Tuesday, February 28, 2006

72% of US Troops Want To Come Home. 90% Think Saddam Had a Role in 9-11

Here's a stunning resource: a Zogby poll on troop attitudes in Iraq.

It confirms what we've been thinking and saying all along, and would make every chickenhawk S.T.F.U. if they were capable of responding to facts instead of emotions:

# Le Moyne College/Zogby Poll shows just one in five troops want to heed Bush call to stay “as long as they are needed”
# While 58% say mission is clear, 42% say U.S. role is hazy
# Plurality believes Iraqi insurgents are mostly homegrown
# Almost 90% think war is retaliation for Saddam’s role in 9/11, most don’t blame Iraqi public for insurgent attacks
# Majority of troops oppose use of harsh prisoner interrogation
# Plurality of troops pleased with their armor and equipment

Tellingly, [t]hree quarters of the troops had served multiple tours and had a longer exposure to the conflict.

SUPPLEMENT, FEB. 28, 11:40 PM PST: John Zogby talks about his new poll on The Huffington Post, and the military paper Stars & Stripes covers the story. I especially like the scholar with the ultra-right-wing Cato Institute who calls the figures "troubling." Damn straight they are, but not surprising, at least to those of us who've been troubled all along.

What a Center-Left Progressive Platform Might Look Like

One of our readers asked, what would a truly progressive politics look like? To the left of center, to the right of the Greens? In response to which I hemmed, and hawed, and recommended some excellent books, and then, blogwhore that I am, I extracted the more philosophical links from my other, more moderate blog, The NeoProgressive, and made a list of them. In case anyone's interested in seeing my vision for an American polity that embraces both liberals and true conservatives within a framework of fundamental American values, here's the link to that specific post.

Monday, February 27, 2006

OK, I'm gonna hold my breath...

... until I see the numbers go up over at VichyDems' ActBlue campaign contribution page. The candidates we're supporting are working hard to unseat bad incumbents, or (in the case of Bob Menendez, did the right thing on the Alito filibuster and earned our support in his re-election bid).

It's safe, it's easy, it's the right thing to do.

OK, I'm waiting...

turning sort of purply...


Election Dates

Public Service Announcement: Please put these dates on your calendar, as reminders to make contributions and take action in time to make a difference:

March 7, 2006: Texas primary election (Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX) v. Henry Cuellar (V-TX); winner almost certainly will win Cuellar's House seat in November)

May , 2006: Pennsylvania primary election (Chuck Pennacchio (D-PA) v. Bob Casey (W-PA)); to determine who will challenge Rick Santorum's Senate seat in November)

August 8, 2006: Connecticut primary election (Ned Lamont (D-CT) v. Joseph Lieberman (V-CT); to determine who will be Democratic nominee for Lieberman's Senate seat)

November 7, 2006: General election (Democrats -- without Lieberman or Cuellar -- take back the House and maybe the Senate, while unseating Santorum. Supporters of this site consume copious champagne and are lauded on national TV by Bill Moyers for their hard work.)

November 8, 2006: VichyDems gears up for 2008.

V = unquestionable Vichy: I'd back a Republican before backing them. W = not a definite Vichy, but definitely a Wanker. We support the bold candidates. Links to each candidate's campaign website, and a place to securely make campaign contribution, here at VichyDems' ActBlue contribution page.

What's Wrong With the Democratic Machine, In a Nutshell

In a good story about the Ciro Rodriguez/Henry Cuellar primary battle in Texas' 28th Congressional District, the Houston Chronicle buried this gem:

"It's the old-time, bare-knuckle politics," said Richard Gambitta, a political scientist at the University of Texas at San Antonio. "It gives people a choice, which they do not often have in the Democratic Party."

Word. That's what I'm talking about. Brown-Hackett, Casey-Pennacchio, Cuellar-Rodriguez: those of us who want to reclaim the progressive values of the Democratic Party instead of constantly playing to an ever-more-conservative "center" must overturn the party politics that presume to select our nominees for us even before primaries are held. The party boss' way has resulted in the weakest Democratic Party in nearly 100 years. Our way will make it better.

Why We'll Do Better In Elections Without the Vichys

With the discussion about Chuck Pennacchio heating up, it seems like a good time to resurrect an earlier post that refutes the DLC/Casey/Rendell/Clinton argument that running to the center wins elections:

ORIGINALLY POSTED: Saturday, February 04, 2006

Stumbled across an interesting site: Sam Smith's History's Hints for Democrats. I don't know the author, but he seems spot-on here. The whole page is worth reading, but here's the kernel:

"[C]hecking the last 60 years you find something that directly contradicts the popular assumption that Democrats do best when acting like low-carb Republicans. For example, party margins in the House increased under classic Democrats Truman, Kennedy, and LBJ. Even when the party was out of the White House during the Eisenhower years the Democrats did well in Congress.

Then began a descent into confused messages combined with a rightward drift. By the time Clinton came along, the Vichy Democrats were strongly in control. Clinton won - largely because Perot was in the race - but was of little or no help getting Democrats into Congress - up two in the Senate, down 18 in the House. Clinton was the first incoming Democrat in 60 years not to have any coattails. Worst, during the Clinton administration, elected Democrats at every level did worse than under any incumbent since Grover Cleveland.

In short, despite the propaganda to the contrary loyally dispensed by a gullible media, the politics of the Democratic Leadership Council, the Third Wave, and the Clintons has been a bust.

Meanwhile, the two essential qualities of successful Democratic campaigns - a populist platform aimed at doing the mostest for the mostest while helping the weakest become part of the mostest - combined with a fervent vision of a future worth fighting for - simply disappeared. ***

In short, history joins common sense in arguing that if the Democratic Party were to return to a broad based politics based on the improvement of the economic, educational, and social conditions of average Americans it might once again become the dominant force in this country. Certainly, following the alternative urged by the Vichy Democrats has been a disaster."

A lot of trolls here have commented, sneeringly, that the Democratic Party will continue to lose elections as long as they hew to the left. Setting aside the ever-interesting question of whether we actually lost the last two elections, history does tell us that the Democratic Party -- and the country as a whole -- does better when it adheres to more liberal ideals.

It's possible that we'll lose even 2 or 3 seats in the Senate, and more in the House, if we aggressively go after Vichy incumbents. Maybe a Vichy in the hand is worth two true Democrats in the bush. I'm convinced, however, that any losses we take getting rid of the bad apples will be more than offset by gains as we recover the voters' trust in a Democratic Party that assertively and confidently promotes an alternative to politics as usual.

More on Chuck Pennacchio

UPDATE: Guest blog by Pennacchio himself (score!) here.

ORIGINAL POST: Chuck Pennacchio, a history professor, is seeking the Democratic nomination in the upcoming Senate race against the God-awful Rick Santorum. His opponent: Bob Casey, a pro-life, pro-Alito "Democrat" who's a burgeoning Vichy even before taking his seat. Casey has two things going for him: (1) like Jack Kevorkian, Richard Simmons and my dog, he's better than Santorum, and (2) even before the primary, he has the overwhelming support of the center-right Dem establishment. Which means Pennacchio -- whom a recent Zogby poll indicates would have a better chance than Casey does of actually beating Santorum in November -- is the long-shot underdog in the race.

I've already sounded off about this here, here and here.

Today, Natalie Davis has posted a good interview with Pennacchio here.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Alito Watch: Upcoming Supreme Court oral arguments

From the Willamette University College of Law, Salem, OR:

During the week of February 27, 2006, the United States Supreme Court will
hear oral arguments in the seven cases summarized below.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

(1) MEDICAID (Whether A State Medicaid Program May Recover Costs From a Third Party Judgment)

(2) HABEAS CORPUS (Whether a District Court has the Authority to Dismiss, Sua Sponte, a Habeas Petition that is Untimely)

(3) FIRST AMENEDMENT (Whether Vermont Law Regulating Contributions, Expenditures, and Disclosures for State Office Candidates Violates The First Amendment)

(4) PROBATE (Whether Probate Exception Is Basis for Federal Jurisdiction Determination)

(5) DORMANT COMMERCE CLAUSE (Whether Ohio Investment Tax Credit to Taxpayers Investing In-State Violates the Dormant Commerce Clause)

(6) ELEVENTH AMENDMENT (Whether An Entity That Does Not Qualify As An 'Arm Of The State' For Eleventh Amendment Purposes Can Still Defend Against An Admiralty Suit By Asserting Sovereign Immunity)

(7) EQUAL PROTECTION (Whether States Are Prohibited by the Equal Protection Clause and the First Amendment From Redrawing Districting Plans for the Purpose of Maximizing Partisan Advantage)

If anyone wants more details on any of these cases, let me know.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

An Interesting and Eloquent Endorsement of Pennacchio, and Indictment of Democratic Machine Politics in PA

Democrat Charlie Crystle -- a software developer who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for Senate in Pennsylvania in 2004 -- has issued a strong endorsement of Chuck Pennacchio over Bob Casey as the best Democrat to run against Ricky Santorum in November:

I am endorsing Chuck Pennacchio for Senate because he is a mainstream liberal fighter: pro-choice, pro-family, anti-war, and pro- universal healthcare. Bob Casey pales in comparison, a veritable clone of Rick Santorum on crucial issues. Like the progressive Senator Paul Wellstone in 1990, this time Democrats will vote for what we believe in, and that’s Chuck Pennacchio’s politics, not the politics of expedience.

