jazzoLOG: Vanishing Freedom In America    
 Vanishing Freedom In America87 comments
picture10 Oct 2004 @ 12:11, by Richard Carlson

Life is a maze in which we take the wrong turning before we have learned to walk.

---Cyril Connolly

In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are consequences.

---Robert Green Ingersoll

Clear stream, meanders by this hamlet, flowing.
Long summer days, at River Village, everything at ease.
Coming, going, as they please, the pairs of swallows soaring.
Paired and close, the gulls float with the stream.
My old wife draws a board for chess.
My son bends pins for fishhooks.
I'm often sick, but I can find good herbs.
What, beyond this, could a simple man ask?

---Tu Fu

This morning I find myself trying to catch up with a new documentary entitled Unconstitutional: The War On Our Civil Liberties. We watched it last evening. It's produced by Robert Greenwald, who also brought us Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election, Uncovered: The War On Iraq, and more recently Outfoxed, an in-depth look at the Fox News channel. All of these films were released directly to the public by online and mail order purchase on VHS and DVD, with only secondary emphasis on theater distribution. You may recall that Outfoxed was premiered at thousands of house parties across the States, which anyone could host or attend just by contacting MoveOn.org. When you buy one of them online, it arrives in only a few days. [link] We had ordered Unconstitutional about a month ago, but it sat on our to-watch table in front of the TV until last night. Stupid us, we've been too "busy."

Yes stupid, because chronicled in that film is a lethal erosion of the basic freedoms we take for granted in our country. It's an erosion in the form of a piece of legislation named the USA Patriot Act, which you may recall President Bush mentioned in the 2nd debate the other night. He urged its strengthening and expansion. The Patriot Act was printed at 3:45 AM the morning Congress passed it. You probably saw Michael Moore, in Fahrenheit 9/11, driving around the Capitol in an ice cream truck, reading the act aloud for congresspeople who voted for it without reading. The legislation that was printed in the dead of night was not what came out of committee, but rather a form of the bill which Ashcroft wanted that had been amended by Congress. The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the government over the constitutionality of the Patriot Act, even as the Justice Department declares classified the very evidence the ACLU is demanding. [link]

I, and perhaps you, know some of the provisions of the USA Patriot Act. For example, without a warrant and without probable cause, the FBI now has the power to access your most private medical records, your library records, and your student records...and can prevent anyone from telling you it was done. I don't approve of that, but I've come to the point where I feel technology has made it impossible to keep people from spying on me. I haven't been clear about where I must draw the line. That DVD last night made me realize we all have to get clear right away! This morning the publisher of The New York Times, Arthur Sulzberger, has an editorial in the newspaper revealing that one of his reporters, Judy Miller, has been ordered to jail in the Valerie Plame investigation. Combined with my shock over Unconstitutional, I decided I needed to write something this morning...and to set up provisions at 2 sites, where I can continue to document these outrages, and where folks around the world may comment. The first comment will be the Times' editorial.


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10 Oct 2004 @ 12:24 by jazzolog : The Promise Of The First Amendment
The New York Times
October 10, 2004

The Promise of the First Amendment
By ARTHUR OCHS SULZBERGER JR., chairman and publisher, and RUSSELL T. LEWIS, chief executive, The New York Times

Last Thursday, a federal district judge ordered a New York Times reporter, Judy Miller, sent to prison. Her crime was doing her job as the founders of this nation intended. Here's what happened and why it should concern you.

On July 6, 2003, Joseph C. Wilson IV - formerly a career foreign service officer, a chargé d'affaires in Baghdad and an ambassador - wrote an article published on this page under the headline, "What I Didn't Find in Africa." The article served to undercut the Bush administration's claims surrounding Saddam Hussein's nuclear capacity.

Eight days later, Robert Novak, a syndicated columnist, wrote an article in which he identified Ambassador Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, as an "operative on weapons of mass destruction" for the C.I.A. "Two senior administration officials told me," Mr. Novak wrote, that it was Ms. Plame who "suggested sending Wilson" to investigate claims that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium ore from Niger. After Mr. Novak's report, several other journalists wrote stories in which they said they received similar information about Ms. Plame from confidential government sources, in what many have concluded was an effort to punish Mr. Wilson for speaking out against the administration by exposing his wife as a C.I.A. operative. The record is clear, however, that Judy Miller is not one of those journalists who reported this information.

Because the government officials who revealed Valerie Plame's status as a C.I.A. operative to the press might have committed a crime in doing so, the Justice Department opened a federal criminal investigation to find whoever was responsible.

During the course of this investigation, the details of which have been kept secret, several journalists have been subpoenaed to provide information about the source of the leak and threatened with jail if they failed to comply.

On Aug. 12, Ms. Miller received a subpoena in which she was required to provide information about conversations she might have had with a government official in which the identity and C.I.A. connection of Mr. Wilson's wife might have been mentioned. She received this subpoena even though she had never published anything concerning Mr. Wilson or his wife. This is not the only recent case in which the government has subpoenaed information concerning Ms. Miller's sources. On July 12, the same prosecutor sought to have Ms. Miller and another Times correspondent, Philip Shenon, identify another source. Curiously, this separate investigation concerns articles on Islamic charities and their possible financial support for terrorism that were published nearly three years ago. As part of this effort to uncover the reporters' confidential sources, the prosecutor has gone to the phone company to obtain records of their phone calls.

So, unless an appeals court reverses last week's contempt conviction, Judy Miller will soon be sent to prison. And, if the government succeeds in obtaining the phone records of Ms. Miller and Mr. Shenon, many of their sources - even those having nothing to do with these two government investigations - will become known.

Why does all of this matter? The possibility of being forced to leave one's family and sent to jail simply for doing your job is an appalling prospect for any journalist - indeed, any citizen. But as concerned as we are with our colleague's loss of liberty, there are even bigger issues at stake for us all.

The press simply cannot perform its intended role if its sources of information - particularly information about the government - are cut off. Yes, the press is far from perfect. We are human and make mistakes. But, the authors of our Constitution and its First Amendment understood all of that and for good reason prescribed that journalists should function as a "fourth estate." As Justice Potter Stewart put it, the primary purpose of the constitutional guarantee of a free press was "to create a fourth institution outside the government as an additional check on the three official branches."

The founders of our democracy understood that our government was also a human institution that was capable of mistakes and misdeeds. That is why they constructed a First Amendment that would give the press the ability to investigate problems in the official branches of our government and make them known to the public. In this way, the press was sensibly put in a position to help hold government accountable to its citizens.

An essential tool that the press must have if it is to perform its job is the ability to gather and receive information in confidence from those who would face reprisals for bringing important information about our government into the light of day for all of us to examine. Without an enforceable promise of confidentiality, sources would quickly dry up and the press would be left largely with only official government pronouncements to report.

A quarter of a century ago, a New York Times reporter, Myron Farber, was ordered to jail, also for doing his job and refusing to give up confidential information. He served 40 days in a New Jersey prison cell. In response to this injustice, the New Jersey Legislature strengthened its "shield law," which recognizes and serves to protect a journalist's need to protect sources and information. Although the federal government has no shield law, the vast majority of states, as well as the District of Columbia, have by now put in place legal protections for reporters. While many of these laws are regarded as providing an "absolute privilege" for journalists, others set out a strict test that the government must meet before it can have a reporter thrown into jail. Perhaps it is a function of the age we live in or perhaps it is something more insidious, but the incidence of reporters being threatened with jail by the federal government is on the rise.

To reverse this trend, to give meaning to the guarantees of the First Amendment and to thereby strengthen our democracy, it is now time for Congress to follow the lead of the states and enact a federal shield law for journalists. Without one, reporters like Judy Miller may be imprisoned. More important, the public will be in the dark about the actions of its elected and appointed government officials. That is not what our nation's founders had in mind.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

10 Oct 2004 @ 14:37 by martha : Some Republicans
have little respect for the first amendment so the above doesn't surprise me. Also The New York Times is not on their favorite paper list so being a bully is natural for them. The present administration was sworn to uphold the constitution which they have conveniently forgot. WIN at all costs is their motto.  

10 Oct 2004 @ 15:31 by Quinty @ : Trashing the Bill of Rights

It's curious, isn't it, that Judith Miller has become targeted since she was one Bush's cheerleaders into war before things went sour in Iraq. And pretty much was a spokesperson for the administration line, which she reported as news. And the Times aided and abetted, of course. And now she's in trouble for the right reasons.

Oh, these Bushies and Ashcroft don't care about the Constitution. And the last time I looked (yesterday) Bush is shamelessly pandering to the moron vote. At Wednesday's debate he fairly threw himself off his chair to say that Kerry was "flip flopping" again, because he had just said he could understand and sympathize with a questioner's religious beliefs but that as president he would have to defend a woman's right to chose. Uh, duh? That's flip flopping? That point of view happens to 'currently' protected by the Supreme Court.

And of course Bush has accused Kerry of being a flip flopper because he's neither completely for or completely against the Patriot Act. Because there parts he wants to save (information sharing, etc.) and parts he wants to ammend. But I suppose since this is not a black and white approach to the issue it has becomes too subtle for some folks.

And I agree with Martha: "Win at all costs is their motto."  

10 Oct 2004 @ 16:55 by Quinty @ : Down the slippery slope

Larry Bensky (who can be heard on www.kpfa.org on Sundays 12 - 2 Eastern) raised the Judith Miller case today. And commented that our civil liberties have eroded to the point in this nation that a grand jury can peg a contempt charge on a journalist just for "thinking about" writing a story. A big slide down, according to Bensky the slope. He's often very interesting, by the way, and well worth listening to. Though stay away if the left turns you off.  

10 Oct 2004 @ 17:11 by Quinty @ : Unconstitutional
Bensky is discussing the film, Unconstitutional, with the producer......


Sunday Salon, with Larry Bensky: 12 - 2 Eastern time  

11 Oct 2004 @ 14:14 by dempstress : I like the
Tu Fu poem. And assume it's also suitable for vegetarians.  

11 Oct 2004 @ 20:35 by jstarrs : Thank you so much...
...for posting these observations. I really think it's important to have this kind of feedback from 'le terrain', so to speak, as Vi is also posting.
It gives me hope that the people of the USA are, in their way, fighting back and understanding what's happening.
We (abroad, Europe) have access to many reports like these which, of course, must be verified in this time of disinformation, but I don't think it takes a genius to see what's happening. Thanks again:
I'd like to send you people lots of postive, courageous energy to continue bringing us these kind of reports.  

12 Oct 2004 @ 02:53 by martha : Freedom
Many logs talk about freedom.



12 Oct 2004 @ 08:33 by jstarrs : Thanks, Martha...
...what I find particularly important are these reports like the above, which are not just quotes about freedom, but topical comments on the actual situation.
For instance, I was unaware that Outfoxed (I'd never heard of these videos) had been presented at house-parties, you know, like political Tuppaware!
What a great idea!  

