AskWHYBlog: Carol Harvey In San Francisco

As Sentient Beings We Have The Right to Relentlessly Ask WHY --- And Demand Answers! PLEASE ASK WHY!

Friday, January 28, 2005

WHICH CONGRESS MEMBER IS "UNDOING" THE PATRIOT ACT?






There he is with his shock of white hair, the 64-year old Independent Vermont Representative, still stumping his small state from stem to stern to keep his seat in Congress! He does this even though polls show him far ahead of all comers.

Vermonters know him as simply "Bernie."

Born in Brooklyn, educated in Chicago, Bernie Sanders became Burlington's first socialist Mayor in 1981. His website touts Bernie as the "champion of the forgotten people --- seniors, veterans, and farmers."

Sanders works in a strong coalition with Vermont Senators, Patrick Leahy and Jim Jeffords.

His causes are the class war of rich on poor, globalization and loss of jobs, inability of fixed income seniors to purchase prescription medications, the destruction of social security, media consolidation, and loss of Constitutional Rights specifically through the Patriot Act's Section 215.

Since 2003, Bernie has worked hard, in particular, to undo the corrosive effects of Section 215 on private citizens' rights to check out books from the local library free from the fear that the FBI can confiscate records to scrutinize their reading habits. Under this Act, your very thoughts can be monitored. If, for example, you withdraw a book to understand how Al Kaida operates, you risk being investigated as a suspected terrorist.

In an article, first published by the Los Angeles Times Thursday May 8, 2003,'Pulling FBI's Nose Out of Your Books,' Bernie pointed out the "chilling effect" such unfettered snooping can have on the creative thinking of Americans.

Under Section 215 of The Patriot Act, The FBI can:

1. Seize circulation, purchasing and other records of library users and bookstores.
2. For no other reason than the records are part of a terrorism investigation.

In the past, the FBI could seize records but had to prove the people whose records they took were involved in terrorist activities.

The Patriot Act swore to secrecy the institutions that the FBI forced to hand over the information. This allowed the U.S. Government to violate a citizen’s Constitutional Right of Free Speech without their knowledge or consent.

Bernie Sanders understands the real threat posed by terrorism, but he does not believe we can fight it by depriving ourselves of the Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms that define our Country.

Rep. Sanders voted against the Patriot Act.

Then he introduced "The Freedom To Read Act," an effort to repeal Section 215. For this, the American Librarian Association's Library Journal conferred on him the award of Politician of the Year for 2003.

Later, Bernie introduced a similar measure to exempt libraries and bookstores from Section 215. Over 140 members of the U.S. House of Representatives sponsored this legislation.

Currently, Rep. Sanders is working with sympathetic Senators to see this Bill signed into law.

This is a Congressman who has not only read the fine print in The Patriot Act. He has spoken out against it and taken assertive action to protect our freedoms under the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS THE AskWHYBlog AUTHOR?










She has been busy doing other stuff recently.

Also, she has been (undisguised editorial opinion) APPALLED at the $40 million spent on Bush's huge Inaugural Bash, 5 MILLION MORE than the $35m Tsunami aid --- APPALLED At how this exacerbates the already shaky profile of the U.S. Government around the world.

According to tourists I have interviewed in San Francisco,
Europeans, Asians, and Africans see the American people as a separate entity from the American Government. They like Americans. It is the Bush Administration they find suspect, not U.S. citizens.

These interviews will appear on this BLOG.

In his Inauguration speech, Bush tried to justify his predatory Empire Building in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Korea by reframing it as a mandate to aggressively establish FREEDOM around the world. Oh, Balzac! Visions of the Brooklyn Bridge come to mind.

Then, there was Condoleezza Rice ordering Barbara Boxer not to impugn Rice's honesty and integrity. Look behind Condy, and you see George/Karl Rove turning the key in her back.

Then there is his ridiculous plan to line the pockets of his BASE (see Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911) by stealing social security benefits from elder Americans (now young Americans) and putting the proceeds into the stock market.

Consider this the Great Social Security Nondebate: My thought: "It's not broke, so don't fix it."

Ken Werner, Trinity Plaza Renters advocate and activist, sent a link to a wonderful article from The American Prospect, a national progressive weekly journal, explaining how the same old plan was tried in Britain by the Thatcher Government, and it has led to a crisis there. Now the Brits are eyeing our social security system as their ANSWER.

Ken also reminds us to call the Social Security Administration as circulated by MoveOn.org.

When I get THIS frustrated and annoyed --- I mean, that over-expensive Inauguration Party was George's INSANE "I-Told-You-So" --- I do a little disassociation to rest my mind.

Since this is the Year of Einstein, I decided to go out and ask folks in San Francisco if they know the definition of Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Einstein, it turns out, is greatly understood and hugely loved. I got some interesting answers to this question. They will be published on this BLOG.

