the party's nomination in 2008, of course we'll all have to fall in line then as we did last year behind John Kerry. Exactly when are we allowed to question? Can someone tell me that? Aren't we supposed to be questioning all our leaders? Aren't we supposed to hold all of them accountable?
Hillary gets a pass because her last name is Clinton? I'd argue the legacy of Bill Clinton's presidency was exactly that -- rally round Bill, he's in trouble again! F**k, I bought his book for that reason. It's become a knee jerk reaction. They trash Bill so we rush to his defense. They say his book won't sell and make the success or failure of it into a referrendum on the left and I'm stuck having to buy that book (which I found very boring) just to prove that the left is still strong because we bought Bill's book. I mean, where does it end? Everytime they are attacked we have to rally. And most of us do not agree with most of Bill's policies. NAFTA isn't huge to the left. Welfare reform did more to drive my liberal friends away from Bill than anything else.
I know I washed my hands of him as he continued to "triangulate" but then he got caught in the Monica Lewinsky matter and I felt I had to rally behind him. Don't get me wrong, I don't think his relations with Lewinsky were an impeachable offense. But this knee jerk reaction to rush to defend one of them everytime or to overlook what Newsweek reported Bill told Kerry is just appalling. If he really told Kerry to back off support for civil unions, Bill should be highly criticized. But we don't ever get to deal with that because we're always stuck defending him or his wife. I'm not going through the rest of my life playing Clinton defender. He didn't deserve to be brought up on charges for impeachment by the House. I'll always stay firmly behind that. But I do not approve of the majority of his policies in the second term and I will not blindly scream, "Leave Bill alone!" or for that matter, "Leave Hillary alone!" I'm not in a fan club, I'm in a political party and everyone can be questioned. That includes Barbara Boxer. I'm so proud of her for what's she's done. But if she does or says something that bothers me or makes me raise an eyebrow, damn straight I'm going to question her. I don't believe in an exception to the rulers. They are all accountable to us and there's no "Clinton exception." If she wants to be a candidate in 2008 for president, she and her defenders need to understand that she needs to face criticism now and clarify where she stands on a number of issues. And I hope everyone that was silenced into not holding Kerry accountable for addressing torture or addressing the morality of what we're doing in Iraq will take a moment to realize we need to hold everyone accountable.

Lynda: Instead of various surrogates marching out to the mikes, why can't Hillary or someone on her staff issue a statement? I'm sure the paper had people on background that they didn't name or quote in the story. And I'm sure her office was thinking they could have it both ways and if anyone who supports reproductive rights questioned her, they could say, "Read the text of her speech!" Hillary's remarks were at best ill-timed; at worst, they were a rush to the center. She needs to clarify herself and NARAL and others need to stop telling us the speech was no big deal. (I'll do a disclosure, I support NARAL.) Quit going out to defend her. We are angry, we are mad and we want answers. Not from NARAL, from Hillary.

Susan: I'm humming a song right now to myself. The Pretenders. It goes "how much did you, how much did you, how much did you get for your soul?" [Pretenders' "How Much Did You Get For Your Soul" can be found on the album Get Close. Also, before anyone attempts to correct Susan, although the group is "Pretenders" -- which Susan may or may not know -- on this album they are billed as "The Pretenders" on the front cover and the spine of the CD packaging.]
I bet you think I mean Clinton? I don't. I mean the people who are rushing in like angry teachers with their rulers ready to slap if we don't shush our questioning. Apparently, part of being a Democrat means never questioning Clinton. This is one registered Democrat who wasn't informed of that by law when she signed up.

Kara: I love Janeane Garofalo and I love The Majority Report. I am not fond of Kos of The Daily Kos. But when Kos attempted to address this issue, I was mortified that Janeane took the attitude of "that's not what she said!" Kos actually had some strong points. And this just didn't happen in isolation but at a time when many are trying to move the party to the right. I can understand, as a feminist myself, Janeane's reluctance to criticize another woman if that's what was going on. However, I do not believe that we refrain from questioning. And maybe instead of immediately going into Defend-the-Clintons-mode we could stop a moment to have an honest discussion on what's going on with some in the party and then determining whether Hillary is part of that shift to the right. There is more to a speech than merely the text: there's also the sub-text. We need to be examing that. So to argue "she didn't say that!" misses the point of the subtext.

Martha: As an African-American woman I'm supposed to love the Clintons and always be there to say, "hey, leave 'em alone." I'm not really sure why that is. Welfare "reform" attacked single mothers, mainly single African-American mothers and H. Clinton got behind that "reform" selling it all over the place. So excuse me for just a damn minute if I'm not ready to gather arms and take my place outside the Clinton fortress. H. Clinton's a grown woman and an ELECTED offical.
She can defend or explain herself. She hasn't as of today [Martha e-mailed Thursday]. Considering that my race was a victim on election day last year and H. Clinton couldn't stand up and support B. Boxer during the Senate vote, I'm not going to make it my life's cause to stand on watch outside the Clinton fortress. If others feel the need, have at it. But I want some answers and I want them to come from H. Clinton herself.

Lyle: I think too much has been made about Hillary's remarks. I think people need to realize that abortion is like any other issue and we'll all have to learn to compromise.

Betsy: Now is not the time to make overtures to the enemies of choice. We've tried that and we've lost over and over. Parental notification is a joke and a policy I strongly oppose. But we were going to be big and we were going to work together. That chipped away. Every time we try to be fair and work together, we chip away a little more. What's going to be left of Roe v. Wade? Women in many areas now have to travel great distances because no one performs the service in their areas. You know what happens as we continue to "work together" and Roe gets chipped and chipped? They're going to go after birth control next. This is line in the sand time and we need to say no and we need to stop trying to work together. Every time we do that, we send a message that our position is weak and needs modification which further weakens abortion rights. I've heard all the arguments for compromise and I went along with some of them believing as did most that this would get people to back off and keep their f**king hands of our bodies. That never happens. We retreat a little, they push forward some more, and every time they win more and more territory. If Senator Clinton wants to make overtures to the pro-life crowd, she can certainly do so. But I can certainly criticize her for that. And anyone who tries to stop me needs to keep their hands off my f**king body and away from my damn mouth because I will not be silenced on this issue.

???: I think Ms. Clinton was trying to navigate a touchy subject. And I think she made a mis-step this week. I think we are right to press for a response.

