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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 05/08/2005 - 05/15/2005
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Tracking the Theoligarchy - RAT-zinger & "Fast-Track" Sainthood

i debated at first about including the catholic church, the papacy and the newly-elevated RAT-zinger in the theoligarchy category but, on further thought, it seems like a perfect fit... after all, the "rule of the few" amd the "rule of the 'divinely guided'" certainly applies as does the ease of changing the rules whenever the mood strikes... case in point...

[Pope Benedict XVI] on Friday announced he was lifting the mandatory five-year waiting period for the start of the process toward beatification [of John Paul II], the last formal step before possible canonization.


[F]or beatification, a miracle, attributed to John Paul's intercession after his death, must . . . be declared authentic after a Vatican-appointed panel of medical experts rule out any worldly explanation for the healing.

what would be the advantage for RAT-zinger to proceed with a fast-track beatification and canonization process for jpII...? vatican spin says it's due to the outpouring of affection for the late pontiff and the belief that miracles attributed to him will be validated... my cynical take is that it's a way for the rat-man to deflect focus on himself and what is going to be his heavy-handed imposition of rules and dogma like we've already seen in the removal of the editor of america magazine and the condemnation of the spanish government bill allowing marriage between homosexuals....

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Tracking the Theoligarchy - a continuing series

it's outta control... all over the country, stuff like this is going on, not like we didn't already know... and you can bet this is only the tip of the iceberg...

An authorized investigation by the Yale Divinity School and local news reports documented numerous instances of pressure on [Air Force Academy] cadets to adopt Christian beliefs and practices.


It is time for the higher chain of command to deproselytize this institution of national defense.

once again, keep in mind, the afa is located in my (disowned) town, colorado springs, also home to dobson's hate group, focus on the family...

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Re-affirmation of Bolton support from the WH

once again, i am hoping that, by their blind insistence on pushing this monstrosity's nomination, the reality of the bush/cheney/rove axis of evil will become ever more clear to the american public...

The White House on Friday renewed its defense of John R. Bolton, President Bush's choice for ambassador to the United Nations, urging the Senate to confirm him quickly.

once again, let me suggest that, for the best in-depth analysis available on the bolton matter, stay in touch with steve clemon's washington note...

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Act locally...

tired of the same old junk science from bushco...? ready to believe the evidence of your own eyes...? wondering how much longer the antarctic ice shelf is going to last...? it's time to take matters into your own hands just as 132 mayors in cities across the country are doing...

[The] mayors have joined a bipartisan coalition to fight global warming on the local level, in an implicit rejection of the administration's policy.

The mayors, from cities as liberal as Los Angeles and as conservative as Hurst, Tex., represent nearly 29 million citizens in 35 states, according to [Seattle] Mayor [Greg] Nickels's office. They are pledging to have their cities meet what would have been a binding requirement for the nation had the Bush administration not rejected the Kyoto Protocol: a reduction in heat-trapping gas emissions to levels 7 percent below those of 1990, by 2012.

there's nothing quite as debilitating as the feeling of powerlessness and nothing quite as exhilarating as reclaiming it...

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Funny - like Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" is funny

Start a War, No Money Down!

With "The Republican Guide to Wartime Tax Cuts," you can find out what's in the playbook of Republican professionals. You'll get the war you want without laying out a dime, even as you benefit from huge tax cuts to boot (note: certain income thresholds apply).

And here's the kicker: you can slip the bill for all of this - both the war and your tax cut - to unsuspecting children!



I never felt strong enough to utterly ignore Judeo-Christian ethics, even though I suspected that could get me the life I dreamed of. That's why "The Republican Guide" is so inspiring.


WARNING: Support for the Republicans' wartime fiscal policy may include such side effects as 50 million uninsured, crumbling roads and bridges, and swelling inequality. If you are concerned about any of these symptoms, please call Dr. Howard Dean.

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Friday, May 13, 2005

Update on Argentina and the IMF

Argentina, which is trying to finalize a mammoth sovereign debt restructuring, has asked the IMF to let it postpone repayment of some maturing debt, a spokesman said yesterday. "Argentine authorities have made a request for the extension of repurchase expectations (into obligation)," [IMF] spokesman Thomas Dawson told a regular press briefing. [...] "This will be considered by the executive board in due course," he added. It was reported on Wednesday that the government had decided to postpone payments totalling US$1.45 billion coming due this year because of tight cash flow.
Dawson declined to elaborate.

i'm looking for the story on the decision of the new york state courts on the bonds held by u.s. investors that were not tendered for the debt swap that closed in february... that is quite relevant to what's going on with the imf... when i find it, i will post. it...

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Can you imagine the reaction here if a Bible was flushed down the toilet...?

saudi arabia is understandably pissed and with protests expanding from afghanistan to pakistan and civil war apparently underway in iraq, it looks like all our efforts to drain the swamp have left us up to our collective assholes in alligators...

"The government of Saudi Arabia is closely following, with indignation, media reports of desecration of the holy Koran at Guantanamo," a statement carried by the official news agency said. [...] Saudi Arabia "appeals to the concerned American authorities to carry out a quick investigation in the matter". [...] At least seven people have died in Afghanistan in anti-American protests sparked by the reports.

it's spreading fast too...

