Blog Flux Directory Subscribe in NewsGator Online Subscribe with Bloglines Blog directory
And, yes, I DO take it personally: 06/12/2005 - 06/19/2005
Mandy: Great blog!
Mark: Thanks to all the contributors on this blog. When I want to get information on the events that really matter, I come here.
Penny: I'm glad I found your blog (from a comment on Think Progress), it's comprehensive and very insightful.
Eric: Nice site....I enjoyed it and will be back.
nora kelly: I enjoy your site. Keep it up! I particularly like your insights on Latin America.
Alison: Loquacious as ever with a touch of elegance -- & right on target as usual!
"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."
- Noam Chomsky
Send tips and other comments to:

And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, June 18, 2005

The Downing Street Memo hole gets deeper

the hits just keep on comin'... this is from the ap who seems to display a little more chutzpah in their reporting on this issue than the nyt or wapo... 'bout time, i say... (thanks to john at americablog...)
When Prime Minister Tony Blair's chief foreign policy adviser dined with Condoleezza Rice six months after Sept. 11, the then-U.S. national security adviser didn't want to discuss Osama bin Laden or al-Qaida. She wanted to talk about "regime change" in Iraq, setting the stage for the U.S.-led invasion more than a year later.

President Bush wanted Blair's support, but British officials worried the White House was rushing to war, according to a series of leaked secret Downing Street memos that have renewed questions and debate about Washington's motives for ousting Saddam Hussein.

In one of the memos, British Foreign Office political director Peter Ricketts openly asks whether the Bush administration had a clear and compelling military reason for war.

"U.S. scrambling to establish a link between Iraq and al-Qaida is so far frankly unconvincing," Ricketts says in the memo. "For Iraq, `regime change' does not stack up. It sounds like a grudge between Bush and Saddam."

The documents confirm Blair was genuinely concerned about Saddam's alleged weapons of mass destruction, but also indicate he was determined to go to war as America's top ally, even though his government thought a pre-emptive attack may be illegal under international law.

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

A father's Father's Day reflection

in today's nyt, an op-ed piece celebrating father's day reflects on daughters and louisa mae alcott's "little women..."
"they need fathers who teach them to think..."

caveat: the following is from a father (me) talking about his daughter...

there's probably nothing i do more than think... it's part of my work, my free time, my spirituality, my life... i was fortunate to be taught how to think early on by some special people to whom i am profoundly grateful... i have tried hard to pass this along to my children because i believe that it may well be the most important skill any of us can have... my daughter, now 22, has embraced her ability to think and has done a remarkable job of using it well in her life... obviously she has a natural capacity but i, along with her two equally thoughtful brothers, can humbly take some credit as well... she is an outstanding human being and will only continue to be more so as her life progresses... i am unspeakably proud of my daughter and my two sons and would never in a million years have traded the opportunity to be a dad...

one word in closing... learning to think is a gift that every parent should provide every child either through direct teaching or by insuring that the means to learn to think are otherwise available... particularly in days like these, rational, independent thought cannot be over-emphasized...

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

New wing at Gitmo: Reserve NOW for low, low pre-construction prices!

A subsidiary of Halliburton [KBR], the oil services group once led by the US Vice-President, Dick Cheney, has won a $30m (£16m) contract to help build a new permanent prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

americablog has some questions... (thanks to chris in paris...)
So does this mean that Bush has no clue about what is happening with Gitmo [or] did he just assume once again that the American public is stupid? ... Funny that I have not yet seen this story in the US MSM but why would we assume they would get the news first on such a story?

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Theoligarchy Watch: Adding the Ten Commandments to the Constitution?

The House of Representatives took a little-noticed but dangerous swipe at the power of the courts this week. It passed an amendment to a budget bill that would bar money from being spent to enforce a federal court ruling regarding the Ten Commandments. [...] Representative John Hostettler, Republican of Indiana, introduced an amendment to [an appropriations bill for the Departments of State, Justice and Commerce] to prohibit any funds from being used to enforce Russelburg v. Gibson County. In that case, a federal court ruled that a courthouse Ten Commandments display violated the First Amendment and had to be removed.

every single day, in countless ways, our constitution, the balance of powers, and the separation of church and state are under assault...

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Jeb: tonto, estupido, idiota

in keeping with my blogging location, i thought i'd direct a few choice words of castellano to the florida shrub... (note: in argentina, they don't speak espanol, they speak castellano and the double "l" - ll - is pronounced as "sh," not "y," so it's cas-ta-'shano rather than cas-ta-'yano...)
Gov. Jeb Bush asked a state prosecutor on Friday to investigate the circumstances of Terri Schiavo's collapse, saying a new autopsy report revealed a possible gap between when Ms. Schiavo fell unconscious and when her husband called paramedics.

"It's a significant question that during this entire ordeal was never brought up," Governor Bush told reporters in Tallahassee after faxing a letter to Bernie McCabe, the state attorney in Pinellas County, where Ms. Schiavo suffered extreme brain damage when her heart temporarily stopped beating in 1990.

all he's trying to do is get back in the good graces of the fundies who believe he let them down by not storming the hospice and rescuing terri schiavo... just another disgusting instance of pandering... another unbelievable chapter in an unbelievably naked political game...

tonto = foolish
estupido and idiota = no translation required

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Uzbekistan repression on the U.S. dime

Uzbek ministries implicated in the deadly crackdown in
Andijon have for years received training from U.S. agencies.

of COURSE, they have...! and you can be sure, that ain't the ONLY place...

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Friday, June 17, 2005

ok, look out, here it comes...

i'm not in a very good mood... besides having to connect via dial-up at 21.6Kbps, there have been other problems off and on all day... the good news is that i'm finally online but even that turned into just more bad news as i've been perusing the headlines and major stories of the past day and a half...

maybe the perspective of nearly 8,000 miles has something to do with it, but i can hardly believe the amount of otherwise perfectly good news space devoted to absolutely nothing of any import whatsoever and this at a time when the media should be leading the charge against one of the most blatantly corrupt, arrogant, out-of-control presidential administrations in the history of the united states... here's yahoo's top headlines as of 6:15 p.m. edt this evening (friday)...

