Saturday, May 13, 2006

NY Times: Cheney wanted domestic spying after 9/11

In tomorrow's edition of the New York Times...

Cheney Pushed U.S. to Widen Eavesdropping

In the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney and his top legal adviser argued that the National Security Agency should intercept purely domestic telephone calls and e-mail messages without warrants in the hunt for terrorists, according to two senior intelligence officials.

But N.S.A. lawyers, trained in the agency's strict rules against domestic spying and reluctant to approve any eavesdropping without warrants, insisted that it should be limited to communications into and out of the country, said the officials, who were granted anonymity to discuss the debate inside the Bush administration late in 2001.
Click here for more. What is the deal with that guy anyway? Didn't get cuddled enough a small boy? Or did the scientist who created him just give him the wrong sort of heart?

In related news, click for the Truthout article, Karl Rove Indicted on Charges of Perjury, Lying to Investigators by Jason Leopold.

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Howard Dean on values and reaching out

As Howie in Seattle has noted here, Howard Dean has admitted that he made a mistake when he said in an interview on CBN that the 2004 Democratic platform said that marriage is between a man and a woman. (Thanks to floridagal for providing a link to the video.) But, as Corinne commented at Kos, I'd like to see someone, anyone, travel as much as he does, give as many interviews and speeches as he does, and retain an extraordinary amount of information as he does and not screw up at some point. Enough.

Indeed. He misspoke. I shudder to think how many times I do that in a given day. And in this case, I can imagine that it *seemed* to Howard Dean that the Democrats wanted to be very clear about their non-support for same-sex marriage in the 2004 election, given this:

Dean recounts that one of the people Clinton called was a Dean supporter who described how the former president said that Dean "had forfeited his right to run for president." That was because, Dean writes, he had signed a law creating civil unions for gay and lesbian couples and Clinton believed Dean couldn't be elected as a result.
Also, as I noted in the comments of the previous thread, here in Ohio, I've seen the anti-gay crap *work*. Getting people riled up about the notion that "those Democrats don't share our values--they want to bring gay marriage to our state" is such a tried and true tactic, it was even used to get people to vote against ballot/election reform amendments.

Demetrius got robocalled before the election in which the Reform Ohio Now Amendments were on the ballot. He's gotten calls and mailings from the Republican party ever since he voted for McCain in the primary of 2000. He was encouraged by whoever to vote against the amendments because they are backed by those homo-loving abortionists. From out of state. Something like that. Not those exact words, but that's the effect they were going for. Booga-booga!

Here's an example of the kind of ad that was run against the *election reform* amendments that were put to a vote in November of 2005.

With all of this talk about Howard Dean doing something so nutty as reaching out to people who watch CBN, I was reminded of some of what he said when he spoke at an event in Columbus this past January....

"But what we really need you to do is reach out and talk to those who didn't vote with us the last time. People who disagree with us. Because the truth is, we have something in common with a lot of those folks. Evangelical Christians. People think they're all Republicans--it's not true. Because their values include making sure no child goes to bed hungry at night. A lot of Republicans are cutting school lunch programs. Their values include not leaving more debt to our children than we found ourselves. The Republicans are the largest borrow and spend thrift group I've ever seen. The largest deficit in the history of the country and going up. Evangelical Christians believe it is immoral to treat the earth that God gave us the way that this administration is. That's something that we have in common.

In fact, there's a lot that Americans have in common. You know what the greatest sin of George Bush and his administration is? It's not the Iraq war. And it's not even the enormous budget deficit which going to hurt us for years and years. It's the fact that he has chosen to deliberately divide America in order to win elections. To separate ourselves from each other. He's done more harm to this country, even than his lame-brained foreign policy, his incompetence in terms of the budget, by being willing to use divisive tactics to win elections. We can't do that any more, and when we get back in power we're not going to do that, because it's bad for America. (Applause.)

So I need you to reach out to people who you maybe don't know very well and who don't agree with you. Now, I'm not talking about the hard right, the intolerance of the hard right. But I am talking about a lot of the people who vote for them. Because, guess what? They're not that different from us. I'm going to tell you one quick story and then I want to get on to finish this up.

