Thursday, June 30, 2005

Thought For The Day - 6/30/05

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

Historically attributed to Ben Franklin (here's an interesting article on it).

BTW, it's Wanda's byline, too!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Oh, well...

Mike didn't get to it tonight, but as he's read a couple of mine before, that's show biz...

As long as the dialogue keeps going - that's the main thing.

One interesting thing Mike talked about that I could relate to was feeling as if you're mentally ill - depression, anxiety. This is my take on it:

Mental illness is an inappropriate response to reality; clinical depression, for instance, may mean you're sad when there's nothing wrong.

The way we feel is a completely appropriate emotional response to a horrible situation.

What would be 'mental illness' would be if you weren't upset at the atrocities going on. People wilfully shutting their eyes and ears and pretending everything's fine - now, that's mental illness!

And this is how I deal with it. I write. I talk. I connect with others. I try to stay mad instead of afraid, to do something, anything, instead of being paralyzed by fear and depression. And it helps.

It really does.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Mike Malloy Show

Mike Malloy said tonight that he's going to read my "Fighting Chance" post (which I sent him in an e-mail) on the air tomorrow night (Wednesday). So if you feel like it, check out Mike on Air America tomorrow night (or tonight, whatever it is when you read this...)

Do We Stand A Fighting Chance?

Before I begin, let me state for the record that, regardless of whether we have a chance to get our democracy back or not, I am prepared to go to the wall with this. I am not ready to roll over because 'there's nothing we can do about it'. I will keep hollering because the alternative is unacceptable to me.

However, I have some grave doubts about the possibility of any kind of democratic (small 'd') process when I hear with my own ears a voice vote taken where the 'ayes' are clearly audible, the 'noes' are practically inaudible, and the chair moves that the 'noes' have it. That is pretty much saying black is white, and white is black, and anyone who disagrees can take a long walk on a short pier.

I have grave doubts when I watch with my own eyes a chairman of a hearing shut off microphones and stalk out of the room to keep witnesses from testifying, and get away without so much as a 'by-your-leave'.

I have grave doubts when I see something happen that I have never seen before - the media intimidated into silence by an administration that will not tolerate dissent of any kind.

I have grave doubts when I watch civil rights and property rights and privacy rights dismantled before my eyes by the most secretive, bloodthirsty and greedy administration ever, without a peep from the party that is supposed to be all about freedom from government intrusion. When I see anyone who dares to speak the truth about what they see smeared and discredited, and anyone who places loyalty to the administration over doing what's right promoted and decorated.

I have grave doubts when I find that the only places that the exit polling does not closely match election results are places that are pivotal to one candidate's success.

I have grave doubts when a congressman of sterling character and 30 years' service to our country, carrying a letter signed by 122 other congresspeople and over half a million Americans, is insulted and dismissed by an unelected underling as if he were a beggar at the gate.

I have grave doubts when a 'Snowflake' of cells or one brain-dead woman represents the 'Culture of Life' and an avalanche of American and Iraqi deaths mean nothing.

When torture is acceptable and the reporting of it is unacceptable.

When facts mean nothing, spin means everything and the President uses the word 'propaganda' in all seriousness.

When 'pre-emptive war' is national policy.

When the President's idea of 'bipartisanship' means 'both parties agree with me."

All of this flies in the face of everything I thought I knew about America. And I have the fear that, no matter what information is revealed to the American people, our votes and our voices will not matter anymore.

We are being ruled by a dynasty. It doesn't really matter who is President; the idiot son is just a puppet, albeit a cruel and vindictive one. This administration is filled with the plutocrats and chickenhawks that have been in collusion for decades. There can be no accountability when everyone in power is in on the fix.

Bill Clinton was vulnerable because he was a country boy from a poor family, with only his brains and personality to recommend him. He got to be President on his own, and didn't have a phalanx of courtiers to protect him when he displeased the ruling class. George Bush does not have that vulnerability.

At the moment, I'm running out of hope - not that we're not right, but that it won't matter. I will not let that stop me from raising my voice and taking whatever action I can. But I sure could use a little light at the end of the tunnel. And I don't mean the light of an oncoming train.

I want my democracy back, you thugs!

Top 5 Music Meme

Crabletta of The Curmudgeonly Crab tagged me with the Music Meme...I've never done this before, so here goes...

Top 5 Music Meme -

1. Top 5 lyrics that move your heart

1. "And the heart that has been broken will be stronger when it mends" - Rainbow Sleeves (sung by Rickie Lee, written by Tom Waits)
2. "Change gon' come - oh yes it will" - Change is Gonna Come
3. "Many rivers to cross
And it's only my will that keeps me alive
I've been licked, washed up for years
And I merely survive because of my pride" - Many Rivers To Cross
4. "Let her cry, for she's a lady - let her dream, for she's a child - let the rain fall down upon her - she's a free and gentle flower growing wild" - Wildflower
5. "Kept some letters by his bed - Dated nineteen sixty-two - He had underlined in red - Every single "I love you" - He Stopped Loving Her Today - George Jones

2. Top 5 Instrumentals

1. "Ruby, My Dear", Thelonious Monk
2. "Hip-Hug Her", Booker T. and the MGs
3. "Naima", John Coltrane
4. "Machine Gun", the Commodores
5. "Hideaway" (by Freddie King), Stevie Ray Vaughan

3. Top 5 musical experiences

1. Led Zeppelin - Tampa Stadium, 1973 - what more needs to be said?
2. Playing a piano in Japan that Beethoven had once played
3. Being asked by Jack Segal ("When Sunny Gets Blue") to sing a song that he wrote at his final concert.
4. Having Carole King jam with a band I was in.
5. Listening to my husband sing for the first time.
4. Top 5 Artists you think more people should listen to
1. Eva Cassidy
2. Rickie Lee Jones
3. Cold Blood
4. David Morgan (my husband)
5. Anne McCue
5. Top 5 Albums you must hear from start to finish
1. Thelonious Monk's Greatest Hits
2. Pearl - Janis Joplin
3. Learning to Crawl - the Pretenders
4. Crosby, Stills and Nash
5. Girl at her Volcano - Rickie Lee Jones
6. Top 5 Musical Heroes
1. Patrice Rushen
2. Chrissie Hynde
3. Sam and Dave
4. Al Green
5. Gladys Knight
I had a really hard time with this; there's so much left out...

