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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 04/17/2005 - 04/24/2005
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Don't leave home without it - Jack's card, that is...

The airfare to London and Scotland in 2000 for then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) was charged to an American Express card issued to Jack Abramoff, a Washington lobbyist at the center of a federal criminal and tax probe, according to two sources who know Abramoff's credit card account number and to a copy of a travel invoice displaying that number.

'nuff said...

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Awwww...! Ain't that sweet...!

in our last episode of the argentina debt swap telenovela, we were on the edge of our chairs with suspense...

the imf and g7 had been making threatening noises and argentina had been over in the corner, hissing and spitting... but, in true sweeps week fashion, we were left with a wee hint that things might just work out after all... then, what with the distraction of bolton, delay, "justice sunday," and frist, things got a little hectic and we lost touch... but, oh my, what a difference three days makes...!
Argentina's Merval rose for a third day in four, led by Banco Galicia SA, as comments by IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato raised expectations that the country will get a short-term aid agreement with the lender.


De Rato yesterday praised Argentina for its economic recovery, raising optimism the IMF would be open to negotiating the rollover of some payments due this year. Clarin newspaper reported the IMF is open to negotiating short-term agreement.


De Rato told reporters yesterday that the ``Argentine society has made a tremendous effort to get out of a very critical situation.''

o-o-o-oh, rodrigo...! you smooth talker, you... ~swoon~

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Frank Rich and "Justice Sunday"

this makes three weeks in a row that i've said how incredibly glad i am that frank rich is back full-time on the nyt op-ed page... we need a voice of sanity in this insane time we're living through...

The "Justice Sunday" mob is also lying when it claims to despise activist judges as a matter of principle. [...] 'Activist judges' is a code word for gay." The judges being verbally tarred and feathered are those who have decriminalized gay sex (in a Supreme Court decision written by Justice Kennedy) as they once did abortion and who countenance marriage rights for same-sex couples.


Anyone who doesn't get with this program, starting with all Democrats, is damned as a bigoted enemy of "people of faith." But "people of faith," as used by the event's organizers, is another duplicitous locution; it's a code word for only one specific and exclusionary brand of Christianity.


Perhaps the closest historical antecedent of tonight's crusade was that staged in the 1950's and 60's by a George Wallace ally, the televangelist Billy James Hargis. At its peak, his so-called Christian Crusade was carried by 500 radio stations and more than 200 television stations. In the "Impeach Earl Warren" era, Hargis would preach of the "collapse of moral values" engineered by a "powerfully entrenched, anti-God Liberal Establishment." He also decried any sex education that talked about homosexuality or even sexual intercourse. Or so he did until his career was ended by accusations that he had had sex with female students at the Christian college he founded as well as with boys in the school's All-American Kids choir.

i actually remember billy james hargis... his outfit took over an old hotel in manitou springs and brought in these young kids from all over the country to indoctrinate them and, evidently, to do other things to them as well...

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Call for prisoner abuse inquiry

The US should name a special prosecutor to look at Donald Rumsfeld's possible role in the abuse of US military prisoners, a human rights group says.

Human Rights Watch says the US defence secretary may bear "command responsibility" for abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere.

let's be really, really, really shoe-leather honest for a change... did rummy have a role...? hell, yeah... a major role...? hell, yeah... did his boss have a role...? hell, yeah... a major role...? HELL, yeah... like the old saying goes, the snake ain't dead until you cut off its head...
"The soldiers at the bottom of the chain are taking the heat for Abu Ghraib and torture around the world while the guys at the top who made the policies are going scot free," said Reed Brody, special counsel for HRW.

of COURSE...! let the poor, dumb bastards at the bottom take the fall... it's the american way...! major corporations are run at the expense of the front line, why not the gum'mint...?

after writing about this horror story all morning, my patience is friggin' GONE...! i can even cut a teeny-tiny bit of slack for the senior military officers involved (except for sanchez who lied under oath)... after all, when the president and defense secretary say "jump," they better say, "how high...?" but bush, rummy, wolfie, perle, condi, karl, alberto, feith, cheney, negroponte, bolton, the whole goddam lot of 'em oughta be tarred, feathered and run outta town on a rail, just like they did to gutierrez in ecuador last week - only they wouldn't even LET gutierrez get outta town which is why he's now holed up in the brazilian embassy in quito...

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"No depth to which they won't sink..."

(thank you, thank you, john, for pointing me to this outstanding column...)
They are not now and never will be the final arbiters of Christian beliefs and values. They warrant as much deference as religious leaders as do members of the Ku Klux Klan, who also marched under the cross.

amen and hallelujah...! go read it all...

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WmFBuckley and the Nuclear Option

here's how mr. never-use-a-three-syllable-word-when- a-five-syllable-word-will-do sees the "nuclear option" going down...

Mr. Frist will report the Judiciary Committee's findings on, e.g., Janice Rogers Brown. The committee has approved her by a vote of 10-8. He will submit the recommendation of the Judiciary Committee and ask for a vote.

A voice from the rear: "The senator from Tennessee asks unanimous consent."

That does it. There being no unanimous consent, the naysayers begin to make their points, all of this done routinely, thus avoiding the kind of stage-arresting apocalypse Mr. Smith went through when he went to Washington. No, this is much much more genteel -- you're no longer required to carry a catheter. Legerdemain does its work, and the entire house knows if there is any prospect of invoking cloture, which, to succeed, requires a vote deploying all forces in residence.

Changing that rule would mean that the two or three contentious candidates would be awarded their judgeships by a simple majority vote. Viewing the process beginning to end, you have the nominee appointed by the president, submitting to examination by a Senate committee, and voted into office by the majority of the senators.

That doesn't smell nuclear, but everyone uses the term because changing the number of votes required to end a filibuster means shredding the sheet anchor to windward. The filibuster is held in high esteem as the last refuge against plebiscitary williwaws that storm the popular will, sweeping away venerable threads of sobriety and caution.

That is one view of it. The longer view does rise to nuclear eminence.

it's surprising that, at his age, wmfbuckley's tongue can still wrap itself around a phrase like "plebiscitary williwaws that storm the popular will, sweeping away venerable threads of sobriety and caution..." in less genteel terms, i suggest that he take his impressive vocabulary and sailing metaphors and shove them a considerable ways up his gentlemanly posterior... i honestly don't know why anybody still pays any attention to this pretentious horse's patoot... he used to be good for a laugh when he appeared on jack paar but that was about it... (omg, am i showing my age or what...?)

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Top Army Officers Are Cleared in Abuse Cases - A Disgraceful Abdication of Accountability from the President on Down

I don't have a single clue about what's happened to accountability in this country.
Bush talks about an "ownership society." Who ultimately "owns" the actions of our country's military? Specialist Charles A. Graner? Brigadier General Janis Karpinski? Col. Thomas M. Pappas and Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan? Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller? Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez? Army Chief of Staff General Peter J. Schoomaker? Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard B. Myers? USCENTCOM’s Commander, Gen. John Abizaid (who reports directly to the Secretary of Defense, who in turn, reports to the President of the United States)? Maybe Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld? How about the Commander in Chief and the President of the United States, George W. Bush?
Barring new evidence, the inquiry, by the Army's inspector general, effectively closes the Army's book on whether the highest-ranking officers in Iraq during the Abu Ghraib prison scandal should be held accountable for command failings described in past reviews.


So far, only a small number of soldiers, mostly from the enlisted ranks, have faced courts-martial for their actions at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere.

I am struggling mightily to withold obscenities here. This is nothing but a NATIONAL DISGRACE. The most appalling thing of all is that it's still going on. Mark my words. This will not go away. We will be dealing with this indelible stain on our country's character for a VERY long time.
The only Army general officer recommended for punishment for the failures that led to abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison and other facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan is Brig. Gen. Janis L. Karpinski, who was in charge of U.S. prison facilities in Iraq as commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade in late 2003 and early 2004. Several sources said Karpinski is expected to receive an administrative reprimand for dereliction of duty.