When Katrina hit, there were a lot of people at the DNC who had relatives and friends there and so forth. It was a very upsetting time as you can imagine. It was upsetting even for those who didn't know anybody there, to see how incompetent the federal government was in dealing with it. It was a really bad time at the Democratic National Committee. So we shut down our fundraising operations because we didn't think it was proper to raise money for politics while that kind of thing was going on. And we said to everybody, we will pay your salary for three weeks if you feel like you need to go down to the Gulf and help out.

So, a bunch of people did, including two young women who work in our finance department. And they went down there and they got teamed up with five ladies from the Southern Baptist Conference. Now, for those of you who know anything about the Southern Baptist, they're a somewhat conservative, to put it mildly, denomination, who often have preachers who preach that it's a sin to vote for Democrats. So, these two young ladies from the finance department sort of had a debate among themselves, "Should we tell them who we work for?" And they decided they would, in the interests of standing up for who they were. So they fessed up that they worked for the Democratic National Committee, and they sort of got this reaction, and thought that maybe they were thinking the word "Satan" when they heard that pronouncement. But everyone got along pretty well, and they were handing out food and water to people who really needed it. At the end of the time, one of the women said, "You know, we're all here together, and we're just trying to do things for our fellow people.

Now, I'll tell you why this is important. About a year from now, I can tell you that when these ladies from the Southern Baptist Convention go back to their home churches, some pastor in that church is going to stand up and say it's a sin to vote for a Democrat. And they're going to think back to the two young women who worked for the Democratic National Committee and say to themselves, "Now, wait a minute. I know two Democrats who work for the Democratic party. We were all in this together when we worked together." Personal experience trumps what the pastor tells you, and personal experience even trumps what your parents tell you.

That's why I want you to reach across the aisle and talk to people who didn't vote the way you did, but they are good, decent people who want to do the right thing for their country. Yeah, we won't agree on everything. But if they come to know you, they're going to listen to you more than they're going to listen to me, more than they're going to listen to Bill Clinton or John Kerry, or certainly George Bush. Because your point of view is going to be from somebody they've worked with, and they trust and they know that they have something in common with."

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Guantanamo - The Bleached Boys

Click for midi accompaniment

As sala'amu alaikum? No, we wanna take 'em
To Cuba. Osama? Don't look like we're gonna
Zarqawi, al Sadr? Lies not holdin' water

Turn off your cameras, please.
As we tour Guantanamo
With the group you'll wanna go - Don't stray away from it now.

On boxes they will stand
Electrodes held in their hands
Fit just like a glove
Don't step off, or they'll go *ka-blam*
In Guantanamo

As sala'amu alaikum? No, we wanna take 'em
To Cuba. Osama? Don't look like we're gonna
Zarqawi, al Sadr? Lies not holdin' water

Ooo, and when we get you to Guantanamo
You'll try to fast
But, feeding tubes will flow
Where? You don't wanna know!
Down in Guantanamo

Boys from Iraq, in pyramids we stack

We'll line them up to see
Who has a short or long wee-wee
And for fun engage in just little ol' depravity

Give them sleepless nights
Stress positions and dogs that bite
And when finally on the ground they lie
You'll give me "five" way up high
Down in Guantanamo

As sala'amu alaikum? No, we wanna take 'em
To Cuba. Osama? Don't look like we're gonna
Zarqawi, al Sadr? Lies not holdin' water

Ooo, and when we get you to Guantanamo
The time will pass
for you much, much too slow
It's where you don't wanna go!
Down in Guantanamo

No photo prints. Don't wanna give a glimpse.

(musical interlude)

But, Everybody knows
What goes on in Guantanamo
Even with FOX News' Tony Snow
Can't get away from it now.
Down in Guantanamo

We caught you. You fake it. We're not gonna take it.
Gee Dubya, D!ck Cheney. Truth we're seeing plainly
And Condi, and Rummy - No, I'm not a dummy.