12 Oct 2004 @ 09:45 by jazzolog : Thanks For These Comments
The house party idea was cooked up by MoveOn.org I believe, beginning last summer. They and the many volunteer activities, probably for all the political organizations, have been responsible for the greatest social outreach in this country that I can remember. Many of us out here in the countryside even have met our neighbors for the first time!  

12 Oct 2004 @ 13:00 by jstarrs : Isn't that something?
Maybe from all this confusion, something can be born, if it is so wished.  

12 Oct 2004 @ 14:02 by martha : DO we need this?
NEW YORK — Seven American activist groups asked the United Nations on Monday to provide international observers for next month's U.S. presidential election.

A petition delivered to the U.N. Economic and Social Council said that only the U.N. could "give us recourse to international bodies beyond those within our own national and state governments" in case of a repeat of the problems seen in the 2000 election, which President Bush won after a protracted ballot fight in Florida that ended in the Supreme Court.
Grace Ross of the Economic Human Rights Project, based in Somerville, Mass., said the nongovernmental groups decided to seek action from the Economic and Social Council, known as ECOSOC, after U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan turned down a request for international observers from 13 members of Congress, led by Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas). Annan said the U.N. needed an invitation from the U.S. government, not Congress.

Ross argued that although governments needed to go through the U.N. General Assembly, nongovernmental organizations could request observers through ECOSOC.

If its 54 elected member nations approve, the ECOSOC president could then ask Annan to send observers, she said.

Other petition signers include the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, based in Philadelphia; the National Welfare Rights Union and the Michigan Welfare Rights Union, based in Detroit; the Independent Progressive Politics Network, headquartered in Bloomfield, N.J.; Seacoast Peace Response, based in Portsmouth, N.H.; and the North Shore Massachusetts chapter of the Alliance for Democracy  

12 Oct 2004 @ 14:16 by jstarrs : I've heard the USA
...gives diddly-squat to what the United Nations thinks.
Are we heading for a showdown or what?  

12 Oct 2004 @ 18:48 by Quinty @ : More on election observers

Members of the Congress have asked for UN observers! Two or three months ago members of the Congressional Black Caucus asked on the floor of the House to bring in the UN to observe the election. You can imagine how all those Republicans responded. The suggestion was shot down. (And barely reported on, by the way. Our national news media rarely covers any of the extremely important debate and votes in the Congress. Thank god for CSPAN!)  

12 Oct 2004 @ 19:01 by ov : UN
I've often heard how "evil" the UN is but I've never been given a reason. Do you have links that outline a rational arguement that condemns the UN?  

12 Oct 2004 @ 20:10 by jazzolog : A Careful Distinction
Squatting consists of resting the haunches upon one's heels, but not sure how diddling complicates the posture. Is that like "Hey diddle diddle"? Or does one presume excrement is involved? I do look forward to any reasoned argument on the topic---even if it supports a notion the United Nations is the hope of mankind.  

12 Oct 2004 @ 23:50 by Quinty @ : More on the UN

I still like the idea of Eleanor Roosevelt going off to San Francisco with her high minded ideals. Are there many tin pots, despotic colonels, generals, and self appointed "presidents" in the UN? Certainly. But. like it or not, it is the face of mankind, or, at least the political face. Now, we can attack the UN as much as we would like to. But we should also perhaps examine our own - the US's - motives. For our version of realpolitik often carries the day. I would like to answer Ninhursag's comment: problem is, he didn't say anything. Fling out an ad homonym and see if it sticks. Though Nin didn't even seem to care about that.  

13 Oct 2004 @ 00:54 by ov : UN
I'd like to hear a response as well, but (name hidden due to a filed complaint) doesn't have any balls, which is the reason I presume that (name hidden due to a filed complaint) has me blocked.  

13 Oct 2004 @ 01:28 by ov : Spare me the hysteria
it runs neck and neck with the hypocrisy. Why not just fess up that your biggest problem with the UN is that it doesn't kiss Zionist ass like all the other mammon worshipers.

{link:www.cbc.ca/listen/index.html|CBC radio - Ideas} has a program tonight on US spin in another couple of hours by Vancouver time zone, earlier for those further East. It sounds interesting.  

13 Oct 2004 @ 13:25 by Quinty @ : Ah, so that's it:

It's not only the tin pot dictators who routinely censor Likud's ethnic cleansing but the whole of Europe and our neighbors to the north and south. And democracy (with the exception perhaps of Mexico) and liberal progressive values are very well founded among those active UN members. Ah, now I can hear the chorus rising up from rightwing Likudists and religious fanatics: "Anti Semiticism!" "Self hating Jews!" "Lovers of homicide bombers!" The Big Lie, especially when used to cover major crimes and human rights abuses, always sounds shriller and louder the greater the lie. (As we know from our current presidential compaign here in the US.)  

14 Oct 2004 @ 09:10 by jazzolog : Time's Thousand Dollars A Day Delayed
The New York Times
October 14, 2004

Time Reporter Again Held in Contempt in Leak Case

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 - A federal district judge held a Time magazine White House correspondent in contempt of court on Wednesday, threatening him with up to 18 months in jail if he refused to testify before a grand jury investigating the disclosure of an intelligence officer's identity.

It was the second time the judge, Thomas F. Hogan of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, had ordered the correspondent, Matthew Cooper, to disclose sources for an article in which he wrote that "some government officials" identified Valerie Plame as an official of the Central Intelligence Agency. It was also the second time Mr. Cooper refused, citing a journalist's promise to protect his sources.

"Obviously, I'm disappointed," Mr. Cooper said after the hearing. "No reporter in the United States should have to go to jail for doing his job."

Two months ago, Judge Hogan found Mr. Cooper in contempt in the same matter, but lifted the order after one of the sources, I. Lewis Libby, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, waived his confidentiality agreement with Mr. Cooper and allowed him to discuss their conversations before the grand jury.

But Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor investigating leaks of Ms. Plame's identity, called Mr. Cooper before the grand jury again, seeking the names of other sources. And, as he had before Mr. Libby waived his confidentiality, Mr. Cooper refused.

Judge Hogan, who also fined Time $1,000 a day until it provided documents relating to Mr. Cooper's interviews, agreed to delay all sanctions pending appeal.

Floyd Abrams, a lawyer representing Mr. Cooper and Time, as well as Judith Miller, a reporter for The New York Times who has been held in contempt by Judge Hogan in the Plame investigation for the same reasons as Mr. Cooper, told the court that the Cooper and Miller cases would be consolidated and that briefs would be filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit next week.

Mr. Cooper was one of several reporters who relied on unidentified sources to write articles that identified Ms. Plame as an intelligence agent. The articles also identified her as the wife of Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former diplomat who wrote in an Op-Ed article for The New York Times in 2003 that President Bush had relied on discredited intelligence to assert that Iraq had sought uranium from Africa.

Mr. Wilson and critics of the Bush administration have asserted that administration officials leaked his wife's name as political payback.

At least five reporters have been subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury, and a few, including Tim Russert of NBC News and Walter Pincus of The Washington Post, have cooperated. It remains unknown whether Robert Novak, a syndicated columnist who first disclosed Ms. Plame's identity on July 14, 2003, has been subpoenaed or whether he is cooperating with the government. His column, which cited two senior administration officials as his sources, appeared eight days after Mr. Wilson's opinion article.

In some circumstances, it is a federal crime for a government official to disclose the name of a C.I.A. operative, and Judge Hogan readily acknowledged that the issues before him represented "a classic confrontation of First Amendment rights and the demands of the criminal justice system."

But in issuing the contempt citation, he said the government had exhausted all other means to obtain the information. He effectively agreed with arguments by Jim Fleissner, an assistant United States attorney from Chicago, who said the 1972 Supreme Court case Branzburg v. Hayes set a precedent, requiring reporters to answer questions from grand juries about their sources.

Judge Hogan also dismissed an argument by Mr. Abrams that Mr. Fitzgerald was acting in bad faith by calling Mr. Cooper back to testify, saying, "I find no merit in any claim that a second subpoena is unfair."

Mr. Fitzgerald attended the hearing. But afterward, both he and Mr. Fleissner declined to answer any questions posed by reporters.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr. Abrams referred to the case involving Ms. Miller, who is facing a jail term even though she did not publish an article about Ms. Plame, as evidence of the "extraordinary reach" of the special prosecutor.

"The fact that Mr. Cooper wrote an article exposing what he viewed as misconduct by the government, and now, to be jailed by that same government is not only ironic," Mr. Abrams said, "but particularly disturbing."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

14 Oct 2004 @ 09:23 by jazzolog : Frank Rich On Intimidation Of The Media
The New York Times
October 17, 2004

Will We Need a New 'All the President's Men'?

SUCH is the power of movies that the first image "Watergate" brings to mind three decades later is not Richard Nixon so much as the golden duo of Redford and Hoffman riding to the nation's rescue in "All the President's Men." But if our current presidency is now showing symptoms of a precancerous Watergate syndrome - as it is, daily - we have not yet reached that denouement immortalized by Hollywood, in which our scrappy heroes finally bring Nixon to heel in his second term. No, we're back instead in the earlier reels of his first term, before the criminality of the Watergate break-in, when no one had heard of Woodward and Bernstein. Back then an arrogant and secretive White House, furious at the bad press fueled by an unpopular and mismanaged war, was still flying high as it kneecapped with impunity any reporter or news organization that challenged its tightly enforced message of victory at hand.

It was then that the vice president, Spiro Agnew, scripted by the speechwriter Pat Buchanan, tried to discredit the press as an elite - or, as he spelled it out, "a tiny, enclosed fraternity of privileged men." It was then that the attorney general, John Mitchell, under the pretext of national security, countenanced wiretaps of Hedrick Smith of The Times and Marvin Kalb of CBS News, as well as a full F.B.I. investigation of CBS's Daniel Schorr. Today it's John Ashcroft's Justice Department, also invoking "national security," that hopes to seize the phone records of Judith Miller and Philip Shenon of The Times, claiming that what amounts to a virtual wiretap is warranted by articles about Islamic charities and terrorism published nearly three years ago.

"The fundamental right of Americans, through our free press, to penetrate and criticize the workings of our government is under attack as never before," wrote William Safire last month. When an alumnus of the Nixon White House says our free press is being attacked as "never before," you listen. What alarms him now are the efforts of Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in the Valerie Plame-Robert Novak affair, to threaten reporters at The Times and Time magazine with jail if they don't reveal their sources. Given that the Times reporter in question (Judith Miller again) didn't even write an article on the subject under investigation, Mr. Fitzgerald overreaches so far that he's created a sci-fi plot twist out of Steven Spielberg's "Minority Report."