• Iraqi's assets for funding insurgency blocked
• EU leaders fail to reach long-term budget deal
• U.S. bishops to extend ban on abusive priests
• Second copter crashes in NYC in four days
• Ex-Tyco execs could face 30 years in jail
• California man guilty of killing nine kids
• Jackson documents show jury's actions
• McDonald's to sell skateboards in fitness drive

no mention whatsoever that house democrats yesterday were forced to take their/our critically important discussion of bush’s possible impeachment over iraq to the BASEMENT of the Capitol, having been denied hearing-room space by the r's... and if that wasn't enough, the washington post in a repeat performance of the past few days, deemed to cover it by allowing the event to be MOCKED...! read this and tell me if you think anything can possibly justify this kind of treatment of those who are pursuing the very real, very likely possibility that the president of our country KNOWINGLY LIED to the american people as a way of gaining support for the initiation of an illegal war... (robert parry from consortium news...)
The story by political correspondent Dana Milbank drips with a sarcasm that would never be allowed for a report on, say, a conservative gathering or on a topic involving any part of the American political spectrum other than the Left.

“In the Capitol basement yesterday, long-suffering House Democrats took a trip to the land of make-believe,” Milbank wrote. “They pretended a small conference room was the Judiciary Committee hearing room, draping white linens over folding tables to make them look like witness tables and bringing in cardboard name tags and extra flags to make the whole think look official.”

And the insults – especially aimed at Rep. Conyers – just kept on coming. The Michigan Democrat “banged a large wooden gavel and got the other lawmakers to call him ‘Mr. Chairman,’” the snide article said. [For the full flavor, see the Washington Post’s “Democrats Play House To Rally Against the War,” June 17, 2005]

Washington Post editors – having already dismissed the leaked British government documents about the Iraq War as boring, irrelevant news – are now turning to the tried-and-true tactic for silencing any remaining dissent, consigning those who won’t go along to the political loony bin.

i'm sick... it's not like i have been harboring any delusions of media fairness, impartiality, accuracy, or integrity but i certainly didn't expect a newspaper of the presumed stature of the wapo to stoop so low... as far as i'm concerned, the battle lines have been drawn... for me, there is no more talk of reason, no more talk of "taking our country back..." the knives are now unsheathed...

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

The "Argentina Factor"

This is being beamed from an internet cafe

it’s been a real hassle getting internet set up... i was looking forward to having a cable modem ready and waiting but i neglected to take into account the “argentina factor…” the “argentina factor” is the same as the “latin america factor,” only localized… that translates to scheduling a two-hour window for installation, not having the necessary equipment on hand but, instead of calling and telling you, just not showing up which then means you spend the two hours AFTER they didn’t show on the phone, trying to figure out what happened and negotiating another time for installation… this contrasts with the “u.s. factor” where they schedule a two-hour window but show up with the WRONG equipment and have to make at least one return trip, turning the two-hour job into at least a half-day… all in all, i suppose the “u.s. factor” is the lesser of two evils… in any case, i resorted to plan “b,” dial-up… on previous trips, dial-up was a breeze but for some reason, this time, it’s a nightmare… when i actually do connect, i can only stay connected for, at most, a minute or two before the connection’s dropped hopefully, it’s the isp and not my laptop… after nearly three months of blogging news and current events, i’m in acute withdrawal… ok, enough whining…

the problem is FIXED… YAY… now, maybe TOMORROW, they will show with the cable modem…

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Thursday, June 16, 2005

At least i´m not the ONLY one who´s pissed...

i was so ticked off yesterday after reading that wapo editorial, i was literally shaking... fortunately, after making my post, i let go of it and had a very pleasant flight down here to buenos aires where, after situating myself, decided i'd go get some groceries and check in on my email, etc... the first thing i open up is robert parry's view of that same wapo editorial... i'm glad to see someone i have a lot of respect for is as pissed as i am... ('course, he's a lot more eloquent than i am and left out the obscenities, but, hey...!)

For example, many war critics asserted that Bush’s decision to take his case against Iraq to the United Nations was a ploy designed only to justify a predetermined course for invasion. In order words, the critics felt that Bush and his allies were not acting in good faith, but simply wanted some political cover for an illegal war.

That, of course, was not the judgment of editorialists at the Washington Post, the New York Times or other major newspapers who praised Bush for going to the UN on the advice of supposed moderates such as Secretary of State Colin Powell and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Indeed, looking back to late 2002 and early 2003, it would be hard to find any “reputable” commentary in the mainstream press calling Bush’s actions fraudulent, which is what the British evidence reveals them to be.


But Kinsley either is a very sloppy reader or a liar. The context of Dearlove’s information is clear. It came from a meeting that Dearlove had in Washington with Bush’s National Security Council, the most authoritative source on Bush’s thinking outside of the president himself, not just from some “freelance chatterboxes.” Dearlove doesn't cite “Washington” as his source the way Kinsley says the intelligence chief does.


But it’s easy to see why George W. Bush thinks he can continue dissembling about the Iraq War, since he’s gotten away with it for three years, as the Post and other parts of the MSM have told the public, “move along, none of your business what happened here.

just another reason why i don´t trust the msm as far as i can throw 'em...

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Fear of retribution

In the post below, I quoted a Department of Justice official fearful to speak on the record "for fear of retaliation."

In this article, we hear the same echo from a employees at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The people who described the inquiry and the declining morale include officials unhappy with the corporation's course under Mr. Tomlinson. Concerned about retribution, they spoke on condition of anonymity.

I hear this fear even among my friends. I know a woman who is planning a long-awaited trip abroad and is fearful to express any dissent for fear that she may be put on a no fly list and literally prevented from leaving the country. This is a person who, in a former life, regulary participated in protests. And it is this same fear of retribution that has paralyzed so many of the institutions we expect to be our watchdogs of this administration: the Press, and even more importantly, our Democratic leaders in Washington.

Have I mentioned today how much I hate what these people are doing to our country?

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Another Fox, Another Henhouse

This is turning out to be such standard operating procedure for the Bush administration that it doesn't even surprise me anymore. Turns out that the Justice Department official who ordered government lawyers in the tobacco lawsuit to reduce the penalty from $130 billion to $10 billion is Associate Attorney General Robert D. McCallum who, according to the New York Times
is a close friend of President Bush from their days as Skull & Bones members at Yale, and he was also a partner at an Atlanta law firm, Alston & Bird, that has done legal work for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, part of Reynolds American, a defendant in the case.
The newly disclosed documents make clear that the decision was made after weeks of tumult in the department and accusations from lawyers on the tobacco team that Mr. McCallum and other political appointees had effectively undermined their case.


"Everyone is asking, 'Why now?' " said a Justice Department employee involved in the case who insisted on anonymity for fear of retaliation. "Why would you throw the case down the toilet at the very last hour, after five years?"

Ultimately, Mr. McCallum overruled the objections from the trial team, and the documents and interviews suggest that his senior aides took the unusual step of writing parts of the closing argument that Ms. Eubanks delivered last week in federal court in seeking the reduction in penalties.

