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All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

February 11, 2006
And Getting Mad

With apologies to Howard Dean, who seems to mean well but is in the unfortunate position of having shown up too late, this process of rebuilding, of finding the vision, has to happen independently of the Democratic Party.

Because if the so-called "leaders of the party are just starting to wonder in 2006, if there might not have been opportunities in torture, secret prisons, extraordinary rendition, bombing civilians, body counts in the tens of thousands, manipulating intelligence to drag the country to war, illegally spying on USofA citizens, secret arrests and detentions on USofA soil, wide-spread corruption, political and financial nepotism, dismantling social safety nets, and nearly wholesale indifference to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, if the so-called Democratic "leaders" are just now starting to wonder if, somewhere in all of that, there might have been an opportunity to hold the Bush Administration and the Radical Right's feet to the fire? Then I don't think we really have anything left to say to them except, "good-bye," do we?

The Democratic "leadership" has finally failed so spectacularly that I think we're sensible to turn our backs on it.

The "vision" that all of these things are bad, that the political process doesn't have to be a sink of corruption, that civil rights continue to matter, even in the 21st century, and that corporate profits are not the be-all and end-all of our future, has to come from us.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

This, I think is where blogs can really have a long-term impact. We have to stop waiting on some unidentified "other" to take the first step. We are the people. It's both our right and our duty to define the words, identify the issues, and hammer out compromise solutions.

I firmly believe that bloggers count among their ranks either the people, or the people who know the people, who have the gifts we need.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)
Thinking About Things

I read, well, we all read, a lot these days pondering "what can blogs do best?"

How can blogs and bloggers best help recreate the Left out ashes that currently nourish only cowardly "centrist" politicians and platforms?

I think individual blogs are good for dealing with individual issues. Like Americablog's recent support of the soldier billed for the disappearance of his destroyed body armor. The story "got legs" because of the world o'blog. Without the "activist" angle, the MSM wouldn't have found it worthy of prominent coverage. Every such story is another grain in the scale of public opinion.

And issues can spread across multiple blogs, creating the same kind of media interest in covering stories. Call me cynical, but without the thousands of words of protest written by blogs on the prisoner torture story, I just don't believe it would have gotten the same headlines. (I note that when most of the world o'blog moved on to new topics, most of the headlines disappeared.... And yet, there are still "secret" prisons, prisoners being held without charges, and people in power who authorized torture. And we have no proof that "extraordinary" renditions have ceased.)

Would the media's complacency toward its own pre-war reporting have survived the Downing Street Memos, so prominently covered in the world o'blog? Would they have ignored the growing body of concrete evidence that many of us were right and the Bush Administration was determined to invade Iraq at all costs? Would we have seen apologies from the NYTimes about their own unquestioning obedience to the Administration's version of events? I don't think so. Not without the bloggers demanding answers.

But what does this all lead to? Moments. Moments of outrage. Moments of frustration. Moments of disillusionment. Just moments. The general public experiences moments of shock, and then it moves back to its own concerns.

I've read, here and there, that blogs can bring attention to local situations, candidates and races that deserve support. Bring national attention to them and win support for the "right" candidates. I think that's true. If the Democratic Party isn't interested in liberal/Lefty candidates, we can tap into a network of people who are interested and who can offer large-scale support. I like this approach because it starts with the candidates, with the issues. And it trusts that, for the right people, the money will appear. (Which it will.)

A liberal mayor here, a progressive city councilman there.... It doesn't sound like much, but eventually we'll have a lot of these people, doing good locally, then state-wide, then nationally.

So, this is a good thing blogs can do. It's useful, worthwhile, and can produce both short-term and long-term rewards.

This is a long-term plan. The Democratic Party didn't fall apart overnight. It spent decades decaying while those of us solidly on the Left wrinkled our noses and drew our skirts aside, too good to soil ourselves with the muck of politics. (We still are. Too good, I mean. Personally, rather than jumping down into the pigsty with the Right, I'd rather clean up the sewage. But that's a different rant.) It won't be rebuilt overnight, either. Not by this coming fall. Not even by '08. To rebuild, solidly, will take time.

I'm not saying we can't or won't take back Congress this fall or that we can't or won't take the White House in '08. But I am saying that it's going to be a stopgap measure while we continue to rebuild the Left.