It's all the scarier for being only one piece in a pattern of media intimidation that's been building for months now. Once Woodward and Bernstein did start investigating Watergate, Nixon plotted to take economic revenge by siccing the Federal Communications Commission on TV stations owned by The Washington Post's parent company. The current White House has been practicing pre-emptive media intimidation to match its policy of pre-emptive war. Its F.C.C. chairman, using Janet Jackson's breast and Howard Stern's mouth as pretexts, has sufficiently rattled Viacom, which broadcast both of these entertainers' infractions against "decency," that its chairman, the self-described "liberal Democrat" Sumner Redstone, abruptly announced his support for the re-election of George W. Bush last month. "I vote for what's good for Viacom," he explained, and he meant it. He took this loyalty oath just days after the "60 Minutes" fiasco prompted a full-fledged political witch hunt on Viacom's CBS News, another Republican target since the Nixon years. Representative Joe Barton, Republican of Texas, has threatened to seek Congressional "safeguards" regulating TV news content and, depending what happens Nov. 2, he may well have the political means to do it.

Viacom is hardly the only media giant cowed by the prospect that this White House might threaten its corporate interests if it gets out of line. Disney's refusal to release Michael Moore's partisan "Fahrenheit 9/11" in an election year would smell less if the company applied the same principle to its ABC radio stations, where the equally partisan polemics of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are heard every day. Even a low-profile film project in conflict with Bush dogma has spooked the world's largest media company, Time Warner, proprietor of CNN. Its Warner Brothers, about to release a special DVD of "Three Kings," David O. Russell's 1999 movie criticizing the first gulf war, suddenly canceled a planned extra feature, a new Russell documentary criticizing the current war. Whether any of these increasingly craven media combines will stand up to the Bush administration in a constitutional pinch, as Katharine Graham and her Post Company bravely did to the Nixon administration during Watergate, is a proposition that hasn't been remotely tested yet.

To understand what kind of journalism the Bush administration expects from these companies, you need only look at those that are already its collaborators. Fox News speaks loudly for itself, to the point of posting on its Web site an article by its chief political correspondent containing fictional John Kerry quotes. (After an outcry, it was retracted as "written in jest.") But Fox is just the tip of the Rupert Murdoch empire. When The New York Post covered the release of the report by the C.I.A.'s chief weapons inspector, Charles Duelfer, it played the story on page 8 and didn't get to the clause "while no stockpiles of W.M.D. were found in Iraq" until the 16th paragraph. This would be an Onion parody were it not deadly serious.

It's hard to imagine an operation more insidious than Mr. Murdoch's, but the Sinclair Broadcast Group may be it. The owner or operator of 62 TV stations nationwide, including affiliates of all four major broadcast networks, this company gets little press scrutiny because it is invisible in New York City, Washington and Los Angeles, where it has no stations. But Sinclair, whose top executives have maxed out as Bush contributors, was first smoked out of the shadows last spring when John McCain called it "unpatriotic" for ordering its eight ABC stations not to broadcast the "Nightline" in which Ted Koppel read the names of the then 721 American casualties in Iraq. This was the day after Paul Wolfowitz had also downsized American casualties by testifying before Congress that they numbered only about 500.

Thanks to Elizabeth Jensen of The Los Angeles Times, who first broke the story last weekend, we now know that Sinclair has grander ambitions for the election. It has ordered all its stations, whose most powerful reach is in swing states like Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania, to broadcast a "news" special featuring a film, "Stolen Honor," that trashes Mr. Kerry along the lines of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads. The film's creator is a man who spent nearly eight years in the employ of Tom Ridge. Sinclair has ordered that it be run in prime time during a specific four nights in late October, when it is likely to be sandwiched in with network hits like "CSI," "The Apprentice" and "Desperate Housewives." Democrats are screaming, but don't expect the Bush apparatchiks at federal agencies to pursue their complaints as if they were as serious as a "wardrobe malfunction." A more likely outcome is that Sinclair, which already reaches 24 percent of American viewers, will reap the regulatory favors it is seeking to expand that audience in a second Bush term.

Like the Nixon administration before it, the Bush administration arrived at the White House already obsessed with news management and secrecy. Nixon gave fewer press conferences than any president since Hoover; Mr. Bush has given fewer than any in history. Early in the Nixon years, a special National Press Club study concluded that the president had instituted "an unprecedented, government-wide effort to control, restrict and conceal information." Sound familiar? The current president has seen to it that even future historians won't get access to papers he wants to hide; he quietly gutted the Presidential Records Act of 1978, the very reform enacted by Congress as a post-Watergate antidote to pathological Nixonian secrecy.

The path of the Bush White House as it has moved from Agnew-style press baiting to outright assault has also followed its antecedent. The Nixon administration's first legal attack on the press, a year before the Watergate break-in, was its attempt to stop The Times and The Washington Post from publishing the Pentagon Papers, the leaked internal Defense Department history of our failure in Vietnam. Though 9/11 prompted Ari Fleischer's first effort to warn the media to "watch what they say," it's failure in Iraq that has pushed the Bush administration over the edge. It was when Operation Iraqi Freedom was bogged down early on that it spun the fictional saga of Jessica Lynch. It's when the percentage of Americans who felt it was worth going to war in Iraq fell to 50 percent in the Sept. 2003 Gallup poll, down from 73 that April, that identically worded letters "signed" by different soldiers mysteriously materialized in 11 American newspapers, testifying that security for Iraq's citizens had been "largely restored." (As David Greenberg writes in his invaluable "Nixon's Shadow," phony letters to news outlets were also a favorite Nixon tactic.) The legal harassment of the press, like the Republican party's Web-driven efforts to discredit specific journalists even at non-CBS networks, has escalated in direct ratio to the war's decline in support.

"What you're seeing on your TV screens," the president said when minimizing the Iraq insurgency in May, are "the desperate tactics of a hateful few." Maybe that's the sunny news that can be found on a Sinclair station. Now, with our election less than three weeks away, the bad news coming out of Iraq everywhere else is a torrent. Reporters at virtually every news organization describe a downward spiral so dangerous that they can't venture anywhere in Iraq without risking their lives. Last weekend marines spoke openly and by name to Steve Fainaru of The Washington Post about the quagmire they're witnessing firsthand and its irrelevance to battling Al Qaeda, whose 9/11 attack motivated many of them to enlist in the first place. "Every day you read the articles in the States where it's like, 'Oh, it's getting better and better," said Lance Cpl. Jonathan Snyder of Gettysburg, Pa. "But when you're here, you know it's worse every day." Another marine, Lance Cpl. Alexander Jones of Ball Ground, Ga., told Mr. Fainaru: "We're basically proving out that the government is wrong. We're catching them in a lie." Asked if he was concerned that he and his buddies might be punished for speaking out, Cpl. Brandon Autin of New Iberia, La., responded: "What are they going to do - send us to Iraq?"

What "they" can do is try to intimidate, harass, discredit and prosecute news organizations that report stories like this. If history is any guide, and the hubris of re-election is tossed into the mix, that harrowing drama can go on for a long time before we get to the feel-good final act of "All the President's Men."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

14 Oct 2004 @ 19:18 by ov : Silver Lining Dept
It's all evidence, hindsight is 20/20, and there is no amount of rational arguement that would have convinced anybody that our system was capable of the behavior that it is currently exhibiting. True, there are many that are still in denial, but more and more have been back lashed by the credibility gap, and snapping to attention. There is little that is more formidable than an ego that acknowledges it has been duped and has transformed denial into anger.

We offered them enough rope to hang themselves and the greedy bastards took enough to pop their little heads right off. Guess their momma never told them not to bunji jump with a hangman's noose around their throat.

I'll add some ontopic news in addittion to a mere opinion. For those that say the fact that they can read dissenting opinion is proof that we still have freedom of speech. Perhaps we do, but the truth isn't enough we need the whole truth, not freedom of some speech which doesn't offend, but freedom of speech period. And how long will we have the net we love before it is taken down and then what do we do?

{link:www.infoshop.org/inews/stories.php?story=04/10/12/8399513|FBI-led seizure of Indymedia computers in U.K.} may be tied to U.S. election. Am I the only one that feels uncomfortable with the US extending its police tentagles into other countries domains?  

14 Oct 2004 @ 20:00 by Quinty @ : Freedom of speech

I don't know about you guys, but I sometimes wake up in the morning and marvel that we still have freedom of speech. That we can still say nasty things about the Idiot in Chief. Will we, one day, put our backs against a wall and face a firing squad?

No kidding. I sometimes wonder......  

14 Oct 2004 @ 20:22 by martha : Did you know quinty
that some republicans are trying to convince the supreme court that they have a right to place the ten commandments on public property and are using the excuse of freedom of speech? OOps they seem to have forgotten the doctrine of seperation of church and state....hahahaha...more spin and illogic.  

14 Oct 2004 @ 23:23 by Quinty @ : Church and State

Yes, I did know that. And that the Supreme Court has taken the case. In the past they have been good - if I'm wrong I'll be properly corrected - on the subject, defending the wall between church and state. And even "conservative" justices have upheld that most fundamental concept.

I am appalled by the thought of the Ten Commandments greeting any attorney entering a court house. What is he to think? That some Christian fundamentalist judge will apply the law according to HIS religious beliefs? Or according to the city, county, state, or federal government? Whose court house would our attorney be in, anyway?

Okay: acuse me of being some kind of elitist pointy headed eastern late drinking PBS listening leftist pseudo intellectual with uppity airs and principles. But this kind of gross and dangerous stupidity makes me sick. Our Founders, whom the Bible twisters constantly site as the original God fearing patriots, were thoroughly aware of the religious wars of the previous centuries. And it was not for not that they included a wall between church and state. To protect both: church from state and state from religion.

Politics and religion do not mix. It is like mixing oil with water, and we know what happens if someone desires to toss a torch into that unholy combination.  

14 Oct 2004 @ 23:34 by Quinty @ : Erratum notice

Shouldn't acuse be accuse and site be cite? Appplogies.... P  

15 Oct 2004 @ 01:18 by martha : Oh I'm glad you caught
your two misspellings before the red pencil did. That was a close call!
Please don't be sick. I keep thinking that Osama will be suddenly caught or killed in the next few weeks. I bet there has been increased activity in that area. (Oh dear my cynicism is showing once again)  

15 Oct 2004 @ 01:22 by ov : hehehe
Silly me, I thought that was sarcasm.

Talking about cynicism I heard a rumor the other day that Osama died six years ago. (I'm not initiating this rumor, I really did run across it on the web, but I forget where, maybe it was the EarthRainbowNetwork or a link coming off of there.)  

15 Oct 2004 @ 08:29 by jazzolog : Sarcasm Vs. Cynicism
Speaking of somewhere over the rainbow, did you guys see Maureen Dowd's review this morning of all the "spirituality" about women and wives in the 3rd debate?