It's very obvious. There was no way they could walk away from these atrocities without at least one general being thrown to the lions.
"The dereliction happened at the brigade level and below," said one defense official familiar with the [Army inspector general's] report.

Of COURSE the "dereliction HAPPENED at the brigade level and below." IMPLEMENTATION of policies and directives is ALWAYS carried out at the brigade level and below. But, of one thing you can be sure. In the military, FORMULATION of policies and directives NEVER takes place at the brigade level and below. And, when you're dealing with such sensitive matters as prisoner interrogation which could potentially reveal highly useful information AND you have already made the determination to circumvent the Geneva Convention in order to obtain that information, you KNOW those policies and directives came from the TOP of the food chain.

General Sanchez himself WROTE and signed the specific memorandum which authorized the very techniques that General Karpinski was given to carry out. The memorandum contained clear cautions regarding the use of techniques that contravened Geneva. "Other nations that believe detainees are entitled to EPW protections may consider this technique inconsistent with the provisions of Geneva." (Because I knew I would want it for later reference, I took the time to fully transcribe the interrogation techniques approved by General Sanchez.You can look at them here.)

Questions about Sanchez's and other senior leaders' role in approving harsh interrogation tactics -- including the use of military working dogs to intimidate detainees -- have swirled since photographs of abuse at Abu Ghraib surfaced almost exactly a year ago.

Last fall, two reports were released, both of which pointed to General Sanchez' authorization of interrogation techniques as "indirectly" responsible for "some" of the abuse.
An independent panel led by former Defense Secretary James R. Schlesinger concluded last August that General Sanchez had failed to make sure that his staff was dealing with Abu Ghraib's problems. A separate Army investigation, called the Kern-Fay-Jones report, found that at one point General Sanchez approved the use of severe interrogation practices that led indirectly to some of the abuses.

Even more damning is that General Sanchez clearly perjures himself during sworn testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 19, 2004, and why he has not been called to account on this serious offense alone is completely beyond understanding.
REED [U.S. SENATOR JACK REED (D-RI)]: General Sanchez, today's USA Today, sir, reported that you ordered or approved the use of sleep deprivation, intimidation by guard dogs, excessive noise and inducing fear as an interrogation method for a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison.

REED: Is that correct?

SANCHEZ: Sir, that may be correct that it's in a news article, but I never approved any of those measures to be used within CJTF-7 [CJTF-7, Combined Joint Task Force Seven, Camp Victory, Baghdad, Iraq] at any time in the last year.

So, now we know that General Sanchez authorized the interrogation techniques that resulted in prisoner and detainee abuse. We also know that a number of the techniques were recognized by General Sanchez in his memorandum to be in clear contravention of the Geneva accords. We can see from reading that memorandum (CJTF-7 Interrogation and Counter-Resistance Policy, dated 14 September 2003) that the interrogation techniques outlined therein left considerable room for interpretation and, even though in some instances higher review was required, limits and boundaries on use of the techniques were left to Brigade-level interpretation.

The only missing pieces to this puzzle are found in the "
Final Report of the Independent Panel To Review DoD Detention Operations, August 2004," where the Executive Summary contains this statement on pgs. 6 and 7.
"On February 7, 2002, the President issued a memorandum stating that he determined the Geneva Conventions did not apply to the conflict with al Qaeda, and although they did apply in the conflict with Afghanistan, the Taliban were unlawful combatants and therefore did not qualify for prisoner of war status (see Appendix C). Nonetheless, the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were all in agreement that treatment of detainees should be consistent with the Geneva Conventions. The President ordered accordingly that detainees were to be treated "...humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of Geneva."

In the memorandum referenced in the report, Appendix C, part 2(a), the President stated:
"I accept the legal conclusion of the Department of Justice and determine that none of the provisions of Geneva apply to our conflict with al Qaeda in Afghanistan or elsewhere throughout the world because, among other reasons, al Qaeda is not a High Contracting Party to Geneva."

The President further stated in part 2(d):
"Based on the facts supplied by the Department of Defense and the recommendation of the Department of Justice, I determine that the Taliban detainees are unlawful combatants and, therefore, do not qualify as prisoners of war under Article 4 of Geneva. I note that, because Geneva does not apply to our conflict with al Qaeda, al Qaeda detainees also do not qualify as prisoners of war.

So, in accordance with the guidance provided by the President of the United States, it is apparent that General Sanchez, under the direction of his superiors, Secretary Rumsfeld and General Abizaid, formulated his memorandum of September 14, 2003. It is also apparent that the techniques authorized in that memorandum were directly related to the abuse that arose from their implementation. It is also clear that General Sanchez lied under oath when asked if he authorized those techniques.

There is not a mystery here. There is not some arcane web of deceit. The facts are clear on their face and there is absolutely no other way to say it. It is because of the above sequence of actions, formally initiated by the President of the United States on February 7, 2002, that our country has come to this shameful pass. I am infinitely tired and profoundly angry that we continue to pretend otherwise. Our President has led us down the same path followed by so many leaders who discard the basic principles of civilized nationhood in a belief that the end justifies the means. Our President is a hypocrite and a liar and he has made hypocrites and liars out of us all.

But, now that we have it to deal with, it is our solemn obligation, as citizens of the United States, to insist that the use of such techniques be immediately stopped, that, no matter how high up he or she may be, those responsible are held accountable, and, that, heaven forbid, it not be allowed to happen again. And you know what? We better because it's a lead-pipe cinch that if we don't, no one else will.

I am not in the least bit optimistic.

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I went to bed last night with one of these spinning in my head and woke up this morning to the other one... Rather than launch into a string of obscenities and invective that won't do me or anyone else any good, I will just list them here and put together a more comprehensive look a bit later when I've had some coffee and calmed down. (Is that an oxymoron?)

Four Top Officers Cleared by Army in Prison Abuses
Washington Post
New York Times


United Airlines Seeks to Eliminate Employee Pension Plans

Yahoo News
LA Times


more later..

(Update: I just finished venting about United all over my long-suffering family. Coffee at hand, I'm gonna take on the prison abuse/torture story first. United will take longer since I want to do it the way it needs to be done.)

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Friday, April 22, 2005

Alfred E. Bush

every time i see that moronic mug, i am no longer responsible for my actions...

What, me WORRY?

I said PERSONAL accounts, not PRIVATE accounts!

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"Just Us Sunday"

that's good... i like it...
The Rev. Robert W. Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches, said the event splits people of faith into those who agree with Perkins' group and those who don't, resulting in a polarization of Christian voters.

"This ad campaign should be called 'Just Us Sunday' instead of 'Justice Sunday,'" Edgar said.

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R's - then and now

the r's weren't ALWAYS jackbooted crazies...
(from the nyt)
Religious groups, including the National Council of Churches and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, plan to conduct a conference call with journalists on Friday to criticize [Senate Majority Leader Bill] Frist's (R-TN) participation in the telecast [Justice Sunday: "The Filibuster Against People of Faith."].

very, very faintly, in the distance, a voice from the past...
Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of 'conservatism.'


Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies. Absolute power does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed.

(Barry Goldwater, thanks to hunter at kos)

wow...! kinda says it all, doesn't it...

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A spokeswoman for Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said the senator felt the committee "did the right thing delaying the vote on Bolton in light of the recent information presented to the committee."

even tho' it looks suspiciously like i'm rubbing my hands together in glee (well, kinda sorta), i'll say it again... i don't take any more delight in seeing bolton in the toaster than i do tom delay... it's a miserable rotten place to be... that said, you can be sure that "what goes around, comes around..."

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Harry Reid's Statement- worth printing in full

(many thanks to raw story)

reid makes me proud i live in nevada...


Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid released this statement in response to the vice president’s comments on the nuclear option earlier today.

