Thursday, December 22, 2005

Wishing You A CODEPINK Holiday

Vist the CODEPINK Holiday Page and listen to new words to an old Christmas tune.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

FISA Judge Resigns, Intrigue Deepens

Best synthesis yet incorporating Robertson's resignation, although still not mentioning the probable importance of the difference in type of surveillance used rather than just the audacity with which the Bushites thumbed their noses at legal procedure, rule of law, the U.S. Constitution, the American people....

The Washington Post has published the following:
A federal judge has resigned from the court that oversees government surveillance in intelligence cases in protest of President Bush's secret authorization of a domestic spying program, according to two sources.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson, one of 11 members of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, sent a letter to Chief Justice John D. Roberts Jr. late Monday notifying him of his resignation without providing an explanation.

Two associates familiar with his decision said Tuesday that Robertson privately expressed deep concern that the warrantless surveillance program authorized by the president in 2001 was legally questionable and may have tainted the FISA court's work.

The most important aspect of this resignation may be what it brings to light such as implications in the following statements of judges and sources close to FISA:

The news also spurred considerable debate among federal judges, including some who serve on the secret FISA court. For more than a quarter-century, that court had been seen as the only body that could legally authorize secret surveillance of espionage and terrorism suspects, and only when the Justice Department could show probable cause that its targets were foreign governments or their agents.

Robertson indicated privately to colleagues in recent conversations that he was concerned that information gained from warrantless NSA surveillance could have then been used to obtain FISA warrants. FISA court Presiding Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who had been briefed on the spying program by the administration, raised the same concern in 2004, and insisted that the Justice Department certify in writing that it was not occurring.

"They just don't know if the product of wiretaps were used for FISA warrants - to kind of cleanse the information," said one source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the classified nature of the FISA warrants. "What I've heard some of the judges say is they feel they've participated in a Potemkin court."

back to intellectual feminism...

a personal rambling rumbling rumination

This fierce sidespin into total politica mode for the last however long has been fun, but I have to shift perspective for a while. I really don't like politics, but I cannot seem to stop paying attention to the political as I live in interesting times.

My favorite mental masturbation is to sit zenlike and contemplate trajectories of "if this goes on" sort of scenarios of our society and earth. trends pop out at me that others don't seem to see until they've become routine in my thoughts. Yes, at times i can be visionary. we all are. we build futures from our visions. what we contemplate, envision, and ponder tend to be where we try to aim our travels. We must be careful what we think. Nothing mystical there, really, it is just that visualization points goals and actions toward an outcome. It is more likely to happen if pointed to.

That is why recently I've been vacillating between two paths of action for the next year. I feel like I've been working nonstop to do my little part to reactivate/recreate the democratic aspects of my country that have been stolen from me by those corrupt individuals in power at the moment.

I really want to work on building my writing business, do things with my daughter when there is opportunity to do so in the two remaining years she will be at home, and get rid of some persistent headaches I have.

But a part of me feels I have to keep dedicating a very significant portion of my time/life to activism this coming year. Even though the corrupt insular Bushite regime is fracturing, there is much work to do to to get a House of Representatives and Senate that will prosecute the illegal and in some cases treasonous actions of this administration to some degree.

Larry Beinhart illustrated the need for just such concentration and continuation of efforts this next year in his article, Subpoena Power to the People, on

I suspect I am not the only person who is feeling these contradictory emotions.

One part of me says, "Ah, just relax; the administration is crumbling. You did good."

Another part tells me, "Our sons and daughters and innocent Iraqis continue to die each day to build obscene wealth for the Bushites. You can't stop until we've carefully pulled back and then out of Iraq so that the country will become whatever it will become even if it is three different countries.

Another part says, "Be active and find another creative way to infuse women's wisdom and ways into the poltical." I don't want to do the same old thing. Ruts and I don't get along. I don't like being in situation where other folks start to develop expectations for my behavior. Perhaps I'm a control freak... or perhaps I am just a drifter at heart (too many Clint Eastwood movies as a kid.)

I'm thinking street theater, freeway blogging, getting a professional looking website up for my writing business as well as getting my two avocational websites back up and running, painting my kitchen to look like a Frida Kahlo painting, but not traveling around other than in-state and maybe slightly just into CA or CO, or NM to raise pink hullabaloo. I've committed to one access television program. I am falling into total disgrace in helping a rep. get a bill introduced into the AZ House that I was supposed to help with. So I'm not going to commit to anything this year as I hate not fulfilling my commitments or stressing about them, so this year --- independent pink activist central. If anyone wants to join me fine, if not fine... eitherway... but I gotta make sure nothing becomes entrenched in my activism as predictable, hierarchical or structured -- it isn't truly woman-based activism if it isn't an egalitarian weblike process.

Bush on the Constitution: 'It's just a goddamned piece of paper!'

"Holy shit, Batman! Gotham is in the hands of an evil villain, and he's flipping us off."

That's right, even comic sidekicks ought to be able to see the danger in allowing a man who can say, 'It's just a goddamned piece of paper!' to stay in the highest office in the land and when he has sworn to uphold and defend the constitution of the United States.

From Capitol Hill Blue, per a meeting in the White House during November 2005:

“Mr. President,” one aide in the meeting said. “There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.” “Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”

Doug Thompson stated in the Rant in Capitol Hill Blue on December 9th,
"I’ve talked to three people present for the meeting that day and they all confirm that the President of the United States called the Constitution “a goddamned piece of paper.”

And, to the Bush Administration, the Constitution of the United States is little more than toilet paper stained from all the shit that this group of power-mad despots have dumped on the freedoms that “goddamned piece of paper” used to guarantee."
Read the whole article here.

I'm stunned that even he would be so cavalier as to say these things in front of others. I have believed for quite some time that Bush is pure evil. Not stupid, not uninformed -- but a megalomaniac who genuinely dangerous to all life on earth -- he has no respect for anything outside of his sphere of control.

Every blogger worth his or her salt ought to broadcast this statement with its source far and wide until the media picks it up and the people in that meeting come forward to corraborate what Bush said.

Also broadcast Bush giving the finger, per above.

And Bush eating cake in Phoenix with McCain while Katrina was hitting LA.

And this picture of Bush on September 11, 2001 in a catatonic stupor of shock, fear or stupidity should never be forgotten either.

John Conyers Is A Hero

"Ranking House Judiciary Democrat Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has introduced a motion to censure President Bush and Vice President Cheney for providing misleading information to Congress in advance of the Iraq war, f ailing to respond to written questions and potential violations of international law, RAW STORY has learned." Read entire story.

Of Course I'm Being Spied On -- AND SO ARE YOU!

In answer to the question posed in my last post: Of course! Every American is being surveiled. That is what the real story is here, and the media is once again tilting and spinning away from the real story here. We've known about human government employee (including military) spying on groups for a long time with new info coming forward every few months.

We have the technical ability to spy on everyone, save the data, and then to mine the data for anything and everything.

One of the most straight forward discussions I've found about this topic can be found at the site and more specifically in the article on their site, New Tech Behind NSA Snoop Case?

If you need more convincing, try looking up the TIA (that was supposedly ended in 2003) or in this general discussion of information surveillance and data mining by William Arkin

Am I one of those Americans the U.S. Government spied upon?

The Pentagon, the NSA, and now, the FBI have all been implicated in the illegal and profoundly un-American campaign to spy upon America's own citizens.

I was not surprised at all by these "revelations." But I was not sure how to write about this turn of events that would capture the chilling alienation this knowledge has created.

I will never know whether I was one of the individuals upon whom my government spied and may be spying. I can speculate though.

I'm a contact for CODEPINK in my area of the state. I've traveled back and forth to DC several times to attend protests and marches. CODEPINK Co-Founder Medea Benjamin has slept on the pull-out sofa in my office. I've sent money to campaigns to raise funds for medical aid for the people of Falluja.

Decades ago an FBI agent showed up at a youth group meeting and was invited into it by the adult coordinator of the meeting. The self-identified agent spent the entire session (approximately an hour) quizzing me about munitions. I was just an Indiana farm girl in high school at the time. I did not get the connection until years later when I found out my college age boyfriend at the time knew someone with a license to buy and sell arms who probably had some connections to the SDS. I had applied to attend a small religious college that was pacifist as a result of theological orientation.