Officials who insisted on anonymity said the change on the penalties provoked such strong objections from the trial team that some lawyers threatened to quit. Department officials have now proposed that a lower-level lawyer who has outlined the reasons for reduced penalties take over crucial parts of the remainder of the trial.

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

WaPo: I didn't know you could pile shit that high...

i'm on my way to buenos aires... this morning, before i left, i read a wapo editorial that really pissed me off but in the usual busy-ness of getting ready to leave on a major trip, i forgot about it... in the (relative) peace and quiet of the flight to dfw, i remembered it and decided to take another look... so, here i am at dfw, blogging away on wifi, re-reading the editorial and it's just as crappy and full of shit as i thought it was the first time...
After lagging for months, debate on Iraq in Washington is picking up again. That's a needed and welcome development, but much of the discussion is being diverted to the wrong subject. War opponents have been trumpeting several British government memos from July 2002, which describe the Bush administration's preparations for invasion, as revelatory of President Bush's deceptions about Iraq. Bloggers have demanded to know why "the mainstream media" have not paid more attention to them. Though we can't speak for The Post's news department, the answer appears obvious: The memos add not a single fact to what was previously known about the administration's prewar deliberations. Not only that: They add nothing to what was publicly known in July 2002.

you people are so full of shit it's unbelievable... sure, we fucking well KNEW he was lying at the time, at least anyone who had two brain cells to rub together... but it's one thing to know it in your gut and quite another to have it there in front of you in black and white... if that's the core essence of the editorial viewpoint of one of the nation's leading newspapers, god help us all...

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Dan Froomkin has a clear eye on Bush's bullshit

With his party solidly in control of two, going on three, branches of government -- but his agenda flailing in part due to lackluster support from his own fellow Republicans -- President Bush yesterday made it clear where the blame lies: With the Democrats.

yep... that's our bush... after all, when you're perfect in every way, there HAS to be somebody else to blame, right...? RIGHT...???

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

We've got Howard's back

Today is Support Howard Dean Day. How's about sending some $$ his way. The BAT is back!

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Uzbekistan doesn't take criticism well

after finally speaking out against the repressive regime in uzbekistan and the mass shootings of protestors, the u.s. is getting its hand slapped...
Uzbek President Islam Karimov recently curtailed U.S. military operations at the [Karshi-Khanabad air base -- dubbed K2 and located in southeastern Uzbekistan] after U.S. criticism of his government's shooting of hundreds of protesters in Andijan last month. The restrictions prohibit nighttime operations and also limit flights by C-17 and other heavy cargo aircraft.

THAT'LL teach us to speak up against brutal dictators...!

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Dissent and George

Bush lately has begun meeting personally with prominent dissidents to highlight human rights abuses in select countries,

It's so nice to know that Dear Leader is so concerned about dissidents, that is, unless they are from his own country. In Bushworld, dissenters are either refused entry, dragged out, or penned in a "free speech zone" well removed from Dear Leader's gaze and the cameras.

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

More encouraging news on Bolton's nomination

last night, bush had this to say about the democrats...
"They stand for nothing except obstruction, and this is not leadership," Bush said. "It is the philosophy of the stop sign, the agenda of the road block, and the country and our children deserve better."

if he's going to continue making his "obstructionist" accusations, he'd better look in the mirror... and he'd also better start doing a vote count...
Senate GOP leaders, acknowledging no apparent progress on Bolton, said they will call for another vote to end debate in a renewed effort to portray Democrats as obstructionists, probably this week. But one of the three Democrats who sided with them on an unsuccessful "cloture" vote on May 26, Sen. Mark Pryor (Ark.), said he may abandon the Republicans, leaving them farther from their goal than they were three weeks ago.

If Democrats "continue being reasonable [in their requests] and the White House won't provide the information, I want to reserve the right to change my vote," Pryor told reporters.


The administration says senators have no need or right to review information regarding [Bolton's] role in shaping the 2003 congressional testimony on Syria or his efforts to learn the names of U.S. officials mentioned in conversations intercepted by the National Security Agency. The impasse has lasted two months.

no accountability... it's ALWAYS someone else's fault... NEVER admit ANYTHING no matter how much bald-faced LYING it takes to get around it...

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Good news about a sad chapter in Argentine history

imagine... it's 1981... your neighbor, your co-worker, your best friend, your uncle, your father, or your son - suddenly gone...! no one knows where, no one knows anything... there is only a cursory investigation... nothing is discovered... you wait... still nothing... rumors abound and you have some idea of what might have happened but nothing specific... you're relieved when the military and security officers who did the dirty work of "disappearing" thousands of people under the ruthless dictatorship are arrested for their actions... but in 1986 and 1987, a law was passed shielding those people from prosecution out of fear that prosecution would lead to another military coup... now it's 2005... you still know nothing for sure... those same military and security people still live and work among you every day... finally, you think, maybe the day has come...
The Supreme Court [of Argentina] yesterday ruled that two laws shielding military and security officers from prosecution for atrocities committed during the 1976-1983 dictatorship are unconstitutional and hundreds of them could now face courts. By a 7-1 vote with one abstention, the Court struck down the Due Obedience and Full Stop Laws passed in 1986 and 1987 under the government of Radical president Raúl Alfonsín amid fears of a new barrage of the military coups which plagued Argentine history.

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Bush goin' for the cash, talkin' trash (and collecting it too!)

talkin' trash...
At an evening congressional gala in Washington, Bush drew applause by calling for an overhaul of the tax code, a national energy bill and permanent tax relief, among other things. He accused Democrats of trying to block all of them.

"They stand for nothing except obstruction, and this is not leadership," Bush said. "It is the philosophy of the stop sign, the agenda of the road block, and the country and our children deserve better."

collectin' the cash...
The fundraiser brought in $14 million for House Republicans and $9 million for GOP senators. More than 5,000 people filled the Washington Convention Center to hear Bush speak.

gettin' down with the trash...
Among those attending the $2,500-per-ticket dinner was Mary Carey, a blond porn star who says she plans to run for lieutenant governor of California next year as an independent.

A few hours before the dinner, Carey met with reporters to show off her evening gown - black, floor-length - and talk about a Republican lunch she and her boss, adult film executive Mark Kulkis, attended where presidential adviser Karl Rove spoke.

but it's john at americablog who dishes the real dirt... from his interview with mary carey at a press briefing a few days ago...
It is Mary Carey’s dream to meet the President of the United States. Of course, it’s also her dream to have sex with Karl Rove, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Pat Buchanan, Alan Colmes, and one player from every NBA team.

unfriggin' believeable... but will she still love them in the morning...?

