Saturday, January 28, 2006

RadioNation with Laura Flanders: Chris Willman, Leonard Steinhorn, students who turned their back on A. Gonzales and much more

Kat here. It's Saturday so what do you think I'm about to write about? Abby Road? Well you're wrong -- although it would be a great topic. On Saturday's we have an equal worthy topic: RadioNation with Laura Flanders. So did you listen last weekend? If you did, you had Robert Redford sharing his thoughts on the administration impeachment. What did he say on that?

Well you should have listened, now shouldn't you?

B-b-b-but Kat, I was busy!

Well then you missed it. But you can go to RadioNation with Laura Flanders and listen to last Saturday's show. And instead of wondering what you might miss out on this weekend, you can listen to RadioNation with Laura Flanders.

Here's what's coming up today and Sunday:

RadioNation with Laura Flanders
Are you fired up enough that you want to run for office?
Saturdays & Sundays, 7-10pm ET on Air America Radio
With the Alito hearings fresh in our minds, we'll talk to the folks from Wellstone Action who are in New York to train candidates in the style of the late Paul Wellstone. We'll take stock of the culture wars with author Chris Willman -- author of 'Rednecks and Bluenecks' -- and Leonard Steinhorn, whose defense of the baby boom legacy defies those who claim conservatism is on the rise. Plus the law students who turned their backs on the Attorney General, our journalists roundtable, and a live report from the World Social Forum.
It's all on RadioNation with Laura Flanders this weekend on Air America Radio.

You can listen to RadioNation with Laura Flanders over the traditional airwaves, via XM satellite, via podcasting or via online streaming. So check it out. You know you want to and you know you're dying to hear from the students who turned their backs on Gonzales. Good for them.

And check out this from NOW:

Support the Filibuster -- Defeat Alito
After all your calls, emails and action, two senators are taking the lead in defeating ultra-conservative Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass) are organizing the filibuster of Judge Alito and they need the support of 39 other senators in order to block a straight up or down vote.
Please make as many phone calls as you can before Monday at 4:30pm, when Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist will call for a vote to end debate on Alito. Of the self-proclaimed women's rights supporters in the Senate, more are announcing public support for the filibuster every hour. Hillary Clinton and Dianne Feinstein have just signed on in support, and more of those who have offered private support need to give it publicly. Others are on the fence, and need to hear from us that their support for women's rights is hollow unless they back the filibuster and vote NO on cloture.
NOW has put together a
list of senators (self-described women's rights supporters) who need our firm encouragement to come out publicly and join the filibuster (and some, like Chafee and Snowe, haven't even said they'll vote NO on the nomination!).
Remember, without a filibuster, Judge Alito WILL be confirmed. In a straight up or down vote, we need 51 "NO" votes to defeat Alito, but in a filibuster, we need only 41 votes to block Frist's effort to end debate.
We've asked for a lot from you over the last few months, and together we've made great progress--just a week ago a filibuster seemed out of the question! Now that we've come this close, we need your help with this final push. If Judge Alito takes a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court--replacing Justice Sandra Day O'Connor--all of our hard-fought rights are in danger.
Please call one or more of the Senators below, especially if you live in their state (click on the Senator's name for district office numbers). Please share this alert widely and ask friends to join the fight!

Senators to call (list as of 1/27/06 4:30pm) - an updated list is available
on our website:
Mark Pryor (D- AR)
Blanche Lambert Lincoln (D- AR)
Ken Salazar (D- CO)
Joseph I. Lieberman (D- CT)
Thomas R. Carper (D- DE)
Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D- DE)
Bill Nelson (D- FL)
Daniel K. Akaka (D- HI)
Daniel K. Inouye (D- HI)
Tom Harkin (D- IA)
Barack Obama (D- IL)
Evan Bayh (D- IN)
Barbara A. Mikulski (D- MD)
Carl Levin (D- MI)
Mark Dayton (D- MN)
Max Baucus (D- MT)
Byron L. Dorgan (D- ND)
Robert Menendez (D- NJ)
Frank Lautenberg (D- NJ)
Jeff Bingaman (D- NM)
Charles Schumer (D- NY)
Lincoln D. Chafee (R- RI)
Patrick J. Leahy (D- VT)
Maria Cantwell (D- WA)
Patty Murray (D- WA)
Herb Kohl (D- WI)
John D. Rockefeller, IV (D- WV)
Support NOW's Work for Equal Rights Join NOW Shop Online Member Benefits
LEARN MORE: NOW News Releases
Get Involved Legislative Action Center Find Your Nearest Chapter Tell a Friend

The New York Times, the paper of clampdown, tells you Alito's confirmation/coronation is a "done deal." But like C.I. noted this week, they told you it was a "done deal" after the hearings. They were predicting an easy ride to confirmation. Then a no movement came along thanks to people standing up and now we've got a chance at a filibuster. We're working for the filibuster. A "no" vote without it is meaningless. Call and tell them you want a filibuster. Order some fries with it, if you'd like, but let them know you want a filibuster.

I know in this community, we worked really hard. We need to do it again. So get the word out and Monday, make the senators hear you. We can do this. Look how far we've gotten on this already! Quitters and clampdown artists told us two weekends ago that there's no way we'd get this far. But we did. Let's work to take this further. Do your part. I'm doing my part and guess who's on the road, and away from home, for the how many weekend in a row? Guess who's tired and didn't get the down time the rest of us grabbed but is speaking to college groups all weekend? So let's not fall back on, "I've already done my part." Democracy is an ongoing process. While C.I.'s on campuses, Rebecca's on the weekend getaway she postponed. Is she letting this issue die? No, she's not. She called me this afternoon to say that vacationers are hearing about it from her. And where will she be on Monday? Back at her friend's hair salon, with her cell phone, and she'll be encouraging women to let senators hear from them while her friend's going to offer, again, half-prices for every woman that calls while waiting to have their hair or nails done. So do your part by making your own calls, do your part by getting the word out and do your part by getting creative and finding other ways to get the word out and get people motivated.

And listen to Laura!

NYT: Eric Lichtblau, Adam Liptak and Scott Shane

We're going to attempt to redo the lost portion of the previous entry here.

You're back out on the road again for a million reasons
Yeah, you're back out on the road again
-- "Juliet" words & music by Stevie Nicks (from the Nicks' album The Other Side of the Mirror)

Yes, Stevie, it's back out on the road again.

For the New York Times today, the focus is on two articles, both appear on the front page, both continue on A-9.

We'll start with Eric Lichtblau and Adam Liptak's "Bush Presses on In Legal Defense For Wiretapping" which teams Lichtblau with the best co-writer he's had all week. We're moving very quickly because I used forty minutes of a planned hour of free time, my only real free time until this evening, to dictate the lost portion of the last entry. So keep up or not.

The article's an improvement over the chart on page A-9 which conveys the impression that only the Bully Boy's argument is worth presenting. Since the article contains the assertion, by some, that the Bully Boy's spin has been successful (we'll get back to that in a bit), I'm having a hard time grasping why his spin needs to be furthered via a chart?

So here's the kernal of the article, buried deep on page A-9, Bully Boy's acting as though FISA never was created. The bulk of his spin rests on cases and laws prior to the creation of FISA. FISA was created following Watergate as Congressional committees began investigation the abuses of administrations (the focus went beyond on Nixon).

For more recent support, the administration relies on selective readings as with Hamdi v. Rumsfeld which did not go the administration's way. (And is why they released Hamdi.)

They're arguing that the power exists as part of the War Powers which demands accepting that the so-called war on terror is indeed a war (Bully Boy's got his own jihad, in the minds of many) and that it will ever reach an end. Students of history will be aware of terrorism (state sponsored and otherwise) and its long roots. But Bully Boy's a can-do-blustering-can't-actually-do kind of guy so he stumbles across the world's stage making promises he can't keep.