Monday, June 27, 2005

Serf City, USA

Blow after blow after blow is being dealt to the average American, as the corporations and big money interests get gift after gift, stolen from the American people. The Wal-Martization of America is fast approaching, where people working full-time are on Medicaid and food stamps, and private property can be snatched away at a whim. Where those with the most money are not responsible for their debts and obligations, and dump them onto the taxpayer, but those with the least are responsible not only for their debts, but usurious fees on top of them.

Welcome to Serf City, USA.

Eminent Domain - Christmas In June For Developers!

In yet another blatant and shameless giveaway to the rich and powerful, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision written by Justice John Paul Stevens, gave local governments the right to condemn someone's home or business to make room for more lucrative use of the land.

'Eminent Domain' has long been used to build public roads, schools, railways, and utilities. But now it has been expanded to the private sector! Which means that if a developer can prove that your home would be better used as a site for a business that would increase the tax base 'for the community' (ha!), then - voila! There goes your house. Poof!

This means that no one really owns their own home anymore. And, worse still, this is decided by projection! If a chain comes in and says, "We expect to make x amount of dollars because our other stores did blah-blah, woof-woof, etc., etc." then they're in business. But suppose the store doesn't do so well? Too damn bad - your house is just as gone.

This is the most grotesque thing I' ve heard in, oh - a day or so...and it was decided by a majority of one. One person. One person got to decide that rich and powerful corporations are entitled to what you've worked all your life for. Just because they want it.

By the way, this is not even a liberal issue. Read this from the Conservative Voice...

This comes right on the heels of the decision to let United off the hook for their pension plans in their bankruptcy action, dumping it onto us, the taxpayers, and voting to allow this to become a precedent so that other big screw-up corporations can do the same. But the Bankruptcy Bill ensures that the individual who files for bankruptcy has no such luxury. No siree. Why, that would be 'irresponsible'. Off to Debtor's Prison with you!

I'm just waiting for Bush to declare himself King and take away all our private property and be done with it. Why these little baby steps?

Everybody's just laying the fuck down for it anyway.

Where is the fucking outrage?

Where is the motherfucking outrage?


In the Los Angeles Times last Thursday, there was an editorial by Michael Smith, defense writer for the Sunday Times of London, and the person who first reported on the Downing Street Memos.

In this editorial, he opines that, to him, the most important document that he saw was not the one most people are familiar with - the one that states that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." As damning as that is, the one he regards as the real 'smoking gun' is the one that asserts that
"the UK would support military action to bring about regime change." Because this was illegal, the officials noted, it was "necessary to create the conditions in which we could legally support military action."
Their first plan was to have the UN issue an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein in language so harsh that Saddam would reject it, thus giving the US and Britain a 'legal' justification to attack Iraq. However, Saddam did not reject it, and allowed the weapons inspectors in, although the media told us otherwise.

What came next was 'Plan B'.

This plan involved stepping up bombing raids ('spikes of activity', in military double-speak) on Iraq, in an attempt to goad Saddam into retaliating. This also did not get the desired response, so the US and Britain intensified the bombing - all without Congress' knowledge or approval.

As Michael Smith says,
"In other words, Bush and Blair began their war not in March 2003, as everyone believed, but at the end of August 2002, six weeks before Congress approved military action against Iraq.

The way in which the intelligence was "fixed" to justify war is old news.

The real news is the shady April 2002 deal to go to war, the cynical use of the U.N. to provide an excuse, and the secret, illegal air war without the backing of Congress."
There's something to chew on...

Sunday, June 26, 2005

And Now For Something Completely Different - My Band!

Pardon the interruption from truly pressing world issues, but I wanted to tell you, my friends, about this weekend with my band, Some Like It Hot. Yesterday we played at the Irvine Lake Blues Festival, and we rocked! It's the first festival that we've played where we did all original music (except for a cool old Ikettes cover). We were on the bill with Robben Ford (who we hung out with a bit and who was incredibly nice) and four other bands.

Back story - we're a 6-piece all-female blues and soul band, and we've been noodling around together for about 5 or 6 years, just having fun playing together, doing covers and hanging out. We started off with about 12 girls when we met at a Women In Blues show at B.B. King's, and we thought it would be fun to keep playing together. Over the years we've narrowed down to our current 6 members, but we didn't get serious until a producer buddy of ours wanted to do a record with us. We then discovered to our surprise that we write really well together so we started putting some songs together. The response has been very nice, and it's encouraging to find that, although none of us are exactly spring chickens, people like what we're doing!

If any of you local LA-vicinity people feel like coming out to see us, we're playing next Friday in Simi Valley at a kid-friendly cantina - good barbecue, early hours (7-10) and no cover! Check the website for details - I'd love to see you!

Guess What, Rover?

You and your minions' policies have killed more than half as many Americans as Osama and his Saudi accomplices did on 9/11.

Only 1300 or so more to go!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Pentagon Sells Student Data To Military Marketers

I can't even believe this. The Pentagon is taking the personal information of high school students between 16 and 18, to be sold to marketing companies targeting (how apt!) potential recruits for the military.