American Liberalism still exists. In fact, as I've argued before, many of their signature issues have moved from the Left to the Center, proving their popularity and universal appeal. Others, like labor rights, have simply dropped off the radar in our increasingly mechanized society. As far as that goes, our "laboring class" isn't what it was seventy-five years ago. (Different rant.)

So, what else can we do?

Well, I've been thinking about that for the last hour. Ever since I read A Letter to the American Left. Also since I read this article.

We do need thinkers. We need writers. We need people who can articulate what we believe, what we want, and what we'll fight for, in clear and unambiguous language. We know what we want. We just need a common language to express it.

We need those times when "great writers enunciated what was right and good and true." We need new voices, today.

I might be mistaken, but it seems to me that a large part of the country is waiting for this.

He is not mistaken. But I (and some others) have been. We've been bemoaning the lack of insightful leadership, the dearth of visionaries in the highest echelons of the Democratic Party, without stopping to realize that that isn't where such people will be found.

I suggest that the world o'blog is also the place to identify and publicize those voices and their words. There are people blogging with (and blogging about others with) the passion, clarity, and conviction we need. Maybe it's time to stop linking to our friends and suchlike to "give 'em a boost in the rankings" and to use the power of linking for something worthwhile. Blogging shouldn't be an end in itself, it should be a means to an end, and that end is to recover and rebuild our democracy.

Let's spread the words that need to be spread, showcase the voices that deserve to be heard because they are saying what needs to be said.

I honestly believe that this is a place where the power of blogging, where the combined weight of a hundred or a thousand links can do some lasting good. Let's support the people who spend less time linking to headlines they've seen and more time pondering the issues and potential solutions.

We know what we want. We don't completely know how to get it.

We know we have to elect lots of people who share our values. We know we need to formulate plans, to come up with solutions for the problems, old and new, the country faces.

We know that how you talk about an issue determines how people react to it. We need the people who can put these things into words for us.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)
February 10, 2006
And again

Avedon Carol always has a lot of great stuff, but here she gives us, in simple words, how Alito got confirmed. Brace yourself...Congressional Democrats were afraid of annoying Republican voters.

Okay, it's starting to be very clear that Yahoo is evil.

I guess the exploding costs of healthcare in this country mean nothing when it comes to treating of and education about diseases Republicans don't approve of.

A bit biased in favor of Noble Democratic Workers, but a lot of truth nevertheless. If today's crop of Republicans do believe, as so many of them say, that gov'mint is evil, then it makes a lot of sense that the reason so many of them are willing to sully their hands with it is to getrichquick. Which means their excessive level of corruption makes a lot of sense. (It's even less admirable to deal with evil for financial gain than to do it because you refuse to recognize the evil, but there's no explaining that to some people. Especially people on the Right who worship at the shrine of Mammon.)

I really do find Andrew Tobias entertaining.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:19 AM | Comments (4)
Dissent

Yep, there's dissent in the ranks of "conservative" leaders these days.

While still genuflecting at the shrine of Bushism and sighing in rapture at the memory of the Reagan glory days, they're not quite dancing in step at a lot of the actual things that a Republican White House and a Republican-controlled Congress are accomplishing.

There's the whle Nixon-stench around illegally spying on USofA citizens. That's a bad thing.

And there's the whole explosion in government spending and the mushrooming deficit, those are bad things. Ten years the Party of "fiscal responsibility" has been in charge of the country's finances and the federal government continues to get larger and more expensive every year. That's naughty.

And then, of course, there's the whole "getting soft on brown people" thing, where the Bush Administratin is cautiously admitting that, yeah, maybe we do actually need those people working all of those jobs all over the USofA. That kind of talk won't do. Didn't they tell us that those brown people were all potential terrorists?

They also seem a bit concerned about that whole "corruption" thing. That's giving a few folks some problems, yeah. But they can't blame that one on the Bush Administration. Lots of them took dirty money (although the article doesn't actually go so far as to say that.)

No word on whether or not any of these good citizens are concerned about illegal detentions, prisoner torture, using classified information to discredit Administration critics, privatizing Social Security (Old people! Republican voters!), decimating Medicare (Old people! Rebublican voters!), or failing to educate the generation that's supposed to save us and push us back to the top of the global economic heap.

I guess things like this are all weird Lefty problems.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:57 AM | Comments (2)
Creating Scarcity

I don't know who it's going to be, but the next White House Administration is going to find intelligence and experience thin on the ground among "career" officials.