CODEPINK Women for Peace , Gold Star Families for Peace, and the Raging Grannies have been spied upon at the order of California's Governor Schwarzenegger.

The co-founder of my area's CODEPINK group received death threats last year before the election. These calls were traced by the FBI to an outfit in Florida that was being paid by a Republican associated group to make the death and rape threats for $10 a pop.

Sierra Vista protests were among the list of protests made public in an NBC article about extensive military collection of information on American civilians who expressed views different from that of the White House. I knew many of those protesting there at that time.

So I guess I'm not completely off base in wondering if the out of the blue and totally atypical IM I received was from one of these projects attempting to set me up as someone with "international" connections that would warrant communications monitoring.

Last year I quit "IM"ing when I had someone pop in wanting to talk via instant messaging who said he was a Moroccan man living in Libya who just wanted to talk. The person on the other end of the computer connection did not strike me as a typical clothing shop owner from a mid-sized city in N. Africa as he was well versed in American semiotic and linguistic theory. It seemed very suspicious to me, so when the person tried to initiate communication again, I refused the connection. I stopped all instant messaging of anyone at that point.

I've often wondered why I would have been maneuvered for such a conversation but not being a conspiracy theorist or paranoid schizophrenic, I consciously tried to put the incident out of my mind as it was the sort of odd occurrence that was just that -- an odd occurrence that could never have any real facts associated with it -- only speculations. There are other minor hints that my computer connectivity has been tampered with. But I will never know.

What I do know, having headed up a security section of a very important archeological museum, is that most security higher ups take procedure and their responsibilities very seriously and have respect for the limits upon their actions that our government imposes. Take a look at this, if you don't believe me.

But now, with the NSA spying that came to light last week and the program that the NAT covered today, I know I will never be able to trust my government again at any level. I will never know if I was spied upon or not. That is what is so insidious. This type of systemic corruption irreversibly taints a process. Even if I was not one of those who was monitored, I might have been. I will never know. There will always be doubt. This harms the ability of every thinking person to believe in the benevolent nature of his or her government. I can't help but think of Brazil. and Orwellian statements such as, "If you have nothing to hide then you should not worry" that are the mainstay argument of fascist governments and small minded people. The harm has been done.

A republican friend responded to my despondency after the Bush "re-election" by telling me that the level and intensity of my depression was almost laughable, as I was 'acting like this was the end of the world." It was my friend. It was the end of a cherished world in which I had a modicum of trust that can never be regained or reestablished.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Memories of Investigative Journalism

My last post was meant to remind folks that voting irregularities have been being noted by all levels and types of folks for the duration of W's time in office. But my real motive I am reprinting (below) Bev Harris' comments on the death of Jack Anderson this past weekend.

I cannot help but feel that I have seen a major cycle play out in the course of my lifetime. When I was a little girl I would read anything I could get my hands on, and that included the newspaper we received, The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette that carried Jack Anderson's column. As the major Democratic paper in NE Indiana it was supposedly liberal, but coming from a decidedly midwestern community that liberal nature was fairly conservative. I remember Jack Anderson's columns being very "big city." That's how I thought about it. I must have been influenced by them. I was encouraged to pursue a career in journalism after winning a statewide writing competition in high school. I consciously decided not to go into journalism because I didn't want to be a propagandist for "imperialists" and that is how I saw the newspaper industry. I didn't have enough self-confidence to think I could make it big enough to be able to do real investigative journalism. So I pursued degrees in anthropology.... a career that teaches the investigative and elicitation techniques... and much later along the long and winding road I end up writing a blog that has the flavor of a journalistic endeavor after several years of writing nonfiction trade articles. I guess I've been thinking that I should have acknowledged my debt to Mr. Anderson for nourishing my fascination with political writing. That's one personal debt that I probably share with folks all over the country. Another bigger debt owed to Jack may well be for inspiring Bev Harris "with the idea to dumpster-dive Diebold where he had Bev in stitches describing how he dumpster-dived FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover."

I am somehow greatly heartened when I think of Anderson cheering Bev and the folks at on from the great beyond. One of the last major investigations of which he was instrumental in starting may well be one of the most significant investigations in the history of the United States.

As the verifiable list of abuses of power and illegal acts by the Bush administration continues to grow, so does the likelihood that the indisputable proof of the illegitimacy of their administration will be made. At that point we will face a huge challenge in attempting to navigate the fouled waters of years of illegitimate decisions and appointments. But we will be a stronger democracy for surviving it.

Thanks Jack.


Bev's recounting of these events from Black Box Voting:

From Bev Harris -- I had the great honor of working for Jack Anderson for a while, doing primarily editorial and marketing writing for two of his publications. His passing, not unexpected, saddens me greatly. Would you believe, the idea to dumpster-dive Diebold came from a lunch with Jack Anderson, where he had us in stitches describing how he dumpster-dived FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover?

Among the articles I'm going to post, along with some commentary and reminiscences of my own, is one that is really quite chilling. Specifically, Jack Anderson's commitment to ordinary people is chided as biased and "populist-based." In one astonishing bit, after citing one blockbuster investigation after the next and leaving out some of the most important, and admitting that Anderson was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the reporter says Anderson represented an era where investigative reporting was "less objective." Ye gads. I have included that article in the post below this.

Most investigative reporting has been cut from the budget now, and much of what remains is corporate-toadying pablum. We will all miss Jack Anderson so very much. He was one of a kind.

The Associated Press - Saturday, December 17, 2005; 9:10 PM

Muckraking Columnist Jack Anderson Dies

WASHINGTON -- Jack Anderson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning muckraking columnist who struck fear into the hearts of corrupt or secretive politicians, inspiring Nixon operatives to plot his murder, died Saturday. He was 83.

Anderson died at his home in Bethesda, Md., of complications from Parkinson's disease, said one of his daughters, Laurie Anderson-Bruch.

Columnist Jack Anderson testifies before a Government Information subcommittee in this May 1972 file photo, in Washington.

Anderson gave up his syndicated Washington Merry-Go-Round column at age 81 in July 2004, after Parkinson's disease left him too ill to continue. He had been hired by the column's founder, Drew Pearson, in 1947.

The column broke a string of big scandals, from Eisenhower assistant Sherman Adams taking a vicuna coat and other gifts from a wealthy industrialist in 1958 to the Reagan administration's secret arms-for-hostages deal with Iran in 1986.

It appeared in some 1,000 newspapers in its heyday. Anderson took over the column after Pearson's death in 1969, working with a changing cast of co-authors and staff over the years.

A devout Mormon, Anderson looked upon journalism as a calling. Considered one of the fathers of investigative reporting, Anderson was renowned for his tenacity, aggressive techniques and influence in the nation's capital.

"He was a bridge for the muckrakers of a century ago and the crop that came out of Watergate," said Mark Feldstein, Anderson's biographer and a journalism professor at George Washington University. "He held politicians to a level of accountability in an era where journalists were very deferential to those in power."

Anderson won a 1972 Pulitzer Prize for reporting that the Nixon administration secretly tilted toward Pakistan in its war with India. He also published the secret transcripts of the Watergate grand jury.

Such scoops earned him a spot on President Nixon's "enemies list." Watergate conspirator G. Gordon Liddy has described how he and other Nixon political operatives planned ways to silence Anderson permanently _ such as slipping him LSD or staging a fatal car crash _ but the White House nixed the idea.

Anderson's biggest misstep also took place in 1972, when he reported that Sen. Thomas Eagleton of Missouri _ at the time the Democratic nominee for vice president _ had a history of arrests for drunken and reckless driving. Anderson later acknowledged that his sourcing was faulty and apologized to Eagleton, who eventually dropped out of the race after revelations of treatment for mental illness.

Over the years, Anderson was threatened by the Mafia and investigated by numerous government agencies trying to trace the sources of his leaks. In 1989, police investigated him for smuggling a gun into the U.S. Capitol to demonstrate security lapses.

Known for his toughness on the trail of a story, Anderson was also praised for personal kindness. His son Kevin said that when his father's reporting led to the arrest of some involved in the Watergate scandal, he aided their families financially.