Angry protests raged across the Muslim world from Indonesia to Gaza on Friday over a report that U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay had desecrated the Koran, with calls for retaliation and a rising death toll. [...] The unrest spread to Pakistan, which called for a U.S. probe.


Newsweek, in its May 9 edition, quoted sources as saying that investigators probing abuses at the military prison had found that interrogators "had placed Korans on toilets, and in at least one case flushed a holy book down the toilet."

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Conyers is definitely doing some heavy lifting

i gain more admiration for rep. john conyers every day... he is not letting things rest... even if nothing comes from his tireless efforts, they are still the efforts that need to be made...

Congressman John Conyers will be issuing a letter cosigned by roughly 50 House members calling for a special prosecutor to investigate claims that the U.S. has violated the War Crimes Act at secret detention facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.

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Tracking the Theoligarchy - Fred Phelps reaches out - again

fred phelps, pastor of the westboro baptist church in topeka, kansas, is back in the news, exporting hate from the sunflower state, this time to massachusetts...

A flier from the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka singles out a Women in History essay written by a 12-year-old student who chose DeGeneres as her subject. The invective-laden leaflet includes a photo of the Englesby School and a grotesque devil. The diatribe attacks the staff, labeling it a “homo-fascist regime,” among other things.

phelps, you may remember, gained a special place in the ranks of the damned when he led his flock to the funeral of matthew shepard, the 21-year-old wyoming man who was murdered in an anti-gay hate crime in 1998... phelps and his supporters stood across the street from the church shouting at the mourners and holding signs that read, “matthew is in hell...” as a parent, my heart ached for matthew's parents for not only having to endure a senseless tragedy but also for having to face that kind of scum in their time of grief... now what kind of hell are they going to put a 12 year-old girl through...?

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we need a word that captures the guts of what's happening... my humble proposal... THEOLIGARCHY...

Pronunciation: 'ä-l&-"gär-kE, 'O-
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -chies
1 : government by the few
2 : a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes; also : a group exercising such control

Pronunciation: thE-'ä-kr&-sE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -cies
Etymology: Greek theokratia, from the- + -kratia -cracy
1 : government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided
2 : a state governed by a theocracy

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Tracking the Theoligarchy

it seems to be coming at us from all quarters... my (disowned) home town, host to the air force academy, may well become the new nation's capital...

[Y]ou overlook at your own peril that the head of the Republican Party is now the Reverend James Dobson of Colorado Spring(sic), Colorado.

if i may add, you overlook at your own peril that dobson's chief of staff is karl rove... you can be sure karl was working the phone hard over bolton and is doing the same over the upcoming confrontation on the judicial nominations and the nuclear option... poor george voinovich...

President Bush called the dissenting Republican, Senator George V. Voinovich of Ohio, on Wednesday, the day before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on which Mr. Voinovich serves, was to take up the [Bolton] nomination. [...] Karl Rove, the president's powerful political adviser, and Andrew H. Card Jr., the chief of staff, also called to chat with Mr. Voinovich in recent weeks.

i will reprint this karl rove quote over and over and over again because i think it's important to know your enemy... it captures the essence of the man and the fanatical intensity of the effort to subjugate the country to an ideology that will forever alter the very essence of our country...

Rove was talking to an aide about some political stratagem in some state that had gone awry and a political operative who had displeased him. [...] "We will fuck him. Do you hear me? We will fuck him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever fucked him!" [...] This went on without a break for a minute or two. Then the aide slipped out looking a bit ashen, and Rove, his face ruddy from the exertions of the past few moments, looked at me and smiled a gentle, Clarence-the-Angel smile. "Come on in." And I did. And we had the most amiable chat for a half hour.

every time i read this, cold chills run up and down my spine... even tho' i could easily be accused of my own foray into extreme statements, i truly believe we are dealing with evil here...

back to colorado springs and the air force academy...

An Air Force chaplain who complained [Capt. MeLinda Morton, a Lutheran minister] that evangelical Christians were trying to "subvert the system" by winning converts among cadets at the Air Force Academy was removed from administrative duties last week. [...] Mikey Weinstein of Albuquerque, a 1977 academy graduate who said he has repeatedly complained to the Air Force brass about the "religious pressure" on cadets. "This is not Christian versus Jew," Weinstein said. "This is the evangelical Christians against everybody else."

just in case you may have forgotten, the air force academy and focus on the family, james dobson's hate organization, are both located in colorado springs...

[L]ast year Scott Lee Jr., Wal-Mart's chief executive, was paid $17.5 million. That is, every two weeks Mr. Lee was paid about as much as his average employee will earn in a lifetime.

for those who take offense at obscenity, THAT is obscene... in our society where social darwinism is now the rule, it's about time we started using the right word to describe mr. lee and his kind - oligarch...

Pronunciation: 'ä-l&-"gär-kE, 'O-
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -chies
1 : government by the few
2 : a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes; also : a group exercising such control

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Thursday, May 12, 2005

Let's take good news where we find it...

