Friday, June 30, 2006

More Grannies for Peace Arrests

This time it was 10 Grannies in Philly. And speaking of Grannies getting arrested...

We're coming up on the one year anniversary of the first Granny arrest in the nation. It was July 13, 2005 when Tucson's own Raging Grannies went to the Military Recruiting Station on Speedway Blvd., read a statement about their oppostion to the war and the travesty of sending young people to fight, kill, and die for lies, and how if the country really wants to squander lives, then at least take them--allow older women who have already had full lives to enlist. They then sang a couple of their creative and singularly definitive songs and left. At no time did the recruiters even acknowledge their request to enlist. The police showed up after everyone had cleared the private property as requested and called people back on to the parking lot to arrest them... even reporters and bloggers (such as moi) who were just covering the event. Of course the charges were eventually dropped. How time flies. One thing is the same: Our children are still being sent to fight a corporate oil war -- and one more year has seen the third tour of duty for some of these soldiers. The criminal nature of the war grows as soldiers are used up emotionally and psychologically beyond all limits of human endurance. Just look at the mass murders, rape/murders, coverup of murders of civilians by trying to stage scenes with corpses to falsely depict insurgents.

When, when, when will we be able to talk about this war in the past tense?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Win for Election Integrity is Official! AZ SB1557 Election Reform signed by the Governor!

This just in from Gerry at PDA AZ:

Ted (Downing) called to say that it’s official, the governor has signed the bill, as some of you already know, and it is law.  This couldn’t have happened without  every single one of you writing, calling, praying, walking, flyering, petitioning, analyzing, organizing, writing, calling, praying...  Thanks so much for caring so deeply about our democracy and putting heart and soul into this effort.  Please read Ted’s note below, which he wrote before the governor signed, and take the time to thank and congratulate Ted, and also the Republicans who took the lead to get this through. 

We don’t know, even with the emergency provisions, whether we will have all this in place for September.  And, we’re not out of the woods yet, I just talked to John Brakey, and he and the technical experts will put together a list of red flags to look for that should cause us to ask for hand recounts over and above the 2%. 

And stay tuned for a celebration at the next State Committee meeting, at Flagstaff, where we started this fight a year ago.

Troops Home FAST

I will be fasting at least one day a week in solidarity with these folks!  You can sign up to participate for a single day or more at Troops Home FAST site.  Here is more info on the fast:

Cindy Sheehan, Dick Gregory, Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn
and Hundreds More Launch Hunger Strike to End the Iraq War
Press Release

Tuesday 27 June 2006

    On July 3, 2006, CODEPINK: Women for Peace, Global Exchange and Gold Star Families for Peace will announce a historic hunger strike against the war in Iraq. At 5pm, they will sit down in front of the White House to eat their last meal and hold a press conference before beginning the fast at the same location in the morning of July 4 at 10am.

    We've marched, held vigils, lobbied Congress, camped out at Bush's ranch. We've even gone to jail. Now it's time to do more, says peace mom Cindy Sheehan. While others are celebrating July 4th with barbeques, we'll be showing our patriotism by putting our bodies on the line to bring our troops home.

    Hundreds of celebrities, veterans, mothers, and concerned citizens across the country will participate in a rolling fast. Strikers include musicians Willie Nelson and Michael Franti, actors Danny Glover, Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon, Gold Star parents Cindy Sheehan and Fernando Suarez, legendary faster and comedian Dick Gregory, environmental activist Diane Wilson, Iraq war veteran Geoffrey Millard and Gulf War vet Michael McPherson, labor leader Dolores Huerta and CODEPINK cofounders Medea Benjamin, Jodie Evans and Gael Murphy.

    The organizers call on a long history of fasts for political purposes, claiming their place among the Suffragettes, Mahatmas Gandhi and Cesar Chavez. In honor of this rich history, the fasters will gather at the Gandhi memorial statue a Massachusetts and 21st NW on July 3 at 3pm, then march to Pennsylvania Avenue for the meal and press conference at 5pm. In other parts of the country, people will engage in rolling fasts, passing the fast from person to person every 24 hours.

    Diane Wilson, who has engaged in several hunger strikes in her history as an environmental activist, says she will not set an end date to her fast. My goal is to bring the troops home. I don't know how long I can fast, but I'm making this open-ended, she says. I plan to take this as far as I've ever taken anything in my 58 years. I fear our future is at stake, and I'm ready to make a major sacrifice.

    The fast will last until September 21, International Peace Day, when activists around the country will initiate a week of nonviolent actions against the war as part of the Declaration of Peace.


    For more information, including a full list of fasters, please see

Sunday, June 25, 2006


I simply can't resist.

Could we have gotten it wrong? Condi likes girls and George is ... well, you fill in that blank?

The Ratbang Diary (what a great name!) does Madsen's report (that George and Condi's dangerous liaison is what forced Laura to move out to the Mayflower Hotel) one better. Now don't get your knickers in a knot... just take a moment and think about it.
  • High powered professional woman.
  • No men seemingly anywhere in her history. (Denver Broncos don't count... AFL you know...)
  • Advanced degrees (and we all know... nudge nudge--that--turns people into deviates, right?)
That's right... but I still don't want to give up on the Madsen story. It would be such a totally ironic twist -- the goddess has a such sense of humor sort of turn about! And given all the despair and darkside machinations we have to live with every day these days, well, it sort of livens things up a bit to draw sociological mustaches in on laugh out loud fantasies that depict Condi as more than an uptight bee-ah-ch and Georgie as something other than a snide addictive personalitied fortunate son.

Now you tell me, who is covering for whom?

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Gimme a break. Can't people think?

Jon Stewart, Enemy of the People?  Geesh.  Richard Morin of the Washington Post must be on the take or really stupid.  How can anyone who purports to interpret information and pass it on truthfully (such as moi --albeit in my case with a definite perspective... but I digress...) possibly be so sloppy in dispersing the facts? 

Morin says,
Two political scientists found that young people who watch Stewart's
faux news program, "The Daily Show," develop cynical views about
politics and politicians that could lead them to just say no to voting.
Geez O Pete... why the hell shouldn't kids be cynical when it comes to politics?  At least they are watching a show that talks about and with newsmakers of the day.  (Coming up this week as guests, according to their web site, are Lance Armstrong, Helen Thomas, Al Gore and Kevin Spacey!  Morin says the research shows that watching The Daily Show could lead them to just say no to voting.  Kids already don't vote because they know elections are stolen, purchased, and sloppily conducted.  Maybe, rather than bashing someone reporting the truth in comedic fashion, we should fix our electoral and political systems? 

I am soooo tired of fuzzy, ill-conceived arguments making it to the printed page.  That is the real enemy of the people!

Is the race for Arizona CD 8's seat in the House really a LOCAL one?

Arizona CD 8.  It would be nice to think that this is a local race, but it isn't.  The DLC is involved in a big way in this race. The DLC isn't part of the National Democratic Party, I'm not sure it is democratic in any way, and it sure as heck isn't part of any traditional Arizona with which I am familiar.  My feeling is that the real race is being fought now--in the primary contest for the Democratic slot on the November ballot.  What is happening here is microcosm of the battle being waged all across the country for  Democratic Party. 

Do yourself a favor and read Lindy Baumann's

What You Need To Know About The DLC
.  Giffords has been DLC from day one, well, at least day one since she switched to the Democratic Party a couple years ago.  (Remind me, if you would, I need to write another piece on party switching and voting fraud in Pima County.)
This in and of itself should give you reason to carefully re-evaluate each candidate in this race.  