We heard previously that many career FEMA officials have been leaving, and of course the CIA's problems are frequently front-page news.

Now we're hearing that even the Right's beloved warmaking capability is suffering brain-drain.

State Department officials appointed by President Bush have sidelined key career weapons experts and replaced them with less experienced political operatives who share the White House and Pentagon's distrust of international negotiations and treaties.

The reorganization of the department's arms control and international security bureaus was intended to help it better deal with 21st-century threats. Instead, it's thrown the agency into turmoil and produced an exodus of experts with decades of experience in nuclear arms, chemical weapons and related matters, according to 11 current and former officials and documents obtained by Knight Ridder.

I sure would be worried if I thought the Democratic Party wasn't going to save us.

Good thing the "leaders" aren't all distracted trying to figure out how to explain to people that tolerance, justice, and equality aren't incompatible with Christianity, isn't it?

____________________

On the same note:

Official Resigns Public TV Post

The top television executive at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting announced on Thursday that he would be stepping down. This is the latest in a string of departures of officials and consultants who played central roles in an effort by conservatives to bring what they viewed as more balance to public television and radio.

And, you know what? There are still a number of people who refuse to believe that the necons want to dismantle our society.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:18 AM | Comments (2)
Oversight

I keep seeing this story and meaning to link to it.

Egyptian official abducted in Gaza Strip

Palestinian gunmen in the Gaza Strip kidnapped an Egyptian military attache on Thursday in the worst upsurge in violence since the Islamic militant group Hamas won control of the Palestinian parliament in last month's elections.

The kidnapping, following a string of attacks along the main border between Gaza and Israel, has raised concerns that militants allied with the declining Fatah Party may try to undermine the new Hamas government by provoking Israel.

No matter what Hamas does, the violence isn't over.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)
A Little Late

White House Briefing: Reporters Wonder About Timing on News of L.A. 'Terror' Attack

The claim today by President George W. Bush of a thwarted terrorist attack on Los Angeles was news to nearly everyone—including, in large measure, the mayor of that city—and raised a few eyebrows around the White House press room

It would have been nice if they'd been raising a few eyebrows before they helped to lead us into this mess.

Still, I guess we should be grateful that they eventually learned to take their brains into the briefing room.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)
Cheap and nasty

It's a sly ploy, trying to make people choose between national parks and education.

Bush wants to sell off our national parks to pay for "rural schools" because the government's legitimate tax revenue (what there is left of it, anyhow) is all earmarked for killing people and none of it can be spared on USofA citizens (of the non-target practice variety).

Details about what plots of land would be put up for sale are expected to be revealed at a noon press conference by Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark Rey, a former timber industry lobbyist.

That pretty much says it all, doesn't it?

The article goes on to explain that the 2007 budget's pretense of fiscal responsibility in this arena includes ever-increasing land sales between '07 and '11 in order to fund tax cuts for the rich this program.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)
Here we go again

Agreement reached on Patriot Act Senate Republicans, White House strike deal

A band of Senate Republican holdouts reached agreement Thursday with the White House on changes in the Patriot Act designed to clear the way for passage of anti-terror legislation stalled in a dispute over civil liberties.

Sen. John Sununu, R-New Hampshire, said the changes, quickly endorsed by at least one leading Democrat, would better "protect civil liberties even as we give law enforcement important tools to conduct terrorism investigation."

My prime suspect was Lieberman. But then, reading the article, I found Dick Durbin's name.

Me, I found much to hate in the "compromise." People have the right to "challenge" the secrecy around a subpoena but not the right to actually tell the world they've been subpoenaed unless the government says they can? (What are the odds?)

And why are only "most" libraries to be exempted? Which libraries and why?

Bottom line? I'm absolutely infuriated that the Democrats seem to be passively accepting the White House's position that we need this legislation. Because we don't.

Civil liberties, people. Don't take them for granted, because you're losing some of them every day.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:33 AM | Comments (0)
So....

I click over to Alternet this morning and the two lead articles are all about how we can get god into the Democratic Party.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

Anyone but me remember the days when the political Left wanted people free to worship (or, not) how they chose in their private lives, but wanted organized religion kept out of our government?

(You know, at the time, I was half-kidding about Operation Clean-Sweep but now I'm thinking...yeah, most of them have to go. From Congress to the DNC, and not excepting the self-styled "DLC.")

