my_window_seat: (Default)

YES

WE

CAN

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Okay, so I almost felt sorry for Alberto Gonzales and Scott McClellan today.

Ummmmmm.......but I didn't.

Almost, though. After watching C-SPAN all day at work today and seeing McClellan get badgered so far into a corner by the press that he got red-faced and belligerent - and Gonzales being slowly roasted over the open pit of the Senate for over two hours -

All because of that wacky NSA security program. Geez, aren't people getting all worked up over the idea of unlimited Presidential power to spy on them? Shoot. What's the big deal? / sarcasm.

The key points I found the most interesting -

Every single time Gonzales was asked, point-blank, whether this program included wiretapping of phone calls both beginning and ending in the United States - he refused to give an answer. In other words, when asked about tapping of calls that aren't even going overseas. He tried to weasel out of the first question by saying that "I can't give that kind of specific information" - and Biden kept cutting him off and saying, "I'm not asking for specifics - I don't want names" - he just wanted a simple confirm-or-deny - are you now saying that there is authorization for wiretapping here, in this country, that isn't going overseas. No answer.

Same kind of stonewalling when asked about whether it's already being done right now - not authorization - but whether they're just already doing it, without even asking for permission - same thing - "I can't answer that."

But the last thing that really bugged me - and maybe this is just because I'm a little out of the loop here - but Gonzales was asked (I forget by whom) whether regular law enforcement is empowered to use deadly force in cases of suspected terrorism - which, again, he dodged and weaved around - but the part that freaked my shit was when he said that the Bush had called for the airplane that was thought to be headed for the White House of September 11 to be shot down.

Okay, did I miss something here? Because it's entirely possible that I did.

It was my understanding that this was vehemently denied at the time - that it was only the passengers that kept that plane from getting where it was 'supposed' to go, and that at no time was there an order to have the plane shot down.

Seriously - I'm not being sarcastic - did I miss it that it came out later that this was part of what happened?

Or did I see a MAJOR crack in the plausible deniability make-up of the administration happen today?

Anyone, anyone?

Bueller, Bueller, Bueller...
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Before rushing out door to class -

Okay, so this document that the Vatican just released - the one forcibly shoving gays right back into the closet?

It is just me, or does using the phrase "deeply rooted homosexual tendencies" sound like the Church is admitting that homosexuality is a wee bit more than a 'choice'?

Pope Man - I do think you done fucked up there, boy....
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Oh, yeah -

My suggestion for an alternative to the pro-war rally on September 11th met with approval at the meeting tonight. This is what was just distributed via the Stop the War Machine newsletter - I might have used the word 'respectful' rather than 'mournful', myself - but it would just be nice if people would show up.

From Stop the War Machine:

Well, Donald Rumsfeld appears to be organizing a Freedom Rally in
Washington DC on Sept. 11 to “Support the Troops”. Perhaps he means
“Support W” or “Support the neo-cons” or “Support the Oil Industry” or
“Support the Empire.” We are hearing that you have to register at a military
website in order to attend?

Our response to this is to have a vigil of our own. In contrast to
Rumsfeld’s celebratory event, ours will be silent and mournful. You are
invited to come to the Federal Courthouse on Sunday, Sept. 11 from
12-2pm and wear black.
And you do not have to register at a [military] website in order to be permitted to come.
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Went to the meeting at the Peace & Justice Center tonight.

As organizations go - they're - um, small.

My contribution to the war - er, ANTI-war effort -

Look, Ma - I made a flyer.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

EEEEP!

Aug. 14th, 2005 05:47 pm
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Well - got a response to my solicitation for activism. Wow. Yoinks!

============================

From: stopthewarmachine@comcast.net
To: "D." <******@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: Protest the Bush Pro-War Rally?
Date: Sat, 13 Aug 2005 17:06:53 +0000

Hi D -

I haven't heard of anything yet. If it's OK with you, I'll put your message with your email as a contact on our newsletter. Folks might contact you to let you know. Also, you're invited to come to our meeting Aug. 17 - Wed - 6pm at the Peace Center in Albuquerque (corner of Harvard and Silver). We'll be planning the big Sept. 24 rally in Abq but why not discuss 9/11 as well?

Jeanne

============================

Wow. Okay. Well, be careful what you wish for, eh?

Hum.

So here's my idea - tell me what y'all think:

I'm thinking this - what about a short walk/bike event (like 3 miles or something simple - sheesh, I'm in shitty shape for this kind of thing) where people get other people to sponser them for the miles they walk and the money goes to a local charity - I was thinking something like the group, Another Side Counter Recruitment Effort - they're the ones that are trying to spread true information about the heinous methods of recruitment used by the military to coerce young people into joining up.