---The Red Pencil  

15 Oct 2004 @ 13:34 by martha : No
cause I don't want to register at the NYT.  

15 Oct 2004 @ 13:49 by martha : Republican thinking
Hey Jazzy I found this tidbit in the LA Times today. My question is why are the Rebulicans against some OHio voters from casting their vote? You don't think it is because they don't want them to vote do you?

TOLEDO, Ohio — A federal judge ruled Thursday that Ohio voters who showed up at the wrong polling place on election day could still cast ballots as long as they were in the county where they were registered.

U.S. District Judge James Carr blocked a directive from Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican, who recently announced that poll workers must send voters to their correct precinct.
Blackwell filed an appeal.

The judge said voters who showed up at the wrong polling place after moving without notifying the elections board, and those whose names could not be found on the registration rolls, should be able to cast provisional ballots there.

Denying any voter the right to a provisional vote will erode confidence in the election and lessen the incentive to vote, the judge said.

"Lessened participation at the polls diminishes the vitality of our democracy," Carr said.

The decision is a victory for the Ohio Democratic Party and a coalition of labor and voter rights groups, which said Blackwell's order discriminated against the poor and minorities.

"We expect the secretary of state to issue a new set of guidelines that will allow voters to participate in the election process," state party Chairman Dennis White said.

Foes of the directive also argued that a federal law passed in 2002 allows voters to cast provisional ballots at any polling place in their home county.

Blackwell called Carr's decision a misinterpretation of the federal act.

"The law specifically leaves the issuing and counting of those ballots to states in accordance with state law," which requires that voters cast ballots at the correct polling place, Blackwell said.

Provisional ballots are not counted until after the election. They are set aside and inspected by Democratic and Republican election board employees to establish their validity.

More than 100,000 provisional votes were cast in Ohio in the 2000 election.  

15 Oct 2004 @ 14:57 by jazzolog : Just For You, Martha
The New York Times
October 15, 2004

Courting the Finicky Women

I'm just not that into them.

I could apply all the rationalizations women use to make excuses for men who are clearly not their dream guys from the new best seller "He's Just Not That Into You," by two former "Sex and the City" writers:

"It's better than nothing." "It's just the way he was brought up." "He just says things he doesn't mean." "He's got a lot on his mind." "Maybe he's intimidated." "He's just finding himself."

But in the end, I'm forced to admit, I'm just not that into them.

The third debate date with Long-Faced Guy and Mini-Me was not particularly gratifying, edifying or electrifying. Neither the robotic Kerry (still struggling to land an open punch on a president divorced from reality) nor the herky-jerky Bush (still struggling to find an appealing onstage persona) seemed presidential or inspiring.

The two candidates were trying for sparks on Wednesday night, jousting over the 61 percent of undecided voters who are women, such as the single women, the security moms and the Medicare grandmas.

John Kerry and George W. Bush remembered the ladies with bouquets of uxoriousness and spirituality.

It was a contest to see who was closer to his family and who was closer to God. Sounding like a New Age guru, Mr. Kerry burbled: "I think we have a lot more loving of our neighbor to do in this country and on this planet." Sounding like Moses, he intoned: "We're all God's children, Bob."

The two gentlemen callers competed to offer the sweetest encomiums to their wives and daughters, though Mr. Kerry showed the bite in his overwhitened, overeager "I'm smarter than you but I'm trying not to show it" grin when he strategically dragged Dick Cheney's gay daughter back into the debate, a dead-wrong thing to do.

The president - realizing that it's not enough to simply scare women to death about their kids by letting his creepy vice president put out his spooky threat that there will be more terrorist attacks if Mr. Kerry is elected - wooed women voters with a reminiscence that sounded like a gauzy Lifetime movie scene: love-at-first-sight over the burgers.

"I can't tell you how lucky I am when I met her in the backyard of Joe and Jan O'Neill in Midland, Tex.," Mr. Bush recalled. "It was the classic backyard barbecue. O'Neill said, 'Come on over, I think you'll find somebody who might interest you.' So I said all right, bopped over there. There's only four of us there. And not only did she interest me, I guess you could say it was love at first sight."

Mr. Kerry tried to show more anima than Mr. Bush by talking about the strong moral compass provided by his wife and daughters and throwing in a sentimental tribute to his late mom: "And just before I was deciding to run and she was in the hospital, and I went in to talk to her and tell her what I was thinking of doing. ... And she just looked at me and she said, 'Remember: integrity, integrity, integrity.' Those are the three words that she left me with."

After too much time spent on chummy talk about wives and not enough spent on tart talk about stem cells and on how the president and vice president should not be considered authorities on foreign policy or national security, given their dismal performance in these areas, I was missing the unsentimental fireball Howard Dean, whose wife never even showed up to see him campaign until the press made a fuss about it.

Wednesday's exchange was saintly, and Tweedledee and Tweedledum. The rivals, dressed in almost identical reddish polka-dot ties and the inevitable flag lapel pins, sparred with equally lame lines: Tony Soprano versus the Left Bank.

Watching Mr. Bush's tired retread of his dad's barbs against Michael Dukakis (He's a liberal! He's a liberal! He's from Massachusetts! He's on a first-name basis with Teddy Kennedy! Teddy Kennedy!), I found myself longing for some original moment. If only Mr. Kerry, who follows Mr. Bush's lead too much, had broken out with a Looney Tunes lapel pin.

Or if Mr. Kerry had only taken off after Mr. Bush when he began ranting that "only a liberal senator from Massachusetts would say that a 49 percent increase in funding for education was not enough."

Mr. Kerry should have at least tried to pierce Mr. Bush's nimbus of mendacity on Iraq and Saddam and Al Qaeda and the economy, and reached for a dramatic moment - à la Captain "Ah, but the strawberries" Queeg, or Jack "You can't handle the truth" Nicholson - by riposting, "Only a delusional frat boy from Crawford. ..."

Then I could have gotten into them.

E-mail: liberties@nytimes.com

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company  

15 Oct 2004 @ 15:38 by martha : ah shucks Jazzy
how sweet of you....
It amazes me that the percentage (61%) of undecided voters are women. Obviously they haven't thought through the issue of control and respect and that the republican party thinks it is not OK for a women to decide about pregnancy and abortion. But when you think about it, sexism is still alive and well in the good old USA (yes I am a broken record) so many women really don't know how to be respectful of themselves. Also since the Republicans are so good at throwing the fear factor around some women have obviously bought it into the spin and illogical thinking that the Repbulican party offers.
And this whole thing about Kerry talking about Cheneys gay daughter and the Republicans acting so offended makes me laugh since it has been openly talked about for months.


Hey! The Republican party thinks it is not OK for you even to think about your own religion. Get with the program or get out!

---someone who has spied upon the Agenda  

15 Oct 2004 @ 16:21 by Quinty @ : Cheney's gay daughter
Perhaps they are upset because they see it as somehow shameful? So even though they preach tolerance they may be not? Or else why all the fuss over gay marriage? Perhaps us misshapen lefties are a little ahead of our Republican friends, who in truth feel homosexuality is dirty and shameful. So if Kerry brings it up - even though it has long been brought up - he is "playing dirty politics?"


The Cheney family is outraged today Kerry "used" its daughter for political end. Thank God that outrage has no political purpose, else Cheney might use his own daughter to such a despicable end.

---A father who sees the Good of the polis  

15 Oct 2004 @ 16:41 by martha : And of course lets not forget
that the Republicans tried to push a bill through congress stating that one could not have a same sex marriage. They like to regulate love along with a woman's body. And on the abortion issue the republicans don't even seem to be interested in educating women to all the possiblilites of choice. They just want to slam the door on free choice and also free speech unless it is convenient for them (10 commandments).


The issue is on a number of state constitution amendments on the current ballot...among them Ohio. Check out what you'll be voting on before you get in there---and take your Voter Registration Card!

---the cautious democrat

I don't have a voter registration card in CA. Besides I'm voting by mailing. Mark and I are going over the ballot tonight and I'm walking our ballots to the post office tomorrow morning. Granted we each have to put a 37 cent stamp on them but I'm willing to splurge. You should see the CA ballot...lots of state measures to read through and figure out. They make the language difficult to understand.  

15 Oct 2004 @ 16:46 by Quinty @ : Willy nilly sarcasm
So how come the onslaught of snide commentary?

Have I offended? Did I somehow come on as pompous? Do you think I'm an ass?

Very well then, I plead for your forgiveness. I prostrate myself upon your carpet, and shall grovel in the cat doo or whatever else is there. I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'll even shout it out from the rooftops. Please, please, I humbly beg forgiveness.

Did that do it? Did I redeem myself? I shall never correct myself again, pompous ass that I be. Oh, that mirror: that unseen cruel mirror that reflects our true faces to the rest of the world, which we all live with from the day we are born until the day we die.

Ah bas! Ah bas le bourgeois!

Okay. I feel better now. (Yes folks, I did that to make myself feel good) I hope you have a nice day.

By the way: why do we have to fill in these silly Serbo Croation terms in order to let our missives fly?


Because of a new spam machine attacking the site (or is it cite? That part is hazy.). You're lucky your 'puter can read the thing. Mine can't nor can some friends'. Ming won't answer my Second Request about the thing.

---A New Civilization Citizen or Denizen (also hazy)  

15 Oct 2004 @ 17:00 by martha : Lets also not forget voter registration
This goody bushman first brought to my attentiuon.... And quinty you are not pompous, just a concerned citizen seeing our freedom being taken away from us.




There are lots more links on the subject but you get the idea.  

15 Oct 2004 @ 17:08 by ov : Guns, gays and abortions
The reason that these topics get such a large amount of air time is because at the GEO-POLITICAL LEVEL THEY ARE INSIGNIFICANT and are therefore excellent issues to raise passions and divide the population.  

15 Oct 2004 @ 17:56 by Quinty @ : Yeah

Thanks for the kind remark. Yeah. Circuses without bread, but plenty of chutzpah. That's ol' George alright. And Kerry's dignity, of course, is held against him. He lacks warmth, he's too patrician, he has too much money, he married up, he married down, he's too tall, he's too short. Unless he wins. Then none of that will matter.  

15 Oct 2004 @ 19:30 by vibrani : Annan
NEW YORK — The Justice Department criminal probe into the U.N. Oil-for-Food program is focusing on several individuals, among them U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's son, FOX News has learned.

Kojo Annan, the secretary-general’s son, was employed by a U.N. contractor that monitored food and medicine shipments that were flowing into Iraq as part of the multibillion-dollar program created in late 1996.

The Oil-for-Food program is now being probed by the Justice Department and Congress as a boondoggle that enriched Saddam Hussein and others. A report delivered last week by Charles Duelfer found that Saddam was able to "subvert" the $60 billion U.N. Oil-for-Food program to generate an estimated $1.7 billion in revenue outside U.N. control from 1997-2003.