In the middle of this frantic attempt by George to etch his name in history, watch for some hopefully diversionary fun stuff.

Carol Harvey in San Francisco

Sunday, January 09, 2005

"HOTEL RWANDA"/ DARFUR/ TSUNAMI: WHAT HUMAN RIGHTS?








Hotel Rwanda," a movie in recent release, is set in the capital city, Kigali, during the horrors of the 1994 "ethnic cleansing" of a million members of the Tutsi tribe by the Hutus.

Don Cheadle plays Paul Rusesabagina, a Hotel manager who saved 1,200 people from death by first cloistering them in his four star hotel, and then using his keen understanding of people to bargain for the lives of his "guests," his children, his wife, Tatiana, played beautifully by Sophie Okonedo, and himself.

Other Tutsi were not so lucky. They burned to death when towers of rubber tires were piled around their bodies and ignited. The favorite murder weapon was the panga, or machette, but screwdrivers, saws, hammers, and hachets were also used. First to be whacked were the hands. After the back was gashed, the head was chopped off. One had to pay to be shot. As many as ten thousand bleached corpses floated into Lake Victoria and around two thousand into the fishing village of Kasensero, in Uganda.

The movie does not dwell on pictures of such carnage. We see terror on faces watching neighbors shot on front lawns or huddled in army trucks muscling through road blocks. We feel the terror of Paul's blood-covered son as he crouches under the bed after witnessing a murder.

We watch with Paul as white American and European tourists, rescued by their governments, file shame-faced onto buses, abandoning Rwandans to be slaughtered.

In his memoirs, President Clinton confessed he was not proud of his role in this calamitous abandonment.

On Thursday, January 13, 2005, New York's Human Rights Watch issued a 500 page annual report stating that "the United States' credibility as a world leader on human rights and in the fight against terrorism" is in jeopardy.

It cited two key threats to fundamental human rights world-wide:

1. Treatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and

2. "Ethnic cleansing in Darfur, Sudan, in which tens of thousands have died and millions (have been) displaced in a civil war."

"The vitality of human rights defense worldwide depends on a firm response to both of these threats." click here.

The report further spoke of "continued inaction," like that in Rwanda and Darfur. It warned that the nations of the world bear the "responsibility to protect people from mass atrocities."

When Jan Egaland, United Nations Under Secretary General of Humanitarian Affairs, chastized the rich Western Countries for being "stingy" just after the full realization of the tsunami impact, he seemed to be referring to situations like the horrific ethnic cleansing and mass slaughters in Rwanda and Sudan ten years later, to which President George Bush, former President Bill Clinton, the Western Powers and the Media seemed to turn a blind eye.

This criticism prompted a defensive reaction from Colin Powell, who complained that he wished Egaland "hadn't said that," and later, from George Bush himself.

Egaland drew praise for lighting a fire under the Superpowers, prodding them to donate large sums of money to the tsunami relief effort.

It was media attention that inspired the American people to open their pocketbooks with the kind of heart they show when they are actually told what is going on (as has not been the case with previous disasters.)

Only several weeks after the tsunami's traumatic aftermath did the world catch up to the fact that the media-driven clarion call for aid continued to ignore places in the world like Rwanda and Darfur. Whether caused by political upheaval or acts of God, help to survivors of all catastrophic events was, and is, also desperately needed.

Finally it seems, we are beginning to understand. Click here.

PLEASE READ AN EXCELLENT MAY 5, 2005 REVIEW OF "HOTEL RWANDA" BY KIILU MYASHA IN THE SAN FRANCISCO BAYVIEW"

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS NANCY PELOSI?










MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI WILL BE OFFICIATING AT THE FUNERAL OF THE HONORABLE REP. FROM CALIFORNIA'S 5TH DISTRICT, DEMOCRAT ROBERT MATSUI

When I dropped off some documents at Nancy Pelosi's office today, Wednesday, January 5, 2005, at the Federal Building in Downtown San Francisco, I asked her aide whether she spent much time back here at home. He told me "Yes," --- that, in fact, she was returning from Washington for a few weeks, with a couple of side trips to Sacramento.

Next Saturday, January 8, Minority Leader Democrat Rep. Pelosi will attend the funeral and burial of Democrat Rep. Robert Matsui, 63, who died last weekend at Washington's Bethesda Naval Hospital of pneumonia brought on by a rare bone marrow disease called myelodysplastic syndrome.

The Honorable Robert Matsui was first elected to Congress representing California's 5th District in 1978 and has been enthusiastically re-elected every year since.

In 1942, his Japanese-American family was among those forced into an internment camp. Years later, he won high praise from his Congressional peers and constituents for participating in the passage of legislation offering an official apology and awarding compensation to survivors.

For a schedule of events in Washington and Sacramento,click here.

For a Monterey Herald article on Matsui,click here.