I mean, rather than just walking and 'making a statement,' why not try to raise both conciousness and some fundage that might actually accomplish something, eh?

HA - just had a thought - since the Bushies are calling their insulting excuse for an 'event' the 'Freedom Walk' - what about calling this the 'Truth Walk'?

Thoughts, comments, suggestions?
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Also sent an e-mail to StopTheWarMachine.org (see previous two posts). Unfortunately they don't have a contact phone number for follow-up.

Christ. Can't we just stake GWB through the heart and get this over with? I mean, aren't blood-sucking fiends supposed to dissolve into dust when you do that? Or has Joss Whedon just been leading me on all this time?
my_window_seat: (To Much of the Stupid)
Submitted today to MoveOn.org:

==============================================

We welcome your comments and suggestions. If you are experiencing a problem, please return to the previous page and select a different option. We get a lot feedback, so please don't expect a personal reply. But all mail is read.

Your Name: ~D~
Your Email: *****@yahoo.com
Subject: Organizing Protests Against Sept. 11th Pro-War Rally

Hi, thank you for your time.

I checked your website and forums and didn't find anything like what I was looking for, so I hope you don't mind the question.

I just read the announcement about the Pro-War Rally organized by the Bush Administration to take place on September 11th, and I was wondering if anyone is planning any kind of counter-protests, specifically something in cities across the US, since most of us can't fly to Washington to protest there. I'd be willing to help organize something where I live (Albuquerque, NM), but I have no idea how to go about doing so.

If there's already something under way that I can help facilitate and you can let me know where I would look for further information, I would really appreciate it. If you haven't heard of anything, any suggestions you might have for an inexperienced political activist would *also* be much appreciated. :)

Thanks in advance for your time,

~D~
Albuquerque, NM

==============================================
my_window_seat: (Kat Poison)
There's going to be a Pro-War Rally on September 11th this year.

No, this is not sarcasm, this is not a joke.

There is going to be a Pro-War Rally on September Fucking 11th this year courtesy of the Bush Administration.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/wn_report/story/335938p-286948c.html

This is fucking INSANE, people.

Hands up everyone in Albuquerque who thinks we shouldn't organize a protest of this rally here in our own town. And rope in every conceivable kind of media coverage available to document it.

And everyone in whatever town they live in - I don't give a bloody fuck if you're reading this in fucking Kurdistan right now - organize your own goddamn form of peacful protest SOMEWHERE - because how long do you think it will be before this kind of Nuremburg Rally shit doesn't affect you?

Jesus H Motherfucking Christ on Crutches in a Goddamned Sidecar.

X-posting. JESUS.
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Well, shit.

There goes my theory that the safest way to avoid governmental mass hysteria and the wholesale dissolution of human rights was to leave the USA.

BBC News: Secret terror courts considered
Special courts sitting in secret for pre-trial hearings in terror cases are being considered by the Home Office.


Anyway, Britian's off the menu for the forseeable future.

God help us all.
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Thank goodness for something else to focus on besides my personal failures.

The Battle Royale in the Ongoing Plea for Ethics in Journalism Continues.

Too bad I didn't use, oh, about a hundred less words than I did.

::headdesk::

=================================

Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 13:43:38 -0400
From: "Slate Pressbox" <slate.pressbox@gmail.com>
To: "D." <*******@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: Meth Article is Clever but Irrelevant

Ms. M****,

I'll ignore your sarcasm just this once.

Ask yourself, who created the meth mess that we have today. And what
measure would you have the govt take to eliminate meth.

Jack

=================================
And my ever-verbose response:
=================================

Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 22:29:33 -0700 (PDT)
From: "D." <*******@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: Meth Article is Clever but Irrelevant
To: "Slate Pressbox" <slate.pressbox@gmail.com>


> Ask yourself, who created the meth mess that we have
> today. And what
> measure would you have the govt take to eliminate
> meth.

My first reaction to your questions is that the 'meth
mess' isn't immediately attributable to anyone other
than the individuals who choose to make and take it,
and who influence others to do so as well.

However, I think that an economy that reduces the
individual's chance to make a living wage probably
doesn't help the situation, nor does the increasing
amount of hamstringing in the educational system - if
young people get the idea from looking around them
that their future holds little promise, how much
incentive is there for them to stay in school and
'just say no' in the first place, particularly if they
have parents who are already users or they live
surrounded by other peers and adults who are?