• Click here for links to read the report's key findings {http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_story/0,3566,135503,00.html}

The Justice Department investigation is looking into Kojo Annan’s conduct and determining whether Annan and others can be prosecuted for any crimes in the United States, according to law enforcement sources.

Kojo Annan was a consultant for Cotecna, a Swiss-based company, and helped manage the firm’s operations in Nigeria. He ended his assignment with the firm just months after it got a $4.8 million U.N. contract to monitor goods coming into Iraq.

At congressional hearings last week, Cotecna officials said they were unable to do their job properly because of Saddam's relentless manipulation of the U.N. system that let him bilk an estimated $11 billion from the program.

Cotecna issued a statement that in part states “at no time did Kojo Annan have anything to do with Cotecna’s operations relating to the United Nations or Iraq.” The company noted that Kojo Annan was hired a year before the Oil-for-Food program began and before his father was elected secretary-general.

FOX News was unable to locate Kojo Annan for comment but his father told reporters at the United Nations earlier this year that there was no connection.

"Neither he nor I had anything to do with contracts for Cotecna. That was done in strict accordance with U.N. rules and financial regulations and these are also part of the issues that the panel investigating this issue will look into,” Annan said April 28.

Another person under investigation is Samir Vincent, an American citizen who was born in Iraq. Vincent's name was listed in the CIA report released last week that cited the Oil-for-Food scandal extensively in its discussion of Saddam's ambitions as one of three U.S. citizens who were allowed to profit by selling Iraqi oil or the right to trade it.

The Duelfer report said that Vincent, a Virginia-based businessman, received about $4 million worth of Oil-for-Food vouchers over four years. In a faxed statement to FOX News, Vincent said it was his company, Phoenix International, which received oil vouchers legally under the program.

In 2000, Vincent led Iraqi religious leaders on a tour of the United States to push for an end to sanctions against Saddam. Among the people who the group met with was former President Jimmy Carter.

The Justice probe, centered in the Southern District of New York, is considered a full investigation, in other words it has gone on far beyond an initial inquiry. It has been going on for several months, sources said, but there is no indication whether prosecutors plan to seek any indictments.

Besides the Justice Department investigation, committees in the House and the Senate are also examining what happened with Oil-for-Food. Plus, the United Nations has appointed former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker to lead its own independent investigation.

The scandal also is spilling over the campaign trail. Both President Bush and Vice President Cheney began to cite Oil-for-Food last week as another reason why the decision to go to war with Iraq was the right move.  

15 Oct 2004 @ 19:50 by martha : More goodies on Republican tactics
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The head of the nation's largest gay and lesbian Republican group slammed fellow Republicans Friday for "feigning outrage" over comments by Sen. John Kerry, and called on President Bush to "stop attacking gay families on the campaign trail."

Patrick Guerriero, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, said Democratic presidential nominee Kerry was "not wise" to refer to the daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney during the answer to a question about homosexuality during a presidential debate Wednesday night. (Special Report: America Votes 2004, the debates)

But he said Republicans "who are expressing outrage at the debate comments really have been outrageous themselves."

"The reality is the type of outrage that is being expressed by some Republicans should be expressed at themselves. They've decided to use gay families as wedge issues across America in swing states -- that is truly outrageous," he told CNN's "American Morning."

The comments come as Republicans continue to criticize Kerry over the mention, and Democrats accuse the Bush-Cheney ticket of trying to create an uproar in order to avoid talking about major issues and Kerry's success in the debate.

A CNN/USA Today/ Gallup poll taken immediately after the debate found Kerry the winner by a wide margin. (CNN Poll: Early survey gives Kerry the edge)

Democrats also say the vice president has brought up the sexuality of his daughter and campaign manager Mary Cheney on the campaign trail.

The Log Cabin Republicans have withheld their endorsement in the presidential race after clashing with Bush over several issues, including a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage.

The group also launched complaints over the Republican Party's platform, adopted before the party's convention in August, which rejects benefits for same-sex couples and rejects allowing openly gay people to serve in the military.

Guerriero said members of his group are "insulted by a campaign that has attempted to amend the Constitution, and in too many states we've seen discriminatory amendments that would deny hospital visitation and domestic partnership legislation."

He also pointed to fliers that the Republican National Committee sent to voters in Arkansas and Virginia, which say "banned" over a picture of the Bible and "allowed" over a picture of a man apparently proposing marriage to another man.

The fliers warn: "Liberals want to impose their values" on the state.

Guerriero said the fliers "equate gay and lesbian families with those folks who would want to ban the Bible."

Republican officials have said the fliers were expressing concern over what Bush calls "activist judges." But Guerriero called the mailings part of "low-ball politics."

"The big story in this election is that Karl Rove has decided to strategically use gay and lesbian Americans in a number of swing states," Guerriero said. Rove is Bush's chief political strategist.

"The same people who are feigning outrage about what happened in the debate should speak out against that type of political gamesmanship," Guerriero added.

During the debate, Cheney thanked Sen. John Edwards for his "kind words" after the Democratic vice presidential nominee praised the relationship between Cheney and his daughter during the answer to a question about homosexuality. But spokespeople for the Bush-Cheney ticket later said Edwards' move was inappropriate.

On Wednesday night, moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS asked Bush and Kerry whether they believe homosexuality is a choice.

Bush said he did not know.

Kerry said, "We're all God's children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as."

Cheney and his wife both slammed Kerry. The vice president said Kerry was "out of line;" Lynne Cheney called him "not a good man." (Cheneys indignant about Kerry remark)

"Of course I am speaking as a mom -- and a pretty indignant mom -- and this is not a good man," she said. "What a cheap and tawdry political trick."

Kerry responded, saying in a statement, "I love my daughters. They love their daughter. I was trying to say something positive about the way strong families deal with this issue."

Elizabeth Edwards, the senator's wife, said in a radio interview that Lynne Cheney's response "indicates a certain degree of shame with respect to her daughter's sexual preferences. ... It makes me really sad."

Guerriero said he believed Mrs. Edwards went "over the line," noting that the Cheneys clearly "love their daughter, they've recognized her publicly."

He encouraged Sens. Kerry and Edwards to "make their case for gay and lesbian fairness" without mentioning Mary Cheney.

And, he said, "the president and Karl Rove should stop attacking gay families on the campaign trail."  

15 Oct 2004 @ 19:52 by ov : What's next

15 Oct 2004 @ 20:56 by jazzolog : I Put Up A Bunch Of Comments
within the kind contributions above. There is more developing about the Ohio provisional voting situation. I'll try to get something posted tomorrow morning.  

15 Oct 2004 @ 23:25 by Quinty @ : More on the nefarious UN
which must be part of the "Axis of Evil." (But somehow all these participating nations represent the people of the world, don't they? Europe, and other advanced liberal democracies? Ah, but those of us on the far right hate them for many reasons. Perhaps empire is the only solution!) Since this came up previously, above, I thought I would throw it into the mix. It came in over the transom from a former library colleague in SF.....

U.S. Rejects U.N. Plan for Women
    The Associated Press
    Thursday 14 October 2004

    United Nations - The United States has refused to join 85 heads of state and
government in signing a statement that endorsed a 10-year-old U.N. plan to ensure every woman's right to education, healthcare and choice about having children.

    The Bush administration said it withheld its signature because the statement included a reference to "sexual rights."

    Kelly Ryan, deputy assistant secretary of State, wrote to backers of the plan that the
United States was committed "to the empowerment of women and the need to promote
women's fullest enjoyment of universal human rights."

    "The United States is unable, however, to endorse the world leaders' statement," Ryan
said, because it "includes the concept of 'sexual rights,' a term that has no agreed
definition in the international community."

    Ryan did not elaborate. At previous U.N. meetings, U.S. representatives have spoken out against abortion, gay rights and what they see as the promotion of promiscuity by
distributing condoms to prevent AIDS.

    The statement was signed by leaders of 85 nations, including those in the European
Union, China, Japan, Indonesia, Pakistan and more than a dozen African countries, as well as 22 former world leaders.  

15 Oct 2004 @ 23:42 by Quinty @ : More on the UN

I hope that made you see how evil the UN is! The rightwing will be vindicated!!!!!!

By the way, Richard, get an Apple. Their flat screens have excellent graphics. And get Cable, or the Dish, or whatever it takes. You may end up an addict, sitting dazed hours on end before the set: drinking beer and eating corn chips, going to bed at two o'clock at night and waking up dazed and groggy. An addict. And you may even go out and buy some product you don't need simply because it has been drilled into your head a thousand and one times that it is vital to your youth and sex life: like, perhaps, toilet paper or some other basic commodity. Dog food, or, well, whatever. But as your former college roommate I don't want to help corrupt you at this late stage. We did that mutually forty years ago. Anyway, reading is better for your sanity and health. Get a book! But without the tube, in today's world, you won't really know what's going on, and participate in the general zeitgeist. (Wherever it went.)  

16 Oct 2004 @ 02:37 by ov : Oregon registration fraud
Just heard an interview on the radio about voter registration {link:www.bend.com/news/ar_view^3Far_id^3D18725.htm|fraud in Oregon}. GOP has been caught red handed on this one and the outrage is spreading through the news, about damn time.  

16 Oct 2004 @ 17:23 by Quinty @ : UN haters unite!

Nin - Thanks for your concern. But I was being ironic. How humorless of me if others don't even get the joke, or the intended irony. Ah well..... Or, wait a minute! Are you somehow being ironic? I mean, ah never mind.....  

18 Oct 2004 @ 15:15 by jazzolog : All This Ballyhoo
I am trying to remain cheerful in the midst of these anatomical references on my Log. I believe we began with a reference to the United Nations as "squat," which I understand to the British would mean simply a building where people are living without permission. However, over here there seem to be connotations of lower intestinal movement.

We then moved logically into a consideration of someone having balls enough to do this or that. Feminine offense was taken and I think a formal complaint was lodged. I removed this article---an article that is quite important to me---from the Front Page pending action from the council...although I don't think Ming even is aware anything is going on. Is that something new?

Now we have gone from having balls to showing balls. Before things become pornographic, let us consult a dictionary. To have balls, in the sense of being tough or courageous, needn't be thought of as sexist I think. Women have eggs...which are ball-shaped---and a sign of fertility and vigor. So it's possible a woman could relate somehow to an encouragement to show some balls. However, I agree it might be an insensitive remark.

Again, the British have a rather different view of balls. They say "Balls!" when they're confounded. In fact, in both cultures we use the phrase "to ball something up," meaning it's messed up. So I suggest we summon the umpire, who's sure to call Ball Four...and somebody's going to have to take a walk to First Base.  

18 Oct 2004 @ 15:24 by martha : hahahaha Jazzy
FYI- i haven't heard a word from ming.

And don't forget balling Jazz.....oh dear I guess I best not go down that path.  