Keesha: I spoke to a feminist who was advocating a women's conference in Afghanistan to highlight the fact that there is little to no "freedom" for women in Afghanistan (despite all the bombs we dropped), that the war lords continue to control the country and that women continue to be oppressed. I thought of Hillary (who was one of my heroes when I was in high school) and asked if she'd spoken to Hillary. The response was not one of praise for Hillary.
This woman was very knowledgable on Afghanistan and has published on this issue. There's this perception that Hillary's the great left hope and I'm not quite sure why that perception even exists. Is there a link for Julia King's commentary on Morning Edition?

[There is a link for that: Commentary
Commentator: Democrats Softening on Abortion Rights (click "Democrats Softening . . ." to hear the audio)

Morning Edition, January 25, 2005 · In the second of two commentaries on abortion, Democratic activist Julia King worries that her party may be softening its support for abortion rights at a time when, she says, conservatives are working harder than ever to overturn Roe v. Wade.]

Gavin: Me-ow! Did someone forget to fill your saucer this morning?

Clamor: Portland Books to Prisoners and The Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride Coalition

In the previous entry, I highlighted Kristen Kidder's "The Making of a Mule" from the current issue of Clamor. Clamor is a bimonthly magazine that focuses on "the revolution of everyday life." If you've never read the magazine, maybe Kidder's article or something below will attract your attention.

From the current issue of Clamor on sale now, you can view excerpts of six articles available online. I'll highlight the two of the six that spoke to me the most (but it's an incredibly strong issue, so if you're able to look through it, please consider doing so).

I. Books Behind Bars by Abby Sewell

This is a story about the outreach efforts by Portland Books to Prisoners.

From the article:

Each prison has its own rules about what type of materials prisoners can receive from the outside. In Oregon, all the state prisons forbid prisoners from receiving used books or anything that could have come in contact with the public. Books going in to the prisons must be new and come from a "recognized publisher." This rule, set up by the Oregon Department of Corrections
(ODOC) to prevent prisoners from receiving contraband, means that people on the outside can not send books to their loved ones behind bars unless they have the money to order new books for them. And Books to Prisoners, which relies on donations of used books, has been largely unable to reach prisoners in the Oregon prison system. The majority of books they send out currently go to California and Texas.
Prisoners' wage for the jobs they do while incarcerated are generally in the area of 10 or 15 cents an hour. Because they must pay market price for basic items such as toothpaste and phone cards, in addition to victim compensation and prison upkeep fees, prisoners rarely have money to buy books for themselves. And because of the ODOC ban on used books, their friends and family can not necessarily afford to send them reading materials.
[I want to note, go give credit where it's earned, that Talking Drum bookstore and Beloved Community Publishing are now working with Portland Books to Prisoners.]

More information on Portland Books to Prisoners can be found at Portland Indy Media.
Books to Prisoner Projects will provide you with information about other programs (including contact info for Portland Books to Prisoners and other similar programs across the United States).

II. Get On the Bus! Interview with Maria Elena Durazoby Lyn Goldfarb

This article addresses the freedom rides that went on in 2004. Goldfarb interviews "Maria Elena Durazo, national chairwoman of the Freedom Ride" about the experiences on the road with the Freedom Ride.

More information (and photos) can be found at The Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride Coalition.

This is justice? Riggs Bank's 'punishment' vs. the punishment Kristen Kidder notes in Clamor for a drug mule

So I'm reading two things today, a story in the business section of the New York Times about Riggs bank and a story in Clamor entitled "The Making of a Mule."

The article in the Times that I read was by Eric Dash and entitled "Riggs Pleads Guilty in Money-Laundering Case."

But to make sure we're all on the same page, I'm going to note this Associated Press story (no author credited) entitled "Riggs Bank Accepts $16 Million Fine."

Riggs Bank has pleaded guilty to failing to report suspicious transactions in the accounts of foreigners, including former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, and agreed to pay a $16 million fine.
In its aggressive courtship of foreign political figures to win their banking business, the old-line Washington bank failed to exercise oversight and aided their illegitimate use of the bank, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
It would be the largest criminal penalty ever imposed on a bank of Riggs' size, according to prosecutors, and comes atop a record $25 million civil fine levied on the bank by a Treasury Department agency last May.

. . .
The Justice Department has been investigating the bank executives' handling of some foreigners' accounts, including those held by Pinochet, Saudi diplomats and officials of Teodoro Obiang's regime in Equatorial Guinea.
The poor West African country, which has been cited by the State Department for human rights abuses, corruption and diversion of oil revenues to government officials, became Riggs's biggest single customer with nearly $700 million in accounts and certificates of deposit.
"Despite numerous warnings from regulators, Riggs courted customers who were a high risk for money laundering and helped them shield their financial transactions from scrutiny,'' Kenneth Wainstein, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, said at a news conference.
"This long-term and systemic misconduct was more than simply blind neglect; it was a criminal breach of the banking laws that protect our financial system from exploitation by terrorists, narcotics dealers and other criminals,'' he said.

Now for Eric Dash's article:

"This is not a 'cost of doing business' fine," said Mark Hulkower, a lawyer for Riggs. He added that the penalty was significantly more than the bank's profits from the accounts.
Riggs had been under scrutiny since at least last spring, when investigations revealed that lax practices and poor oversight allowed money laundering and possibly terrorist financing through some Saudi Arabian and Equatorial Guinean accounts.
As part of yesterday's agreement, Riggs "accepted responsibility for its actions" in helping General Pinochet set up two offshore companies to hide assets and allowing him to deposit more than $10 million in accounts, sometimes under assumed names between 1994 and 2002. The bank also admitted to opening 30 accounts, with balances and loans totaling $700 million by 2003, for government officials of the African nation of Equatorial Guinea.
"This long-term and systemic misconduct was more than simply blind neglect," United States Attorney Kenneth L. Wainstein said in a statement. "It was a criminal breach of the banking laws that protect our financial system."

Okay, now let's focus on Clamor's story (the story is available in the print edition of the magazine, it's not available online).

In "The Making of a Mule: Debunking the Myths Surrounding Women Traffickers in America,"
Kristen Kidder details the experience of Priscilla Arciniega from Queens. A guy she knew gifted her with a trip to South America. It was a nice trip, she recounts, until it was time to leave. She was threatened with a gun: "He said that he knew where I lived, that he knew where my family lived. If I didn't do it [smuggle heroin], he would kill me and them to."