In my wildest dreams, what I really dream of is a Democratic Party that is not being led by Republicans.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)
Wow

Is Michael Brown just protecting his own reputation, or is he turning whistleblower? We may get the real story of what happened post-Katrina after all.

I almost hope he's protecting himself...someone with a grudge won't be holding anything back.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)
February 09, 2006
Blogging the moments

Today's "feminist" blogging moment has a message for us all.

(Bonus moment. Quick, someone tell me the last time a man was elected to head of a state and a prominent USofA media outlet referred to him as "sexy"? The first-screen headline forthis article was " Sexy Socialist: France’s First Female President?")

Today's "labor rights" blogging momen" comes with this headline: Proposed rule on air masks in coal mines killed in 2001, resurrected 2006

In 1999, MSHA proposed strengthening standards on breathing devices, including requiring mines to stock "caches'' of extra rescue devices and conduct more frequent hands-on training in how to use them. But by September 2001, the Bush administration withdrew the draft rule, citing "resource constraints and changing safety and health regulatory priorities."

David Lauriski, the former Bush mine safety official who put the rule aside, is having second thoughts. "In retrospect, maybe we ought to have had requirements for more caches'' of the breathing devices, he said Tuesday.

They leave me behind sometimes. They really do.

Today's "cynicism in politics" blogging moment comes from workers in LA expressing "skepticism" about Bush's new terror attack claims.

Today's "the globe is warming, dammit" blogging moment is, Swiss glaciers continue shrinking, report finds

Today's, "the economy is peachy" blogging moment comes courtesy of Oracle, who today announced 2,000 jobs being cut.

Today's "corporate fraud blogwatch" moment: AIG settles fraud charges for $1.64 bln. (I'm sure it's entirely coincidental that this massive fraud commenced under a corporate-worshipping neocon administrations.)

Posted by AnneZook at 05:25 PM | Comments (0)
That War

The "war on terror"...I mean, the "war against extremism"...I mean, the "long war"...well, whatever it is, it's underway.

Ignore the fact that the article obsesses over the naming for the first few paragraphs. Once you get through that, there's interesting stuff there.

I think they're right. We could probably have essentially wiped out al Quaeda if we'd kept fighting them, but there was no support in the White House for fighting actual terrorists. During the time we spent dismantling Iraq, they've been rebuilding and recruiting, so instead of making them weaker, it seems that we're empowering and inspiring them to new excesses. In the end, what we're facing is that a bad problem has been made horrendous.

Call me cycnical, but I think the Rightwingnuts want a decades-long war so that they can keep trumpeting themselves as the Party of Strong Defense. I think that's how they plan to stay in power.* (I mean, I'd like to think that there no way a sane Democratic Administration would continue to play by the neocons' terror-inspiring rules.)

Another take on the war on terror suggests that it's to provide a smoke-screen for dismantling democracy. (Note: I put a little spin on that.)

And, speaking of terror, it's good to finally figure out why there are so many people being held in Guantanamo. In fact, my inner fashion cop approves of imprisoning people for wearing olive drab in public. (Puh-lease. Do you actually want to be mistaken for a warmonger?)

___________________________

* Although I'm seriously not ruling out ballot box shenanigans in various places.

Posted by AnneZook at 04:56 PM | Comments (0)
Big News! (Not)

I leave for a few hours and what do I come back to?

Bush announcing that a potential terrorist attack was thwarted...four years ago.* (And the potential terrorists were not arrested for the plot...which means our home-grown terrorist-finding program failed to find them.)

News that The Hill was evacuated because of a nerve gas alarm...but a false alarm.

Is it election season already?





____________________

* I barely got the story blogged before I found doubts about the truth of it all.

Posted by AnneZook at 04:13 PM | Comments (0)
Sheesh

Howard Kurtz thinks the real story of Coretta Scott King's funeral isn't that people stood up for what she'd believed in during her life or that little people took the chance to stand up to power.

No, what the media should have been covering was the importance of the story that some people at her funeral didn't like Bush.

To illustrate what an important story this is, he mentions that a lot of the major press talked mostly about how her funeral described her life-long work on civil rights issues but only "conservative" outlets (blogs are featured) are "furious" at the "Bush-bashing."