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

A Russian on Khodorkovsky and Russian oligarchs

all the blather in the u.s. press about how putin is taking russia back to the dark ages by prosecuting and convicting the wild west robber baron, mikhail khodorkovsky, is just that - blather... as i've said before, putin inherited one of the most lawless, shoot-'em-up, rootin' tootin', anything-goes scenarios imaginable from boris yeltsin and, if he wanted to gain any credibility with the russian people at all, he had to take down the "big guy," the "main man..." here's how konstantin, a russian blogger sees it...

From thugs to princes

Khodorkovsky trial in Russia showed the real power of money and how incredibly powerful Khodorkovsky was and still is. It would be wrong to represent this trial as unconditional victory of Putin over the poor oligarch. That was a fierce battle of two very strong opponents and Putin is as much covered with wounds as Khodorkovsky.


Although the word ‘oligarch’ is often used ironically if Russia had a weak president we could see and feel what oligarchy really means. A very small group of super rich people could decide what laws to be passed, who should be a president, or how much taxes they would highly allow the state to be taken from their pockets. One could argue if Putin is good or bad but there is one undoubtedly positive thing about him – he an elected politician. Nobody elected Khodorkovsky to be above the president, above the government and above the parliament only because he managed to steal Yukos and became one of the richest people in the world.

With the money stolen from the state Khodorkovsky bought himself reputation as a Western-style “civilized” businessperson. He bought himself the parliament: the whole factions as Yabloko and SPS, or dozens of individual MPs. He was able to do unimaginable things. Like, 80% of Yukos oil was traded through dummy traders – one-day disposable companies whose “CEOs” didn’t even know about their high rank – but Khodorkovsky could buy Yukos the status of a 100% transparent company endorsed by the most respected auditors.

It turned out that a miracle of turning a ruthless thug into a nice and sympathetic businessperson is not such a difficult task. First, make sure that almost all journalists from all respectable Russian and Western networks, newspapers and magazines are many times dined and wined. Make a lot of very expensive and excessive press trips, breakfasts and happenings. Second, don’t spare money on major international PR companies, especially those who have US senators and congressmen among stakeholders. Third, make sure to have major contracts with important lobbyists. And forth, extremely important, make your appearance look civilized: shave those idiotic horseshoe moustache, buy yourself decent glasses and dress more casually. Hire an image maker, for god’s sake! I’m sure if Mr. Khodorkovsky looked on the dock today as he looked in 1997, he wouldn’t win so much sympathy.

Money can buy international amnesia. Before Khodorkovsky didn’t care about journalists they did write about his shadowy deeds or about very strange karma of people who dared to cross Mr. Khodorkovsky’s way. The moment Yukos spent just two hundred million dollars on international PR firms - oh magic coincidence! - all those unfortunate incidents were forgotten.

What a poor state of Russian justice! Judges and prosecutors are so unprofessional! They make so many mistakes! The problem is that a Russian judge makes a month less money than an lawyer of Khodorkovky and hour and Yukos hired dozens of them from all over the world and from the most successful law companies. Is it possible that such a poor and weak Office of Public Prosecutor can win a battle with such a rich individual? Just two years ago Mr. Khodorkovsky was sure: “No way!” Today he’s probably in doubt. The pressure his money put on Putin was immense but Khodorkovsky couldn’t bend him to his will. Many Russians viewed this battle as a fight between David (Putin) and Goliath (global oil corporations).

Russian prosecutors did a huge job. They had to gather almost every little piece of information about Yukos criminal activities. When you are not so brilliant or educated or excessively financed as Yukos, you have to amass your opponent. To my mind, from all the facts prosecutors gathered about Khodorkovky being a thug, just one is enough. Petty entrepreneurs in Russia can be registered as PBOYuL – a private entrepreneur without establishing a legal entity. This status meant to help such people who sell vegetables at an open market and renovate apartments. They pay almost no taxes and do almost no paperwork. So Mr. Khodorkovsky became a PBOYuL himself and was paid by Yukos about 200 million dollars as a private consultant. How ironic! One of the richest persons in the world uses taxation benefits meant for the most poor. And he was among the few who actually made them that poor.

there is nothing, and i mean NOTHING, like getting the grass roots perspective, particularly when it is from a part of the world few of us really understand and about which we are vulnerable to whatever perceptions or misperceptions the press cares to feed us...

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

A heartbreaking comment from a Vietnam vet's wife - about Bush

this just appeared in the comments section to an earlier post... the poster did not leave an email address so i am reprinting it here in hopes that it will touch someone else like it just touched me... this is the very kind of tragedy and waking nightmare that bush and the rest of his crowd need to bear full accountability for...
At the same time Bush decided to send our kids overseas, he cut funds to help veterans with war-related disabilities. At this time, there is no fee basis treatement for vets and this comes at a time that their PTSD is literally killing them. I am watching my husband slowly disintegrate before my eyes, and this after so many years of suffering. He is suicidal and hopeless and making literally terrible decisions for himself. It is likely that he will become one of the statistics...the Vietnam vets who died later on from their war-related experiences, but who weren't counted. I have been told that I will lose my ChampVA if he commits suicide, after lsoing my husband, and of course, I will be uninsurable since I gave up my own ins after they finally gave him a 100% disability for lungs, mental health issues, etc. They draft you to fight for their companies' profits overseas and then they dump on you when you are injured. The draft-dodgers (wealthy kids) truly are priveleged,....
By the way, we were never reimbursed for the six figures in medical expenses that war has already cost us. I was hoping that at least my husband would be able to enjoy his old age, but that is doubtful. It would really perk him up if someone would stand up and start the impeachment process...

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

The U.S. out-of-synch with the OAS and Latin America

the slant of this article is that the u.s. has a distorted vision of latin america because it sees everything through the filter of the "war on terror..." personally, i think it's more than that... the u.s. has ALWAYS had a distorted view of latin america... we're either trying to exploit natural resources or cheap labor to the detriment of the locals or we're trying to prop up or take down governments to serve our interests or we're loaning vast sums of money with plenty of strings attached that essentially perpetuate indentured economic servitude... for the most part (to borrow a phrase from The Donald - rumsfeld, that is), latin american nations have existed in the shadow and often at the whim of the u.s. so it's delightful when an organization like the oas, a u.s. puppet organization for most of the years of its existence, suddenly grows a spine... and DOUBLY delightful when the new oas secretary general, insulza, won u.s. support for his confirmation by promising condi that he would push for her "proposal for the creation of a mechanism to evaluate and 'oversee' democracies in the region..."
The U.S. government, whose proposal was voted down this week in the Organisation of American States (OAS), is piling up defeats in Latin America because of a vision of the region that is "distorted" by its "war on terrorism," according to analysts.

