When I asked Ellen Ratner of the Talk Radio News Service on the show this morning why I’ve seen no mainstream/corporate media coverage of the “pre-trial hearing” of Kalid Sheik Mohammed and the other 9-11 accused detainees being held this week at Guantanamo Bay she said that she’s not covering it because it’s a “Kangaroo Court“.

I agree with her – but still think we should be talking about it.

There are about 23 reporters from the US there this week covering the hearings, including Jason Leopold of  Truthout.org.  We were planning on having him on the show this morning, but there is no cell service!  So, I read his tweets, and hope to be able to update you via his email for the rest of the week, and he’ll come on for a lengthier discussion about the experience once he gets back home.

In the meantime, do follow Jason on twitter, and some other reporters there too: Ryan J. Reilly (Huffington Post), John Knefel (AlterNet) and Carol Rosenberg (Miami Herald/McClatchy).   Stay tuned….

It’s been a while since Howie Klein paid us a visit, so it was great to talk with him this morning.  Putting on his Blue America PAC hat, we talked politics – and about the fact that there are two Senate seats opening up with Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Tom Harkin of Iowa deciding not to seek re-election in 2014.

And we discussed the race in Illiois to fill the congressional seat from the 2nd district, vacated by Jesse Jackson Jr.  The primary is four weeks from today, and we have a great progressive candidate in state senator Toi Hutchinson.  

I interviewed her last week (do check it out if you haven’t yet!), and Blue America set up a special fundraising page for her, and sent out this email on her behalf:

Blue America

Halvorson works for Fat Cats and the NRA.

Toi Hutchinson fights for People.


Time is short! Special election in 4 weeks. We need Toi fighting for progressives in Congress. Halvorson would be just another Corporate shill. We can’t let the lobbyists get this seat. Please give what you can today.
Toi Hutchinson



Toi Hutchinson would never side with a lobbying firm against the will of the people.Right now she needs our help. Every contribution counts. Thank you!


Dear Nicole,
Residents of the IL-02– Jesse Jackson Jr.’s old Southland seat– will decide who’s going to Congress on February 26, 4 weeks from today. And although there are nearly two dozen candidates running, polls show only two in the double-digits, progressive state Senator Toi Hutchinson and self-described “conservative Democrat,” ex-Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson. They’re neck and neck but Chicagoland voters who haven’t been paying close enough attention to see the difference got a big jolt from a headline in the Chicago Tribune yesterday: Halvorson Says She Won’t Join Democrats On Assault Weapons Ban.

It certainly isn’t the first time Halvorson has been more in tune with right-wing Republicans than with her own party and with the constituents who once sent her to Washington. She was one of only 27 right-wing Democrats who opposed Wall Street reform and voted against Dodd-Frank, almost all of whom, including Halvorson, were subsequently defeated when Democratic voters boycotted their reelection bids. She worked with the GOP to water down the tough provisions that were meant to protect investors and bank customers from the financial predators who have nurtured her own tawdry political career.

Halvorson is also a darling of the NRA. She refuses to back President Obama’s common sense, moderate approach to putting an end to the NRA’s reign of terror in American streets and schools. A few weeks ago Senator Hutchinson did a guest post at DWT laying out why she’s sponsoring a ban on assault weapons in the Illinois legislature and why she backs President Obama’s approach:

There is no question that in America we have a problem with guns. The Newtown tragedy, the Aurora shooting, Columbine. These are places– events– that all of us will remember for the rest of our lives. And for me there is no question that there are certain kinds of weapons soldiers should have, and other kinds that civilians should be allowed to own.

As a State Senator I represent a district that straddles the landscape of South Suburban Chicago and the rural counties of Will and Kankakee. And if I win this race for Congress in the 2nd district, I will cover even more rural areas. I have a lot of constituents that are hunters. These people firmly believe that they should always be allowed to own guns that they need for recreation, and I’m with them. But I know, and they agree, that no one needs an AR-15 to bring down a deer. And no one needs a 100-round magazine on that semi-automatic for recreation or self-defense. So while I always will stand up for the hunters in my district, I also am a cosponsor on two bills in Illinois that would outlaw assault weapons and high capacity clips.

Halvorson is the only serious candidate who refuses to back the President and the Democratic Party– and grassroots public opinion– on an assault weapons ban. She’s sticking with the NRA. She read off a list of Republican Party talking points written by the NRA at a candidates forum on Sunday at Trinity United Church of Christ on W. 95th St. “For her part,” reports The Tribune, “Halvorson was adamant against looking at a gun ban. ‘I refuse to take a look at these wide ranging gun bans and pass one more law against a law abiding citizen until there is something done against those who get their guns illegally or criminal,’ she said after the forum.”

She doesn’t sound anything like Toi Hutchinson, who told us yesterday that “Many across the country were hopeful that the NRA would moderate their position after the profound tragedy we experienced at Newtown, but unfortunately their prescription for the epidemic of gun violence that has gripped our country has been not only distributing more guns, but also letting them into our schools. Their response angered me. This kind of ideological, single-minded approach to our problems isn’t acceptable to me and it’s why I am a co-sponsor on legislation here in Illinois to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines.”

Blue America is eager to help Toi respond to the barrage of misleading campaign mail Halvorson has been sending out. We have four weeks to make a difference. Please consider making a contribution at the Blue America special election page here.

We are all in this together,
Howie, for Digby, John, and the Blue America team

P.S. If you are on Facebook, please “LIKE” our page. (www.facebook.com/BlueAmerica)

Tumblr fans! Please “FOLLOW” us. (http://blueamerica.tumblr.com/)

We also talked about the crazy things happening in different parts of the world.  Howie Klein, who blogs at DownWithTyranny, is also the most traveled person I know.  He actually has another blog on which he writes about his adventures around the world.

He just happened to spend the holidays in India, arriving in Delhi on the day that the recent gang rape on the bus happened.  He also spent a month in Mali not too long ago. We talked about the fact that rape seems to be endemic in India, though he said that this incident so outraged everyone that the women are finally rising up to take action.  He told us about how slavery is commonplace in some parts of Mali; things we don’t hear about here in the US.

I hope you follow the links and read Howie’s “Around the World” blog.  It’s like no other travel blog I’ve read.

It’s Tuesday, that means GottaLaff hangs with us during the second hour of the show.  Today, she brought us these stories…

And I shared some of this very sad story from the New York Times in which Newtown first responders told of that horrific morning.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]