Personally I am fed up with corporations and wealthy families who buy elections through the purchase of high visibility, carefully tailored, and well orchestrated media and marketing campaigns.  Make no mistake, Giffords is from a wealthy family.  Nothing wrong with that in and of itself.  What can be wrong is an elitist or classist perspective.  Look at the presentation of her perspective by the DLC in 2003 about how to deal with the growing low income sector of the population.   "

































paths."   Hmmm.  Look closely at the phrasing "educate workers."  Not educate the population, not educate our children... educate our workers.  Workers as opposed to whom?  The ruling class?  Those who don't have to work?  Language is very telling.  It shows the structures upon which we base our choices and actions.  And I know, we all say things that are less than perfectly phrased, but, and this is a BIG but, the DLC and presumably Gabby approved this presentation.  They didn't see any problem with the language choice or what it implied because that is the mindset from which they work.  I don't know about you but I think of our education system as educating our children, specifically my kid, and not "workers."  Elitist. 

The next problem I have with the DLC is how it went along with the lockstep
"me too,  me too, I'm a patriot, I support the troops because I support the war" mentality and actions that failed to examine and simply rubber stamped" the duplicitous and in fact treasonous lies that justified Cheney and Rumsfeld's personal corporate war.   Giffords went out of her way to get our kids killed.  Just look at this from the DLC's own propaganda: 

January [2003],


















"  Maybe educating the working class isn't enough, maybe snagging 'em younger so we can send a few more of them off to fight and die in corporate wars will also help manage the growing size of the underclass.

Her DLC funded positions are not unique.  Many Dems are politicians first and representatives of the people second, third or fourth.  If necessary I will hold my nose like a naive Jimmy Stewart doing a bird call for the press in Mr Smith Goes to Washington and vote for her, but I'm sure hoping I don't have to. 

And while I'm on this tangent I might as well let off steam about what I feel is AZ List's and Emily's List betrayal of the premise upon which they were founded.  Maybe I'm mistaken, but I thought these organizations were founded to encourage political races and policies that would challenge campaigns and legislation that worked against women's liberty and autonomy.   I thought they were supposed to support candidates that would strengthen women's status, influence and power.  I cannot support the undermining of true progressive candidates by knee jerk sexism.  If these groups really wanted to support a woman progressive they should have thrown their support behind Francine Schacter.  I will never support a candidate or vote for a person just because of his or her sex, gender, or party affiliation.  I will always either vote for the best person (as my father taught me to do) or platform (as my experience has taught me to do.)  Yes, I've broken ranks and voted for non-Democrats even though I've been a life-long registered Democrat.  That is exactly why I hope the real Democrats are listening to folks like me.  No one and no party automatically has my vote-- the only certain fact  in my book is my vote against fascism.

Rise up Democrats!  The DLC is not part of the Democratic Party.  The heart and soul of the Democratic Party is and always has been progressive, liberal, and worker -based  (ooh, there is that word again -- note I didn't say Labor with a big L.)  Maybe we should repeal the 17th amendment then at least entire state legislatures would have to have their votes purchased and our generally and unfortunately uninformed populace couldn't be swayed to vote against their own interests by slick commercial campaigns. 

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Lobbyists welcomed in offices, but constituent emails blocked.

PACs and Lobbyists have the time and money to individualize communications that get them into the inner sanctums of those in control of the U.S. government, but poor, working commoners who attempt to send emails through a non-profit campaign are blocked. Wake up America, the tiny voice you still have is being silenced!

Call the offices of those who are supposedly representing you and your interests in the Senate and House in DC (use local or toll free numbers) and let them know that you find their attempts to block coordinated citizen campaigns while welcoming coordinated corporate campaigns to be reprehensible and grounds for recall elections.

I've included the text of the press release More Than 100 Diverse Groups Call on Congress to Immediately Disable Technology that Blocks E-Mails from Constituents found on the Consumers Union site.

I've also included (below, after the press release) general contact information for those folks from AZ who are supposed to be representing us and our interests.

Capitol Switchboard: Toll-free 800-723-5246, or
House Switchboard: (202) 225-3121 Senate Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Just ask for the office of the official with whom you would like to speak.


Monday, June 19, 2006


Pete Sepp, National Taxpayers Union (703) 683-5700
Kathy Mitchell, Consumers Union (512) 477-4431, ext. 113
William Greene, (877) 266-6596
Allison Kozak, Earthjustice (510) 550-6708

More Than 100 Diverse Groups Call on Congress to Immediately Disable Technology that Blocks E-Mails from Constituents

Say ‘Logic Puzzle’ Computer Program is Real ‘Threat to Democratic Principles’

(WASHINGTON, DC) - A diverse collection of nonprofit and advocacy groups representing a broad spectrum of political views and issues called upon members of Congress today to stop using a new computer program which enables members' Web sites to block e-mail communications from constituents.

In a joint letter signed by more than 100 organizations, many of whom are more often opponents than allies in their daily work, the groups write: "Congressional attempts to differentiate among constituent communications - accepting only unorganized communications
but blocking communications where individuals are working together to deliver a strong message - raise dangerous questions about the infringement of constituents' First Amendment rights and are a disservice to constituents."

Several Congressional offices recently implemented a "logic puzzle"computer program that requires a constituent to answer a random computer-generated question before sending an email to their representative. The program effectively blocks emails from constituents
who use Internet programs provided by nonprofit and advocacy organizations to help members communicate with their elected officials.

The groups are offering to work with Congress to help find a way to effectively manage constituent communications. "The Internet provides a new generation of civic-minded Americans an education in effective democracy and the ability to speak clearly and together about their most deeply held beliefs and concerns. Organizations like ours are legitimate participants in that online forum, where people come together, formulate ideas about their issues, and then communicate with you," the groups write.

Full letter and groups attached.

AFL-CIO * American Arts Alliance * American Association of Law
Libraries * American Association of People with Disabilities * American
Association of University Women * American Civil Liberties Union *
American Conservative Union * American Family Association * American
Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees * American
Federation of Teachers * American Jewish World Service * American
Library Association * American Lung Association * American Postal
Workers Union, AFL-CIO * American Rights at Work * American Rivers *
Appalachian Mountain Club * Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law * * C3: Colorectal Cancer Coalition * Call to Renewal *
Campaign to Restore Jackson State Redwood Forest * Care2 * Center for a
New American Dream * Center for Economic Progress * Children Now *
Children’s Campaign, Inc. * Citizen Outreach * Common Knowledge *
Citizens for Missouri's Children * Clean Water Action * Communications
Workers of America * Consumer Federation of America * Consumers Union *
Defenders of Wildlife * Democracy for America * Democracy in Action *
Donordigital * Earthworks * Dharma Cloud Charitable Foundation Trust *
Drug Policy Alliance * Drug Reform Coordination Network * Earthjustice
* Earthworks * EchoDitto * Electronic Arts * Electronic Frontier
Foundation * Equal Rights Washington * Equality Illinois * Equality
North Carolina * Equality Texas * Fairfax County Privacy Council *
Families USA * Free Press * Free Range * Greenpeace USA * In Defense of
Animals * Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet *
International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers *
Internet Advocacy Center *Kansas Association of Realtors * Kansas City Anti-Violence Project *League of Conservation Voters * M+R Strategic Services * Medical Group
Management Association * * National Air Traffic Controllers
Association * National Congress of Vietnamese Americans * National
Council of Nonprofit Associations * National Environmental Trust * National Independent Advocate NationalNuclear Victims for Justice * National Parks Conservation Association *
National Taxpayers Union * National Wildlife Federation * NARAL
Pro-Choice America * New Jersey Audubon Society * New Mexico Wilderness
Alliance * New Organizing Institute * New York - New Jersey Trail
Conference Oxfam America * NTEN * Nuclear Information and Resource
Service * Oceana * OMB Watch/Focus Project * Oxfam America * Pacific Northwest
Regional Council of Carpenters * People for the American Way * Planned
Parenthood Federation of America * Planned Parenthood Federation of
Georgia, Inc * Polly Klaas Foundation *Rad Campaign * *
Scenic America * Service Employees International Union * Sojourners *
Stem Cell Political Action Coalition * The Center for Democracy and
Technology * The Center for Food Safety * The Humane Society of the
United States * The Wilderness Society * Triangle Foundation * * United Cerebral Palsy *
United Farmworkers * US Public Interest Research Group * Women’s
Funding Network *

June 19, 2006

Dear Representative,

We recently learned that congressional offices may be implementing new technology that will effectively block email communications from constituents to their Representatives. While you may not yet be aware of this technology, more than 100 organizations from across the political and ideological spectrum strongly urge you not to implement this new function. If your office has begun using it, we request that you disable it.