And then he wanders off into a lot of different tangents about what other people are writing about these days, from Abramoff to Iraq. Most pointless column I ever read.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:00 AM | Comments (0)
Headline Obfuscation

If the NYTimes decided to lead with a story about force-feeding prisoners at Guantanamo, why didn't they have the courage to just say so? Instead, the headline reads, "Tough U.S. Steps in Hunger Strike at Camp in Cuba."

While I'm awfully glad we're tough enough to strap a starving man to a chair, which is one in the eye to those folks who doubted our government, led by a lot of men who avoided doing any actual military service themselves, had the balls to order someone else to mistreat someone else, I can't get past the headline.

Why avoid identifying the "camp in Cuba"?

Posted by AnneZook at 07:50 AM | Comments (0)
Still Colored, after all these years

You can take justice and equality and stuff too far.

Like thinking a cop is entitled to the pension he earned.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:41 AM | Comments (0)
Let's try this again.

Ahistoricality is in favor of a little objective education before we all get to Doin' What Comes Nat'rly. Darned right. Teach people the truth, without lapping the facts in hellfire.

If Tricky Dick was still with us, he'd be standing up and cheering.

To our astonishment, some of us are discovering that some of our prisoners of war...well, detainees at Guantanamo were sold into custody by others trying to collect rewards. (Well, duh. Because we haven't been doing that all along.)

I've been thinking about this one all day and I've decided to blog it. Because it's important to be very, very clear on this topic. When you see a bumper sticker wishing that the military had to hold bake sales to build bombers, they mean the actual Department of Defense. Not individual soldiers. Fortunately, a bake sale was held. I'm going to be charitable and assume this entire situation was the kind of SNAFU you get when you have a battlefield, a lot of injured bodies, and not a lot of leisure to keep detailed records. (Update: The soldier's money was refunded after the media got the story.)

I should blog more about feminism.

I really should.

Trust them. Or else.

A noted oil expert says we should stop imagining we can wean ourselves from foreign oil because it's impossible. (And he should know. He's the CEO of Exxon, so he's a good, impartial judge.)

Posted by AnneZook at 07:34 AM | Comments (2)
February 08, 2006
Day Off

No time for blogging, sorry.

On the other hand, I sat down this evening and saw this article, and decided that I just didn't have the strength today anyhow.

Some Democrats Are Sensing Missed Opportunities

Democrats are heading into this year's elections in a position weaker than they had hoped for, party leaders say, stirring concern that they are letting pass an opportunity to exploit what they see as widespread Republican vulnerabilities.

You think?

But Democrats described a growing sense that they had failed to take full advantage of the troubles that have plagued Mr. Bush and his party since the middle of last year, driving down the president's approval ratings, opening divisions among Republicans in Congress over policy and potentially putting control of the House and Senate into play in November.

You THINK?

"We seem to be losing our voice when it comes to the basic things people worry about," Mr. Dodd said.

No...no, I don't have the strength.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:41 PM | Comments (0)
February 07, 2006
One-stop rant

Progressives, blogs, influence, Big Dogs, and whatnot, Pam has the story.

But first....

If blogs derive their credibility from being the "voice of the people,"

Well, I would have said, "voices of ordinary people" since each individual blog is the individual voice of only one 'people' but maybe I'm quibbling?

surely we should be concerned about which opinions get attention over others. The question of representation affects not just who is blogging—and with great success—but also the audience of these blogs.

I sat down with a Serious Frown and eyeballed the list of people reading this blog. (Okay, the linkers-to and the commenters. I dunno where the rest of those hits come from.) Who cares about the A- B- or C-list "status" of the blog? I've got an A-list of readers, and that's enough for me. My blogging ego is in pretty good shape. biggrin

Now. Go read her entry and the article she's discussing. And bear in mind that some of the stuff in In These Times bothers me.

Like the reference to the big-traffic blogs as, blog "evangelists." Maybe it's just me, but there's a taint around that word.

There's also the idea that progressive/Democratic blogs aren't changing the Democratic leadership (although I'm sure some of us were hoping to be chosen to "replace" it) so much as joining it.

If it these words were chosen deliberately, maybe we need to step back and think a little.

(For one thing, let's try and figure out how DKos became the "top political blog" and who they're talking about. I assume it's a factor of sheer visits, but who's getting the traffice? Markos? Or the hundred or however many 'diarists' keeping blogs on the site? DKos isn't a blog, it's a conglomerate community and some of the members are a little wingnutty. As far as I'm concerned, Markos' own voice got lost in the crowd long ago.)