The Washington Post reports:
The program is provoking a furor among privacy advocates. The new database will include personal information including birth dates, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, grade-point averages, ethnicity and what subjects the students are studying.
The data will be managed by BeNow Inc. of Wakefield, Mass., one of many marketing firms that use computers to analyze large amounts of data to target potential customers based on their personal profiles and habits.

"The purpose of the system . . . is to provide a single central facility within the Department of Defense to compile, process and distribute files of individuals who meet age and minimum school requirements for military service," according to the official notice of the program.

Privacy advocates said the plan appeared to be an effort to circumvent laws that restrict the government's right to collect or hold citizen information by turning to private firms to do the work.

Why? Because We Can...Live From CSPAN

Listen to this - it's unbelievable.

I was listening to Randi Rhodes today, when a caller told about this vote she heard on CSPAN. Now, I don't have all the details yet, but from what I can tell, there was a vote to decide whether or not to make the jettisoning of pensions by United a precedent, so that every big company that wants to declare bankruptcy can bail on their employees' pensions, too, and pass it on to the taxpayers instead. Democrats put forth an amendment to not make it a precedent. So they decide to take a 'voice vote', ayes and noes. The chair decided that the 'noes' carry it.

But do they? Listen for yourself and tell me what you think. I had to include Randi's comment afterwards, because it was so apropos. Fortunately, she played the clip enough times that I was able to do an audio capture.

I'll follow up with names, etc., as soon as I find them.

Okay - the chair's name is Adam Putnam, a Florida congressman from Winter Haven (an area that I know very well... *sigh*). The corruption and abuse of power is just beyond belief.

Rover, Go Home

Apparently, it's getting so hot for Dubya these days that they have to call in the heavy artillery - the head honcho, the big cheese, the top dog. And no, I don't mean Dick Cheney. Even his lethal snarkiness isn't enough. I'm talking about the Big Dawg himself, Karl Rove.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Friday, June 17, 2005

We Need An Independent MSM!

I am thrilled about the Downing Street Hearing. I am so proud that, along with John Conyers and the 122 members of Congress, there were over 560,000 citzens that signed the letter asking for accountablilty from this Administration regarding the Downing Street Minutes. And I am especially proud that it was the liberal blogosphere that largely kept this alive when the White House and the mainstream media pointedly ignored it, hoping it would wither away without their attention.

However, this brings up a very serious question about the mainstream media in general - the newspapers and the major network news in particular. What good is the blogosphere alone when most of America is not a part of it?

I don't know about you, but most of the people in my life are not umbilically attached to a computer like I am. The majority of Americans do not get their information from the Internet. Most folks manage America Online, and that's the extent of their computer use. Even many people who use a computer all day long at work don't come home and go onto the computer - they've spent enough time on it at work. And with our economy shipwrecked by the Pirate-in-Chief, most people work longer hours than ever before, many with more than one job (how 'uniquely American') and still deal with home, kids, or elderly parents on top of this - sometimes all three.

And when they come home, they turn on the Channel 7 news. Or read the newspaper. They don't go to Daily Kos or Raw Story or Buzzflash. And the mainstream news outlets are abnegating their responsibility to these people. Whether it's from fear or from laziness, from the publishers on down, the major media have abandoned not only the obligation but the privilege of telling the independent truth to America. The Fourth Estate has the honor and civic duty of defending America's freedom by telling the truth, by digging below the surface and between the lines of what it hears. If it takes everything disseminated by the Administration (any Administration, not just this one) at face value, and merely repeats what it's told by the powers-that-be, then it ceases to be journalism and becomes propaganda. And that's criminally negligent, as far as I'm concerned. You are actively injuring American freedom when you become a mouthpiece.

Sure, it's easy to say to Americans, "Get informed! Go on the Internet! Look it up for yourself!" But the sad truth is, most people don't have the time or energy to do that. Yes, the people have an obligation to pay attention to what's going on in the country. But if real, unbiased information is too difficult to find, it's not fair to expect all Americans to become computer sleuths in addition to everything else.

In order to stay informed, we are having to become investigative journalists ourselves. And today's world is so complex and multi-faceted that it is a full-time job just to separate the sh** from the Shinola, so to speak. Journalism is a profession, or it used to be. One aspect of a profession is a matter of trust. If you go to a doctor or a lawyer, you are putting your trust in them, since we all can't spend years in med school or law school. You are literally putting your life into their hands. And we put the life of our democracy in the hands of our press.

Please, please, honor your obligation to the American people, ladies and gentlemen of the press. We need you now more than ever.

I promise you, you'll be glad you did.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

I'm So Proud!

What an amazing thing. Helen Wheels mentioned how jazzed she was to have been a part of the Downing Street Hearing, and she's right on, because she took action. We all took action, kept writing, kept talking, signed our names, wouldn't let the story fade into the woodwork like BushCo and their lemmings the MSM desperately hoped it would do if they pretended it was nothing.

These pictures are from the Brad Blog, and his site has all the juicy details.

And of course, as you might expect, the response was...I'll let John Conyers tell it:
• Of course we were not done. About ten members and I proceeded to caravan over to the White House, where we delivered the letter signed by more than 560,000 Americans and 122 Members of Congress demanding answers. There were several hundred protestors at the White House along with least a dozen cameras.. In front of all of these witnesses, the White House staff refused to permit any of us to enter. They did take the petitions, but I would think that sitting Members of Congress deserve a bit more respect.
Par for the course, I'd say...

Mad crazy props to After Downing, the Big Brass Alliance, and all the sites and bloggers and signers and talk show hosts and organizations who made this happen.

The revolution starts now.

I Just Watched the Hearing - Powerful!