Blogger and journalist, Michelle Malkin, had some interesting things to say about internment reparations in her Sunday, September 5, 2004 article in the San Francisco Chronicle.

In her Blog, Malkin stated, though she disagreed with Matsui on reparations and his stance on racial profiling, he was a "dedicated public servant."

HOW DOES THE BUSH WAR USE WORDS AS "DEPTH CHARGES?"








YOU GOTTA HAVE HEART ---

AND, IF YOU DON'T REALLY HAVE THAT, YOU GOTTA HAVE MILES AND MILES AND MILES OF REPETITIONS OF THE WORD.

BUT, DOES THE WORD "HEART" PRESUPPOSE ITS REALITY?

As I watched the noxious pairing of former Presidents Clinton and Bush Number One as Ambassadors of Compassionate funds to the Tsunami victim countries, I noticed the number of times they both repeated the words "Heart" and "Compassion." Then The Son of Bush, gave a speech in which he, too, repeated the word "Heart" at least twice as he tapped his chest with a clenched fist much too near to his cardiac area.

Today Colin Powell repeated his ad nauseum defensive sound bite about how "Compassionate" is the United States. When other nations talk of giving money, they don't insist on portraying themselves as Compassionate. They just give the money.

On Thursday, January 6, 2005, Gerhardt Schroeder committed the largest sum so far --- an amount variously reported between $665 and $674 million U.S. ---to be spread out over the next five years intended to help rebuild infrastructure. No fanfare. Just the money where his mouth was.

By Sunday, January 9, 2005, Japan was reported to have pledged $500 million dollars.

The Australians have given the largest amount. A telethon raised 10.5 million over the 120 million the Australian Government has already paid, in addition to a one billion dollar pledge package.

Actually, relative to potential U.S. wealth, our government gave far less than most other nations.

The responsive outpouring of the American people through calls to private agencies has been overwhelming and has almost reached $337 million, closing in on the Government's $350 million.

When I lived in Los Angeles, I was aware of the dearth of potable water for 50 miles around --- except for the ocean, which is undrinkable salt. There is one drainage ditch running through L.A. No other lakes or rivers to speak of. Yet multiple streets are named "Water," "River," "Lake," or "Lagoon," as if the name of wetness could create it. Thus, the power of Hollywood's Dream Machine to conjure reality from words.

The Bush/Rove strategy has been to create the same kind of magic. With their "broken record" manipulations, they follow in the footsteps of Republicans back to the sixties.

Berkeley Professor, George Lakoff, political expert, far in advance of the election, pointed this out in a November 2003 article He explained how the Republicans would win partly by the Use of "Framing," (determining the field of Battle in advance so the enemy must fight on your terms, not theirs) and partly by using Words as Depth charges into the farthest abysses of the Collective American Subconscious.

WindyCityLefty, and other Progressives have been aware of this manipulative technique for a while. His interesting BLOG article "Republican Mantras of the Past 37 Years" (scroll way down) just post-election pointed out the effective linkage of "Kerry" with "Flipflopper" to win the Red States vote.

So, as you hear the word "Heart" intoned by both Bushes and Clinton --- and Jimmie Carter, if they can rope him into it ---think about how John Kerry's swift boat was capsized by the "Flipflopper" depth charge, and be wary of the words that are thrown at you. They sink into your medulla oblongata from where they can do a lot of damage --- without your knowing it.

Words create images, but do not produce hard realities --- unless somebody is buying the words whole off the shelf.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

CAN YOU NAME A FEW GOOD LINKS?

For San Francisco News, try the companion blog"Carol in San Francisco."

For "Justice News and Homeless Blues" in the Bay Area try "Street Spirit," a world class social justice newspaper newly on line. Terry Messman, Editor. A publication of the American Friends Service Committee.

San Francisco Call. For Betsey Culp's love affair with Everything San Francisco.

The SF BulldogSmart and Funny Political Satire from a very cool dude.

The Usual Suspects A Phenomenal Linkage Site to Most Bay Area News Media.

WindyCityLefty A Chicago Blogger with a wild and wonderful Progressive tongue in cheek.

For a rollicking good time, check out Windy's response to "You Gotta Have Heart" called "Heartless Bastards" (for link, see above, this Blog, comments). He includes what seems like every statement of Self-Compassionate Self-Congratulations trumpeted out by Bush, et al since the first election, plus a couple of (really bad) songs. Enjoy!


More to come.
RECENT COMMENTS ABOUT BUSH? END THE WAR! SECEDE!




"BUSH SHOULD WIN THE WAR BY JUST ENDING IT."

"AMERICA: LOVE IT, OR SECEDE FROM IT!"


During the van ride back from the store today, January 1, 2005, I announced to a new friend, Jonathan, that I was writing a BLOG. I confessed it was a "little anti-Bush."