Anyhow. Markos? Not so much a real blogger any more. Not that I think he really wants to be.

The word ‘blog’ still implies a certain level of citizen involvement

That's a quote from him, looking down from his superior pinnacle on that quaint world o'blogging. (At least, that's the sense I get.) Seems pretty clear that he is no longer a blogger. Blogs are now the "other" to him. (Plus, there's a suggestion of amused condescension in his "implies a certain level" that grates on my nerves.)

(I should mention that I don't actually read the site and could be underestimating the value of what it offers.)

(And, of course, Markos has a book to sell, so he needs to distance himself from any taint of internet-throng populism and position himself as a Serious Player.)

Back to the article itself:

Winning an election does not, however, guarantee a radical change in the relations of power. Technology is only as revolutionary as the people who use it, and the progressive blogosphere has thus far remained the realm of the privileged —a weakness that may well prove fatal in the long run.

Only the privileged have the leisure to be revolutionary.

The poor have only the leisure to be reactionary...to respond when someone threatens what little security they might have managed to gain. Only the privileged, with a pocketful of private apples, are going to take a chance on upsetting the public applecart in the hope of making applesauce for all.

Aside from that quibble, let me mention that this is the problem with talking to the so-called "A-list." You get the impression that their Big Issues are the Left's Big Issues. Which isn't necessarily the case.

For instance, the article's closing sentence is manifestly absurd. If you just listen to Markos' indifference to gender, social, economic, and racial diversity, it's easy to miss the fact that there are a ton of progressive bloggers who are not straight, white guys with college degrees.

And a lot of them have been very instrumental in some of the more successful campaigns undertaken by the Lefthand world o'blog. It's also easy to miss the determination that some of us have not to rebuild a Democratic Party led by Old White Guys doing the rest of us a favor by adopting some of our concerns.

I'm all over the place, quibbling with bits and pieces of the article, but it's really interesting to read. (I really must learn when to shut up.)

Posted by AnneZook at 05:14 PM | Comments (2)
Katrina

Because I haven't blogged it in the last 24 hours and I don't want anyone to think I've forgotten that things are still a mess down there.

The Storm This Time A Personal Account of Natural and Unnatural Disaster in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina

Posted by AnneZook at 11:15 AM | Comments (0)
Hey

What's happening at the CIA?

The CIA's top counterterrorism officer was relieved of his position yesterday after months of turmoil atop the agency's clandestine service, according to three knowledgeable officials.

Trouble in neocon spying paradise?

Grenier, 51, is said by associates to be a polished and smooth-talking man with museum-quality mementos of his service overseas.

Is that code for, "he brought back a lot of illegal, looted items"?

Grenier's departure comes at a time when the agency is bleeding top talent, robbing the CIA of institutional memory and damaging morale among case officers and analysts. Since Porter J. Goss became director in September 2004, well over a dozen senior officials -- several of whom were promoted under Goss -- have resigned, have retired early or have requested reassignment. Grenier was the third person to be head of counterterrorism since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Well, it's not really "new" news that Goss is ripping the CIA to shreds, is it?

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Note to longtime readers: I think that whole, "one topic per entry" thing works a lot better for bloggers who don't talk about that many different things in a day, you know? It's wearing me out, making new entries for every article.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:12 AM | Comments (3)
Aha!

We've finally discovered one of the major contributary causes to instability in the Middle East!

Yep. "We have met the enemy, and he is us."*

(* Walt Kelly, of course.)

Posted by AnneZook at 11:07 AM | Comments (0)
Talkin' Trash

It isn't just that we consume too much and throw away the toys that fascinated us last week but bore us today. It's that our economy won't survive (in its current form) if we don't keep makin' trash.

"Reduce, reuse, recycle" will save the planet, but it won't save us unless our society evolves.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:59 AM | Comments (3)
Is It War?

We're at war with...oh, so many things. Drugs, terrorism, illiteracy. We're always declaring war on something in this country. (I'm a little dismayed by the way we constantly revert to violent metaphors and such, but that's a different entry.)

Are the Bush Administration and their neocon allies conducting an undeclared war on Americanism?

Posted by AnneZook at 10:48 AM | Comments (0)
Hmmm

There's a lot of analysis and discussion over the new budget all over the 'net, but The Raw Story has a flash headline (with no follow-up yet), that's intriguing:

Section of Bush 2007 budget scrubbed... Political motivation seen... Developing hard...