A judge's decision to throw out Nebraska's ban on gay marriage was barely an hour old before the cry went up for a national prohibition on same-sex marriage.

The decision Thursday to overturn Nebraska's same-sex marriage ban - adopted overwhelmingly by voters in 2000 - was a first in the nation by a federal judge.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon of Omaha said the ban went far beyond gay marriage and deprived gays and lesbians of basic rights, including the right to participate in the political process.

He also said the ban known as Initiative 416 was motivated, in part, by an "irrational fear" of and "animus" toward homosexuals.

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning promised to appeal the ruling, noting that 70 percent of Nebraska voters favored of the ban.

"This is a battle that will be won or lost on appeal, not at the district court level," Bruning said.

A national group that opposes gay marriage said the Nebraska case was a perfect example of why a national ban is needed.

"irrational fear" and "animus" toward homosexuals... that sums it up just fine...

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DSCC ad on Frist and Delay


these two clowns need the hook... they don't deserve the responsibilities of their office... seeing them shoulder-to-shoulder in one picture is enough to gag a maggot... the dscc put together an ad that pretty much nails it...

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Gee, nobody saw THIS coming... S-u-u-u-re...

An unchastened insurgency sowed devastation across Iraq Wednesday as experts here said the country is either on the verge of civil war or already in the middle of it.

sayin', "i told you so," over something like this is soooo lame... look at what we've done... this is OUR handiwork... just like powell said, "we broke it..."

"It's just political rhetoric to say we are not in a civil war. We've been in a civil war for a long time," said Pat Lang, the former top Middle East intelligence official at the Pentagon.

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Ok, he's going to the floor... Let's make sure he gets killed there...

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee declined to give its backing to Mr Bolton, who has been plagued by charges of bullying and arrogance. A key Republican senator [Republican senator George Voinovich] said Mr Bolton was the wrong man for the job.

the "wrong man for the job..." he's the "wrong man" for just about any damn thing you can think of... the sheer, untrammeled gall of dubya for even nominating the s-o-b boggles the mind...

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Sympathy from the NYT on lost United pensions - too little too late...

Sadly, it's too late to offer relief to the burned United employees. But their plight should compel Congress to learn the right lessons and take the necessary steps to protect Americans' pensions.


i can tell you precisely
where you were... cluck-clucking over the pilots' contract demands (which, although admittedly over the top, were nonetheless symptomatic of the rotten core of that pathetic excuse for a corporation) instead of doing the kind of in-depth journalism that MIGHT ACTUALLY EARN YOUR PLACE AS THE TOP NEWSPAPER IN THE U.S... you sorry bastards...!

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Still on the road, watchin' things run OFF the road...

i'm sitting at a coffee shop in duluth, minnesota, looking east over lake superior on a cold (hey, it's DULUTH!), gray, windy day... the trees are just beginning to leaf out and don't look any too happy about it either... it's the kind of day that defines the term "raw" when applied to weather...

"raw" pretty well sums up the current climate of the country too... biting chill, gray, stunted vitality, hope for the bright, nourishing sun buried under not-quite-winter jackets... somewhere, people are cheerful - but not in mudville...

tons of things continue to evolve and some seem to be careening right off the road...


i suppose we could have seen THIS one coming but, once again, if it doesn't draw ratings or please the administration, it's just not likely we're gonna hear about emerging news until it blows up all over the front page... nuance...? we don't need no stinkin' nuance...

Four protesters were killed and more than 60 injured Wednesday in the eastern city of Jalalabad as the police and troops struggled to contain the worst anti-American demonstrations in Afghanistan in the more than three years since the fall of the Taliban. At least a dozen buildings in Jalalabad were ransacked and burned during the anti-United States protest. Students in Jalalabad protested a reported desecration of a Koran. Government officials said the violence appeared to have been planned and that religious hard-liners and armed men had usurped what had started as a student protest.

afghanistan...? oh, yeah... i remember... don't we still have some troops there...?

The United States and other countries have forcibly sent dozens of terror suspects to Egypt, according to a report released Wednesday by Human Rights Watch. The rights group and the State Department have both said Egypt regularly uses extreme interrogation methods on detainees.

accountability...? how about shame...? how about any kind of acknowledgement...? how about hypocrisy...? how about disgust...? how about some trace of humanity...? WHAT IS HAPPENING TO US...?

[A] recent report from the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston tells us that the employment rate for the nation's teenagers in the first 11 months of 2004 - just 36.3 percent - was the lowest it has ever been since the federal government began tracking teenage employment in 1948. [...] "Younger workers," said Andrew Sum, the center's director, "have just been crushed."

yeah, and here's the dirty little hunk of reality that everyone of us in the country oughta be gagging on... the same ugly hairball that united airlines is using on its employees as i type this...

Workers have been so cowed by an environment in which they are so obviously dispensable that they have been afraid to ask for the raises they deserve, or for their share of the money derived from the remarkable increases in worker productivity over the past few years. And from one coast to the other, workers have swallowed draconian cuts in benefits with scarcely a whimper. [...] Some segments of the population have been all but completely frozen out. In Chicago, only one of every 10 black teenagers found employment in 2004. In Illinois, fewer than one in every three teenage high school dropouts are working.

but bushco will continue to do the happy dance cuz, after all, the ones who truly deserve to do well are prospering quite nicely, thank you...