"I don't like to hurt people, I really don't like it at all," Anderson said in 1972. "But in order to get a red light at the intersection, you sometimes have to have an accident."

Anderson began his newspaper career as a 12-year-old writing about scouting activity and community fairs in the outskirts of Salt Lake City, Utah. His first investigative story exposed unlawful polygamy in his church. He was as a civilian war correspondent during World War II and later, while in the Army, wrote for the military paper Stars and Stripes.

After he went to work with Pearson, the team took on communist-hunting Sen. Joseph McCarthy, exposed Connecticut Sen. Thomas Dodd's misuse of campaign money, and revealed the CIA's attempt to use the Mafia to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

Anderson also wrote more than a dozen books.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1986. In a speech a decade later, he made light of the occasional, uncontrollable shaking the disease caused.

"The doctors tell me it's Parkinson's," he said. "I suspect that 52 years in Washington caused it."

He is survived by his wife, Olivia, and nine children.


(See below for more problematic article.)
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This article gave me the creeps. It shows how much the free press has deteriorated.

The Washington Post / AP as covered in the Seattle Times - Dec. 18 2005

Jack Anderson was Pulitzer winning columnist

WASHINGTON — Jack Anderson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who for years was America's most widely read newspaper columnist, died Saturday at his Bethesda, Md., home at age 83. He had Parkinson's disease.

Unbounded by contemporary notions of objectivity, Mr. Anderson was highly successful in the 1950s and '60s, when few reporters actively sought to uncover government wrongdoing. At one point, his column appeared in about 1,000 newspapers with 45 million daily readers.

From Bev Harris: Unbounded by contemporary notions of objectivity. Translation: He was honest. Everyone who knew Jack remembers one very strong characteristic: He was absolutely honest and his stories checked out.

As we have learned in the voting issue, "contemporary notions of objectivity" mean reporters are supposed to report B.S. without checking it out ("HAVA made me do it") and can go only so far when covering obvious wrongdoing on the part of the private company that OWNS OUR VOTES. But okay. I hope we get more reporters like Jack Anderson, who are unbounded by contemporary standards of "objectivity."

The number of scoops that he had a hand in was amazing: the Keating Five congressional-ethics scandal; revelations in the Iran-contra scandal; the U.S. tilt away from India toward Pakistan, for which he received the 1972 Pulitzer Prize; the ITT-Dita Beard affair, which linked the settlement of an antitrust suit against ITT by the Justice Department to a $400,000 pledge to underwrite the 1972 Republican convention; the CIA-Mafia plot to kill Fidel Castro; the final days of Howard Hughes; U.S. attempts to undermine Chilean President Salvador Allende; allegations about a possible Bulgarian connection to the shooting of the pope; an Iranian connection to the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.

From Bev: And this leaves out amazing work on the Kennedy assassination, where he ripped into the Warren Commission for its coverup of the combined role of Castro and organized crime figures in the assassination. It fails to mention breaking the Savings & Loan scandal in the 1980s. The heavy lifting on that was done by his lead assistant, Mike Binstein. In another hilarious lunchtime conversation, Jack related how this happened: They were hot on the trail of the S&L deterioration, where owners were loaning themselves money, defaulting, then (in the case of Dallas mayor Starke Taylor, who was alleged to have been rigged into office by Conny McCormack, resulting in a two-year election fraud investigation by the Texas Atty. General) they sometimes sued the failing S&Ls for making bad loans to themselves. At any rate, the Jack Anderson story: Mike Binstein was hot on the trail, but needed something rock solid. After all, it would trigger the biggest bailout in U.S. history. He approached his source, who nervously let him into the building after hours, then locked him in the copy room. Binstein spent all night copying incriminating S&L documents, and wasn't let out even to pee until 6 a.m. the following morning, when he hurried out with satchels of evidence and a full bladder.

"He had such huge strengths and huge weaknesses," said Mark Feldstein, director of the George Washington University journalism program, who is writing Mr. Anderson's biography. "He practiced journalism like a blue-collar craftsman with a populist point of view. He was practicing a crusading craft rather than a profession, and [investigative reporting] has lost some of its juice, its verve, its gusto in trying to be objective. Anderson didn't try to hide his politics or his agenda."

From Bev - No, investigative reporting has lost some of its juice because it is toadying up to corporate backers and bribed editors. I've seen so many reporters called off of live stories with witnesses and armloads of proof that it would make you sick for days. And investigative reporting has also lost some of its juice because in making the stories more palatable to the power structure, newspapers are (deservedly) losing circulation. People want to read the truth. We are bored when everything is politically correct. Newspapers would make more money if they went back to real reporting.

Mr. Anderson was an investigator from the start, when he went to work in 1947 as a "legman" for his predecessor Drew Pearson's column. Pearson died in 1969 and left the column to him. Mr. Anderson ran it, with an ever-changing cast of interns, until he unofficially retired in 2001, when Douglas Cohn, his writing partner since 1999, and Newsweek's Eleanor Clift took over.

The column ran until July 30, 2004, when United Feature Syndicate announced its end.

Mr. Anderson's work enraged those in power. President Nixon tried to smear him as a homosexual, the CIA was ordered to spy on him, and, according to the Watergate tapes, a Nixon aide ordered two cohorts to try to kill the journalist by poisoning.

from Bev - Specifically, Jack told me that G. Gordon Liddy tried to slip LSD into his drink. You'll see that in the movie "Nixon" by the way -- a movie by Oliver Stone that, interestingly, rehabilitates Oliver Stone's film on the Kennedy assassination to some extent, changing the story and matching it up to Jack Anderson's investigation. The "Who Killed JFK" report that I edited and updated for Anderson as one of my last assignments for him led off with "Oliver Stone got it wrong." Then the Nixon movie came out and made subtle changes in the Kennedy assassination story, and mentioned the LSD story, which Jack told every time I saw him. Because of that, I've always wondered if he was a behind the scenes consultant for Stone's "Nixon" movie.

Despite all his scoops and his high profile in middle America, the power elite in Washington, D.C., saw him as an uncouth gossipmonger and shameless self-promoter.

From Bev - Huh. Imagine that. A shameless self promoter. That's what they say when you're right over and over and lots of people start listening to you.

Mr. Anderson, a Mormon who eschewed smoking, drinking, cursing and caffeine, was cast from the dissenter mold of journalism. He called himself a muckraker, a term from the turn of the 20th century.

From Bev -- Actually, he told me he called himself a muckraker because people were using it as an insult so he decided to take ownership of the term. He proudly called his publishing company "Muckrakers Inc."

He launched the careers of scores of journalists, employing them as uncredited interns and underpaid associates. They included Brit Hume of Fox, Tony Capaccio of Bloomberg News Service, Howard Kurtz and Jonathan Krim of The Washington Post, Roll Call columnist Ed Henry and novelist Les Whitten.

From Bev -- "underpaid associates." I met a lot of them, and they considered it an honor and a hoot to work for him. And by the way, when do you ever hear of interns being highly paid? I worked with his newsletter a lot, and I specifically remember proofing the CREDITS which appeared at the bottom of EVERY newsletter. This article shows us exactly how things are "spun" to rewrite history.

Mr. Anderson himself grew into a multimedia personality, penning not only a syndicated newspaper column but more than a dozen books and subscription newsletters. He was Washington bureau chief for Parade magazine. He broadcast a syndicated radio show; had a years-long gig on ABC-TV's Good Morning America; and had a TV show, "Truth," which featured public figures hooked to a lie detector.

As well as the Pulitzer, he won the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi "Service to Journalism" award in 1987 for his role in breaking the Iran-contra story and later was inducted into its Journalism Hall of Fame.

"I have to do daily what Woodward and Bernstein did once," he told The Washington Post in 1983, without a trace of embarrassment.

From Bev - Yes. One thing he seemed to rue was not telling "the story behind the story" as he referred to "All the President's Men." The story behind the story is usually more interesting than the story itself. I'm not sure I want to read the biography written by the guy they refer to up above, but I'd love to read the story behind the story. Jack was legendary. It was related to me two months ago by a cohort who attended his last birthday party that he once jumped off a dock in his suit and swam to the bottom of the pilings, to check out whether some secret booty was stashed underwater, as had been rumored. (It wasn't.)