And leaving the article for a moment, that's really at the heart of the debate. How much are we willing to give up and for how long? "How long" meaning that this is a so-called war without end. Terrorism didn't begin on 9/11 and it won't be addressed with a war. (Has Iraq taught the country nothing about how the oppression of a people results in a response?) Also on "how long," what the government takes, it doesn't easily or willingly return.

War isn't an elastic term though politicans would have you believe otherwise. Buying into the Bully Boy's spin would have resulted, in previous times, in LBJ having an unchecked power to conduct his "war" on poverty and, in future times, allow any president to declare "war" on any topic (bad hair?) and institute a power grab that can't be checked.

FISA was created as massive abuses were uncovered. Bully Boy wants to bypass FISA and rule unchecked.

Back to the article, there are many people presenting many sides. Then there's "liberal" Cass Sunstein (The New Republic's ideal of "liberal") presenting all sides. He's the perfect spokesperson for the "on the one hand" argument if you're Durga the eight-handed goddess.
Sunstein's "arguments" are used by people all over the spectrum because they're so scattershot that you can pull quote any section to justify any position. Some call that "reasoned." They've obviously never lunched with a person who can't complete the simple task of ordering from a menu. "The chicken sounds fine but on the other hand there is the beef . . . and we shouldn't overlook the shrimp which is not to take anything away from the baked fish . . ."

This isn't an "opinion," it's a laundry list. This isn't an "argument" in any way, shape or form. It's a plethora of points without any cohesion or depth. There are people in favor of the Bully Boy's power grab who can argue their point in the article and there are people opposed who can do that same. The article also notes those concerned. Sunstein fits into none of those groups. He's unable to make an argument because he's too busy ticking off every possibility under the sun. That doesn't make him "reasoned." Not every point has the same weight. He's indecisive and unable to make a case for any point he tosses out.

(For more on that, look at his Alito checklists and note how a pull quote here allowed this group to argue that and other groups to argue other points.)

The kernal of the article comes from Curtis A. Bradley who tells the paper:

Before FISA, it may have been the case that the president had the authority to do this kind of surveillance. What the Department of Justice is trying to do is use the prior practice to support the present program when the present program is a violation of a duly enacted statue.

Let's address the problem of the article. It offers an apparent consensus view. Whose? You're not provided with names. But the consensus of 'some' is that the Bully Boy was effective in spinning this past week. That's tossed out in a kind of "On spin, we score the Bully Boy an 8 out of a possible 10." It's nice of the press to offer evaluations like that, isn't it? Especially when they conceal their own role in the spin.

The Times, for example, was happy to jot down every talking point this past week. They didn't examine them. They didn't report news. They printed press releases.

You wouldn't know it to read the paper this past week but the spin shouldn't have gone over. Time and again, the administration embarrassed itself. But the mainstream press failed to report that. Let's focus on one event from Monday. To appreciate the petulance of the spokesperon, you need to listen or watch Democracy Now!'s "Former NSA Head Gen. Hayden Grilled by Journalists on NSA Eavesdropping on U.S. Citizens" -- the transcript does cover this (contrary to an earlier version of this entry posted -- this entry is being posted in parts to make sure it's not lost). Travis Morales is the World Can't Wait representative that Hayden gets snippish with when questioned. You need to listen to or watch the segment to hear the tone. Along with being petulant, Hayden also paraded, nee flaunted, his ignorance.

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: I'm trying to communicate to you that the people who are doing this, okay, go shopping in Glen Bernie, and their kids play soccer in Laurel, and they know the law. They know American privacy better than the average American, and they're dedicated to it. So I -- I guess the message that I'd ask you to take back to your communities is the same one I take back to mine: This is focused. It's targeted. It's very carefully done. You shouldn't worry.

The first talking point is, "We're just like you!" (We shop, our kids play soccer. . .) The second talking point is, "But we're better!" "They know American privacy better than the average American . . ." Do they?

Hayden doesn't even know the Bill of Rights. From the same spin session:

JONATHAN LANDAY: Jonathan Landay with Knight Ridder. I'd like to stay on the same issue. And that has to do with the standard by which you use to target your wiretaps. I'm no lawyer, but my understanding is that the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution specifies that you must have probable cause to be able to do a search that does not violate an American's right against unlawful searches and seizures.
GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: Actually, the Fourth Amendment actually protects all of us against unreasonable search and seizure. That's what it says.
JONATHAN LANDAY: But the measure is probable cause, I believe.
GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: The amendment says unreasonable search and seizure.
JONATHAN LANDAY: But does it not say probable --

Hayden stood up at a conference and stated the Fourth Amendment didn't say probable cause.

He knows better than the avereage American? As any high school student in civics can tell you, the Fourth Amendment states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Italics have been used to emphasize "probable cause" which Hayden is unaware of.

As Amy Goodman noted, but the mainstream press took a pass on:

AMY GOODMAN: The Deputy Director of National Intelligence, former head of the National Security Agency, Michael Hayden, being questioned yesterday at the National Press Club. That last reporter, after Jim Bamford asked his question, was Jonathan Landay of Knight Ridder, editor and publisher pointing out, well, this is the Fourth Amendment: the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

Hayden, former NSA head, now holds the position of the Deputy Director of National Intelligence, a post which apparently has no intelligence prerequisite or requirement. How else to explain his glaring ignorance regarding the Fourth Amendment?

And that someone in his position would publicly flaunt his ignorance regarding something that presumably is at the heart of his work is much more pertinent than whether or not a vice-president can spell potato. However, the mainstream press took a pass on this. So next time, before the Times wants to tell us how 'successful' the administration was, they might also want to examine how 'unsuccessful' the press was in reporting basic facts.

We're turning to Scott Shane's article now, "Outfitting Spies With New Moral Compass." From article:

Is there such a thing as an ethical spy?
A group of current and former intelligence officers and academic experts think there is, and they are meeting this weekend to dissect what some others in the field consider a flat-out contradiction in terms.

There are a variety of opinions expressed here and, it should be noted, when former CIA agent Duane R. Clarridge dismisses the need for ethics in the spy community (he likens it to an "oxymoron"), Shane reminds readers that:

Mr. Clarridge's view may be colored by his own history; he was indicted on perjury charges in 1991, accused of lying to Congress about the Iran-contra affair. He was pardoned in 1992 by President George H. W. Bush.

This is the article worth reading in the paper if you're only going to read one. It's the sort of article the Times used to pull off. Gatherings were covered. Now if they involved women, people of color or students, they were minimized or overlooked, but these type of gatherings, if all white and all male, did make it into the paper. (At certain periods in the paper's history, they could even cover the gatherings of, and addressing, working class people.) Those concerned that the public debate may have fallen to the pressing issues of what an American Idol contestant wore in her disqualifying round this week and nothing on a higher level than that, might want to note how much the paper of record has aided the dumbing down of America.

It goes beyond the front paging of Oprah's Book Club yesterday. (That's not a slam at the book club or Oprah, it's just noting that the "news" story didn't belong on the front page.) The Times has given up reporting the moods of the country. (They're more fond of allowing Nagourney to manipulate polling data and speak of 'the mood' of the country.) It's now a daily version of People magazine and we should all soon expect the Sunday pull out on the "50 Most Interesting Officials" as well as the summer edition: "Sexiest Official Alive."

Far from the official speak, at any period in time, serious issues are being addressed. The paper took a pass last weekend on the Bush Commission. This week, they do cover the gathering of intelligence officers to debate and explore what purpose ethics has in the trade. These debates are worth covering. Whether you and I agree with them or not, we're better off knowing they exist. They present readers with another dimension of an issue.

Both commentaries were longer in original form (they were a part of the first post) but were lost when the friend I'm dictating this to attempted to save to draft and all was lost but the first section. I'm speaking this weekend. Whether you are speaking at gatherings or to your own circle of friends and family, I hope you're speaking. Bill Frist wants the Senate to vote on Alito Monday afternoon. It's very important that we contact senators and demand a filibuster. It's also important to get the word out on this. So do your part.