[W]ealth and power in the United States has become ever more dangerously concentrated, leaving an entire generation of essentially powerless workers largely at the mercy of employers. A remark by Louis Brandeis comes to mind: "We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few. But we can't have both."

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

I think Bolton's toast

let me re-phrase that... i SINCERELY HOPE bolton's toast...

[W]hy was the United States so shockingly unprepared when the [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] treaty came up for its five-year review at a major conference in New York this month, in the view of many delegates? And why has the United States been losing control of the conference’s agenda this week to Iran and other countries—a potentially serious setback to U.S. efforts to isolate Tehran?

Part of the answer, several sources close to the negotiations tell NEWSWEEK, lies with [John]Bolton, the undersecretary of State for arms control. Since last fall Bolton, Bush’s embattled nominee to be America’s ambassador to the United Nations, has aggressively lobbied for a senior job in the second Bush administration. During that time, Bolton did almost no diplomatic groundwork for the NPT conference, these officials say.

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Lots out there on Bolton [UPDATE] [MORE UPDATE]

i'm trying to catch up on all the bolton developments... it looks like it's been a busy morning... the nyt has a big piece and steve clemons has the analysis to help make sense out of it... visit the links and i'll catch up myself later...


steve's post a link to another blog that's posting some very good, relevant, in-depth anaylsys...


i repeat, steve clemons is doing a world-class job and some incredibly heavy lifting keeping on top of the bolton nomination... steve's material not only deserves to be read regularly and thoroughly but also should be shared far and wide... nothing else comes close... tenet's medal of freedom award should be retracted and given to steve clemons, IMHO...

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How many ways can you get screwed...? Ask United Airlines...

A bankruptcy judge last night approved United Airlines' request to terminate its pension plans, clearing the way for the largest corporate pension default in history. [...] The decision means that employees could lose between 20 and 50 percent of the value of their pensions, according to estimates by labor leaders.

i worked for this miserable excuse for a corporation for over 7 years during which time i learned more about trench-warfare than i would have ever thought possible... the one bright spot was the reasonably large nest-egg i was building from the stock awarded to "employee-owners..." cutting to the chase, come 9/11, i was shown the door... on my birthday, 2002, united declared bankruptcy, wiping out what had, at one time, been over $40K of my money... in early 2003, i filed for retirement to claim the pension i had accrued and have been collecting the pitiful monthly amount ever since... now, guess what...?

and, if my story is sad, god help those who are still working there...


United executives have repeatedly said that any type of strike would be illegal and would violate the Railway Labor Act. Last week, the airline warned workers that if they strike, they could be fired.

and, ya know what...? those sons-of-bitches that run that company would like nothing better than to fire all their asses... to quote stephen wolf, a former united ceo, when he was in contract negotiation with baggage handlers, "We can train monkeys to load bags!"

ok... enough of that... now let's talk about privatizing social security...

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where to start...? how about dear leader...

the litany of bad news is so extensive, i am having trouble figuring out where to start... for the moment, let's just stick with dear leader...


President Bush told tens of thousands of cheering Georgians packed into the city's Freedom Square on Tuesday that the United States would stand with Georgia, a former Soviet republic, as it built its YOUNG democracy, and then pointedly he warned President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia that the sovereignty of Georgia "must be respected by all nations."

how about sticking your neo-con, spread-democracy- throughout-the-world crap where the sun don't shine, get your ass back here and start looking at the havoc you're wreaking with this OLD democracy...?

Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) . . . has said the right to filibuster must remain intact and President Bush must withdraw three of his most contentious appellate court nominees.

ya think bush'll do it...? ya think pigs fly...? for this guy, it's strictly his way or the highway... sure, we talk a lot about the horror and lasting consequences of frist exercising the nuclear option but we mustn't forget that the boy emperor nominated those right-wing nutcases in the first (AND SECOND!) place...

The Senate gave final passage yesterday to an $82 billion emergency war-spending bill, sending President Bush a measure that will push the cost of the Iraq invasion well past $200 billion. [...] [T]he Pentagon has now been allocated about $100 billion for war costs, 45 percent more than last year. That total is nearly 30 percent of the $350 billion deficit the federal government is projected to run this year.

and there's no end in sight... and if this isn't enough to inspire cold chills, the article headline uses the plural... "Congress Approves $82 Billion for WAR(S)..." meanwhile, as the money flows to iraq and dubya is wowing 'em in tblisi...

The Bush administration denies that Medicaid is being cut, arguing that its rate of growth is being slowed. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said specific proposals to curb spending were designed to curtail abusive and wasteful practices that have increased the federal match paid to state governments. "This is not a discussion about cutting. Anybody who would suggest that we are cutting would not be reflecting the real dollar reality," Mr. Leavitt said.

bushco will SAY anything, LIE, DENY, do anything and everything it takes to accomplish their agenda which is nothing than wiping out all social programs and privatizing all government functions...