This technology, called 'Logic Puzzle,' enables congressional offices to block email from constituents. This tool would block millions of constituent messages from people who expect you—and elected you—to listen to them. We believe the use of such technology, to limit
communications between the public and elected officials, is wrong and a real threat to democratic principles.

We ask instead that you agree to work in a public, open and bipartisan way with nonprofits and other organizations to improve Congress' handling of email communications for both your benefit and the benefit of your constituents. While we understand and sympathize with the growing demand on congressional staff posed by increasing volumes of email, blocking emails from your constituents that flow through organizations is not a solution, and in fact is a very
significant threat to our democratic process.

If your office has implemented this technology, your constituents see the following message (or a similar variant) before they can write to you:

Unfortunately, with the advent of email communication, some organizations have begun to use automated programs to send messages to Congress on behalf of constituents -- better known as "SPAM." To prevent this practice we ask that you answer the question below. When you enter the correct response it ensures that the message is coming from a real person and helps your Representative respond to you as quickly as possible.

Advocacy and nonprofit organizations that represent public opinion and develop policy proposals—from across the entire political spectrum—increasingly use the Internet to help their members communicate with you on issues they care about. These emails are not spam. They are generated by the individuals themselves using Web-based technologies.

Congressional attempts to differentiate among constituent communications—accepting only unorganized communications but blocking communications where individuals are working together to deliver a strong message—raise dangerous questions about the infringement of
constituents' First Amendment rights and are a disservice to you as their representative. They also denigrate the important role that organizations play in the political process. Individual citizens, who raise their voices together, with the support and leadership of organizations they choose to join for that purpose, are driving democracy - not peddling spam.

When constituents write to members of Congress via our Web-based technologies, and they receive a response, people's faith in the democratic process and their own ability to participate is reinforced. The Internet provides a new generation of civic-minded Americans an education in effective democracy and the ability to speak clearly and together about their most deeply held beliefs and concerns.

Organizations like ours are legitimate participants in that online forum, where people come together, formulate ideas about their issues, and then communicate with you.

In this modern communication environment, people expect members of Congress to accept and respond to electronic messages, despite the administrative burden that may pose. We recognize the challenge that you face, and we would like to work with you, your staff and the

congressional IT staff to improve the way Congress receives constituent messages. We want to ensure that all constituent messages get to you and work with you towards long-term solutions that will facilitate your work sorting and responding to such messages. Please contact Kathy
Mitchell, with Consumers Union, (512) 477-4431, ext. 113, Allison Kozak, with Earthjustice, (510) 550-6708 or Jeff Dircksen, with the National Taxpayers Union, (703) 683-5700 for more information.

SENATORS contact info:

John McCain

Washington Office:
Washington, D.C. 20510-0303
Phone: (202) 224-2235
Fax: (202) 228-2862

Phone: (602) 952-2410
Fax: (602) 952-8702
5353 N. 16th St., Ste. 105
Phoenix, AZ 85016

Phone: (480) 897-6289
Fax: (480) 897-8389
4703 South Lakeshore Dr., Ste. 1
Tempe, AZ 85282

Phone: (520) 670-6334
Fax: (520) 670-6637
407 West Congress St., Ste. 103
Tucson, AZ 85701
Jon Kyl
Washington Office
Washington, D.C. 20510-0304
Phone: (202) 224-4521
Fax: (202) 224-2207

Phone: (602) 840-1891
Fax: (602) 957-6838
2200 E. Camelback Rd., #120
Phoenix, AZ 85016

Phone: (520) 575-8633
Fax: (520) 797-3232
7315 North Oracle Rd., #220
Tucson, AZ 85704


Rep. Flake, Jeff

424 CHOB
Washington, D.C. 20515-0306
Phone: (202) 225-2635
Fax: (202) 226-4386

Main District Office:
1640 S. Stapley Dr., Ste. 215
Mesa, AZ 85204
Phone: (480) 833-0092
Fax: (480) 833-6314

Rep. Franks, Trent
Washington Office:
1237 LHOB
Washington, D.C. 20515-0302
Phone: (202) 225-4576
Fax: (202) 225-6328

Main District Office:
7121 W. Bell Rd., Ste. 200
Glendale, AZ 85308
Phone: (623) 776-7911
Fax: (623) 776-7832

Rep. Grijalva, Raul
Washington Office:
1440 LHOB
Washington, D.C. 20515-0307
Phone: (202) 225-2435
Fax: (202) 226-6846

Main District Office:
810 E. 22nd St., Ste. 102
Tucson, AZ 85713
Phone: (520) 622-6788
Fax: (520) 622-0198

Phone: (520) 622-6788
Fax: (520) 622-0198
810 E. 22nd St., Ste. 102
Tucson, AZ 85713

Phone: (928) 343-7933
Fax: (928) 343-7949
1455 South Fourth Ave., Ste. 4
Yuma, AZ 85364

Rep. Hayworth, J.D.
Washington Office:
2434 RHOB
Washington, D.C. 20515-0305
Phone: (202) 225-2190
Fax: (202) 225-3263

Main District Office:
14300 N. Northsight Blvd., #101
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Phone: (480) 926-4151
Fax: (480) 926-3998

Rep. Kolbe, Jim

Washington Office:
237 CHOB
Washington, D.C. 20515-0308
Phone: (202) 225-2542
Fax: (202) 225-0378

Phone: (520) 881-3588

Fax: (520) 322-9490
1661 N. Swan Rd., #112
Tucson, AZ 85712
Phone: (520) 881-3588
Fax: (520) 322-9490

Sierra Vista
Phone: (520) 459-3115
Fax: (520) 459-5419
77 Calle Portal #B-160
Sierra Vista, AZ 85635

Rep. Pastor, Ed

Washington Office:
2465 RHOB
Washington, D.C. 20515-0304
Phone: (202) 225-4065
Fax: (202) 225-1655

Main District Office:
411 N. Central Ave., #150
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Phone: (602) 256-0551
Fax: (602) 257-9103

Rep. Renzi, Rick
Washington Office:
418 CHOB
Washington, D.C. 20515-0301
Phone: (202) 225-2315
Fax: (202) 226-9739

Main District Office:
1151 E. Deuce of Clubs, Ste. A
Show Low, AZ 85901
Phone: (928) 537-2800
Fax: (928) 532-5088

Phone: (928) 213-3434
Fax: (928) 213-5447
123 North San Francisco, Ste. 105
Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Casa Grande
Phone: (520) 876-0929
Fax: (520) 876-9374
117 East 2nd St.
Casa Grande, AZ 85222

Phone: (928) 708-9120
Fax: (928) 708-9121
107 North Cortez, Ste. 208
Prescott, AZ 86301

Window Rock
Phone: (928) 853-3750
Fax: (928) 871-4879
DNA Legal Services Bldg., Hwy. 264 & Rte. 12
Window Rock, AZ 86515

Phone: (928) 587-3417
Fax: (928) 428-5005
1420 1st Ave., Ste. 100
Safford, AZ 85546

San Carlos
Phone: (928) 475-3733
EPA Bld., 10 West Tonto
San Carlos, AZ 85550

Phone: (928) 521-2810
Fax: (928) 532-5088
Apache Veteran's Center, 201 East Walnut
Whiteriver, AZ 85941

Rep. Shadegg, John

Washington Office:
306 CHOB
Washington, D.C. 20515-0303
Phone: (202) 225-3361
Fax: (202) 225-3462

Main District Office:
301 E. Bethany Home Rd., Ste. C178
Phoenix, AZ 85012
Phone: (602) 263-5300
Fax: (602) 248-7733

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National Security Archive News

For those of you who love to dig around in records for information that is suppressed,  this George Washington University Archive is a treasure trove.

