This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Monday, January 23, 2006



Spy Quotes in the Lead

"If I wanted to break the law, why would I brief congress?"
-President Bush, regarding Spying and Lying

Speaking to eight friendly, mostly Republican congressmen is not "briefing congress", Mr. Bush. There is a right way and a wrong way to do things, and, on a consistent basis, you seem to choose the wrong way. There are laws and provisions put in place just for these circumstances and your choosing to ignore them makes this a criminal activity.

"Had this program been in effect prior to 9/11, it is my professional judgment that we would have detected some of the 9/11 al Qaeda operatives in the United States, and we would have identified them as such."
-National Intelligence Deputy Director General Mike Hayden regarding the domestic spying program

-A flight school alerted the FAA about hijacker Hani Hanjour
-After Bush was elected in 2000, US intelligence officials were told to "back off" investigations the Saudi royal family and the bin-Ladens
-German intelligence, Britain's MI6, and Israel's Mossad warn the CIA that middles eastern terrorists are training for something big
-On September 12, 2001, a call was intercepted that warned of something big that was about to happen
-The Pentagon ordered top Defense Department officials not to travel on the morning of September 11, 2001
-Mohammed Atta was on a terrorist watch list, yet was able to come into the country, and ignored
-two of the 911 terrorists were "ratted out" by their room-mate in San Diego, and also were ignored
-The President's Daily Briefing (PDB) that was titled ""Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US"
-Warning by out-going Secretary of Defense William Cohen and Anti-Terrorism czar Richard Clark

And these are just off the top or my head. In other words, we had identified some of the hijackers prior to 911, General Hayden. We had information and you (that's a collective "you") ignored it.

Just how does the Bush administration get people to spew the same lies over and over again? NSA Director Hayden, in full uniform, was touting the administration's program of spying on American citizens. What amazes me is that no one is telling the Bushies to stop doing it. All they want is for them to get a warrant, even after the fact.

"The constitutional standard is reasonable. ... I am convinced that we are lawful because what it is we are doing is reasonable,"

Americans don't trust their own government, and that is a fact. Just as Republicans wouldn't have trusted President Bill Clinton to spy without a warrant, more than half of the country doesn't want the Bushies spying on Americans without one either.

GET A WARRANT. Stop making excuses. We all know the Bush administration's reluctance to admit when they are wrong, but enough is enough already. You're wrong. Period. Use the FISA courts as the law says you must use them. If you can't then the congress must show it isn't just the White House doormat and start impeachment proceedings.

-Noah Greenberg

Media Madman
Casey's Sweet "Media Blitz"


I think Rove is back in the swing of his strategic ways. Last week he spoke as well as Cheney, both of which were fully aired a few times on C-Span. This week there are military speakers and even Bush is going to make a big deal of visiting the NSA that will all be televised as well. On top of that the March for Life Rally was held in front of the White House today (Monday) on the 33rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. If anyone misses it, this all being choreographed to distract the press from the Abramoff, Rovegate, Katrina, Iraq, and other scandals that are squarely the domain of this Bush administration and, hence, all Republicans. They need to protect their seats and it is starting now with the Rove and Cheney fear attack and then the “get out the evangelist anti-abortion vote.” I’m betting that in areas/states where they are most vulnerable that there will be anti-abortion propositions to vote on to get out the vote.


RE: Scott McClellan saying that bush does not know Abramoff or recall ever meeting him - Is it possible that a person can raise $100,000+ as a Bush Pioneer and be unknown to Bush? Isn’t that sort of like living on the same block as a serial killer and not remember being friendly with him once he is caught? Scott really portrays this administrations’ distaste for the truth and disrespect of all Americans when they try to promote such lies that are not humanly possible to believe unless you turn your brain over to them.

I get tired of being angry and frustrated with their self-serving lies, but I am disgusted with myself when I don’t pay attention to them, dissect the message, and resist the lies having any validity in my brain. The Bush crowd consistently tries to condition our thinking to absorb their twisted justifications and most people don’t even know it is happening. They have created 9/11 as a “trigger” inside of all of us that fires off internal fear every time they strategically mention. The insidiousness is that they are consciously doing this to us, American citizens, to manipulate us to agree with their shady motives to build big businesses and nations, amongst many other questionable and/or corrupt activities.



Jack Abramoff’s father says in a telephone interview about George Clooney “…You want to make fun. You can do that, but you don't make fun of someone else's hardships and misery," said the elder Abramoff, 78. "When you see something like that on a show for 500 million people, it was not only a slap in my son's face but in my father's."

Clooney's dad, Nick, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress and writes a column for The Cincinnati Post, had something to say. In a phone interview, Nick Clooney said he wasn't surprised by his son's "offhand and flippant" remarks and understood Frank Abramoff's concerns.