What section? Whose politics?

Can't wait....

(A Google search on "2007 budget, scrubbed" is as useless as you might expect. All you get is an international list of media outlets all reprinting an AP puff piece on how hard it is to write the SotU.)

Update: Okay, the actual story is more and less than it promised. Less sensational, less covert, less last-minute, but more indicative of the Bush Administration's full understanding of the damage they're doing to this country.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)
Gov'mint and the Law

Bush's FEMA picks. Do you ever wonder where they came from? And aren't you just charmed by his tendency to pick other failed entrepeneurs and suspected and convicted criminals to populate his Administration? Who says there's no second chance?

Which reminds me, although I don't know why because no second chance is possible, but anyhow...what did ever happen to that story about the unarmed, mentally ill guy who was shot and killed by our newly armed air marshals? Is anyone still Fact-Checking the Feds at this point?

Speaking of law enforcement run amok, how about police corruption, beating, even killing prisoners, rape, fabricated evidence, and dubious executions? No, it's not Abu Ghraib. Or Guantanamo. Or even L.A. (although they're having their troubles right now). It's right there in the Beltway.

A jury I'm not sure I'd want to be on is the one for this trial. What a confusing mess.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:22 AM | Comments (0)
Forgotten War

Afghanistan. We said the job was done so the refugees when home. Now they want out again because there's no life possible there.

hey may have a point

Posted by AnneZook at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)
No One Is Laughing

I've been pondering what are rapidly being dubbed the cartoon riots.

In our society there's a feeling against publishing material that offend people racially or ethnically or gender-wise or sexually. Should "religiously" be added to that list? I'm not sure.

Since "religion" is a thing people choose, unlike the rest of the items on the list, it's "optional" and no sensible person is saying we should take care not to offend the optional beliefs of everyone on the planet. (If certain countries choose to try and make their religious affiliation indistinguishable from their ethnic heritage, that, again, is optional, so it doesn't change the equation that certain countries might try to mandate some specific religion.)

I do wonder why the cartoons originally printed* five or six months ago were picked up by the international press so recently.

Anyhow, since editorial/political cartoons are designed to make us think twice about something, should they be exempt from the normal rules? They're supposed to make us do a double-take.

Bottom line? No matter how you slice it, killing people over a cartoon, no matter how it offends you, is uncivilized. Anything up to and including non-violent demonstrations would have been acceptable.

Bottomer bottom line? Hate speech is unacceptable, no matter what group it's aimed at. But is it actually "hate speech" to take a group to task for how they implement their beliefs?


_____________________________


* Note, reading the interview, that the cartoons were commissioned. This isn't the exercise of a cartoonist's free speech being protested. Someone asked for cartoons about Muhammad, presumably unaware that images would be offensive.

So, ask yourself, is this kind of tit-for-tat behavior okay with y'all?

In my eyes, it's not the same thing. An image of a religious figure versus mockery (one presumes) of the deaths of millions of people? Iran would have been on more solid ground commissioning images of Jesus.


Update: Public Eye chimes in on the debate.

Update update:: Pen-Elayne was wondering the same thing about this timing. Unlike my lazy self, she went looking for an answer....

Posted by AnneZook at 09:12 AM | Comments (2)
February 05, 2006
Blogging R Still Us

Getting NOLA Wrong. And he's right, the Bush Administration got it wrong, too. We still care. A lot. (The story focuses on religious groups, but they're not the only ones down there working.)

LIA/R Back in the News

TPM and The Washington Note have finally launched Bolton Watch. (Let's hope part of their mission is to go back and recap what's he's done so far, as well as his history before being strong-armed into this position.)

Where is all of this illegal domestic spying taking place? Right here in Colorado.

Also here in Colorado, Faust puppetry under fire. Seriously. Having lived in a small town, I know there's not much to get excited about, but organize a town picnic or something, people.) (Also? Please don't tell reporters that you think Faust "glorifies Satan in some way." It sends the clear message that you're either ignorant and uneducated, or that someone fed you a heaping helping of rightwingnut talking points and you swallowed.