Critics argue that society's weakest will be most at risk. [...] In going after Medicaid, political analysts said Republican congressional leaders picked a program whose low-income beneficiaries were relatively less politically active. "The poor and the disadvantaged do not vote," said Rogan Kersh, a political science professor at Syracuse University who follows health-care issues.

sometimes, keeping up with the escalating nightmare of the bush administration is almost more than the psyche can tolerate... the walls are definitely closing in...

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Tuesday, May 10, 2005


sorry... sometimes i just can't help myself...
so sue me...

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Arianna starts off with a bang - and maybe a BOOM!

certainly this story has been gathering steam over the past months but i don't think it's ever been stated quite so baldly... i guess what attracts me most to the story (my personal bias is showing here) is seeing that finger pointing squarely at karl "ve-haf-our-vays" rove...

We know that margins for error are valid, and that results have fallen within the error range for every Presidential election for the past fifty years prior to last fall. NEVER have exit polls varied by beyond-error margins in a single state, not since 1948 when this kind of polling began. In this past election it happened in ten states, all of them swing states, all of them in Bush's favor. Coincidence? Of course not.

Karl Rove isn't capable of conceiving and executing such a grandiose crime? Wake up. They did it. The silence of traditional media on this subject is enough to establish their newfound bankruptcy. The revolution will have to start here.

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Cheney smiling... asshole...

i am sitting here in the gate area of dfw, catching up on the day after a very, very early start and what's the first thing i see...? CHENEY CASE DISMISSED...! holy fucking shit...! excuse the profanity but for god's sake, WHERE is this country going...? the fucking vp gets to pull together a bunch of industry fat cats and solicit their input on how OUR fucking energy policy should be crafted...!!! i've been dumbfounded so many times over the unbelievable shit this administration pulls that i don't think i have the strength to be dumbfounded any more but i hoped that some wise judge would see fit to let US know WHO formulated OUR ENERGY POLICY... god... god... ~sputters uncontrollably~
A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday threw out a lawsuit that sought details about Vice President Dick Cheney's 2001 energy policy task force that critics say secretly formed policy favorable to the industry.

The unanimous ruling ordered a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit by the Sierra Club environmental group and the watchdog group Judicial Watch that sought to learn about contacts between task force members and industry executives.

"We hold that plaintiffs have failed to establish any duty, let alone a clear and indisputable duty, owed to them by the federal government" under the law in question, the Federal Advisory Committee Act, Judge A. Raymond Randolph wrote in the 13-page ruling.

All eight judges on the appeals court sided with the Bush administration and agreed the lawsuit must be dismissed.

"In making decisions on personnel and policy, the president must be free to seek confidential information from many sources, both inside the government and outside," Randolph said.

s-u-u-u-u-re they do... no matter WHOSE interests they represent... GODDAMIT...!! GODDAMIT...!

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Monday, May 09, 2005

Morton Halperin on John Bolton

(from foreign policy)
[T]he core of what [John Bolton] believes totally repudiates the notion that the basic objective of U.S. policy should be to build international institutions and international law that, over time, make the United States and the world more secure. He believes that idea is fundamentally misguided. It’s a legitimate intellectual position, but a person holding that view cannot be an effective U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

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"You shouldn't mess with the people, because the people are tough."

so says "amlo" (Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador), the mexico city mayor who says he's stepping down from his post effective july 31 in order to concentrate on his campaign...


this is a very important story-in-progress for a whole host of reasons... i wrote a lengthy post the other day on some of the challenges mexico is facing and offered some reasons why vicente fox's performance in office has been so disappointing...

you can bet the bushies (and probably some of the old-line establishment democrats as well) aren't very happy at a leftist/socialist/populist, front-running presidential candidate grabbing headlines around the globe over a full year in advance of the mexican elections... it's going to be a very interesting campaign...

"I have decided to participate in the primary elections, to represent my party, should voters so decide, as candidate for the presidency," he said.

He pledged to embark on a whistle-stop tour across the country, visiting every electoral district by overland transport in a "low-cost campaign".

and let's not forget what happened to a previous popular, populist, mexican presidential candidate...
In the early evening of 23 March 1994, at a campaign rally in Lomas Taurinas, a poor neighborhood of Tijuana, [Luis Donaldo] Colosio was shot in the head from a distance of a few centimeters. He collapsed, and was subsequently rushed to the city's main hospital. His death was announced a few hours later.

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Not Learned...? NO...! (duh...)

break out the smelling salts... ~fans self rapidly with hand~ i'm growing faint with shock...

Gay men's brains respond differently from those of heterosexual males when exposed to a sexual stimulus, researchers have found. The homosexual men's brains responded more like those of women when the men sniffed a chemical from the male hormone testosterone.

"It is one more piece of evidence ... that is showing that sexual orientation is not all learned," said Sandra Witelson, an expert on brain anatomy and sexual orientation at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.

ok, dobson, robertson, and all the rest o'ya... c'mon... let's hear it and get it over with...

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A "heavy hitter" hits Bolton over the fence...