I'm a political pragmatist -- pragmatic enough, anyway, to hope that backing Pennacchio is an act of BOTH pure heart AND political "expedience." I'm backing Pennacchio both because he's the better man and because, if he can survive the Democratic Machine's opposition and win the nomination, the better candidate to challenge Santorum. And Crystle is just one of several relatively prominent Pennsylvania politicians to support Pennacchio; his announcement isn't earth-shattering the waya change of heart by Governor Ed Rendell, for example, would be.

But Crystle, who was burned by Machine politics in his race (Gov. Rendell asked him to withdraw to ensure "a bloodless primary"), is angered and energized by the same anti-democratic tendencies in Pennsylvania's Democratic Party that have me exercised about the party nationwide, as evidenced by the Brown/Hackett debacle in Ohio and Hillary Clinton's premature and excessive support for Casey in Pennsylvania. And he has a wonderful way with words:

moral bankruptcy: Part of Speech: noun. Definition: the state of being devoid of morality and ethics, used esp. for business and political entities. Example: A complete lack of morals is moral bankruptcy.

Just so we're clear on what it means. Visit PA Dems and look for any statement on the values or principles it holds other than winning.... Then look at the behavior of the Party over the past few years, like the cramming of Casey down the throats of Democrats statewide prior to the primary, the endorsement by party leaders Rendell, Rooney, and Schumer prior to the primary, the clampdown on typical Democratic fundraisers top-down, guys who describe themselves as progressives like Buttonweiser, the top-down "enforced" call to Democratic politicians to "fall in line" and "clear the decks" so voters don't have a choice in the primary, pols like Hoeffel... and Hafer backing down at the request of the party, Hoeffel calling himself progressive but endorsing Casey and thereby Casey's non-progressive, non-liberal positions like endorsing right-wing judge Alito, the overturn of Roe V Wade, the denial of privacy and economic rights to women through statewide bans of abortion, the promotion of his religious beliefs about abortion over anyone else's--the Democratic Party in their endorsement of Casey and his undemocratic, right-wing positions, their public and private support of Casey's campaign before voters get to choose, and their consistent intimidation of candidates outside their inner circle, is to me, a pretty basic set of examples to support my use of "moral bankruptcy" as a descriptor. That could have been a longer sentence.

In his endorsement of Pennacchio, he lambastes the party politics that have apppointed Casey the presumptive nominee and explains, better perhaps than I have, what the Netboots movement to oust Vichys and reclaim the fealty of the fencesitters is all about:

The 2006 US Senate election in Pennsylvania is about choice. It’s about a women’s right to choose an abortion, about choosing peace over a foreign civil war, about choosing peace over violent gun crimes, and about choosing good local jobs over corporate welfare, about choosing to deal with the root causes of poverty and neglect over the politics of expedience.

And it’s about the freedom to choose a candidate: the Democratic Party must have an open primary so Democratic voters can choose their candidate, not party leaders whose actions undermine the very democracy they claim to represent. This Party has gotten so lazy and so far removed from real people that it has anointed the conservative Casey on the basis of his votes in a virtually uncontested, barely visible election in 2004. When confronted with Casey’s right-wing tendencies like support of right-wing judges and overturning hard-fought women’s rights, Democrats overwhelmingly favor Chuck Pennacchio.

Democratic voters in Pennsylvania voters deserve a true Democrat, a true liberal who fights for the mainstream causes of social, economic, and civil justice, just like Wellstone, just like Robert Kennedy. Like hundreds of thousands of other Democrats, I am offended by the top-down, Tammany Hall politics of the morally bankrupt PA Democratic Party leadership. We need real, open debate about issues that matter to people and candidates that will fight to make the lives of people better—issues of social, economic, and civil justice, and candidates like Chuck Pennacchio.

To demonstrate my disgust with the Democratic Party, I have requested that Senator Barack Obama and other “Casey politicians” to return my campaign contributions to them in the 2004 cycle. They have raised funds for Casey on the one hand, while campaigning as progressives on the other. Democratic candidates must act with the courage of their convictions to earn the support of Democratic voters, and I, for one, will no longer support candidates who do not walk the walk.

Later in the same post, he emphasizes the discrepancies between the perfunctory Establishment party polls and the deeper, issue-oriented, often overlooked Zogby poll, which clearly shows Pennacchio as the candidate Pennsylvania Democrats favor once they know the candidates' positions, and the candidate Pennsylvania voters would prefer to Santorum in a general election:

the pollsters do a disservice to the public by failing to poll voters on the issues when comparing Casey and Pennacchio, and polling about the general election presumptuously. The recent Zogby poll is the only one that has actually asked voters who they would support once they knew where they stood on the issues. No wonder Casey's campaign won't let him debate.

He carefully explains what a truly democratic Democratic Party would look like:

We caused a stir with the endorsement, at least here in Lancaster. The executive director of the PA Democratic Party spoke, and deliberately (wisely) didn't mention Casey's name. But he also didn't say we'd have an open primary, debates of any kind, or what the Democratic Party stands for that Casey stands for as well.

We have a wide range of beliefs in this state. Primaries are supposed to be the place where you debate beliefs and issues as a party. We can all join together behind Chuck after the primary is over, and until then, the party should just promote open debate and stay out of the race, including Rendell, Schumer, TJ Rooney, and the rest of the establishment. But hey, if this were really a democratic party, that would already be the case.

So back to technology. You hear the one about the Blackberry addict...?


As I keep saying, we'll never be able to unseat Vichy, but strongly entrenched, Democrats if the Party won't permit progressive challengers to participate meaningfully in the primaries, and Crystle does a great job of explaining what we're up against in overcoming that inertia.

And I suspect, though I don't know much about him, that notwithstanding (OK, largely because of) his obvious longing to leave politics alone and be, in his words, just "a technology guy," someone needs to recruit Crystle to run for public office again. Even against his will. The Athenians, after all, would not allow anyone in their Senate who was so craven as to wish to be there. And I believe that America would benefit from having fewer MBAs and JDs in Congress, and more software developers who play guitar, run blogs, list Ghostbusters and Jaws among their favorite movies -- and actually give a damn about preserving a vibrant democracy.

UAE Gave $1 Million (Or More) To Bush41 Library

I know, this is a generalized anti-Bush rant, which I usually try to abstain from, given that others do them so much better than I do. But it's not getting quite as much play on the blogs as I could wish, so I'll put it out there:

Threaten to kill Georgie's dad, get invaded.

Give Georgie's dad $1 million for his Presidential library, get the contract to manage all America's ports.

Just bidness.

Sherrod Brown Isn't the Problem; The Process Is

A VichyDems reader asked to be removed from our mailing list today, and mentioned his unhappiness with the way some bloggers are dumping on Sherrod Brown. (If you're not on our list and want to be, email us and put "subscribe" in the subject line.)

I readily took his name off the list -- heck, we all get tired of receiving political spam! -- but I also tried to address his concerns about my take on the Brown/Hackett debacle, and thought I'd share my thoughts with the rest of you, too. Here's what I wrote him:

FWIW, I hope I've been clear that my problem isn't with Sherrod Brown (except to the extent he misled Hackett by saying he wouldn't enter the race). Nor do I think Hackett is perfect; far from it. If I lived in Ohio, I might have voted for Brown over Hackett in a primary, and I'll definitely give Brown some support on VichyDems as the general election nears. (In the general election, the only Democrats I'm likely to hold support from are Lieberman and Cuellar; in almost all other cases, I'll take a Blue Dog or DINO over a Republican no matter what -- and Brown is far from being either.)

My main problem has been with the way the Democratic Party handled the whole situation. Brown indicated he wasn't running for Senate; the Party invited Hackett to run; Hackett accepted that invitation; then Brown changed his mind, and the same people who had asked Hackett to run dropped him. That angers me, especially as it reveals an "old boy machine" that I think works against the interests of folks who want to mount legitimate challenges to less-than-progressive incumbents.

I hope that helps redeem me a little in your eyes! Either way, I'll take you off the list, and keep counting you as a friend.


Whither Now, NetBoots?

We know that increasing numbers of people are scared and angered at the direction our country is headed, and are becoming willing to take action: from netroots to net boots-on-the-ground.

We know that we can educate ourselves, and coordinate our actions, using the blogs and other online tools, without having to join a club or advocacy group or otherwise lose our individual voices -- and that the cumulative effect of innumerable individual voices, if they remain energized, may be greater than the effect of one group with the same number of members.

We're learning how to amplify the things we already know and say on the blogs by encouraging individuals to spread the Blospel, using their own words and emotions, in letters to the editor, calls to talk shows, feedback to their representatives, and ad-hoc gatherings like house parties and Drinking Liberally.

We're already taking the initiative to spread the NetBoots movement more systematically, on a state-by-state level -- the Roots Project. (More here and here.)

All of which is good, but none of which, by itself, is revolutionary. So this post is to ask: what else? Is what I wrote above, taken together, an adequate Game Plan? Do you have any other ideas? What about skywriting? Do you like picketing and vigils, or do you think they tend to be underwhelming? Are there media outlets we're not considering? Should we focus on short-term dates (March 2, UAE ports deal goes through unless Congress intervenes; March 7, Senate Intelligence Committee meets again to decide whether to whitewash the NSA)? Or take a longer view and let the traditional advocacy groups keep the lead for now, since they're already set up to do so?

Please let me know what YOU think. Want democracy back? Then the people -- the virtuous mob -- have to lead. Please start right here, by taking ownership of the future. Where do you think we should go from here?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Whose Lips Are Looser?

I reported some time back that conservative bloggers were accusing Jay Rockefeller of being the person who "leaked" the NSA story to the New York Times last December. Rockefeller is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, the chief agitator for committee hearings on the NSA's warrantless wiretap program, and the man who secretly (honoring his national security pledge) wrote the administration to raise concerns about that program (contrary to Republican claims that no one ever raised any objections).