Ruth's delayed her Morning Edition Report at my request [until Sunday morning]. I requested the delay because a) of my speaking schedule this weekend which is crazy and b) Isaiah's not sure he has a new The World Today Just Nuts in him for Sunday. (He did daily ones for Gina and Krista's special round-robins.) Gina and Krista have a round-robin going out Monday morning (news of Frist's desire for a Monday vote came out after they'd put the regular round-robin "to bed").

Betty substituted for Rebecca at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude last night. And her entry "Betty here, weighing in on Alito and the Democratic Party" is more than worth reading so make a point to read that today. Kat will be doing the entry on what's in store this weekend for RadioNation with Laura Flanders (and thank you to Kat for that). And that's it for me. I have to speak now.

The e-mail address for this site is

Note that this is the completed version of this entry which posted in several versions as it was dictated.

NYT: Op-ed News shows NYT how to report on polls

The / Zogby People's Poll is the first poll run by a progressive organization and possibly the first poll run by a media website, certainly by a progressive media website.
Zogby International conducted interviews of 850 likely Pennsylvania voters online on January 26th and 27th.
The poll consisted of 22 questions related to the PA race for US Senate and a total of over 70 questions, including 27 issue-related questions on impeachment, Bush's NSA spying and hearings, electronic voting, war in Iraq, withdrawal from Iraq, nationalized health care, privatization of voter registration and election technology and more. The PA Senate Race: Santorum vs. ?
The poll is the first to ask about all five PA US senate race candidates and provide positions each holds. When people find out about candidate positions on key issues, Casey plummets from a twelve point lead to a dead heat, with a non-significant two point lead. Santorum loses when matched with any of the democratic candidates. Both of the self identified progressive democratic candidates draw higher percentages than Casey, with Pennacchio having the largest percentage of votes against Santorum, at a not quite significant 4.4 points higher than Casey. Casey, at non-significant levels, actually gets MORE votes from Republicans once they find out more about him and Santorum.
Casey refused to respond, so we constructed his positions from media and speeches.'s conclusion on this race-- Santorum wants Casey as his opponent because he wins the demographic game. Casey loses massively in some categories, when voters find out about Casey, which Santorum will sure insure.
For example, Casy's support among 18-24 year olds drops from 63% to 40%, with Protestants, it drops from 47.3% to 30%, with liberals, from 95.4% to 68%, with moderates, from 64% to 53%, but Casey actually gains support from conservates, going from 3.9% to 5%, a non-significant, but interesting finding.
The poll first asked panelists how they would vote, matching up all five candidates (three Democratic, two Republican) without any information provided to them, then presented them with information on the position the candidates take on a number of issues. All candidates were invited at the same time to participate and given three days to respond. They were told that if they did not respond, then the issue positions would be constructed based on website, media and other statements the candidates made.
All candidates responded except Bob Casey, jr., who replied that he would not participate in the poll. made one last request by phone and email after the deadline, offering the Casey campaign an opportunity to participate and they stated they were not participating. That same evening, Casey was also a no-show at debate sponsored by the league of women voters in Harrisburg PA.

The above is from Op-Ed News' "OpEdNews.Com/ Zogby People's Poll." You didn't read it in the New York Times. You can tell that because instead of pat answers, you're told if something is significant or not. The sample size of the poll (of Pennsylvania residents) is roughly the same sample size that the Times/CBS polls use to convey the mood of the nation.

This is one poll. If subsequent polls bear out the same results, then you have a trend. In terms of the subject of the poll, Casey Junior, you also have history and the history (as noted in The Third Estate Sunday Review's "Robert Casey Junior Doing Pop Proud" on March 6, 2005) is that Casey Junior is someone that voters turn against as they learn more of him. He polls really well, early on. Then he peters out. As we wondered at the time (I helped with the piece):

Junior and Santorum both reject public schools for their children. They both are anti-choice. Does someone have some photos of Santorum engaging in man-on-dog sex? If not, why are they [soft-minded Dems] so sure that a carbon copy of Santorum can trump the original?
[. . .]
This is one of the most idiotic decisions soft-minded Dems have made in recent days (a tough call, granted). "We're going to run someone just like Santorum and we'll win!" Say what you want about Santorum, but he has a superficial physical attractiveness. (Janeane Garofalo has compared his looks to those of a gay porn star.) Is Junior with his receding hairline and near uni-brow really going to be able to stand on stage opposite him and look "Senatorial?" We're puzzled [by] that notion as well.

And noting Casey Junior's pattern of losing, we concluded with this:

Considering how easily most incumbents win re-election, soft minded Dems (who apparently fear the democratic process) better hope they have something along the lines of Man-on-Dog photos of Santorum. Otherwise, Junior's about to get spanked again.
[. . .]
We'd love to see Santorum out of the Senate but on election night, if Junior's standing in the corner, rubbing his heinie and bawling his eyes out, don't expect us to shed any tears. Though it's doubtful Junior will learn his lesson, maybe soft minded Dems will.

A member in Pennsylvania e-mailed that (as well as the next highlight) and wondered if we could highlight it "even though you hate polls." I really hate most summaries of polls where journalists fudge the facts as they reach sweeping conclusions that are "based on a true story" and about as close to reality as any real bad TV movie. Nagourney & Elder and their ilk should add "inspired by a poll" to their bylines.

Op-Ed News isn't presenting them as the last word, fudging the facts, or attempting to create a sweeping narrative from raw data. And, again, the sample size is the equivalent of what the Times/CBS polls use to represent the entire nation, only this poll focused on one state. Op-Ed News is an independent outlet and deserves applause and recognition for entering the polling practice. It's been left to many on the right, center-right and center for too long. So if anyone sees a poll they've commissioned (or anything else they provide, op-eds, what have you) always feel free to highlight it in an e-mail. We support indymedia here and that alone would have gotten it highlighted. The fact that indymedia's done a better job of reporting on a poll than the paper of record does is only all the more reason to highlight them.

This was the second highlight, here Rob Kall focuses on one question in the poll with "85% of Democrats are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports impeachment:"

The poll of 850 Pennsylvania panelists via internet interview by the Zogby organization was run on January 26th and 27th.
The exact question was:
34. How likely would you be to vote for a candidate who supports having impeachment proceedings against President Bush -- very likely, somewhat likely, or not likely?
1. Very likely
2. Somewhat likely
3. Not likely
4. Not sure
In the poll, 85% of Democrats reported they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports impeachment.
49.3% of independents would be more likely to support a candidate who Supports impeachment, while 40.6% of independents would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supports impeachment. 90.4% of Republicans ae less likely to support a candidate who supports impeachment.

There's more at Op-Ed News (much more) so feel free to visit their site.

How do you lose a long post? Pretty easily. (That's not a slam to the friend who's taking dictation of this entry.) This is going up and the Times commentary will be redone shortly. It was supposed to appear with this entry and it got lost when my friend saved to draft.

The e-mail address for this site is

Friday, January 27, 2006

Democracy Now: Jamal Dajani, Harley Shaiken, Deidre Mulligan: Katha Pollit, Robert Parry, Matthew Rothschild, Saul Landau,

Group of Senate Democrats Launch Filibuster on Alito

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

"Millions of people have called and emailed their Senators, urging them to save the Supreme Court for women's rights, civil rights, environment protections, civil liberties, separation of church and state, disability rights, and to stop a Bush power grab. The Democrats have heard this message loud and clear," said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority. "This filibuster is historically important because it is sending a message to the President -- people will not tolerate his packing of the Supreme Court."

TAKE ACTION Urge your Democratic Senators to filibuster Alito!

GET THE INSIDE SCOOP with The Smeal Report and the New Leif blogs at

DONATE Make an emergency contribution to the Feminist Majority's Save Roe Campaign. We must be a strong voice in this crucial fight to save Roe and the Supreme Court for women's rights.