Born in Long Beach, Calif., but reared in a small town outside Salt Lake City, Mr. Anderson was interested in newspaper work from an early age. At 12, he edited the Boy Scout page of the Deseret News and soon advanced to a $7-a-week job with the Murray (Utah) Eagle.

Upon graduation from high school, he joined the staff of the Salt Lake City Tribune. He attended the University of Utah briefly and on Dec. 7, 1941, became a missionary, a typical rite of passage for devout Mormons, working in the South. Two years later, he enrolled in the Merchant Marine officer-training school. After about seven months, he persuaded the Deseret News to accredit him as a foreign correspondent in China. He was supposed to report hometown, local-hero news, but he soon found that assignment dull.

So Mr. Anderson hitched a plane ride to a secret, behind-the-lines base operated by the Office of Strategic Services, precursor to the CIA. OSS brass sent him to contact a band of Chinese Nationalist guerrillas. From them, he found that a Chinese civil war was still raging, but he could not interest any U.S. paper in the news.

His draft board had been looking for him for some time, and it finally caught up with him in 1945. He was inducted into the Army in the Chinese city then known as Chunking and served with the Quartermaster Corps until 1947, working on service newspapers and Armed Forces Radio.

Upon his discharge, he applied to work for Pearson, who had been exposing government corruption for more than a decade. Mr. Anderson was hired immediately. In his off hours, he attended Georgetown University and took a course in libel law at George Washington University but did not earn a degree at either school.

His anonymous labor for Pearson finally irked Mr. Anderson enough that in 1957 he threatened to quit. Pearson promised him more bylines and pledged to leave the column to him.

In 1965, Mr. Anderson finally achieved full partnership in the column, sharing a byline with Pearson, although he was paid a paltry sum — about $15,000 in 1969 — for his work on the biggest column in the nation. Upon Pearson's death, Mr. Anderson inherited the column and split the proceeds with Pearson's widow.

Mr. Anderson's columns on misappropriations of campaign donations by Sen. Thomas Dodd, D-Conn., were recommended for the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 1967, but the Pulitzer advisory board rejected the choice of the nominating jury.

Mr. Anderson was considered significantly more accurate than his predecessor, although he was not error-free. He admitted he wrongly charged Donald Rumsfeld with lavishly decorating his office while cutting expenses on programs of the Office of Economic Opportunity. The columnist also admitted giving covert aid to Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the early days of his anti-Communist crusade, although he turned on McCarthy later.

From Bev -- Actually, since Jack has been basically retired from his day to day news responsibilities for a decade due to his fight with Parkinsons (he had great difficulty even typing) I'd have to wonder if this was his error. He may not have fact-checked something his interns or staff did, and he was sick. I wonder about the date of the Rumsfeld story.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Olivia Farley Anderson of Bethesda; nine children; 41 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.


Speaking for myself, the folks at Citizens Against Government Waste, Muckrakers Inc., and all the others who knew Jack Anderson, we'll miss him and it was an honor to watch him show what happens to government when someone unafraid tells it like it is.

Bev Harris
Black Box Voting, Inc.

Texas to Florida: White House-linked clandestine operation paid for "vote switching" software

Ran across the Bellaciao site that purports a vote switching program used in Florida suppressed Democratic votes on touch screen voting machines. Of course there are Bush ties and financial links to NASA and the White House.
According to a notarized affidavit signed by Clint Curtis, while he was employed by the NASA Kennedy Space Center contractor, Yang Enterprises, Inc., during 2000, Feeney solicited him to write a program to "control the vote." At the time, Curtis was of the opinion that the program was to be used for preventing fraud in the in the 2002 election in Palm Beach County, Florida. His mind was changed, however, when the true intentions of Feeney became clear: the computer program was going to be used to suppress the Democratic vote in counties with large Democratic registrations.

According to Curtis, Feeney and other top brass at Yang Enterprises, a company located in a three-story building in Oviedo, Florida, wanted the prototype written in Visual Basic 5 (VB.5) in Microsoft Windows and the end-product designed to be portable across different Unix-based vote tabulation systems and to be "undetectable" to voters and election supervisors.
The article is worth a read, and I hope to verify some of the source info in it. The comments are also worth reading for balance. If this has any merit, this is very significant as related to the emergent information about AZ vote fraud. More on fraud in the 2004 elections and continuing suppression and manipulation of the coverage of information about the topic can be found in Greg Szymanski's article about Robert Koehler's April 14th column.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Grounds for Impeachment

More smoke and mirrors. Distraction, distraction, distraction.

It is never necessary, acceptable, or tolerable for the person filling the office of the President to break the law. The American public was reminded of that point by the impeachment of Clinton. It is a new day. Bush lied under oath. Broken law. Impeachment.

Simple. There are now admitted grounds for impeachment of Bush. What he and his administration are attempting to do with today's "amazing" revelation (at least that is how the media is spinning it) that Bush authorized domestic spying is to control the discourse, the media coverage, and the perception of the reality surrounding that admission.

There are several problems with this: the President cannot make laws -- the separation of powers of the three branches of the government was established to prevent the persons who would fill the Office of the President from creating dictatorial, nonracial, or other tyrannical powers once in office. This is what Bush has done. He and his oligarchical cronies have flagrantly held themselves above the law time and time again. They have shown a basic lack of respect for the essence of what made America a place to which people from all over the world came to experience freedom. For Bush and his buddies need to be removed from office as soon as is humanly possible. They are destroying America.

Congress now needs to fulfill their highest duty and check the improper assumption of power by another branch of government. The Senate took the first steps toward that necessary show of difficult moral strength this week by preventing reauthorization of the Patriot Act in its entirety.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The White Man’s Burden ( Baghdad?)

When I opened my email this a.m. I found this Kipling poem in my inbox. My husband had sent it to me

...alas still apropos -- as empire and colonies go.

The White Man’s Burden

Take up the White Man’s burden—
Send forth the best ye breed—
Go send your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need
To wait in heavy harness
On fluttered folk and wild—
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child

Take up the White Man’s burden
In patience to abide
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple
An hundred times made plain
To seek another’s profit
And work another’s gain

Take up the White Man’s burden—
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better
The hate of those ye guard—
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah slowly) to the light:
"Why brought ye us from bondage,
“Our loved Egyptian night?”

Take up the White Man’s burden-
Have done with childish days-
The lightly proffered laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years,
Cold-edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!

Source: Rudyard Kipling, “The White Man’s Burden: The United States & The Philippine Islands, 1899.” Rudyard Kipling’s Verse: Definitive Edition (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1929).

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Political Science Fiction / Global Warming

Just started reading what I would classify as a political science fiction novel. Fifty Degrees Below by Kim Stanley Robinson. It probably could be called an eco-thriller or some such nonsense, but with KSR firmly established as a great speculative fiction writer I wouldn't classify it at all. Plausible fiction; plausible futures. Anyway, the setting as the book opens is Washington D.C. after a storm does to D.C. what Katrina did to New Orleans, and it immediately speaks of environmental justice: "It might impede the ruling caste for a while, might make them acknowledge, perhaps, that their economic system had changed the climate and this was only the first of many catastrophic consequences. If Washington was denied now that it was begging for help, that was only what it had done to its environmental victims in the past. Nature bats last--poetic justice-- level playing field--reap what you sow--rich arrogant bastards--and so on."I'm not very far into the novel as yet, but it promises to be a page turning, thought provoking read that is based in solid, totally fact based scientific research and very well researched big brother aspects of our government.

All this thought about the motivation/message in science fiction reminded me of one of my favorite quotes:
Sometimes the appropriate response to reality is to go insane.
~ Philip K. Dick (1928 - 1982), Valis
And this also demonstrates the utility of science fiction for political statement:

Dr Who Saves the Earth (and Joins the Protests Against the War in Iraq)
by Ciar Byrne, Published on Tuesday, December 13, 2005 by the Independent / UK

This must be why the Soviet Union banned nearly all science fiction.

Donne di Pace

Just ran across my young friend Rae's blog enty rae's codepink road journal: RaeSpeak: Presentations in Italy She is a delight. I know her via CODEPINK actions in DC and Tucson. For someone so young, very early 20s, I find her to be an old soul. As I'm approaching an age where everyone younger than 30 seems like they are 12, for Rae to impress as mature is quite an accomplishment. In any case -- readabout her travels to Italy for Peace as a woman of peace.