The thing is, I'm not waiting around for the
government to change all that. Asking me what the
government should do to 'eliminate meth' is probably
one of the silliest questions I've heard lately -
seriously, Prohibition, anyone? The government's job
isn't to legislate against human stupidity - it's to
protect individual rights and freedoms, up and until
an individual chooses to use their freedom to infringe
on the rights of another person to deny them of
theirs.

However, the government's job is also to care for the
needy and the helpless in society. The tradional view
of liberals is that this is done by stressing
individual responsibility and emphasizing the quality
of life of the individual in an effort to strengthen
society as a whole. The traditional view of
conservatism is that this same responsibility lies
with the community, and that individuals should
subsume a certain amount of their personal power to
officials that they deem worthy of the responsibility
that those in power have to society.

As I see it, neither of these views seems to be a
leading concern of the current administration. There
appears, to me, to be a hegemony of power and
influence concerned solely with its own interests, and
no real thought for those in society who are
struggling - with debt, with lack of education, and as
a by-product, with an increased need to find escapism
in drugs. The court system, which was meant to be
government's tool to provide objective standards by
which it used power, and force when necessary, to
preserve individual freedoms, is now a tangled mess of
precedent and judicial activism that those with
greater resources can use to their own advantage, and
which those without those resources are penalized by
without hope of receiving assistance in improving
themselves and having the opportunity to make ammends,
learn from their mistakes, and become functional and
contributing members to society in the future.

As I said before getting sidetracked, I'm not counting
on the government to solve the problem. I don't think
that that's a reasonable or rational approach. I do
believe in the necessity of continuing to *try*
however. I don't think that there's a permanent
solution, but neither do I think that that's a reason
to shrug and ignore it.

But I'm not waiting for an amorphous outside force -
the government - to come in and sweep it all up and
make it all right. I believe that, like the president
you fingered for having a benny-abuse issue, that I
should "ask not what my country should do for me, but
what I can do for my country." If that means simply
being aware of the problems, and combatting them in
the only way I know how - on a personal, individual
level - then that's what there is for me to do. I try
to help people when I can, in the ways that I can. I
try to help my friends and the families of my friends.


And I try to make other people aware, not just of
problems, but of what they can do to be
problem-solvers as well.

This is where I see the role of journalism as having
the opportunity to be a force for change. You, as a
reporter, have the opportunity to inform and instruct,
and with the resources and contacts available to you,
and an audience of intelligent readers, you have the
ability to affect society for good. Not just to stun
people with facts or lull them into a sense of false
security by pooh-poohing the 'scare-mongers' - though
I don't argue your justifiable issues with Newsweek -
but you can be a source of information and truth and
can open the windows in people's brains and suggest to
them ways in which they can be actual contributing
members of their society, not just benchwarmers
criticizing those out there in play.

Be critical, yes. Be truthful, and expose those who
are taking the lazy way out by just printing bleeding
leads. But is it so much to ask that you take one
further step - to be a part of the solution, rather
than just pointing out who isn't properly pointing out
the problem?

Honestly, I'm a Bear of Very Little Brain, and the
machinations of politics more often than not go right
over my head and into the bleachers. But I do think
that the media can do more than entertain or distract
people from dealing with issues on a personal level.
I think the media can be a leading influence on
government, by making those under it aware of what
they can do when it isn't functioning properly.

I don't suppose any of that is in your job
description. But neither is what I do in mine. But
my question for you would be, isn't it when we do a
nominal bit more than what's expected of us that we
really and truly make a difference?

All Sarcasm Aside,
~D~
my_window_seat: (Default)
Bush's own words regarding the outing of CIA undercover operative Valerie Plame:

Bush has said if any White House officials were involved, they would be fired.

Bush's response now that Karl Rove, the hand up Bush's a**, has been put into the spotlight for same:

The president yesterday twice refused to answer questions on whether Rove should be dismissed.

Extry! Extry! Read all about it in the Washington Post article here, and crosspost this damn it.

Just DO IT.
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I had things of my own to say tonight, but this seems more important.

Posted by [livejournal.com profile] davidkevin in [livejournal.com profile] rightwingsins, including his own prefatory comment.

Stipulating that the story as told is true, it's frightening. If somebody with this guy's track record can get placed onto the watchlist with no recourse, then the rest of us are even more vulnerable.


QUOTED TEXT BEGINS:

"Who's Watching the Watch List?"
by John Graham
Posted on AlterNet on July 7, 2005

Heading for Oakland from Seattle to see my grandkids last week, the Alaska Airlines check-in machine refused to give me a boarding pass. Directed to the ticket counter, I gave the agent my driver's license and watched her punch keys at her computer.