18 Oct 2004 @ 16:27 by Quinty @ : Maybe it's gallows humor?

I don't know about you guys but I could use some cheering up. It appears that many of our fellow countrymen and women believe:

a) that this war in Iraq will protect us from the terrorists, and:

b) George Bush, who created the mess, is the right man to lead us out of it.

c) And that billions should be spent to provide every American with a flashlight to look for a terrorist under his or her bed. Why not?

And that this phenomenon George Bush, who should be about twenty or thirty points behind Kerry in the polls, appears on the verge of winning. And that the national nightmare will not come to an end. And that the violence will only escalate and continue. And that we have the very real prospect of facing more wars in order to strengthen the empire. And if that's not enough, the Bill of Rights will become a museum piece, the economy will go bottom up and we will become a third world nation with a small and powerful ruling minority of the rich, and that global warming will suddenly overwhelm us. Oh yes, and there terrorists out there too.

How appropriate we have a president who looks like Alfred E. Newman. "What me worry?" And it appears that Bush is convinced of his Devine Mission because God is his copilot in the Oval Office. And if you have God on your side, how can you ever make a mistake? No apologies needed. So, I'm tightening up, batting down the eaves or whatever you call them, bracing myself, and wondering whether to buy a case of whiskey or not in order to deal with the onslought of another four years. I even worry about what the rest of the world will think. Yes, it matters what the Europeans think of us. How can we ever show our faces again? The boastful overbearing Americans who believe they are better at everything than everyone else in the world?

I'm reading a book by Chalmers Johnson called the Sorrows of Empire. I haven't finished it yet but it seems to be a good summation of US power politics in the world.  

18 Oct 2004 @ 21:16 by b : Don't Tread On Me
was once written on an early battle flag of USA. The statement is a good aphorism. UN is demanded decisions to favor the 56 member Muslim conference nations. 56 of the 200 member nations make a sizable bloc of influence. It is the religion of Islam that is used for political purpose in the UN that refects the depth of corruption. One book, the Quran, is the only book needed for guidance in life by all Muslims. All Muslim children are taught this and that books contents. Our(USA)freedoms are not being taken away. Read the Quran and be free.
Just one of the things written in the Koran: "If a person sees a vision of Jesus or converts from Islam to Christian, they are to be declared a renegade and killed." There are a lot of other cute verses too. Declaritive statements in Koran are Shiara law.
Kofe Annan's son is a Muslim. I have found no where Kofi Annan's religous preference. Is he Muslim too? That might answer many of the questions of why UN favors resolutions chastising Israel which is a nation and favoring palestians who refuse being a nation until Israel is destroyed and all of the Jews killed. The reality is that palestinians are stateless Arabs squatting in disputed territories and Arabs are from Arabia.  

18 Oct 2004 @ 23:34 by Quinty @ : On silly religious nonsense

You can find all kinds of silly nonsense in the Bible too, including threats of eternal damnation if you don't abide by the Father's rules. Israel is a modern European state which is increasingly losing credibility in the world by waging a blatant ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people. It is in danger ITSELF of surviving for adopting such an extremist nationalist policy, with the aid, of all people, of Christian fundamentalists in the United States. Who believe, speaking of silly nonsense, in something called the Rapture. Which has to take place in the Holy Land, ie Israel. (A very strange alliance, if I may add. Nor are these Christian fundamentalists who support Israel truly its friends.)

Many American and European and Isreali Jews are extremely worried that Sharon's and the Likud's and the fundamentalists' racist policies will eventually destroy Israel. And that if Likud's policies succeed Israel will ultimately become a pariah nation with numerous South African style bantustans to contain the Palestinians, while simultaneously enduring unending violence and terrorism. Your remarks, b, seem to imply that you don't care about that prospect. That any future is fine, as far as you are concerned, so long as the Palestinians are driven off their lands. Which, yes, you say are disputed. But by who? The Israel firsters?

Why do Likudists hate the UN? The reasons should be obvious, and those same fanatics who believe in driving the Palestinian people off their homes and fields will employ any lie or propaganda trick to deceive themselves and others. But the disgust and horror of the world at Jews, of all people, employing tactics similar to their historic oppressors will only increase, in spite of the torrent and violent character of their lies. Shame on all of them.  

19 Oct 2004 @ 00:42 by martha : Shame on all of them.
I assume quinty that you are also including the Palastinians in that statement. There are no innocents in this. Innocent Israels are also being killed. The Palastinians are as much to blame for the violence in Israel. I personally don't believe that either Sharon or Arafat will be able to resolve this problem. There needs to be new leadership on both sides.  

19 Oct 2004 @ 01:28 by ov : Shame on guilt trippers
{link:humanrightswatch.org/campaigns/gaza/|Human Rights Watch} is more of an authority on this subject than everybody on NCN combined, and they say that Israel is in violation of International Law for their recent actions in the Gaza strip. Of course Nora, and her coffe buddy, will probably disagree since they are implicitly claiming to be experts on this subject by being able to judge anybody that has an opinion contrary to their own. I'm seeing a pattern of behavior here and time will either confirm or refute this observation.  

19 Oct 2004 @ 02:10 by ov : You own your own keyboard
Nobody is putting words into your mouth except for you. I wouldn't put anything in your mouth for fear of having it bitten off but that's a different story. Anyway it looks like my status has been slightly improved from 'prejudice' to 'biased'. Making progress slow but sure. But like I said time will tell, eh?  

19 Oct 2004 @ 02:32 by martha : gee i wonder what
Human Rights Watch has to say about the American conduct in Iraq?


or this little goodie

Ah gee Nora I've had coffee with you ONE time. Guess that makes us coffee buddies eh?

The pattern I see is dealing with prejudice views on NCN. Some of us are interested in the truth and not slamming one group of people and calling them complainers and passivists. But let me do the quote one more time so some on NCN can understand OV where you are coming from. This was written by OV on Astrids log.

"Then again we didn't passively get hauled away in the cattle cars when anybody else would have put up some resistince so if they were too proud to cry out for help then I don't understand how they complain about how they didn't get any. They sure have been making up for it since though, and using it as defense for any and every perceived injustice they have suffered through since then. "

Or this little gem also written by OV on the Astrid's log
"Where does the Israel right to exist include the proposition that Israel must dominate and control all of it's neighbors? "

I had no idea that Israel was trying to dominate it's neighbors. My sense is that Israel is just trying to survive. Does Israel try to dominate Jordan or Egypt just to name a few of their neigbors? I believe Israel is trying to make peace with them which is quite different then trying to dominate.

Don't try and put me in a box OV. I have said for two years on NCN that both the Israelies and the Palastinians will only achieve peace when both groups want it in their hearts.  

19 Oct 2004 @ 09:26 by scotty : b re: Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan is a Christian.

"Annan, who graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., the
Institut Universitaire de Hautes Edudes Internationales in Geneva,
Switzerland, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also
attended a Methodist primary school in his native Ghana. He credited
his religious teachers and scripture with instilling in him the
principles that guide his life and work. Annan is a Christian, who
attends a number of Protestant churches in New York, according to his


19 Oct 2004 @ 17:50 by Quinty @ : Look
I didn't invent this stuff. it comes from listening to BBC, reading the NY Review of Books and the Nation and other sources. My partner, Ellen (undoubtedly a "self hating Jew") also keeps well informed from a variety of sources, including on the Web. And there is much criticism of Sharon and the rightwing Jewish extremists and fundamentalists both here and in Israel.

Not to be overly simplistic, to criticize Israeli policies does not exclude also condemning Palestinian terrorism. If you oppose this terrorism, then perhaps you would support the efforts Mahatma Gandhi's grandson has made at teaching the Palestinians the techniques of nonviolent passive resistance?

And that Human Rights Watch has condemned Israel's treatment of Palestinians does not necessitate excluding their condemnation of US treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo or of Arabic terrorism. That would be to enter the simplistic world of George Bush: good and evil, black and white. “You’re either with us or against us.” Which, as you must know, are the common slogans of authoritarians and demagogues.

So often, in this debate, hysteria takes the place of reason, and the Holocaust is employed to justify the inhuman and brutal treatment of Arabs in Palestine. This shameless exploitation of that enormous human tragedy is close to criminal and only illustrates the extremes they will employ to justify and advance their cause. All means of obfuscation are employed, including charges of anti Semeticism. And Jews are tarred as “self-hating” if they object. Anything but reasonable discourse or a reliance on simple human decency. Now, I just heard over the radio that Shimon Peres is afraid the fanatics will attempt to assassinate Arial Sharon. A beautiful panorama. And, yes, the Palestinians have much to answer for too. But that does not excuse the settlers who have stolen their land.

Poor Richard. His page has been overrun by a fiery debate which has nothing to do with what he intended. And I admit to being somewhat at fault. I’ll let the subject rest now, no matter how it rages on.  

19 Oct 2004 @ 18:53 by vibrani : The Israelis DID NOT STEAL ANY LAND!
This is what I'm talking about, misinformation. Quinty, I don't know why you think that is a fact because it is so far from the truth.  

19 Oct 2004 @ 20:12 by jazzolog : Ellen, Are You There?
Eventually, Paul and Nora, my wife had to join this NCN thing to speak for herself. Mark Smollin had something of the same experience---though maybe those two just can't be in the same place at the same time...except at certain amazing times. Maybe Ellen should consider coming in here to talk things over...although these New Civilizers play rough. Doesn't it seem the very condition of being human involves "stealing land"?  

19 Oct 2004 @ 20:26 by ov : micro -- macro
Steal is such a loaded verb. How about occupy and make things unbearable for everybody else so they chose to leave. Oh, that is what happens here in cyberspace. Don't talk about that or I'll have a hissy fit. You don't want me to have a hissy fit now do you?  

19 Oct 2004 @ 20:27 by martha : I speak for Mark also
i just use less words!

i wish I could afford to go to Israel on a trip. There is lots to see there and just to clarify, I'm not Jewish in this life.  

19 Oct 2004 @ 20:36 by ov : I'm not the hissy missy
and I'm not the one on these blogs that consistently attempts to silence discussion on particular subjects.  

19 Oct 2004 @ 20:48 by Quinty @ : The hehehaha never ends

Well, to leap back into the fray, though I promised I wouldn't (you don't really mind, do you?): since stealing land is so common it makes one wonder if it isn't human in a very fundamental way? What's more, anything anyone of us does is human, in my perpetually informed or uniformed, but certainly humble, opinion. Which helps make life interesting, since anything anyone else does is something can also do, unless it requires talents we don’t have. (Though not always. Admit it, you've met some folks in your life who would never intentionally do a rotten thing to another person, right. Perhaps you can even say that about yourself?)