A single mother (to a six-year-old child), Arciniega felt she had no alternatives. She smuggled it in and got stopped in customs at JFK:

Priscilla confessed immediately. "I was so afraid that one of the bags would start leaking in my stomach and kill me." She was arrested and eventually sentenced to thirty months in jail.

Had Arciniegar been carrying more than 3.75 ounces of heroin, she would have been looking at a much longer stay. (To read about Priscilla Arciniegar, please pick up a copy of Clamor.)

Arciniegar attempted to bring heroin into the country and she's doing time for it despite the circumstances. Riggs Bank is a bank, a professional business. One that knows the law. No one's claiming anyone at Riggs had a gun held to them. No one's claiming anyone at Riggs had their family threatened.

"This is not a cost of doing business fine," their lawyer assures us in the Times article. This is coming down hard on Riggs? Coming down hard on a bank that had "numerous warnings" according to the prosecution? Warnings they elected to ignore. The prosecution tells reporters that this "was a criminal breach of the banking laws that protect our financial system." And they'd had "numerous warnings." The penalty fine, Riggs' lawyer assures us, is more than they made on the accounts.

That's reassuring? That makes it okay?

Riggs has assets worth "about 6.4 billion" and they've committed "a criminal breach" after "numerous warnings" and they're 'punishment' is a fine of sixteen million dollars? They've "accepted responsibility." How so?

Let's remember what the prosecutor said, "This long-term and systemic misconduct was more than simply blind neglect; it was a criminal breach of the banking laws that protect our financial system from exploitation by terrorists, narcotics dealers and other criminals." That seems pretty big. One might even say huge. Priscilla Arciniega is busted for drug smuggling. According to the prosecutor, weren't Riggs' actions the very actions that allow "narcotics dealers" to exist? So Arciniega is still serving time. And Riggs will pay 16 million dollars (for this plea agreement) when they are worth over a hundred times that amount.

That's an interesting concept of justice. Arciniega was "sentenced to thirty months in prison,"
as Kristen Kidder notes. But no one goes to prison for the actions of Riggs Bank. Riggs Bank is historically known as "the bank of presidents." Ariniega doesn't have a historical reputation.
Is that the difference?

One person's actions brought 3.75 ounces of heroin into this country and she's serving thirty months in prison. According to the prosecution in the Riggs Bank case, Riggs' actions were "long-term and systemic misconduct . . . more than simply blind neglect; it was a criminal breach of the banking laws that protect our financial system from exploitation by terrorists, narcotics dealers and other criminals."

Is anyone else feeling like someone trying to break into a car got pinched but the chop-shop that keeps them in business is getting off with a pass?

[Note, title of the post has been corrected. I mispelled "Clamor" as "Clamour." As I did back in November.]

Democracy Now! Dahr Jamail, Michael Radner, Maher Arar's lawsuit that someone's neglected to the tell the Bully Boy or 3 NYT reporters about

Headlines for January 28, 2005
- Sen. Kennedy Calls For U.S. Withdrawal From Iraq
- Iraq Enters Into Pre
-Election Lockdown
- Israel Warns About Iran's Nuclear Program
- GOP Seeks Money to Bypass "Liberal Media Filter"
- Democrats to Introduce 'Stop Government Propaganda Act'
- Multinational Monitor Names 10 Worst Corporations
- Riggs Bank Pays $16 Million For Deals With Pinochet
- FBI Expands Domestic Intelligence Gathering

White House Won't Contest Media Ownership Rules in Major Victory for Grassroots Media Activists
Grassroots media activists won a major victory Thursday when the Bush administration announced it would not seek to overturn a court ruling that has blocked the Federal Communications Commission from implementing sweepings regulations that would allow for greater media consolidation.

Gonzales Misrepresented Role in Shielding Bush's Drunk Driving Record
The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics filed a complaint with the State Bar of Texas requesting an investigation into misrepresentations Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales made in a written response to the Senate Judiciary Committee about his role in protecting President Bush's DUI arrest. We speak with the executive director of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics. [includes rush transcript]

Michael Ratner: Gonzales "Has His Hand Deep in the Blood of the Conspiracy Of Torture"
A contentious senate debate for the confirmation of Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales is expected next week, we speak with Center for Constitutional Rights attorney Michael Ratner about Gonzales' role in laying the legal groundwork for torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.

U.S. Claims Maher Arar "Extraordinary Rendition" Lawsuit Jeopardizes National Security
The U.S. government is attempting to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Canadian citizen Maher Arar, claiming the litigation would jeopardize national security. Arar was jailed by the U.S. and secretly deported to Syria where he was held for almost a year without charge and repeatedly tortured.

Note, our government claims it jeopardizes national security and today in the New York Times, page A7, Bush says: "Torture is never acceptable. Nor do we hand over people to countries that do torture." And the Times prints it with no comment. A lot of sucking up went down to get this interview -- David E. Sanger, Richard W. Stevenson and Elisabeth Bumiller conduct the interview -- but what good is it when statements like that aren't questioned -- during the interview or in print? The Times demonstrated extremely poor judgement in running the article on the "interview" -- as well as the pull quotes section -- today. But they finally got their "access" and perhaps that's all they care about?
The Times had access to Maher Arar's story but they don't appear overly interested. A year ago (almost to the day) they offered us this national briefing (

World Briefing Americas: Canada: Inquiry In Deportation Case
By COLIN CAMPBELL (NYT) Published: January 29, 2004, Thursday

The government announced a public inquiry into what role Canadian officials played in the detention and deportation of Maher Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian citizen detained in New York in 2002 and deported to Syria, where he has said he was tortured. Since Mr. Arar's return to Canada in October, the government had firmly resisted calls for a public inquiry. Colin Campbell (NYT)
Published: 01 - 29 - 2004 , Late Edition - Final , Section A , Column 4 , Page 6

They're aware of the story. Presumably at least one of their three reporters conducting the "interview" was aware of it and an editior should have noticed it.

But they just put in the Bully Boy's quote and provide no context or, for that matter, reality. And this is reporting?

2005 World Social Forum Kicks Off in Porto Alegre
Over 120,000 are gearing up for the 2005 World Social Forum which opened in the southern Brazilian city of Port Alegre. We go to Brazil to speak with Njoki Njoroge Njehu of the 50 Years is Enough network.

Heavy Bloodshed in Iraq Only Expected to Worsen on Election Day
As a three-day national lockdown begins in Iraq ahead of Sunday's elections, bloodshed continues unabated across the country. We go to Baghdad to speak with independent journalist Dahr Jamail.