Washington has an erroneous perception of Latin America not only because it is concentrating its attention on other regions, like the Middle East - especially the war in Iraq - but also because it looks at this region "through the 'fight against terrorism' lens," Clovis Brigagao, director of the Centre of Studies on the Americas at the University of Rio de Janeiro, told IPS.

The 35th OAS general assembly, which ended Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, approved a declaration that discarded a U.S. proposal for the creation of a mechanism to evaluate and "oversee" democracies in the region.

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Harsh and spoken from the bottom of her heart

"We're watching you [President Bush] very carefully and we're going to do everything in our power to have you impeached for misleading the American people," she said, quoting a letter she sent to the White House. "Beating a political stake in your black heart will be the fulfillment of my life... ," she said, as the audience of 200 people cheered.

i simply can't imagine losing one of my children in this senseless, criminal war... i have no idea how i would react but i do know i would be forever changed...
Cindy Sheehan of Vacaville, Calif., accused President Bush of lying to the nation about a war which has consumed tens of billions of dollars and claimed more than 1,700 American lives -- including the life of Army Specialist Casey Austin Sheehan.

Sheehan was one of more than a dozen activists who were scheduled to speak at yesterday's anti-war rally at the Red Mile [in Lexington, Kentucky], which was organized by the Clergy and Laity Network and co-sponsored by dozens of liberal religious organizations.

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Virtual prisons...? Virtual governments...? Virtual Dick...?

uncle dick has an interesting collection of aphorisms... there's the always reliable "for the most part" and the ever-popular "virtually..."
Vice President Dick Cheney said that the detainees [at Guantanamo] had been treated better by the U.S. than they could expect to be treated "by virtually any other government."

i have one of my own that i haven't used in a long time... balderdash...

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

ok, here's my contribution to the mj media circus...

of all the things sneddon could have possibly said after losing, this was perhaps the most unbelievable...
"I thought we had a good case this time."

good lord, please spare us from ANOTHER time...

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Ever so sl-o-o-o-o-wly, the Iraq lies are uncovered...

finally, the msm is starting to turn the crank... nbc ran this last night... (thanks to raw story...)
Just last week, President Bush and Blair vigorously denied that war was inevitable.


Vice President Dick Cheney also told a National Press Club luncheon Monday, “Any suggestion that we did not exhaust all alternatives before we got to that point, I think, is inaccurate.”

In fact, current and former diplomats tell NBC News they understood from the beginning the Bush policy to be that Saddam had to be removed — one way or the other. The only question was when and how.

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

A perspective on anti-immigration, legal or illegal

i received a comment to my post yesterday regarding portugal's campaign to recognize and celebrate the postive contributions of its immigrants to portugese society... the comment read, in part,

"No one I know objects to legal immigration, that includes those of the MinuteMan Project you are so quick to vilify."

my response was this - "vilify's a good word... i'm not a supporter of anything that has an underpinning of white supremacy..." now, admittedly, that was a rather blithe response without benefit of context and, understandably, generated yet another comment which included this question:

"Anyone who is against illegal immigration is necessarily a white supremicst[sic]?"

i've posted on this topic before but it's still a good question and well worth revisiting...


the simple answer is, no, of course not, and i completely agree with the respected journalist, david neiwert, who says,

"There are many reasonable people seeking immigration reform who are not bigots, xenophobes, racists, or anti-Semites."

but it's very, very important to understand that the issue of immigration, be it legal or illegal, is being used and exploited by many people and groups who ARE racists or, worse yet, identify with or are actively involved in the white supremacy movement... these people tend to see activism against immigration, legal or illegal (although the illegal variety carries more societal legitimacy) as very much in line with their aims... david roddy of the pittsburgh post-gazette comments on how jared taylor, the force behind american renaissance and its parent organization, the new century foundation, has gained msm acceptance...
Race-relations expert Jared Taylor publishes American Renaissance magazine, which features an array of pseudoscientific studies that purport to show the folly of multiculturalism and the inherent failure of the races to live together. Or, as Taylor once wrote, "If whites permit themselves to be displaced, it is not just the high culture of the West that could disappear but such things as representative government, rule of law and freedom of speech, which whites usually get right and everyone else usually gets wrong."

What Taylor represents and how he got himself on no fewer than a half-dozen radio and television stations in large markets to denounce Martin Luther King illustrates the new tactics of white supremacy. Employing the dispassionate language of sociological and genetic studies, and under the veneer of academic inquiry, an assortment of highly educated people now push the theory that everything from unwed motherhood in Atlanta to economic collapse in Gambia can be explained by the genetic code imprinted on the races.

as both neiwert and roddy point out, the jared taylors of the world often adopt seemingly very rational and articulate positions that mask what they are really promoting - a belief in the inherent superiority of white, northern european descent... the following is taken from the web site of american renaissance...
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.

sounds reasonable, right...? but it doesn't take long scrolling through the comments on the posts before what's going on becomes clear... (the post this individual is commenting on laments that hollywood remakes are "casting minorities in roles originally played by whites...")
The purpose of this is to destroy white history, to erase the common "white memory". The full scale assault on the white race is just ramping up the death blow.

It is over unless only EUROPEAN whites run ALL aspects of their OWN nation. IT would be like Palestinian Arabs owning Isreali[sic] TV and news papers.

it is THAT kind of thinking that i find the most frightening aspect of the current wave of anti-(legal or illegal) immigrant feelings and why i so cavalierly tossed in my white supremacist comment...

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Monday, June 13, 2005

ElBaradei confirmed for 3d term at IAEA

Key members of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency reappointed Mohamed ElBaradei for a third term as head of the organization [International Atomic Energy Agency] on Monday -- a move backed by the United States, a longtime critic of the U.N official.

i posted on this not long ago and pointed out that the u.s. had proposed some unspecified "strings" be attached in return for u.s. support of elbaradei's confirmation for a third term... he met with condi last week but nothing has emerged so far about what exactly those "strings might be...
"We looked to the future and ... did not discuss the past," [ElBaradei] said of the meeting last week with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that led to a public announcement of American support for ElBaradei.

condi tried to tie up insulza of the oas with the same kind of tit-for-tat support but insulza proved to be his own man in the oas summit last week...

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Bless our immigrants... We don't need no stinkin' MINUTEMEN...!

”Thank you, Vassily. Immigrant Portugal, Tolerant Portugal.” ”We are grateful, and so are they.” These slogans, accompanied by a picture of a Ukrainian worker, are part of a campaign launched in Portugal to debunk the myth that the arrival of foreigners has a negative impact on the country.