In that context, it's fun to see Rockefeller lambasting Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte (more here) for his disingenuity in blaming other people for "leaks" when the White House itself is the biggest culprit!

This is especially fun to watch given the new Rasmussen poll showing, for the first time ever, that Americans trust Congressional Democrats more than they do President Bush to protect national security.

I'm watching Rockefeller closely. He has a lot of inside information, and he's spitting mad since Pat Roberts abused his trust. (More here and here.) Good things may be about to come from his office. I'm almost ready to forgive him for his vote on cloture!

Nothing's The Matter With Kansas


Pat Roberts (R-KS) is chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which will reconvene on March 7 to decide whether and in what fashion to hold hearings into the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program. Sam Brownback (R-KS) serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee and chairs the Constitution subcommittee. Roberts is central to the administration’s efforts to avoid meaningful hearings on the NSA issue by amending FISA to make the President God. Brownback, on the other hand, has suggested imposing some sort of judicial oversight on the program. Both need to be told (a) we want hearings, (b) we want broad hearings, not just a retroactive amendment of FISA to make illegal conduct legal, and (c) we want those hearings to be as public as possible while accommodating national security concerns.

The focus right now is on Kansas: Kansas residents or people with Kansas connections, writing letters to the editors of Kansas (and border-region Missouri) newspapers, speaking directly to Roberts and Brownback (and, what the hey, the appropriate Congressperson while you’re at it).

For more thoughts and talking points, check out the folks who are working together to make the Roots Project happen: Jane, Glenn, John, and our new favorite Kansan, local point man Josh.

Note: this is just Phase I of the Kansas Stage of the Roots Project. It will evolve to include more than letters, and all 50 states, but always driven by local citizens, speaking to their own representatives. Keep watching here for more game plans as we move the impact of the Blogosphere from words to deeds!

Newspaper contact information follows:

The Kansas City Star
1729 Grand Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64108

Guidelines : Paper accepts LTEs, “Voices”, “As I See It” columns and Op-Eds. LTEs max. 150 words; must include name, address, daytime phone.

How to submit :
Snail mail at above address, or

Alternate venue : “Reader's Representative: For concerns or questions regarding the fairness or accuracy of The Star's news coverage.” readerrep@kcstar.com

The Lawrence Journal-World
609 New Hampshire
P.O Box 888
Lawrence, Kansas 66044

How to submit :
Paper asks for LTEs via Webform; not sure whether they accept by snail mail

Alternate venues : Editorial Page Editor Ann Gardner, 832-7153, agardner@ljworld.com
Online Editor Dave Toplikar, 832-7151, dtoplikar@ljworld.com

The Topeka Capital-Journal
616 SE Jefferson
Topeka KS 66607
Fax (785) 295-1230

How to submit :
Snail mail at above address, or

Alternate venue : Executive Editor Pete Goering, pete.goering@cjonline.com

The Wichita Eagle
Reader Views
P.O. Box 820
Wichita, Kan. 67201

Note : Editorial (from news service, not home-grown) they’re running today on topic. Consider writing a letter responding to it.

Guidelines : Max 200 words. Include name, address and telephone. Letters are signed with the writer’s name and town.

How to submit :
Snail mail at above address, or
Fax: (316) 269-6799, or

Alternate venues :
Editorial blog: http://blogs.kansas.com/weblog/
Opinion Editor Phillip Brownlee pbrownlee@wichitaeagle.com

The Pitch (alternative paper, KC)

Guidelines : Must include full name (but can request they don’t print it), email address OR telephone number; city; and “title of the article you are writing about.”

How to submit : Webform, or

The Olathe Daily News
514 South Kansas Ave.
Olathe, KS 66061

How to submit :
By snail mail to the above address, or
Fax to 913-764-3672, or

Lee's Summit Journal

How to submit : Webform (apparently same form is used for subscriptions and LTEs).

Alternate venue : Ann Scheer, Editor, ascheer@lsjournal.com

The Cass County (MO) Democrat-Missourian
301 South Lexington
P.O. Box 329
Harrisonville, MO 64701

How to submit :
Snail mail at the above address, or
Fax at (816) 380-7650, or

The Star-Herald (Northwest Cass County) (Weekly)
P.O. Box 379
Belton, MO 64012

Guidelines : Include name, hometown and daytime telephone number. “[O]ne page typed double-spaced or neatly printed is a good measure.” “Letters endorsing or against political candidates will not be published.”

How to submit :
Snail mail at the above address, or

The DeSoto Explorer
PO Box 639
DeSoto, KS 66018-0639

How to submit :
Snail mail at the above address, or
By fax to 913-585-1316, or

The Gardner News
936 C E Santa Fe
Gardner, KS 66030

How to submit :
Snail mail at the above address, or

Kansas City Small Business Monthly
8101 Shawnee Mission #200
Shawnee Mission, KS 66202

How to submit :
Snail mail at the above address, or
Fax to 913-432-6676, or

The Legal Record
213 E Santa Fe, Suite 2
Olathe, KS 66061-3410

How to submit :
Snail mail at the above address, or
Fax to 913-780-5747, or

The Spring Hill New Era
PO Box 303
Gardner, KS 66030

How to submit :
Snail mail at the above address, or
Fax to 913-856-6707, or

The Sun Newspapers
7373 W. 107th
Overland Park, KS 66212-2547

(List of all weekly Sun publications -- Olathe Sun, Johnson County Sun, etc. -- here)

How to submit :
Snail mail at the above address, or
Fax to 913-381-9889, or
Bob Sigman, editorial page editor, bsigman@sunpublications.com

The Dodge City Daily Globe (Pat Roberts’ hometown paper!)
705 Second Ave.
Dodge City, KS 67801

How to submit :
Snail mail at the above address, or
Managing Editor Rick Druse, richard.druse@dodgeglobe.com

The Hutchinson News
P.O. Box 190
300 West 2nd Avenue
Hutchinson, KS 67504-0190

Guidelines: Include name, address and telephone number. Max 500 words for writers who live within the paper’s “circulation territory”, 300 words for those who live outside it. (Nice they make that clear!)

How to submit :
Snail mail at the above address, or
Fax to (620) 662-4186, or

The Garden City Telegram
P.O. Box 958
310 N. 7th Street
Garden City, KS 67846

Guidelines : Must include name, telephone, city, state, and email address.

How to submit :
Snail mail at the above address, or
Fax to 620-275-5165, or
Dena Sattler, Editor and Publisher, denas@gctelegram.com, or

The Salina Journal
PO Box 740
Salina, KS 67401

Guidelines : Letters must be signed, with address and telephone number. Max 250 words.

How to submit :
Snail mail at the above address, or
Fax to 785-827-6363 or 785-823-3207, or
mailto:sjletters@saljournal.com, or

Alternate venues:

Salina Journal blogs, or

Short telephone comments get published! “Besides written letters to the editor, the Journal also welcomes brief comments by telephone. Some of these are published each day on the newspaper's editorial page. To participate, call the Journal at 785-823-6464, extension 333. You do not have to leave your name.”

The Pratt Tribune

How to submit :
Go here and click the “submit a letter” javalink in the blue stripe at the very top right of the page.

The Atchison Daily Globe
PO Box 247
1015-25 Main Street
Atchison, KS 66002

How to submit :
Snail mail at the above address, or
Fax to (913) 367-7531, or
Managing Editor Michael Terry, michaelterry@npgco.com

The Arkansas City Traveler
200 E. 5th Ave.
P.O. Box 988
Arkansas City, KS 67005

How to submit :
Snail mail at the above address, or
Fax to 620-442-7483, or

The Southwest Daily Times
(Liberal, KS/Seward County)

How to submit :

The Manhattan Mercury
P.O. Box 787
Manhattan, KS 66505

How to submit :
Snail mail at the above address, or
Fax to 785-776-8807, or
Email Walt Braun, Editorial Page Editor, wbraun@themercury.com.

The Winfield Daily Courier
Public Forum
201 E. 9th
P.O. Box 543
Winfield, KS 67156-0543

Guidelines: I love this! “The Courier receives a lot of e-mail. Lots and lots of e-mail. Most of it's junk mail. If it's is critical that we get your information, call us. Even if you call just to let us know that you're sending an e-mail, you can tell us the subject and the e-mail account that you are using to send it and we can be waiting for it.” Max 300 words; must include name and address.

How to submit:
Snail mail at the above address, or
Fax to 620.221.1101, or
Email courier@winfieldcourier.com AND THEN CALL TO TELL THEM IT’S COMING at 620.221.1100

The Hays Daily News
Reader Forum
507 Main
Hays, KS 67601

Guidelines: 600 words max; include name, mailing address and daytime telephone.

How to submit:
Snail mail at the above address, or
Email letters@dailynews.net

The Morning Sun
P.O. Box H
701 N Locust
Pittsburg, KS 66762

How to submit:
Snail mail at the above address, or
Fax to 620-231-0645, or
Email the Publisher, Stephen Wade, stephen.wade@morningsun.net

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I Still Think This Is Important

So I'm exercising my prerogative to put it back up top. Heh.

The Blogometer Misses the Point

I have to admit, I generally like the Blogometer. I agree with those who say it tends to tilt slightly conservative, but it does a good job of identifying trends and tracking the squabbles that both energize and enervate the blogosphere. And it accurately observed that the Alito filibuster's grassroots energy is being transmitted to the NSA warrantless-surveillance issue, and more generally that that grassroots/netroots energy represents a larger movement.