She has one recent entry called Tanque Verde in France. Now that is an obscure reference... but one well understood by Tucsonans.

CODEPINK Activist Jailed

This is a follow-up to an earlier post about Diane Wilson, one of the co-founders of CODEPINK Women for Peace, and author of An Unreasonable Woman who legally infiltrated a Cheney/Delay fundraiser last week in Houston where she was arrested for speaking her mind.

Why is Diane Wilson still in jail after the Cheney/Delay fundraiser in Houston last week? (And this is while corporate and political goons who have stolen pensions, misappropriated funds, accepted bribes, and contributed to the increasing lack of access to essential needs in life by American service and blue collar workers run free with their lies and graft.)

At first after the arrest it looked like everything would turn out more or less in Diane's favor as the Indymedia article, Diane Got Sprung, suggested in that Diane's bail was posted largely thanks to the outpouring of generosity from the activist community. But by that time the police had figured out that Diane had the little outstanding matter of a previous jail term she had failed to serve for criminal trespass. Seems like they could have been a tad more considerate and not accepted the bail money if they were going to keep her on another charge. But as reported in the second follow up article in the Indymedia article, bail was posted about 48 hours after Diane had been taken into custody.
Close friends who had the chance to talk to Diane said she was going crazy and ready to be released. After taking several thousand dollars in bail money the authorities changed their course of action. Wilson's partner waited for hours after driving in from Texas City only to learn that Diane wouldn't be released.

She was instead transferred to the Calhoun County Jail where she will serve her time for a previous criminal trespass conviction.

The former conviction was for climbing and dropping a banner from a tower at the DOW Chemical Plant in Seadrift, Texas. According to an article on the India Together site:

On August 26th, a 52-year-old shrimp farmer who had been on hunger strike for 29 days in solidarity with the Bhopal movement broke into the Dow/Union Carbide facility in Seadrift, Texas. Diane Wilson climbed the main tower, hung up a 12 feet banner that said "Dow - Responsible for Bhopal" and chained herself to the structure. She was later hauled away by police and arrested. "Even after 18 years, almost 30 people still die every month as a result of long-term effects of the exposure in 1984. Dow has a moral, legal responsibility to fully rehabilitate the Bhopal survivors," she said via her cellphone from the top of the tower.
Picture Credit:International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal

Weak from the effects of her hunger strike she did not have the strength nor stamina to get down from the tower. She had to get the attention of a security guard in order to request help getting down from tower. If it had not been for that, it is unlikely she would not have been apprended, arrested, or convicted on criminal trespass.

Trespass charges often bring light sentences or are dismissed. After complying with all the court hearing formalities, Diane, a mother of five with one special needs adult child still in her care, decided she could not accept the harsh sentence of 120 days imposed at that time.

It is three years later now, and Katie Heims reports, "While she was planning the Houston action, Diane and I were discussing the possiblity of her going to prison for a long time. She was in some ways, looking forward to it because she was tired of living out of bags these past couple of months. Also, she really missed writing. She was desperate to get back to the second book she's been working on."

Her currently pending hearing for removing and displaying her wrap that had a message written on the inside of it and shouting "Corporate Greed Kills, and Iraq kills too!"at the Delay fundraiser and to which she had a legitimate invitation/ticket, has been postponed until she's served her time at Calhoun County.

Katie provided additional information: The $1500 raised and paid as bond money will take 4-7 weeks until the the check is returned and contributors can be repaid. The judge, however, has raised her bond pending settlement/time served in Calhoun County and her return to return to deal with Harris County. Diane's attorney hopes to be able to have this reduced at a later date. In the event she's convicted in Harris County, she will get credit toward any punishment she might receive. The attorney would like to have the sentence reduced from 120 days to 90 days.

If you would like to write to Diane, you can do so via USPS. In order for mail to be received it must be addressed in this way:
be addressed to her in this way:

Sylvia Dianne Wilson (CR# 65510)
Victoria County Jail (Calhoun County inmate)
101 North Glass
Victoria, TX 77901

She is not allowed to receive items such as books, but Katie suggests that articles, crossword puzzles or newspaper cuttings, and greeting cards could be included in letters of support.

New Divider -- Countdown Clock to W's Remaining Time in Office

I changed the look of this blog a bit by taking down the dead sidebar link to a W Countdown Clock and put in the new code that essentially creates a more distinctive bar between posts with the same information. If you have no life and want to respond, please tell me if you like it, or if the rollover to the linked site is too much. I'd love to figure out the code for having my own clock without linking to someone elses commercial endeavor so many times. Can anyone help me out here? I suppose I could figure it out... but I'm a Mac person... I like to just open and shut the filing cabinet drawers, not build them. So old school, I know! Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Powerful video link to images of 2005's US military deaths in Iraq

Swift Turn sent me this link via email with the simple subject of POWERFUL video. Truth is simple. Check it out.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

More on Veterans Running as Democrats

Jeff Latas who is running in Arizona's 8th Congressional District has not as yet been featured on Air America Radio's Fighting Dems -- and he should be there! Jeff announced his decision to run for congress when it was still a race against Kolbe. Kolbe has now announced his retirement and other candidates have begun to crawl out of the woodwork. As far as I know, only Jeff and Francine Shacter declared before his announcement.

I'm more concerned with peace than war and peace than fighting, and - personally - I think we need to focus on peace and not get lost in the "anti"of anti-war. Reacting against something often only feeds energy into the system reacted against. That said, most combat vets are not pro-war. They understand the costs of war.

Last weekend in Phoenix when I was in the CODEPINK Hospitality Suite I was talking to Dennis from Phoenix Veterans for Peace and he told me that if you go to a Vets for Peace meeting you will be in the midst of a bunch of combat vets, and if you show up to a VFW or American Legion hall, you will find primarily non-combat vets. I don't know if this is true or not (but it would be very interesting to find out) but the perception itself is very significant; if you have seen combat and fought and killed face to face, you can never glorify war.

There was a cleansing of the highest ranks of the military as the Bush government geared up for the Iraq war according to retired Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski's three part article in The American Conservative.

And of course there is Murtha. Did you know you can send Congressman Murtha a flower? You can for a donation and anything over $3 goes to Vets for Peace.

Anyway, Air America Radio's Fighting Dems series has covered these folks thus far:

Eric Massa
New York's 29th Congressional District
Date: December 6, 2005
Audio: Play

David Harris
Texas' 6th Congressional District
Date: November 29, 2005
Audio: Play

Andrew Duck
Maryland's 6th Congressional District
Date: November 22, 2005
Audio: Play

Patrick Murphy
Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District
Date: November 1, 2005
Audio: Play

Paul Hackett
U.S. Senate - Ohio
Date: October 25, 2005
Audio: Play

Bryan Lentz
Pennslyvania's 7th Congressional District
Date: October 18, 2005
Audio: Play

Friday, December 09, 2005

2 + 2 = 5" versus "Have you heard? The word is..."

Innocent man jailed for rape. War in Iraq justification came from false intelligence acquired through torture.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports on yesterday's release of 44 year old innocent man who has spent his entire adult life in prison. "After a brief hearing this afternoon in a Cobb County courtroom, Robert Clark, who has spent nearly 25 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit, was free." This was the first article I read this morning.

The second news story I heard about today was of The New York Times reporting, "The Bush administration based a crucial prewar assertion about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda on detailed statements made by a prisoner while in Egyptian custody who later said he had fabricated them to escape harsh treatment, according to current and former government officials."

The TV then cut to coverage of the daughter of an American Quaker man who is one of the Christian Peacemakers Team being held under threat of death if the captors demands are not met.

At that point my husband began reciting all the distruths he could think of interspersed with Orwellian quotes.
War is peace.
America does not torture.
George W. Bush was legitimately elected.
Joe Lieberman is a good Democrat.
2 + 2 = 5
I feel safer now.
Humanitarian aid is a criminal and suberversive act.
Torture leads to truth.
We never sentence innocent persons to prison or to death.
There are times when I think of my country and become truly afraid of the evil done in my name, when I am overcome with nausea, and just want to sit down and cry. Maybe it was yesterday's reminder of how unfair life so often is that put me in this frame of mind. John Lennon has been gone for 25 years and it is still hard to believe.

