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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 09/25/2005 - 10/02/2005
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Will Hutton: Conservatism has taken a hit below the waterline

insightful... articulate... crystal clear... obviously relieved... and spot on...
American conservatism that has shaped American and British politics for 20 years has been holed below the waterline. It will take a lot more to sink it, but DeLay's indictment is symptomatic of a conservative over-reach and endemic corruption that will trigger, at the very least, a retreat and maybe even more. One-Nation Tories and honest-to-God Labour politicians can take some succour; the right-wing wind that has blown across the Atlantic for nearly a generation is about to ease. Hypocrisies have been exposed.


If DeLay were another Republican politician or even a typical majority leader of the House, the political world could shrug its shoulders. Somebody got caught, but little will change. But DeLay is very different. He is the Republican paymaster, one of the authors of the K Street Project and the driving force behind a vicious, organised demonisation and attempted marginalisation of Democrats that for sheer, unabashed political animus is unlike anything else witnessed in an advanced democracy. Politicians fight their political foes by fair means or foul, but trying to EXTERMINATE them is new territory. [emphasis mine]


DeLay's indictment breaks back the dam. US politics moves in cycles. Once it was Republicans who were going to clean up corrupt Democrat Washington; now Democrats can champion the same cause. Nor can the media afford to be on the side of the Old Corruption; it's bad for business. The wheel is turning, an important moment both sides of the Atlantic.

damn... we badly need more perspective like this... too bad it has to come from the other side of the atlantic... do yourself a favor... read the whole thing...

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Newsweek poll: R's say the R's are "too close to big business..."

even the r's themselves are saying it...
Americans believe that the GOP is too close to powerful groups according to the latest Newsweek Poll. Seventy-three percent of those polled believe that the Republicans are too closely affiliated with big business; 70 percent think they are too close to oil companies. Fifty-three percent of Republicans believe their party is too close to big business and 49 percent of Republicans believe the GOP is too close to oil companies.

(thanks to raw story...)

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ANOTHER ONE...? Bushco's going for broke...

it's becoming increasingly clear that bushco is going for broke... damn public opinion, damn the public, they're gonna do what they're gonna do and dare anybody to stop 'em...
Less than a month after the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency stepped down amid accusations of cronyism and incompetence, the Bush administration is being assailed for nominating another political ally to head a key agency for responding to foreign disasters.

One leading international relief group is publicly opposing the appointment of Ellen Sauerbrey to the State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, and others have expressed private concerns over her lack of experience in emergency response work.

Sauerbrey, a former member of the Republican National Committee who was Bush's Maryland state campaign chairwoman in 2000, is the U.S. representative to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

If confirmed by the Senate, which has not set a date for a hearing, Sauerbrey would head an agency with a $700-million annual budget that has responsibility for coordinating the U.S. government's response to refugee crises during natural disasters and wars.

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Why the torpor in the American people...? Ask Jon Stewart...

i posted yesterday in response to robert parry's question, "Can American voters impose any meaningful accountability on George W. Bush, including possibly removing him and his team from office?" part of what i said was this:

people have to feel PERSONALLY UNCOMFORTABLE and not just with high gas and home heating prices... we're COMFORTABLE and as long as the bush disaster isn't intruding into our personal lives, there isn't going to be a mass response to anything...

today, i ran across this from jon stewart's interview in the guardian, a very good read btw, where he responds to roughly the same question...
If the parties and the media serve the country so badly, why do Americans put up with it? "Because for the majority of Americans life is pretty tolerable," says Stewart. "It's very hard to organise reasonable people with moderate views. Reasonable people with moderate views don't usually light their torches and head out to town with pitchforks shouting, Be reasonable. Shit has to get really bad before people stand up and take notice."

yep... and that's where we stand...

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Ravaging the social contract (cont'd)

(see previous post...)
On Sept. 9, the Labor Department issued a short memo, signed by a lowly deputy assistant secretary, that undid the law of the land, ostensibly to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The memo relieved new federal contractors of the obligation to have a plan for hiring minorities, women, Vietnam veterans and disabled people on Katrina-related projects.