Ooo, and when we get *you* to Guantanamo
The tables turned
You're gonna cry "Oh, NO!"
My "thumbs up" is gonna go
Down on Guantanamo

As sala'amu alaikum? No, we wanna take 'em
To Cuba. Osama? Don't look like we're gonna
Zarqawi, al Sadr? Lies not holdin' water

Ooo, we're gonna get you to Guantanamo

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Remembering one "hoopy frood"

Reminder: Howard Dean will appear as a guest on The Daily Show on Monday, May 15.

Last night, once it was past midnight, I looked at my phone and noticed that the date now read "May 11, 2006". The "May 11" part seemed like it must be signigicant for some reason, and after thinking about it for a moment, I realized that today marked the, er, "deathday" of author Douglas Adams. He died in 2001, and I remembered that it was 4 months before September 11--thus never experiencing the "post 9/11 world". As cynical as DNA could be about human nature in general and especially politics, I can only imagine what he would have thought of the events of the past five years.

Fans of Douglas Adams named May 25, "Towel Day" in his honor. Here's the Wikipedia page about Towel Day--which they list under the category of "Geek Holidays". As I suspected, International Talk Like a Pirate Day is included on that page, as is Pi Day.

Here's the official Douglas Adams web site. Also... interview he did with The American Atheist site Floor 42
...the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy web project "the unconventional Guide to Life, the Universe and Everything. It's like an encyclopedia, only better because all the entries are written by people like you! "...
Life, the Universe, and Everything, a post from a year ago today on the blog The Daze of Our Lives.

...and finally the obituary on BBC News, So long, and thanks for all the books.

Miss you, Douglas.

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My Website Was Shutdown, Thanks To DHS

The following is a portion of an email I received yesterday from the domain host for the DFA group website I built. A similar letter was sent to all customers who have accounts on the same server.

Dear 2mHost customer,Around 1:00 pm Eastern time, Wednesday May 10, 2006 server alexandria36 which host your account for domain name was unplugged by The US Department of Homeland Security agents to seize server hard drives (the main and backupd drive) beacuse of possible illegal contents (we believe its child porn contents), They removed the drives to analyse its contents and logs.
We believe that we will not get the drives back in timely manner. We sincerely apologize for the file lose and understand the seriousness of it, as well as the trouble it has created for you our valued customer.

WTF? I have never had an interest in, nor collected child porn. I deplore any abuse of children, and the mere fact that I have to state this is absolutely disgusting to me. The defense of children is critical, but I thought that the role of Homeland Security (and I despise the Naziistic label) was to protect this county from threats and natural disasters. My tongue is planted firmly in cheek on that one.

What I resent more than the loss of website files, is the idea of a massive bureaucracy that has the ability to shut down anyone's website, business, or livelihood, without Congressional or judicial oversight. Some weeks back, I read about a couple whose account was red-flagged by DHS when they tried to pay a large sum on their credit card. Is this still America anymore?

What's of even more concern is the potential that such an agency could pose to the rights of Americans who disagree with the administration in power - any administration. Given the unchecked power granted to such agencies, what's there to prevent planting "suspicious files" on anyone's computer or home, because you're a little too vocal in your opposition to war in your emails or at work? Does it not sicken you that you're more reluctant to say things you feel about certain people in power in your phone conversations?

By every account, the failure in preventing 9/11 was not the result of a lack of information, but the failure to act on the flashing red lights warnings that were right there in plain sight. The same was true of DHS's response to Katrina. I've always felt that the creation of such a massive government bureaucracy was nothing more than an attempt by the people who devised it to gain more control over our lives. This little incident does nothing to dissuade me of this belief.

We gotta get this country back, because the police state is knocking at the door.

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Comics Thread

Man, I get to working on a city council campaign (we're putting foot to hind-quarters, BTW) and drive by here just to find everyone hereabouts getting all depressed on me. Smile! Here's some comics:

And my favorite for today: Undocumented Immigrants

Nite y'all!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Open Thread

Chandra Election Night Thank You

Marc Dann reaches out (a letter to the Ohio blogosphere)

The Nehemiah Assembly: packed like sardines for justice (my post about the B.R.E.A.D. assembly the other night)

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

DemocracyFest Update

New speakers and panelists for the 3rd Annual DemocracyFest are being confirmed almost daily now. Here's the most updated list (in alphabetical order, and there are more to come!)