"I understand what it is like to have one's son criticized in a very public way," Clooney said. "It's very painful and it's very difficult. The difference here, and it must be said, is Mr. Abramoff's son, instead of pursuing some positive efforts to do what he hoped would change the climate of the American politics, has confessed and has been convicted by that confession of subverting the political process."

Excerpted from Clooney’s jab irks father of Abramoff” by Erica Solving The (Palm Springs, Calif.) Desert Sun

Abramoff has to repay millions, is a convicted felon by his own admission (probably because he is so guilty he didn’t want to chance it with a jury), set up one of the most corrupt circles of political contributions, on and on. He solely created the embarrassment to his father and grandfather and if he wasn’t a criminal the joke would have had no relevance or resonance. And as far as hardships and misery, isn’t it possible that the criminal activities of Jack-Off created hardships and misery in the policies and laws it supported? No wonder Daddy Jack is so sensitive and, sadly, his daughter and all his children are more victims of a criminal father.

And enough of the crying children and crying wives (Mrs. Alito) to make media points. Since when did Republicans become so emotional or reveal it?

-Casey Sweet

A Note About a Newsgroup

Victoria Brownworth and I belong to a newsgroup that has been inundated with a hatred for Jews and a form of "Anonymous Anti-Semitism" that is disturbing. I believe that these obvious Jew-haters are a plant to divert a good, diverse newsgroup away from its dialogue about: the failures of the Bush administration; the division of the people of the United States into verbal, warring factions; and the Iraq war. Much of the debate in the group revolves around Israel and the Palestinians. Although I disagree with those on the Anti-Israel side, the "older members" of the group listened and debated without name-calling and with a sense of fair play. However, the "new people" of the group find that making attacks on Jews in general is their only argument, even resorting to displaying the nazi swatztika, When the attacks started getting personal, I chose to ignore them as a waste of time. Victoria did not:

As a child I was referred to in my Catholic neighborhood as the "kike lover" and "nigger lover" because my parents were in the civil rights movement and pretty much all their friends were either Black or Jewish. I heard at school (Catholic school) that the Jews killed Jesus. When I queried my brilliant intellectual mother about this she told me "No, they didn't. Go back and tell them...." she never said "Don't say it to the nuns who teach you."

I was suspended every year I was in Catholic school, at least once a year for talking back to the nuns. (I was just the same then as I am now.) In 1968 when Martin Luther King was killed, there were kids laughing about it (the story is too long to repeat here) on the schoolyard and I began fighting with them over it. A nun came over and I told her what had happened. She didn't reprimand them and I slapped her and called her a racist. This was in elementary school.

It took a great deal of groveling for my parents to get me reinstated at school.

My mother (my father was then a drunk and not around as much) was a Holocaust historian. I was raised to believe that if it ever came to this again,I would have to hide Anne Frank in my attic. I grew up knowing that I would and could do that--risk my life for what was right.

Fortunately for me, I have been in situations where I have had to test that---literally risk my life to do the right thing.

This is why it has been difficult for me to back down from these lying anti-Semites (those in a newsgroup whose only purpose seems to hate Jews, Israel and to divert attention away from the Bush and GOP faults, frauds and failures -NG). It just goes so far against my grain.

They are the sort that run from a true fight. But then that is the real definition of a coward: being unable to risk one's life (or even state their real name -NG) for one's beliefs.

I can and will. They hide behind their email "nom de plume", which just makes them all the more repugnant--like those white worms under rocks.

-Victoria Brownworth

by Victoria A. Brownworth
copyright c 2006 San Francisco Bay Area Reporter

The new TV season is in full *schwing* and it's all sex, very little city.

Everywhere we turn it's slutty women (could there be a more repulsive show than *Courting Alex*? Even devotees of Jenna Elfman must wonder how desperate she–and they–must be to participate in this stupid sit-com re-hash of *Sex and the City*). And when it isn't slutty women (we are *so*over that stereotype) , it's angst-ridden gay boys.
Really–haven't we reached the point where we can have gay men on TV who are *in a relationship* and/or *happy*?

Apparently not.

Witness the new gay crop on prime time *and* (drum roll, please) daytime.

Fred Savage is all grown up from the delightful *Wonder Years* (those who still remember that show with fondness should watch the always funny and charming *Everybody Hates Chris* on UPN and yes, you can watch UPN even if you aren't African American).
Too bad Savage isn't in a better show.

ABC's new sit-com *Crumbs* is, alas, aptly named. The humor and story are stale and leftover from some other era, which is too bad, since the cast is stellar.

Savage plays Mitch, a Hollywood screenwriter who has come back home because his parents (Jane Curtin and William Devane–we *told* you the cast was stellar) have divorced and his mother has had a breakdown. Mitch is queer–but straight-acting, of course, because he is self-loathing, like all gay men on the tube.