Report: Global Warming Much Worse Than Previously Thought
We speak with physicist and professor, Myles Allen who is the principal investigator of a major new study conducted by the project that warns the effects of global warming may be twice as bad as previously thought.

As Marcia says, "Democracy Now! always worth watching."
Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Search presents - Jib Jab's 'Second Term'

Two articles in this morning Times worth reading that didn't make the front page

We're going to quickly highlight two stories buried in this morning's paper.

Kate Zernike's "Reservist to Offer Guilty Plea in Jail Assault":

Sergeant Davis was one of seven military police soldiers accused of the abuse that set off a scandal last year after photographs of detainees in Iraq being beaten and forced into sexually humiliating poses were made public. He had faced eight years in prison on charges of aggravated assault, conspiracy, maltreatment, dereliction of duty and making false statements to investigators.
At a court-martial scheduled to begin Tuesday at Fort Hood, Tex., he will plead guilty to charges of simple assault and making false statements, said the lawyer, Paul Bergrin. The trial will then move immediately to the sentencing phase.

Also pay attention to an Associated Press article (no byline given) entitled "Ex-G.I. Writes About Use of Sex in Guantánamo Interrogations." From that article:

Female interrogators tried to break male Muslim detainees at the United States prison camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, by sexually touching them, by wearing miniskirts and thong underwear, and, in one case, by smearing a Saudi man's face with red ink, which he was led to believe was menstrual blood, according to part of a draft manuscript written by a former Army sergeant.
The manuscript, which was obtained by The Associated Press, was written by Erik R. Saar, who was an Arabic translator at Guantánamo from December 2002 to June 2003.
. . .
In another case, Mr. Saar's manuscript describes a military woman interrogating an uncooperative 21-year-old Saudi detainee. The interrogator wanted to "break him," according to Mr. Saar's manuscript, adding that the woman removed her uniform top to expose a tight-fitting T-shirt. She began taunting the detainee, the manuscript says, touching her breasts, rubbing them against the prisoner's back and commenting on his apparent erection.
When asked how she could break the prisoner, a Muslim linguist told the woman to tell him she was menstruating, then to touch him and to turn off the water in his cell so he could not wash. "The concept was to make the detainee feel that, after talking to her, he was unclean and was unable to go before his God in prayer and gain strength," the manuscript says.

Please check out both articles if you have the time.

The Times appears opposed to covering any voices who want the troops home now

Is the New York Times just opposed to covering any voices that want the troops home now?
Citizen activists and parents who have lost children (we're speaking of Americans in both cases -- until John F. Burns' article yesterday, the Times has pretty much ignored Iraqis not placed in power) have long been ignored by the paper.

But if you visit BuzzFlash, you may be aware that paid ads can be "silenced." From the BuzzFlash mailbag:

We had planned for the new Not In Our Name statement of conscience to run on Friday, January 21, in The New York Times. We had a contract and a confirmation number. This ad was to be our answer to the inauguration, and it was timed to appear in the middle of the inauguration news coverage.
The ad did not run. The advertising department were themselves deeply surprised by this, and have not been able to explain what happened. In fact, we were told that, to their knowledge, this had never happened before. At the same time, the Times lead editorial said that this should be a time of legitimacy and acceptance for the President -- and that this was especially something that the opposition has to come to terms with.
It is unacceptable that we do not yet know why something that "has never happened before" happened -- a full page paid ad, accepted and slotted in, did not run. This is especially so when the content of the ad, the need to resist the course that this administration has set, is so important to the people of this country and the world.

The Times apparently was uncomfortable with running a paid ad (one they'd accepted) during their inauguration love fest. Which left the voices against the war silenced except for snarky attacks by Michael Janofksy in last Friday's paper (see
And, of course, Amy Goodman and others have pointed out the New York Times' problems reporting voices speaking out against the war (see

But what happens when members of Congress speak out?

If you read the San Francisco Chronicle, you were informed of U.S. Representative Lynn Woolsey's resolution yesterday. Other papers have covered it as well. Ted Kennedy spoke out against the war yesterday. Representatives and a US Senator? Surely this is front page news?

Not in the Times. Online, they lump the two together and "cover" it by running an Associated Press article on the matter: "Some in Congress Talk of Iraq Withdrawal." From that article:

Democratic Rep. Lynn Woolsey of California, a longtime critic of the president's Iraq policies, introduced a House resolution this week calling for the president to withdraw U.S. troops immediately. "We've gone as far as we can with this and we're sacrificing our troops every day,'' Woolsey said.
The resolution has the support of 24 other House Democrats, and Woolsey wants the debate to reach the House floor. Recently, she and 15 other House Democrats sent the president letters imploring him to bring home troops immediately.
This week, others joined in the drumbeat.
"A political process has begun, admittedly fragile, and it's time for the United States to leave,'' Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., declared.
Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass., called for a more gradual pullback, with the majority of American forces returning home in phases by the end of the year. "A timetable for withdrawal would be that light at the end of the tunnel for our military,'' Meehan said.
On Thursday, Kennedy argued that the U.S. military must start leaving Iraq because its "indefinite presence is fanning the flames of conflict.''
"It will not be easy to extricate ourselves from Iraq, but we must begin,'' he said.

Others are joining in? Surely, it's news. (NPR thinks so, I heard coverage of the issue in the first hour of Morning Edition this morning.)

And it should be noted that Democracy Now!, Pacifica's Free Speech News, Air America's Unfiltered, The Randi Rhodes Show, The Majority Report and The Mike Malloy Show have all covered this. (I'm sure AAR's Morning Sedition and The Al Franken Show have covered it as well, but I haven't caught either show this week.)

[The paper is very late arriving today. When it is delivered, I'll check to see if the AP story makes the print edition or is only available online.]

It certainly seems like news, doesn't it? A move in Congress, a call for a withdrawal? It's news everywhere but in the Times which can't spare a reporter for this story apparently. (Guess it's still a matter of "emphasis" for the Times -- see "Amy Goodman warned us about 'The Lies of the Times.'")

Having refused to the run the Not in Our Name ad when originally agreed to (the ad was delayed until the Sunday edition), one might think the paper would care about the impression they were making to readers who didn't just depend upon the New York Times for their news coverage. People who seek out news (including independent media) are fully aware that the Times has sat on this story (and voices speaking out against the war). But if you read the paper today, you might scratch your head and wonder what this little Associated Press article is about? Can't be too important, right? It's not on the front page, it has no byline and it's not a story the paper assigned their own reporters to cover.