The new campaign was launched Thursday by the High Commissioner for Immigration and Ethnic Minorities (ACIME), through supplements inserted into the country's major newspapers.

The supplement points out that for centuries, this was a nation of emigrants, which eventually led to the need to take in the 400,000 immigrants legally residing in the country today, ”to make Portugal a better country.”

ACIME notes that when it comes to the public's perception of immigration, a number of ”truths” have developed based on preconceived and apparently coherent beliefs, ”which are nonetheless profoundly misguided,” and almost always ”serve the purposes of certain interests and ideologies.”

The campaign is aimed at tackling some of the myths about immigration - such as the claim that foreign workers ”come here to steal our jobs” - through scientific and rigorously interpreted facts, while bearing in mind that ”there are 4.5 million Portuguese living abroad.”

how very refreshing to know there's a country out there who is celebrating its immigrants and recognizing the value they bring to society... all of these close-the-door-behind-me bastards in the u.s. need to be exposed for the racist hypocrites they are... if the truth be told, everybody in this damn country is an immigrant except for the native americans, if you ignore that they too were immigrants thousands of years ago when they crossed into present-day north america via the bering strait...

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Bolton Update

steve clemons speculates something may be breaking on the bolton nomination and will be attending this just-announced briefing tomorrow morning...

June 13, 2005

Frist: Amy Call (202) 224-1865
McCain: Andrea Jones (202) 224-7130



WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Frist and McCain will hold a press availability to discuss the nomination of John Bolton, to be Ambassador to the United Nations.

WHO: Majority Leader William Frist, M.D. and Senator John McCain

WHAT: Press availability

WHEN: Tuesday, June 14, 2005, 10:30 a.m.

WHERE: S-230, Majority Leader’s suite. Please meet at Ohio Clock Corridor at 10:15 for escort.

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Thirty years in Iraq

(robert parry from consortium news...)
[I]n 2003, I spoke with a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee who had visited U.S. troops in Iraq. I was stunned when the senator predicted that the United States would be in Iraq for 30 years.

I assumed I had misheard him and asked, “Do you mean three years?”

“Thirty years,” the senator repeated. “It will take a generation.”

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek, is the author of Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, and writes for, a product of The Consortium for Independent Journalism, Inc., a non-profit organization.

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Lack of accountability and professional ethics...?

who are we talking about here...? could it be the bush administration...? the house of representatives...? the republican party...? u.s. corporations...? ~smacks forehead~ silly me... no, it's the U.N...!
A Congressionally mandated panel will report this week that the United Nations suffers from poor management, "dismal" staff morale and lack of accountability and professional ethics.

this is the kind of disingenuous crap that causes not only people in other countries but our own citizens as well to roll their eyes... is the u.n. a massive bureaucracy...? i have no doubt... does it have ethical lapses...? i'm sure... do u.n. employees suffer from poor morale probably out of sheer frustration...? i'd be willing to bet on it... now, go back and substitute the names of any of those other entities i mentioned in the opening graph and it will read exactly the same... if we're gonna insist on being the overbearing nanny to the rest of the world, we better start by cleaning up the dogshit in our own backyard... (and sending john bolton in with a wrecking crew is hardly the answer to the u.n.'s problems...)

p.s. here's a rude finger gesture to all those who will read this and righteously intone, "why the fuck should we care about what other countries think...?"

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

The history of the beast - a little chronology on United Airlines

the previous post from skadi referring to the washington post article on the united airlines pension default is a long-overdue acknowledgement of the horrors united airlines has visited on its hard-working employees for as long as most of them can remember... i'm also delighted to see ellen saracini featured... you may remember that i posted her letter two weeks ago saturday both here and on kos... i'd like to think that had a little something to do with the washington post's decision to write the article... i'm also most grateful for the compassion mrs. saracini obviously has for all the others in the same boat...
"My own situation is not a crisis -- I have my husband's life insurance to keep us secure in our house," she said from her home in Yardley, Pa. "But a lot of other people have real hardship -- medical costs they won't be able to afford, houses they won't be able to keep. If I can help draw attention to them, I'll do it in a heartbeat."

i've been threatening to post my perspective on united airlines for weeks and, even though it isn't in the depth i would like, i want to seize the moment... it's gonna be a little long so bear with me...


in the mid-90's after the employee buy-out, when the pilots (and virtually everyone else) insisted that miserable excuse for a human being, stephen wolf, be sent packing, there was a brief period under the new ceo, jerry greenwald, that gave everyone cause for hope... all of a sudden, the front-line employees were being recognized for what they were - the grunts who make the airline work day-to-day... the buzzword was "employee involvement" and lots of good things started to happen... well, jerry's heart was in the right place but he didn't have a plan, he didn't clean house, and he didn't have a clue about sustainability ... in my role as internal consultant at the time, the phrase i heard repeatedly from senior officers while greenwald was at the helm (always behind his back, of course), was, "this, too, shall pass and then we can get back to running this goddam airline the way it SHOULD be run..." when jerry announced his resignation exactly when he had said he would, the kita (kick-'em-in-the-ass) crowd that had been lying in the weeds, waiting, leaped back into action... sure enough, no sooner had the door closed behind jerry, kita was "re-born," to the tune of "enough of this employee-coddling shit, we're gonna play HARDBALL..."

to show they weren't kidding, senior management opened the pending pilot contract negotiations with a take-it-or-leave it proposal which, everyone agreed, was an insult... all employees had received only bare minimum salary increases for years to support the employee buy-out and in lieu of employee stock awards and most employee groups were considerably behind in industry salary comparisons... probably at least a few of you remember the summer of 2000 when the pilots, in an expression of their anger over what was happening, started to "work to rule..."

anyone familiar with the airline biz knows that there are only two people who can make a departure decision for an aircraft, the lead mechanic and the pilot... the mechanic certifies to the pilot that the aircraft is airworthy and the pilot decides whether or not to accept the aircraft that the mechanic has just certified... if the mechanic decides that the aircraft isn't airworthy, the pilot can't override that decision... but if the pilot decides that he/she thinks the air conditioning mechanism isn't running properly, for instance, the mechanic is required to go back and check... you can see how this this can be turned into a very effective technique for delaying flights... the internal productivity slogan at that time was "on-time zero," meaning all flights needed to depart on time... the pilots slogan became "zero on-time..." needless to say, the summer of 2000 was a nightmare for anyone who was unfortunate enough to fly united...