“In the span of three minutes, the vice president managed to reinvent 200 years of Senate history and ignore the fact that Congress has already approved 205 of this administration’s nominees. Apparently, a 95 percent confirmation rate is not enough for this president. He wants it all, even if it means shattering the checks and balances in our government in order to put radical judges on the bench.

“Last week, I met with the president and was encouraged when he told me he would not become involved in Republican efforts to break the Senate rules. Now, it appears he was not being honest, and that the White House is encouraging this raw abuse of power.

“It is disturbing that Republicans have so little respect for the separation of powers established by our founding fathers. Based on his comments last week, I had hoped that the president was prepared to join Democrats in taking up the work of the American people, but it is clear this is no longer the case. If the White House and Congress insists on proceeding down this road, Democrats will do all we can to ensure that Congress pursues an agenda the American people can be proud of.”

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Hold me back...!

~vein throbbing dangerously in neck~
Cheney says:
"[I]f the Senate majority decides to move forward and if the issue is presented to me in my elected office as president of the Senate and presiding officer, I will support bringing those nominations to the floor for an up-or-down vote."

Reid says:
"Last week, I met with the president and was encouraged when he told me he would not become involved in Republican efforts to break the Senate rules," Reid said. "Now, it appears he was not being honest, and that the White House is encouraging this raw abuse of power."

lemme at him... lemme at him...

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great googley-moogley!

(thanks alternet)

in the VERY interesting facts dept...
In the first three years of the Bush administration, the United States dropped from 4th to 13th place in global rankings of broadband Internet usage. [...] [T]he United States has fallen even further behind in mobile-phone-based Internet access. [...] Today, nearly all Japanese have access to "high-speed" broadband, with an average connection speed 16 times faster than in the United States -- for only about $22 a month. Even faster "ultra-high-speed" broadband, which runs through fiber-optic cable, is scheduled to be available throughout the country for $30 to $40 a month by the end of 2005. [...] Thanks to the government's competitive framework, the speed of the DSL service offered also rose dramatically, from 8 megabits per second in 2001 to 12, 26, and 40 megabits today. (The typical U.S. broadband connection, whether DSL or cable, is still only 1.5 megabits per second or slower.) Meanwhile, the price of monthly subscriptions remained stable, even for 26-megabit access speeds, at about $22 per month -- by far the lowest price in the world. [...] By mid-2004, ultra-high-speed broadband (up to 100 megabits per second) was available to more than 80 percent of Japan's citizens.

what can you do with ultra-high speed broadband...?
Such connections permit real-time video telephoning and video conferencing, telecommuting, and rich multimedia options such as digital high-definition television, interactive games, and five-minute movie downloads (instead of the short, jerky video streaming that Americans are used to).


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The "Denver Three"

(thanks to colorado luis and kos)

The "Denver Three"

if you remember this, the "denver three" are still kicking and mounting an assertive campaign to expose the blatant quashing of the public's right to have access to their elected leaders... go for it guys...

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"There's more than one way to take a black robe off the bench"

it occurs to me that if these two guys were talking about the president, the secret service would be on 'em faster than a robin on a junebug...

The Barbarians are at the Gates
(the headline is mine)
An audio recording obtained by the Los Angeles Times features two of the nation's most influential evangelical leaders, at a private conference with supporters, laying out strategies to rein in judges, such as stripping funding from their courts in an effort to hinder their work.


"There's more than one way to skin a cat, and there's more than one way to take a black robe off the bench," said Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, according to an audiotape of a March 17 session.


He said that instead of undertaking the long process of trying to impeach judges, Congress could use its appropriations authority to "just take away the bench, all of his staff, and he's just sitting out there with nothing to do."

and who's this second guy...?
Dobson, who emerged last year as one of the evangelical movement's most important political leaders, named one potential target: the California-based U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

"Very few people know this, that the Congress can simply disenfranchise a court," Dobson said. "They don't have to fire anybody or impeach them or go through that battle. All they have to do is say the 9th Circuit doesn't exist anymore, and it's gone."

but of course...

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Pray for DeLay

as an alert blog, in keeping with our desire to alert readers to important items that require staying alert, we alert you to

If you are a Bible-believing Christian who takes prayer seriously, you are needed on the front lines in the war for our nation’s soul.

You know that ungodly forces are out to destroy America. They hate the Gospel and America’s Christian heritage. They want to remove the Biblical foundations from American law and government, the very moral roots that made ours a free nation & a light among the nations.


Western Civilization was "civilized" by the Christian Church and the Word of God. America is the last stronghold where Scripture remains the popular, self-conscious foundation for government, law, and society. God has been merciful, but if we allow sodomy to prevail over our Christian moral heritage, our nation's foundations will be destroyed.

a plague of locusts upon thee...

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Condi goes south

and you can take that to mean whatever you want...
Condoleezza Rice will soon depart on her first tour of South America as secretary of state, ...her opportunity to forge a common approach with the United States' democratic allies. Such a multilateral effort...won't be easy given the Bush administration's poor reputation in the region, its differences with the leftist governments of Chile and Brazil, and the continuing obstructionism of Mr. Chavez. But it is the best way to help countries such as Ecuador and arrest a dangerous trend.

the boldface is mine... when i read words like "leftist governments" and "arrest a dangerous trend," here's what comes to mind:
  • nicaragua, where ex-sandinista president daniel ortega is trying again for the presidency, this time in a democratic process
  • mexico and the arrest of the very popular lopez obrador with the 2006 presidential election looming large
  • hugo chavez in venezuela who despises the mega-corporations and their global influence
  • argentina's center-left president kirchner who is defying the imf and, by extension, the G7, the world bank, and the u.s. treasury
  • the contras, the cia, e. howard hunt, ollie north, and the "two johns" - poindexter and negroponte
  • salvador allende, the cia, and the chilean "disappeareds"
  • manuel noriega and the invasion of panama
it will be interesting to see what condi does on her trip now that she's stomped on vladimir with her high-heeled boots... (btw, she's going to be visiting brazil, chile, colombia and el salvador...)

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And so it begins...

Pope Benedict XVI has responded firmly to the first challenge of his papacy by condemning a Spanish government bill allowing marriage between homosexuals.

The vote was welcomed by Spanish gay rights campaigners

they look like such nice people too... you'd never guess they'd just been condemned...

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American Renaissance - What lies behind the Minutemen

to me, the most insidious thing that bush is doing (among MANY insidious things) is to give tacit permission for crap like this to come crawling out of the woodwork...
(thanks to alternet)
What We Believe

Race is an important aspect of individual and group identity. Of all the fault lines that divide society—language, religion, class, ideology—it is the most prominent and divisive. Race and racial conflict are at the heart of the most serious challenges the Western World faces in the 21st century.

The problems of race cannot be solved without adequate understanding. Attempts to gloss over the significance of race or even to deny its reality only make problems worse. Progress requires the study of all aspects of race, whether historical, cultural, or biological.

American Renaissance paid advertisement

sounds almost reasonable, doesn't it...? don't be fooled... it's extremely important to be aware of the various white supremacist groups out there... while muted, it is that kind of thinking that lies behind the minuteman project... this particular group, american renaissance, from which these comments were taken, describes itself as a magazine and has been around since 1991... they adopt a distinctly thoughtful, academic style that almost lulls you into complacency and that is precisely their strategy... you have to "click in" a layer or two and read down quite a few paragraphs but eventually the message becomes clear...
Unless whites shake off the teachings of racial orthodoxy they will cease to be a distinct people with a culture of their own. History, morality, biology, and generations of common sense justify their desire that their descendents should be the heirs to the culture and civilization of Europe, that their lives be shaped by their own history rather than by the demands of people unlike themselves.

now, if the full implication of what they are saying is combined with the full connotation of the term "american renaissance," everybody but the native americans would board ships and head back home... that, of course, gets conveniently ignored...

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Left-wing Syndicate

that's right, big fella... keep diggin'...
"I'm suggesting there's a left-wing syndicate. That's for sure, we've documented it," DeLay told FOX News' Tony Snow Radio Show on Tuesday.