The AP article notes:

Senate Republicans, meanwhile, say it's not the right time even to talk of pulling out, let alone do it. They stick to the party line that the United States can't consider withdrawing until an Iraqi security force is able to protect the fledgling democratic government on its own.

The New York Times' actions also say it's not the right time to talk of pulling out (let alone do it) when they silence these voices. Someone needs to examine this (we won't hold our breath waiting for Daniel Okrent -- who turned in another op-ed Sunday based on "what I want to write about" as opposed to writing about what readers were asking about). [For a discussion of Okrent's continual dismissal of readers' concern see "First of all there's the continuing daily mistakes . . ." For a discussion of Okrent's inability to serve readers see "Daniel Okrent, Step Down."]

I want to be really clear here, I don't think that the withdrawal of troops from Iraq is a position that only means something if members of the US Congress advocate it. I think the Times should have been covering this issue. (See December 22nd's "About the Times and that Mea Culpa" which offers yet another example of how the paper silences debate on this issue -- Kirk Johnson writing an article researched by five Times reporters in five cities across the country and not one person quoted advocated "bring the troops home now" despite the fact that the sentiment is a popular one -- polls have reported that close to a third of Americans support that position.)

Okay, the print edition finally arrived. Three quick scans demonstrate that the AP article is only available online. (If you see it in print, please e-mail me at I could be missing it but I don't think so, I've gone through three times now looking for just that story.)

Get it? Print readers still won't know about Congressional voices advocating the withdrawal of troops. This is coverage? This is reporting?

Exactly why is the New York Times so opposed to covering the news?

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Members' blogs (A Winding Road, Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Third Estate Sunday Review); plus Why Are We Back In Iraq and wotisitgood4

Are you checking A Winding Road? Here's Common Ills community member Folding Star (of A Winding Road) on the Condi vote:

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

13 Senators Stand Tall

85-13. That was the vote. I believe Senator Boxer noted this morning in her remarks that the most ever to vote against a Secretary of State Nominee was 7 Senators against Henry Kissinger, so we've made history today, though we now will have to endure Rice as our top Diplomat (!). The cosmos sure has a wry sense of humor.
A very quick post asking that you all send thank you emails or calls to the following 13 Senators who voted against the confirmation of Condoleezza Rice. 12 Democrats and 1 Independent member of the Senate stood tall today. Some of the names on the list surprised me, others did not. We all knew Rice would be confirmed. But with each vote lately, some Democrats seem to be gaining more backbone in standing up for what's right.
I'll just add how much Senator Lieberman turns my stomach. To hear him prattle on about how we all believe in the war in Iraq now that we're there, it's such crap! The only way to support our troops is to bring them home NOW. 31 more are dead this morning in a helicopter crash. That's 31 more families shattered over an illegal, pointless war.
Lieberman was quickly praised for his comments by his Republican colleagues, big surprise there.
Oh, and a special boo to Senator McCain who jumped on the bandwagon at suggesting that Democrats were playing partisan politics by fulfilling their Constitutional duty! I know some would love to believe that McCain is above partisan politics himself, but he's not. Any respect a liberal might have (mistakenly!) harbored for this particular Senator's independence and integrity should have evaporated when he supported Bush in 2004, after all the rotten dirty tricks Bush pulled against him in the 2000 primaries. McCain likes to paint himself as a Maverick, and on a couple of issues, he may even be one, but overall, he's very much a Republican.
At any rate, I watched the vote live and jotted down the Senators who voted No as I heard them. Here were today's stalwart 13, standing against all that Rice represents: the lies that took us into an illegal war and continue to keep us there.

Senator Boxer
Senator Byrd
Senator Kerry
Senator Reed (of Rhode Island, NOT Harry Reid of Nevada)
Senator Durbin
Senator Jeffords
Senator Kennedy
Senator Levin
Senator Dayton
Senator Akaka
Senator Bayh
Senator Lautenberg
Senator Harkin

Please drop an email or take the time to phone these 13 Senators with your thanks and let them know they should continue to stand strong.

On the vote, I'll note what Gina's e-mailed, "We are seeing more stick their necks out and in many ways it is amazing. On the other hand, it seems that the same group may be used repeatedly to show the spine while others do nothing. I'm getting really disappointed in Hillary Clinton."

Have you read A Winding Road today?

Senator Kennedy Calls for Troop Withdrawal

How odd. Just yesterday, Senator Lieberman was proclaiming on the Senate floor that no matter the debate on how we got into the war, the members of the United States Senate all believe in the mission now that we're there. No one, I seem to recall him saying, wants to 'cut and run'.

Click the higlighted title above the paragraph for more.

Are you checking community member Rebecca's Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude?
[If you're at a work computer, consider yourself warned if your company has a policy on "appropriate" language.] Here she is weighing in on Andrew Sullivan's "review" (that Luke was asking for input on earlier this week) and on the New York Times' decision to review a bio on Sean Penn [language edits are done by this site, not Rebecca, and are indicated with "*"s]:

so then i open the increasingly useless new york times and see andy sullivan trying to prop up his boy donnie rummy with his 'by gosh it all, the military was looking into this!' white wash. the times feels sully's so g**damn important that they let him go on and on. considering that he understands brevity -- those personal ads seeking bareback sex for instance -- it's shocking that they turn over so much space to so questionable a writer.
but just when you're done with granny sully telling you there really is a santa clause, you have to take on the prat that is manohla dargis.
apparently manohla's never read one of those star biographies. you know that this self-proclaimed lover of valley of the dolls has read everyone she could get her hands on.
manohla eats up space in the times book review section by weighing in on a star gazer tome aimed at sean penn.
and apparenlty manohla's new to these type of books. (they often sell well but they rarely grace a best seller list).
manohla's shocked, just shocked, that a writer would write such a glossy treatment of penn. as someone who's flipped through books "about" sharon stone, goldie hawn, cher, johnny depp, river phoenix, warren beatty and countless others, i know when i pick up one of those books that we're looking at a subject without warts. kitty kelley's 1 of the few who's ever felt the need to show warts. and 1 of the few who's sold a book that explored the warts.
. . .
. . . the only 1s buying them are fans of the star.
you don't make any money with a warts and all portrayal.
and no one even tries. which is why a biography on sharon stone works overtime to reassure us of all how she's one of the strongest critical thinkers of our time. yeah, there's sartre and then there's stone.
either manohla is ignorant of the book genre or she's so eager to trash sean penn that she plays dumb.
either way, the book isn't worthy of a review in the times and her "review" isn't worth printing.
. . .
it's not enough that she smear penn himself, she also goes after his dead father leo penn:"he had been blacklisted, though he wasn't sure anyone had actually named his name. (in fact, he may have hit a wall as a screen actor. either way, the blacklist would become an important part of the penn family story.)"
would that be the same new york times family story manhola?