But today's Blogometer messed up by turning a big story into a small one. (Search for "Greenwald" about halfway down the page.)

The big story is that the liberal blogosphere is starting to transform itself from a mere forum for discussion into a tool that actually helps put grassroots boots on the ground. But the Blogometer focused only on the tactics being discussed (talking points and the proposed use of talk radio to spread the Blospel to new audiences) instead of on the strategy (finding amplifiers for the till-now relatively obscure words of midsized bloggers), let alone the overall policy or trend (using the Internet to mobilize "the virtuous mob"). It even got the tactics backwards: its piece is captioned "BLOGS VS. THE MSM: From The Grassroots To The Netroots To The ... Waveroots?", when the real story should be: "BLOGS AND THE MSM: The Netroots Start Energizing the Grassroots."

The word "Waveroots" I sort of like, though, even if I have no idea what it means.

Gilliard On Brown v. Hackett v. DeWine

We already knew that the Dem establishment's selection of Sherrod Brown over Paul Hackett as the Democratic candidate for Senate in Ohio was antidemocratic and anti-populist. When two or more electable Democrats want to vie for the nomination in a primary, I say the Party should stay the hell out of it and let the voters decide. Primary contests, if done with mutual respect instead of unbridled venom, are GOOD things: they raise the profile of the eventual nominee, they focus press and public attention on the Democratic platform, they provide gratuitous opportunities for both candidates to blast the Republican on the other side, and they both test and mobilize the Democratic base. And, of course, while Brown is NOT a Vichy, we'll never succeed in ousting Vichys in other races if we generally allow the DLC crowd (more here) to pick our candidates for us.

Now it's starting to appear that the Party's premature selection of Brown over Hackett may not only have been undemocratic and heavy-handed, but politically unwise, too. Hackett was not a perfect candidate, but he was potentially electable against DeWine. And Brown, despite his progressive credentials, isn't a gimme: he, too, has feet of clay. Steve Gilliard has an interesting post up about those feet of clay.

If Brown loses in the general election, I'll joylessly say "I told you so" -- not because Hackett was necessarily better, but because the Party's leaders never gave him a chance to show that he might have been.

My point simply is that the Democratic Party should only intervene when the candidate who might win the primary appears to be a liability in the general election. I'm not a member of the "party purity" crowd, and am willing to bow to practical politics -- but the current "old boy network" of centrists, DLCers, Vichys, accommodationists, and triangulators isn't practical, either, because it keeps losing. And losing. And losing.

Time to let the grassroots have a say for a change. We certainly can't do any worse than the Machine has.

Chocolate City: For Ray Nagin

I really don't have a position on New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin's "Chocolate City" comment, other than to note that (a) it was politically unskilful, (b) New Orleans should be rebuilt and repopulated to be as close as possible to what it was before, which incidentally means majority people of color, (c) the efforts to rebuild the city so far have been criminally inept, and (d) I'm shocked, shocked to realize that those failures may result in the transformation of a Democratic stronghold in the South into just another Red commercial center. And none of this has anything to do with the Vichy theme.

So really, this post is just the result of me putting on "wake up" music for my 10- and 12-year-old daughters this morning, and picking Parliament.

For Ray Nagin's (and your) listening enjoyment: Chocolate City.mp3

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Is there a Kansas resident in the house?

Several bloggers are working on a Kansas-specific project to encourage Senators Roberts and Brownback to hold hearings into the NSA's warrantless wiretap program, and we could use all the in-state help we can find. If you live in Kansas or know a liberty-loving person who does, please let me know via the email link in the right sidebar. Thanks!

Direct Netroots Activism: A Movement, Taking Hold

Direct netroots activism is finally finding its legs.

As I wrote earlier today, MoveOn and similar organizations have done a good job of using the Internet to empower activists, but they tend to do so under a unifying organizational banner: "MoveOn", "Dean for President." And while liberal bloggers are doing invaluable service as pamphleteers -- modern equivalents of Thomas Paine who educate, inform, network, inspire, and evangelize -- they, like Paine, are not actually generals; they motivate the troops but until now haven't led them in battle.

We've had "grassroots organizations" and armies like MoveOn, and we've had thinkers and prophets like Markos. But we haven't had the one thing that the Web should be best at: Internet-enabled, truly populist, grassroots activism. We haven't had what I'll call "the virtuous mob": thousands upon thousands of individuals who find themselves all seeking the same thing and who move, simultaneously but not in lockstep, in unison but not in concert, to obtain it.

It sounds like a hair-splitting distinction, but it's an important one. It's the difference between VichyDems and MoveOn. MoveOn is a wonderful group. I can't express enough how much I support and appreciate it; I can't imagine the modern progressive movement without it. But, despite its sincere commitment to serving as an extension of the grassroots, MoveOn is still something of a monolith. It's easily labeled: "liberal." It has letterhead, its principals' names are well-known, it delivers petitions with "MoveOn" at the top. Truly populist grassroots, on the other hand, can't be labeled, and that fact gives them a different kind of power. It's the difference between MoveOn or PFAW handing a senator one petition with 1,000 signatures on it, and the same senator receiving 1,000 separate letters, each from a different individual, each speaking in its own voice, all asking for the same thing. I believe the 1,000 letters are more democratic and more effective than the one petition.

VichyDems has tried to play a role in enabling and coordinating, without directing or monopolizing, the nascent direct-action, individual-driven, populist progressive movement. In an earlier post, I described our objective this way:

"Our goal here is nothing less than helping build a new kind of movement that capitalizes on the Internet and other communications technologies that no citizens, in the history of the world, have ever had before. If the Dean campaign and MoveOn used the Internet to build "grassroots organizations," then we can use it to empower the grassroots themselves. We can bring a new thing into the world: Internet-driven, rapid-response, politically nuanced, direct grassroots democracy. I'm convinced that can be powerful."

Here's why I think this is a potentially powerful approach:

Those hammer taps, the voices of democracy recorded on voicemails and logged in daily reports by staffers, those hammer taps of democracy repeated often enough by enough people, will tip the edifice, so precariously balanced today, onto the side of democracy; and you, the virtual patriots, will be the ones that did it.

So please pick up the phone and make a call. Send an email. Shoot a fax... [T]ell your friends what we're up to here and encourage them to do the same. If you haven't signed up with our "updates" list (right sidebar), please do so, and ask your friends to do so. Kids home from school? Give them a civics class at home: sit them down with milk, a brownie, a telephone and a phone list. (Not even a Republican can withstand a child's voice saying, 'please, sir, I just want my country to be honest and fair.')

Inexorable democracy doesn't usually make much noise. It's not the raucous blare of quadrennial conventions. Rather, it's usually just a tiny sound: a tap, tap, tap.

Just in the last few days, these kinds of ideas seem to be catching on. People for the American Way ("PFAW") and MoveOn are starting to supplement their petition drives with emails asking people to telephone key politicians directly, and providing phone numbers. (Sound familiar?) Bill Beutler, who writes the National Journal Hotline's daily Blogometer column, recently wrote an article (based partly on VichyDems) that, while mistaken in some of its premises and conclusions, correctly observed that the spontaneous grassroots activism that actually gave birth to the Alito filibuster fight is turning into a broader movement -- one which he characterizes, narrowly, as a movement to oust Vichys, but which I see, more broadly, as one to reclaim America's progressive, populist values.

Some of the best bloggers in the business are starting to think and talk along these lines. In particular, Glenn Greenwald of Unclaimed Territory, Jane Hamsher at FireDogLake, John Amato of Crooks & Liars, and others are trying to figure out how to convert talk into boots-on-the-ground activism. As Glenn wrote on Monday:

I've become a vigorous believer in the notion that the blogosphere is a uniquely potent vehicle for large numbers of people to act in concert in a meaningful way. National political advocacy organizations and party-based entities are, by and large, useless. They have become stagnant, entrenched, obsolete old relics of the political wars of the 1980s and 1990s. Many people who stay in Washington too long lose their ear for anything outside of Washington, and many of them become satisfied with status quo perpetuation, because they are so comfortable with their little niche, even if it's a losing one. The blogosphere has really become the venue for vibrant, novel and impassioned action. I hope to find a way to spend as much time working on these matters as I can because I believe the effect they can have is limitless.

The point is, this is a movement. Two weeks ago, Bill Beutler's Blogometer asked with regard to VichyDems, "Are there second acts in American political movements?" Beutler's question astutely took for granted that the bottom-up Alito activism was the beginning of an actual political movement. And the answer to his question, depending on how feisty you feel, is either "Hell, yes, and wait for Act II" or, from my perspective, "What do you mean? Alito was just first sentence in Act I. Act I's just barely getting under way. We've got much, much more up our sleeve. And Acts II and III, when we finally get there, are gonna blow your everlovin' mind!"

So watch Glenn, watch FireDogLake, watch C&L, watch the other action-oriented progressive blogs, and watch here to see what happens. I think you -- yes, you, out there -- are going to help us translate talk into action. I think you're going to make a huge difference in the fate of our nation. And I think it's going to be a lot of fun.

The Real Work

Gary Snyder, whom I will name Poet Laureate in the last year of my second term as President when there's not a damn thing anyone can do about it, frequently uses the terms "the real work" or "the work that is to be done" when descibing the important thing in life.

A poster named Jim over at Bob Fertik's blog asked a question resonant of that phrase as part of a discussion over whether the term "Vichy" is acceptable, whether it's OK to go gunning for members of our own party, and other silly, politically correct nonsense like that. (BTW, Bob -- and Jim, for that matter -- are on the right side of those questions -- it's the people posing them, who are unsure whether they dare to eat a peach or call Joe Lieberman an accommodationist, that I'm calling silly.)