"These people are all hooked up. The same people that went after George W. Bush have just changed their focus onto me. They are running ads, they are raising money. This is pretty serious stuff," DeLay said.

yeah, there's a syndicate all right... reasonable people who use their brains and find extremist bullshit in public discourse unacceptable are hooking up all over the place...

you want syndicate...? i'll give you syndicate...

Liberal commentator Bill Moyers is out on PBS stations. Buster the animated rabbit is under a cloud of suspicion. And right-wing yakkers from the Wall Street Journal editorial page have been handed their own public-television chat show.


Officials at the agency, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting [the federal agency that provides $30M of PBS funding], say they are merely seeking to ensure balance and fairness in the network's presentation of political news and ideas.


Appointees of President Bush currently control the majority of seats on CPB's eight-member board. Each board member serves a six-year term.

syndicate...? we don't need no stinkin' syndicate...!

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It shows too...!

and, let we forget, it started the minute the supreme court opened the door for this pathetic excuse for a world leader to take office...
Make no mistake: The Bush Administration and its ideological allies are employing every means available to undermine journalists' ability to exercise their First Amendment function to hold power accountable. In fact, the Administration recognizes no such constitutional role for the press. White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card has insisted that the media "don't represent the public any more than other people do.... I don't believe you have a check-and-balance function."

and so the alternative means for obtaining information would be...???

when the administration continually cows the press into being meek and timid, it's easy to see why the role of the press becomes diminished... no surprise either that blogs and alternative news sources are becoming so popular...

the irony here is that, in a democracy, to be a good citizen is to be informed... it's not only a right, it's an obligation... how else can government by and for the people be accomplished...? the two-way street is that government must insure that appropriate means for staying informed are in place, maintained and used... the bush administration's insistence that the media doesn't "represent" the public is an outright abdication of the government's obligation to insure objective, comprehensive and accurate information is available to the electorate... so, andy, boiling it down to a one word rebuttal, "bullshit..."

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Minutemen about finished

"Because of the phenomenal success of this grass-roots project in such a short time, the Minuteman Project has declared an unconditional victory in its efforts," he said in an open letter to supporters Wednesday. "We have simultaneously brought national awareness to our national security crisis, of which porous borders and illegal alien and drug traffic are components. The Minuteman Project will take the next few months to reorganize, expand, and to become larger, better, stronger."

"phenomenal success" - why do i feel this strange sense of impending doom...?

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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Colin Powell has concerns about Bolton

[A]ssociates of Colin L. Powell, the former secretary of state, said that Mr. Powell had expressed reservations about Mr. Bolton in conversations with at least two wavering Republican senators.

maybe he can redeem himself for having signed his soul over to karldubya for four years...

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Great color commentary on Ecuador

this is another comment i received in response to my earlier post about ecuador...

The Ecuadorians will allow their top leaders a certain amount of leeway regarding lies, corruption, and incompetence, but Gutierrez crossed the line when he packed the court. In phone conversations my wife has had, family and friends have told her that was just too much arrogance; it couldn't be tolerated. Arrogance toward a significant portion of the population not tolerated? What a concept.

Yesterday the Ecuadorian people chased their president. First his helicopter took him to the airport in Quito in an effort to run, only to find the people had closed the airport by standing on the runways in mass. A family member of my wife's said the same occurred in Guayaquil in case the president tried to flee there. So Lucio then went to a military base in an attempt to fly out, apparently only to be essentially told "Sorry, dude, you're on your own." The people were indeed pissed. Finally, it seems, he managed to hide in an embassy for shelter.

The Ecuadorian experience leads me to wonder where the proverbial line is drawn here. How much would we take before saying no mas?

my reply...
great comments...! i love it...! people standing on the runway at the airport in quito and guayaquil...! having been in both airports a number of times, i can visualize it perfectly... there's nothing like hearing from somebody who's got intimate connections and the insight to go with them...

i don't want to be guilty of overstatement or of creating unnecessary drama but it feels like my "proverbial line" is close to being drawn... i've been hanging out in argentina quite a bit as it is and enjoying their much less repressive (for now, i guess) atmosphere...

but what would it take before we collectively say no mas...? dunno... good question... things have been getting progressively uglier and uglier since the election debacle of 2000, well past what i would have thought would have been the public's gag factor ... ask me the end of next week after frist's appearance at "justice sunday" and the floor battle on judicial nominations plays out...

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Captain Obvious

yeah, really?


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Gosh, and he looks so grandfatherly too...

James Dobson, Focus on the Family

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Here's what Senator Salazar is dealing with...

Senator Ken Salazar,

the Nonsense.

Sen. Ken Salazar stood with his leader, Sen. Harry Reid, on the steps of the U.S. Capitol the day he promised to halt most Senate business rather than allow a simple, up-or-down vote on the President’s judicial candidates.

There is only one reason Sen. Salazar and fellow liberals are desperate to block these judges: they would easily be confirmed by a majority of the Senate, because they represent the President’s mainstream American values.

We’ve seen enough nonsense on the federal courts, from judges who demonstrate:

NO MERCY—Judges allowed Terri Schiavo to die of thirst. Had she been an animal, a condemned killer, or even a terrorist, they would have stepped in immediately. But Terri had the misfortune to be innocent.

NO HUMANITY—Judges protect the doctors who routinely puncture the skulls of nearly-delivered children and then vacuum out their brain matter, killing them in the abominable practice known as partial birth abortion.

NO DECENCY—A judge threw out the prosecution of videos that depict women being raped, mutilated and defecated upon. No one doubts these videos are legally obscene, but this judge single-handedly threw out the rule of law, declaring obscenity statutes unconstitutional.

NO RESPECT—Though a judge can find protection for obscenity videos, many find the Ten Commandments inappropriate for public display. They quote laws of foreign countries—and even an unratified U.N. Treaty, rather than our own Constitution, when it suits their fancy.

The President has the constitutional right to appoint federal judges and the Senate has the duty to vote them up or down. Sen. Salazar wants to use the filibuster to block the vote, in a way that hasn’t been used on judges in 216 years of Senate tradition.

It’s time to call him on it. Call all his offices and tell him simply:

Vote, YES or NO, But VOTE on the JUDGES!

Call ALL of his offices:
Denver (303) 455-7600
Colorado Springs (719) 328-1100
Fort Collins (970) 224-2200
Pueblo (719) 542-7550
Durango (970) 259-1710
Grand Junction (970) 241-6631
Washington, D.C. (202) 224-5852

Paid for by Focus on the Family Action and FRC Action
Tom Minnery, 8655 Explorer Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80920 (719) 278-4400
© 2005, Focus on the Family Action

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Oooooo... He is going to get sooooo nailed...

sure didn't expect this...
Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., lashed out at Focus on the Family on Thursday, saying the group is using "un-Christian" political tactics in the fight over White House judicial appointments.

Salazar defended Democrats' right to filibuster what they consider objectionable nominees and blasted the Colorado Springs-based evangelical Christian group for recent ads urging him to "STOP the nonsense."

the guy has some cojones, spouting off to fof in their backyard... he's gonna need all the support he can get... write and let him know... here's mine...
Dear Senator Salazar:

I am writing to applaud your statement regarding Focus on the Family and the extremist religious right wing.

I grew up in Colorado Springs and lived there until I was 30 and then again in Denver over 2001-2003. I know how rabidly conservative some of the folks in my "ex" hometown (I have since disowned it) can be.

James Dobson is vicious and I am sure you are going to be attacked from all sides by FOF and their minions but I want you to know that, for what it's worth, you have my support for speaking the truth as it needs to be spoken.

Best regards,,,

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a comment on ecuador and my reply

eastsidedemocrat makes this comment on my ecuador post...