Frowning, she told me that my name was on the national terrorist No Fly Watch List and that I had to be specially cleared to board a plane. Any plane. Then she disappeared with my license for ten minutes, returning with a boarding pass and a written notice from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) confirming that my name was on a list of persons "who posed, or were suspected of posing, a threat to civil aviation or national security."

No one could tell me more than that. The computer was certain.

Back home in Seattle, I called the TSA's 800 number, where I rode a merry-go-round of pleasant recorded voices until I gave up. Turning to the TSA web site, I downloaded a Passenger Identity Verification form that would assist the TSA in "assessing" my situation if I sent it in with a package of certified documents attesting to who I was.

I collected all this stuff and sent it in. Another 20 minutes on the phone to the TSA uncovered no live human being at all, let alone one who would tell me what I'd presumably done to get on The List. Searching my mind for possible reasons, I've been more and more puzzled. I used to work on national security issues for the State Department and I know how dangerous our country's opponents can be. To the dismay of many of my more progressive friends, I've given the feds the benefit of the doubt on homeland security. I tend to dismiss conspiracy theories as nonsense and I take my shoes off for the airport screeners with a smile.

I'm embarrassed that it took my own ox being gored for me to see the threat posed by the Administration's current restricting of civil liberties. I'm being accused of a serious -- even treasonous -- criminal intent by a faceless bureaucracy, with no opportunity (that I can find) to refute any errors or false charges. My ability to earn a living is threatened; I speak on civic action and leadership all over the world, including recently at the U. S. Air Force Academy. Plane travel is key to my livelihood.

According to a recent MS-NBC piece, thousands of Americans are having similar experiences. And this is not Chile under Pinochet. It's America. My country and yours.

With no real information to go on, I'm left to guess why this is happening to me. The easiest and most comforting guess is that it's all a mistake (a possibility the TSA form, to its credit, allows). But how? I'm a 63-year-old guy with an Anglo-Saxon name. I once held a Top Secret Umbra clearance (don't ask what it is but it meant the FBI vetted me up the whazoo for months). And since I left the government in 1980, my life has been an open book. It shouldn't be hard for the government to figure out that I'm not a menace to my country.

If they do think that, I can't see how. Since 1983 I've helped lead the Giraffe Heroes Project, a nonprofit that moves people to stick their necks out for the common good. In the tradition of Gandhi, King, and Mandela, that can include challenging public policies people think are unjust. In 1990, the Project's founder and I were honored as "Points of Light" by the first President Bush for our work in fostering the health of this democracy. I've just written a book about activating citizens to get to work on whatever problems they care about, instead of sitting around complaining.

I'm also engaged in international peacemaking, working with an organization with a distinguished sixty-year record of success in places ranging from post-war Europe to Africa. Peacemakers must talk to all sides, so over the years I've met with Cambodians, Sudanese, Palestinians, Israelis, and many others. You can't convince people to move toward peaceful solutions unless you understand who they are.

As I said, I'm not into conspiracy theories. But I can't ignore this administration's efforts to purge and punish dissenters and opponents. Look, for example, at current efforts to cleanse PBS and NPR of "anti-administration" news. But I'm not Bill Moyers and the Giraffe Heroes Project is not PBS. We're a small operation working quietly to promote real citizenship.

Whether it's a mistake or somebody with the power to hassle me really thinks I am a threat, the stark absence of due process is unsettling. The worst of it is that being put on a list of America's enemies seems to be permanent. The TSA form states:


The TSA clearance process will not remove a name from the Watch Lists. Instead this process distinguishes passengers from persons who are in fact on the Watch Lists by placing their names and identifying information in a cleared portion of the Lists.


Which may or may not, the form continues, reduce the airport hassles.

Huh? My name is on a list of real and suspected enemies of the state and I can't find out what I'm accused of or why, let alone defend myself. And I'm guilty, says my government, not just until proven innocent or a victim of mistaken identity -- but forever.

Sure, 9/11 changed a lot. Tougher internal security measures (like thorough screenings at airports and boundary crossings) are a dismal necessity. But, in protecting ourselves, we can't allow our leaders to continue to create a climate of fear and mistrust, to destroy our civil liberties and, in so doing, to change who we are as a nation. What a victory that would be for our enemies, and what a betrayal of real patriots and so many in the wider world who still remember this country as a source of inspiration and hope.

I don't think it's like Germany in 1936 -- but, look at Germany in 1930. Primed by National Socialist propaganda to stay fearful and angry, Germans in droves refused to see the Right's extreme views and actions as a threat to their liberties.

And don't forget that frog. You know that frog. Dropped into a pot of boiling water, he jumps out to safety. But put him into a pot of cold water over a steady flame, he won't realize the danger until it's too late to jump.