Twenty-five years ago a shock wave traveled throughout this world and a large number of nearby alternate dimensions.

It was late evening 25 years ago when I heard the news. I'd just come up the stairs from the basement of the house where I had been prepping the walls for sealing. I was 21 and had just purchased my first mortgage. I heard the news over the radio... the station was WXRT, Chicago. John Lennon had been shot in front of the Dakota in NYC. I really don't know how much later it was when they announced that John was dead. It was impossible. I kept listening, waiting for an announcement that it was some sort of mistake. I got almost no sleep that night. The next day as I dressed for work I made the same decision as thousands of people all over the world made that day: to wear black to symbolize the profound loss I personally felt. John had shaped my life in ways I couldn't begin to consciously or accurately innummerate. My life had been, up until that date, partially chronicled by what John was doing at each stage of my life. He was real to me. He was there, somehow included in so many of my milestone memories:
I looked up from a toybox to see the four boys from Liverpool deplane in America. "Liverpool," what a silly name though my six year old self.

My first romantic dream took place in rowboat on a nearby lake, that looked more like Giverny than northern Indiana, and involved the Fab Four.

As a preteen I used to pretend, as I played in my room, that I was living in flat in London and that I knew the Beatles and would entertain them -- especially John. I would listen to the Revolver LP over and over and over again on a tiny childsize record player. "Relax and float downstream. It is not dying." At that I knew I would have to explore both drugs and eastern religions when I was old enough.

I tried to make my first investment when I saw a copy of Two Virgins in a small town 5 and 10 cent store and tried to purchase it because I knew it hadn't been allowed in the U.S. with that cover. My mother wouldn't let me buy it, although I argued and argued and argued that it would be a valuable artifact someday.

I had an intellectual argument with my first boyfriend about whether the line in American Pie was "Lennon read a book on Marx" or "Lenin read a book on Marx" as we walked back to a wooded area to roll about in a sleeping bag one cloudy afternoon when I was 15.

Coming home from college was often accompanied by my live-in boyfriend and I singing , "The two of us lifting latches..." as we drove back to our shared hometown.

Then John taught me and an entire generation that heroes are mortal. "Strawberry Fields" forever.
At that point I lost my faith for what would be decades. No God would allow such a significant man working for peace, capable of writing "Imagine," to be shot like vermin in the gutter.

After 9/11 when there was the concert for New York, I realized my belief/faith was still there although it is a mustard seed-sized faith grown wise. To me, Imagine is a hymn. The price of wisdom is great. Goodness exists but it exists through choice. I know it sounds strange to most people, and I don't know where it comes from, but when you consciously open your life to the greater good, paths emerge before you that you could never have been seen before that conscious decision. Perhaps it is divine guidance, perhaps it is a recognition of iterations of and relationship between patterns in the universe. I don't know that I will ever know. But I do know with a calm, sad certainty that far too few beings have chose that path. Some of my ancestors and compatriots use the word, calling, to describe this choosing as an audible experience. It does feel like you are being called or tugged in a certain direction. All I know is that there are generous and gentle souls who have a rightness about their work. I choose to emulate them as best I can, although my best is not very good.

No one who has touched this rightness could wage pre-emptive war, engage in or condone torture, or feel that lies are ever justified.

It is time for all good people to stop the evil being done in their names as best they can. Good people can never act to the conscious detriment of others. I cannot maintain awareness at all times, but I can imagine -- as John did, and others do. I can try to increase conscious awareness, imagining, and love.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Backlash Against Dean and Pelosi is Balderdash.

Okay haven't had a real ragging rant for a while. It's time. I'm making one now.

Democrats, wake up, be the party of the people and of good and generous values!
Screw this playing to the polls and to one's financial backers! Do what is right.

I cannot stand the spin the media is putting on the coverage of Democrats finally having the balls to make firm, undisputably anti-war statements. The bleeping Washington Post attempts to undermine the strong statements of Pelosi and Dean with headlines with so much spin they could be mistaken for Dervishes. Democrats Fear Backlash at Polls for Antiwar Remarks. What balderdash! Real Democrats do not work from a position of fear dictated by the Republican guard who are little more than corporate stooges. Most Democrats I know do not fear any such thing. They are just glad that a couple of the power players in the Democratic Party are pulling at the curtain in the corner of the throne room of the Great And Powerful Bush.

Where to start? The Dems are not operating out of fear (except for those few Democrats such as Clinton and Lieberman whose true natures as elephantine hawks are becoming more and more apparent. At best these folks have bought the Republican propaganda that says moderate Republican perspectives are the same as Democratic ones, at worst these folks are owned by corporations whose interests are very similar to those who own/run the Bush Group. Thank heavens some Democrats are finally remembering the old central values of the Democratic Party: Labor - Equality - Individual Rights - Education.

Pelosi and Dean have balls! (I know... Howard was given his this past weekend! LOL.) Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman are war mongers and traitors to the essence of the Democratic Party.

Quite frankly I hope the Republicans keep lying their asses off. It is catching up with them. They are just digging themselves deeper. They seem to think that lies are okay; that saying it makes it so. Look at the ridiculous things they have said about anyone and everyone in the last few weeks:

Murtha. A military man through and through and one who is respected by members of both parties. This man has the ear of the highest of levels of military officers in the Pentagon.

CODEPINK. As I've already said, many times, CODEPINK is a play on the color coded threat level system of the Bush government, on girls being dressed in pink, on hospital code for a missing baby, and yes, there is even a bit of a satirical nose thumbing comparison of the Bush paranoia to that of the McCarthy commie fixation. [Check out Threatening Anthropology for a new twist on how it wasn't just communism but also equality that was so threatening.] I marched as a Pink Woman for Peace before the invasion of Iraq in 2003 in D.C. The first person I spoke to who was "in" CODEPINK that was helping to direct people assembling under the banner of CODEPINK was a Quaker. The movement built itself on the vigil in front of the Whitehouse by a few women from November 2002 to March 2003. Eventually it was recognized that CODEPINK filled a real need and it was decided that CODEPINK should continue as a loosely organized women's peace movement.

Dean. Finally, strong courageous statements are coming out about the futility of continuing with a war that is lost. The increasingly immoral and reprehensible nature of continuing to kill for no reason (not that any killing is ever justified in my book.) There are places we have no business being. There are actions we have no right to take. It takes frigging courage to stand up and speak truth to power. The people who are in the streets and who put themselves out there in the public are the brave and patriotic ones. What kind of courage or patriotism does it take to throw electonically transmitted words from an office somewhere? To show your belief through public declaration and to speak from the heart when you know you will flipped off, verbally harassed, and even physically threatened takes courage. There is nothing laughable, weak, or cowardly about taking a stand.

I used to be somewhat more generous in categorizing and describing those folks who are so adamnant in their refusal to see the lies of the Bush administration. No longer. I don't hate them. But I am far less willing to trust a Bush backer now after having been flipped off when I'm just standing with a sign, having had deaths threats phoned in to a co-organizer of a peace group I'm in, and having an average of 10-15 viruses emailed to me every day, I now believe that there is a horrible cancer growing in our society that has everything to do with immorality based in the worship of money and the implicit assumption that there are some people who are inherently better than others. Equality is a very dangerous concept to systems built on inequity. Profit built upon a non-living wage is down-right evil. Relationships, personal to geopolitical, cannot survive if based on lies.

I still believe in goodness, but I'm watching my back.

Slinging catch phrases and talking to canned audiences and never taking unscripted questions is cowardly. Going AWOL is Cowardly. (I know, I know, the 60 Minute's papers were probably altered.) But hey, ya know what? Many of the papers supporting GW's both cowardly and pompous (and therefore somewhat schizophrenic?) actions in the Guard were not altered and suggest unmet Guard requirements. Quite frankly there needs to be an official investigation into whether GW's credentials with which he ran for president were fake. If so, he needs to be impeached. Cut your losses, Republicans, bug out now.

Kolbe retirement connected to Abramoff?

