STOP ALITO NOW!
Or at least fucking TRY! The news reports that Alito's confirmation to the Supreme Court is likely. But there is still a little hope. You can never lose hope. Just look at Rosa Parks! She was a solitary black female who stood up and said NO. ENOUGH. THIS IS WRONG AND I DEFY YOU. With no political party behind her and facing the specter of the discrimation, jail, or even the attack dogs that were sicked on other African-American freedom fighters, this ballsy bitch really "rosa" to the occasion. Ok, I apologize for the cheap joke, but face it, we're still reaping the benefits of her boldness today. At her memorial, Al Sharpton criticized today's youth for having a home phone, two cell phones, two pagers and an email account, so many different ways to communicate, and yet they aren't using them to speak up for themselves and demonstrate the same courage and righteousness that this lady had--decades before any one even knew what a cellphone, pager or email was! Maybe Rosa's still teaching from her grave! Are we listening to her? I think we'd better get a jump start on Black History Month and pay attention before all of our rights are history!
Senator Kerry, speaking more forcefully than usual, announced just a few days ago that he would try to filibuster Alito's hearings. He was the only democrat with this position on Thursday. Now, 10 senators support the filibuster. But 10 is a long shot from the 41 needed for the motion, so there's work to do, fast. Bush and co. want Alito confirmed so that their camp can have one bit of good news when Bush makes his state of the union adress on Tuesday. So they're pushing. Let's push back! Let's meet every one of their thrusts! (Ooh! Sounds kinda kinky!)
If you aren't familiar with the issue Alito's confirmation or any other Supreme Court nomination, I can dig it. Until this hearing I'd never heard the legal term "stare decisis". But I do know this. A filibuster is just a delay, to discuss this important appointment in more detail. The Bush administration is afraid the truth may come out about Alito if more in-depth hearings crack his robotic, well-rehearsed answers. That's why republicans pay for commercials which urge for an "up or down vote"--in other words, a vote with as little discussion of their not-so-moderate candidate as possible. Look. Those commercials aren't being run for the 100 Senators. Or the states' representatives. They're being run to alter public opinion and the republicans can afford a lot more than moveon.org can. And I bet those well-organized conservatives have sent out plenty of letters to their senators and representatives urging a vote for Alito. So it's time for ours.
For a different point of view, here's a way to inform yourself on this complex and dry issue in a passionate, very entertaining broadcast by AIR AMERICA's Randi Rhodes.
Go to RANDIRHODESSHOW.COM
Click on her 1/24 broadcast "Samuel Scalito" and prepare to gag at this fiasco. I've been intending to write an in-depth love letter to Randi and her incredible AIR AMERICA broadcasts for months and have spent many afternoons giddiliy scribbling notes for a blog post which I can't read afterwards. But there is no time now for love letters. We all have to write a different kind, TODAY. I wish Randi's Friday show was archived on her site, but it isn't , so I'll attempt to decipher/paraphrase my dictation of her brilliant words. If this doesn't goad you into action, you're either dead or republican. (Or is that being redundant?) Isn't democracy supposed to be government by the people? Well, then start governing yourselves and take a stand, motherfuckers! Some nominations are a tad more important than the OSCAR nominees, people!
Opinion polls show the president's approval rating at the lowest ever. It took 9/11, Iraq, Katrina, a decrease in our standard of living, top republicans stepping down amidst scandal and impeachment proceedings over Bush's illegal spying to get the message into our heads, but we ARE waking up. Maybe Bush will wind up being impeached and jailed. At the very least, once he's out of office and his propaganda machine is turned off, without a doubt he'll be remembered as one of America's most irresponsible, incompetent and corrupt leaders. But even after Bush is disgraced, his judicial appointments will continue to affect all of our lives for decades. That's why it's so important to act now. To those women who may need an abortion, or who may have a daughter who'll need one. To gays, blacks, latinos, miners, the poor, transsexuals, handicapped folks who wants to get into Princeton or just onto the damn bus, unjustly accused folks on death row, families who want to retain the right to pull the plug on their own Terri Schiavo--anyone who can't afford to hire lobbyists to fight for their rights/bribe congressmen. And anyone who enjoys the benefits of the sexual revolution and doesn't want to turn back the moral tone of this country to the 1950's. Or anyone who doesn't want to be spied on, held without charges, or tortured.
Hopefully, this is all of you. So what fight are you waiting for? Unless you are ready to drop dead before Tuesday, Alito's appointment will affect you all gravely. Alito would give the office of the presidency MORE power. Does this sound like a plan? The rogue in the White House now has practically run this country into the ground, so is the answer backing a Supreme Court justice who'll enhance this madman's and his successors' strength? Do you really want to aid the breakdown of our Constitution's system of checks and balances between the executive, legislative and judicial branches? As Randi cleverly put it, "Does this president have the Constitution printed on his doormat so you can wipe your feet on it before entering?" Though Bush acts all "traditional values" and "patriotic" for the cameras, in truth, he ignores the very contract that our nation is built upon.