His film career had just begun when Penn was blacklisted after attending a pro-union meeting with other actors. That the group was actively supporting the first blacklistees, the Hollywood Ten, only worsened matters.

yeah, manohla tile, that's your own damn paper. you might want to consider researching a little before you spew your venum. you're exactly the sort of 'critic' that kat was talking in thursday's kat's korner -- you mistake criticism for an appearence on crossfire!
maybe manohla tile is unaware of this too:

When he was called before the notorious House Un-American Activities Committee, and asked to expose Hollywood Communists, Leo Penn refused to name names.

or maybe the dumb ass just doesn't grasp how the blacklist worked, maybe she's historically ignorant as well as a bad writer?
you sure are quick to absolve the blacklisters and question the documented claims of a victim, manohla tile.

Are you checking out the community members that are running The Third Estate Sunday Review? Each Sunday they provide new content. We've highlighted their editorial on the Times in Monday's post here so let's note they've done another interview with a college student.
"Mike" was placed in rehab when he was a teenager. To find out about his experience in the rehab he went to read the interview. Here's a sample:

There were people with serious addictions to things like cocaine and heroin and alcohol or meth or whatever. And I don't think any of those kids learned anything in treatment. This one guy who was on my team, I've stayed in contact with him through e-mail. He went right back into treatment a month after he got discharged but this time he went to a real treatment center and learned some things. He's still off and on with his recovery but he learned the tools to work his recovery if he wants to do that.
I think places like the one I was at just take people's money. They do a nice con job on your parents or guardians and then you're basically in day care the whole time you're there. They aren't giving you any tools. Like, I was in there for new year's eve, okay? Now an addict on new year's eve trying to work their recovery must be a hard thing. But they didn't use that opportunity. I mean, they didn't stage a clean and sober new year's eve so you could experience at least one where you were interacting with your peers without the use of drugs. They just treated it like any other night that you had to be in bed by nine-thirty. But when it was Superbowl time, they wheeled in the TV and you were expected to stay in this room watching the Superbowl until it was over. Then you broke back up into teams and went back to your living areas.
Most of the kids were stoners who couldn't care less about sports. I doubt many of them have watched a Superbowl since. I don't think that had anything to do with treatment. It was just that the Bible thumper family running the camp, and I call it a camp and not a treatment center, were big into football. New Year's Eve effects everyone. Whether you're alone or at a party with friends, you know it's New Year's Eve. They blew a big opportunity to educate by ignoring it but I guess it wasn't as important to them as the Superbowl.

And don't miss Ron's work on the mysterious "Ricky" who seems to post everywhere and often as a "Democrat" at Why Are We Back In Iraq?:

5 AM in the morning Update. Ricky's "New Democrat" blog has been removed from blogspot. I'm assuming that was Ricky's move because of the work Tas and I (and Jesse) have done. So Max, looks like you might get to keep your blog title, unless Simon Rosenberg comes knocking.
Ricky, this isn't over yet. Some Americans don't take kindly to foreigners interfering in our presidential elections.
Update: Ricky Ain't American!. Check out the latest article by Tas at
Loaded Mouth (you too, Ricky, unless you've already made your way from there to here) to find out what other country the "new democrat" blogs from.
Why did so many big time Republican bloggers hand out links to a foreigner in a bid to influence our Presidential election? They have f**king site trackers just like most of us bloggers, so they knew damn well where Ricky Vandal originated from. Instapundit, L.G.F., Protein Wisdom, Andrew Sullivan, and every other right wing blogger that linked to the anti-Kerry websites are looking about as unpatriotic as you can get, in my never-humble opinion.
I just found another Ricky page on the Internet devoted to smearing John Kerry's war record that was posted on October 11, 2004.. This
page is basically a reprint of the hores**t on Ricky's New Soldier blog (which attracted 300,000 visitors before the election...not all arriving from right wing blogs). It's called "Is Kerry a traitor?" It's a page on the American Computer Science Associate Website, (ACSA.Net) and it claims to represent the views of ACSA, a "NON-PROFIT CHARITY, A PRIVATE FOUNDATION UNDER USC 501(c)3."
[Note, as with Rebecca's excerpt, we've edited language here -- indicated with "*"s -- to do our best to be work place friendly.]

"Ricky" new to you? Read the series at Why Are We Back In Iraq? and learn more about what's going on there.

Lastly, Luke is a regular visitor here and he blogs out of Australia at wotisitgood4 so please check out his site. Here's one example (from January 22nd) of the type of commentary you can find at Luke's site (and the usual WARNING before you visit in case you are on a work computer and there is a strict policy on "appropriate" langauge at your job):

* nyt obviously felt compelled to report on the boxer/rice nom thing. apparently the key issue is that boxer has the loudest voice, she hasnt lost her voice, she is full-throated, is outspoken, and has an aggressive posture. further down we learn that the CA repugs 'have been unable to defeat her despite her liberal voting record and her prominent role as a legislative leader on protecting abortion rights'. In para 9, we learn that the nomination is to be debated on the senate floor.

[Note: My apologies if anyone caught the curse word in the post above that I didn't use "*"s on.
I do try to catch them. I am sorry. Reading over it right now, I saw it and immediately moved to correct it. But again, I'm sorry.]

AW Review: The Bully Boy pimping MLK's memory; Dems as the victims of domestic abuse; the media "covers" Condi; the crowning of the Bully Boy

One year ago this month, I wrote a column titled "The Pimping of MLK Jr." to argue that King's legacy has been perverted by those who profess to love and admire the man. In truth they are doing all they can to destroy everything he stood for -- and died for. Here's some of what I said:
"Bluntly speaking, King has been put on the corner like a hooker. Who would have ever thought that a dead man would ever be forced to turn so many tricks? It's all a very sorry commentary on the shameless marketing-is-everything age in which we now live. A spiritual and social warrior can be transformed into a product designed to meet the needs of even his worst enemies."
And here is what President George W. Bush said about King last week at Georgetown University during a speech he gave both in recognition of the King holiday and in honor of outgoing Secretary of State Colin Powell:

"Every year on this day we reflect the history of civil rights in America. . . . Dr. King loved America enough to confront its injustices, not compromising the truth and not fearing any man — and America loves him in return. …["]
. . .
God bless Bush for proving my point so well. With one cowboy boot crushing the throat of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, an organization founded essentially to pursue the ideals promoted by Dr. King, Bush has the raw nerve to extol King's virtues as if he were a true believer.
In short, King George is pimping King Jr.’s memory like a pro.