Ever since Congressman Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) announced his retirement, I've been wondering, "How much of the $66 million that Jack Abramoff "redistributed" came Kolbe's way?" I mean after all Indian gaming was central to this mix of bribery and payoff and Kolbe is from a state with a significant population of first peoples and casinos. Kolbe announced his retirement rather soon after the Repubican ship began to sink with indictments and plummeting polls. Was he afraid he might go down next? Does he think that retirement will exclude him from scrutiny when it comes to examination of the specifics of the culture of corruption?

I don't have the answers, but the opportune timing seems worthy of investigation. I also wonder how many more surprise retirements will there be?

I'm not alone in this musing. A Democratic Underground post by starroute noted the Tiegga connection and the voting with Abramoff's better known buddies in an online gaming issue.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Howard Dean and CODEPINK

The neo-cons are trying to make something out of a picture I posted here that was picked up by the central CODEPINK web site. Phoenix Sue was concerned this might happen when I showed her the picture of Howard Dean holding up CODEPINK Shirts that had just been handed to him by CODEPINKers as they rode the elevator to the Arizona Demo mixer with him.

She was concerned that being associated with CODEPINK would hurt him. I was (and am) more concerned that the threats and intimidation used by the ultra right uber-cons over the last few years has brain-washed some of brilliant and most active progressives and have them playing by scripts written by these uber-cons.

Howard Dean has been against the Iraq War since the beginning. CODEPINK is simply a group of women who are against the war and began wearing pink and doing "over the top" actions to gain media coverage of the pro-peace viewpoint in the corporate media when no other view than that of the Bush Administration could be found in any major American media outlet.

It was the media who took Howard Dean down in early 2004 by playing and replaying only one capture of his hoarse yell into a single directional mike that picked up only his voice and none of the roaring crowd that fanned out to the front and sides of him. There were other recordings that made it clear everyone there was hooping and hollaring. There was nothing strange about it.

Now for a bit of education about Pink. The miscategorization of Pinkers as Pinkos is almost as ludicrous as saying that CODEPINK is a Soviet plot. (For those of you who don't know... the Soviet Union no longer exists.)

CODEPINK is Women for Peace and the term CODE PINK comes from two different sources -- the first is a play on words related to the Color Coded Terror Level Warning System that the government introduced to instill fear in the American people. CODEPINK wanted to see peace and the level of peace being given as much energy, press, air wave frequency, time and money as the terror and the threat level. Buying into fear and cowering in rooms sealed with plastic and duct tape just wasn't an option for a large group of women who take responsibility for their own safety and that of their country. CODEPINK believes working toward peace will make the world safer than waging war.

I personally get rather angry when conservative pundits and vicious, ignorant bloggers spout platitudes and knowingly lie through their teeth. My own peace work comes from faith. For them to associate my pink peace work with communism, anti-Americanism or make any such ignorant statements shows that they research nothing and all they say must be questioned or that they knowingly are lying and thus are using Christianity as a costume rather than a heart-felt guiding principle. They seem to have taken nothing of the core teachings of Christ, the Buddha, Mohammed, or other wise ancestors into their hearts.

Another meaning of CODEPINK is derived from the hospital code for different kinds of emergencies. In many hospitals Code Pink means that a child is missing. The mothers of those killed in the Iraq occupation know the meaning of truly missing a child.

I personally will continue to give to humanitarian aide drives when there is need. If the funds happen to be for medical supplies to go to Falluja, that is fine. My country had used chemical weapons in attacking the largely civilian population of the city.

I am greatly saddened when people equate patriotism with aggression. My family can trace its American heritage to arrival in Massachussets from England in 1630. Don't tell me I'm not all American. My brother served in the Marines in Vietnam during the "Platoon" era (Hue and the Tet Offensive.) My huband is also a Vietnam-era Army veteran. I am proud to serve my country through organized public protest of un-American Bush policies and practices that endanger the future of freedom and democracy all over the world.

I'm glad I can sleep knowing I am honest, patriotic and peaceful. I do not have to tear down anyone or any perspective to make myself feel better or important. I know the words terrorist and insurgent are now useless terms due to their use in propaganda. I'm glad the home schoolers, stay-at-home-moms, and blue collar folks who are Pinkers gave Dean and his wife those shirts. Peace is patriotic.

My solution to dealing with the fundamentalist nut cases (like Osama -- who did you think I meant?) is to build fair trade and women based economies throughout the world so these misogynist patriarachal tribal elements fall away.

Enough for now. But there will be another entry soon... I feel a Hillary rant coming on.

Pink Protest Inside Cheney/DeLay Fundraiser

Diane Wilson - co-founder of CODEPINK Women for Peace - protested inside a fundraiser for Tom Delay at which Cheney appeared. Here's what Katie Helms reports on Houston Indy Media:

Katie Heim reports from inside the Westin Oaks Hotel: This evening, as Republicans gathered in the Galleria to raise money for the GOP Diane WIlson, cofounder of Code Pink and author of An Unreasonable Woman infiltrated their ranks. Photos of the banner and arrest. Wilson, who has done work around issues such as the Bhopal distaster and against the Iraq war, got on Delay's RSVP list by donating $50 to his campaign. After speeches by the chairman of the Republican Party and a rousing rendition of "God Bless the USA" Tom Delay himself took the stage. Delay referenced the protesters outside, citing the Socialists and the Progressive Workers parties. Then Cheney himself took the stage. WIlson was about 15 to 20 feet away from the VP when she opened up her black velvet wrap to reveal a banner which read "Corporate Greed Kills-From Bhopal to Bagdad". Conservative moralists nearby grabbed WIlson as she chanted "Corporate Greed Kills, and Iraq kills too!" One GOP member called Wilson a bitch and a whore. Police dragged Wilson out and she's still detained as of this report.

Monday, December 05, 2005

DNC Phoenix Events Straight from the Fairy God Mother's Mouth

Fairy Godmother Pinkerina, AKA Carolyn of Tempe, gave me permission to reprint a letter she sent to Charles Goyette of KXXT Phoenix.

Greetings of the Great Goddess to you Goodly Sir Charles -

Peace be upon you. Please hear my tale of woe. Have no fear. Like all American fairy tales (and most American movies) this one has a happy ending.

I, Fairy Godmother Pinkerina, and my sister Fairy Godmother Code Pink tried to pay a visit to the DNC Convention and were threatened with arrest on Friday if we so much as walked past the entrance to the Wyndham Hotel. I could understand except that the smirking chimp in chief wasn't even in the building! Usually known for my wisdom, I am still mightily perplexed and awaiting enlightenment...

But let our story proceed... Friday we were exiled to the Starbucks corner -- soon likely to be renamed StarEuros. We were told that everything under the overhang going out to the street belongs to the Wyndham Hotel. Undeterred, we "gifted" passing democrats with pink balls of courage and wisdom compliments of Code Pink Phoenix. I expressed confidence that while they themselves surely didn't need these balls of courage, they should be ready to "gift" any democrat they heard saying foolish things such as "stay the course in Iraq" or "fight a bigger better war" -- or even any who were not truly looking out for the interests of the American people.

I instructed them in the proper use of their new balls: while only 3/4" in diameter, if nurtured, these balls of courage and wisdom would grow bigger in time but if the bearer said anything foolish such as "stay the course in Iraq" or "fight a bigger better war" the balls would simply shrivel up and disappear. They seemed mightily impressed at that point.

I'm confident that we found a good home for our baby balls; these gentlefolk said they loved what we were doing and thanked us. Security, however, watched us for hours to make sure 1. that we didn't set foot under the overhang and 2. that our pink carnation flowers, individually wrapped pink divinity confections, Code Pink 2x3 cards, printed fortune-cookie-type wishes, and the pretty pink pairs of balls in our baskets weren't really diabolical explosives. The Poor things... someone must have kicked them when they were little; most people aren't born crazy but that's what violence will do to the human psyche.

By sheer coincidence, I'm sure, the FBI was having a yearly gathering in the same hotel on the same day as the DNC Convention. Imagine that! There were FBI agents in the corner Starbucks (I think that was on the corner of Adams and 1st street). They were ever so professional talking into their wired shirt collars so they might go undetected. I feel ever so safe knowing that they are on the job to protect us from Osama Been Forgotten Forever. Always the optimist, I would like to think that they were protecting the fairy godmothers from the security psychos. But then my origins go back to a gentler time.