The above is from the Feminist Daily Wire (Ms. Magazine) and was noted by Nina.
(That's Nina of Nina & Mike, her boyfriend is Mike of Mikey Likes It!) Nina asked if we note the thing from last night:

Kerry is filibustering Alito!
Call Senators Immediately!

Call the Senators listed below, as well as your own, and tell them:
* a "No" vote is meaningless without a filibuster
* it is cowardly to only fight a fight when assured victory
* the American people need to see the Senate standing up for separation of powers and against the "Unitary Executive"

Use these toll free numbers to call the Capitol: 888-355-3588 or 888-818-6641.

If you can't get through, look up the Senator's District Office number in your phone book or here:

First: Call the three Democrats (Mary Landrieu, Ken Salazar, and Dianne Feinstein) who oppose Alito but also said they oppose a filibuster.
We must persuade them that a vote against Alito is meaningless if they don't support a filibuster.
Senator Salazar (D-CO) 202-224-5852
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) 202-224-5824
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) 202-224-3841

Call your own Democratic Senator: 888-355-3588 or 888-818-6641.*
If you can't get through, look up the Senator's District Office number in your phone book or here:

Unbelievably, three Democrats (Ben Nelson, Tim Johnson and Robert Byrd) support Alito!
Tell them to either support filibuster or at least "don't get in the way."
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) 202-224-6551
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) 202-224-3954
Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) 202-224-5842 888-355-3588 or 888-818-6641.

If you can't get through, look up the Senator's District Office number in your phone book or here:

Call the "Red State" Democrats: (Message same as above -- "No" is meaningless)
Tom Carper (DE)
Kent Conrad (ND)
Byron Dorgan (ND)
Blanche Lincoln (AR)
Mark Pryor (AR)

Call these "Blue State" and pro-choice Republicans: (Message: A "Unitary Executive" is dangerous to balance of powers--please do not get in the way of a filibuster.)

Lincoln Chafee (RI)
Susan Collins (ME)
Lisa Murkowsky (AK)
Bob Smith (OR)
Olympia Snowe (ME)
Ted Stevens (AK)

For extra credit, call all of the 2008 Presidential candidates who are sitting Senators--

Evan Bayh,
Joe Biden,
Hillary Clinton,
Russ Feingold,
and John Kerry


888-355-3588 or 888-818-6641.

If you can't get through, look up the Senator's District Office number in your phone book or here:

You can also send that message to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (202-224-2447) and the Democratic National Committee (202-863-8000).

Kerry and Ted Kennedy are Nina's two senators and she notes that she's going to focus on New York because "I'm tired of tough talking Hillary who's for war with any country but can't stand up and fight for women's reproductive freedom."

Now for three items from today's Democracy Now! Headlines selected by Joan, Kyle and Oliver.

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

Gen. Casey Amits US Forces "Stretched"
Meanwhile, General George Casey, the top US army commander in Iraq, has acknowledged that the US military is overextended in Iraq and Afghanistan. General Casey said: "The forces are stretched. I don't think there is any question about that." In the past week, two new reports -- one by the Pentagon and one by former Clinton administration officials -- have said the US military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan is growing increasingly unsustainable.

South Korean Judge Orders US Companies to Pay Veterans Compensation For Agent Orange
In South Korea, two US manufacturers of Agent Orange have been ordered to pay compensation to thousands of South Korean veterans who fought with the US in the Vietnam War. Dow Chemical and Monsanto, which supplied the US during the war, were ordered to pay up to $61 million in damages. The case marked the first ruling in a favor of Agent Orange Victims in South Korea. Last year, a US federal judge dismissed a similar class action lawsuit against the two companies brought by a group of Vietnamese citizens. The U.S. military sprayed over 3,000 Vietnamese villages with Agent Orange during the war, affecting between two and five million people.

Democracy Now! ("always informing you," as Marcia says):

Headlines for January 27, 2006

- Israel, US Call On Hamas To Renounce Violence, Charter
- Hamas Rejects Calls To Abandon Armed Struggle
- Fatah Leaders Blame Israeli Intransigence For Loss
- Sens. Kerry, Kennedy To Attempt Alito Filibuster
- Justice Dept. Argued Against By-Passing FISA in 2002
- Gen. Casey Admits US Forces "Stretched"
- British Troop Presence To Increase Four-Fold In Afghanistan
- Venezuela Accuses Military Officials Of Spying For US
- Animal Rights Activist Released on $1.6 Million Bail

Los Titulares de Hoy: Democracy Now!'s daily news summary translated into Spanish

How Middle East Media Cover Hamas Victory: Mosaic Compiles Arab T.V. News for U.S. Audience

Hamas' surprising landslide victory in the Palestinian elections reverberated around the world. We look at how the news was delivered in the Middle East by turning to the award-wining MOSAIC, a daily show on our partner network LinkTV that compiles television news reports from more than 30 television outlets throughout the Middle East. We play an excerpt of a MOSAIC newscast and speak with Jamal Dajani, director of Middle Eastern Programming at Link TV. [includes rush transcript]

Ford and GM Devastate Workers by Slashing Jobs and Closing Plants

Earlier this week, Ford Motor Company, the nation's second-largest automaker, announced plans to slash up to 30,000 jobs and close fourteen plants in North America over the next six years. This comes on the heels of similar GM cuts, causing massive job losses in the auto industry nationwide. We speak with UC Berkeley professor Harley Shaiken, who has done research and policy work examining issues of technology, labor, and globalization. [includes rush transcript]

The Great Firewall of China: Internet Companies Censor Material at Chinese Government’s Request

We take a look at why the internet company Google is coming under intense criticism for agreeing to censor material deemed objectionable by the Chinese government and how Yahoo and Microsoft comply with China's censorship orders. And in the U.S., the internet companies have provided the government with information on users at the Justice Department's request. We speak with UC Berkeley school of law professor Deirdre Mulligan about the issue of telecom companies working with governments.

So what's the main focus in the e-mails? Reproductive rights, Bully Boy power grab and abuse of power -- Alito topics. Brian notes Katha Pollitt's "Prochoice Puritans" (The Nation):

Do you think abortion is tragic and terrible and wrong, that Roe v. Wade went too far and that the prochoice movement is elitist, unfeeling, overbearing, overreaching and quite possibly dead? In the current debate over abortion, that makes you a prochoicer. As the nation passes the thirty-third anniversary of Roe, it is hard to find anyone who will say a good word in public for abortion rights, let alone for abortion itself. Abortion has become a bit like flag-burning--something that offends all right-thinking people but needs to be legal for reasons of abstract principle ("choice"). Unwanted pregnancy has become like, I don't know, smoking crack: the mark of a weak, undisciplined person of the lower orders.
On the New York Times op-ed page, William Saletan argues that prochoicers should concede that "abortion is bad, and the ideal number of abortions is zero," and calls for "an explicit pro-choice war on the abortion rate." Sounding a "clear anti-abortion message," prochoicers should promote a basket of "solutions" to unintended pregnancy: the Prevention First Act, which calls for federal funding for family planning programs; expanded access to health insurance and emergency contraception; comprehensive sex education. "Some pro-choice activists" are even "pushing for more contraceptive diligence in the abortion counseling process, especially on the part of those women who come back for a second abortion." Give those sluts the lecture they deserve.
Saletan is a very shrewd analyst of political framing. Indeed, plenty of Democrats have already picked up the "I hate abortion" mantra. I seem always to be reading calls from prochoicers to antichoicers to work together on contraception. Calling their bluff sounds so clever. Why isn't it working?