[T]here have been only four [similar instances] in the 40 years that the law has been on the books, and each was for a single, highly-specialized short-term contract, including two in the 1980's for federally financed work on commemorative coins. To waive the rule on a project as vast as rebuilding the Gulf Coast is as unwise as it is unprecedented.

i repeat... the "baby" that's being "drowned in the bathwater" is you and me...

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$40B more to be cut, ravaging the social contract by $75B

this has been the plan from the beginning... the r's agenda has no room for accommodating those who work hard, play by the rules, but may be facing hard times... the costs they are seeking to "defray" are the massively expensive, no-bid clean-up and reconstruction contracts being awarded left and right to political cronies, those who already have their hands deeply in the till... it's social darwinism, survival of the fittest (read: well-connected) all the way, baby...
House and Senate Republican leaders are preparing a package of spending cuts to Medicaid and other social programs to defray some of the costs from the cleanup of Hurricane Katrina.
Article Tools

House leaders say they want to shave as much as $40 billion from various spending programs when budget negotiations with the Senate resume in mid-October. Those cuts would be in addition to $35 billion that Congress had agreed to cut earlier this year to reduce the federal deficit.


Beyond Medicaid, House leaders say they are considering an across-the-board cut to all domestic programs, with the exception of defense, homeland security, and ''entitlement" programs such as Social Security that the government is obligated to fund.


The governors of Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi have identified Medicaid as perhaps the most important program the federal government funds in their region.

be clear... the "baby" that grover and co. want to "drown in the bathtub" ain't government, it's you and me...

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Friday, September 30, 2005

YOU go fight in Iraq, Condi...

but, before you go, hang around dover air force base, delaware, for a while where they come night and day, holidays and weekends: steel-gray military cargo planes bearing America's war dead...
The US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, has said that America must not abandon its mission in Iraq.

She said the American public had to realise the consequences of ceding the country to "barbaric killers".


In a speech to students at Princeton University, Ms Rice acknowledged the sacrifice being made by US forces in Iraq - in a rare step, noting that almost 2,000 troops had lost their lives - but she said the country needed to be clear about who they were fighting.

"This is not some grassroots coalition of national resistance, these are barbaric killers who want to provoke nothing less than a full-scale war among Muslims across the entire Middle East," she said.

"If we quit now, we will abandon Iraq's democrats at their time of greatest need. We will embolden every enemy of liberty and democracy across the Middle East. We will destroy any chance that the people of this region have of building a future of hope and opportunity. And we will make America more vulnerable.

"If we abandon future generations in the Middle East to despair and terror, we also condemn future generations in the United States to insecurity and fear...

"We have set out to help the people of the Middle East transform their societies. Now is not the time to falter or fade."

remember who we're dealing with here...

Condoleeza Rice and Ferragamo Shoe

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Who's lying...? Judy...? Bob...? Cooper...? Karl...? Scooter...? All the above...?

indictments...? yes...? no...? maybe...? what a cast of unsavories...
One of the reporters who has already testified before the grand jury, Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, disclosed that one of his sources for stories about the Plame/Wilson affair was Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff.

The New York Times reported on Friday that Ms Miller's source was Lewis Libby, chief of staff to Mr Cheney. Ms Miller, however, never wrote a story based on that conversation, and Mr Cooper says he told the grand jury that neither Mr Rove nor Mr Libby disclosed to him Ms Plame's name or her covert status.

No details have yet emerged of the grand jury testimony of Robert Novak, the syndicated columnist who first revealed Ms Plame's identity.

Ms Miller was jailed in July after refusing to testify before the grand jury, insisting she had promised confidentiality to her source. But on Thursday she said the source had “voluntarily and personally” freed her to testify on their conversations.

Mr Libby, who also spoke to Time magazine's Mr Cooper, has insisted through his lawyers that he freed both reporters from their confidentiality pledges more than a year ago. Mr Cooper testified in July, but Ms Miller chose to go to jail, insisting Mr Libby had not given such consent freely.

my vote, for the precious little it's worth, is for all the above... round 'em up... head 'em out... heee-yah... yipeee-ki-yi-yo, get along little dogies, it's your misfortune and none o' my own...