I mean really, where else would you be able to find out that:

D.C., 14 June 2006
- The National Security
Archive today filed suit
n the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
against the Central
Intelligence Agency
(CIA), challenging the Agency's
recent practice of charging Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
fees to journalists pursuing news. The FOIA says that "representatives
of the news media" can be charged only copying fees since
they help to carry out the mission of the law by disseminating
government information; but the CIA last year began claiming authority
to assess additional fees if the Agency decides any journalist's
request is not newsworthy enough. In adopting this new practice,
the CIA reversed its prior 15-year practice of presumptively waiving
additional fees for news media representatives, including the
National Security Archive.

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Ann Coulter is at it again (still) !

Ann Coulter really needs to be reigned in by her employers (and watched to see if the suspected rabies develops.) I've spoken before about how she is inciting violence. Now she is calling for Murtha's "fragging." No joke. Read and listen at Media Matters.

ROSEN: All right, but
you're not -- you're not suggesting that anybody should off John Murtha?

COULTER: It is what it is.

Really, now. This woman is clearly dangerous and hass been for quite some time, but this sort of incidiary speech is down right hate speech. But for a little bit longer I'll give her the option of copping to an illness, as mentioned in this wonderful TPM Cafe post and follow up comments .

Here's the link to the page where you can click to watch my favorite video of Coulter. Yep. Tucson has never liked her. Notice how brave she is running to back stage.

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McCain dodges truth and isn't called on it.

In case you missed it, 'Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) false assertion that he "refuse[s] to use" the words "cut and run" to describe plans to redeploy U.S. forces out of Iraq.' was covered by Media Matters yesterday:

  • McCAIN: And maybe some of our friends who want to cut and run out of Iraq maybe can feel a little comforted that our mission is showing some success. [CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 and Paula Zahn Now, June 8]

  • McCAIN: This [the death of terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi] has got to be viewed as a success. It's got to be viewed as perhaps a bit of a rebuke against those who are advocating that we cut
    and run
    out of Iraq. [Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, June 8]

  • McCAIN: I have yet to see a poll that shows that a majority of Americans favor a cut and run; in fact, just the opposite. [Congressional Quarterly, September 24, 2005]

  • "We can't cut and run," McCain said earlier this week. Still, McCain has said he lacks confidence in Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld." [Associated Press article, September 22,

  • McCAIN: If we fail in Iraq, it will be cataclysmic. You'll see factionalization and eventual Muslim extremism and terrorist breeding grounds that would, I believe, pose a direct threat to the security of the United States. And I'm very glad that the American people, undertsandably dissatisfied,
    understandably frustrated, still, the majority of them don't think we ought to cut and run. [CBS' Face the Nation, August 28, 2005]

Gee, it is sort of a no brainer (literally) that folks currently in the employ of the U.S. Military in Tucson, AZ are engaging in poltical activities while in pay status and/or in uniform. The message being sent if you listen to news coverage of certain figures (like McCain) in even a half-assed fashion is, "Lies are okay" and that "there is no need to report the truth or correct false impressions." Folks who hail from the states of these icons clearly get the message that it is okay to lie. It is from these sorts of actions by leaders that those folks on the lowest wrungs of a clearly military ladder feel they are given permission or even orders to harass and lie.

While I'm on the subject I will briefly mention the last couple weeks of counter-recruiting protests here in Tucson. I don't want to give it much more space in this blog as I have better things to talk about but last weeks demonstration on Flag Day was less confrontational although the pro-war protesters clearly demonstrated that they were there to play to and harass the counter-recruitment folks as their attention was focused on them and not passers by. The long haired screaming lady typified the caliber of their rants when she called me a lesbian. Is that supposed to be an insult? Hmmmm. What a laugh. I guess this change of orientation will be news to my husband of seventeen years. It is going to be quite a shock. They also love to use the first names of the counter-recruitment folks, especially the women. This typifies their attempts to intimidate individuals. We know their names too, but we don't flaunt it as this isn't about an individual person's beliefs; we are there to make a statement and show people who believe as we do that they are not alone and that it is okay to speak out. The chicken hawk nature of the pro-war folks was also made clear when one of their supposedly courageous men smacked me in the head with a sign, wouldn't say excuse me, and didn't begin hurling insults and screaming until we counter-recruitment folks had clearly packed up and were walking away.

This week was more peaceful as most of the counter-recruitment, pro-peace folks took a vacation from harassment and demonstrated elsewhere this past Wednesday morning. We are not giving up our right to protest in front of recruiting stations, however. And we are still attempting to address the refusal of the one officer who seems to be assigned to show up an hour after our calls to report assault ,and who refuses to accept our evidence, or file reports that allow us to press charges.

Yep, I'm making a linkage between the lies of leaders, the misuse of military status, and police collusion. I try not to be paranoid, and to the best of my knowledge have only made one misinterpretation -- that of the letter of the letter returned for insufficient postage that I didn't send that I mentioned a couple weeks ago. And even though it turned out to be nothing, I followed the proper procedure.

Time to head off to an appointment.

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

New report shows 17 states at high risk for compromised election results

Malfunction and Malfeasance: A Report on the Electronic Voting Machine Debacle  (PDF) is a must read report if you are at all interested in election integrity.

The following excerpt is from the Common Cause press release
The report, Malfunction and Malfeasance: A Report on the Electronic Voting Machine Debacle,
finds that 17 states, including critical swing states such as
Pennsylvania, are at "high" risk of having election results compromised
due to problems with voting machines known as DREs. States designated
as high risk because they use DREs with no paper backup are: Arkansas,
Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa,
Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South
Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

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Jeff Latas, running for US House seat from AZ promises to take no corporate oil money.

I'm probably far enough under the radar screen of corporate media that I won't suffer a direct attack for this post that is supportive of Latas. We'll see -- one of his opponents has money and lots of it (including lots of out-of-state money..... grumble gripe bitch moan) and money talks. But so does integrity.

I have backed Jeff Latas for Congress ever since I met Salette, his wife, about a year ago. I will write more about why Jeff is a kick ass candidate, but right now I want to talk about the other half of the Latas deal -- Salette Latas. I was amazed by this tough, sensitive, informed woman who had just seen her son off to fight in Iraq. She knows the need for the military -- she and Jeff were a ROTC romance and both served their country. She also knows the need for peace and a mother's love for her children. She knows the pain of watching loved ones go off to fight. As a child she saw her dad off to Vietnam, as a young mother she saw her husband off to Gulf War I, as a mother she watched her son go off to Iraq. Knowing war makes you want peace. (And that is something those chicken hawks in D.C. have shown all too clearly. Only those who have not fought and have never and will never see loved ones off to battle are the ones who scream for blood and bringing it on.)

I try not to be a sexist as I believe that would defeat the purpose of my feminist stances on many issues. But I have to admit that when I evaluate someone I evaluate his or her spouse, partner, or significant other. Salette is a powerful, articulate speaker. Last night at the Boondocks the Latas campaign recognized the volunteers working on his campaign. (I attended with one of those volunteers who came to Jeff's campaign after I talked about meeting "a dynamic woman who has a husband running for congress." ) I was once again remined of the whole package that the Latas campain offers. Salette spoke of the 18,000 families that, like the Latas family, have gotten the dreaded call saying their loved one is being medically evacuated from Iraq. She spoke with such clarity that for a moment I was a little girl again watching the Marine Corps car pull into my family's driveway not once but twice during 1968 when my brother was wounded in Hue and returned to action only to catch a bunch of shrapnel in the gut in Khe Sahn. Last night as she spoke I felt tears well up in my eyes and the beginning of the muscular contraction that wants to become a scream of injustice and grief for all the beloved children who have been maimed physically and psychologically by war. The Latas family knows Walter Reed inside and out.