"Gee," he said, "You're taking the easy way out."

Another passenger, Rose, observed, "You know, people are always looking for purpose in a disaster like the Tsunami in the India Ocean. I don't know about that, but this certainly brings wealthy and impoverished countries face to face. Tragedy is a great leveler. Maybe rich nations will become a little more sensitized to the tremendous gulf of privilege and deprivation yawning between the rich and poor of the world."

I recounted a story I had heard of a German couple vacationing in Sri Lanka who were stranded cut and bruised on some debris-covered outpost for five days. The man was walking around in human blood in his bare lacerated feet. During this time, the Sri Lankans, whose villages had been leveled, helped them get to a hospital and to an airport, and back to Germany. The couple reported that children handed them food --- a banana here, a cookie there. They were incredibly touched by the kindness of these people who had literally lost everything.

I said I thought, in the sophistication of our fast paced life, perhaps we have lost the kind of community closeness these villagers share. Maybe we could regain a sense of it from them. That might be their Christmas gift to us on this day of horror for them.

We talked a little about how the amount of U.S. aid to the Tsunami-struck countries rose exponentially from $15 million to $35 million to $350 million as other countries, like Spain, began to best the United States.

We spoke of the huge sums Bush is spending on the Iraqi War.

I thought of an article I head read recently "Little coverage of another (man-made) disaster" by Peter Phillips, professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University and director of "Project Censored," a media research organization.

After applauding the tremendous media coverage of the Tsunami calamity, Phillips compared the hypocrisy of the U.S. press who left uncovered the massive disaster that has befallen Iraqi citizens. "Over 100,000 civilians have died since the beginning of the U.S. invasion and hundreds of thousands more are homeless and weakened." The most common cause of death was aerial bombings. After that, strokes, and heart attacks.

Then Rose made a startling observation, which, it turns out, is an idea being bandied about by some.

"What if Bush just cancelled the war?," she said. "He won't do it, of course, but I think, if he did, he would win it."

"He would certainly reclaim the good opinion of the world, which he has completely lost," I said, "which is the same as winning the war."

The van driver, Donald, piped up with another new idea going the rounds of the Anti-Bush contingent. "What if the Blue States, led by California, seceded from the Union?"

"I would hope not!" I exclaimed.

"But," he replied, "It would be a smart economic move. California is a very rich state. Not to mention the wealth in the other Coastal Blue states. The very threat of secession would snatch the Bush Administration by the short hairs."

As it turns out, Matt Smith, investigative reporter for the SF Weekly interviewed a proponent of California secession for the December 8, 2004 issue. See: San Francisco Weekly.

The Washington Times online had already published this piece on secession by Joseph Curl a week after the election back on November 9, 2004. They are calling the red states "Jesusland," and saying that the Blue States are paying the freight for them.

There is a secession movement afoot in San Francisco. Alf Watt's website USOUTOFSF got a lot of hits in post-election November. Very interesting comments. Take a look. You can join the ten other people who want San Francisco to secede at the San Francisco Secession Meetup Group which is advertizing for an organizer on their site.

The Washington Times article points out that, if States and Cities may not secede, individuals may. Alec Baldwin threatened to secede if Bush won the election, but apparently, in the end, decided to stay.


What kinds of secession fantasies are floating around in your community?
WHO ARE THE TOP TEN WAR PROFITEERS IN IRAQ?






AND WHAT ARE THEIR TIES TO THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION?

1. AEGIS
2. BEARINGPOINT
3. BECHTEL
4. BKSH AND ASSOCIATES (That "K" in BKSH should be a "U")
5. CACI AND TITAN
6. CUSTER BATTLES
7. HALLIBURTON
8. LOCKHEED MARTIN
9. LORAL SATELLITE
10. QUALCOM

Read All About it at Guerrilla News Network.
WHAT DOES NATHAN SPROUL MEAN TO GEORGE BUSH?






"Sproul is the former head of the Arizona Republican Party, connected to the Republican National Committee-funded voter registration organization, Voter Outreach, Inc. Voter Outreach used paid registrars in a number of states including Nevada, Oregon, Arizona and perhaps more, including Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maine and Missouri. (Others states pending, particularly swing states.) Sproul's organization also recruited registrars by fraudulently telling recruits that they would be working for America Votes, a legitimate nonpartisan GOTV operation!"

Read More about Allegations of Voter Fraud and the balance of the above text at the Daily Kos. This may be the tip of the iceberg of "fraud on a massive scale."

Apparently, Sproul is not worried about his questionable status. Neither is George Bush, who invited Sproul to this year's White House Christmas Party as reported by political reporters on "The Arizona Republic."

WindyCityLefty, one of my favorite bloggers, offered the sardonic comment that "This douchebag should be frogmarched off to jail bigtime."

How do YOU feel about it?