Gutierrez was a left wing rabble rouser after the mold and example of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. Like Chavez, he was an army Colonel who participated in the overthrow of a previous (also left-of center) government. Unlike Chavez, who's attempted coup failed and resulted in prison time, Gutierrez's coup was successful, but he was castigated by the military brass for insubordination and never participated in the interim government. (The military brass was itself almost as insubordinate, having refused to defend the constitution against the same mob of angry indians who have descended on Quito again in the last few days.) Gutierrez, having proved to be the indigenous person's hero, rode that popularity to win a presidential election.
with my nose somewhat out of joint, i replied...
yeah, i know the history but i feel an undertone in your comments that springs from the title of your post...

the vast majority of folks in latin america, indigenous or otherwise, have been exploited by one faction or another since francisco pizarro took out atahualpa in cajamarca (and no doubt before that by atahualpa and his predecessors)... a country's riches and resources go to the very, very few and the very, very few will be damned if they're gonna have that change... of course, this leaves that "vast majority" extremely vulnerable to someone championing their cause for personal gain... mostly what the po' folks want is what everybody wants - a fair shake, a chance to live a decent life, and not to be run over by some fat cat's mercedes when they try to cross the street... the term "rabble," while it rolls nicely off the tongue, is not the word i would choose...

when there's competition between these powerful oligarchies (the business people at the top of the food chain, the politicos at the top of the food chain, the military at the top of the food chain) all of whom are wanting to line their pockets on the backs of the citizens by skimming off the natural resources, contracting for the lucrative business, oil and arms deals, and scrambling to get on the teat of foreign aid programs, it just exacerbates the situation... several factions lose, one faction wins, and the lot of the people invariably worsens... precisely the same thing is happening in bolivia which oughta be on your list with colombia (it's not spelled with a "u" by the way) and the rest...

sadly, it's not really different here in the u.s... the difference here is that there's no sand in the vaseline... but i'm not telling you anything you don't know...

i'm feeling a bit tetchy this morning and the undertone i'm sensing probably just stems from that...

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Bush defends Bolton - Why? Cuz the Bush administration has to get its way on EVERYTHING

Bush Called Bolton "A Good Man" and Stands by Nominee

so says steve clemons...
Bush's team is trying to make this about White House infallibility. It's sad that the White House can't step back and study the many reasons why there is so much national indigestion about the Bolton nomination.

i might be tempted to disbelieve some of the stuff that's coming out about bolton but after years in the corporate environment and a recent total immersion in usaid in a "developing economy," i don't find any of the allegations surprising... i've run across a distressing number of senior execs who were extremely abusive and had been rewarded for it right along...

i apologize in advance for this pic... it's not meant to denigrate or to riff off of oklahoma city, 9/11, belgrade, or anywhere else... what it does illustrate quite nicely is bolton's quote to the effect that the u.n. headquarters in nyc could be missing the top ten floors and nobody would notice... (be sure to note the somewhat-altered name of rupert murdoch's outfit engraved on the stone...)

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Speaking of Latin America

well, whaddaya know... another country is feeling screwed by the imf...

BBC regional analyst Simon Watts says the downfall of Lucio Gutierrez is the latest episode in a battle in Latin America between left-leaning presidents and the traditional elites that oppose them.

Mr Gutierrez was originally elected on a populist, anti-corruption platform.

He forged close links with the powerful indigenous movement.

But, faced with economic difficulties, the president opted to follow the recommendations of the International Monetary Fund.

ssounds to me like the traditional elites "strongly encouraged" gutierrez to abandon his center-left platform and, surprise surprise, the good citizens of ecuador felt betrayed... ('course they've been betrayed right along as the oil is sucked out of their country, the money flows to the very small, population-wise, monied class, the rain forest east of the andes gets trashed, and indigenous folks get uprooted with no compensation of any sort...)

but, WAIT...! there's MORE...!

People are angered by his [Gutierrez'] attempts to overhaul the Supreme Court and apparent effort to pack it with supporters.

gutierrez has taken asylum in brazil... i'm surprised dubya didn't invite him to the ranch...

we've tended to laugh at the latin american countries for going through governments like kleenex but, ya know, they may have something we don't... when the grassroots down there gets pissed, look out...!

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Spain leads the way, Latin America not far behind

i have often said that if the latin american countries could get their shit together both internally and amongst themselves they would be a formidable power to reckon with, perhaps one day rivaling the eu... it's been very interesting to watch the "center-left," populist shifts in the governments of brazil, argentina, venezuela, and uruguay... what's been equally fascinating is what's been happening in spain since zapatero took over after the madrid train bombing...

i have observed how much influence spain still wields in latin america and, oonversely, how much, albeit less, influence latin america has in spain... i cannot help but believe that there is a larger pattern playing out... the following snippets offer a glimpse into what's happening...

Ninety one percent of Catholics in Colombia and Mexico and 79 percent of Catholics in Bolivia believe that couples should have access to contraception, including condoms and birth control pills. Of those groups, high numbers believe public hospitals and health clinics should provide reproductive services for free: 96 percent of Mexican Catholics, 91 percent of Colombian and Bolivian Catholics.

there's already been conflict between church authorities and governments in a few latin american countries and a prediction of conflict with the new pope would be a safe bet...
Bishop Antonio Baseotto suggested in March that a high Argentine government official should be subjected to the biblical punishment of being "cast into the sea" for suggesting abortion be legalized. In response, Argentina's president, Nestor Kirchner, refused to recognize the bishop, prompting the Vatican to make the odd and unexplained charge that Buenos Aires was restricting religious freedom.

now, look at what's going on in spain... and, remember, spain has hardly been a shining progressive light...
In his first year in office, Zapatero has pulled Spain’s troops out of Iraq, dismantled the obstacles to the European constitution that his predecessor, José María Aznar, erected, and led a crackdown on Islamist terrorism that has yielded hundreds of arrests. But even more striking are the social changes that his government has initiated within a remarkably brief period of time: gay marriage and adoption are now legal, domestic violence laws are tougher, and long-standing subsidies to the Catholic Church are being eradicated in an attempt to create a genuinely secular state.

pretty impressive for just a year in office... and you can bet latin america is paying attention...

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David Brooks is a very articulate idiot

(from brooks' nyt editorial)
"Unless Roe v. Wade is overturned, politics will never get better."
Dear Mr. Brooks:

This is certainly the worst opinion piece of yours I have ever read and may very well rank at the top of my list as the worst opinion piece of all time. You dress it all up in pretty talk but your underlying message is clear and it is the same message Senator Frist will be explicitly or implicitly endorsing this "Justice Sunday."

Roe v. Wade came about for the very same reasons the courts found it necessary to rule that police cannot conduct unauthorized search and seizure or secretly tap your phone, that what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedrooms in Texas cannot be legislated against, and that you and I have the right to keep our medical records private. There is nothing in law that gives the fetus status as a human being and, therefore, what a woman chooses to do with her own body is her choice and hers alone. The courts saw fit to make that clear.

You may hold personal beliefs that Roe v. Wade was not a good judicial action. Many others do as well. I wholeheartedly support your right to hold your beliefs and to make personal choices based on those beliefs. This world would be a much better place if more people identified and behaved according to sound values and beliefs. I try to live my life that way. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don't. But, please, within the bounds of law, let me live my life as I so choose and stop throwing support to those who would like to make my choices for me.

Best regards,

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Conflicting feelings on Bolton's nomination

1) bolton getting confirmed and running amok at the u.n. would be great reality show entertainment that might actually grab public attention a la terri schiavo and show what a bunch of dangerous destructionists we have running the country

2) rational, thoughtful, reasonable people desperately need a victory, something to hold on to, something to inspire hope and bolton getting his ass kicked would be hugely uplifting

3) if bolton's nomination is withdrawn, killed either in committee or on the senate floor, or he simply withdraws, i am sure karldubya has someone just as ugly waiting in the wings

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the 2004 election and howard dean

in particular is the first time i've been motivated to be politically active, participating in voter registration drives, neighborhood canvassing, etc... ok, i'll admit, i was (and still am) scared shitless over what bush&rove inc. are doing to my country but... i saw dean as the first transparent, real, bona fide human being to appear on the presidential scene - at least in my lifetime... just think what would be going on if he was president right now... my guess is that it would be one of the most exciting and stimulating times in our country's history... instead, what am i doing...? opening an offshore bank account and preparing to leave permanently... what a shame...