Every candidate now seems to talk about leaving Iraq eventually just like they all made statements about supporting the troops. So many of the statements ring hollow and tinny. But Latas and Salette speak from the heart with wisdom and have done so since day one. This is not just a political issue for them. This is life. I believe that is what we are going to need during the last two years of the Bush administration -- we need people in D.C. who get it -- who understand the military and the need for peace and justice as real life issues that impact real people. We need veterans representing us in DC who can act with impunity and from the wisdom of experience. Jeff retired from the military. He worked at the Pentagon. He served in Gulf War I. He knows D.C. He runs on clean money. He knows what it is to have to work in real jobs. He has faced death for his country -- as has his son -- and wants peace. And he has a remarkably intelligent and well spoken wife standing with him.

Some have questioned why I'm not backing a woman candidate. My father taught me to be a Democrat but also to always cast my vote for the best person. To automatically give my vote to a woman would be sexist. Jeff is a feminist. A feminist I respect married him. His stands support women and families. I have to look at how a candidate stands on the issues and my research has found Jeff Latas to be the person who walks and talks the most like a feminist through time (that means he has integrity) as well as the most qualified candidate for the needs that will have to be met in DC in 2007 and 2009.

Last night I also really, really saw the intelligence and training necessary to face the environmental and energy challenges and crises, and stand up to the corporate greed that must be addressed in the next House session. And oh, by the way, Jeff publicly signed a pledge to take no corporate oil money... you can see Jeff signing the pledge (backed up--literally--by his family.) Talks the talk. Walks the walk. Check out his site carefully and you will be a Latas backer.

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Significant Win for Election Integrity in Arizona Legislature

This in today from the Progressive Democrats. If you want more info about the problems we are having with election integrity, I recommend starting at

The following memo from PDA Member and AZ
House Representative Ted Downing:

SB1557 passed the House of Representatives with a 51-0 vote! Then, it immediately passed the Senate 25 to 3! It is now on its way to our Good Governor’s desk. As planned, it includes the Paton Amendment that I helped draft (see Star description below). Karen Osborn, the Maricopa County Election’s Director calls this one of the most significant election reform bills in decades.

This bill is an emergency measure establishing a process for hand counting and auditing certain ballots and the development of procedures to reduce voter wait time at the polls. It establishes the Vote Count verification Committee to determine a designated margin of error for the hand counts.

This election reform bill is the result of three years of working with the Pima County Democratic Party and the great work of Dr. Tom Ryan, Bill Risner, Esq., our current and former Pima County Democratic Party Chairs, and many, many more dedicated individuals. I want to specially thank each and every one of you for your dedication, your hard work ,and your support in working for election integrity.

Now focus on the Governor to make certain that she signs it right away. I am confident she will. It will become law upon her signature, since it contains an emergency provision. We still must await Department of Justice approval….which should be expedited because of the emergency provision. At that point, hand counts will no longer be illegal and we will have a first-level audit of the election system. This is, however, just the beginning.

Politics is a team effort. As hard as it may be for many to accept, the East-Mesa Republican Senator Karen Johnson merits “thank you” emails,, as does Karen Osborne,
(602) 506-7960, and yes, Brad Nelson, (520) 631-3939. Even Rep. Russell Pearce should be thanked…yes, that’s right and I know its hard, but he fought to assure that our elections are fair. We will continue to disagree on almost every other issue, but he wants a fair count.

I hope each PC will take the time next year to come up to visit the
Legislature and witness your legislature at work. Those of you who have tell me that it is not what they imagined.

You are true patriots…protecting our system of government just as those brave men and women did at the founding of this great nation. Thank you and bless you.

Ted Downing
State Representative

Capitol 602-926-5108
Toll free 800-352-8494 ext 6-5108
Capitol fax 602-417-3128

Legislative profile:

Professional profile:

Published: 06.20.2006

Hand-count vote bill may get hearing
Plan responds to
concerns about touch-screen tallies

By Daniel Scarpinato


Coming on the heels of local concerns about election accuracy and Pima County's purchase of $2 million in touch-screen voting machines, a proposal likely to be considered by the Legislature this week could help ease those fears.

The measure would subject Arizona elections to automatic hand-counted audits — something currently illegal in the state.
The bill — which Rep. Ted Downing, a Tucson Democrat, has been instrumental in drafting — also would require areas of rapid population growth to have an adequate number of voting booths and workers.

Requiring hand recounts could help pacify local activists who are worried that the county's new touch-screen voting machines could be easily rigged or hacked into, Downing said, because recounts would pressure programmers to ensure that the machines tally votes correctly. A proposed amendment to the original bill also would require that the machines provide "a durable paper document," since some of the machines use ATM-style paper that could fade.

"It's a step in the right direction, but we have a long way to go," said John Brakey, co-founder of AUDIT, a Tucson group that is raising concerns over the machines.

If approved, the law would take effect this year, but the date would depend on the approval margin. It needs to pass by a two-thirds majority — garnering 40 votes in the House and 20 in the Senate — to take effect for the September primary elections, when several tight legislative and congressional races could be decided. Otherwise, the changes wouldn't take effect until the general election.

The bill also would need approval from the U.S. Justice Department.

Sen. Karen Johnson, R-Mesa, the primary sponsor, said the current tallying process — done strictly by computers — isn't enough to ensure accuracy.

"We cannot trust computers; that's the main purpose of this,"
Johnson said. "You hope everything will be great, but we've already
had problems."

Part of the anxiety about the current system stems from the results of a 2004 Republican legislative primary race in the Phoenix area. One candidate's four-vote victory there triggered an automatic recount, giving a 13-vote victory to another candidate and uncovering nearly 500 additional votes.

The law's provisions:

● In every election, each county would have to hand-count votes from at least 2 percent of precincts chosen at random. In Pima County, that is about 10 precincts.

● At least four races, also chosen at random, would be counted.

● If the hand-count deviates significantly from the machine
tabulation, a second hand count would be done.

● If there is still a discrepancy, another recount using twice as many precincts would be done.

● If the discrepancy still exists, the entire jurisdiction would be recounted.

Although Pima County election officials could not be reached for comment Monday, Johnson said Brad Nelson, Pima's elections director, and officials from rural counties had been involved in drafting the legislation.

The bill has been bouncing around the Legislature since February. "This has been the bill that has had the most problems of any bill I've worked on in my life," Johnson said. "My hope is that leadership will let it go through." Downing and Johnson say getting the bill up for a
vote has been difficult because it is opposed by Secretary of State Jan
Brewer, a Republican running for re-election.

But Kevin
Tyne, deputy secretary of state, said the office has expressed some
concerns but has otherwise been neutral on the bill. "I think
they're giving the secretary of state a lot more credit than maybe she
deserves," Tyne said.

Contact reporter Daniel Scarpinato at 807-7789 or

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Judge upholds blogs status as news entities

This is a significant ruling for "be the media" bloggers like myself that I somehow missed in May.  

Apple  loses  bid to have blogs disqualified as legitimate news entities.  This is very important for small players like Build Peace that break original local stories only a few times a year.  We have journalistic status and protection and can protect sources.  Trade secrets are not quite like national security secrets supposedly -- but still it is good to know that some folks in the judicial system belie in free speech and freedom of the press. 

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Real Cost of War. Dollar value down over the last year.

Well placed sources inform me that the cost of scientific equipment purchased from European manufacturers by American researchers has risen 34 percent over the costs of that same equipment last year. Same equipment. No changes. No materials changes. Nada. Zip. Zilch. In fact from the European perspective there has been no cost change -- if you buy with Euros the price hasn't risen at all. Hmmm. Now what does that mean? Maybe the apparent fact that the dollar has lost a third of its worth in European markets over the last year shows the level of confidence the rest of the world has of us. Money talks.

