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Americans ought be listening to Russ Feingold in these defining days for the Republic, because what the Democratic senator from Wisconsin is saying goes to the heart of the question of whether a nation founded in revolt against monarchy will be ruled by laws or by the crude whims of an intemperate sovereign and his out-of-control administration.

Feingold has been fighting for weeks to get the Congress to address the issue of President Bush's illegal approval of warrantless wiretapping of Americans. A small but growing group in Congress, including some prominent Republicans -- most recently, U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., the chair of the House Subcommittee on Technical and Tactical Intelligence, who this week called for a "complete review" of the National Security Agency domestic spying program -- have begun echoing Feingold's demand that the Constitutional crisis created by the president's wrongdoing be taken seriously.

But too many major media outlets continue to treat the eavesdropping scandal as little more than a political game. They chart the progress of the critics and then measure the extent to which the administration's spin has limited the damage to the president's approval ratings.

Think the Internet will always be the freewheeling, democratic information superhighway you've grown to rely on? Well, think again. Corporate media giants are working hard behind the scenes to convince a clueless and compliant Congress to privatize the Internet. The telecom and cable giants want to fence off the Internet with one area for the haves--who will pay a premium to enjoy life in the fast lane--and the other for the have-nots.

As digital democracy expert Jeff Chester wrote on The Nation's site, "The nation's largest telephone and cable companies are crafting an alarming set of strategies that would transform the free, open and nondiscriminatory Internet of today to a privately run and branded service that would charge a fee for virtually everything we do online."

To ward off the prospect of "virtual toll booths on the information highway," an interesting coalition of public-interest groups like Common Cause and Free Press, along with new media companies like Amazon.com, are calling for new federal policies requiring "network neutrality" on the Internet. This would prohibit broadband providers from discriminating against any forms of digital content. In this way internet service providers would be regulated like telephone companies used to be, and couldn't simply decide to block their customers' access to legal websites.

Twenty-two members of the House have now signed on as co-sponors of the call by Representative John Conyers, D-Michigan, to establish a select committee of the Congress to investigate whether the Bush administration's actions before and after the invasion of Iraq violated Constitutional requirements, statutes and standards in a manner that would merit impeachment of the president or vice president.

Conyers introduced the resolution last December, and only a handful of members agreed to cosponsor the measure before Congress went on its long holiday break: California's Lois Capps, Maxine Waters and Lynn Woolsey, New Jersey's Donald Payne, New York's Charles Rangel and Texan Sheila Jackson-Lee. The list of cosponsors swelled after the long holiday break, when ten members from around the country -- California's Barbara Lee and Pete Stark, Hawaii's Neil Abercrombie, Illinois' Jan Schakowsky, Minnesota's Jim Oberstar, Missouri's William Lacy Clay, New York's Jerry Nadler and Major Owens, Washington's Jim McDermott and Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin -- came back to Washington convinced that the American people are a good deal more interested than most DC insiders recognize in reasserting checks and balances on an administration that has spun out of control.

In the past week, six additional members have signed on: California's Mike Honda and Sam Farr, Georgia's John Lewis and Cynthia McKinney, and New York's Carolyn Maloney and Maurice Hinchey.

Coretta Scott King's funeral should have been a paean to liberal values. Instead, talking heads nattered over the etiquette of speaking truth to power.

Following up on Ari's post about the Band of Brothers, those military veterans running for Congress as Democrats.

The theory is that as former soldiers they will be immunized against Republican charges that Dems are unpatriotic girly-men who are "soft on defense." (As "Mask" points out in the comments section of Ari's post, running as a vet worked so well for Max Cleland and John Kerry!)

One thing the Band of Brothers strategy will do if it succeeds is to help keep Congress white and male. Of the 56 candidates currently marching under the brotherly battle flag, only three are women. (One of the three, Mishonda Baldwin, is also the only African-American).

 

Is the White House coming begging to Senate Minority Leader HarryReid? "Karl Rove's back and there's no doubt about that," Reid remarkedat a one-hour on-the-record breakfast sponsored by The AmericanProspect that I attended today. "He's so desperate he's called methree times in the last few weeks." The White House knows it's going toexceed the government's debt limit, Reid said, and they want his help.But there's little agreement between Rove and Reid on the deficit ormany other issues these days. "I don't think Karl Rove's message, ifhe's still out of jail [in 2006], will have the same sound as it did."