Howard Dean

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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

More from Senator Boxer - Nix Bolton, We Want Somebody Else

this is the complete text of Senator Barbara Boxer's post on kos...

Tell George Bush to nominate a new UN Ambassador!
by Barbara Boxer

Wed Apr 20th, 2005 at 17:34:08 PDT

As you know, on Tuesday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee met once more to consider the nomination of John Bolton as UN Ambassador. In the light of many serious allegations against Bolton that have emerged over the past few weeks, I along with the other committee Democrats urged Chairman Lugar to hold off on a final vote until these allegations could be fully explored.

Most observers expected our efforts to fail, figuring that committee Republicans would steamroll Democrats on a party line vote and ram Bolton's nomination through, sending it to the Senate floor for a final vote. But that didn't happen.

Thanks in large part to the efforts of the online community, including more than 37,000 emails you sent to your senators through my PAC website alone, Bolton's nomination was stopped in its tracks. Republican Senator George Voinovich of Ohio joined committee Democrats in urging more careful consideration of John Bolton's nomination, delaying a final vote for three weeks -- and I am so grateful for his support on this critical issue.

Now, it's time for us to do more.

Clearly, John Bolton is not qualified to be UN Ambassador -- and it's time to tell President Bush to nominate someone else.

John Bolton's nomination is dividing the country. This is a man who has shown nothing but contempt for the United Nations throughout his career. This is a man who has bullied intelligence analysts to try to get them to say what he wants, even when it's not true. This is a man who doesn't get along well with others and, if confirmed, would be entrusted with representing our nation in sensitive diplomatic negotiations at the United Nations.

Surely we can do better. Surely we can find a nominee for UN Ambassador that America can support and get behind -- not someone who divides our country and alienates our allies.

Tell President Bush to send the Senate a new UN nominee -- please sign my petition to the White House now.

Every President has the right to choose senior members of his Administration. But every President also has an obligation to the American people that those nominees are well qualified for the positions they seek.

Clearly, with the nomination of John Bolton, George Bush has failed us. America deserves so much better from our United Nations Ambassador.

If you agree, please join me and tell President Bush to send us a new nominee today!

Thanks so much to all of you in the Daily Kos community for your continued support -- and all of your hard work. I can't do it without you.

In Friendship,


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ok... let's fight...

condi can't be dumb enough to flip off the constitution... or can she...? steve clemons posted this - White House Wants to Battle On Advocating Bolton - in his washington note and senator boxer felt strongly enough about it to fire off this letter...

United States Senate

April 20, 2005

The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C StreetNW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Rice:

According to reports in today's Washington Post, you have told senior members of your staff that you do not want "any information coming out of the department that could adversely affect the nomination" of John Bolton to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. I hope this report is untrue.

The purpose of this letter is to ask you to issue an instruction to your department stating that they will cooperate with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's bipartisan investigation of John Bolton.

I am sure you are aware that Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution states that the
President is to appoint Ambassadors "by and with the Advice and Consent of the senate." As such, the Senate is fully vested with the authority to investigate executive nominations to ensure that they are qualified in tenns of experience, temperament, and conduct. In addition, paragraph 1 of Rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate authorizes Committees "to require by subpoena or otherwise the attendance of such witnesses and the production of such correspondence, books, papers, and documents." The Supreme Court has upheld this authority, calling it, "an essential and appropriate auxiliary to the legislative function."

If you have, in fact, instructed your staff or any other employee of the federal government not to cooperate with this important investigation, I urge you to act immediately to reverse such course.

I look forward to your immediate favorable response.


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Exclusive! Breaking News! Only on Fox!

once again, why is my forehead so flat...? easy... cuz i keep smacking it all the time... atrios has the perfect comment - "saddam stole my car keys..."
Was Iraq Behind the Oklahoma City Bombing?
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
By John Gibson

February 17, 2005
On Tuesday's show you heard FOX News' Rita Cosby talking about the quite shocking claims made by a group of victims' families that Iraq was at the bottom of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma City.

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Ugliness leakage

just like i said the other day, this shit is gonna keep leakin' out and the administration is gonna keep stonewallin' it, and it's so, soooo ugly...

(from a diary in kos which links back to an article in the village voice)
One of the CIA's jet planes used to render purported terrorists to other countries--where information is extracted by any means necessary--made 10 trips to Uzbekistan. In a segment of CBS's 60 Minutes on these CIA torture missions (March 5), former British ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray told of the range of advanced techniques used by Uzbek interrogators:

"drowning and suffocation, rape was used . . . and also immersion of limbs in boiling liquid."

But it was much more than mere limb immersion.

Two nights later on ABC's World News Tonight, Craig Murray told of photos he received of an Uzbek interrogation that ended with the prisoner actually being boiled to death!

Murray, appalled, had protested to the British Foreign Office in a confidential memorandum leaked to and printed in the Financial Times on October 11 of last year:

"Uzbek officials are torturing prisoners to extract information [about reported terrorist operations], which is supplied to the U.S. and passed through its Central Intelligence Agency to the U.K., says Mr. Murray." (Emphasis added.)

Prime Minister Tony Blair quickly reacted to this undiplomatic whistle-blowing.

Craig Murray was removed as ambassador to Uzbekistan.

go read it all... (not for queasy stomachs...)

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in the previous episode of our telenovela, rodrigo persisted, néstor deflected and roberto insisted...
After weekend meetings in Washington, analysts believe Argentina and the Fund reached a pre-accord over how Argentina would deal with private creditors who opted out of the recent debt swap. It is not known what they agreed, but government sources confirmed that things were looking up in the tempestuous relationship.

we're on the edge of our chairs... must be sweeps week...

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Rove's Reading: Not So Liberal as Leery

must be the word du jour...
Rove left himself and the administration blameless for the tense relations between the Bush White House and the press and for the merger between politics and policy.

that kind of thing makes me really leery...

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Sorry for the DeLay

but every time this doofus opens his yap, the most amazing things tumble out...
DeLay said that all the scrutiny "certainly has gotten me closer to God."

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Off with their heads...!

ya gotta love molly ivins... she's got an eye for the absurd and there's sure plenty of that runnin' around these days...
"This whole thing about not kicking someone when they are down is BS. Not only do you kick him -- you kick him until he passes out, then beat him over the head with a baseball bat, then roll him up in an old rug and throw him off a cliff into the pound(ing) surf below!!!!!" That gem was in a DeLay staff e-mail about Clinton's impeachment.

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My goodness gracious! I think he's GOT it...!

the rain in spain falls mainly on the plain...
"The time has come that the American people know exactly what their representatives are doing here in Washington. Are they feeding at the public trough, taking lobbyist-paid vacations, getting wined and dined by special-interest groups? Or are they working hard to represent their constituents? The people, the American people, have a right to know. I say the best disinfectant is full disclosure."

That populist polemic was delivered on the House floor in November 1995 by well-known reformer Tom DeLay, R-Texas.

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Senator Warner is "leery..."

dontcha just love that word "leery...?"
Senator John W. Warner of Virginia is one of a select few Republicans at the center of a bipartisan courtship.

Mr. Warner has not decided whether to back the so-called nuclear option, a rule change that would bar Democrats from using the filibuster to block President Bush's judicial nominees. On Monday, he met with Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader and chief proponent of the change Then the Democratic leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, invited him in. By Tuesday, still uncommitted, he sounded leery.

"I just look at this institution as really the last bastion of protecting the rights of the minority," Mr. Warner said, "and we should be very careful before we try and make any changes."

vewwwy, vewwwy caweful...