Now, about hiding behind my girlfriend's skirts. She ain't the only one. There are many American Jews who do not go in for the Likud way of approaching things. So I will hide behind them too. What's more, can they all be wrong? Many of them are ashamed and appalled by Arial Sharon’s behavior. And if Nin (your name is Nora? I'm sorry if I haven’t gotten that right) desires something good to be said about Israel, for a change, fine, but then Israel should not behave in a manner which excites criticism. Usually, when an ethnic cleansing is under way, those perpetrating it will arouse some criticism from the rest of the world. Even if the critics are called anti Semites. That's just the way things are. Be nice to have nice things said about you. And now I promise to really shut up. After all, this is Richard's party.  

19 Oct 2004 @ 21:12 by ov : Quinty and Vaxen slipped
I've been to Israel back in the Spring of 1975 I was there for three months while I was working on a oilwell workover in the Gulf of Suez, this was before Isreal gave this land back to Egypt. I was impressed with the attitude and efficiency of the Israeli, and when I saw how they were playing up to the camera during the first Gulf war I knew that in one generation they had lost their way and I don't doubt that the current generation is an embarassment to the generation that was there in the 70's.

I read a lot of links, and a lot of books, and I talk to a lot of people here in Vancouver though most of them are Palestinian, Iraqi and Iranian. I am also open to any and every line of reasoning provided that it is backed up with examples and something that can be verified. No, I do not know everything, but it would be wrong to say that I know NOTHING, and I might add that your hysterical display isn't contributing anything to your credibility points.

My main bias, and I might even go so far as to say prejudice, is towards those people that attempt to stifle inquiry. This {link:www.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v335/__show_article/_a000335-000009.htm|Critique of Debate by Al-Ghazli} is as appropriate now as it was one thousand years ago.  

19 Oct 2004 @ 22:05 by vibrani : the only point
ov and quinty focus on is criticism and biases against Israel and the Jews, spreading misinformation. This must be the agenda, as I can see no other point and don't feel there's anything more to be discussed. And if it isn't your intention, can you explain why you persist on focusing on this? And ov - look up the definition of hysterical because it's not me, nor Martha. Using that term is an old sexist ploy by men who refuse to take women seriously and you're not fooling anyone.  

19 Oct 2004 @ 23:18 by scotty : I rather Liked
what Vaxen said - "But what we really want is to build a new civilization. While, building a world that "works" we can aim at a world that ennobles the grand state of life that is possible on Planet Earth."
Maybe we can start by enobling ourselves and then acknowledgng the nobless of each and every one else .. really really truly treating others as we ourselves would wish to be treated - it could be a begining ! A joining of hearts might lead to a meeting of minds?
Maybe I am a little naive - but you see - I have a Dream !  

20 Oct 2004 @ 00:06 by martha : I have a Dream
so did Martin Luther King and he was assassinated!
Yes I agree scotty, I also share that dream. We are all one and we are all connected. To single out one group as the cause of problems is not the answer.  

20 Oct 2004 @ 00:23 by Quinty @ : Now wait a minute

How did we get here? Martin Luther King had a dream all right, and its fulfillment depended upon the end of Southern racism. Jim Crow had to die. Is fairness, balance, justice, dependent upon a mean which says both sides are right? That the segrationists had a point and the freedom marchers had one too. And that fairness depended upon meeting the two sides half way? Then only half the lunch counters would have had to desegrate. Half the schools would be integrated. (I'm referring to Brown, not the unfortunate current reality.)

Nin, above, speaks of an agenda. What agenda? The far right in this country likes to speak of a "homosexual agenda." Those segragationists in the South spoke of a "Communist agenda." And now our dear Bushie, who is exploiting the fears and ignorance of millions of our fellow Americans, speaks of Kerry's "tax and spend liberal agenda." Do you mean to say that those of us who plead for simple humanity and decency in Palestine are proponents of an agenda? As Kay Boyle once properly reworded Santayana's famous words: "Those who don't understand history are forced to repeat it."

I know, my word isn't worth much. But this time I really will shut up. Though Richard hasn't stepped in to tell us to play on another turf.  

20 Oct 2004 @ 00:36 by scotty : A Dream
We are here.
We are waking up now, out of the past, to dream a bigger dream.
We are friends and equals.
We are diverse and unique, and we’re united for something bigger than our differences.
We believe in freedom and cooperation, abundance and harmony.
We find our own guidance, and we discern our own truth.
We go in many directions, and yet we refuse to disperse.
We have many names. We speak many languages.
WE are local. We are global.
We are in all regions of the world. We’re everywhere in the air.
We are universe being aware of itself. We are the wave of evolution.
We are in every child’s eyes. We face the unknown with wonder and excitement.
We are messengers from the future, living in the present.
We come from silence, and we speak our truth.
We cannot be quieted, because our voice is within everyone.
We have no enemies. No boundaries can hold us.
We respect the cycles and expressions of nature, because we are nature.
We don’t play to win, we play to live and learn.
We act out of inspiration, love and integrity.
We explore, we discover, we feel, and we laugh.
We are building a world that works for everyone.
We endeavor to live our lives to the fullest potential.
We are independent, self-sufficient and responsible.
We relate to each other in peace, with compassion and respect, we unite in community.
We celebrate the wholeness within and around us all.
We dance to the rhythm of creation.
We weave the threads of the new times.
We are the new civilization.

Or have we forgotten .  

20 Oct 2004 @ 00:45 by martha : I believe quinty
that King's vision was much larger then just stopping segreagation. I believe that he stood for the rights of ALL people and no one is above another. In that context he fits in quite nicely here. I believe we are talking about the freedoms in america being taken away.
While i would never dream of speaking for Jazzy, I am sure he would step in if he didn't like how this conversation was going.  

20 Oct 2004 @ 01:09 by ov : Martha believing in quinty
well will wonders never cease. Well I'll agree with Martha and think that if Richard wanted this discussion shut down he would, and probably he is hoping that it sets a new NCN record for the number of comments in a single topic. But then if we deleted all the droppings of the dancing bears there probably wouldn't be much left.

Yes in the land of the Patriot Act we have the freedom to say anything that doesn't matter, and as soon as anybody gets close to the root causes of our dysfunction there will be accusations, and appeals to can't we all get along, and hysterical cries of how there is nothing to discuss here. In effect we are free to choose the {link:www.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v335/__show_article/_a000335-000085.htm|The Color of the Paint} and don't dare scratch the surface let alone try to look beneath.

So this topic is about America, and the American Dream is it not, and wasn't it Hollywood that created that, and ask yourself who created Hollywood.  

20 Oct 2004 @ 13:05 by jazzolog : Freedom Everywhere
I think there may be connections between an exploration of vanishing freedom in the States and tensions expressed elsewhere on the planet. I like some of the notions of respect and elevating each other that have come up in this thread. The conversation always is best when facts and issues are exchanged rather than insult. I believe Ninhursag (Nora) has removed a comment or 2, in case some of this doesn't seem to make sense anymore.  

20 Oct 2004 @ 14:40 by Quinty @ : Jewish Voice for Peace
For anyone who's interested here some sources for information. These approach the problems in the Middle East from a basic human rights point of view: or with unbiased reporting.

{link:http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/|Jewish Voice for Peace}



{link:http://www.israelblog.org/index.html|Aron's Israel Peace Weblog}

{link:http://www.icahd.org/eng/|Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions}

{link:http://www.democracynow.org/|Democracy Now} or most Pacifica programs

{link:http://www.guardian.co.uk/|The Guardian}

{link:http://news.bbc.co.uk/|BBC News}

{link:http://www.independent.co.uk/|The Independent}

Those are a few sources. The Nation and the NY Review of Books also attempt to reach the truth of what is happening there in that tragic corner of the world.  

20 Oct 2004 @ 19:43 by jazzolog : Vanishing Comments At Jazzolog
Don't you just love Internet conflict "resolution" in which words and people simply are deleted? Both borders and boundaries seem to be a virtual matter to the light-headed crowd.  

20 Oct 2004 @ 23:51 by ov : Auditlog
One of the things that I like about the www.motet.com software was that it didn't allow edits, and the there was an audit marker left of all deletes according to who and when the post was deleted. Made it more clear after the fact when dealing with those that have a repution for being compulsive liars.  

20 Oct 2004 @ 23:53 by scotty : Audit log
is an option of the log owner I believe .  

21 Oct 2004 @ 09:08 by jazzolog : Freedom In Theocracy
This article really belongs in that entry about Evangelicals from a while back...but I want to see if there's something to discuss besides NCN egos~~~

The New York Times
October 21, 2004

Casualties of Faith


When I was little, I was very good at leaps of faith.

A nun would tape up a picture of a snow-covered mountain peak on the blackboard and say that the first child to discern the face of Christ in the melting snow was the holiest. I was soon smugly showing the rest of the class the "miraculous" outline of that soulful, bearded face.

But I never thought I'd see the day when leaps of faith would be national policy, when the fortunes of America hung on the possibility of a miracle.

What does it tell you about a president that his grounds for war are so weak that the only way he can justify it is by believing God wants it? Or that his only Iraq policy now - as our troops fight a vicious insurgency and the dream of a stable democracy falls apart - is a belief in miracles?

Miracles make the incurious even more incurious. People who live by religious certainties don't have to waste time with recalcitrant facts or moral doubts. They do not need to torture themselves, for example, about dispatching American kids into a sand trap with ghostly enemies and without the proper backup, armor, expectations or cultural training.

Any president relying more on facts than faith could have seen that his troops would be sitting ducks: Donald Rumsfeld's experiment - sending in a light, agile force (more a Vin Diesel vehicle than a smart plan for Iraq) - was in direct conflict with the overwhelming force needed to attempt the neocons' grandiose scheme to turn Iraq into a model democracy.

J.F.K. had to fight the anti-papist expectation that his Oval Office would take orders from heaven. For W., it's a selling point. Some right-wing Catholics want John Kerry excommunicated, while evangelicals call the president a messenger of God. "God's blessing is on him," the TV evangelist Pat Robertson says, adding, "It's the blessing of heaven on the emperor."

Mr. Bush has shown all the evangelical voters who didn't like his daddy that he gets, as Mr. Robertson puts it, "his direction from the Lord."

When Paula Zahn asked the televangelist Tuesday whether Mr. Bush, as a Christian, should admit his mistakes, Mr. Robertson said he'd warned a self-satisfied Bush about Iraq: "The Lord told me it was going to be (a) a disaster, and (b) messy."

Mr. Robertson said, "He was the most self-assured man I ever met." Paraphrasing Mark Twain, he said Mr. Bush was "like a contented Christian with four aces. He was just sitting there, like, I'm on top of the world, and I warned him about this war. ... And I was trying to say, Mr. President, you better prepare the American people for casualties. 'Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties.' "

W., it seems, really believes he's the one. President Neo. (And his advisers are disciples. That's why Condi Rice so willingly puts aside her national security duties to spread the Bush gospel in swing states, and why Karen Hughes raced to impugn Mr. Robertson's veracity after he described his chilling encounter with W.)