Of course he was having an affair with his therapist when he was in Hollywood, which is so wrong we can't even begin to go into how, but apparently the show's writers find it hilarious and not in the least unethical if not illegal.

Despite having been in therapy (or perhaps because of it), Mitch doesn't want to come out to the folks and his older brother (who is named *Jody* yet isn't queer).
This show follows *Dancing with the Stars* on ABC on Thursdays, so it has a built-in queer audience. But *Will&Grace* is still funnier.

How sad is *that*?

Speaking of sad, we *were* really liking NBC's *Book of Daniel* which is *Desperate Housewives* in religious garb. Aidan Quinn is immensely likeable as Daniel Webster, an Episcopal priest with lots of problems–like a Vicodin habit, too much integrity and a dysfunctional family. And we really like the Jesus who chats with him daily. This is a very, very good family dramedy and despite what the religious right wants you to believe, very cool with religion. This Jesus really does *love* people and so does Quinn's Webster.

There are not one but three queer characters in this show. Webster's oldest son, Peter (yes, *Peter*–why didn't they just call him Dick?), played by Christian Campbell (who five minutes ago was playing a very bad heterosexual playboy on *All My Children*) is a little on the closety side. Except like all men, he is not averse to screwing a good-looking woman in the back of her aunt, the bishop's, car in the middle of the afternoon and leaving a used condom on the back seat even though he's really in like with her brother.

How may ways can we say this: Ew.

Then there's Peter's flighty aunt Victoria, who was gay, then straight, then gay and now is apparently straight again. All in three weeks of programming.

Then there's the mob guy who is doing the contracting work on the new school for the parish. He's gay too. And thinks the priest is cute.

*BoD* is so well-written and acted that we will give it the benefit of the doubt on the queer issue–for now. But mostly because Quinn's Webster is so pro-gay and so ecumenical about people's sexuality.

We find the writers just a little *too* ecumenical on this topic. Let the queers be real queers, please.

Then there's the daytime queers.

Wasn't it just a year ago–yes, it was–that Bianca left Pine Valley on *All My Children* and ended up being a lesbian in Paris? She returned briefly in December and early January, but she's gone again and she wasn't very queer when she came back despite having been in Paris for a year.

But over on *General Hospital* Lucas Jones (Ben Hogestyn, son of *Days of Our Lives* heavyweight Drake Hogestyn and formerly of NBC's stellar *American Dreams*) went to Swiss aging school and turned from ten to 17 overnight.


He also turned gay. (After he turned into someone else when Ryan Carnes left the role suddenly, but more on that later.) Which is really putting a spin on things in Port Charles since he's the nephew of Luke Spenser (Anthony Geary) and son of Bobbie Spenser (Jackie Zeman), prototypes of blatant heterosexuality in a small soap town. Wasn't Bobbie just dreaming yesterday about when he'd meet the right girl? Especially since Lucas's older sister Carly spent years as the town tramp?

Until this week, Lucas was pretty much in the closet to everyone except his cousin Georgie (Lindze Leatherman). Then he had to tell her boyfriend, who was getting jealous. And then some other folks found out and in a blink there was gay-bashing and revelations in the police station when another teen, Frank, beat the crap out of him. (And uttered the word queer in the PD and also accused Lucas of putting the moves on him.)

However, *GH* and GLAAD have gotten together to push awareness of queer issues. Check out the *GH* website (, click on daytime): Ben Hogestyn and Lindze Letherman urge viewers to take a stand against homophobia.

In some related dish, Hogestyn took over the role from Ryan Carnes, who also played the queer boy on *Desperate Housewives.* Ryan Carnes *insists* (or at least his publicist does) that he didn't leave *GH* and the role of Lucas because Lucas was about to come out. *However*—rumor has it that Carnes had issues with the new queer storyline. The rumors assert that Carnes was afraid of being typecast due to his *DH* stint which included on-screen kissing. Plus Carnes starred opposite queer *American Idol* finalist Jim Verraros in the independent film *Eating Out.*

According to SoapNet, Carnes's rep said, "Ryan is probably the last one who'd have a problem playing a gay character. He's done it twice, so he's very happy and very comfortable with it."

Uh-huh. So why'd he, pardon the pun, pull out?

Carnes's agent says: "We have known for a good year now that he would be done with General Hospital at the end of this summer because of his fall commitments. We didn't want to get him involved in the gay story line and then up and pull him [from the role] halfway through. For the integrity of the show and the character, Ryan wanted to bow out before the story line got really good."

Well if it was for the good of the *show* that's a different story. And we emphasize *story.*

What happens next with the Port Charles teens remains to be seen, but we can only surmise that Lucas discovered he was queer in Swtizerland, because there are no other queers in Port Charles.