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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Use the INTERNET...?? for RESEARCH...?? OMG...!!

yeah, i've used it before but somehow that bugs bunny quote just won't leave me alone... "what a maroon...!"
"We've got Justice Kennedy writing decisions based upon international law, not the Constitution of the United States? That's just outrageous," DeLay told Fox News Radio. "And not only that, but he said in session that he does his own research on the Internet? That is just incredibly outrageous."


[I]t is unusual for a congressional leader to single out a Supreme Court justice for criticism.

it's unusual to have such a stupid baboon for house majority leader... i'd like to see him sit down and do a google search... i'll bet ya a thousand bucks he doesn't even know how to use a computer...

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Man Arrested for Threatening U.S. Judge

~long sigh~
A New York man was arrested on Tuesday for threatening to kill a Brooklyn federal judge and bomb his courthouse amid growing concern about the safety of the nation's judiciary and their courtrooms.

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Write Voinovich about Bolton!

don't let this frightening and appallingly unqualified man be confirmed as the representative of our country in the world forum of the united nations... (click on the post title for voivonich's contact info)
Dear Senator Voinovich:

I am writing to commend you on your courageous move in expressing your doubts about the appointment of John Bolton as Ambassador to the United Nations.

I've been closely following the proceedings of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and I believe that Mr. Bolton is appallingly unqualified to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. His foreign policy views to say nothing of his personal characteristics make me ask why in the world this man was nominated in the first place.

Of even more concern to me is the fact that at least one of the groups pushing hard for Mr. Bolton's confirmation (Move America Forward - and that is now also conducting an ad campaign critical of you, makes no secret of the fact that a significant portion of its agenda is to remove the U.N. from the U.S. and the U.S. from the U.N.

Please, keep this frightening and unfit man from representing my country in the world forum of the United Nations.

Best regards,

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Bolton's first task, if appointed...

by the way... from the very same Move America Forward website that announces the ad campaign against voinovich comes this online petition about precisely WHY they would like bolton appointed... these people (the kill-the-u.n.-faction) have been lying in the weeds for as long as i can remember... my ex-hometown is full of 'em...make no mistake... if bolton's appointed, his mission will be to accomplish these aims...
We, the undersigned, do therefore call for the following to take place immediately:

Removal of the United Nations Headquarters facilities from New York, relocating it outside of the United States and any of its territories.

A thorough review of the US financial contributions to the UN with a goal of a more equitable payment schedule. Until that review is concluded, eliminate all the payments made by the United States to the United Nations.

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The posse forms for Voinovich

wow...! this didn't take 'em long... look out, george... they want your scalp...
“Shame on Senator Voinovich. President Bush nominated a terrific man to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in John Bolton. Senator Voinovich indicated he was absent from the Bolton confirmation hearings, which explains his ignorance of Mr. Bolton’s qualifications to serve as a voice for America’s interests at the United Nations,” said Melanie Morgan, Co-Chair of Move America Forward.

“Senator Voinovich is in effect serving as an agent of the obstructionist Senators who have already smeared Bush appointees Condoleeza Rice (Secretary of State) and Alberto Gonzales (Attorney General). He has now empowered Democrat opponents of Bolton to conduct a fishing expedition to dig up every unsubstantiated charge against him as they frantically work to embarrass President Bush by once again smearing another one of his nominees,” Morgan said.

Move America Forward...? ~wiggles finger in ear~ what...? not sure i heard you... forward...? forward...??? no comprende...

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Excellent thought piece from William Rivers Pitt

i've said it before and i'll say it again... i'm scared...
Their vision of America does away with the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the separation of church and state.

They are the Theocrats, the Christian Taliban right here in America, and they are deadly dangerous both to this nation and the world entire. These people do not in any way represent mainstream Christianity, yet sadly they are redefining the meaning of that faith across the board. They would annihilate all that America has stood for these last two hundred years to 'save' the nation, literally as far as they are concerned, and right now, they believe they have the power to get everything they want.

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Delay sent an email to his constituents in TX

thanks to think progress, we have the breakdown of the email by subject category...
0: References to DeLay ally and corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff

25: Number of times the email portrays DeLay opponents as "partisan" or politically-motivated

0: References to high-profile criticisms from the Wall Street Journal, David Brooks, Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, Reps. Christopher Shays and Tom Tancredo, and at least ten conservative ex-congressmen

4: Number of times the email claims that the media is treating him unfairly.

4: Number of times the same email quotes major media sources to purportedly bolster DeLay's case.

4: References to Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle as "partisan"

12: Number of Democrats prosecuted by Earle during his 27 year career

3: Number of Republicans prosecuted by Earle

6: References to the fact that former Rep. Chris Bell (D-TX) was found to have violated procedural rules when he included inflammatory language in his formal complaint against DeLay

0: References to the fact that the Ethics Committee accepted Bell's complaint because "it also contained allegations that warranted Committee consideration."

2538: Total number of words

1273: Words devoted to complaining about other people's conduct

here's the link to the full text of the email... do your own count...

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Amazing and wonderful!

i'll tell ya, some days you can hardly believe it when you can advance the ball a few yards... the bloggers (kos, atrios, john and all the others) can claim at least partial credit for this delay on bolton... the emails and phone calls have been flying back and forth thick and fast and, as one blogger commented, the foreign relations committee has been monitoring US monitoring THEM... good work all...
"I've heard enough today that I don't feel comfortable about voting for Mr. Bolton," Ohio Sen. George Voinovich said, stunning fellow Republicans who were set to push the contentious nomination through the committee on a party-line vote.


After Voinovich's comment, Sen. Richard Lugar, the Indiana Republican who chairs the committee, agreed to put the vote off until after the Senate returns from a one-week recess in early May.

now let's hope voinovich doesn't end up getting his nuts cut off by rove...

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Things continue to look ugly for dubya

(thanks to john at americablog ...)
From the National Journal (no link available):

Fewer than a third of CBS respondents said the country was going in the right direction, and 62 percent said it was off on the wrong track -- a much starker contrast than the 42/52 split in February's CBS News/New York Times poll. President Bush's job approval rating inched up one point since March to 44 percent, but his disapproval also climbed to 51 percent from 48 percent.

Seven in 10 said they were uneasy about Bush's approach to Social Security, while a quarter said they were confident. Presidential job approval on individual issues remained relatively consistent with last month's poll, with the exception of his handling of terrorism. That number, which has consistently earned Bush's highest marks, slipped to 53 percent, an 8-point drop since the previous poll.

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Conservative judges aren't ACTIVIST...? Ha...!

'bout time somebody started pounding on this point...
The idea that liberal judges are advocates and partisans while judges like Justice Scalia are not is being touted everywhere these days, and it is pure myth. Justice Scalia has been more than willing to ignore the Constitution's plain language, and he has a knack for coming out on the conservative side in cases with an ideological bent. The conservative partisans leading the war on activist judges are just as inconsistent: they like judicial activism just fine when it advances their own agendas.


Justice Scalia likes to boast that he follows his strict-constructionist philosophy wherever it leads, even if it leads to results he disagrees with. But it is uncanny how often it leads him just where he already wanted to go. In his view, the 14th Amendment prohibits Michigan from using affirmative action in college admissions, but lets Texas make gay sex a crime. (The Supreme Court has held just the opposite.) He is dismissive when inmates invoke the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment to challenge prison conditions. But he is supportive when wealthy people try to expand the "takings clause" to block the government from regulating their property.

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God bless you, Harry Reid

my MAN...!
Dear Mitch [Majority Whip Mitch McConnel]:

Thank you for your letter yesterday regarding judicial nominations. I assume that your reply to my March 15 letter is not a substitute for Senator Frist's promise over a month ago to offer a compromise for resolving this issue. Democrats anxiously await that proposal.

I wholeheartedly agree with you that there is much important work to be done in the Senate. That is why it is so baffling that Republicans would precipitate this destructive confrontation over the Senate's decision to reject a small number of judicial nominees. As you well know, the Senate has confirmed 205 of President Bush's judicial candidates and turned back only ten, a 95% confirmation rate. Ten rejected judges - only seven of whom are currently before the Senate - does not seem reason enough for Republicans to break the Senate rules, violate over 200 years of Senate tradition and thereby impair the ability of Democrats and Republicans to work together on issues of real concern to the American people.

