liberal ["liberalis" L - suitable for a freeman, generous; "eleutheros" Gk - free] (adj) generous, open-minded, not subjugated to authoritarian domination; (n) one who believes in liberty, universal suffrage and the free exchange of ideas. elite ["eslire" Fr -- to choose fr.L "eligere" -- choose] (n) the choice part; best of a class; the socially superior part of society.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Last Friday of the Month

It's the last Friday of the month, and that means...

There's a Real Player video of a recent Democracy Now broadcast discussing undercover NYC Police surveillance at Critical Mass and other 1st Amendment protected events. The panellists are Norman Seigal, Paul Brown of the Police Department, Jim Dwyer of the NY Times, and Molly ______________ of Eye Witness Video. The show is interesting, well produced and --at times, chilling.

Looks like we may be having more letters like this, being written by citizens deprived of their civil liberties.

Here's more on what happened on Christmas at Disneyland. What's going on? Tell Rall sees it this way. From my point of view, it's just more of the "culture of corruption." The latest on the suppression of civil liberties under the guise of the so-called "War On Terror" can be found here. It looks like Congress is ACTUALLY too deep in the pockets of Bush's corporate supporters and the Christo-fascist neocon death cult that they're afraid to defend the Constitution itself.

We can't be expected to stand for this, can we?

Friday, December 23, 2005

strike out?

Jon Tasini at Working Life has a lot to say about the TWU strike.

This reflection seems particularly insightful:

But, you have to give the M.T.A. and their allies credit. They are successfully turning part of the working class against its brethern. Because most people no longer have a decent pension, they are told that those who do have a decent pension should give it up. The same is true of health care. Rather than the debate turning to a public policy strategy that would give everyone affordable health care and decent pensions, employers have masterfully made the debate about the need for workers to sacrifice and get less--a chorus that is joined by some workers who are angry that their living standards are declining but have turned their anger against the wrong people.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Bushco is going out of business

Today on After Downing Street, Senator Barbara Boxer had a long post about how the Bush administration has screwed up so badly, that it is hard to have confidence in them any more.

My reply to her was
The people of the US are marginalized from the political process, much as the Latin American populations once were.

The people are ready to bring meaningful positive change to this country: our society and our policies. But we lack leaders with the vision, the will and the energy to mobilize the population.

Nobody is counting Bush's errors or misstatements anymore, except the media pundits and the Beltway powerbloc.

We have--or had--resources to make the world better for EVERYONE, cleaner, more just, and safer--even for posterity. Bush, the Pentagon, and the politicians have squandered that wealth and capital, while their media covered the true picture with a film of deception.

"Today, the word of this President and his administration has been called into question. Frankly, it is hard to believe those words any longer on Iraq."

This is the understatement of the millenium. The only people who PRETEND to believe the White House are the Congress and the media. There's no point in arguing about it anymore.

It's time to move on to making the world a better place--less like a secret prison cell, or a bombed out village, or one half million starving and forgotten refugees, or a hole in the ozone bigger than the United States, or melting permafrost and Arctic ice, and less like the overcrowded, isolated American prisons and the temporary "Bushvilles" of Gulf Coast refugees.

No one can pay attention to two things at the same time. So what's it going to be, Senator Boxer? Are you going to lead the people to better ourselves, our country and our children's world? Or do you want to try to point the finger at Bushco and wait until somebody else who really wants to lead comes along?

Friday, December 16, 2005


The word is out that the much ballyhooed "Retreat on Torture" by the White House is a scam. They changed the rules.

Gearing up?

Gearing Up To Join The SNEER CAMPAIGN?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Secret policework

There have been a few articles since 9/11, but there seems to be an increase recently, on domestic spying by the military and the Department of Homeland Security. The latest one today is on tv.

What I want to know is: "What does Congress think their job is if not protecting the rights of the American people?"

What are we going to have to do, go to Indian reservations to get sanctuary from our own government?

Congress either needs to get mad and get busy or get out and let somebody who is serious about upholding the Constitution and protecting the citizens and posterity get in there and do battle with the Pentagon.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Dems Unify on Long-term Security Plan

As usual, Bill Scher at Liberal Oasis has the skinny on how the Dems can unify their foreign--and especially Iraq--policy.

1. Clarify a general long-term security policy first, not an Iraq exit plan;

2. Acknowledge that Dems disagree on the specifics, but all Dems agree on the goal of leaving Iraq for everyone's benefit;

3. Clarify the distinction between Dems and Republicans: Republicans want a permanent US deployment in Iraq, Dems do not.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Nobody Believes You

cross-posted at Daily Kos

The AFP headline was: Rice "Clears Air" over CIA row with Europe.

Usually we can count on AFP to give us a little bit of a brighter view of these things--but not here.
"It was a good discussion. I think it cleared the air," said NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, referring to a dinner Wednesday night gathering Rice with her NATO and EU colleagues.
That would be the "Torture Dinner with Rice."
Specifically Rice said that Washington's obligations under an international convention prohibiting cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment "extend to US personnel wherever they are, whether they are in the US or outside the US."

She reiterated that message in Brussels. "We recognize our obligations, our policy recognizes our obligations, whether activities are undertaken inside the United States or outside the United States," told reporters.
What she failed to point out is that even though we recognize our obligations, we can't always manage to live up to them 100%--nobody's perfect. Furthermore, when our detainees are imprisoned on foreign soil, our obligations don't really extend as far as they would on "homeland" (read, "Fatherland") soil. In fact, if somebody is in jail under the jurisdiction of one of our noble coalition partners, all we can do is pray and beseech them not to torture the guys.

So you see we live up to OUR obligations, and we try to extend them to foreign soil, even though, as in countless recent cases, that has proven to be impossible.

The Washington Post, in a piece today by Kessler and White, tried to put the best face of the Secretary of State's remarks. But they went on to say,
The Bush administration has long said that the U.S. government will not engage in torture. But it has argued in the past that restrictions on cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment do not apply outside U.S. territory.

Before she left for Europe on Monday, Rice issued a detailed statement on U.S. policy on treatment of prisoners, intending to dampen the furor on the continent. She said, among other things, that "the United States government does not authorize or condone torture of detainees." But she did not define torture.

Lame duckism. Nobody believes them anymore. No matter what they say, nobody will believe them.

Monday, December 05, 2005

La guerra contra il terrorismo e terrorismo

The war against terrorism is terrorism.

Rice is going around saying shit like,
[The] US authorities have not transported and will not transport detainees from one country to another to be questioned using torture. This must mean that they tell themselves torture is not the primary reason they are rendering these guys. It has to do with being able to hold the prisoners long enough to get some info out of them. Torture is just a side-effect. They aren't being transported "to be tortured."

"Where appropriate, the United States seeks assurances that transferred persons will not be tortured."

Rice said international law allowed for the detention of enemy combatants for "the duration of hostilities."

"The US does not seek to hold anyone for a period beyond what is necessary to evaluate intelligence or other evidence against them, prevent further acts of terrorism, or hold them for legal proceedings."