January 13, 2006

Bowing to Hillary
The Surrender of MoveOn.org
By JOSHUA FRANK
---snip---

MoveOn.org is nothing more than a roadblock for an antiwar movement that is finally gaining speed after a bout of silence. If we want to end this war, we've got to oppose all who support it--the bigger the name, the better.

That puts Hillary Clinton at the top of the list. more...

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Are We Getting Borked Again?
By Martin Garbus
The differences between Robert Bork, John Roberts and Samuel Alito are differences of style, not substance.

By most accounts, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan's Supreme Court nominee, couldn't get past the Senate Judicial Committee to a full Senate vote because of his extreme conservative views. But Samuel Alito (and, for that matter, new Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts) arrive at the exact same case results, just with a little more nuance and a lot less bluster.

A painstaking view of Bork, Roberts and Alito (all three were at the founding of Federalist Society) and their cases show they all seek to expand presidential powers and minimize the restrictions of the Bill of Rights, extend state power at the expense of federal power and destroy the separation of church and state.

---snip---

It is not that Alito is just another conservative judge. He is the most conservative judge of the 22 judges (12 sitting and 10 senior) on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and among the most conservative of the 300 appellate judges in the United States.

Alito's muffled views on race and gender, two of the most important issues facing the country, are pernicious.

Alito does not attack women or African-Americans directly. He just refuses to believe their testimony. more...

**********

He Broke Ranks; He Did the Right Thing Hugh Thompson and My Lai
By CLANCY SIGAL

There is an Ugly American, a Quiet American and then there's Hugh Thompson, the Army helicopter pilot who, with his two younger crew mates, was on a mission to draw enemy fire over the Vietnamese village of My Lai in March, 1968. Hovering over a paddy field, they watched a platoon of American soldiers led by Lt. William Calley, deliberately shoot unarmed Vietnamese civilians, mainly women and children, cowering in muddy ditches. Thompson landed his craft and appealed to the soldiers, and to Calley, to stop the killings. Calley told Thompson to mind his own business.

---snip---

But when he saw Vietnamese survivors chased by soldiers, he landed his chopper between the villagers and troopers, and ordered his crew to fire at any American soldiers shooting at civilians. Then he got on the radio and begged U.S. gunships above him to rescue those villagers he could not cram into his own craft.

On returning to base, Thompson, almost incoherent with rage, immediately reported the massacre to superiors, who did nothing, until months later when the My Lai story leaked to the public. The eyewitness testimony of Thompson and his surviving crew member helped convict Calley at a court-martial. But when he returned to his Stateside home in Stone Mountain, Georgia, Thompson received death threats and insults, while Calley was pardoned by President Nixon. more...

January 12, 2006

CLICK HERE TO READ THE POSTER (Concerned Alumni of Princeton)

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Democrats Voice Frustration With Alito Answers
by Thomas Ferraro and Joanne Kenen  

Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito faced more aggressive questioning at his Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday from Democrats who accused him of evasive answers and challenged his commitment to keep an "open mind" on abortion.  

While President George W. Bush's conservative nominee appeared headed for confirmation by the full Republican-led Senate later this month, several Democrats made it clear that after a relatively gentle start of proceedings, they planned to put up an election-year fight.

---snip---

Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, got into a dispute with Chairman Arlen Specter over his request the committee vote to subpoena records of the disbanded group called Concerned Alumni of Princeton, or CAP.

Alito listed membership in the group in a 1985 application for a job in the Reagan administration. He told the committee he had no recollection of any involvement with the conservative group, which opposed efforts to admit more women and minorities. more...

January 11, 2006

Alito and His Coaches
By James Ridgeway with Michael Roston  
For Supreme Court nominee, hearings are an inside game.

    Washington, DC - In the first hours of Samuel Alito's Senate confirmation hearings on Monday, Judiciary Committee member Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator from South Carolina, may very well have irreparably compromised himself.

    At the hearing, Graham told Alito, nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, that he had already decided in Alito's favor. "I don't know what kind of vote you're going to get, but you'll make it through. It's possible you could talk me out of voting for you, but I doubt it. So I won't even try to challenge you along those lines."  more...

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Not Proud to Be an American
By Molly Ivins
Abramoff and DeLay used nonprofit organizations to launder money and pay for high-flying perks. That's just Bad Taste.

We live in a great nation. The police blotter of the Mill Valley Herald in California informs us that the constabulary there had to be called out on account of a citizen "dressed like a penguin" who was "standing on a street corner playing a ukulele." Makes me proud to be an American.