in late 1999, early 2000, the value of my employee stock was roughly $40K... i was extremely pleased and grateful to have it as it was going to be the core and substance of my retirement assets which, with social security (are you listening, bushco?) and what i anticipated would be a small pension, would keep me off the streets in my old age... by the end of 2000, that stock had lost well over half of its value... like any "prudent investor," even though i was vested, i decided to hold on to it out of the belief that the company, in no small part due to the work that i and my colleagues in organizational development were doing, would turn around and be the company we all believed it could be... all the way up to 9/11, however, the stock continued to depreciate and rumors of doom abounded...

then came 9/11... i was working at dulles airport at the time on an organization development project that involved a teaming approach to the on-time departure of international flights... i was at the airport that day and, without going into the details (i intend to write that up eventually and post it on my other blog), i decided that i needed to do something besides sit behind my desk and wring my hands... i assigned myself as a lobby supervisor and proceeded to work the next 18 days straight, at between 15 and 18 hours a day, helping scared, lost, and hugely delayed and inconvenienced passengers and beleaguered customer service agents navigate the new post-9/11 world... after that grueling stint, i took a long weekend and flew to visit my son and daughter-in-law in tucson... the day after i returned, i was given a layoff notice...

again, without going into the intervening personal details, united's stock value continued to decline and, on my birthday, december 9, 2002, the airline declared bankruptcy, rendering what little stock value remained worthless... in january, 2003, i filed a claim for a pension that was pitifully small but, i figured, was at least something... i opted for a ten-year payout until age 65... i have collected a little over two years worth now and it appears that may well be all that i will see...

the reason i post this is not to gain sympathy for myself or for anyone else although there are certainly those who not only deserve it but whose plight is far worse than mine... again, i am pleased to see mrs. saracini's situation being used as a lever to pry open the united can of worms... but why i think this information needs to be put out there is because united is no more and no less than a reflection of what businesses and the social fabric of the united states has become - monuments to greed and to the unsatiable desire of the "have's" to "have more..." it needs to stop but how and when that will be accomplished is the question...

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

3, 2, 1...are there any legs left?

For the last umpteen years we have heard the drumbeat: "Don't count on Social Security for your retirment. You need to have other sources of income for your retirement." Tell that to the United Airlines retirees.
"I call it legalized crime," said United pilot Klaus Meyer, 47, of Bethlehem, Pa. "I lost almost all my United stock value in the bankruptcy, and here's another part of the retirement I was promised that is gone. And now my Social Security is at risk. Where does it all end? You feel brutalized by the system."


"The last thing I thought was that I would depend on Social Security as the cornerstone of my retirement," John J. Pinto, 60, of Annapolis, wrote to Miller. Pinto said he is job-hunting, and has found that he and his wife, a schoolteacher, probably will earn together less than a fourth of his pay as a pilot.


Last week, United Chief Executive Officer Glenn Tilton testified to the Senate Finance Committee about $4.5 million he is receiving from United to replace benefits he had accrued over a 32-year career at Texaco, his previous employer. Tilton said that the default will not affect the payment, and that he has $1.5 million left to collect. He said this does not represent a double standard because United promised him the money in his contract.

"He is saying, 'United guaranteed that to me,' " said retired pilot John D. Clark of Charlottesville, who flew United planes for 36 years out of Dulles and whose $125,000 annual pension is to be reduced by more than 70 percent. "Why is the promise made to him understandable, and the one made to me can go by the wayside?"

How much did you donate to the Republicans and United's PAC?

Clark said he is more enraged at the injustice of the pension default than at his own situation. "The company is at fault, the Congress is at fault, the president is at fault, past presidents are at fault. There's plenty of fault to go around, but we live in a time when nobody takes responsibility," he said.

Ayep. Janeane Garofolo says it best, "Accountability last"

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Completely off topic...

i just discovered that 49% of visitors to this site use mozilla's firefox browser vs. only 45% for ie6 and ie5 combined...! whaddaya know...! take THAT, microsoft...!


Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Dean's on fire...

and i'm liking it a LOT...! (thanks to atrios...)
"My view is FOX News is a propaganda outlet for the Republican Party and I don't comment on FOX News," Dean said. That was in response to vice president Dick Cheney calling Howard Dean "over the top" on Fox News on Sunday.

it doesn't take fifteen minutes of watching fox to figure out that they aren't about news, they're about pushing the party line... i'm delighted to hear someone in an official political position saying this out loud and, better yet, getting some COVERAGE for it...!

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Leading R's join with liberals and the ACLU re Patriot Act

i've been doing a lot of blog-surfing lately, probably too much... i'm astounded and not a little depressed by the number of right-wing, kool-aid drinking types there are out there, eagerly lapping up every drugged drop from the administration and its greek chorus of media hyenas... just a rough guess but it looks to me like about 3-to-1 far right vs. liberal blogs... one theme that echoes through most if not all of them is a deep hatred of the aclu along with a call to shut them down... with that backdrop, i was more than a little surprised to see this...
A closed-door vote by the Senate Intelligence Committee last week to expand law enforcement powers under the USA Patriot Act is prompting sharp criticism from some conservative leaders who are otherwise among the most vocal allies of President Bush and the Republican leadership in Congress.

The conservative leaders — who have formed a coalition with critics on the left, including the American Civil Liberties Union — vowed to press their concerns in coming days with public statements, rallies and radio advertisements in key congressional districts.

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

"Bubbles" Greenspan

i can't count the number of times in the past few weeks that i've seen that moniker ("bubbles") applied to alan greenspan... it may have something to do with the fact that the "ancient oracle at delphi" persona has been crumbling and he is being revealed for what he is - just another partisan hack... unfortunately, with the power he wields over the economy, he's a damn scarey partisan hack... i've been posting repeatedly (here, here, here, and here) about the housing bubble and what may happen if it bursts... greenspan has been shrugging it off but, unlike the halcyon days of old, not everybody's buying it...
Alan Greenspan keeps saying that it's unclear why home mortgage rates have remained so low. After all, the Federal Reserve chairman has been doing all the things people in his position normally do to push rates up - warning about "bubbles" in the housing market, assuring the business community that the economy is basically strong and tripling the Fed's overnight lending rate, to 3 percent.

Perhaps we can help solve the mystery.

Persistently low mortgage rates are symptomatic of an economy that is not doing as well as Mr. Greenspan suggests. Mortgage rates are linked to Treasury bond yields, which are unusually low. And depressed bond yields are generally the market's way of saying that the economic outlook is worrisome.