I don't have time for a full update at the moment, but it was extremely moving, inspiring and heartening. I watched it on C-SPAN 3 on my computer, since my Adelphia Cable with a zillion channels isn't carrying C-SPAN. That's all right - at least I saw it. Wish I could see them take the letter to the White House, though...

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Downing Street Hearing! Watch on CSPAN3!

Finally, there will be an official meeting on the Downing Street Minutes! Although John Conyers has to hold this hearing in a small basement room of the Capitol, since the Republican majority on the Judiciary Committee will not allow him to use Committee space, as he has in the past for this, nevertheless, it is an official room.

And, since the room for the hearing only holds 20 seats, (to accommodate people bringing 500,000-plus signatures), there will be an overflow room -- the Wasserman Room of the DNC on South Capitol Street.

Here's the info on watching it, courtesy of BradBlog via the Big Brass Blog forum:

C-SPAN has committed to carrying the U.S. House Judiciary Democrats hearings tomorrow on C-SPAN 3. They will be carried LIVE.

For those who don't receive C-SPAN 3 on their local cable system, the video and/or audio from the hearings should be carried via the Internets right here.

The hearings will also be carried live on Pacifica Radio and via Radio Left.

Yesterday,, another very large citizens activist organization, joined in sending Petitions to its members to collect signatures for John Conyers Letter to Bush, to be delivered bu Conyers himself after tomorrow's hearing. joins who last week collected some 500,000 signatures in 48 hours or so.

From John Conyers' site:

WHAT: Democratic Hearing on Downing Street Minutes and Pre-war intelligence

WHEN: Thursday, June 16, 2005, 2:30pm

WHERE: HC-9 The Capitol
(Overflow Room – 430 S. Capitol Street, SE – The Wasserman Room)

WITNESSES: Joe Wilson, Former Ambassador and WMD Expert
Ray McGovern, 27-year CIA analyst who prepared regular Presidential briefings during the Reagan administration

Cindy Sheehan, mother of fallen American soldier
John Bonifaz, renown constitutional lawyer

Here's John Conyers' site.

Keep up-to-date on the latest at!

The Jackboots Of Freedom

Monday, June 13, 2005

A True 'Patriot'

Where's the Wisconsin Resolution to Impeach?

We hear that the Democratic Party of Wisconsin has adopted a resolution to ask for the impeachment of George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld. However, this little factoid has been remarkably difficult to find!


WHEREAS, the Downing Street Memo shows that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld began planning and executing the war on Iraq before seeking Congressional and UN approval;

WHEREAS, UN weapons inspectors showed prior to the invasion that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; and

WHEREAS, there is further mounting evidence that the Administration lied or misled about "mushroom clouds," "connections to 9/11," and "war as a last resort" as they sought UN, Congressional, and public approvals;

THEREFORE, RESOLVED, the DPW asks Congress to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld.

I found mention of it in Daily Kos (ColdFusion04), the Big Brass Alliance, the Purple Cheese blog, the Portland blog pdxleft, and a French blog, Bellaciao. The Door County, Wisconsin Democrats website claims there is no MSM coverage of this, and I am hard pressed to dispute them.

A French blog has it, and our own so-called media do not.

Another Puzzle Piece Falls Into Place

Well, what do you know - another memo has surfaced from Great Britain regarding the need for creating a legal justification for attacking Iraq. Apparently George Bush was hell-bent on attacking Iraq no matter what, and Britain had no choice but to look for a way to make it legal. According to a leaked Cabinet Office briefing paper:
"This was required because, even if ministers decided Britain should not take part in an invasion, the American military would be using British bases. This would automatically make Britain complicit in any illegal US action."
Tony Blair was in a bit of a sticky wicket because he had already agreed to back Bush in his determination to go to war three months earlier at a meeting in Crawford at the President's ranch. But it was equally clear that, as things stood, the legal conditions for initiating a war had not been met. The London Times reports:
The document said the only way the allies could justify military action was to place Saddam Hussein in a position where he ignored or rejected a United Nations ultimatum ordering him to co-operate with the weapons inspectors. But it warned this would be difficult.

“It is just possible that an ultimatum could be cast in terms which Saddam would reject,” the document says. But if he accepted it and did not attack the allies, they would be “most unlikely” to obtain the legal justification they needed.

The suggestions that the allies use the UN to justify war contradicts claims by Blair and Bush, repeated during their Washington summit last week, that they turned to the UN in order to avoid having to go to war. The attack on Iraq finally began in March 2003.
So, basically, the US and Britain had agreed to try to 'goad' Saddam Hussein into rejecting the UN weapons inspectors, or, failing that, to respond in kind to being bombed by the US and Britain. This contradicts the assertions by Bush and Blair that they were trying desperately to avoid war at all costs. On the contrary, they were doing everything they could think of to maneuver Saddam Hussein into a position where they could find a 'legal' reason, no matter how flimsy, to attack him.

Technically legal? Perhaps (but doubtful). Morally justifiable? Absolutely not. And the American people are starting to see that. For a President who cannot shut his pie-hole about the 'Culture of Life' and how every little clump of cells must be protected at any and all cost, this amounts to the most egregious and grotesque hypocrisy imaginable. It is the most despicable Orwellian double-speak to romanticise "Snowflakes" while killing and maiming thousands of American men and women and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, torturing prisoners, and detaining people without recourse to legal assistance.

This is the most amoral President, the most corrupt Administration I can think of in American history. Nixon could only wish to be that venal. And to be so sanctimonious and self-righteous at the same time is just more than I can bear. These people would not recognize a real value if it bit them in the ass, and, hopefully, that's what's beginning to happen. Real values, real respect for life, real fiscal responsibility, real concern for security- that's what we need right now.