What does not make me proud to be an American is a specific twist in the Jack Abramoff-Tom DeLay scandal -- in fact, this makes me want to urp despite the fact that I have a strong stomach when it comes to political corruption. Practice, practice, practice, that's what Texas provides when it comes to sleaze and stink. Who can forget such great explanations as "Well, I'll just make a little bit of money, I won't make a whole lot"? And "There was never a Bible in the room"?

But this is a reach too far, just that little extra that takes normal putrid corruption and moves it to the ranks of "Excuse me, I have to throw up." Both Abramoff and DeLay and many of their web of colleagues have consistently used nonprofit organizations ostensibly formed for charitable purposes to launder money, to move peculiar proceeds and to pay for high-flying perks. more...

January 10, 2006

Alito & the Point of No Return
By Nat Parry

The U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Samuel Alito may represent a point of no return not only on the issue of abortion and other longtime conservative political targets but on the checks and balances that have been the cornerstone of American democracy.

With Alito‚s confirmation to fill the swing-vote seat of Sandra Day O‚Connor, George W. Bush could well consolidate a majority on the high court to endorse his expansive interpretation of presidential authority, including his insistence that his commander-in-chief powers are virtually unlimited throughout the indefinite „war on terror.š

But Alito might face a tougher confirmation battle than Chief Justice John Roberts did, in part because controversies over Bush‚s claims to unfettered Executive power have deepened over the past several months, such as the dispute over Bush‚s asserted right to conduct warrantless wiretaps of Americans. more...

January 9, 2006

How the US Press Squelches Bush Impeachment Drive
By DAVE LINDORFF

There are now eight members of Congress who have put their names to a bill calling for a special committee of the House to investigate impeachable crimes by the Bush administration. To date, all of them are Democrats.

So far, you'd be hard-pressed to know about any of this--including the very fact that Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the ranking minority member of the House Judiciary Committee, had even submitted such a bill--as well as two companion bills calling for censure of both Bush and Cheney for abuse of power.

Apparently in the editorial cloisters of our official Fourth Estate, where decisions as to what it is safe or appropriate for us in the public to know, it has been determined that we do not need to know that the notion of impeachment of the president is starting to grow. more...

January 8, 2006

The Global Spread of GMO Crops
Inherit the Wind
By PETER MONTAGUE

Felix Ballarin spent 15 years of his life developing a special organically-grown variety of red corn. It would bring a high price on the market because local chicken farmers said the red color lent a rosy hue to the meat and eggs from their corn-fed chickens. But when the corn emerged from the ground last year, yellow kernels were mixed with the red. Government officials later confirmed with DNA tests that Mr. Ballarin's crop had become contaminated with a genetically modified (GMO) strain of corn.

Because Mr. Ballarin's crop was genetically contaminated, it no longer qualified as "organically grown," so it no longer brought a premium price. Mr. Ballarin's 15-year investment was destroyed overnight by what is now commonly known as "genetic contamination." more...

January 7, 2006

 The Opposite of Good Is Apathy
    By Cindy Sheehan   
The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal and hasten the resurrection of the dead.
-- William Lloyd Garrison

The apathy of most of America is stunning and appalling to me. When I found this quote I was filled with wide-eyed wonder that there is one statue left in America complete with statue, or one grave or tomb still occupied.

---snip---

...we have the unfortunate innocents of Iraq. I have heard reports of up to as many as 200 of them killed yesterday. So if 200 were reported, one has to really wonder what the true count was. Bill O'Reilly and George Bush define a terrorist as someone who "kills innocent men, women and children." Am I the only one who sees the irony and stunning hypocrisy in this statement?" Who do Bill and George think are being killed in Iraq? A well-trained and organized Army? Terrorists? We all know that is false. This is who is being killed in Iraq: living breathing human beings, identical to Americans or any other human beings on earth, who are just trying to go about their lives, trying to survive in a war-torn country that was no threat to America or our way of life.  more...
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Klezmatics

Klezmatics concert photos. (These are uncorrected straight out out of the camera)

On April 3, 2005, Barbara and I went to see the Klezmatics, with guest Joshua Nelson, Jewish gospel singer. To quote the concert program, "Their soul-stirring Jewish roots music recreates klezmer in arrangements and compostions that combine Jewish identity and mysticism with a contemporary zeitgeist and a postmodern aesthetic. Since their founding in New York City's East Village in 1986, the Klezmatics have celebrated the ecstatic nature of Yiddish music with works by turn wild, spiritual, provocative, reflective and danceable." The concert was phenomenal.

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