So how hot does the water have to get? When the Feds can rifle through your library reading list? When they can intimidate journalists? When a government agency can keep you off airplanes without giving you a reason? When there's not even a pretense of due process? We're not talking about prisoners at Guantanamo; this is you and me. Well, after last week, it sure as hell is me and it could be you, next.

Oh, yes -- the state of Washington just refused to renew my driver's license online, a privilege given others. I had to wait in line at the DMV before a computer decided I could drive home. This conspiracy theory debunker smells a connection to the Watch List.

I know what I will do. If my name is not removed completely from the Watch List in 45 days I will use every resource I've got to challenge the government of a country that I love and have served. In all the press about identity theft, I find myself railing at having my identity as a patriot stolen -- by my own government. This must not stand.

******

John Graham is the author of STICK YOUR NECK OUT: A Street-Smart Guide to Creating Change in Your Community and Beyond (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2005). He is also president of the Giraffe Heroes Project and a former U. S. diplomat.

© 2005 Independent Media Institute.

View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/23362/.


QUOTED TEXT ENDS.
my_window_seat: (Default)
The Alibi, while not my favorite rag, did a really good story on Another Side, a counter-recruiting organization dedicated to giving people first-hand accounts of the scams and sleight-of-hand tricks that military recruiters are using to try to improve their crappy enlistment numbers. If you're going to be a teacher, pay particular attention to the last three paragraphs - this is the kind of shit that your students are going to be subjected to by these rat bastards. The recruiting guys I mean, not the counter-recruiters. Duh.

Fresh Meat ... Not So Fast: Counter-recruiting effort takes shape in New Mexico )
my_window_seat: (Default)
On C-Span:

Friday, June 17
Re-air of House Democrats Meeting on Downing St. Memo and Iraq War
On C-SPAN2 at 8pm ET

Or, if you're like me and have no cable - shit, my tv doesn't get ANY channels anymore, bless it's heart - video is available for your viewing pleasure anytime, day or night at

http://www.c-span.org/

Click on "House Judiciary Cmte. Democrats Meeting on Downing Street Memo and Iraq War"

Led by my favorite person in the world right now - that's right JOHN CONYERS.

That man is my IDOL.

It's just over 3 hours long; I watched about an hour, and got to hear the word "impeachment" at least a dozen times. I'm playing the rest of it in the background right now.

Ambassador Joe Wilson, husband of Valerie Plamer (the CIA operative who's cover was blown), is testifying right now.

I've got goosebumps.
my_window_seat: (Default)
[EDITED - text of article now behind the clicky. No more evil passwords.]

If you are planning on one day being an educator, you should make sure your ass is acquainted with the sociology and politics of the world you are going to be teaching in. Regardless of what age or grade you are going to teach, you should be EDUCATED IN THIS SHIT, damn it. )

If you 'can't be bothered' or find it 'too difficult to think about' -

Please do everyone a favor and go into another fucking line of work.

Kthnxbuhbye

[EDIT: In all honesty, I should note for the record that I used to be in the "can't be bothered/too difficult to think about" camp.

And I fully acknowledge that these kinds of things are hard to think about, and frequently are frustrating beyond belief.

I sometimes feel soiled by the things that I read and see, and want to do nothing more than preserve what little spark of faith in humanity I have left by sticking my head so far down a hole that I smother in my own carbon monoxide exhalations.

And then there's someone like this guy - who lays the ugly picture out and eviscerates it completely, lays open the rotten, festering guts in all their technicolor splendor - and then proposes to do something about it.

That's the thing - it's not enough to bemoan the state of things being bad and in need of some serious fucking Marshall Planning - you have to then get in there and think and talk and then act on how you think it can be changed for the better.

So, yeah.

If you're used to being an ostrich, as I certainly was, it's possible to change that.

Don't be a pussy - your students deserve better.]

The above comments are directed at no one in particular, and definately not at anyone on my Friends List. The management however reserves the right to fling monkey poo in the general direction of the rest of the universe as and when warranted.

The management also reserves the right to delete and repost this entry with corrections, thereby bumping it back up on your Friends Page once again, in case you missed it the first time or just didn't want to deal with the evil clicky-password-thingie, which has been fixord. Nyah.
my_window_seat: (Default)
As usual, Britain is reporting our news better than we are.

And John Conyers is my new hero.

Here's why. )
my_window_seat: (Default)
Bush and Blair, sittin' in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G... )

But of course, the MJ trial is MUCH more newsworthy.

Christ.

Go back to sleep, America. Go back to sleep. Go back to sleep.

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