And, no, Sean Hannity, we are not better off or safer with Saddam out of power. Because of the way we did it, we are creating America-haters out of people who were not before. It's like a terrorist factory, churning out fresh new terrorists every day we continue with this madness.

I think that the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall into place in a way that even partisan Republicans are beginning to have difficulty ignoring. We need to continue giving them enough real truth and information so that they can justify jumping off the Bush "Crazy Train Express" before it heads over the cliff.

Kudos to all you bloggers who have been an important part of getting this information in front of the public when the mainstream media stuck their heads in the sand and hoped it would go away!

Here's the new memo.

Here's the coverage of it by the London Times.

And don't forget to check in with the Big Brass Alliance for the latest news and updates on this fast-moving situation!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Tyranny of the Majority! Civil Liberties In Tatters!

Mud at Mudholer has alerted me to a very serious issue that just happened this morning. The Judiciary Hearings on the Patriot Act were illegally shut down by the Republican Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, James Sensenbrenner. Better yet, let me put some of this up and you can find out the rest - this is huge!
June 10, 2005

(Washington, DC) -- Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, in her new role as a member of the Judiciary Committee, today witnessed first hand the disrespectful conduct of the Republican majority at a Committee hearing today, requested by the Democratic minority, to hear testimony on civil rights and civil liberties abuses resulting from the USA Patriot Act.

“What happened today was not only an attempt to silence Democratic Members of Judiciary, it was a silencing of Democracy in America,” said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. “As a new member of the Judiciary Committee, I was appalled by the treatment we received today and the disrespect that Minority Chairman Conyers was shown. Minority Chairman Conyers has dedicated over forty years of his life to this country as a member of the House of Representatives --he and the Americans who are deeply concerned about the Patriot Act deserve better.”

The majority acted shamefully today, attempting to silence Democrats at the Judiciary Committee hearing this morning on the impact of the Patriot Act. Throughout the hearing, run by Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, witnesses and members were cut-off in mid sentence, the Chairman refused to yield to Democratic members points of order, or points of personal privilege. Finally, the hearing was adjourned by the Chairman, in violation of the Rules of the House and cutting off the microphones of Democratic members while they attempted to speak.

Sixteen provisions of the USA Patriot Act automatically sunset (expire) at the end of the year unless reauthorized by Congress. As such, the Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act.

The hearing this morning was the first time in roughly ten years that the minority on the Judiciary Committee has been forced to invoke its right to continue hearings in order to have its own witnesses.

Folks, this is really, really serious.

This is about the Patriot Act and the fact that they are trying to make it permanent, and are illegally denying the minority voice a chance to speak. This involves people being detained without recourse to lawyers. This involves 'law enforcement' (whatever the hell that means) having access to all your records - without your knowledge, much less your consent.

This is fascism, and it's happening now.

Go here to read the rest and watch the video.


BTW - 'Real I.D.'? Sensenbrenner's idea - shoved into an Iraq military appropriations bill.

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs!


According to, as of 11:27 AM PST, "we've achieved 90 % of our 500,000 goal (451,980)!"

This is fantastic! If you click on the link, you'll find out where we are in real time...

If you haven't signed the John Conyers letter, you can also do it at the above-listed link.

Go on, now - get out of here - go and sign the letter! Vote early and often!

Update: I like clicking on that link just to watch the numbers go up.

Downing Street - Connect The Dots

For starters, I'm going to go refresh my memory re: Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neill. I'm going out right now to buy Clarke's book " Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror".

Then, I'm going to direct you to Marie and Jeannette at The Right Left Story - they have got all the ducks in a row today. Great job, ladies.

It's all starting to come together. Look what we can do!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Big Adventure!

Ding Ding!

Are we having fun yet? (I love Photoshop!)

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Hooterville On MSNBC Site - the Little Weblog That Could!

I don't know how it happened, but somehow this site was listed on - Connected Coast to Coast with Ron Reagan and Monica Crowley - as one of 5 blogs that are talking about the Downing Street Memo! The other sites are,, our own Big Brass Alliance, and company indeed!

As a relatively insignificant little blog, I'm stunned. But I'm really, really happy to be a part of getting this information into the mainstream!

It just goes to show that every little bit counts, y'all...I'm a nobody, but I'm part of making a difference. We all can be. If I'm not too small, you're not either.

Remember 2000? Don't Say He Didn't Warn Us...

As I was aimlessly Googling around, I came upon a remarkable document. I found Gov. George W. Bush's speech accepting the nomination at the 2000 Republican convention. (God, aren't those beautiful words...'Governor George Bush'?) I'm sorry to make it so long, but I'd really like for you all come back with me, to look back at those golden years, the good ol' days before G.W. Bush assumed the Presidency (and made an 'ass' out of you and me). I'll try to trim it a little bit, but if you can stand to read it without getting a tear in your eye for those long-lost, happy days, here it is:

Mr. Chairman, delegates, and my fellow citizens ... I accept your nomination. Thank you for this honor. Together, we will renew America's purpose.

Our founders first defined that purpose here in Philadelphia ... Ben Franklin was here. Thomas Jefferson. And, of course, George Washington -- or, as his friends called him, "George W."
(no delusions of grandeur here...)
I am proud to have Dick Cheney at my side. He is a man of integrity and sound judgment, who has proven that public service can be noble service.

America will be proud to have a leader of such character to succeed Al Gore as Vice President of the United States.

This is a remarkable moment in the life of our nation. Never has the promise of prosperity been so vivid. But times of plenty, like times of crisis, are tests of American character.