CathyFromCanada has been giving us some good posts recently. Check out The golden age (on the "overall goals of the religious right" and it's the place to point "religious moderates" who are still hung up on the good influence that religious movements and sects used to be in society) and Doesn't CBC News use Google? (an even scarier post about "cultural Marxism"). I'm going to think about this one and I may come back and rant at you later.

Via James Wolcott, I got to William Lind's The Next Act. Apparently his take is that the recent truce offering from bin Laden was a signal that they're about to attack again. (He makes a case for it and Wolcott doesn't dispute him.)

(Scolling down through another Wolcott entry, I discover that the righwingnut echo chamber has had a hate on for Google for some time now. Who knew? Me, I think that stuff about it being hard to make yourself visible on the internet is a load of hooey. Seems to me that every time I start a new page or a blog, I'm all over Google thirty seconds later.) (Actually, it's kind of scary.)

Thank a feminist (but don't rest yet).

"Hope has two beautiful daughters Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are." St. Augustine

Thanks to Debbie in Fulcrum's comments.

Posted by AnneZook at 03:59 PM | Comments (2)
Bloggers R Us

(Linky, then ranty, sorry.)

Every now and then (well, frequently), I run across a post that says what I would have said if I could have found the words, and invariably it says it better and smarter than I could have.

This is one of those posts

The last loss of legitimacy in American political life climaxed in Richard Nixon's resignation. It was an orderly process, enabled by the ingenious framework of the US Constitution, but the institution of the presidency suffered, too -- and that is one of the reasons why Baby Boomers who lived through it are among the greatest hand-wringers over Bush. To many of us over fifty, all presidents after JFK are to some degree assholes.

I don't even have to be over 50 to believe that.

The post is about loss of legitimacy in government. Legitimacy is conferred by the trust and belief of the citizens. When that goes, legitimacy goes with it. A must-read.

Not, strictly speaking, a blog, but a moving defense of actually reporting the news.

The Downing Street Memos. Back on the radar again.

Pam's got a great news round-up posted (and a nice, new design, although I was really fond of the old one).

Someday farmers will be able to mow the back 40 and sell the cuttings to ExxonMobile?

Me, I care about both. The spying and those who need social services and it's not outside the ability of any blogger I read to devote a little time to both issues.

This is tee-hee funny but this is ROFL (Rolling On the Floor Laughing) funny. But not PC.

Avedon Carol has a good tribute to Betty Friedan (RIP).

It's a little older, but I'm assuming you read her mid-January entry on reporting the MSM should have done around that Florida vote (non-)count? (I haven't made up my mind about that site yet. The design is appalling but that doesn't necessarily mean the content is unreliable. Anyhow, so far, I'm taking Avedon's word for it.)

(There was other stuff I might have linked to but Blogger was having Big Issues, so this is all you get. Nothing from Blogspot bloggers, sorry.)

I read this and I think, "No, no, no, no, no." Blogs did not fail to block the Alito nomination. The Democratic Party failed.

We're bloggers. Most of us are amateurs (i.e., we make no money, not even for "expenses") doing this in our spare time. That means we are ordinary citizens (albeit a bit mouthier than the average).

We did precisly what our social contract requires us to do. We paid attention to the issue, we attempted to inform others about it, and we made our desires known to our elected representatives.

We are not the entire population of this country and Congress should not move at our demand. (Dammit, the Lefthand world o'blog is not going to become some rightwingnut wannabes, demanding that government mold itself into our image regardless of what everyone else wants, not if I have anything to say about it.)

Apparently not enough of the public was convinced of Alito's unsuitability for the Court to be inspired to make their opposition to the nomination or support of a filibuster known to their Congressional representatives.

Maybe because the arguments, in the media that most people saw, didn't include simple examples of Alito's past decisions like this one. I don't know. The bottom line is that the Democrats in Congress didn't all feel an outpouring of popular support either for voting against the nomination or for filibustering it.

And the proposed filibuster? Maybe it also failed to make the cut because the Democratic Party has handed out campaign funds to too many people who aren't really Democrats. They should be considering that. We should be thinking about that.

This is what you get when you decide to become a "centrist" party so, you know, speaking of people reaping what they've sown, welcome to the Republican New World where we're going to be a permanent minority.

Howard Dean is right, you know. The Democratic Party has to be rebuilt from the ground, up. We'll get better candidates, and represeentatives, when we grow us some real liberals from seed. Those hybrid things we've been using just aren't getting the job done.


Posted by AnneZook at 09:21 AM | Comments (0)