The source information came from the cost of deuterium lamps in case you are interested.

Rep.. Raul Grijalva (D) AZ: "It is time to admit our mistake in Iraq and begin to bring our troops home with honor."

Representative Raul Grijalva Statement in Congress June 16, 2006 per HR 861


Mr. Speaker, I rise today to say we need to bring our troops home.

Before continuing, though, I must say that this resolution before us, unfortunately, is perfectly irrelevant to the choices facing the American people and this Congress. It is transparently political, does nothing to get us out of our predicament in Iraq, and is a crude attempt to intimidate and smear those who wish to honor the desire of the American people by bringing our troops home. This resolution attempts to reinforce the lies that led us to war which have been refuted and disproved many times over.

All of the lies that were offered to justify sending our men and women to fight and die have evaporated in the light of truth. All that we are left with is this argument that we're there now, so we have to stay ``as long as it takes.'' This is nonsense.

This is the same illogical rhetoric that kept our Nation in Vietnam, the rhetoric that doubled the cost of that conflict in American lives. More than half the combat deaths in Vietnam occurred after Richard Nixon was elected on a promise to bring the war to an end, and after the American people had already decided that they did not want one more soldier to die in Vietnam.

Our vital task today in this Congress is to prevent a repeat of that tragedy in Iraq, to stop the bleeding, to make the will of the American people, which is to bring our troops home, the policy of our government as soon as possible. Our task today is to save the lives of our troops who remain in Iraq by bringing them home.

We in this Congress have a choice. The American people have a right to exercise a choice on this issue, as to whether our men and women will continue to fight and die in a war based on deception and fantasy, or to start bringing the troops home.

The American people have decided that it was a mistake to choose to go to war in Iraq.

The American people deserve some answers, as to how we could spend so much in Iraq and achieve so little. They deserve to know why all this money is being spent on a war of choice, when one on eight Americans lives in poverty, and when 46 million Americans have no health insurance, including 13 million children.

No one in this body wants to see terrorism and the rule of force prevail in Iraq. Some on the other side say otherwise, but I believe they know better.

Bringing the troops home is necessary not just for the future of Iraq, but also for the people of the United States. We must stop the hemorrhaging of tax dollars that could go to meet our Nation's vital domestic needs.

This war of choice in Iraq is undermining the very fabric of American society.

By the end of this year, the costs of the invasion and occupation of Iraq will total $450 billion; $450 billion spent in Iraq, who knows how much of it going to corrupt, crony contractors.

All of the President's statements amount to excuses for an open-ended, seemingly never-ending commitment of our troops to occupy Iraq. He is trying to salvage the terrible wager he made in Iraq by doubling down the bet with human lives: Iraqi and American.

While this debate today is a belated effort to inform the American people, it is nevertheless an empty gesture. It is time to admit our mistake in Iraq and begin to bring our troops home with honor.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

No Peace. No Vote.

Voters for Peace Pledge

I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress or President who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq, and preventing any future war of aggression, a public position in his or her campaign.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Christian Nationalism, Newt Gingrich, and Mail Fraud

In my ever ongoing attempt to decode the frames used in media and launch alternative terminology,

I am now using the term "Radical Right " (and no I didn't coin the term) rather than religious right, as the right has no authority to claim religion as its territory. That is what we are allowing them to do if we use that term. So.... anyway..... when I was doing some research in this area I stumbled on and the term Christian Nationalism. What is Christian nationalism? Yes, you do need to know. Click and read.

Newt Gingrich
resurfaced (from the depths of hell) this week.

This is interesting synchronicity for me as I hadn't thought about the slimy amphibian who personified the "Contract ON America" (as we know know what it really was-- a hit on democracy) for ages and the Contract On America surfaced when I was watching C-Span. Yes, I do have a life, but sometimes I have to do things like watch C-Span as there is no other way to know who is raping and pillaging my rights...) Lest I digress too much, I was viewing the House sessions on Friday when Rep Tammy Baldwin (D. WI) attempted to stop H.R.5252 -- what is called COPE (Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement Act of 2006 ) on a point of order. She explained this eloquently, accurately, and unfortunately to no avail. However before the Republican controlled House acted illegally in my estimation dropped kicked her concerns off the House floor, Rep. Edward Markey, D- Massachusetts, spoke in support of Baldwin's attempt by reminding the body that what she had brought forward was true and the the Congressional Business Office had already determined that H.R. 5252 contains an unfundable mandate and as thus violates a 1995 law brought forward in the Contract for America. So what this means as far as I can tell is that the Republican-led House is forwarding legislation that will put greater federal control and centralization in place over communication utilities (both televised and via the internet) in direct defiance of what these current folk's buddies promised to the American People in the Contract with America. What this all means is that these bought and paid for stooges are doing is selling the internet and cable tv to a very few megalithic corporations that will charge for access to content on the internet and will kill Public Educational and Governmental TV which locally or regionally controlled cable companies agreed to fund for the right to have semi exclusive rights to cities (no one wanted 15 different companies puttingin underground or pole suspended cabling of different incompatible types) so cities contracted with a single provider to install the infrastructure and provide the service. This is why there was regulation of such entities before the Ronnie Rayguns era. Regulation keeps robber barons from being able to monopolize and extort. Free enterprise only works when business cannot buy control of government. And that is just what has happened. When this monolithic control is finally in place, Christian Nationalism (or another tyrannical totalitarian sect) will easily control the U.S. It was your call folks, you couldhave stopped this.

Who is sending mail to the mayor with my name & return address?

Whoever it is must be stupid because he or she didn't put enough postage on the envelope, so it was returned to me and I'm now hot on the trail of this person who has commited a federal crime. No. I haven't opened it. It is in a sealed plastic bag waiting for the Postal Inspector's office to open tomorrow.

Odds "N Ends:

P.S. Rocket Boom isn't a kids show.

P.P.S.: Al Gore will be on CNN's Larry King Live this Tuesday evening.

Newt Gingrich
Christian Nationalism
Al Gore
mail fraud
Rocket Boom
Tammy Baldwin PEG
cable regulation
contract with America
Net Neutrality

Ann Coulter

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Ethics of Inciting Mob Violence

Tucson is at the heart of a battle being waged as diversion away from the slow cook coupe d’etat Bush & his buddies are staging.

It isn’t just the Orwellian unending “war on terror” that our government is using to create a hateful fervor in the masses, the government is creating absolute pandemonium on the border by creating a cultural “other” of the migrant laborers who cross our southern border so as to blame them for economic woes that they cannot tie to the Islamic world.

One of my favorite, factually rich blogs written by D. Neiwert suggests that “The entire meaning of the Iraq war -- and by extension, the "war on terrorism" -- is inextricably bound up in the psychological manipulation of the voting public through a relentless barrage of propaganda.”

MSNBC reports, “The Southern Poverty Law Center said the leader of the anti-immigration group Border Guardians has secretly urged the nation's largest neo-Nazi group of white supremacists to launch a campaign of violence against undocumented workers.

The manipulation of manufactured cultural icons is glaringly obvious in Tucson because we live in the real situations from which the media pulls stories for reconstruction and manipulation.

If you have read my entries of 6/1/06 & 6/8/06 you know that paramilitary provocateurs are masquerading as counter-protesters here in Tucson whenever there are counter-recruiting actions in front of the strip mall that houses recruiting offices on Speedway Blvd. These folks are aggressive and lewd at best and may be downright dangerous because they are pumped up on propaganda and take encouragement from the tolerance of vigilantes on the border, the Tucson Police’s apparent decision to selectively enforce the laws when it comes to 911 calls relating to recruitment protests, and the specific calls for violence against the “other” by the talking heads of the radical right.