SusanHu at kos and booman tribune has posted a truly incredible accounting of john bolton's nefarious ways chronicled by one of the staunchest of conservatives (jude wanniski - bio) in an open letter to sen. lugar urging the defeat of his nomination... it takes all the pieces and fits them together in a most enlightening and thoroughly appalling way, pointing out what has only been shadowed previously - that bolton is not only a cheney favorite but also a protégé of richard perle and a strong ally of paul wolfowitz (the wolf in sheep's clothing now heading the world bank)...

a few bottom line excerpts follow... it's heavy stuff and you don't have to be a conspiracy theorist to grasp the fact that this country has been undergoing a quiet, incremental, but very serious coup d'etat for some time...


Memo To: Richard Lugar, Chairman, Senate Foreign Relations
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: An Anti-Diplomat at the U.N.?

Dear Senator, you’ve known me for more than 30 years, from your days as Mayor of Indianapolis and my days as associate editor of The Wall Street Journal. When I tell you John Bolton is a true force of darkness, you can be sure I do not do so lightly. “Darkness” in this sense is the absence of light and Bolton is a protégé of Richard Perle, who has been known for decades in Washington as “The Prince of Darkness.” They are both masters of misinformation, believing that their “just cause” gives them the right, even the responsibility, to make the facts and intelligence fit their personal political objectives. They’re patriots and I would never say they are not. But it is not in their nature to be straight, and both men will always advise the use of force rather than bother with diplomacy. They loath and despise the United Nations. When President Bush asked John Bolton if he has respect for the U.N., Bolton said he did, but remember he is a force of darkness and will always say what he believes will advance his personal goals.

I’ve been watching Bolton from a distance from the earliest days of the administration, knowing of his associations with Perle and the neo-cons at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), which I have long characterized as the HQ of what President Eisenhower called “the military-industrial complex.”


[D]o the President a real favor and allow the nomination to fail. Bolton can always get a job at AEI.

i don't think there's any mistaking mr. wanniski's depth of feeling...

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Condi stonewalls on Bolton information [UPDATE]

once again, the arrogance of power and the blind determination of the cheney/bush/rove axis of evil to insure that ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING goes their way even if it means tacitly supporting verbal and emotional abuse and the potential destruction of the u.s. relationship with the u.n...
The State Department is refusing to make public internal documents sought by Senate Democrats in their attempt to seek more information about repeated clashes between John R. Bolton and American intelligence agencies over Syria, administration officials say.

In rejecting the request, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said that the information involves "internal deliberations" and their disclosure could have a chilling effect on debates within the administration.


thanks to think progress, we now know just how far the above-referenced "axis of evil" is prepared to go to get bolton approved... how far is that...? whatever it takes...
The State Department is only responding to requests that are approved by Republicans:

"All we’d done is made sure that what we’ve put forward is in keeping with the agreements that the committee had, which was to pursue this in a joint way. And what we’ve been doing is giving answers to the things that the chairman [Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN)] believes he and his colleagues on the Democratic side can all agree are relevant and important to the investigation."

-U.S. State Department spokesman Tom Casey

i think the "colleagues on the Democratic side" would beg to differ...

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Hurray for Paul Krugman...

just when i think the whole world is going insane, paul krugman comes along and helps me get a grip...
The point is that the privatizers consider four years of policies that relentlessly favored the wealthy a fait accompli, not subject to reconsideration. Now that tax cuts have busted the budget, they want us to accept large cuts in Social Security benefits as inevitable. But they demand that we praise Mr. Bush's sense of social justice, because he proposes bigger benefit cuts for the middle class than for the poor.

Sorry, but no. Mr. Bush likes to play dress-up, but his Robin Hood costume just doesn't fit.

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Now we know what he really thinks...

howard kurtz, writing on the launch of arianna huffington's blog, lets his real feelings about bloggers slip out...

The essence of blogging has been the one-man band, the big mouth in the basement, the pajama-clad pontificator taking on the media establishment.

yeah, there seem to be big mouths everywhere, howie...

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What if...? Yes, indeed... What if...?

i see someone else has been thinking along the same lines i have...

People power's a fine thing for shaking up Eastern Europe and the Middle East, but as it spreads to the Americas, it could be coming uncomfortably close to home. What if people power caught on in the United States? What if accountability was being demanded not just from governments in Kiev and Beirut but also those in London and Washington? The bread and circuses approach to democracy has so far been an effective guarantor of political apathy across America, but what if Americans in large numbers were to one day wake up from their political slumber and demand that they too deserve a truly representative government?

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The Argentina telenovela resumes...

there hasn't been much happening related to argentina and the imf recently but that may be about to change...

An Argentine mission leaves for Washington today to meet tomorrow with authorities of the International Monetary Fund, hoping to hammer out an aid deal that would allow Argentina to roll over 10 billion dollars due through 2007. [...] The government of President Néstor Kirchner decided to suspend the agreement until the country renegotiated 81 billion dollars of debt held by private investors and declared in default in 2001. Argentina and the IMF put their relations in the freezer last September over disagreements with the third review of an agreement reached in September 2003.

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Sunday, May 08, 2005

Tom...! Tom...! Wake up...! TOM...!!