The abuse of power runs deep in the Bully Boy family,as the next highlight reminds us. Zach notes Robert Parry's "When Republicans Loved a Filibuster" (Consortium News):

Supporters of George W. Bush are lambasting Sen. John Kerry for a threatened filibuster against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. But 15 years ago, their attitude was different as backers of George H.W. Bush wielded the filibuster to block a probe into Republican secret dealings with Iran that could have doomed the Bush Dynasty.
In 1991, the Democratic-controlled Senate was planning an investigation into whether Republicans had conducted secret negotiations with Iran's Islamic fundamentalist regime during the 1980 campaign, when Jimmy Carter was still President and Iran was holding 52 Americans hostage.
The unresolved hostage crisis destroyed Carter's reelection hopes and gave an important boost to Ronald Reagan when the hostages were released on Jan. 20, 1981, immediately after he was sworn in as President and George H.W. Bush became Vice President.
A decade after those events, some Democrats wanted to get to the bottom of recurring allegations that George Bush Sr., a former CIA director, had joined clandestine negotiations with Iran in fall 1980 that may have delayed release of the hostages for political gain, what was called the "October Surprise" mystery.
Meanwhile, Republicans were worried that a full-scale October Surprise investigation might implicate Bush in near-treasonous talks with an enemy state and devastate his 1992 reelection campaign. Confirmation of the allegations also would have eviscerated the legitimacy of the Reagan-Bush era.
So, in November 1991, Republican leaders used the filibuster to block funding for the investigation. The Democrats mustered 51 votes -- a majority -- but fell short of the 60 votes needed for cloture. A fully funded investigation was prevented.
Historical Marker
The Republican success in blocking a full Senate probe received little attention at the time, but represented an important historical marker. It was an early indication of how neoconservative journalists, then rising inside the national news media, could collaborate with Republicans to shape the information reaching the American people.
The preponderance of evidence now suggests that in 1980, Republicans -- most likely including Ronald Reagan's campaign chief William Casey and then-vice presidential nominee George H.W. Bush -- did negotiate with representatives of Iran's Islamic government behind Carter's back. [For details, see's "The Imperium’s Quarter Century" or Robert Parry's Secrecy & Privilege.]

Bully Boy's sealed up his father's papers, now he's determined to seal up the Court. Bernardo notes Saul Landau's "Domestic Spying, Now and Then" (CounterPunch):

FBI Chief J. Edgar Hoover never pursued the Mafia with the vigor he showed in his assault on the left. Reportedly, Mafiosos apparently used against him a photo of the director clad in a tutu while tripping the light fantastic in his living room -- in a house he shared with another high FBI official (male). The Mob also practiced surveillance. Like government prying, Mafia snooping related to extending their power.
When I was a university freshman in the 1950s, the FBI opened a file on me for writing a letter to the student newspaper supporting free speech for communists. The documents I received from the Bureau under the FOIA contained dozens of pages of transcripts of my phone conversations in the 1960s and 70s. I read transcripts of conspiratorial phone conversations I'd had with my father about when I would arrive at his Santa Monica home with my wife and kids and how my mother was doing with her diabetes treatments.
I don't know if anyone actually listened or if the FBI simply recorded and then transcribed these calls. Nor do I know how much it cost the government to carry out wiretapping on thousands of people who did not even contemplate engaging in crime.
In 1956, top FBI leaders invented COINTELPRO, the acronym for Counter Intelligence Program, to target the left and even liberals. COINTELPRO was supposed to "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize" protest movements and their leaders. The Bureau kept this invasiveness going until 1971.
FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and his cronies considered as "subversive" not only those few loonies who declared their intentions of overthrowing the government, but the Southern Christian Leadership Conference led by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., whose goal was racial integration. Yes, the Bureau targeted the Ku Klux Klan and handful of Nazis as well.
In those days, the government used the "communist threat" to justify such measures. Today, as in the past, blanket surveillance has no relationship to security. It does, however, produce insecurity. Indeed, it forms part and parcel of the power package that the Bush gang has employed to govern. Bush speech writers use "protecting" as a metaphor for taking away their rights.

And remember this weekend, as your active, that the Clear Creek Elementary School in Bloomington, Indiana does not tolerate five-letter words. Brad notes Matthew Rothschild's "Teacher Awaits Day in Court" (This Just In, The Progressive):

Deb Mayer was a teacher of fourth, fifth, and sixth graders at Clear Creek Elementary School in Bloomington, Indiana, during the 2002-2003 school year.
On January 10, 2003, she was leading a class discussion on an issue of "Time for Kids"--Time magazine's school-age version, which the class usually discussed on Fridays and which is part of Clear Creek's approved curriculum.
There were several articles in the magazine that discussed topics relating to the imminent war against Iraq, and one that mentioned a peace march.
According to Mayer, a student asked her if she would ever participate in such a march.
And Mayer said, "When I drive past the courthouse square and the demonstrators are picketing, I honk my horn for peace because their signs say, 'Honk for peace.' " She added that she thought "it was important for people to seek out peaceful solutions to problems before going to war and that we train kids to be mediators on the playground so that they can seek out peaceful solutions to their own problems."
Mayer claims in a pending federal lawsuit that the school chilled her First Amendment rights because of this one conversation in class, which she says took all of about five minutes, and that the school district refused to renew her contract because of it. (The quotes above are taken from court documents.)
I spoke with Mayer on January 24--more than three years after this incident took place.
"It didn't dawn on me that people would object to me saying peace was an option to war," she says. "I didn't even think it was controversial."
But it sure turned out to be.
"One student went home to tell her parents that I was encouraging people to protest the Iraq War," she says. "The parents called the principal and demanded to have a conference. The dad was complaining that I was unpatriotic. He was very agitated. He kept raising out of his chair and pointing his finger at me and yelling, 'What if you had a child in the service?' I said, 'I do have a child in the service.' "
At the time, one of Mayer's sons was a naval nuclear engineer aboard the USS Nebraska, she says, adding that he's now an officer in Afghanistan.
She told the parent, Mark Hahn, that her son also "doesn't preclude peace as an option to war," she recalls. "And that made him even angrier."
At the end of the meeting, Hahn insisted that the principal, Victoria Rogers, make Mayer refrain from talking about peace again in the classroom. "I think she can do that," Principal Rogers responded, according to Mayer's deposition. "I think she can not mention peace in her class again."
"I was just floored," Mayer says, "but I said OK because we had a parent out of control, and I didn't want to be insubordinate. I thought that would be the end of it."
It wasn't.

So if you're visiting, don't say the five-letter word "peace."

After those Alito-releated topics, what's a much discussed topic? Miss Bette Davis' return to Hollywood. She did announce her retirement, many times over, you're not mistaken. A few, okay, a lot, a lot of people are noting that Miss Davis appears to be denying her last months of online portrayals. Well when you have a Dark Victory or The Letter or Now Voyager to your name, it's probably not a good idea to remind the fans of your The Bride Came C.O.D. period, is it? And that school marm role which found Miss Davis clucking over tone during The Corn Is Green? Let's hope that's long forgotten.

We eagerly await word on whether Miss Davis has more than a Scream, Pretty Peggy left in her. We understand that she's falling back on mannerisms at present or else is attempting to send herself up. Scooter? Did she really utter the name Scooter Libby?

Miss Davis got something of a pass because she was going to rededicate herself to education in a sort of Audrey Hepburn helps the UN move. Possibly the ambassadorship didn't suit the temperament? Fasten your seatbelts . . .

The e-mail address for this site is

[C.I. Note: Font errors corrected and "is" added to "or else attempting to send . . ."]

Other Items

Who has the most embarrassing job today: David D. Kirkpatrick or the team of Adam Nagourney & Janet Elder? Kirkpatrick is at least reporting in "Democrats in 2 Southern States Push Bills on Bible Study" outlines where the myth of the values voters has taken us. Yeah, that's why Dems lose races. It's not lousy communication and it's not the complete breakdown of the Party structure in the South. It's all about religion.

"Whose religion?" is never asked in by people like this. And they assume that the Bible is everyone's religious text or that everyone studies the same lessons. (Who doesn't study Noah's Ark in the Christian denomination? Consider it a bonus question and one that some Dems in the south may learn of when parents complain.) So we'll have time to study for the standardized testing and we'll have time to study the Bible? Everything else be damned. Truly.
(By the way, check our Rebecca's post from last night for thoughts on education.)