There are many other cases of right wing wackos acting out in Tucson because of the media-hype about the folks the media derogatorily call “illegals.” The burning of the flag of Mexico during one of this spring’s immigration marches here in The Old Pueblo is a classic example of this.

While I feel it is imperative to address the escalating violence here in the streets, it is equally important to recognize that incitement to violence is illegal and even more dangerous when it comes from a respected representative of the radical right. Ann Coulter is the prime example of this sort of criminal behavior. Her venomous attacks on innocents and straw men reveal a disdain of truth that rivals that of Goebels. Why such hate speech is tolerated escapes me. The only thing I can point to is the parallel between the increasing selective enforcement of laws at all levels of our society that mirrors the increasing economic disparity between the haves and have nots in our Country.

Before you say that drawing comparisons between Goebels and Coulter is unfair or silly, please review the Bush family history and its connections to Nazism. The connection between the radical right and the use of propagandists to create and justify hatred and violence is nothing new. Ann Coulter is known for statements such as “Where are the skinheads when you need them?” While this much quoted example is from a couple or so years ago, she has escalated from implication to actually goading her audiences to act from a mob mentality and “take out” those who disagree with her. And then please read the entire blog entry of the Loyola college student who recaps Coulter when she was clearly encouraging her followers and fans to turn into common thugs as this excerpt from a Loyola college student’s blog entry attests:
I went to my seat and prepared myself mentally to take in Ms. Coulter objectively…. As I chuckled sarcastically at her [Coulter’s] remark, a girl turned around and gave me a dirty look. I sort of gave her a dirty look back and before I knew it, she told me to "Shut the fuck up." I was so taken aback by her comments, I said, "uhh, not you shut the fuck up." Then she turned more towards me and said, "I'll fucking kick your ass." I was so SHOCKED that this girl had the actual nerve to say this to me let alone on a college campus lecture, all I could say was well, "that's typical." I'm looking around me at the chaos and I see peaceful protestors getting yanked from the crowd, that I find security and tell them that a girl had just threatened me! He went to confront the girl and all of a sudden all of her friends were like "No, she threatened her!". You can only begin to imagine my shock and indignation about this girl's lack of principle and ethics. It really was the definition of mob action and what people will do when they lack the any sort of backbone...The protesting from the balcony only increased with time with shouts of "ANN IS A RACIST" to even an immature, yet mildly amusing, call for "Show us your tits." Ann addressed her supporters in the crowd with this statement. "You're men. You're heterosexuals. Take 'em out." She chided them further when they did not rise. Before you knew it there was about 25 students marching to the balcony to supposedly "take out" the protestors above. I saw a priest holding students back and deans and security warning the students to go back to their seats. Chaos erupted.
I found the initial link to the above description of Coulter’s in Orcinus, an award winning investigative reporting blog that rises to the level of real journalism and that often exposes the nefarious subtext of the radical right’s conservatism by writing about well-documented linkages between conservatives and hate groups.

[Please note: I use the term “radical right” rather than religious right. The right is no more or less religious than the left and to use that term implies just that. To imply or make such a statement is blasphemous. To suggest that the relationship with or personal understanding of the divine of any member of the left is less authentic or genuine than that of the right contradicts one of the essential guidelines upon which our country was formed. We are one nation under God. God is not defined therein, and the reason God is not defined is that our founders understood that each person must have liberty to think and speak and believe as his or her heart guides. We must stop attempts to devalue, debase and deride difference. Open, healthy populations exhibit variation within any subgroup that is greater than variation between any two groups. Healthy living systems, and that includes political and religious systems, are grandly interwoven from rich variations of quantities and qualities of type and kind. The right is as diverse and beautifully faceted as any other group. So is the left. Diversity is a sign of vitality. Any system that becomes homogenous or monotonous is a dying system. Attempts to impose one viewpoint on a population are attempts to murder that population.]

Now I will get back to the overarching topic of this blog for today: The “overlooking” of criminal behavior and blatant disregard of ethical violations by radical right “leaders” who encourage further reprehensible, illegal behavior on the part of the common citizen.

Researching this topic yesterday I found several exemplary instances of this behavior by elected officials or those in government service well back into the 1990s. Most of these criminal acts went completely unpunished. My brief listing of them may be instructive.

1995 Contract with America puts out contract on House members.
Wanted poster released by Republicans has potential to incite violence: Democrats - 'Liberal Democrat Wanted Poster' sent by Republicans to their contributors.

"This racist and anti-government propaganda could put our lives in danger," Rep. Maxine Waters of California--one of 10 Black House members whose photo appears on the mailing--said in USA Today. "I am requesting the FBI and House security to advise me and other members of the risks we face because of this.
1998 Candidate for state legislature calls for assassination of the President.
Bob Davies, a Republican candidate for the Montana State Legislature, spoke at a Republican fundraiser and candidates' forum near Bozeman on October 9 and declared that President Clinton "should be shot." He also said Clinton was guilty of treason and should be executed for selling satellite technology to the Chinese government, and that his actions were no different than those of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Neither Montana Governor Marc Racicot nor any other official interrupted Davies, opposed his threats against the president, or reported Davies' comments to law enforcement authorities. Advocating attacks against the president is a federal crime, punishable by five years in prison or a $250,000 fine.
1999 State party leaders calls for death of health care providers
Missouri Republican State Committee member thrown off State Committee per threats of violence against abortion providers and distribution of wanted posters with the pictures of doctors who perform abortions.
2004 Police attempt to incite violence against protesters censored from media.

A blog from overseas clearly summarizes the police actions against any and all protesters at the RNC:
“More striking, perhaps, is what was not shown by the media -- the media reported that more than 1,000 protesters had been arrested for legally protesting, the media failed to mention that these protesters had not even begun their protest and were following the instructions of police at the time they were arrested. A senior newscaster from CBS, a major American network, even stated in a rarely shown clip that the protesters were not only acting completely peacefully but that they had conformed with all special requests made by the New York City police, only to be arrested for doing so.

It was not until a year later, in 2005, that there was any acknowledgement that police provocateurs were caught on videotape inciting violence among peaceful protesters at the RNC in New York in 2004.
2005 Right whips up frenzy to incite violence.
An increasingly prominent element of the frenzy whipped up by the Christian right in connection with the case of Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman on life support for the past decade and a half, is direct or indirect incitement to violence.

On March 25 the FBI and local police arrested Richard Alan Meywes of Fairview, North Carolina, for allegedly offering $250,000 for the murder of Michael Schiavo and $50,000 for the death of Circuit Court Judge George Greer, who ordered Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube removed.

An FBI affidavit alleges that Meywes wrote: “It is my understanding that whoever eliminates Michael Schiavo from the planet while inflicting as much pain and suffering that he can bear stands to be paid this reward in cash.” The affidavit notes that the same sadistic email refers to the recent killings of a judge in Atlanta and family members of a federal judge in Chicago.
2005 Congress encourages violence against judges.
After the shooting deaths this year of a judge in his Atlanta courtroom and the mother and husband of another judge in her Chicago home… (Judges) say the pointed criticism of judges by Republican congressional leaders, which reached a crescendo during the Terri Schiavo right-to-die case, threatens to exacerbate the problem of courthouse security.

Gilmer, TX state District Judge Lauren Parish expressed concern about what these Republican congress members said. "The more I hear that rhetoric, the more I get concerned, because there are people who are extremists who might take that as a license to do things," Parish says.
Decisions about who can vote in Ohio are being made by Mr. Blackwell, a candidate for governor. Mr. Blackwell should hand over responsibility for elections to a decision maker whose only loyalty is to the voters and the law.
If we open our eyes we will see what is going on.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Paving the way for voting fraud and a police state.

I had to be pulled kicking and screaming into the arena of political commentary. Well, in truth, it wasn't that dramatic. But it was holding my nose. I'm no Mr. Smith, as in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, but entry into this whole sordid stratum of political culture makes my stomach churn more often than not.