Prosperity can be a tool in our hands
-- used to build and better our country. Or it can be a drug in our system -- dulling our sense of urgency, of empathy, of duty.
(not anymore, it can't...)
Our opportunities are too great, our lives too short, to waste this moment. So tonight we vow to our nation. We will seize this moment of American promise. We will use these good times for great goals.

We will confront the hard issues -- threats to our national security, threats to our health and retirement security -- before the challenges of our time become crises for our children.

And we will extend the promise of prosperity to every forgotten corner of this country.

To every man and woman, a chance to succeed. To every child, a chance to learn. To every family, a chance to live with dignity and hope.

For eight years, the Clinton/Gore administration has coasted through prosperity. And the path of least resistance is always downhill. But America's way is the rising road. This nation is daring and decent and ready for change.

Our current president embodied the potential of a generation. So many talents. So much charm. Such great skill. But, in the end, to what end? So much promise, to no grat purpose.

Little more than a decade ago, the Cold War thawed and, with the leadership of Presidents Reagan and Bush, that wall came down. But instead of seizing this moment, the Clinton/Gore administration has squandered it. We have seen a steady erosion of American power and an unsteady exercise of American influence.

Our military is low on parts, pay and morale. If called on by the commander-in-chief today, two entire divisions of the Army would have to report ... Not ready for duty, sir.

This administration had its moment. They had their chance. They have not led. We will.

This generation was given the gift of the best education in American history. Yet we do not share that gift with everyone. Seven of ten fourth-graders in our highest poverty schools cannot read a simple children's book.

And still this administration continues on the same old path with the same old programs -- while millions are trapped in schools where violence is common and learning is rare.

This administration had its chance. They have not led. We will.

America has a strong economy and a surplus. We have the public resources and the public will -- even the bipartisan opportunities -- to strengthen Social Security and repair Medicare.

But this administration -- during eight years of increasing need -- did nothing. They had their moment. They have not led. We will.

And now they come asking for another chance, another shot. Our answer? Not this time. Not this year. This is not a time for third chances, it is a time for new beginnings.
(yeah - who needs all that crummy peace and prosperity?)
Tonight, in this hall, we resolve to be, not the party of repose, but the party of reform. We will write, not footnotes, but chapters in the American story. We will add the work of our hands to the inheritance of our fathers and mothers -- and leave this nation greater than we found it. We know the tests of leadership. The issues are joined.

We will strengthen Social Security and Medicare for the greatest generation, and for generations to come. Medicare does more than meet the needs of our elderly, it reflects the values of our society.

We will set it on firm financial ground, and make prescription drugs available and affordable for every senior who needs them. Social Security has been called the "third rail of American politics" -- the one you're not supposed to touch because it shocks you.

But, if you don't touch it, you can't fix it. And I intend to fix it.
(you heard it here first, folks)
To seniors in this country ... You earned your benefits, you made your plans, and President George W. Bush will keep the promise of Social Security ... no changes, no reductions, no way. Our opponents will say otherwise. This is their last, parting ploy, and don't believe a word of it.

Now is the time for Republicans and Democrats to end the politics of fear and save Social Security, together.

For younger workers, we will give you the option -- your choice -- to put a part of your payroll taxes into sound, responsible investments.

This will mean a higher return on your money, and, over 30 or 40 years, a nest egg to help your retirement, or pass along to your children. When this money is in your name, in your account, it's not just a program, it's your property.

Now is the time to give American workers security and independence that no politician can ever take away.

On education ... Too many American children are segregated into schools without standards, shuffled from grade-to-grade because of their age, regardless of their knowledge.

This is discrimination, pure and simple -- the soft bigotry of low expectations.

And our nation should treat it like other forms of discrimination ... We should end it.

One size does not fit all when it comes to educating our children, so local people should control local schools.

And those who spend your tax dollars must be held accountable.

Another test of leadership is tax relief.

The last time taxes were this high as a percentage of our economy, there was a good reason ... We were fighting World War II.

Today, our high taxes fund a surplus. Some say that growing federal surplus means Washington has more money to spend. But they've got it backwards.

The surplus is not the government's money. The surplus is the people's money.

All I can say is, don't say he didn't warn us...

The whole thing...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

One 'Snowflake' Can Start An Avalanche!

I'm starting to hear a little more about the Downing Street Memo! We just might be starting to get somewhere. I know it's a little early to get my hopes up just yet, but I think John Conyers, the blogosphere, our Alliance, and the Downing Street sites might just be some of the 'snowflakes' it takes to start an investigative avalanche.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Downing Street - It's Not Just For Democrats Anymore!

In spite of the concerted, even heroic efforts by the right wing and their sock-puppets the mainstream media to trivialize, patronize, minimize, and dismiss the Downing Street Memo, a few free-thinking (or just 'thinking') Republicans are stepping up and talking sense.

Here's a succinct but blistering column about the Downing Street Memo.
George W. Bush and his gang of neocon warmongers have destroyed America’s reputation.

It is likely to stay destroyed, because at this point the only way to restore America’s reputation would be to impeach and convict President Bush for intentionally deceiving Congress and the American people in order to start a war of aggression against a country that posed no threat to the US. America can redeem itself only by holding Bush accountable.

As intent as Republicans were to impeach President Clinton for lying about a sexual affair, they have a blind eye for President Bush’s far more serious lies.

Bush’s lies have caused the deaths of tens of thousands of people, injured and maimed tens of thousands more, devastated a country, destroyed America’s reputation, caused one billion Muslims to hate America, ruined our alliances with Europe, created a police state at home, and squandered $300 billion dollars and counting.

Here's the rest...

Now, who would you think wrote that? Greg Palast? Molly Ivins? Robert Scheer? Seymour Hirsch? Me?

