See, the US doesn't have enough enemies…

August 9, 2005
Please Distribute Widely

Dear Colleague,

United States “anti-drug” policy faces a major setback in Venezuela this week, and the drug warriors are loosening their ties as the heat rises.

At the State Department’s press briefing yesterday, Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli responded to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s warnings on Sunday that Venezuela would no longer work with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Chávez said that, far from abandoning efforts to combat trafficking and money laundering in his own country, his government had decided that – as Narco News has reported for over five years – the DEA’s war on drugs has nothing to do with actually shutting down the business, but is rather part of a strategy of political intervention in Latin American affairs.

Ereli’s limp response was to charge that Venezuela’s statements about DEA crimes are merely noise designed to distract from what he said was the country’s own increasingly poor performance on drug control, a statement which the U.S. government’s own past statements and reports show to be untrue.

Ereli furthermore revived one of the U.S.’s oldest political weapons in the drug war, threatening to end Venezuela’s certification as a country participating in anti-drug efforts.

Read the full report here, in The Narco News Bulletin:

John Graham on the no-fly list (literally)-and he's suing!

From John Graham:

Last month I told you I’d just been put on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Watch List of persons “posing or suspected of posing a threat to civil aviation or national security.” The TSA gave no reasons for putting me on the list and no chance to explain or defend myself. Being on this list means I can be stopped from boarding any airplane anytime-and I pretty much have to fly for a living.

I’m fighting this assault on civil liberties with everything I’ve got-for myself and for the thousands of other innocent people on that list.

Many of you have asked to be updated on my progress.

The article I wrote has been been picked up by over 22,000 websites, sites representing the widest imaginable array of political thinking.

Here at my organization, the Giraffe Heroes Project, we’re fielding calls, setting up interviews, mailing out information–working in every way we can to marshall public opinion in defense of liberty. You can read and watch one of my interviews by clicking here. I’m doing radio talk shows across the country.

I’ve approached 30 of the most relevant Congresspeople and Senators, urging them to amend the Patriot Act and the Intelligence Reform Act to provide a better balance between legitimate security concerns and basic civil liberties.

If I have to, I’ll sue, either on my own or as part of a class action. The ACLU is very interested in the case and I’m trying to generate the same interest on the libertarian right. The flood of mail I’ve gotten so far confirms that alarm about assaults on civil liberties crosses all partisan lines.

This campaign gains momentum daily. Hundreds of staff hours now are going into this cause, draining the resources the Giraffe Heroes Project needs to continue our “regular” work of finding and publicizing real heroes, helping teachers use our classroom materials, and booking speeches and workshops about active citizenship. And this may just be the beginning.

We need to hire some help before we drown.

I’ve already gotten an offer of pro bono legal representation, if it comes to a lawsuit. People who live nearby have asked to come in and stuff envelopes; others have walked up to me asking if it would help to write a check.

Let me tell you what I tell them–yes, sending money would help!

One click puts you on the Giraffe Heroes Project’s donation page.

If sending money through cyberspace is a concern, please send a check to the Giraffe Heroes Project, PO Box 759, Langley WA 98260. Earmark it for the “National Watch List Campaign.” Yes, it’s tax deductible.

Take a stand with us!

John Graham

"These guys are scary, and they're dangerous, in my opinion."

President Bush Ditches Mother Of Slain Soldier

By Nathan Diebenow
Associate Editor

CRAWFORD – The mother of a U.S. soldier slain in Iraq was denied a face-to-face meeting with President Bush here Saturday after she walked through a ditch-like path
in the August heat to the President’s Prairie Chapel Ranch.

“I didn’t come all this way from California to stand here in a ditch,” said Cindy Sheehan, 48, co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace, attempting to continue her
trek to the ranch.

Read more.

"There's just no conscience there"

From: Sergio Lopez
Sent: Thursday, August 11, 2005 9:45 AM
To: Ben Betz
Subject: did you see this?

It was must-see TV. And not only because what it revealed about Bill O’Reilly–he was forced into a four corners delay to run out the clock after he realized the mess he was in with Dolores Kesterson, mother slain Chief Warrant Officer Erik Kesterson–but also what the segment revealed about president Bush, who apparently tried to bully the grieving mother when she questioned him about his war of choice.

(For details, refer to:

At one point during the interview O’Reilly asked Kesterson, the Santa Clara mother, about her allotted three-minute meeting with Bush following her only child’s death in 2003. But keep in mind what Cindy Sheehan told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer this Sunday regarding her brief grief time with Bush in 2004:

Sheehan: “He wouldn’t look at the pictures of [my son] Casey. He didn’t even know Casey’s name. He came in the room and the very first thing he said is, ‘So who are we honoring here?’ He didn’t even know Casey’s name. He didn’t want to hear it. He didn’t want to hear anything about Casey. He wouldn’t even call him ‘him’ or ‘he.’ He called him ‘your loved one.’ Every time we tried to talk about Casey and how much we missed him, he would change the subject. And he acted like it was a party.”