I wish I could be like that kid in The 6th Sense and see dead people, but instead my gift and curse is to see dead democratic principles. This week the streets here in Tucson are littered with bodies, and my stomach is churning from two disturbing incidents. I feel I have to write about these things. Even though living in a world where such murders are common is unpleasant, and I would love to live in a different world, I cannot ignore dead bodies. If I did not feel it is my duty as an American to do everything in my power to preserve the principles of justice and equality as well as the mechanisms of representative democracy that were put in place by this country's leaders in the 18th century I would be a far happier person. Living day in day out with this crap is depressing, but someone has to do it.

The first thing about which I’m concerned is the weekly Counter-Recruiting Demonstration that takes place in front of the military recruiting complex on Speedway just west of Tucson Blvd. On Wednesday morning. A little history is in order here. We are now in the fourth year of ongoing weekly demonstration against the war in Iraq. Last year after what I still contend was false arrest (the case was eventually dropped) of the Raging Grannies of Tucson and several news reporters and a blogger (me) for reading and reporting on the reading of a statement about why the Grannies wanted to enlist and then singing a couple songs and leaving the recruitment station within five minutes, a counter-protest group began arriving every Wednesday morning. The presence of counter-demonstrators is great in and of itself; freedom of assembly and freedom of speech are essential components of our liberty. But when these counter protesters are demonstrating, not to express their viewpoint but rather to suppress another group's message, this is no longer something of which to be proud.

At first the pro-war group stayed on the north side of the street respecting the three-year long precedent of the anti-war group assembling on the south side. Within a few weeks though the pro-war group moved to the south side of the street. They began heckling the pro-peace demonstrators. The pro-war group then encroached on the space claimed by the pro-peace demonstrators. There was some interaction with the police at that time when the police asked both sides to stick to opposite sides of the street. At some point, coincidentally beginning just after a complaint against the police involving the Raging Grannies arrest was filed, the police stopped responding to calls from the pro-peace group about threats and intimidation made by the pro-war group.

The police recently, in June 2006, have responded to calls for assistance, to complaints about intimidation and requests for protection from assault, but only after the demonstration ends. Yesterday morning, Wednesday, June 7th, a gentleman called the police to report an assault made on his person as he attempted to exit his vehicle near the demonstration. A man in a red hat who was among the counter-protestors was the person who assaulted him according to what he told the police. (I didn’t see the event, but overheard the call to police. It took the police over 40 minutes to respond and the man in the red hat came back to the gentleman who reported the assault at least a half an hour later, which was conveniently after I had stopped video-taping and had gone to my car. I returned to the area to ask a friend about a meeting time. The man in the red hat had crossed Speedway and then crossed the side street to come over to the corner where the pro-peace demonstrators had gathered near where a mobility impaired older woman protestor sat with the banner. A crowd of pro-war people had collected along with the man in the red hat as he and a man in a pink shirt were having a heated discussion about a car door. As I attempted to get close enough to report what was happening, another pro-war man who had also crossed Speedway to get to the pro-peace NW corner front of me when I said to another pro-peace demonstrator as I was shaking my head, “you can see the maturity level, you can see the maturity level…” Another man who had crossed the street and was carrying a large wooden staffed flag with a sharp edged brass eagle on top, began shouting in my face, “You sure can, can’t cha!” Then once again much louder, “Can’t cha?” He was so close that his flag was touching me, so I then asked him, “Would you not touch me please” when he turned to confront me and began ranting that I had touched him with my “little” camera, and asked the child with the camera, “Did you get it on film?” I began to respond, “my camera…” then thought better of it as he was just deflecting my request and loudly ranting in my face. At that time I then turned my attention back to the man in the red hat and the pink shirted man, when I heard the term “yellow faggot” come from the Red hat man.

I managed to transcribe the following:

Red hat man: …you yellow faggot. Never been in the military.
You don’t like what I’m saying?

Pink shirt man: I went to Vietnam. For three years. (pause) you little…f (inaudible)

[Red hat man is screaming and coming toward pink shirt man.]

Red hat man: Why you. What unit were you with? What’s the unit? Name your unit!!!

[A woman then drags red hat man across the street. He is still screaming.]

Red hat man: Faggot!! Yellow faggot!

Things calmed down for a couple minutes until one of the remaining pro-war men [the one holding the flag, I think] tried to provoke the pro-peace folks by insulting them again.

Flag man: “You don’t believe in God so what do you care? You don’t believe in God, so what do you care? What do you care? What do you care?

Verbal assaults of a very crude sexual nature were also made. My friend was called, and I quote, “an ugly old c-nt” by one of the young males who accompany the adult pro-war people to these demonstrations. These adolescent verbally abuse the pro-peace people pretty much constantly. (I apologize for the crudeness of this language, but I feel it is important to accurately report the severity of the vile language used by these folks.) When I had a recorder near the young man, he cleaned up his language a bit and referred to me as an ugly, old hag.

People are becoming frightened. The pro-war folks who all dress in military clothing harass, intimidate, and assault the pro-peace folks. The women and youth who arrive with these folks verbally insult us. Yesterday I was told as I was filming that I would have been hung like Benedict Arnold during the Revolutionary War. The man was quite clearly intimating that I should be hung.

Can you imagine what people who are just walking by these folks think? You can see it on their faces. They are afraid. Women hug their purses tight to their sides and stare straight ahead as they pass, not making eye contact. They often have to walk through a group of the young pro war men who will part long enough to allow them through, but who intimidate by blocking the sidewalk before and after passage. This same man who implied that I should be hung told me the counter-protestors were trying to move the peace protesters away from the recruiting station because they were against the troops. That is what he said folks. They are there to keep the peace folks away from the public property in front of military recruiting offices. They are not there to support the troops they are there to get the anti-war folks to move. That isn’t exercising their rights; that is keeping others from expressing theirs. The police should respond for that infraction alone. But they will not respond until after the demonstration has ended.

The only thing the peace folk want is for the “counter-protesters” to stay away from them and not interfere with their freedom of expression.

The corruption within those in government service and with local government and in Tucson is getting to not only intolerable, but to outrageous and frightening levels.

When the police choose which laws to enforce and instruct individuals to act in ways that will allow the police to arrest them a police state has arrived.

When the County Board of Supervisors votes to purchase machines that control the voting process in spite of the fact that they are easily hacked and produce or use no auditable data. That’s the second concern disturbing me these last few days. Without fair elections and with the police making the laws or at least choosing which ones they will enforce, Tucson is not a good place to be. But this is my home and I will not run away…. I will work to make it a great place to live once again, how about you? (Oh… more on voting in the very near future.)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

More Contextual Info on the reported Bush Condi Affair?

Of course equally public photos of Clinton did not prove anything in and of themselves either, just as this one of a Condi and George's hug and kiss proves nothing either.

Now I haven't said it is true, but the possibility that and the increasing buzz about Georgey Bush and Condi Rice having an affair is just so reasonable that it is difficult to ignore. Is it possoible that this may have been what Hillary was talking about when she made that infamous comment on January 16th of this year comparing administration tactics to that of a plantation?

It would be delicious to think so, but unfortunately the likelihood of that possibility is negligible to none. She was not talking about anyone in the White House. What she said was, "When you look at the way the House of Representatives has been run, it has been run like a plantation, and you know what I'm talking about." Senator Clinton said this before an audience at the Canaan Baptist Church of Christ gathered together for an MLK Day observance earlier this year. Seems extremely unlikely that she was talking about any George Bush, Laura Bush, Condoleeza Rice love triangle.
Sorry to remind folks of this, but as juicey a morsel as this would be... it just isn't going to hold up. The best support for this illicit liaison still rests in the Freudian slip Rice made when she reportedly said, "my husb... er .... I mean the President" at a Washington dinner party.

This story is not going away!