 

 

Reid, a pro-life, pro-gun Mormon from Nevada, vacillated betweenthe left and the center before the group of progressive journalists. Herepeatedly praised Russ Feingold as an example of a Democrat who standsup for what he believes in but refused to endorse a timetable for thewithdrawal of troops from Iraq, as Feingold advocates. "I met with theJoints Chiefs of Staff recently and troops are gonna be pulled out ofIraq this year," Reid said, without specifying whether all the troopsshould leave. Feingold was "still really upset" about the

 

 

After the unveiling of their anti-corruption "Honest LeadershipAct," Senate Democrats will focus on "real security," including a planby Indiana Senator Evan Bayh to increase the size of the Army by100,000 troops. "On a number of different directions we're going afternational defense," he said. "We'll be more competitive on that issuethan ever before."

 

 

For those who had any doubts that the Bush Administration manipulatedintelligence to take us into a disastrous, unprovoked and unnecessarywar, Walter Pincus's

 

 

Today's story, in my view, is the equivalent of America's

 

 

As Pincus notes, this is the first time that such a senior intelligenceofficer "has so directly and publicly condemned" Bush & Company'shandling of intelligence. Pillar's critique is also one of "the mostsevere indictments of White House actions by a former Bush officialsince Richard C. Clarke , a former National Security council staffmember, went public with his criticism of the administration's handlingof the September 11, 2001, attacks."

 

Co-written by Sam Graham-Felsen.

This week, we present victories that have been submitted by ourreaders. We read every submission and we encourage readers to keepthem coming (submissions should be sent to nationvictories@gmail.com).While these stories may not reflect tectonic shifts in Americanpolitics, it's our belief that no "Sweet Victory" is too small tocelebrate.


The other night, Pat Buchanan said on Scarborough Country's segment about "The Politics of Impeachment" that my views on the subject are irrelevant.

I suggest Pat check out a little known book, Everything I Needed to Know About the Constitution I Learned in Third Grade. He might rediscover some basic American tenets such as a system of checks and balances,loyalty to the Constitution and shared power and accountability between three branches of government.

It's the shredding of these ideals that has led to growing, mainstream support for discussing the impeachment of Mr. Bush: conservative business magazine, Barron's...John Dean...leading constitutional scholars...former intelligence officers…even some Republicans...and the 53 percent of Americans who said in November that Bush should be impeached if it is found that he lied about the basis for invading Iraq.

In the wake of Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on warrantless spying, bipartisan efforts to rein in the Bush Administration's exercise of executive power are gaining momentum.

Reviews of The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, Battle in
Heaven, Blossoms of Fire
and The Fallen Idol.

Three new books explore how an absence of regulation and active
policies of racial exclusion have shaped America's arid suburbs.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton's legacy as both an admirable revolutionary
and a profound thinker is brought to life in Vivian Gornick's The
Solitude of Self
.

Four new books explore the politics, culture and racial awareness of the hip-hop generation.

Betty Friedan lived a big life and wrote a big book that helped change our world, in every way, for the better.

The NSA's use of artificial intelligence for "data-mining" surveillance is not only constitutionally illegal, but a technological fantasy. Why aren't the Democrats challenging it?

Complicated drug plans are the result of promises fulfilled.

Robert Casey Jr.'s endorsement of Samuel Alito could cost him the
support of Pennsylvania Democrats and illustrates the perils of early
intervention by DC Democrats in Senate races.

Recent mining disasters demonstrate that the Bush Administration should be called to account for replacing federal mine regulators, who were identifying hazards and meeting requirements, with industry-friendly stand-ins.

Few figures have contributed more to the debate about corporate globalization than Jose Bove, the French farmer whose dismantling of a McDonald's restaurant that was under construction near his sheep farm was something of a "shot-heard-round-the-world" in the struggle against the homogenization of food, culture and lifestyles.

While his assault on the local manifestation of the restaurant chain that has come to symbolize the one-size-fits-all character of globalization was a blunt act, Bove is known in France and abroad as a thoughtful theorist and strategist whose critique of the World Trade Organization's pro-corporate agenda has done much to alert activists around the world to the threats posed to workers, farmers, communities and democracy by WTO moves that allow multinational firms to disregard the laws and traditions of countries in which they operate.

But Bove, who has been a frequent visitor to the United States since he played an important part in the 1999 anti-WTO demonstrations in Seattle, is no longer welcome in George W. Bush's America.

The question raised by cartoons deemed offensive to Islam has
never been whether or not to draw the line but where it
should be drawn.

The controversy over cartoons is all about power: the power of images;
the power that divides Muslim and non-Muslim Europeans, the West and
the Middle East; the power of radical Islam to silence moderate
voices--and the responsibility that comes with power.

Two recent Nation offerings have brought in huge amounts of mail:
Elizabeth Holtzman's "The Impeachment of George W.