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Elephant in the room

According to this morning's WaPo article:
A March 14 memo to Blair from David Manning, then the prime minister's foreign policy adviser and now British ambassador in Washington, reported on talks with then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice. Among the "big questions" coming out of his sessions, Manning reported, was that the president "has yet to find the answers . . . [and] what happens on the morning after."

March 14th??? Just exactly how long before the actual invasion was the Bush administration actually making military plans for this operation? This makes it sound like well before March 14, 2002. Yet we are supposed to believe Dear Leader when he told us as late as January 2003 (or was it even later than that?) that no final decision had been made on Iraq. Bastards. All of them.

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Another Iraq bombshell from the London Sunday Times [UPDATE]

it's been exactly 42 days since the london sunday times broke the downing street memo and 43 since i posted on it (accounting for london being 8 hours later than u.s. pacific time...) now we have "tony's secret briefing..."

[UK] ministers were warned in July 2002 that Britain was committed to taking part in an American-led invasion of Iraq and they had no choice but to find a way of making it legal.


The briefing paper, for participants at a meeting of Blair’s inner circle on July 23, 2002, said that since regime change was illegal it was “necessary to create the conditions” which would make it legal.


The document said the only way the allies could justify military action was to place Saddam Hussein in a position where he ignored or rejected a United Nations ultimatum ordering him to co-operate with the weapons inspectors. But it warned this would be difficult.

i would passionately like to think that this will be the straw that breaks that s-o-b's back but given the still-meager u.s. coverage of and action on the downing street memo, i won't hold my breath... but, great god almighty, how incriminating does it have to get before this guy goes down...?


the washington post, perhaps stinging from the criticism of its incredibly slow response to the downing street memo, has put "tony's secret briefing" on page 1 and adds the not-so-startling revelation that the u.s. was unprepared for the consequences of occupation...
In its introduction, the memo "Iraq: Conditions for Military Action" notes that U.S. "military planning for action against Iraq is proceeding apace," but adds that "little thought" has been given to, among other things, "the aftermath and how to shape it."

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Ideology: Let's call it what it is...

"People want us to fight, and we are here to fight," Dean said during a quarterly meeting of the party's 64-member executive committee. "We are not going to lie down in front of the Republican machine anymore."

i can only hope that howard dean's unfiltered truth-telling spurs others to start putting it out on the table like thomas oliphant does in his boston globe column today...
After a run of 37 years, conservative legal thought is showing clear signs of the fissures that come when longevity mixes with incumbency. What began as a philosophy has morphed into an ideology. Philosophies can be windows open to the world; ideologies come with blinders.

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Chris Hedges speaks for me

War, Reality and Myths

Chris lays it out.

There is no more candor in Iraq or Afghanistan than there was in Vietnam, but in the age of live satellite feeds the military has perfected the appearance of candor. What we are fed is the myth of war. For the myth of war, the myth of glory and honor sells newspapers and boosts ratings, real war reporting does not. Ask the grieving parents of Pat Tillman. Nearly every embedded war correspondent sees his or her mission as sustaining civilian and army morale. This is what passes for coverage on FOX, MSNBC or CNN. In wartime, as Senator Hiram Johnson reminded us in 1917, "truth is the first casualty."


War is always about this betrayal. It is about the betrayal of the young by the old, idealists by cynics and finally soldiers by politicians. Those who pay the price, those who are maimed forever by war, however, are crumpled up and thrown away. We do not see them. We do not hear them. They are doomed, like wandering spirits, to float around the edges of our consciousness, ignored, even reviled. The message they bring is too painful for us to hear. We prefer the myth of war, the myth of glory, honor, patriotism and heroism, words that in the terror and brutality of combat are empty, meaningless and obscene.


If we do not confront the lies and hubris told to justify the killing and mask the destruction carried out in our name in Iraq, if we do not grasp the moral corrosiveness of empire and occupation, if we continue to allow force and violence to be our primary form of communication, if we do not remove from power our flag-waving, cross-bearing versions of the Taliban, we will not so much defeat dictators such as Saddam Hussein as become them.

Oh heck, read it all.

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

Bait and switch journalism

Frank Rich turns his laser beam on Deep Throat and our "lapdog news media." It ain't pretty.

The current administration, a second-term imperial presidency that outstrips Nixon's in hubris by the day, leads the attack, trying to intimidate and snuff out any Woodwards or Bernsteins that might challenge it, any media proprietor like Katharine Graham or editor like Ben Bradlee who might support them and any anonymous source like Deep Throat who might enable them to find what Carl Bernstein calls "the best obtainable version of the truth."

The attacks continue to be so successful that even now, long after many news organizations, including The Times, have been found guilty of failing to puncture the administration's prewar W.M.D. hype, new details on that same story are still being ignored or left uninvestigated.

Furthermore, the press is quite happy to ignore the crime and corruption that was Watergate, trotting out G. Gordon Liddy and Charles Colson, both convicted and sent to prison for their part in the break-in and cover-up, and asking them their opinions as to whether or not Mark Felt was a traitor or a hero. Uh...his testimony helped land them in the slammer. What do you think their thoughts will be? Rich goes on to say,

Had anyone been so rude (or professional) as to recount Mr. Colson's sordid past, or to raise the question of whether he was a hero or a traitor, the genealogical line between his Watergate-era machinations and those of his present-day successors would have been all too painfully clear. The main difference is that in the Nixon White House, the president's men plotted behind closed doors. The current administration is now so brazen it does its dirty work in plain sight.

And finally:

You are more likely to hear instead of how Watergate inspired too much "gotcha" journalism. That's a rather absurd premise given that no "gotcha" journalist got the goods on the biggest story of our time: the false intimations of incipient mushroom clouds peddled by American officials to sell a war that now threatens to match the unpopularity and marathon length of Vietnam. ...

But in the days that followed, Nixon and his history and the long shadows they cast largely vanished from the TV screen. In their place were constant nostalgic replays of young Redford and flinty Holbrook. Follow the bait-and-switch.

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments

The Bolivian situation makes Argentina nervous

and well it should... the buenos aires herald editorializes in yesterday's edition...
Supreme Court Chief Justice Eduardo Rodríguez duly became Bolivia’s 5th president in the last four years on Thursday, promising to hold elections in the course of this year.

As the home of Latin America’s second-largest gas reserves, Bolivia necessarily matters to all its neighbours — not least Argentina, which annually imports twice Bolivia’s entire domestic gas consumption (Brazil imports seven times). With winter starting next week, both the supply and the price of that gas is obviously important. But Bolivia’s instability not only raises the danger of minimized gas production but also human overspill into Argentina — a presence which is already firmly established with up to a million Bolivians living here.

Submit To Propeller

[Permalink] 0 comments