"MLK Jr. gets pimped again" by Keith Owens in the Detroit MetroTimes.

Owens is addressing an important topic and one that Keesha and Gina were getting at in their replies to the New York Times [see and].

Tori e-mailed "For Democrats Only RAARGH!—and more of it" by Bill Cope in from The Boise Weekly:

I’ve just finished reading a remarkable analysis of the situation. It's so good, I can only wish I'd thought of it. It's in the January issue of a little mag out of, of all places, Salt Lake City, and I beg every Democrat in the country to find a way to read it for themselves. Seek out Catalyst: Resources for Creative Living, the January issue, and turn to the commentary "Deride and Conquer." (I stole my copy from the offices of Boise Weekly, but I don't recommend that course to anyone else. First of all, it was wrong, and secondly, it was the only copy. Instead, try It's there; I looked.)
The author, Mel Gilles (a woman), has been a longtime advocate for victims of domestic violence and as such, and she has identified familiar patterns in the behavior of both triumphant Republicans and defeated Democrats -- patterns she is well acquainted with from her experiences with abusers and the abused. I can't put it any better, so here are her words: “Listen to George Bush say that the will of God excuses his behavior. Listen as he refuses to take responsibility, or express remorse, or even once admit a mistake. Watch him strut, and tell us he will only work with those that agree with him … Hear him tell us that if we will only listen and do as he says and agree with his every utterance, all will go well for us …

"And watch the Democratic Party leadership walk on eggshells, try to meet him, please him, wash the windows better, get out that spot, distance themselves from gays and civil rights. See them cry for the attention and affection and approval of the President and his followers. Watch us squirm. Watch us descend into a world of crazy-making, where logic doesn't work and the other side tells us we are nuts when we rely on facts. A world where, worst of all, we begin to believe we are crazy."
Now, Democrats, tell me that doesn't leave a mark.

Tori wondered if the story referred to by Mel Gilles was something that got mentioned here a week or so ago. I'm not sure we mentioned it but I know I read a mention of it. It was one of our permalinks or it was a member quoted here. It could have even been me. I saw Mel Gilles article on BuzzFlash sometime back and it's worth reading.

Trevor e-mails a really strong piece, "Protocol for Lying: The senators let Condi Rice slide" by Judith Lewis from LA Weekly:

Even by the accounts of people inclined to hate her, Senator Barbara Boxer delivered a fierce argument on January 18 against Condoleezza Rice's nomination for secretary of state. But if all the news you caught the next morning was in the headlines on National Public Radio, you wouldn't have known that. In the distilled world of audio broadcast, the only reference to the Rice-Boxer exchange was a 10-second clip, with Rice telling Boxer, "I would ask you to refrain from impugning my integrity," and Boxer responding, "I'm not." It's hard to know who selects these bits, and why. Presumably, a 10-second excerpt is meant to capture the overall tone of the proceedings it's culled from, to give the listener a sense of a longer story in a very short time. But the impression one got from this segment was of a patient doyenne condescending to a nippy little harpy. It was not a representative excerpt: It was as if NPR had chosen to highlight Joe Biden's initial breathlessness, or Dianne Feinstein's tripping repeatedly over the word "Czechoslovakia." It represented Boxer at her worst, Woman at her worst, and whatever else Boxer had accomplished earlier in the day, what millions of listeners took away was this: Scrappy Boxer had launched a scud that landed inert at her opponent's pedicured feet.
Also in this issue
To read David Corn's article about Seantors Boxer and Feinstein during Rice's confirmation hearings,
click here.
To read Erin Aubrey Kaplan's article about Rice,
click here. That the text and context of Boxer's speech in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that day was much, much different was something you'd only find out had you stayed glued to CNN or C-SPAN during the hearing, or flipped channels after Morning Edition and heard the highlights of the day's dissent on Amy Goodman's Democracy Now! In the longer version, Boxer had asked Rice for "a candid discussion," to account for discrepancies between her words and the president's, her words and her other words, her words and the facts as documented in reports by Charles Duelfer and the 9/11 commission. Such an accounting would have required Rice to admit that many of the administration's reasons for invading Iraq were bunk. Rice would never do this, of course - she reaffirms repeatedly that Bush and she speak with one voice - and Boxer knew it. And so Boxer's request that Rice account for these discrepancies served only one purpose: To establish for the committee, and for the world, that Rice is a liar. In other words, to impugn her integrity. As well it deserved to be impugned: In the words of Hans Blix, "It took much twisted evidence, including a forged uranium contract, to conjure up a revived Iraqi nuclear threat, even one that was somewhat distant," and yet there was Rice in the run-up to the war, talking about mushroom clouds. Or as returned-to the-chambers Senator John Kerry observed in the January 18 hearing, despite Rice's justification for the war as a pre-emptive attack on a country readying WMD, U.S. troops had not even bothered to guard a large cache of ammunition that was later used against them. In statements throughout the proceedings she dodged, obfuscated and boldly rewrote history, responding cagily to questions from Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island about her hypocritical disdain for Venezuela ("We hope that the government of Venezuela will continue to recognize what has been a mutually beneficial relationship on energy," she said); dismissing questions from Senator Joe Biden about whether the U.S. initially committed sufficient forces to secure Iraq ("I do believe that the plan and the forces we went in with were appropriate to the task," Rice told him); and stringing together a series of end runs around Senator Christopher Dodd's questions about what Rice believes constitutes torture - "Water-boarding?" Nudity? ("I don't want to comment on any specific interrogation techniques," she demurred. "I don't think that would be appropriate." Dodd called this "disappointing." You got the feeling Rice could have endorsed the decapitation of her critics, and the senators would have called it "disappointing.") Rice's answers were a triumph of insinuation as a substitute for facts. To impugn her integrity should have been uncontroversial.

Lewis is making strong points and points that deal with the need to focus on the media. New ways of saying things don't mean a thing if they aren't being heard -- goes to the media.