A vote for Alito, a corporate lawyer, also means placing the interests of big business over that of the individual. Are you enjoying your exorbitant cost of your health insurance? Loving higher gas prices? Thrilled that you have no job and that you can never compete with greedy corporations who can outsource your jobs to foreign workers who'll glady work for a fraction of our minimum wage? (Or hell, just sick of having to translate the heavy accents of these foreign workers every time you phone a credit card help-line?) Does it fill your heart with joy to hear that Dick Cheney's "former" company Halliburton is given no-bid contracts to quench american soldiers' thirst in the desert with shit-tainted water which sickens them? (How's that for "supporting our troops?) If so, do nothing. But if any of these things bug you, now is the time to speak up. There's one thing that every senator has in common--they require your votes to be re-elected. If they aren't hearing from you, then they are only hearing from lobbyists. Just because you aren't accustomed, as I admit I'm not, to voicing your concerns to the people who you elected, DOES NOT MEAN THAT THEY WON'T BE HEARD. But they CAN'T BE HEARD if you never voice them.
SO HERE'S WHAT YOU CAN DO ON MONDAY
1. PHONE OR EMAIL BOTH OF YOUR SENATORS. If you are unsure what to say, simply say that you have called to urge your senator to support the filibuster against Samuel Alito. When calling, you may be asked whether or not you voted for this senator. If yes, mention that you'd withdraw your future support from the senator unless they filibuster. If you did not vote for this senator, simply admit it and say that by filibustering, the senator would gain your future support. (In other words, LIE LIKE A POLITICIAN TO A POLITICIAN!) Do not fall into the trap of thinking "I live in a democratic state so I'm sure that plenty of other people will be calling. My call/email won't make a difference." WRONG! Liberal-ass NY senator Hillary Clinton didn't even support the filibuster until a few days ago and she represents one of the most liberal states in the country. We got to her, people! But opposing factions could be typing their pro-Alito emails now! Your voice counts, even if both of your senators are republican!
If you're in NY, I'll make it easy for you. Contact both:
Clinton, Hillary Rodham- (D - NY) Class I
476 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: clinton.senate.gov/contact
Schumer, Charles E.- (D - NY) Class III
313 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Web Form: schumer.senate.gov/SchumerWebsite/contact/webform.cfm
If you are outside of NY and unsure of who to contact or how, the Senate's site makes it a cinch to do, with all the necessary contact information. Even if you don't know your senator's name, for chrissakes, you can find them by party or location.
2. GO ONLINE AND SIGN JOHN KERRY'S PETITION. We need every bit of ammo we can get. If you see an online poll regarding the filibuster on your news channel, sign that shit too!
You can add your own message as to the online petition, but this is what Kerry's says.
"Judge Samuel Alito Jr., whose entire history suggests that he holds extreme views about the expansive powers of the presidency and the limited role of Congress, will almost certainly be a Supreme Court justice soon. His elevation will come courtesy of a president whose grandiose vision of his own powers threatens to undermine the nation's basic philosophy of government — and a Senate that seems eager to cooperate by rolling over and playing dead.
It is hard to imagine a moment when it would be more appropriate for senators to fight for a principle. Even a losing battle would draw the public's attention to the import of this nomination."
3. CRUCIAL: SPREAD THE WORD! Forward this email or find one on moveon.org or johnkerry.com. But after Monday, it, like your constitutional rights until Alito dies possibly 30 years from now, may be a dead issue.
I found Randi's Friday rant on how this country is descending into fascism particularly interesting. One reason is, that though I have a vague notion of what fascism means, I'm a little ashamed to say that I probably wouldn't feel confident using it in a sentence. Just on the off chance that you may need to bone up on your political science too, I'll let Webster's handle this one.
fascism: a system of government characterized by rigid one-party dicatorship, forcible suppression of the opposition (unions, other, especially leftist, parties, minority groups, etc.), the retention of the private ownership of the means of production under centralized governmental control, belligerent nationalism aand racism, glorification of war, etc,:first instituted in Italy in 1922.
Well, Bush certainly seems to be heading towards an elite form of leadership favored by time-honored winners like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. But there are warning signs manifested by developing fascist states, which Randi pointed out. There is actually a wonderful explanation of the Bush administration's fascist tendencies in this article, with great illlustrations of their 14 POINTS OF FASCISM. Like this one:
Powerful and Continuing Nationalism: Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
EXAMPLE (as if anyone in this country needs an example of flag-waving):
American Nation Brainwashed: I spoke to some 2,000 students during their annual lecture at a Baptist college in Pennsylvania. After a short prayer service for peace centered on the Beatitudes, I took the stage and got right to the point. “Now let me get this straight,” I said. “Jesus says, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers,’ which means he does not say, ‘Blessed are the warmakers,’ - With that, the place exploded, and 500 students stormed out. The rest of them then started chanting, “Bush! Bush! Bush!”
I urge you to check out this site here 14POINTSOFFASCISM
, but for now, here are a few of Randi's signs of oncoming fascism in the US.
Fear is used to keep us in line, obsessing over national security.
Church and state intertwine, making it unpatriotic and even sacreligious to disagree with the state.
Corporate interests become paramount.
There is no curiosity. Thinking and the arts are frowned upon.
LET YOUR SENATOR KNOW THAT YOU ARE THINKING. YOU ARE THINKING, AREN'T YOU? You're probably thinking that this is an awfully long post and some one may have emailed your sex ad or myspace account by now. Well, check it! After you buzz you're senators, please. NOW!
4. TREAT YOURSELF. YOU'VE JUST HELPED RESTORE DEMOCRACY. Randi is on Air America daily from 3-7 (Eastern) and she's on CNN'S Larry King for the hour on Monday night! Enjoy a taste of this intelligent, forceful and hysterical gal. But don't wait til then to contact your senators!