But something absolutely must be done because the ungodly churches have stopped offering Sunday School. Oh wait . . . They haven't. But we can continue to cut the funding to the arts education programs while we offer a class on how the Bible influenced the arts? While we continue to blur the line between church and state, the fall out over the Piss Christ apparently continues.

There are religious schools, of course. But there is also, again, Sunday School. Will Jewish students be excused when the discussion turns to the portrayals of Christ in history and art?
And what happens to them if they leave class?

These are serious questions. But the ones pushing this nonsense don't want to ask serious questions, they want to, as the article notes:

The Democrats who introduced the bills said they hoped to compete with Republicans for conservative Christian voters.

Well, reproductive rights is being kicked to the curb so maybe it's time the two national parties did in fact merge? And tossing out Bibles (tossing them out to the crowds/masses) is certainly easier than attempting to get your message across. It's certainly easier than making an argument for a liveable wage or universal healthcare or anything that people actually need from government.

They don't need religious teaching from government. Places of worship have long done their job of tending to the spiritual needs of communities. But it's easier to play the God card then to offer anything that might actually improve someone's life. It's easier to hop on the job done by the clergy (not do the job, just hop on the bandwagon) than it is to do the job that lawmakers are supposed to.

Singing that old time religion is a huge mistake.

When you can't craft a message to appeal to individuals, you've got a problem. You can low lights and trick mirror it, the way the Republicans have for some time, but the Democratic Party fails to grasp that people are fed up, that the Green Party is rising in popularity and that a continued failure to distinguish themselves from the Republican Party will lead to the rise of a true opposition party.

While the Bully Boy tries to play Afghanistan and attempts in Iraq as freeing people from theology based governments, some Dems are insistant upon hopping the Republican bandwagon of "faith based" politics. It's the easiest thing to do and we're talking about very lazy individuals.

Who helped spread the "values voters" myth? Adam Nagourney and Janet Elder in November of 2004 summarizing a poll. Now they had to fudge the actual figures. For example, there was no turning away from gay rights or gays and lesbians in the actual numbers (and we went over this in November of 2004, we're not going through it again, do a search, it's four entries in one day on their "summary"). But their front page fudging helped do more damage than Cokie Roberts hissing gas for her five minute segments on Morning Edition.

Now their back with a new "summary" of a poll that ended Wednesday night. They wrote this on Thursday. Demographers everywhere chuckle. The reporting sample has increased in this poll (from less than 900, if I remember correctly) to 1,229. Is there any depth to this? No. It's conventional wisdom and things you already knew. Elder's actually in charge of polling which is what's so shocking. If Bully Boy can sell spying as a way to protect America, he'll have more luck; if he can't, if it's seen as a violation of civil liberties, he's in hot water. Is that news to anyone? Didn't think so.

If a braver soul wants to go through the questions, I'm sure you'll find areas where they fudge.
They're known for combining groups at will and pleasure. They'll take a question with five or more possible answers and group together answer categories that are similiar for some questions and not group them together on other occassions. So if there's a brave soul out there who wants to, look at the polling data and then look at the summary. It's very likely they continue to fudge the results. I don't have time for it. I'm not interested in hacks (Elder) and journalists pretending that they grasp a poll (Nagourney). I'm not interested in fudged margins of error. Whether you think poli sci is a hard science or soft science, hack summaries don't help anyone. It's too insulting to the field. So Republican or Democrat or third party or swing voter, have at the polling data. Chances are you'll find multiple examples of Nagourney and Elder again fudging data to massage the results.

The paper's own poll (with CBS of course) isn't really front page news but it allows the paper to pretend they've presented the public's views. And it's so much easier than a survey article where a reporter might actually have to do some work. There are people capable of doing this work, they just don't generally work at newspapers and they're not foolish enough to think that they can provide a summary, without peer review, in one day. Real researchers study the data. There's nothing scientific (hard or soft) in what Nagourney and Elder do in today's paper.

(In other, "You call that front page news?" the Times has Oprah's book club, because, apparently, they had no one covering the latest on the Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey marriage.)

Some may enjoy the results and feel that the poll is valid (reporters like Nagourney and Elder are sure to include a little something to please everyone) but don't confuse it with social science because it's not. It's akin to putting Nagourney on the medical beat, teaming him up with a second year medical student and allowing them to perform brain surgery together on the unsuspecting.

So Nagourney and Elder win, right? They had the most embarrassing job, right?

They would have but David D. Kirkpatrick also contributes "Kerry Urges Alito Filibuster, but His Reception Is Cool." Kerry's presence at the World Econmic Forum (a gathering the Times supports) is reduced to some sort of hobnobbing where John Kerry can be found "mingling with international business and political leaders." That's in the first paragraph and it only goes futher into the gutter.

"Now wait," you say. "The paper editorialized against Alito's nomination." Yes and they covered it far from any reality basis turning it into a game of Strategy. Which they then bemoaned editorially as though they hadn't done that themselves. There's a line (I won't claim strong) between the editorial board and the reporting side of the paper. But if the editorial meant anything (which it didn't), the article Kirkpatrick does today would have been about something other than "What's the likely result." Predicitions pass for reporting. And the Times thinks it's done something really wonderful with their editorial? They'd be better off explaining the job of reporting to their staff.

Kirkpatrick quotes a spokesperson for John Cornyn. I know Texas members are sick of how often he pops up in the paper. I think it might be interesting to do a study of the Times. (Or of the Sunday chat and chews.) Forget gender, race and political beliefs. Just get a ranking of which states have senators quoted the most and which have senators quoted the least. The paper seems to doubt that we do, in fact, have fifty states and one hundred senators. And reporters are allowed to go to the same names in the rolodex repeatedly.

Though Cornyn sits on the Judiciary Committee, he's been in the paper a great deal since he became the junior senator from Texas in the 2002 elections. Maybe he just desperate for ink and the paper feels sorry for him?

(It should also be noted that this will be a vote of the full Senate. There's no real reason to go to Cornyn over some other Republican unless he's just in dire need of attention.)

Or maybe they wouldn't know how to contact anyone not already mentioned repeatedly in the paper? For a paper that wants to be the national paper, they have a funny way of showing it. (A futher study of Represenatives from which states get quoted the most would also be interesting.) My guess for high rankers? Cornyn, KBH (I always mispell her last name), Ted Kennedy, John McCain (they couldn't live without McCain), Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Joe Lieberman (especially in Nagourney articles), Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton and Hatchet-face. Least? Barbara Boxer would probably be the biggest "name" on that list. Senator Boxer is apparently not their kind of people.

Blanche Lincoln could be a national name (I'm not weighing in on whether that would be a good thing or not) if the paper bothered to note her the way they do others. Paul S. Sarbanes, do you think most readers of the paper know he's in the Senate? Could most tell you which state he represents? (He holds the record for longest service in the Senate for his state of Maryland.) (Prior to that he served three terms in the House, which is where he introduced the obstruction of justice charge against Nixon.)

Do Times readers know who Daniel Akaka is? Which state the senator hails from? Probably not if the paper is the sole or main source of "news."

Instead of boring us with "White House Letter" (their attempt at 'local color' for the Bully Boy), maybe the paper could do a Senate letter and bother to check in with all one hundred senators serving the people (well, that's what the senators are supposed to do anyway)? Maybe that would be better than mythical lists of Bully Boy's readings?

When not making sport of Kerry, Kirkpatrick continues the nothing-to-see-here-it's-a-done-deal. Now the paper may end up right. They were wrong about it being over earlier, but who knows? Still, that's not really their job (predicting). News is what happened. Not how a vote might go, not the speech that someone passed to you ahead of time and will be delivered next week. (Minus any changes after reporters critique it in print.)