The [House Majority Leader Tom DeLay] recognizes -- belatedly, some GOP colleagues say -- that the latest questions about his relationships with lobbyists are a problem threatening his career and the GOP majority he helped to build and sustain since coming to the House 20 years ago. Everywhere there are signs of a politician in retreat.

ya know, some people ya just gotta hit upside the head with a 2x4...!

Lining up a corporate aircraft to ferry him to an event was usually arranged with a single phone call. These days, Republican officials report that they are having trouble finding available aircraft -- as businesses fret that DeLay may be radioactive.

O-M-G...! don't tell me i'm gonna have to fly COMMERCIAL...!

[T]he majority leader finds himself simultaneously a leading character on the evening news, in the "Doonesbury" comic strip and on "Saturday Night Live."

how far the mighty have fallen...

"He's withdrawn, he's tired, he looks like he's not sleeping," said a Republican aide who has worked closely with DeLay.

how long has it taken for this guy to snap that he's in very deep shit...? lessee... ~counts on fingers~ one, two, three... yeah, THREE ethics admonishments last fall and that was BEFORE the rest of the shit hit the fan... slow learner, obviously...

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Vlad and George, Ron and Harry

A smiling Putin even put Bush behind the wheel of his prized 1956 Volga, a pristine white sedan, and let him take it for a spin around the grounds of his private compound 25 miles west of Moscow. Putin also kidded the president about Laura Bush's recent comedy routine. The happy picture of the two presidents summed up a theme that aides on both sides described — powerful leaders who have a strong relationship and can discuss their disagreements.

doesn't it just bring a smile to your face...!

Vlad and George
Ron and Harry

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Just for chuckles and grins, H-E-E-E-E-E-R-E'S PERVEZ

wikipedia's so cool... everything you need to know about pervez, right here...

Pervez Musharraf
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

General Pervez Musharraf (born August 11, 1943, Delhi, India) became de facto Head of Government (using the title Chief Executive and assuming extensive powers) of Pakistan on October 12, 1999 following a bloodless coup d'état. He assumed the office of President of Pakistan (becoming Head of State) on June 20, 2001.


On May 12, 2000 the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered Musharraf to hold general elections by October 12, 2002. In an attempt to legitimize his presidency and assure its continuance after the approaching restoration of democracy, he held a referendum on April 30, 2002, which extended his presidential term to a period ending five years after the October elections. However, the referendum was boycotted by the majority of Pakistani political groupings, and voter turnout was 30% or below by most estimates.

General elections were held in October, 2002 and a pro-Musharraf party, the PML-Q, won a plurality of the seats in the Parliament. However, parties opposed to Musharraf effectively paralyzed the National Assembly for over a year. The deadlock ended in December 2003, when Musharraf made a deal with the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal party, agreeing to leave the army on December 31, 2004. With that party's support, pro-Musharraf legislators were able to muster the two-thirds supermajority required to pass the Seventeenth Amendment, which retroactively legalized Musharraf's 1999 coup and many of his subsequent decrees.

In a vote of confidence on January 1, 2004, Musharraf won 658 out of 1,170 votes in the Electoral College of Pakistan, and according to Article 41(8) of the Constitution of Pakistan, was "deemed to be elected" to the office of President until October 2007.

On September 15, 2004, Musharraf backed down from his commitment to step down as Army chief, citing circumstances of national necessity that he felt required him to keep both offices.

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Even MORE arms for Pakistan (paid for by the U.S., BTW)

golly, gee... evidently, the u.s. has sold considerably MORE military hardware to pakistan than i reported the other day... instead of what we first thought (a mere 40 air-launched and 20 ground-launched Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles and related materials valued at a trifling $180 million), WE NOW HAVE (TAA-DAAAA!)...

eight P3-C Orion aircraft, six Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems and at least 60 Harpoon Missiles worth a total package of $1.3 BILLION. According to sources, the Pentagon has notified the sale of the aircraft and equipment to the US Congress which is expected to approve it within next thirty days.

and how would you like to pay for that, sir...? cash or credit...?

When asked if the payments would be made from the country’s defence budget, an official said the deal would be paid from the US military assistance for Pakistan. According to the official, the eight P-3C aircraft with T-56 engines and associated equipment and services will cost $970 million.

and a partridge in a pear tree... GODDAM...! that's one hell of a lot of nasty shit paid for by - who else? - thee and me...

p.s. i've been looking to see if i can find india's reaction to all this but haven't turned anything up yet... i'm sure they'll have something to say soon...

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Mexico - one of my favorite topics

litho at kos has an excellent diary today that recaps some important mexican history in the context of what's happening there now with lopez obrador who is, to all appearances, the front-running candidate for mexico's presidency in the 2006 election... a few excerpts and my (somewhat-lengthy) response follow...


[L]ast week, Mexico City mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has pretty much won his political confrontation with rightist president (and erstwhile Bush ally) Vicente Fox. At the moment, AMLO (as the Mexican press refers to Lopez Obrador) is facing no real obstacle to an easy win in next year's presidential election, yet his victory would be much, much more than just a win for his political party, or even a win for the Mexican left. Because of the specific social movement backing Lopez Obrador, a PRD win next year has the potential to fundamentally reshape Mexican politics.