Nope. All wrong. It was written by Paul Craig Roberts, a conservative Republican, former Reagan Administration official and syndicated columnist, former editor and columnist for that pinko rag the 'Wall Street Journal', as well as a list of fellowships and think-tank bona fides that would make any conservative swoon with ardor.

So if someone with the impeccable conservative credentials of Dr. Roberts can see the light on this issue, there may be some hope yet to bring it into the mainstream. This has to be a bipartisan effort to be effective and convince the American people of the seriousness of this memo and what it entails.

Here are some more of his articles

Check out the Big Brass Alliance for more information about the Downing Street Memo.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Lie Vs. Lie

All right.

I have had e-motherf***-nough of this. Please excuse me while I go book a plane ticket, fly to Chicago, hail a cab, and go kick this motherf***'s ass.

Now, I can understand how the right-wingers feel about Clinton. After all, it's the same visceral reaction I get every time I see a picture or hear the name of George W. Bush. But I just cannot take any more of this anti-logic. I'm sick, sick, sick to death of it.

So. John Kass of the Chicago Tribune writes an article equating Linda Tripp and 'Deep Throat' as principled heroes. I never heard anything so disgusting in my life. The source he quoted in the interview was none other than Chicago attorney David Schippers, a Democrat who was the chief investigator for the House Judiciary Committee, which pushed the impeachment fight against Clinton, and who argued passionately for Clinton to be convicted.

Those dogs will just not let go of that bone.

So I'm going to spell it out. In words of one syllable.

All lies are not the same.

All lies are not crimes.

Some crimes are not lies.

Some lies do not kill.

Some lies do kill.

Lies that kill are worse than lies that do not kill.

It's been five years now, and these pathetic people still can't let go of Clinton. Let me tell you, when we kick Dubya out of office, I'm going to forget his name so quick it will make your head spin. I will have instant amnesia. That name will never cross my lips again. Please believe it.

Bill and Hillary are single-handedly responsible for paying the bills at right-wing radio stations. Rush Limbaugh ought to be sending them a percentage of his salary; they gave him a career. If anything happened to them, most of the right-wing blusterers and bloviators would go out of business.

But if I hear one more person defend Bush by saying, "Well, Bill Clinton lied under oath! Bill Clinton desecrated the sanctity of the Oval Office! Bill Clinton dropped bombs to distract the nation from Monica Lewinsky!", I swear to you - I swear to you that I am going to go postal.

First of all, the case against Bill Clinton never should have been a case to begin with. "Troopergate", the article that started it all in the American Spectator, was a...lie! Exposed as such by David Brock, one of the people who was involved in it. Paula Jones was a sad, clueless pawn; manipulated from day one by the right, including plastic surgery (that seems to be de rigueur), looking for her little day in the spotlight, her ticket out of her small-town life. But that didn't stop the all-out assault by what Hillary rightly called the 'vast right-wing conspiracy'.

It's rather remarkable that the same people who treat King George as if his royal word is law, as if his every whim and wish is entitled to fulfillment, who coddle him and swaddle him like 'His Majesty the Baby', had no problem with jeopardizing our national and international safety and security by allowing a trumped-up lie of a case to hobble the leader of the free world. The same people who say, "The President deserves an up-and-down vote", "The President deserves a UN Ambassador who reflects his views" had no problem disrespecting Bill Clinton as Commander-in-Chief, disparaging him to our military. The same people who hustle anyone who has so much as a questionable bumper sticker out of the so-called 'public' forums where Bush propagandizes, said openly, "He's not our President". They had no respect for the office of the Presidency when someone they didn't like was in it. But now they demand, not just respect, but groveling, unquestioning, slavish obeisance. To this cruel, stupid disaster of a President.

Well, I've had it.

Yes, Bill Clinton lied. Under oath, as if other kinds of lies are just fine. He had been cleverly maneuvered into a lose-lose situation - 'have you stopped beating your wife?' He was put under oath under false pretenses. But his lies have not killed hundreds of thousand of people. Bush's have. And I'm sick and tired of people ignoring his lies.

Yes, there is a difference in lies.

And anyone who says they don't ever lie is a liar.

If you've turned down an unwanted date by saying you were playing gin rummy with Grandma, you're a liar.

If you ever said you were stuck in traffic because you overslept, you're a liar.

If you ever had lunch with an old boyfriend and told your husband it was a client, you're a liar.

You lying scum, you're a liar. I don't care what it was about, it was a lie and you're a liar.

But Linda Tripp, the worst kind of back-stabbing, two-faced, opportunistic 'friend', is a hero? Don't make me puke.

If Monica and Bill were doing something illegal or dangerous to the nation, perhaps it would be different.

But they weren't.

Nixon was.

And what the Republicans did to Bill Clinton was a 'High Crime and Misdemeanor'. I don't know what else you'd call putting the entire nation, and by inference, the entire world, at risk by distracting and diverting the President from doing the most important job in the world. Well, maybe you could call it 'treason'.

John Kass is lamenting the treatment that Linda Tripp got, and wondering why she's not being hailed as a 'hero'. I'm wondering what mental hospital John Kass escaped from.

'High Crimes and Misdemeanors'? The only thing 'high' is you, bro. You wouldn't know a 'High Crime and Misdemeanor' if it bit you in the ass.

It's high time to focus on the real 'High Crimes' going on right here and now.

Lies that kill are worse than lies that do not kill.

Get On the Downing Street Memo!

Okay, folks, here's what's happening with the Big Brass Alliance, courtesy of Shakespeare's Sister, who has coordinated this effort. I'm going to set down the info verbatim. Apologies for the length, but this is important stuff!
1. After Downing Street is a Coalition of veterans' groups, peace groups, and political activist groups, which launched on May 26, 2005, a campaign to urge the U.S. Congress to begin a formal investigation into whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war. The campaign focuses on evidence that recently emerged in a British memo containing minutes of a secret July 2002 meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top national security officials.