W.'s willful blindness comes from mistakenly assuming that his desires are God's, as if he knows where God stands on everything from democracy in Iraq to capital-gains tax cuts.

As Lincoln noted in his Second Inaugural Address about the Civil War, one can't speak for God: "The Almighty has His own purposes."

Mr. Bush didn't just ignore Mr. Robertson's warning - he ignored his own intelligence experts, who warned before the war that an invasion of Iraq would spur more support for political Islam and trigger violent conflict, including an insurgency that would drive Baathists and terrorists together in a toxic combination.

As Michael Gordon wrote in his Times series this week on blind spots in the strategy to secure Iraq, the Bush crew engaged in an astonishing series of delusions: assuming they could begin a withdrawal of troops 60 days after taking Baghdad; enabling the insurgency to flourish; abolishing the Iraqi military and putting American lives at risk; misreading the obvious reaction to an American occupation of a Muslim country.

C.I.A. officials were so clueless they wanted to sneak hundreds of small American flags into Iraq before the war started so grateful Iraqis could wave them at their liberators. The agency planned to film that and triumphantly beam it to the Arab world.

The president has this strange notion that his belief in God means detailed and perfect knowledge of everything that God wants. He may wish to keep his head stuck in the Iraqi sand, but he may discover that the Almighty has His own purposes.

E-mail: liberties@nytimes.com

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

21 Oct 2004 @ 16:50 by Quinty @ : Very good

I love Molly Ivins remark: that if God were truly on George's side he could pronounce 'nuclear.'

Robert Scheer in the LA Times is good too, if anyone is interested.  

21 Oct 2004 @ 19:16 by Quinty @ : I'll poke my head up
ance again to correct a mispokenment:

That should be, "If God spoke through George Bush he would be able to pronounce nuclear."

Nothing worse than mangling a joke: worse than stale bread. Avante.....  

23 Oct 2004 @ 11:04 by dempstress : Overseas Absentee Ballots
Here I sit in Edinburgh with an American friend registered to vote in the USA. She has not yet received her Absentee Ballot, promised for 5 weeks before the election. Among her American friends in a similar situation none has yet received their absentee Ballots. Other around the country have told her that every one of their American friends is in the same situation....can anyone shed any light on this? cock-up or conspiracy?  

23 Oct 2004 @ 13:02 by jazzolog : Re: Dempstress
Dear Caroline,

I believe the American friend to whom you refer is a graduate of the School of Journalism at Ohio University here in Athens. If so, Dana and I agree you should contact her right now and have her write an article, which she should send to me or to all the papers in town. We believe we can get the Associated Press to pick it up for worldwide distribution.


24 Oct 2004 @ 09:18 by jazzolog : Expat Voters

International Herald Tribune
Expat voters face range of snags
By Jennifer Joan Lee International Herald Tribune
Saturday, October 23, 2004

PARIS With the U.S. presidential election only days away, overseas voters are facing a number of problems that are unusual and, in some cases, highly irregular, according to Americans abroad and election monitors in the United States.

These incidents have left absentees puzzling over how to vote. What to do, for example, if you get a ballot with Al Gore on the ticket instead of John Kerry, as one voter registered in Ohio did? What if you receive two ballots? And if you get a sample ballot instead of an official one, do you fill it out as if it is the real thing?

"There have been a fair number of irregularities because so many people have registered," said Mary Boyle, press secretary for Common Cause, a nonpartisan organization based in Washington that promotes fair elections.

"Election officials are overwhelmed and swamped in some places," she said. "There are 13,000 election jurisdictions in this country, and each jurisdiction has different rules and standards. Throw in a million new voters on top of that, and of course you're going to have problems."

Because the American voting system is controlled not by the federal government but by states, counties and municipalities, thousands of different kinds of ballots are in circulation right now.

One woman living in Paris, who did not wish to be identified because she feared it might invalidate her vote, said she had received two absentee ballots from Palm Beach County, Florida, where she is registered. The first arrived last week; she filled it out and mailed it back. This week, she received another one, identical to the first, with identical instructions, except it was larger and used harder paper.

"I find myself in the position now that if I vote again, my vote might be disqualified because I'm voting twice," she said. "But if I do not vote again, how do I know my first vote will be counted? I just don't know what to do."

Overseas voter organizations, such as Democrats Abroad and Republicans Abroad, say they have been overwhelmed with phone calls and e-mails from confused and frustrated expatriates who do not know what to do with the ballots they have received.

While all the anecdotes cannot be verified, there are repeated reports of civilians receiving ballots stamped "military," ballots missing names of parties or key candidates, ballots that come with no instructions or the wrong instructions, or ballots with the words "sample" or "mock-up."

In one incident, voters registered in Contra Costa County, California, received photocopied sample ballots. They were told to complete and mail them, and that when they were received by the county office, their responses would be hand-copied onto official ballots by voting officials.

Asked about this, Gwen Saxon, supervisor of voter registration for absentee ballots at the Contra Costa County Elections Department, confirmed that the sample ballots had been sent.

"We have to send them a sample ballot, because if we waited until the real ones were printed up, there's a chance the voter will not receive it," she said in a telephone interview. "Yes, one person transfers the information onto an official ballot, but there is also a second person to check that it is done right. We've been doing this for years."

"What we've seen are not simply various counties and registrars sending out incorrect ballots and so forth, but a simple lack of knowledge on how to deal with overseas civilian and uniformed voters," said Joe Smallhoover, international counsel for Democrats Abroad. "Sometimes there is an astounding lack of knowledge. We often see that they confuse rules for overseas voters with state rules, and that creates a real problem."

Smallhoover said that while the vast majority of overseas Americans has now received ballots that are in order, various counties around the country have yet to get it right. "So there is the potential disenfranchisement for uniformed and civilian voters around the world," he said.

A U.S. State Department official played down these concerns.

Considering the millions of American voters overseas, he said in a telephone interview, the government had received "very few complaints," most of them coming from "those who are not familiar with the voting process because they do not know how it operates."

The official, who asked not to be named, insisted that the federal government has done everything in its power to help overseas Americans vote.

"I have busted my gut to help overseas voters," he said. "But ultimately, the federal government has no control over this." He added, "It's a state issue. And you have to work with the system as it exists."

Copyright © 2004 The International Herald Tribune

24 Oct 2004 @ 18:54 by jstarrs : Jazz...
...I'm sorry if my diddly-squat comment went misunderstood.
There's no anal thing implied.
It's just that the USA has such a bad view of the United Nations which would seem to verify the hegemonic intentions of the former.

24 Oct 2004 @ 19:02 by jazzolog : Jiggly Jeff
I was just kidding in my response. With our luck we probably set off the rest of the commenters into the frenzy that followed. Ah well, another story to tell around the campfire...  

10 Nov 2004 @ 19:39 by jazzolog : Journalists To Jail
The New York Times
November 10, 2004

Our Not-So-Free Press

Paging China! Help us! Urge the U.S. government to respect freedom of the press!

It does sound topsy-turvy, doesn't it? Generally, it's China and Zimbabwe that are throwing journalists in prison, while the U.S. denounces the repression over there.

But now similar abuses are about to unfold within the United States, part of an alarming new pattern of assault on American freedom of the press. In the last few months, three different U.S. federal judges, each appointed by President Ronald Reagan, have found a total of eight journalists in contempt of court for refusing to reveal confidential sources, and the first of them may go to prison before the year is out. Some of the rest may be in prison by spring.

The first reporter likely to go to jail is Jim Taricani, a television reporter for the NBC station in Providence, R.I. Mr. Taricani obtained and broadcast, completely legally, a videotape of a city official as he accepted an envelope full of cash.

U.S. District Judge Ernest Torres found Mr. Taricani in contempt for refusing to identify the person he got the videotape from, and the judge fined him $1,000 a day. That hasn't broken Mr. Taricani, so Judge Torres has set a hearing for Nov. 18 to decide whether to squeeze him further by throwing him in jail.

Then there's Patrick Fitzgerald, the overzealous special prosecutor who is the Inspector Javert of our age. Mr. Fitzgerald hasn't made any progress in punishing the White House officials believed to have leaked the identity of the C.I.A. officer Valerie Plame to Robert Novak. But Mr. Fitzgerald seems determined to imprison two reporters who committed no crime, Judith Miller of The New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time, because they won't blab about confidential sources.

Federal District Judge Thomas Hogan is threatening to send them to prison; a hearing is set for Dec. 8. As for Mr. Novak, he is in no apparent jeopardy, for reasons that remain unclear.

Then there's a third case, a civil suit between the nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee and the government. Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson held five reporters who are not even parties to the suit in contempt for refusing to reveal confidential sources.

In yet another case, the Justice Department is backing a prosecutor's effort to get a record of telephone calls made by two New York Times reporters - uncovering all their confidential sources in the fall of 2001. Put all this together, and we're seeing a broad assault on freedom of the press that would appall us if it were happening in Kazakhstan.

Responsibility lies primarily with the judges rather than with the Bush administration, except for the demand for phone records and for the appointment of Inspector Javert as special prosecutor. But it's probably not a coincidence that we're seeing an offensive against press freedoms during an administration that has a Brezhnevian fondness for secrecy.

We journalists are in this mess partly because we're widely seen as arrogant and biased, and we need to wrestle seriously with those issues. But when reporters face jail for doing their jobs, the ultimate victim is the free flow of information, the circulatory system of any democracy.

The Chinese government recently arrested Zhao Yan, a research assistant for The New York Times in Beijing, and the Bush administration has been very helpful about protesting the case. Maybe Colin Powell can work out a deal: the Chinese government will stop imprisoning journalists if the U.S. government will do the same.

Protecting confidential sources has been a sacred ethical precept in publishing ever since John Twyn was arrested in 1663 for printing a book that offended the king. Twyn refused to reveal the name of the book's author, so he was publicly castrated and disemboweled, and his limbs severed from his body. Each piece of his body was nailed to a London gate or bridge.

So, on the bright side, we have evidently progressed.

In May, Iran's secret police detained me in Tehran and demanded that I identify a revolutionary guard I had quoted as saying "to hell with the mullahs." My interrogators threatened to imprison me unless I revealed my source. But after a standoff, the Iranian goons let me go. Imprisoning Western journalists for protecting their sources was too medieval, even for them. Let's hope the U.S. judicial system shows the same restraint as those Iranian thugs.

E-mail: nicholas@nytimes.com

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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24 Jan 2008 @ 09:58: Getting Drunk For Dr. King
12 Nov 2007 @ 11:23: Re: happy veteran's day & Pakistan?
16 Jul 2007 @ 09:28: Constitutional Crisis
25 Apr 2007 @ 09:53: Reeling In Rove
23 Mar 2007 @ 11:39: The Phil Mattson Message Board
4 Mar 2007 @ 12:17: Global Warming Gets Hot
17 Dec 2006 @ 12:40: Distracted On Sunday

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