Jim asked, simply: What is the "real" work in electing progressives?

I posted a response to Jim's question over there, and am reposting it here for kicks:

My own angle of attack, on VichyDems, is Internet-enabled, DIRECT grassroots democracy.

The entrenched Democratic establishment is useless. Hell, Reid called the Alito vote as one of "conscience" and didn't even try to enforce party discipline. And the DLC crowd still has inappropriately overwhelming power; take, for example, the selection (never election!) of Bob Casey instead of Chuck Pennachio to challenge Santorum in Pennsylvania in November.

The grassroots organizations -- most notably MoveOn -- have done a great job, but since they're monolithic, they now get lumped in with all the other "special interests."

What cannot be considered a "special interest" is the spontaneous action of individuals acting as individuals, but in concert. The Alito filibuster was the beginning, in my mind: my site, which was 5 days old at the time, got 8,500 hits that day. Irrelevant, by Kos or Atrios standards, but if even 1,000 of those hits represented people who were there to download the contact information I had provided, and each of those made only 5 phone calls, that's 5,000 phone calls to senators. Enough to get their attention, and both Feinstein and Clinton -- Establishment Dems if there ever were ones -- actually changed their cloture votes in response (though Clinton denies it). And I think, based on comments and emails I received, that we generated a hell of a lot more calls than that.

So my "work" is:

1. Grow that base of people who will individually call politicians, write letters to the editor, make small campaign donations, etc. without ever hiring a lobbyist or being peggable as a "group" at all.

2. Keep up the phone calls etc. AFTER key votes, not just before: the "I know what you did last summer" approach patented by VichyDems.

3. Be foot soldiers in key, close primary races between Vichys and progressives, and then in general races between those progressives that win and their Republican opponents.

4. Most of all, stop being sissies. My God, even Kos refuses to use the word "Vichy." People think Godwin's Law is more important than winning our country back. We need to consistently, repeatedly, aggressively, loudly call spades spades. Lieberman is a Vichy and should be thrown out of the Democratic caucus!! Reid screwed up the Alito action and should be forced to apologize or face a leadership challenge by someone like Barbara Boxer!! Say it clearly and don't let anyone in the "establishment" -- even including guys like Kos, who is tremendously important and does great work but whom I fear is starting to see himself as a "player" and therefore starting to hedge his bets -- tell you what is or isn't wise or workable. Listen to good advice, examine your own motives, don't let purism drive out all practical considerations -- but then make up your own mind, and take your own action.

That's off the top of my head. Pass it on.

I hope to expand on these themes in the next day or two. Meanwhile, don't forget the MoveOn vigils tonight, and to keep making the necessary phone calls: one (scroll to the bottom for the Game Plan), two, and three.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Donate. To. Ciro. Please.

We don't like Vichy Democrats. Henry Cuellar (V-TX) is a quintissential Vichy Democrat. His opponent in the Texas Congressional primary, Ciro Rodriguez, is a true progressive. But Ciro needs money, NOW, to buy ads in time to win the election in three weeks.

Do you have ten dollars? Please give it to Ciro. Put some skin in that race. One month from now, if Ciro wins, you'll have won. You will feel good. You won't feel like the Republicans own everything. The sun will be brighter, your children will be more pleasant, your spouse will smile more, you'll get a raise and you'll drop five pounds. Really. It'll be a better world. And I'll feel like all the time I put into this thing actually made a difference, too.

VichyDems' ActBlue contributions page is right here.


NSA Wiretaps, MoveOn Vigils, and Promoting VichyDems

I'm about to simultaneously promote an event that makes me very comfortable, and take a leap into blogwhoring on a level that makes me uncomfortable. The only reason I'm even considering the second part is that the issue is so important, and the opportunity so potentially constructive.

MoveOn is sponsoring vigils tomorrow in most major cities to protest the warrantless NSA wiretaps and demand hearings. Go to their site, sign up, and attend if you can, because it's the right thing to do, and a perfect adjunct to our ongoing Game Plan on the same topic.

Here's the part I'm uncomfortable with, but am doing anyway: if you go to a MoveOn vigil, please consider telling people about VichyDems. We frankly could use more readers, more activists, more phone callers, and people hopefully will appreciate knowing that this resource exists.

Don't be a jerk about it. Don't litter. (Go out of your way to pick up litter!) Don't distract from MoveOn's sponsorship or message.

But if you're willing, it would help our cause if people either made 3x5 cards with the VichyDems url, or printed out this .pdf flyer and highlighted the url so it stands out more, to give to people at the vigils who say they're interested.

Remember, I don't profit personally from this site, for what that's worth. And please be unbelievably responsible: don't litter, don't interrupt the speakers, don't "spam" by handing out flyers willy-nilly. Our goodwill is our most valuable asset. But I'd love to get the word out more.

And either way, go to a vigil if you can.

And Another, Itsy Bitsy, Game Plan...

I really do try to keep the focus here on Vichys and their chemical precursors, swing votes (ergo the frequent Game Plans). This seems both to match those criteria and to be worthwhile: five California politicians have the power to subpoena otherwise-proprietary info from the makers of black box voting machines. Only three of them need to say yes. Especially if you live in California, give these guys a call and give them both a gentle push in the right direction, and political cover.

We Interrupt This Game Plan to Bring You a Game Plan

Just for a change -- and in keeping with our policy of working as hard to praise good things as we do to condemn bad ones -- here's a small Game Plan, to show our support for a local television station that is using its brain and making decisions that are good for democracy!

In a nutshell: bad guys want to run ads conflating the Iraq War and 9-11 and confusing "supporting the troops" with "supporting the war." It's really about telling lies to bolster the Republican in Minnesota's upcoming Senate race. And local TV station KSTP, realizing the ads are deceptive, REFUSES TO AIR THEM.

You have to know the conservatives are saddling up to ream these guys. Let's beat them to it by praising them. Let's just love them to death!

Talking points: DON'T make it about left vs. right. DON'T make it about the war or Bush. DO make it about journalistic integrity and honesty and courage and standing up to those who will harass them for doing the right thing. DO tell them they should be proud to work for a company with that kind of courage and integrity.

Their webpage is focused on their newsroom, and I can't find a webpage for their parent company, so let's plug away at these and if you get a better contact, please post a comment:


Switchboard: (651) 646-5555
Newsroom phone: (612) 5TV-NEWS (612-588-6397)
Newsroom fax: (651) 642-4409

SUPPLEMENT, 10:53 AM PT: I just got off the phone with the assistant to KSTP General Manager Ron Hubbard. She was appreciative of the support, and said that the balance of calls over the past week or so has been about half and half. It's nice to hear that both sides are being heard from! And, of course, even nicer if we can tip the balance towards overwhelming support. Don't take up too much of these people's time, but at least we can give them the ability to tell their advertisers that the public supports their decision.

Alito Watch: SCOTUS to hear "partial birth abortion" case

Three years ago, Congress passed, and Bush signed, a law banning so-called "partial birth abortions." (There actually is no medical procedure by that name.) The law contains no exception allowing late-term abortions when medically necessary to protect the life or health of the mother, and judges in three states, applying clear U.S. Supreme Court precedent on the "maternal health" requirement, have enjoined it from taking effect. The Roberts Court, containing Samuel Alito in place of the more moderate Sandra Day O'Connor, has just agreed to hear the case.

It's important, as we engage the abortion debate, to understand what Roe v. Wade did and didn't say, what the "maternal health" requirement is, and what role Alito may play. Concerning a different case, but the same issues, I prepared this overview of the law last November. I urge you to read it. It's dense -- the issues are dense, and the analysis is done by an experienced lawyer, not a dilettante -- but that's good: unlike Mr. Bush, we're willing to think hard about complex issues.

Four Guys Waiting For A Call


Just a reminder that the following four guys are anxiously waiting for your calls. They want to be told that they need to live up to their oversight responsibilities. They are just dying to be directed to conduct a full investigation, with in-depth hearings, into the NSA spying case. You know they want you to point out the illegal Executive Branch activities taking place. These four guys are standing by, ready to do your bidding:

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Pat Roberts: 202-224-4774

House Intelligence Committee Chair Peter Hoekstra: 202-225-4401

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist: 202-224-3344

Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert: 202-225-2976

Monday, February 20, 2006

Useful inside insight into what happened in Senate Intel -- and another pep talk

The procedural maneuvering that prevented the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from even voting on whether to hold hearings into the NSA surveillance program may prove to be a watershed event in the history of the Bush administration, because the vote it avoided could have been a tipping point on which the legitimacy and continuing relevance of the entire Bush administration might have hinged.

In one scenario, a decision by the Intel Committee to hold hearings could have started events cascading against the administration in a way that even the Republican machine, weakened by sagging poll numbers, ethics scandals, the decapitation of its lobbying apparatus, and the restiveness of Congresspeople trying to win reelection in the absence of Presidential coattails, couldn't stop.

In the other scenario, a vote to sweep the NSA scandal under the rug could have been the administration's Battle of Britain: the point when, at its weakest and subject to heavy attack, it nevertheless held firm and won the day in a way that foreshadowed its resurgence and eventual victory.

Ultimately, it was neither. The Intelligence Committee did not vote to hold hearings, denying us the chance to get momentum on our side at last. To that extent, we lost and the administration won. But neither did the administration win a convincing, morale-boosting, influence-reviving victory; stretching the Battle of Britain analogy, the administration essentially snuck into our airbases and put sugar cubes into our bombers' gas tanks, avoiding (or at least postponing; more on that later) the battle altogether. Clever, but hardly noble or decisive.