2. The name is a reference to the Downing Street Memo, a British memo recently made public in the London Times, which contained the minutes of a secret July 2002 meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top national security officials.

3. After Downing Street reports: In response to the release of the memo, “John Bonifaz, a Boston attorney specializing in constitutional litigation, sent a memo to Congressman John Conyers of Michigan, the Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, urging him to introduce a Resolution of Inquiry directing the House Judiciary Committee to launch a formal investigation into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House to impeach President Bush. Bonifaz's memo, made available today at, begins: ‘The recent release of the Downing Street Memo provides new and compelling evidence that the President of the United States has been actively engaged in a conspiracy to deceive and mislead the United States Congress and the American people about the basis for going to war against Iraq. If true, such conduct constitutes a High Crime under Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution.’"

4. Congressman Conyers is now seeking 100,000 signatures to sign a letter on the Downing Street Inquiry. Information available at Raw Story and dKos.

5. Sign the letter here. Write to your Congresspeople here.


Another important piece of information that has been overlooked in this story, as reported in a recent Salon article by Juan Cole (get the Site Pass), is that Tony Blair had to convince George Bush to go after al-Qaida in Afghanistan, and Bush would only do so in exchange for Britain’s support of the Iraq invasion:

“Astonishingly, the Bush administration almost took the United States to war against Iraq in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11. We know about this episode from the public account of Sir Christopher Meyer, then the U.K. ambassador in Washington. Meyer reported that in the two weeks after Sept. 11, the Bush national security team argued back and forth over whether to attack Iraq or Afghanistan. It appears from his account that Bush was leaning toward the Iraq option.

Meyer spoke again about the matter to Vanity Fair for its May 2004 report, "The Path to War." Soon after Sept. 11, Meyer went to a dinner at the White House, "attended also by Colin Powell, [and] Condi Rice," where "Bush made clear that he was determined to topple Saddam. 'Rumors were already flying that Bush would use 9/11 as a pretext to attack Iraq,' Meyer remembers." When British Prime Minister Tony Blair arrived in Washington on Sept. 20, 2001, he was alarmed. If Blair had consulted MI6 about the relative merits of the Afghanistan and Iraq options, we can only imagine what well-informed British intelligence officers in Pakistan were cabling London about the dangers of leaving bin Laden and al-Qaida in place while plunging into a potential quagmire in Iraq. Fears that London was a major al-Qaida target would have underlined the risks to the United Kingdom of an "Iraq first" policy in Washington.

Meyer told Vanity Fair, "Blair came with a very strong message -- don't get distracted; the priorities were al-Qaida, Afghanistan, the Taliban." He must have been terrified that the Bush administration would abandon London to al-Qaida while pursuing the great white whale of Iraq. But he managed to help persuade Bush. Meyer reports, "Bush said, 'I agree with you, Tony. We must deal with this first. But when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq.'" Meyer also said, in spring 2004, that it was clear "that when we did come back to Iraq it wouldn't be to discuss smarter sanctions." In short, Meyer strongly implies that Blair persuaded Bush to make war on al-Qaida in Afghanistan first by promising him British support for a later Iraq campaign.”

Finding out if this underreported outrage is true is an important part of the inquiry for which After Downing Street is fighting. That President Bush’s entire presidency has relied on his ostensibly unique ability to “keep America safe,” even though he had to be cajoled into going after the party truly responsible for 9/11, is not only an outrage, but a national disgrace.

Thanks, friends.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

I've Joined the Big Brass Alliance

Since the mainstream media is thundering ahead like a herd of turtles on the Downing Street Memo, it seems to be left to us to make enough noise about this thing to get the attention of the general public. I'll be posting as much info on all the goings-on as I can.

I don't think my powers of persuasion are up to the task of changing the minds of the Hootervillians, but my personal goal is to try to engage the people who 'just aren't interested in politics' - the ones who, if they really knew how bad things were, maybe would reconsider their disengagement.

As I've said before, I've been jacked up ever since I heard about the Downing Street Memo, and first posted it about it on May 3. The Big Brass Alliance seems to be a positive, concerted force and I want to be a part of taking action on this.

It's late, but on my next post I'll be listing all kinds of resources and ways to make our voices heard. In the meantime, click on the Big Brass Alliance and the After Downing Street logo on the sidebar for more info!

Let's 'disassemble' this corrupt régime!

Tommi Wants To Go To Mars

Well, well, well - I guess we just have all kinds of mad money just laying around. Deficit? What deficit?
HOUSTON, Texas (AP) -- NASA's new administrator and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, vow the space agency will have the necessary funding to implement President Bush's vision to send astronauts back to the moon and to Mars.
The only way I'll support that idea is if Tommi is on that rocket with a one-way ticket. Heck, why not build one big enough for the whole Bush Administration? I'll pony up for that!

Go 'Deep'!

I think it's fairly obvious by now that we are going to have to do this without the help of the media. We see what happens every time any news source or reporter gets 'too close to the bone' - they are attacked in full force by the Administration. Jobs are lost, access is denied, characters are smeared, reputations are ruined.

Dan Rather, Helen Thomas, Newsweek, Bill one is immune. The days of 'Deep Throat' and Woodward & Bernstein are over at this point, until enough people feel strongly enough about what's going on to put their jobs and reputations on the line.

The information is out there, as we can all see by now - it's a matter for the press to stop acting like the propaganda arm of the White House. Forget about being 'embedded' over in Iraq - it seems more dangerous to be 'embedded' here at home. If you love your country, ladies and gentlemen of the press, put on your body armor and 'go deep'!