Sen. Debra Bowen, Candidate for Secretary of State, Debra is currently a State Senator, Chair of the Senate Elections Committee, and a good-government watchdog.

Candace Bowie, Think Precinct Program, Colorado for Democracy.

Prof. Marjorie Cohn, Thos. Jefferson Law School, President-elect of the National Lawyers Guild, co-chair of the Guild's international committee.

Gov. Howard Dean, Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman, founder of Democracy for America (DFA), 2004 Presidential candidate, former Governor of Vermont.

Jim Dean, Chair of Democracy for America (DFA).

Jim Derych, Author of "Confessions of a Former Dittohead".

Barbara Graves, Grassroots Champions Precinct Captains Program, Regional Director/CA Democratic Party.

Rep. Bob Filner, U.S. Congressman, 51st C.D., Freedom Rider, college professor, progressive leader.

Donna Frye, San Diego City Councilwoman, former Mayoral candidate.

Robert Greenwald, producer, director and political activist. Greenwald is the director/producer of “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price” and "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism".

Paul Hackett, Iraq War Veteran and 2005 Democratic Congressional candidate in southeastern Ohio, where he came within 4% of winning in the 74%-Republican district.

Bill Harman, retired pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) with a lifelong commitment to issues of social and global justice.

Rick Jacobs, Chairman of Brave New Films and the Courage Campaign, California campaign chair for Howard Dean's Presidential Campaign.

Wahu Kaara, executive director of the Kenya Debt Relief Network where she leads campaigns for debt cancellation and economic justice.

Debayani Kar, Communications and Advocacy Coordinator at Jubilee USA Network. Debi is responsible for the communications strategy for the organization, and has appeared on numerous radio shows and print publications discussing debt and development.

Matt Kerbel, Editor of "Get This Party Started: How Progressives Can Fight Back and Win" - A discussion of top line Washington Insiders and Political Activists.

Dr. William Lesher, pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) residing in Berkeley, CA. He served as president of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) for twenty years.

Narges Niedzwiecki, Organizer of Day 1's " XYZ Vote" panel on the enfranchisement and disenfranchisement of young voters (18-40).

Lori Saldaña, Born and raised in San Diego, Assemblymember Lori Saldaña is the embodiment of a successful grassroots campaigner. One of the original “Dean Dozen” candidates.

Ed Schwartz, Institute for the Study of Civic Values, former Philadelphia City Councilman.

David Sirota, Campaign strategist and author, “Hostile Takeover: How Big Money & Corruption Conquered Our Government – and How We Take It Back,”.

Kristin Sundell, Outreach and Congregations Coordinator for the Jubilee USA Network, the U.S. arm of a global movement to cancel the debt of impoverished countries without harmful economic conditions.

David Swanson, Washington Director of and of, co-founder of the / coalition, creator of and, and a board member of Progressive Democrats of America.

Colonel Ann Wright, resigned from the U.S. Foreign Service, while serving as Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Mongolia, due to her disagreement with the Bush administration.

Check this page regularly for new speakers and panelists.

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Politics in Alachua, Florida

I'm the author of the novel Tortoise Stew that Charlie Grapski wrote about in a blog a few days ago.

I wrote this novel about politics in a fictional small north Florida town after covering politics in the area for several years. I began writing it three days after someone left a live bomb at the weekly newspaper where I was covering controversial growth issues (can you say Dollar General and Wal-Mart?). Fortunately no one was hurt so the FBI moved onto more important crimes.

I tried to make the novel as crazy as possible, exaggerating real life events and characters, but in Alachua they continue to write my sequel for me and how do I get crazier than what is happening there right now?

The City Manager/Police Commissioner tricked a citizen into city hall on a public records request and then had him arrested by two officers and the police chief on the charge of illegally tape recording a conversation between the city manager and the citizen the previous week.

The city manager has been quoted in the local press that he was making a statement that the city of Alachua will not be intimidated.

I remember countless phone conversations held with officials in that city over the years where I heard a steady and rhythmic tick in the background. No one told me I was being taped, but no one will convince me that I was not. Intimidating? It's all right as long as they are the ones doing it.