Expect Lucas to become yet another of that TV breed: the solo queer.

Such might not be the case for Luke (Van Hansis, who played Matthew Shephard in *The Laramie Project* in Pittsburgh, who recently assumed the role from Jake Weary) on CBS's *As the World Turns.* Seems he and Kevin are sharing more than illegally gotten booze. Luke's father caught him giving Kevin a back rub and grandmom Lucinda will be catching them passed out together in her guesthouse this week.

Hmmm. Could it be–a gay soap romance on daytime? With *boys*? Well, *ATWT* is one of the two oldest soaps and they had a gay storyline back in the 80s that included AIDS, so....Just seeing the two cutie pies together (and let's face it, it's *de rigeur to be angst-ridden in high school, especially if you're queer in a small town) is nice. And affirming for all those kids catching a glance after school.

Speaking of what's on after school, we want to just state for the record how very, very disappointed we are with the Diva of Daytime, Oprah, whom we have always respected for her honesty and forthrightness. Her decision to continue to support James Frey after she discovered that his "memoir" *A Million Little Pieces* is really just a million little lies besmirches her stellar character.

Oprah has made herself a voice of honesty and integrity on the tube and in the larger society. (Be sure to catch her shows on terrorism and bird flu this week–eye-opening for sure.) She has dared to go where others have not and she has exposed her own dark side in order to help others–often.

Oprah knows better. She should have called Frey out for lying to her and millions of others. Part of seeking redemption is telling the truth. Oprah knows this. And she should have made that clear to Frey who should be donating at least half his proceeds to her Angel Network as reparations.

Finally, speaking of liars, we were very pleased to see *Nightline* promoting the USO and asking the question about where the right wing celebs are when it comes to entertaining the troops. Wayne Newton has been the new Bob Hope for the military oversees for two decades now and told *Nightline* that he just can't get the big names to go and perform.

Interestingly, however, he *can* get the left wingers who oppose the war.

Kathy Griffin has been over several times and suggested on the January 20th *Nightline* that "Mel Gibson, go on over–they'd love to see you" even as she described her own politics as "left of left–I'm a Sandanista at this point but I want to see these guys get a little bit of home."

Others who have gone more than once: Jessica Simpson, with and without Nick Lachey. Jimmy Kimmel. Rob Schneider. Al Franken has gone *six* times and keeps asking why Bill O'Reilly has never gone. Craig Ferguson recently volunteered to go.

They don't call these right wingers chickenhawks for nothing.

Cluck, cluck. If Wayne Newton and Kathy Griffin can risk their face lifts to go, shouldn't the Reich Wing of Hollywood be over there, too?

Stay tuned.

In response to, "Rhian's one dimensional view of Muslims," Billie M. Spaight writes:

I would not be so quick to judge all Muslims by the governments of certain countries any more than I would want to be judged by what Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell preaches even though, nominally, we are called "Christians." Likewise, is all of Isreal one monolithic country with one set of beliefs?

There are Muslims who find the extremists in their midst appalling. Rhian has bought the entire Bush set of lies, hook, line, and sinker. Until we can have a more sophisticated, nuanced--more AMERICAN--view of things, we are going to continue our downward slide away from all the things that made America special. We will lose our tolerance, our contributions from many cultures, and our ability to live together, enjoying our diversity, as a free nation.

I am personally much more drawn to Judaism than I am to Islam, but if my neighbor wants to practice Islam--well, this is America--so each of us should be free to do as we wish as long as we do not interfere with one another.

Satanism is the only "religion" we need to worry about. And Satan is the one who encourages us to hate one another.

In response to Billie, Madman writes:

Don't you just love open forums? I'll print it tonight.

And Billie responded back:

Well, yes and no? They are the American Way so what can I say? Generally speaking, stereotypes bother me and I'll tend to react to them. It is my hope that some of my "rants" might encourage people to reconsider stereotypes.

I'm not going to say I never do that! I am positive that I have some ugly stereotypes rattling around in my head too and I have to say touché to anyone who catches me stereotyping anybody.

I guess I just feel that there is so much polarization that, whenever we can, I'd love to see some meeting of the minds. But I have my passions too--just like everybody else. So, yes, although I hate to read about the stereotypes, the open forum is great.

In response to "Where is Karl "The Traitor" Rove, Kelly Taylor writes:

Karl Rove is alive and well (damn) and appeared in yesterday's New York Times (Jan 21st) beaming and mouthing off about his grand plans for the Republican Party and the 2006 elections.

There were some juicy bits sprinkled through out the article about how he's still under investigation and how the Republican party has been weakened by all the recent and still emerging scandals, etc (Reveling in those was what delivered me from having to look at that fat little pork-barrel face.)

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-Noah Greenberg