The editorial had good points. I also thought that the freedom of the press series had good points. Apparently, no one reads the editorials? How else to explain "news predicting" passing for news reporting. Handicapping as if we should all rush to the OTB, not anything we should think about or explore. And when an under-informed nation surprises the paper, count on Nagourney and Elder to rush in with a poll summary offering easy, pat answers as to why that happened.

But for reducing the news of Kerry's filibuster attempts to racetrack odds, Kirkpatrick embarrasses himself more than Nagourney and Edler -- and who would have thought that was possible?

Skip the article, you'll learn more from the e-mail Kerry's sent out this morning:

Yesterday, Senator Ted Kennedy and I told our colleagues that we supported a filibuster of Judge Alito's nomination for the Supreme Court. And we weren't alone. But the bottom line is that it takes more than two or three people to filibuster successfully. It's not "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." If you want to stop Judge Alito from becoming Justice Alito, use your own email list and organize. We can't just preach to our own choir. We need to prove to everyone - from our friends and neighbors to our fellow Senators - that the American people know Judge Alito will take our country in the wrong direction, and they expect something to be done about it.
So I'm asking you to join Senator Kennedy, me, and concerned citizens across America who are signing this petition to support a filibuster. If there was ever a time to forward an email on to friends and family, this is it. One way or another, we're going to find out in the next few days if Judge Alito is going to become Justice Alito. You know where I stand. The time to make your voice heard is now. So please sign this filibuster petition and get as many friends as you can to do the same.
Sign the filibuster petition
If Judge Alito gets on the Supreme Court, it will be an incredible mistake for America. And remember, this is one mistake that we can never take back.
I voted against Justice Roberts, but I feel even more strongly about Judge Alito. Why? Rather than live up to the promise of "equal justice under the law," he has consistently made it harder for the most disadvantaged Americans to have their day in court. He routinely defers to excessive government power no matter how much government abuses that power. And, to this date, his only statement on record regarding a woman's right to privacy is that she doesn't have one.
There isn't a shred of doubt in my opposition to Judge Alito's nomination. I spent a lot of time over the last few years thinking about what kind of person deserves to sit on the highest court in the land, so I don't hesitate a minute in saying that Judge Alito is not that person. His entire legal career shows that, if confirmed, he will take America backward. People can say all they want that "elections have consequences." Trust me, I understand. But that doesn't mean we have to stay silent about Judge Alito's nomination.
Sign the filibuster petition
President Bush had the opportunity to nominate someone who would unite the country in a time of extreme division. He chose not to do this, and that is his right. But we have every right -- in fact, we have a responsibility -- to fight against a radical ideological shift on the Supreme Court. This nomination was a sellout to the demands of the extreme right wing of the Republican Party. The president gave no thought to what the American people really wanted - or needed. So now that the president and Judge Alito have proven they won't stand up for the majority of Americans, we have to stand up. We have to speak out. That's the true meaning of "advice and consent."
John Kerry

In other news, the second littlest Nixon won't be a senator's wife this year.

And here's some Alito news you won't find in the Times. They prefer the great unwashed public to be numbers they can crunch as opposed to living, breathing persons who actually do act and think. Andy's highlight, Nini Thomas' "Activists Gather for Second Time to Protest Alito Nomination at Frist's Office" (Tennessee Indymedia).

Nashville, TN: Protesting for the second time in as many weeks, representatives from a variety of constituencies gathered in front of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's Nashville office to once again voice their objections to the nomination and pending vote on Samuel Alito as the next Justice of the Supreme Court. Protesters expressed a variety of opinions ranging from concerns about women's rights to separation of church and state issues. Cliff Fiedler of Americans United, said that Alito has clearly indicated support for an "official religion" for the United States and another protester said that if Alito is voted in women are going to be forced to resort to having illegal abortions, and women are going to die.
Dan Sweeton of Lebanon, Tennessee said Judge Sam Alito is bad for America, "From past decisions I think it is clear that he supports an imperial presidency. All his decisions in the courts have been against the people and against the environment. With the things President Bush has done in the past few years to destroy America, it is no wonder he chose Alito. If he is voted in we will be stuck with him for three decades. He is too dangerous to have in the Supreme Court."
A man who chose to only be called Bob, said he was there to protect a woman's right to choose, "I am here to demonstrate against voting for Alito. We are standing outside of Senate Majority Leader Frist's office to send a message. Alito is the fifth Catholic to be nominated and perhaps confirmed to the Supreme Court. He is not good for preserving Roe vs Wade. I am against the government herding women. Women need a choice and they are going to die if they are forced have illegal abortions. That is why I am here."
Beverly Sweeton, also from Lebanon, Tennessee said she was there to protest the nomination of Samuel Alito, "Alito is not right for the Supreme Court. He is not the man for the job, he is just a political mouthpiece for George Bush. Alito voted against the environment as a judge. He believes the President should have unlimited power. He is against the American Constitution. I believe all three branches of government should be balanced. Bush has desregarded FISA and he has disregarded the Constitution. We do not need a Samuel Alito type on the Supreme Court. He lied on his resume and he tried to deny his affiliation with a radical publication, which indicates he may be a prejudicial person. We don't need him on the Supreme Court."

From Iraq Dispatches, Eddie notes "Interview with Karen Kwiatkowski:"

In July, 2003, Karen Kwiatkowski retired as a lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Air Force, having served since 1978. From May, 2002, to February, 2003, Karen Kwiatkowski served in the Pentagon’s Near East and South Asia directorate (NESA). Dr. Kwiatkowski presently teaches at James Madison University, and writes regularly for
Interviewed by Omar Khan for, read the interview of Dr. Kwiatkowski's blistering and revealing comments about the neo-conservatives, Bolsheviks, fascism and the Bush Administration agenda in Iraq and beyond.
[. . .]
OK: Please say a little bit about your experience in the Pentagon.
KK: I worked four and a half years for the Pentagon. Between May of 2002 and March of 2003, I worked in Near East South Asia (NESA) bureau in the Pentagon, which worked alongside The Office of Special Plans (OSP)--a group of twenty-five people or so in August 2002--under Bill Luti. It was dissolved in August 2003--about four months after the invasion and the mission accomplished declaration by the president.
Its job had been done.
The whole idea with Iraq was to destroy Iraq. It was not to rebuild it, turn it into a democracy. It was simply to take a country that had no navy, no airforce, and a very small--you know--fourth rate army and turn it into a country with no navy, no airforce, and no army. We did this, and OSP did its part in promoting that. Once it was done there was no need for OSP.
One of the amenities with which we were provided as staff officers were talking points--Saddam Hussein, WMD, and terrorism. If there is anything that you'd need to research on Iraq, you'd only need to take verbatim from the latest version of what OSP had produced on any one of these talking points. These same bullet points would of course be in presidential speeches. I can only assume--since they were producing them for us, on a very routine basis--I can only assume that OSP was the creative entity here in doing that.
The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) had a staff of 6 or 7 people dedicated intelligence people who had no other job than to support our boss, Bill Luti (Deputy under NESA and OSP). Their only job was to answer Bill Luti's questions and provide Bill Luti with the intelligence that the intelligence community had, particularly DIA intelligence. So the means by which a policy receives its information was perverted. It may have been perverted before then, but I know that it was perverted in the time that I was there, from May 2002 to March 2003. The DIA people were told: 'no this is not what I want to hear, go back and do a better job'
This is what I saw as an observer. Not as a person inside DIA. But I can tell you, I talked to these guys--who'd come over to brief the lower level people on a routine basis: They were always under pressure. OSP saying, 'I don't need that, give me what I need,' and DIA saying, 'I can’t give you something that doesn’t exist.'
I actually explained this to the Senate staffers during the Phase I investigation of intelligence. They were like: oh, whatever. Basically unwilling to entertain the possibility. But there was clearly a huge contempt for information; what they did, instead was to ask for exactly what they wanted to hear, probably about 95% of which was entirely false.

passes on the scheduled topics on today's Democracy Now!:

We are broadcasting from San Francisco
We survey reaction in the Middle East to the Palestinian elections with MOSIAC host Jamal Dajan.
We also talk to U.C Berkeley Professor and labor expert Harley Shaiken about the recent cuts at the Ford Motor company.
And we look at an array of technology and government issues with UC Berkley Law Professor Deidre Mulligan.