Patricia Camburn Behnke
P.O. Box 512
St. Augustine, FL 32085
pcbwrites at

The following are screen captures from the slideshow at the High Springs Herald.

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Monday, May 08, 2006

MViMV Guest Blog

Tonight's MViMV guest blogger will be Marian Harris, Candidate, Ohio House of Representatives.

Please join Marian on the MViMV blog tonight from 8-9pm EDT.

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Hayden & 4th Amendment: Barely Acquainted

Gen. Michael Hayden, Bush's nominee to succeed Porter Goss as head of the CIA, doesn't know what the Fourth Amendment says. That comes as no surprise given that Hayden misled Congress about Bush's warrantless spying program.

Editor & Publisher:

Hayden, Likely Choice for CIA Chief, Displayed Shaky Grip on 4th Amendment at Press Club

Gen. Michael Hayden, expected to be named new director of the CIA, replacing Porter Goss as early as Monday, displayed a shaky awareness of the Fourth Amendment in an appearance at the National Press Club in Washingnon, D.C., on January 23, E&P reported at the time.


As the last journalist to get in a question at the Press Club, Jonathan Landay, a well-regarded investigative reporter for Knight Ridder, noted that Gen. Hayden repeatedly referred to the Fourth Amendment's search standard of "reasonableness" without mentioning that it also demands "probable cause." Hayden seemed to deny that the amendment included any such thing, or simply ignored it. He directly said "no" it did not include "probable cause."

This caused Landay to reply, "The legal standard is probable cause, General."

Entire story here.

The White House has indicated it is willing to go to the mat for Hayden's confirmation. I say, "Bring it on."

Update: Christy Hardin Smith, aka ReddHedd at, has this to say about Hayden's nomination.

And in other news, Think Progress is reporting this: an informal poll to be aired on Dateline tonight, ABC reporters found that many members of Congress, including Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), could not sing the entire national anthem. One spokesperson spotted the film crew and sent out a warning to others: "Heads up. We have been informed that there is a news organization with a camera crew outside (between the Capitol and Longworth) asking members to recite or sing the national anthem."

I guess the National Anthem Project has its work cut out for it. (I'd advise Howard to sing it in the key of G. It's actually doable.)

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

National Nurse Legislation ~ HR4903 ~ Update!

Thank you to listener for sending us this National Nurse update.

We now have 13 co-sponsors to HR 4903 and welcome our latest additions to the growing list- Representative Henry Waxman (CA) who is a member of the House Health Committee and Representative Steny Hoyer (MD), the House Minority Whip.

The Team Travels To Washington D.C.
Teri, Alisa, and Terri, along with five other nurses and State Representative Marcia Moody (NH), will be traveling to Washington D.C. next Wednesday to meet with the health policy aides of Senators Craig, Kennedy, and Harkin. The team also has meetings with several leaders in the House Health Committee where the bill now sits.

The team needs your help with this venture. As you are aware, the cost of travel has gone up along with gasoline prices. If you could contribute (even $5) to help offset the expenses, Teri and the National Nurse team would be immensely appreciative. The National Nursing Network Organization is a non-profit corporation, but is not tax-exempt and therefore contributions are not tax-deductible. Donations can be made online.

Press Release For Next Week
Special thanks to Mac Prichard and Karen Greco who are helping with the press release that will be distributed in advance of the Washington D.C. trip. If you would like to receive a copy of what is being sent to the media for your own publication, please email

Celebrate National Nurses Week!!
The National Nurse Team has a website, with lots of merchandise to celebrate Florence Nightingale's birthday and National Nurses Week - May 6th-12th...including designs by our own bloggers jc and Demetrius! Please consider purchasing a button or bumper sticker to raise the campaign's visibility.

Send Us Your Stories and Health Tips
Have you contacted or visited your U.S. Representative? Do you have a health tip to share with the nation? Do you have feedback about HR 4903 you would like to share with others? Are you interested in having a post published at Please send your stories and health tips for the public to for consideration and publication.

On to DC!
Teri, Alisa, and Terri
Your National Nurse Team

Teri Mills and Alisa Schneider

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