Later, I was ever so pleased to see that some of the men we had "gifted" were proudly sporting their new balls in their jacket lapels and the women were carrying our carnations with the peace notes attached all day. One good woman with more balls than most men was good enough to carry a pair of our balls into the DNC Convention and present them to Howard Dean courtesy of Code Pink. I would see other men whom I had gifted earlier, passing by for lunch. They would smile and pat their trousers and assure me that they still had their balls. I hope they understand that having them and using them are two different things. Many of the men and women who passed by asked if they could have their pictures taken with the fairy godmothers and we were happy to oblige. We also invited them to drop by our Code Pink hospitality open house in the San Carlos Hotel. Several came and signed out guest book.

For the particularly weak kneed Democrats, we also had "atomic balls" individually wrapped. Now, now, calm down "big brother cointel-pro"; go sneak a peak in someone else's e-mail. It was just candy jawbreakers, not lawbreakers, ok?

Where was I? Oh, yes. Later in the day on Friday, we took a page out of the Secret Service's play book and changed into our Code Pink super duper double secret under cover T-shirts that said CODE PINK on the front so we could go incognito. Then we went in the side door of the hotel, slipped upstairs, and registered as guests for the convention. After showing a picture ID etc., we were both given a "Guest" badge to hang around our necks. We decided to check out the meeting with the Military families. Howard Dean came by and spoke. After he left, Maxine Waters got up and said that while framing was important we must also "speak truth to power". I waited afterward to tell her how much I agreed with her and told her she and John Conyers give me hope. I pointed out that the Dems wouldn't be in the mess they are in if they had simply spoken truth to power sooner! She gave me a great hug. When I described our morning activities to her, she burst into surprised laughter and gave me a high five.

She frowned and asked, "And no one from the party came down to defend you?"
"No", I replied.
"Are you going to be there again tomorrow?" she asked.
"Oh, yes, indeed", I said.
"Well, then I'm coming down! she said with authority.

By Saturday, the fairy godmothers were all the buzz. We were on the corner by 9 am and obliging more Dems with photo-ops. Channels 12 and 3 showed up and shot some footage. I granted them each an interview but I suspect they were too timid to show those interviews on air. I cannot imagine why. When they asked what I hoped to accomplish, I told them I was there to gift the Dems with balls of courage and wisdom.

Evidently at least one of them aired their footage because my neighbor pulled up beside my car this evening, rolled down his window, and hollered out that he guessed he knew what I was going to be for next Halloween. Then he gracefully waved an imaginary wand in the air as if knighting someone. I chalked it up to Goddess envy. Actually, though, he was quite talented... he waved very well for someone who doesn't know how to walk in heels yet. Perhaps in his next life he can be in the goddess tryouts. If Bush can be president, anything is possible! Just imagine what my neighbor will think when he finds out about the balls?

After the press had left, the Code Pink Elves helped us fairy godmothers slip in the side door and up the escalators to the level where the main meeting of the day was to take place. Hotel security was beside themselves; they hovered around the corner all in a huddle trying to figure out how to dispense with us -- but this day our passes befuddled them; they gave us furtive glances while the mumbled into their walkie talkies or cell phones all aglow. What to do, what to do? There was always some dignitary by our side getting pics for their home state while others passed by and bowed or courtseyed to receive another blessing of peace from our magic wand with the pink balls suspended from its tip.

Like a rising sun from beneath the horizon, rose the Dems on the escalator... when what to their surprise should they see but two fairy godmothers dangling balls all aglee!

Did you know that people in the DLC don't believe in fairy godmothers? They can't even see us! Shocking but true. That's ok, we fairy godmothers don't believe in them either!

After the meeting room had cleared out it was time to descend to the mortal realm of the Lobby and see what good might be accomplished there. I spied Harry Mitchel, the new chair of the Democratic Party of Arizona, talking to a couple of spit and polished suits. I thought he might need our help so just in case, I slipped behind him and suspended my wand over his head. Someone said, "Harry, turn around" and he did. He seemed pleased to have his picture taken with the Fairy Godmother Pinkerina. I reminded him that he had been my son's favorite highschool teacher and he happily posed with me for our Code Pink Shutter Bugs.

While I, Fairy Godmother Pinkerina, was passing out blessings of peace, the Code Pink Elves of Peace had been doing their part as well. The elevator they were waiting for arrived with Howard Dean on board. The doors opened, he saw them, smiled, and goodnaturedly told them ok, come on in (like an indulgent dad telling his children they can stay up an hour longer). I hear his security people didn't look all that crazy about the idea but our elves gave Howard Dean two Code Pink T-shirts... one for himself and one for his wife instead of the dreaded "pink slip" from Code Pink that some politicians have been known to receive for bad behavior. In appreciation, Mr. Dean held up the shirts and let our elves take his picture holding them. He's a brave man, our Mr. Howard Dean. The DLC's evil elves are surely whispering "fringe group" in his ear whenever they see us -- as if Peace were some radical, new wave idea. They wouldn't be caught dead with a pink shirt but I'll bet they're all for Arpaio's pink underwear.

Last on the list was the meeting of the Democratic women's conference. I and my sister fairy godmother made a pass through the room to see if anyone needed help. One sweet older woman asked me, "Fairy Godmother, are you here to have us click our heels and to take us back to Kansas?" I said, "No, I'm here to take us back to the United States I grew up in. I miss it and I want it back and I will be in the streets until I get it." She seemed very pleased with that answer. Mr. Dean was to address this group of women also but it appeared he was running late.

While waiting for Mr. Dean... I thought hotel security had given up but now there were only two of us instead of 5 or 6 and they sent an "unmarked" employee over to try and trick us into "handing something out" which they had said we could not do. How very odd, I thought, because everyone at conventions hands things out. I also thought it was odd when the stealth employee started telling me how much he loved the color pink but then I thought whatever. One of the other fairy godmother's woman friends was standing there and asked for a card. The other fairy godmother was out so she asked me if I had any. I dug up a card but handed it to the "unmarked" employee by mistake. The other fairy godmother let me know it was actually intended for her female friend and so we had him give her the card. He seemed like he wanted the card so I fished out another in case he really wanted it. He took it and walked away.

Shortly thereafter the head security fellow came over and informed me there was no soliciting inside the hotel. I told him I wasn't soliciting. He pointed at the basket and said that's soliciting. I told him no, it isn't. I told him I hadn't been handing anything out (and once inside the hotel, I hadn't - however I did tell one person I couldn't give them to her but she could steal a pair of balls from my basket if she wished ). The basket was just to match my shoes. We told him we gave a card to someone who asked for one without really thinking about it. I was starting to get annoyed so I pointed out that I was a registered Democrat, that it was MY party's convention and that I was also a registered guest for the convention and had a right to be there. He finally backed off and said all that was fine but there was no soliciting inside the hotel. Sheesh! Someone should tell that man it's not wise to try to fool fairy godmothers. Just wait until I tell Santa. He's not even getting coals in his stocking this year! Dead cockroaches for sure!

Howard Dean showed up in a bit of a hurry. When he neared the door, a woman asked him if she could get a picture taken with him. He agreed to a quick pic. She passed her camera to a friend -- I thought he might need some additional help so I suspended my wand with pink balls over his head from behind and the friend snapped the picture. Mr. Dean, realizing what I had done, quickly turned toward me, flashed me a grin and pointed playfully at me with his index finger pointed, thumb up, and other fingers curled before scooting in for his appointed talk. Code Pinked yet again! Oh my goodness!

My main work was done and I retired to the Code Pink Hospitality Suite. I slipped into my Code Pink T-shirt and pants and we went to dinner; then we held our open house. Guess what. The visitors still wanted more pictures with us and the magic wand. They told us that everyone was talking about the fairy godmothers and laughing. If they were Republicans, they'd probably be trying to sue us . I suspect big Eddy is correct when he says we have more fun than they do!

Good day to you Sir Charles! Peace be upon you!

Your Fairy Godmother Pinkerina, Fairy Godmother Code Pink and our Elves wish you a happy holiday.