For example, you are absolutely right that "our transportation infrastructure needs improving." That is why I issued a public call last week for the Senate to take up the highway bill. Once we finish the supplemental appropriations bill, the Majority Leader has a clear choice: if he moves to proceed to the highway bill he can allow us to do the work that the American people sent us here to do. If, on the other hand, he chooses to launch what Senator Lott dubbed "the nuclear option," it will be clear that the Republican agenda is not based on the needs of the American people but rather on the demands of radical ideological elements in the Republican Party base.

I am committed to resolving the dispute over judicial nominations amicably. The first step in that process should be for the Majority Leader to abandon his proposal to break the Senate rules. We should not negotiate under a nuclear cloud.


Democratic Leader

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Karl Rove as Pope?

Oh, great! And here I thought it was ME going over the top with a gloomy outlook...!!!

(from americablog, a quote from john's friend in nyc)

He's UBER-conservative, he was a bit of a liberal, a moderate, as a young man. But the 1968 student uprisings turned him into an arch uber-conservative, he's like a convert, the worst kind of conservative.

It's as if Karl Rove became president.

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More Rat-zinger

so, i suppose matthew shephard brought it on himself after all...? THIS, my friends, is what we have to look forward to until the new supreme pontiff goes the way of all flesh...
Ratzinger has been prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 1981 and dean of the College of Cardinals since 2002. In 1986, Ratzinger issued his notorious "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons," stating of homosexuality that "the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder." Also in the letter, after deploring anti-gay violence, Ratzinger justified it: "[W]hen civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase."

sounds like delay and cornyn commenting on federal judges... are we seeing a pattern here...?

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I'm sorry but, please, how nauseating...!

rove, the political master of dirty tricks, defends delay, the political master of rotten ethics...???? ~excuses himself to go toss his cookies~
When Trent Lott speaks, the White House listens.

Lott resigned as Senate majority leader in 2002 after George W. Bush criticized him for reminiscing about the good ol' days of segregation. But over the weekend, Lott lectured the Bush White House about the need to show some "aggressive support" for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

So here comes Karl Rove. Bush's political strategist and Social Security mastermind made his way to CNN Monday, where he announced for all the world to see the White House's "strong support" for Tom DeLay. "He's a good man," Rove said, "a close ally of this administration."

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'Dirty war' officer found guilty

it's only taken 22 goddam friggin' years to get anybody involved in that horrid episode to justice...

An Argentine ex-naval officer has been convicted in Spain of crimes against humanity and given 640 years in prison.

Adolfo Scilingo, 58, bowed his head in court after being found to have been on board planes from which 30 people were thrown to their deaths.

The offences were committed during Argentina's "dirty war" - the period of military rule between 1976 and 1983.

The trial in Spain was the first under new laws allowing local prosecution for crimes committed in another country.

Relatives of some of Argentina's "disappeared" hugged each other in the Madrid courtroom when they heard the verdict.

A man in the gallery shouted: "Murderer, rot in jail."

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Ratzinger is elected as new pope

this is NOT AT ALL good news...

[T]he BBC's William Horsley in Rome says his papacy is sure to continue John Paul II's strongly traditional interpretation of the Catholic faith, including opposition to abortion, homosexuality, priestly marriage and women priests.

yep, and THAT'S why he wanted the job... so much for any hope of the vatican getting the kink out of its knickers...

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Ugly business

(see post, Gen. Sanchez Approved Torture Techniques on September 14, 2003)

god, i wish this horrible stuff would be thoroughly investigated, put out for public viewing and the accountable people dealt with appropriately... however, i'm afraid it's going to keep on leaking out like this for years to come... neither lbj nor mcnamara had to face the music over the bombing of cambodia as they should have and that's probably the way this will pan out too...
Army intelligence officials in Iraq developed and circulated "wish lists" of harsh interrogation techniques they hoped to use on detainees in August 2003, including tactics such as low-voltage electrocution, blows with phone books and using dogs and snakes -- suggestions that some soldiers believed spawned abuse and illegal interrogations.

The discussions, which took place in e-mail messages between interrogators and Army officials in Baghdad, were used in part to develop the interrogation rules of engagement approved by Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, then commander of U.S. troops in Iraq. Two specific cases of abuse in Iraq occurred soon after.

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Monday, April 18, 2005

Dr. Albert Einstein

today, april 18, is the anniversary of einstein's death in 1955... this is from the guardian's 'in memoriam' article...
He was in all circumstances endlessly considerate for the position and problems of others. And with all this it is still difficult to say what made him so beloved, so simply accepted on trust, by an endless number of people everywhere. One can only say that it is itself a tribute to the decency of the mass of the people everywhere who recognised and loved goodness in a man above all other things.

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Harris poll - Bush tanking

[T]he president's job ratings have fallen to 44 percent positive, 56 percent negative, the worst numbers of his presidency, and a drop from 48 percent positive, 51 percent negative in February (and 50% positive, 49% negative last November).

aw, stop it, i'm gonna cry...

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Argentina - 0 IMF - 0

in the continuing telenovela on the argentine debt swap...

the buenos aires herald in an article entitled "partners after all," reports that argentine economic minister roberto lavagna met with imf managing director rodrigo de rato yesterday...

Argentina and the International Monetary Fund are entering "a stage of normality" following the country’s restructuring of its mammoth 100 billion dollar debt in default, IMF managing-director Rodrigo de Rato (photo) said after a meeting with Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna yesterday. De Rato noted, however, that the government of President Néstor Kirchner still has to look into "a strategy" to cater for the 24 percent of bondholders who did not accept the swap, known in the financial markets as the holdouts.

this is from the text of de rato's press conference on april 14...
When we are saying that the Argentine authorities have to put forward a realistic approach or realistic strategy regarding the unrestructured debt, it just means, of course, a strategy that will take into account, first of all, the amount of debt that has not been restructured and, the other, that whatever the solution is to that debt, it will have to be both in the scenario of the debt sustainability analysis and also in the framework of the lending into arrears policy of the Fund.

ok, that all seems to jive... but...
Argentina insists it will not engage in new talks with debt holdouts.

partners...? did somebody blink and i missed it...? the financial times, after noting the imfc's statement, then quotes lavagna and adds an interesting comment..

The International Monetary and Financial Committee, the IMF's governing body, issued a statement following its spring meeting at the weekend, calling on Argentina to come up with “a strategy to resolve the remaining arrears outstanding to private creditors”. [...]
Roberto Lavagna, Argentina's economy minister, immediately responded, issuing a statement that said: “Argentina does not accept discriminatory action or demands in regards to debt restructuring.” [...] Some officials present at the IMFC meeting expressed surprise that the committee agreed to make the strong demands in its statement that requires unanimous approval from its members. Its 24 members are drawn from developed and developing countries, but the statement suggests they have all lost patience with Argentina.

well...! partners, eh...? it also sounds like this is going to continue to play out for a while... again, from the ft...
But real force is only likely to be applied when Argentina seeks a new loan agreement from the IMF, which will not happen before the country's congressional elections in October.

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You wanna talk about gas...? See us first... pt. 2

i posted on this the other day, a tidbit i picked up from the karachi english-language daily, dawn... why do we insist on telling everybody else what they can and can't do...? it sure isn't earning us any friends (citizens in twenty out of twenty-three countries would like to see Europe become more influential than the United States in world affairs)...
India's foreign minister visited Washington last week and met with President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other top officials to discuss a range of mutual interests, from countering China's strategic clout to promoting economic growth and resolving tensions between India and Pakistan. Unfortunately, the Bush administration's obsession with Iran threatens to block a major initiative that could advance many of those goals.

the nyt neglected to note that the pakistan prime minister's adviser on finance and revenue Dr. Salman Shah was there as well and got the same line - "tough..."

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