And remember that Amy Goodman will be doing three Un-Embed the Media

* Amy Goodman in
San Francisco, CA: Fri, Jan 27
*TIME: 12:15 pm
IPA 2006 Conference
Marines Memorial Hotel,
609 Sutter Street,
San Francisco, CA

* Amy Goodman in Oakland, CA:
Fri, Jan 27
Alice Walker & Amy Goodman: Media Alliance's 30th Anniversary Kick-Off
First Congregational Church of Oakland
2501 Harrison Street,
Oakland, CA
Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.
Reception is
$75 generally,
and $40 for recent MA donors already possessing an event voucher.
The Reception is reservation only, by phone, in advance.
Purchase tickets online:
Or purchase by phone at 510-832-9000 Å~305
For more information:
Reception Information:
7pm -
Join Amy Goodman and the Media Alliance Board for a wine and cheese reception to launch the 30th Anniversary
$75 admission includes reception, 1 preferred seat for 8pm talk, and commemorative poster
$40 admission for recent MA donors possessing event voucher

* Amy Goodman in Arcata, CA:
Sat, Jan 28
An Evening with Amy Goodman
Center Arts Van Duzer Theater
Humbolt State University
1 Harpst St.
Arcata,CA 95521
Tickets are $25 general,
$20 Senior/Child
and $15 for HSU Students
For more information:
Tickets are available by calling the University Ticket Office at 707-826-3928.
Doors open at 7:30

The e-mail address for this site is

[Note: Post has parentheticals, added since originally posted, for clarification. Also three typos have been fixed.]

NYT: Elisabeth Bumiller, her heart belongs to Bully Boy

Mr. Bush appeared relaxed in the briefing room, which his aides say he prefers for news conferences instead of the more formal East Room. He appeared apprehensive at first, but loosened up when he saw a camera dangling precariously from a cord in the ceiling, threatening to crash down on the heads of reporters. "Are you wearing your helmets?" Mr. Bush asked.

Who could write the above? Who would be so willing to make themselves so useless? Elisabeth Bumiller sliding back to full blown Elite Fluff Patrol mode and, apparently, mistaking herself for a counselor at a drug dependancy rehab with her constant use of "appeared." What was his affect, Bumiller?

Well the insurance company will pay up after reading her chart entry entitled "Bush Sees No Need for Law to Approve Eavesdropping" but readers might want to ask for a refund.

I'm bored with Bully, I'm bored with Bumillie. This is yet another soft-porn version of Bumiller singing "My Heart Belongs to Bully." And never is heard a discouraging word . . . Too true. She jots down his every utterance and never feels the need to inject the "balance" the Times prides themselves on having popularized. No rebuttals, just transcription of what he said.

As long as she's going to focus on appearance, can someone please figure out what Bully Boy's latest hair color is? I'm thinking he's gone with the Farrah look from the pre-Charlie's Angels, Farrah Fawcett-Majors days. That would explain the dark and silver-ish streaks. Maybe we can soon expect the swimsuit poster? Though the press doesn't like to note his ever changing hair color, he's been everything including a sassy blond. (I believe that was when his weight really soared in the summer of 2004 and photographers went to great strides to conceal both his gut and his armpit stains while he made outdoor appearances.)

While jotting off like a good stenog
I may act the fool-ey
Yes, I do
Drop the follow through
'Cos my heart belongs to Bully

If I rewrite all through the night
And break a journalism rule-y
I just adore being a press whore
'Cos my heart belong to Bully

Yes my heart belongs to Bully
So I simply won't report
Yes my heart belongs to Bully
Lalala, lalala, lalala

So I want to warn you fully
Though I know the score I swallow more
See my heart belongs to Bully
'Coz my bully, he treats me so well

While jotting off, like a good stenog
I may act the fool-ey
So what if I do
I love him true
Yes, my heart belongs to Bully

Lalala, lalala, lalala
Lalala, lalala, lalala

(Very bad parody of Cole Porter's "My Heart Belongs to Daddy." Sung by Marilyn Monroe in the film Let's Make Love where, unlike Bumiller, she only played a dumb blond.)

On highlights, I changed the passwords on both accounts to make sure Ava and Jess take some time off. So I'm not doing both accounts solo (and Martha and Shirley have offered to help but they need time off too). I'd forgotten how much the mail could pile up in a single day. If you sent something and you took the time to explain why it was important, feel free to remind me of that, but hopefully I am working through them. Keesha, Bonnie and Ken noted this highlight yesterday and I didn't get to it before I posted the DN! entry. This is from Margaret Kimberley's "Hillary Clinton's Plantation" (Freedom Rider, The Black Commentator):

Democrats behave the way oppressed people usually do. They cow and begin believing that their masters are not only powerful but deserving of the position they hold. Too few dream of waging war against the plantation system. Most just want a seat at the table in the big house and are satisfied when the master doesn't beat them too badly. If a few crumbs are thrown their way they are in seventh heaven.
Hillary's speech was not very impressive and neither is she, right wing blood lust not withstanding. She is just Mrs. Slick Willie. When she supports legislation to ban flag burning, legislation that she knows is unconstitutional, she insults the people who always rush to her defense. She and her husband play a tiresome game with Democrats. The right wing hate them so they get credit they don't deserve. They have concluded that they can get away with just about anything.

In the days after hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans, Bill Clinton sucked up to the Bush family and declared that we shouldn't be too critical of them. Hillary now criticizes her yes vote on the war, sort of. Now she says she "takes responsibility" for her vote and complains that troops who are in Iraq because of her support don't have enough armor.
It is important to keep the triangulating, back pedaling and pandering in mind when tempted to be impressed by Hillary's King Day speechifying.
The week before King Day, Hillary showed her true colors. She and Harry Belafonte were both guests at a Children's Defense Fund luncheon. It is a gross understatement to say that she
avoided Belafonte. If he were infected with leprosy and the first case of contagious avian flu she could not have stayed further away from him.

Tori noted a highlight that Elisabeth Bumiller might benefit from reading, Molly Ivin's "Our Leaders Are Feeding Us Propaganda" (Common Dreams):

We live in interesting times, we do, we do. We can read in our daily newspapers that our government is about to launch a three-day propaganda blitz to convince us all that its secret program to spy on us is something we really want and need. "A campaign of high-profile national security events," reports the New York Times, follows "Karl Rove's blistering speech to national Republicans" about what a swell political issue this is.
The question for journalists is how to report this. President Bush says it's a great idea and he's proud of the secret spy program? Attorney General Gonzales explains breaking the law is no problem? Dick Cheney says accept spying, or Osama bin Laden will get you?
Or might we actually have gotten far enough to point out that the series of high-profile security events is in fact part of a propaganda campaign by our own government? Should we report it as though it were in fact a campaign tactic, a straight political ploy: The Republicans say spying is good for you, but the Democrats say it is not -- equal time to both sides?
Perhaps we have some obligation to try to sift through what it means that our government is spying on us in violation of the law and the Constitution.

By the way, Molly Ivins fans and friends should check out BuzzFlash's Wings of Justice this week.

Rod passes on the scheduled topic for today's Democracy Now!:

We are broadcasting from San Francisco
We survey reaction in the Middle East to the Palestinian elections with MOSIAC host Jamal Dajan.
We also talk to U.C Berkeley Professor and labor expert Harley Shaiken about the recent cuts at the Ford Motor company.
And we look at an array of technology and government issues with UC Berkley Law Professor Deidre Mulligan.

The e-mail address for this site is