Now to “The O’Reilly Factor”:

Kesterson: So actually, you know, it did come about. They put me into a cubicle by myself, took everything away from me. I also came prepared with a letter to give to the president about how I felt about the war and, you know, the loss of my son, my only child for a cause that I thought, you know, was not worthwhile at that point in time.

And so president Bush came marching in, to make a long story short, came marching in to the room, got right in my face, eyeball-to-eyeball, nose-to-nose this close, toe-to-toe and he said, “I’m George Bush, President of the United States, and I understand you have something to say to me privately.’ And I said, ‘Yes, I do respect the office of the presidency of the United States, but I want to tell you how it feels to lose your only child in a cause that you don’t believe in, in an unnecessary war. And, you know, we talked about it from there just like you and I are talking about. [Emphasis added.]

O’Reilly: Was he respectful to you?

Kesterson: Yes, yes was. But he did, you know, come at me a few times with trotting out, ‘Delores, do you realize we’ve been attacked on 9/11?’ Who doesn’t [realize that]?

O’Reilly: He hugged you at the end, did he not?

Kesterson: Well, yes, he asked if he could hug me and I said, ‘Well, that’s a human thing, you know, I’m human.’ And I agreed to it. But my personal feeling is that he really doesn’t have a conscience about all this death and destruction. That was the essence I took away after looking him in the eyes and meeting with him-there’s just no conscience there.

Cindy Sheehan, Casey's mother, to be arrested

Cindy Sheehan to Be Arrested Thursday
by David Swanson
Mon Aug 8th, 2005 at 10:55:39 PDT

(From the diaries — kos)

Cindy Sheehan phoned me from Texas a few minutes ago to say that she’s been informed that beginning Thursday, she and her companions will be considered a threat to national security and will be arrested. Coincidentally, Thursday is the day that Rice and Rumsfeld visit the ranch, and Friday is a fundraiser event for the haves and the have mores. Cindy said that she and others plan to be arrested.

Read more.

A Bushevik reaction to my Harper's piece?

From the BradBlog:

Rightwingers, ‘News’ Sites Fall Hook, Line & Sinker for ACVR Scam Report
Blogs and ‘Journalists’Alike Fall Over Themselves to Cover Phony GOP ‘Voting Rights’ Group Propaganda

From the Philadelphia Enquirer to News Channel 5 in Cleveland. They’ve all fallen uncritically for the ACVR garbage.

We’d expect it from the wingnut blogs out there like “Captain’s Quarters”, “Pardon my English”, “Betsy Newmark”, “WizBang”, “The Anchoress” and “Mr. Remainder” (all of whom couldn’t wait to re-type the nonsense without taking even thirty seconds to do a Google seach on the ACVR democracy-hating scam artists). But several in the “news” media faired as poorly as the Rightwing bloggers.



"I don't know no 'Godfather'…."

Roberts Listed in Federalist Society ’97-98 Directory
Court Nominee Said He Has No Memory of Membership

By Charles Lane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 25, 2005; A01

Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. has repeatedly said that he has no memory of belonging to the Federalist Society, but his name appears in the influential, conservative legal organization’s 1997-1998 leadership directory.

Having served only two years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit after a long career as a government and private-sector lawyer, Roberts has not amassed much of a public paper record that would show his judicial philosophy. Working with the Federalist Society would provide some clue of his sympathies. The organization keeps its membership rolls secret, but many key policymakers in the Bush administration are acknowledged current or former members.

Read more.

Let's just hope it's not too late…

From Kitty Overton:

Is it too late to stop The Patriot Act?

Read the above link to find out what Congress has just approved. The Senate is next.

This kind of power could be incredibly dangerous in the wrong hands, particularly for those of us who have been moved to speak and act in ways that are critical of this administration in the hopes of making our country better. These people have shown that they will stop at nothing to retaliate against even the most well-meaning citizens if they perceive them as political enemies.

We have to do something now, before the Senate votes on this. Do what you can. Spread the word. Call and email your Senators.


Federal court upholds Volusia County's right NOT to go with Diebold

From the Brad Blog:

Fed Court Upholds Volusia County Decision to NOT Use Diebold Touchscreen Voting Machines
Florida County at Center of Battle Between Several Disabled Rights Groups
Emergency Appeal Filed by Group Who Received $1 Million Donation from Diebold

The BRAD BLOG has learned, a Federal District Court has ruled against the National Federation for the Blind (NFB) who had filed suit against Volusia County, Florida earlier this month to force the county to use paperless Electronic Voting Machines in the upcoming fall elections there.

The NFB has decided late in the day to file an emergency appeal to that Federal District Court decision.

Read more.