[Obrador] has developed over time a political style that relies on honesty, direct communication, and mass mobilization.

[He] won his confrontation with Fox after hundreds of thousands of average Mexicans participated in a series of massive demonstrations supporting him. Although the PRD leadership claims to lead this movement, it appears to have an element of the spontaneity that characterized 1968 and 1985. The difference today is a political system that actually holds open electoral contests, and a political party that knows how to compete effectively in them.

[Obrador] will win.

Will he control his base? Or will his base control him?

who will control whom is certainly the question... if anybody controls anybody, i don't believe it will be the "base" as litho defines it... the ultimate "base" in mexico is essentially the same as it is in the u.s. - the super-rich - and if obrador can manage to effectively take them on, he will be a national hero of the first magnitude... here's my response as posted on kos...

fox came into office in 2000 with high hopes of making a difference... mexican citizens felt hope for the first time in a long time and his election was viewed as a radical turning point in mexico... yes, fox was seen as a big-business supporter but he had one big thing going for him - he wasn't a member of the pri... but several things conspired to render much of what fox (and the mexican people) wanted to accomplish impossible...

-rooting out the embedded corruption that exists from the top to the bottom of the mexican system is well beyond the control of one man... it is particularly difficult when so many have built their very livelihoods on it... when a traffic patrolman who is paid virtually nothing has to rely on "mordida" to feed and clothe his family, he is not likely to be very interested in anti-corruption rhetoric...

-bush initially made a big deal of buddying up to fox but soon seemed to forget that mexico even existed... when fox attempted to exercise leverage for cross-border issues important to mexico, he was virtually ignored... the mexican people, always alert to the rise and fall of political fortunes, began to dismiss fox as someone with no "cojones..."

-the super-rich continue to run mexico as their personal playground... the amount of mexico's money that rests with a incredibly tiny percentage of the population is staggering... no one, and i mean NO ONE, can do anything that involves making or spending money in mexico without at least tacit clearance from and a cut going to the top - with many other stops along the way... everybody sees this, knows it, laughs about it, groans about it, and feels absolutely powerless to stop it...

the above are just some of the reasons that hundreds of thousands of people participated in the demonstrations supporting lopez obrador... they want desperately to believe that there is hope, that some sort of change is indeed possible... i sincerely hope so too but i am cynical...

obrador, if elected, is going to face very much the same constraints faced by fox only worse where the u.s. is concerned... obrador has already been branded as a "leftist-socialist" by the washington demagogues and is going to find it difficult to gain an ear... this will make it tough for someone leading a country that is so intimately tied to the u.s...

if issues around illegal immigration and the porous u.s.-mexican border heat up sufficiently in the u.s. to where the border is either partially or completely sealed, obrador (or any mexican president) will have a major crisis on his hands in very short order... one thing that's often missed in discussion of immigration and border issues in the u.s. is that immigration to the u.s. has always provided a safety valve for mexico... closing the border could rapidly result in major internal unheaval...

the super-rich in mexico have no intentions of relinquishing their strangehold on power and money... the only reason obrador has been as successful as he has is that running his feifdom, mexico city, is largely irrelevant to their concerns... that will change dramatically if obrador is elected... the super-rich no doubt already have a plan in place to neutralize obrador and to be sure that he will have minimal impact on their fortunes...

my recollection, when i was running my shop in mexico, is of hearing a parade going by outside... i asked my mexican friend what it was... he said he didn't know but he would find out... he came back a few minutes later and announced it was constitution day... "we're celebrating 80 years of bad government..." but that doesn't mean they can't hope... personally, i hope obrador gets elected...

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Al-qaeda "3d in Command..." NOT...

oh, i do love it... atrios' guest blogger, Attaturk, has the definitive take on yet another major non-event of the bush reign...

1. Something Happens.

2. Spin immediately and hard that it is the greatest thing EVER!

3. Say it is because of Dear Leader.

4. Move on to next over-the-top declaration of Dear Leader's greatness before anyone notices what happened is not the greatest thing ever, but actually made little or no difference and may have even made things worse.

5. Blather, Rinse, Repeat!

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One paper - two views

i have to laugh... here's the nyt, in a sunday edition editorial, harrumphing about blogger ethics and suggesting that perhaps

"the most prominent blogs with the highest traffic shouldn't hold themselves to the same high standards to which they hold other media . . . [and that] . . . the real reason for an ethical upgrade is that it is the right way to do journalism"

then we have frank rich, same edition, observing that

"Infotainment has reached a new level of ubiquity in an era in which 'reality' television and reality have become so blurred that it's hard to know if ABC News's special investigating "American Idol" last week was real journalism about a fake show or fake journalism about a real show or whether anyone knows the difference - or cares."

admittedly, blogs are an emerging medium and the concept of citizen journalism is emerging right along with them... what the nyt conveniently chooses to ignore is the all-important question - WHY are the blogs taking off...? WHY are so many folks, myself included, spurning the msm and searching for news (and truth?) in alternative media...? could it be that facts, truth, objectivity, news, solid journalism, and credibility have gone missing from the msm...? oh, did i mention ethics...? oops...

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