Making it even harder to decipher the meaning of Thursday's non-vote, what exactly happened in the inner working of the Committee has been unclear. On the one hand, Democratic senator Jay Rockefeller's office clearly thought it not only would get a vote in Committee, but that the vote would go his way. A Rockefeller staffer told me, consistently over several days leading up to the vote, that Chairman Pat Roberts had promised Rockefeller hearings, and that the Rockefeller office continued to assume he would keep his word. And Rockefeller's rage after the hearing certainly seemed sincere: he felt betrayed in a way that used to be uncommon in the collegial and formerly honorable Senate, and said so. On the other hand, Dartanyon, a poster here at VichyDems who has reliable sources on the Hill, was equally adamant as the vote approached that the fix was in several days ahead of time, and there would be no hearings.

A story in today's Washington Post gives insight into what actually happened in the last moments before the Committee vote, and lends support to my thesis that strong, direct citizen activism immediately before AND after key procedural events like this is a critical component of the overall effort to reclaim our democracy. The WaPo reports:

[L]ast Thursday, as the Senate intelligence committee readied for a showdown over a motion by top Democrat John D. Rockefeller IV (W.Va.) to start a broad inquiry into the surveillance program. White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. -- who had visited the Capitol two days earlier with Vice President Cheney to lobby Republicans on the program -- spoke by phone with Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), according to Senate sources briefed on the call.

Snowe earlier had expressed concerns about the program's legality and civil liberties safeguards, but Card was adamant about restricting congressional oversight and control, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing office policies. Snowe seemed taken aback by Card's intransigence, and the call amounted to "a net step backward" for the White House, said a source outside Snowe's office.

Snowe contacted fellow committee Republican Chuck Hagel (Neb.), who also had voiced concerns about the program. They arranged a three-way phone conversation with Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.).

Until then, Roberts apparently thought he had the votes to defeat Rockefeller's motion in the committee, which Republicans control nine to seven, the sources said. But Snowe and Hagel told the chairman that if he called up the motion, they would support it, assuring its passage, the sources said.

When the closed meeting began, Roberts averted a vote on Rockefeller's motion by arranging for a party-line vote to adjourn until March 7.

Why did Dartanyon's sources say the fix was in several days before the hearing? Because Roberts believed, all the way up to Thursday morning, that he had the votes in the bag. Why did Rockefeller think he would at least get a "upperdown" vote? Because Roberts didn't realize he didn't have Snowe and Hagel in the bag until that very morning.

How about the impact of citizen pressure? Do we really make a difference in this stuff? Absolutely. A swing of either Hagel's or Snowe's vote would have resulted in a tie in Committee and been seen as a setback to the administration, which would have made more news than the procedural dodge did and would have subtly shifted momentum to our side. A defection by both of them, as Rockefeller apparently anticipated, would have resulted in hearings -- and was, up to the very day of the meeting, a real possibility by their own admission.

And, lending creedence to my thesis that citizen activism may be as influential AFTER events like this as it is beforehand, the key Republicans in this fiasco already are "stung" and backpedaling:

Hagel and Snowe declined interview requests after the meeting, but sources close to them say they bridle at suggestions that they buckled under administration heat. The White House must engage "in good-faith negotiations" with Congress, Snowe said in a statement.

Even Roberts is looking over his shoulder. Newsweek refers to him as "restless", the New York Times calls him "stung" over accusations of caving in to the administration, and all three sources (Newsweek, Time, and the WaPo) report that Roberts now is backing a plan to have the FISA Court oversee the NSA program -- an extremely problematic, possibly unworkable solution, but one infinitely better than the administration-backed Mike DeWine proposal to simply exempt the entire program from the law. It appears that Roberts adopted that position the day AFTER the procedural vote blocking hearings, in response to criticism.

I've said before (a good post, if I do say so myself, worth reading together with this one!) -- I've said before that the White House has two lines of defense: first, to stop all hearings altogether; and second, if that fails, to keep those hearings narrow -- limited to amending FISA -- rather than broadly inquiring into the operational details and legal ramifications of the NSA program. The Senate Judiciary Committee already has conducted one hearing into the NSA program and, at least for now, intends to hold two more. The House Intelligence Committee has voted to hold hearings; the battle there is over the scope of those hearings, and in government, all scopes tend to enlarge themselves; it's the nature of inquiry and of power. And the deal struck on Thursday in Senate Intelligence is built on sand -- specifically, on the airy, unreliable sand of the administration's promises. This White House is going to provide transparency to Congress? Give me a break.

Pat Roberts' procedural moves on Thursday only bought the administration a little time -- until March 7, to be exact. Rove, Card and Cheney think they can use that time to bolster their defenses and keep the NSA scandal in a box. But we also can use that time to make certain that it overflows and keeps overflowing. Already there are reports of another illegal surveillance program that the White House has concealed from Congress. Already Roberts, Snowe and Hagel -- one-third of the Republican Senate Intel membership -- are feeling the heat of public criticism and are moving away from the administration's preferred position.

So what do We, the People, do now? Easy: we stay in the saddle. There's one major flaw in my Battle of Britain analogy: they, not we, are the fascists attacking a democratic nation. We, not they, are the beleaguered brave, withstanding seemingly overwhelming assaults with fortitude and skill. We, not they, will win the eventual victory if only, if only, we don't weaken. And we won't weaken. We will persevere. And we will prevail. As Winston Churchill famously said:

Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never--in nothing, great or small, large or petty--never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

Never give in. Never give in. For God's sake, we don't even have to withstand aerial bombardment, we just need to keep calling our Senators and Congresspeople and telling them, our civil servants, that we demand accountability and transparency. Phone calling may seem petty; but we don't yield, even in the petty. Those hammer taps, the voices of democracy recorded on voicemails and logged in daily reports by staffers, those hammer taps of democracy repeated often enough by enough people, will tip the edifice, so precariously balanced today, onto the side of democracy; and you, the virtual patriots, will be the ones that did it.

So please pick up the phone and make a call. Send an email. Shoot a fax. In particular, fill up Snowe's and Hagel's DC and District voicemails. And, if you want to amplify your efforts, please tell your friends what we're up to here and encourage them to do the same. If you haven't signed up with our "updates" list (right sidebar), please do so, and ask your friends to do so. Kids home from school? Give them a civics class at home: sit them down with milk, a brownie, a telephone and a phone list. (Not even a Republican can withstand a child's voice saying, 'please, sir, I just want my country to be honest and fair.')

Inexorable democracy doesn't usually make much noise. It's not the raucous blare of quadrennial conventions. Rather, it's usually just a tiny sound: a tap, tap, tap.

The Senate Intelligence Committee contact information is here. The House Intelligence Committee contact information is here.

SUPPLEMENT, 12:15 pm PT: Glenn Greenwald says more smart stuff.

Wondering about the Why.


I was wondering about "why" the NSA and other agencies are illegally spying on US Citizens. Then I remembered "Able Danger" and the hearings that are on and off about 9/11 intelligence failures.

Let’s face the facts head on.

Dear Leader has been trumpeting his illegal domestic spying program to the public as necessary to catch those wily terrorists. The Patriot Act must be reauthorized for the same reason, regardless of how much it curtails the “freedom” we are supposedly fighting for. The mantra of 9/11. 9/11, 9/11 is the catch-all for needing a blank check to defeat the wily terrorists by this Administration. And, of course, 9/11 “changed everything.”

It really did change a lot. As investigations into the operation “Able Danger” note:

Through computer scanning of some 2.5 terabytes of classified and unclassified data, the Able Danger team identified five "nodes" of al-Qaeda activity. One was in Brooklyn, N.Y. Another was in the port of Aden in Yemen, where the USS Cole was attacked. Able Danger linked Mohamed Atta and three other 9/11 hijackers to the Brooklyn cell, said Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, who was the liaison between the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Able Danger team.
So, prior to 9/11 we knew about several of the hijackers who would later “change everything” for US democracy. Let’s think about that a little bit. Prior to 9/11, without any of the civil liberty undermining tools of the Patriot Act, without illegal domestic spying, without ignoring the FISA Court, without torture, we knew about some of the hijackers and we had detected a few terrorist cells around the globe that were considered a threat.

At this point, anyone involved could have legally been wiretapped, followed, monitored, and generally focused on by any intelligence service after jumping through some very minor procedural hoops. There is no law, statute, or regulation that protects those who are a “clear and present danger” from observation by the intelligence services and there never has been.
Why then, did this information slip through the cracks? Well, perhaps two reasons: turf wars and poor communications skills.
Colonel Shaffer testified he tried three times to have Able Danger data on the Brooklyn cell presented to the FBI, but that on each occasion Pentagon lawyers forbade the meeting.
In a commentary in the Wall Journal last November, Louis Freeh, who was FBI director at the time, said that if he had been told about what Able Danger had learned, 9/11 likely would have been prevented.
In March, 2000, Mr. Kleinsmith was ordered to stop all work on Able Danger, and, later, to delete all the information collected.
Special Operations Command didn't want to lose the capability, so it transferred Able Danger to a private contractor, Raytheon, at its Garland, Texas, facility.
So, Pentagon lawyers forbade a meeting with the FBI. Then, when all work was to be stopped, the operation was transferred to a Defense Department private contractor. That’s pretty big news. The Pentagon privatized the safety and security from terrorists of the United States to Raytheon.