Now to the crowning of the Bully Boy, we'll focus first on two things covering the protest, an article on the mainstream media's supremely poor reporting and then comments on the crowning itself that offer analysis and a persepctive.

From the Independent Weekly, Cedric e-mails "Going on the record against lies and greed: Neither hail nor sleet nor riot gear can keep this duo from their appointed rounds" by Peter Eichenberger:

We're making our way out of the pit. Elliot nudges me, pointing at a handsome black woman. Then I see that it is U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney, unseated in the previous election by Republican machination, now newly returned to her seat by her Georgia constituency. I run up to her.
"I am so glad to meet you, sister." The shutter clicks and we are captured like kin at a reunion. "I love what you do," I tell her.
Once again, history was made. Despite the millions of taxpayer dollars, all those fences, 13,000 cops and soldiers, the kids tore down barricades, pelted the motorcade with garbage (oranges this time), disrupted the parade, PETA gals ran around butt-ass nekked in 30 degrees--two separate attacks finally repulsed amid desperate clubbing on both sides and, finally, deployment of a sort of giant mace-spewing flit-gun. Kids 6, Cops 12.
Only 12 arrests. Whether from sympathy, managing the news (low arrests look good if you are trying to make dissent disappear) or the fact that D.C. has had to pay major money for the now-illegal practice of "preemptive arrest," we'll never know. What I did know was that a sense of democracy was aloft in the frigid wind that day, in all its messy, heartfelt honesty, a big quarreling family. And in that, there is magnificence.

Lynda e-mails "the news brief" section from Eugune Weekly to spotlight the first item on the list (all are worthy of reading) which deals with the protests last week and recognizes three Euguene activists who went to D.C. for the crowning of the Bully Boy:

Dogged Eugene activists Peter and Willow Chabarek and Carol Melia traveled to Washington, D.C. to protest President George W. Bush’s inauguration on Jan. 20. They nabbed seats about 50 yards from the podium, and just as Supreme Court Justice Renquist was about to deliver the oath of office, they stepped into the aisle and started screaming, "Stop the war! Bring home the troops!"
Although military ushers guarded the aisles, Peter describes a slow response from security personnel. "They seemed stunned," he says. "They didn’t know what to do. They decided not to do anything."
More daunting were the Bush supporters in the crowd. One tossed water in Willow’s face and threw her to the ground, and then he did the same to Peter. Carol got into a wrestling match with a woman who tried to steal the camera from her. "But we all popped up and just kept screaming," Peter says. Police finally told the protesters, "We’d like you to leave for your own safety."
Although many media filtered out the protest from their Inauguration Day reports, Amy Goodman spoke with Carol Melia, and the interview aired on Democracy Now! on Jan. 21. Reuters also picked up the story, and local radio news producer Amy Pincus Merwin aired the report on KWVA and KBOO. On Jan. 21, the activists plan to protest in front of the offices of powerful America neo-conservative think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute and Project for New American Century.

Matt Taibbi's take on the crowning (from the New York Press) is also worth noting:

I've always thought that one of America's best selling points was that it never had a king. If there is one thing that defines us as a people, as opposed to all other peoples, it is this fact. Every other nation in the world has a dozen or so of those embarrassing chapters from the past to live down. Not us. The moment of our conception was a rejection of the very idea of kings. All of that goes out the window whenever we have a presidential inauguration. The urge to turn the White House into Buckingham Palace (or, more to the point, Camelot) is one of the oldest and most shameful traditions of the media age, but this disgusting phenomenon always heats to whiteness during inauguration week, regardless of what party is ascending to power. What a splendiferous reception hall! Look at all the rich and tasty things on the banquet table! Why, it must be a hundred feet long!
"Paula, set the stage from your perspective," gushed serial ass-kisser Wolf Blitzer, as he threw to Paula Zahn, standing at the inauguration site, on CNN. "This is a majestic moment for the entire country!"
We heard about all the majesty; from the scalloped crab, roasted Missouri quail, chestnuts and brined root vegetables at the post-inauguration congressional luncheon ("Mmm, scalloped crab sounds good," said CNN anchor Carol Costello) to the mariachi band, Cohiba cigars and "buffet tables loaded with Tex-Mex fare" at the "Black Tie & Boots" ball the night before ("I feel very simpatico with the people of Texas," offered shameless-hanger-on-in-a-cowboy-hat Rudy Giuliani) to the elegant inauguration lunch at Statuary Hall in the Capitol ("It's majestic," repeated the fixated Blitzer. "What a beautiful hall, for those of our viewers who have never been inside the U.S. Capitol..."). And so on and so on.

. . .
That Laura would be wearing a rose silk taffeta Carolina Herrera ensemble with a Western touch was known in advance. The press had been briefed. And with this news, the press ran and ran. The Queen's inauguration outfits were a story, a non-sarcastic story, in almost every paper in the country last week, to the point where Oscar de la Renta, the designer of her now-famous "ice blue" inauguration ceremony ensemble, was received by the press as though he were a visiting head of state.

Third Party e-mails Ralph Nader's "Bush's Pillars" from Frontlines:

President George W. Bush's Inaugural Address was perched high on the abstraction ladder. Words like "freedom," "liberty" and "democracy" poured forth not just for Americans but for everyone in the world. Let's bring his rhetoric down to the concrete level of his record-that is, down the ladder of abstraction where regular people live.
He spoke in the District of Columbia--a place of gross contrasts between wealth and poverty beneath one unity. D.C. residents--all 600,000 of them--have no voting representatives in the U.S. Congress. They, unlike all other federal districts in all other democracies, are disenfranchised. Some freedom, some liberty, some democracy.
Mr. Bush likes it this way. He has refused to support either D.C. statehood, which would provide two Senators and one Representative, or simply voting rights without statehood.
In his first term, one of his signal prides of authorship was the Patriot Act--considered in its intrusiveness and abandonment of safeguards to be the broadest encroachment on civil liberties and the judiciary in our history-whether in war or peace--by leading civil liberties scholars and practitioners. Under Bush and John Ashcroft, Bush's Attorney General, there were many arrests without charges, imprisonment without attorneys and indefinite, anonymous detention of alleged witnesses. There now can be perfunctory court approval for searching your most personal financial, medical and e-mail records without probable cause or due process of law and for searching your homes and business without pre-notifying you.
How does this square the assertion in his speech: "We are determined to show the meaning and promise of liberty?"