Now, I notice that Mr. Freeh is very focused with his blame, perhaps wanting to avert his eyes from the FBI’s own failures in communicating with its field offices. However, another thought just leaps to mind, why couldn’t the Pentagon share its data with the CIA and the NSA? While some of the Pentagon’s lawyers may have felt unable to share with the FBI without violating some statute, there is no prohibition and never has been, a prohibition with sharing this information with the CIA and NSA. From the Iraq War’s run up, we have seen that this Administration, at least, is very good at filtering information, say by producing a forged document, processing it, slipping it to the British, and then citing it as “foreign intelligence” in your case for war.

And I just like the last paragraph in the article I cited above:
It's unclear why the Bush Administration is covering up, since the suppression of Able Danger occurred on President Clinton's watch. But it is clear there is a cover-up. One would think a Washington press corps obsessing about a hunting accident in Texas would be more curious about it.
Perhaps, however, it isn’t unclear why the current Administration is covering up. First, if this information had been gathered, what was Dear Leader doing on his watch (cough, cough, nothing)? Second, what information had Raytheon garnered after the program was privatized? What exactly was it looking for and finding? You must notice that all this leaked information abruptly stops at the year 2000. Beyond that, all the information wasn’t deleted as was claimed by the Pentagon. Republican Curt Weldon claims that someone in the Pentagon provided him hundreds of hits on a search of documents relating to Atta, in February of 2006, all generated prior to 2001.

Which brings us back to Dear Leader and his illegal domestic spying program and the Patriot Act To Destroy the Foundations of Our Democracy Reauthorization 2006. Keep in mind, all the above information on those wily terrorists was generated prior to 9/11 using pre-9/11 tools like the abacus, the astrolabe, kites, and a system of ropes and pulleys. There was no Patriot Act when this information was data mined, there was no NSA domestic spying program, there was no rendition treatment, no GITMO.

Since Dear Leader and his Krew are fond of making analogies like mushroom clouds being smoking guns or some such, I thought I would make one:

This Administration’s approach to fighting terrorism is similar to fighting a snake in the grass. Knowing that while the snake is in the grass, rustling through the brush, you will not see it until it prepares to strike. Instead of keeping a watchful eye on the brush, waiting till the snake emerges to “whack” it, this Administration runs into the brush searching out every rustle or stirring in the grass. Wasting time and energy, the Administration finds rabbits, birds, large insects, and small woodland animals. Now immersed in the brush, wildly wandering about from imagined threat to imagined threat, the snake can either escape or strike.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Rockefeller Motion that Senate Intel Wouldn't Even Vote On

The resolution for hearings into the NSA surveillance program brought by the ranking minority member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence -- which, despite earlier promises, the Chair of that Committee, Pat Roberts, kept the Committee from even voting on -- can be found here. (CAUTION: .PDF.) It's also now included as a link in its proper place in the Rockefeller press release about the fiasco, previously posted here.

When they divide, we conquer.

From a Newsweek piece on Dick Cheney's possibly-waning influence:

It was possible to dimly discern Cheney's shakier footing last week in the ongoing dispute with Capitol Hill over warrant-less eavesdropping. Uneasy about the administration's disregard for the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires court warrants to eavesdrop on communications into the United States, three Republicans on the Senate intelligence committee were agitating for greater oversight. Cheney, who has been the most aggressive defender of the administration's power to wage war (including spying) without congressional approval, went up to the Hill to quell the rebellion. For several hours on Tuesday, he met behind closed doors in the intelligence committee's secret hearing room with the senators. Two days later intelligence committee chairman Pat Roberts, a staunch Bush ally, was able to put off a vote on whether to open an investigation.

It appeared that Cheney, though pale and obviously distressed by his hunting accident, was still capable of quietly exerting influence. But then Roberts began showing some restlessness. He began suggesting that perhaps the wiretapping program should be brought under FISA after all. His remarks came after the White House seemed to soften a little and suggest that it would be willing to disclose more information about the program and talk to senators about changing the law. Suddenly, Cheney no longer seemed so all-powerful, so sure of getting his way.

One thing the Republicans excel at is exploiting any fissures that appear in the Democratic ranks. That is one reason it is so important to keep wayward Democrats on the reservation right now: we don't have the luxury of being a wide-open, always-conscience-voting party when we're in the minority and faced with an enemy that systematically and even viciously will exploit any divisions we show. (Let's gain a substantial majority of both Houses of Congress, and of the electorate, and of the appellate bench, and THEN we may have that luxury, which I would love.)

We need to learn from the Rs on this. When one of their leaders starts looking shaky, and divisions appear in their unity, we need to be there with a wedge and a big mallet (or, as here, with a lot of little mallets; same effect).

Which, ultimately, is why we keep making those stupid damned phone calls.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Why There's Still a "Game Plan" on NSA Hearings

I know. It's the weekend. Not only did the Senate Intelligence Committee just roll the Constitution into a huge doobie and fire it up on Thursday, but the Republicans are Bogarting the damn thing. The bad guys control everything and all these phone calls, phone calls, phone calls don't do a damned bit of good. If we could, we'd all just drink the KoolAid too and be happy for a change. I understand. And this crazy guy who calls himself Thersites still is asking for stupid useless phone calls on the NSA issue. What a kook.

But here's some more support for my assertion that NOW is exactly the right time to keep the pressure on:

The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Friday that he wanted the Bush administration's domestic eavesdropping program brought under the authority of a special intelligence court, a move President Bush has argued is not necessary.... By Friday, with Mr. Roberts apparently stung by accusations that he had caved to White House pressure not to investigate the eavesdropping without warrants, it appeared the talks could put the White House and Congress on a collision course.

Yes. Pat Roberts. Stung (and probably "shocked, shocked") by the claim that he had "caved in."

And why make calls over the weekend (and next week, when Congress is in recess, 'cause that's what we're gonna do)? The key is in a single line from this article:

The issue may cool while Congress spends the next week on its Presidents Day break.

The White House HOPES it cools, but we won't let it. Roberts is surprised anyone noticed his shenanigans two days ago and already is backing away from them. The White House is more worried every day. They hope we take our eye off the ball, the way Democrats and sheeple always do. And instead, they're going to get... a steady little patter of phone calls from concerned citizens. At their DC offices, at their home-state offices. Polite people, angry people. Liberal people, conservative people. All saying that we love America too much to let our precious liberties be taken away. Tap, tap, tap...

It doesn't take much of a push to topple mountains when they're balanced this precariously. That's why I say: stay in the saddle. Keep calling. Maybe five calls a day. Tell a friend. Five more calls a day.

Tap, tap, tap...

The Game Plan is, of course, right here.

MoveOn Queries Members About Right-Wing Dems

By Randwolfe:

I think it is interesting to note that MoveOn is testing the waters, trying to find out from their members if there is a consensus about going after right-wing Democrats (Vichys) in the coming primaries. I received an email this morning, and the following contains the gist of their query:

"Should we challenge right-wing Democrats?

Our top goal is ending right-wing Republican control of Congress but to make progress on core issues we think MoveOn should challenge right-wing Democrats in primary elections. What do you think? Give us feedback."

It is very nice of them to ask so politely, but the answer seems obvious: Yes! Hold their feet to the fire! However, they have set up a feedback page if anyone would like to add their two cents to the issue HERE.

It appears they already have Henry Cuellar in their sights. If MoveOn can apply some pressure to any of the Democrats In Disguise, good for them. But I think the model that has been established here - a fast, direct action movement that can get several thousand contacts made before some committee has even finished its meeting and drafted its email petition - is well on its way to carving out an important niche in grassroots political action.

Thersites said it best when he wrote, "Our goal here is nothing less than helping build a new kind of movement that capitalizes on the Internet and other communications technologies that no citizens, in the history of the world, have ever had before. If the Dean campaign and MoveOn used the Internet to build "grassroots organizations," then we can use it to empower the grassroots themselves. We can bring a new thing into the world: Internet-driven, rapid-response, politically nuanced, direct grassroots democracy. I'm convinced that can be powerful."

And I give that a strong second.

Vote With Your Wallets, Too, Please

Don't like Vichys? Then you have to support their primary-election opponents when they're good. Ned Lamont, running against Joe Lieberman (V-CT), is very good. Even Matt Stoller, who originally thought opposing Lieberman was hazardous, has come around, and if VichyDems regular ctpatriot is willing to direct his rage into actual legwork for Lamont, the least the rest of us can do is send him a few bucks.

And Ciro Rodriguez is less than a month away from his primary against pseudo-Dem Henry Cuellar. Final ad buys are being made now, so now is the time to make contributions.

VichyDems' ActBlue link is over on the right. It's easy: click there, pick one or more candidates you'd like to donate money to, and do it.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Weekend Game Plan

Here's the new boss, same as the old boss: over the weekend, please do what we were doing Friday: pestering Congress' voicemails so they come in on Monday to the awareness that the People are alive, awake, and mad as hell about the NSA.

Details here.

Some levity...

... but only because I like you, and you've been working really hard.

Poor Harry Whittington, a living metaphor for what the Bush administration is doing to the entire nation, APOLOGIZES TO CHENEY.

(Whittington actually seems like a good guy: a Republican millionaire lawyer who hangs out with a bad crowd, sure, but apparently pretty progressive on prison reform, especially for Texas. And certainly gracious; a stand-up guy. Compared to him, Cheney looks like... well, like what he is.)

OK, back to the phones!! Hyah!!

"Never Doubt That a Small Group of Thoughtful, Committed Citizens Can Change the World"

In a comment to a post below, ctpatriot wrote:

I am so sick and tired of calling the Dems in congress. I truly don't believe that, other than a select few, the Senate Democrats give a crap about anything other than retaining their cushy jobs. I swore after the Alito debacle that I wasn't going to make another call to congress. I violated that today only to experience the same kind of BS from Rockefeller's office - the same Rockefeller that voted FOR cloture on Alito. Fuck em. I'll put my time into something that can hopefully make a difference - helping Ned Lamont take Joe Lieberman's seat (www.nedlamont.com).

I'm all for helping Ned Lamont. In fact, I'm disappointed that more folks aren't donating to our selected candidates through the ActBlue link to the right: we need to put our money where our mouths are. Ciro Rodriguez' primary is coming up in less than a month and he still needs money. Lamont's just gettings started. There are other Resistance Fighters out there in close races against Vichys, and we need to get involved personally and financially to help them out.

But I also want to reiterate something I said below:

[P]art of our goal is to teach our representatives that the grassroots are waking up, paying attention and getting mad. That means telling them what we want BEFORE they take action, then telling them how we feel about it AFTER they act.

It's frustrating that sometimes the best we can do is make our voices heard. But that's a hell of a lot better -- a lot more active, a lot more involved, a lot more influential -- than merely casting votes every two years.

Our goal here is nothing less than helping build a new kind of movement that capitalizes on the Internet and other communications technologies that no citizens, in the history of the world, have ever had before. If the Dean campaign and MoveOn used the Internet to build "grassroots organizations," then we can use it to empower the grassroots themselves. We can bring a new thing into the world: Internet-driven, rapid-response, politically nuanced, direct grassroots democracy. I'm convinced that can be powerful. The Alito phone calls certainly were: this site was FIVE DAYS OLD on that Monday, but received 8,500 hits by the time that day was over and generated tens of thousands of phone calls, and we DID sway some senators' votes. Did we win that particular battle? No. Did we start waking some senators up? Absolutely. Dianne Feinstein, one of only two Senators from the most populous state in the Union, has stopped careening right and instead is looking warily to her left. Why? Not Cindy Sheehan, but people like us. Manning the phones. Making her nervous.

MoveOn petitions, while important, can still be dismissed as the work of "special interest groups." But a few thousand well-educated, politically sophisticated voters who call their Senators and Congresspeople DIRECTLY, both in Washington and at home -- done again and again and again and in ever-increasing numbers -- can't be dismissed as "a few Kossacks" or "some liberal group." It's the direct voice of the voters, and eventually the politicians will have to wake up and pay us heed. It's the only thing, short of insurrection, that's ever worked; and with modern technology, we can do it more quickly, more specifically, and more obtrusively than any citizens, anywhere, anytime, ever have.

So on this site we talk, on unremarkable days, about what's happening. And then, when key events are about to occur, I issue "Game Plans" and contact information, and ask you to mobilize and make phone calls and send emails and faxes and pester the crap out of our public servants. That's not a passing fancy; it's a concrete, living, recurring plan of action.

I'm no kid pontificating from his parents' basement. I've been a litigator and mediator for nearly 20 years. I've defended defense contractors against FBI investigations, successfully prosecuted criminals, worked on everything from helping small businesspeople stay afloat to defending McDonnell Douglas in aircrashes that killed dozens of people. I've written legislation and seen it through enactment. As a search and rescue volunteer, I've put people into body bags and hauled them out of the wilderness. I understand the grown-up world and know what hardball is.

And I believe, I truly do believe, that thousands of incessant hammer taps on the Establishment, at the fracture points, over and over, can change the world, starting with swing Democrats and moderate Republicans, then the whole parties, then the government, then the nation, and on from there.

So I hope you don't get discouraged and stop making phone calls. I hope, instead, that you sign up for VichyDems email updates over on the right sidebar and keep coming back here, or anywhere you find helps you do this work, and keep making those annoying, incessant, inexorable little hammer taps until we finally succeed. To paraphrase Dwight D. Eisenhower (no sappy idealist): When the people want something badly enough, "one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it." And as Margaret Mead said, "never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

SUPPLEMENT, 11:17 P.T.: And if I haven't gotten your blood flowing again, maybe Glenn can. Great minds thinking alike and all that!

Yes, Another G.D. Game Plan: Battle Shifts to the House, But Don't Forget the Senate

We weren't beaten Thursday in the Senate Intelligence Committee -- the other team locked the doors to keep us from taking the field. I don't consider that a defeat, but a hopeful indication that they are very - very - nervous, and rightfully so. The fight is far from over: there are three other Congressional committees that may investigate the NSA scandal, and the good news today is that one of them, House Intelligence, WILL hold hearings. The debate there is over what form those hearings will take -- and where there's debate, there's a pressure point for us to mobilize against.

The New York Times reports:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 16 — Leaders of the House Intelligence Committee said Thursday that they had agreed to open a Congressional inquiry prompted by the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program. But a dispute immediately broke out among committee Republicans over the scope of the inquiry.

Representative Heather A. Wilson, the New Mexico Republican and committee member who called last week for the investigation, said the review "will have multiple avenues, because we want to completely understand the program and move forward."

But an aide to Representative Peter Hoekstra, the Michigan Republican who leads the committee, said the inquiry would be much more limited in scope, focusing on whether federal surveillance laws needed to be changed and not on the eavesdropping program itself.

The agreement to conduct an inquiry came as the Senate Intelligence Committee put off a vote on conducting its own investigation after the White House, reversing course, agreed to open discussions about changing federal surveillance law. Senate Democrats accused Republicans of bowing to White House pressure.

And lower down:

Jamal Ware, a spokesman for Mr. Hoekstra, said: "This is not an inquiry into the program. It's a comprehensive review of the FISA statute." ... But aides in two other Congressional offices, speaking only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, said their understanding of the agreement was that the inquiry would focus in large part on operational details of the surveillance program.

Several points:

1. As I've suggested, the White House has two battle lines: first, to try and prevent hearings altogether; second, if there are hearings, to focus them on amending FISA to make the illegal NSA program legal, taking the emphasis off the broader questions of criminal conduct under current law, the unconstitutionality of warrantless surveillance under any statutes, the invasion of Americans' civil rights, and impeachment. In the Senate Intelligence Committee, the White House won outright: no hearings. Apparently, in the House, it's had to fall back to the second line of defense. So I'm going to ask you to start fighting that battle, too.

2. Heather Wilson continues to puzzle me. First she was on the side of the angels. Then she issued a statement veering back to the "amending FISA only" camp. Now she's back to seeking broader hearings. All I can guess is what I guessed before: she's in a close reelection race, and is trying to appear -- or even be -- moderate enough to retain her seat; and, who knows, she also may be one of those rare creatures, the sincere Republican right-wing, war-hawk, Bible-AND-Constitution-loving, social AND political-philosophical hawk. I don't care why, I'm just glad she seems to have realized that Bush has no coattails this year, is taking her reelection into her own hands, and is resisting Rove et al.

3. The battle in the Senate isn't over. The Senate Judiciary Committee is still in play; they've held one hearing already and at last check, still planned on holding two more. And the deal in the Senate Intelligence Committee is contingent on the White House negotiating in good faith. Another whistleblower coming forward and contradicting the White House's representations could be enough to blow the deal, especially if we and others keep the pressure on that committee's members and let them know they're still under scrutiny.

(In that last regard, I love this line from the NYT: in the Senate, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas, said the White House had agreed in principle to negotiate on legislation that would give Congress authority to oversee the eavesdropping. I remember that at some point in the 1980s, when the Raiders were in Los Angeles, Oakland gave money to their owner, Al Davis, as part of "an agreement in principle" with Davis to move the team back. I remember scoffing at that quote and saying to someone, "Al Davis never kept an 'agreement in principle,' because he has no principles." Sure enough, Davis broke that deal. The Republicans remind me of Al Davis: they can be relied upon to break their promises, and eventually it will catch up to them.)

So what's the Game Plan? Same thing as always, Pinky: try to take over the world, by making our voices heard in the right places at the right time, which right now means letting the Senate Intelligence Committee know how we feel about what they did yesterday, and letting the House Intelligence Committee know we want BROAD hearings, not narrow ones, and PUBLIC hearings to the extent that's possible, not ones that are completely behind closed doors.

The Senate Intel Committee game plan, with talking points and contact info, can be found HERE. Make a few calls, because in the long run the post-game feedback, in my game book, is as important as the pregame lobbying.

Then start calling House Intel Committee members, in DC AND AT THEIR HOME OFFICES, to say, again: we want BROAD hearings, not narrow ones, and PUBLIC hearings to the extent that's possible, not ones that are completely behind closed doors.

House Intel Committee contact info follows. Keep the faith!



WHERE TO FIND OUT WHO YOUR CONGRESSPERSON IS: It never hurts to tell your own Congressperson what you think, even if they're not on the Intelligence Committee.

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI: Give her the message, too!
S.F. District Office: (415) 556-4862
D.C. Office Direct: (202) 225-4965

Committee Contact Info

Republican members:

Pete Hoekstra (R-MI-2) (Chair)

Ray LaHood (R-IL-18)

Terry Everett (R-AL-2)

Heather Wilson (R-NM-21) (already tipping our way, believe it or not -- be nice!)

Elton Gallegly (R-CA-24)

Jo Ann Davis (R-VA-01)

Mac Thornberry (R-TX-13)

John McHugh (R-NY-23)

Todd Tiahrt (R-KS-04)

Mike Rogers (R-MI-08)

Rick Renzi (R-AZ-1)

Democratic members:

Jane Harman (D-CA-36) (Ranking Member)

Alcee Hastings (D-FL-23)

Silvestre Reyes (D-TX-16)

Leonard Boswell (D-IA-3)

Bud Cramer (D-AL-5)

Anna Eshoo (D-CA-14)

Rush D. Holt (D-NJ-12)

Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD-2)

John Tierney (D-MA-6)