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Etan Thomas

thanks to kos' AnthonySF for tipping me off to etan thomas' speech to the antiwar protestors in washington d.c. last saturday... it's awesome... it's also a keeper and most certainly worth posting in full...


Giving all honor, thanks and praises to God for courage and wisdom, this is a very important rally. I'd like to thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts, feelings and concerns regarding a tremendous problem that we are currently facing. This problem is universal, transcending race, economic background, religion and culture. And this problem is none other than the current administration which has set up shop in the White House.

In fact, I'd like to take some of these cats on a field trip. I want to get big yellow buses with no air conditioner and no seatbelts and round up Bill O'Reilly, Pat Buchanan, Trent Lott, Sean Hannity, Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush, Bush Jr. and Bush Sr., John Ashcroft, Giuliani, Ed Gillespie, Katherine Harris, that little bow-tied Tucker Carlson and any other right-wing conservative Republicans I can think of and take them all on a trip to the 'hood.

Not to do no 30-minute documentary. I mean, I want to drop them off and leave them there. Let them become one with the other side of the tracks, get them four mouths to feed and no welfare, have scare tactics run through them like a laxative, criticizing them for needing assistance.

I'd show them working families that make too much to receive welfare but not enough to make ends meet. I'd employ them with jobs with little security - let them know how it feels to be an employee at will, able to be fired at the drop of a hat. I'd take away their opportunities, then try their children as adults, sending their 13-year-old babies to life in prison.

I'd sell them dreams of hopelessness while spoon-feeding their young with a daily dose of inferior education. I'd tell them no child shall be left behind, then take more money out of their schools, tell them to show and prove themselves on standardized exams testing their knowledge on things that they haven't been taught and then I'd call them inferior.

I'd soak into their interior notions of endless possibilities. I'd paint pictures of assisted productivity if they only agreed to be all they can be, dress them up with fatigues and boots with promises of pots of gold at the end of rainbows, free education to waste terrain on those who finish their bid.

Then I'd close the lid on that barrel of fool's gold by starting a war, sending their children into the midst of a hostile situation and while they're worried about their babies being murdered and slain in foreign lands, I'd grace them with the pain of being sick and unable to get medicine.

Give them health benefits that barely cover the common cold. John Q. would become their reality as HMOs introduce them to the world of inferior care, filling their lungs with inadequate air, penny pinching at the expense of patients, doctors practicing medicine in an intricate web of rationing and regulations.

Patients wander the maze of managed bureaucracy, costs rise and quality quickly deteriorates, but they say that managed care is cheaper. They'll say that free choice in medicine will defeat the overall productivity, and as co-payments are steadily rising, I'll make their grandparents have to choose between buying their medicine and paying their rent.

Then I'd feed them hypocritical lines of being pro-life as the only Christian way to be. Then, very contradictory, I'd fight for the spread of the death penalty, as if "thou shall not kill" applies to babies but not to criminals.

Then I'd introduce them to those sworn to protect and serve, creating a curb in their trust in the law. I'd show them the nightsticks and plungers, the pepper spray and stun guns, the mace and magnums that they'd soon become acquainted with, the shakedowns and illegal search and seizures, the planted evidence, being stopped for no reason.

Harassment ain't even the half of it - 41 shots to two raised hands, cell phones and wallets that are confused with illegal contraband. I'd introduce them to pigs who love making their guns click like wine glasses.

Everlasting targets surrounded by bullets, making them a walking bull's eye, a living piñata, held at the mercy of police brutality and then we'll see if they finally weren't aware of the truth, if their eyes weren't finally opened like a box of Pandora.

I'd show them how the other side of the tracks carries the weight of the world on our shoulders and how society seems to be holding us down with the force of a boulder.

The bird of democracy flew the coop back in Florida.

See, for some, injustice comes in packs like wolves in sheep's clothing. TKO'd by the right hooks of life, many are left staggering under the weight of the day, leaning against the ropes of hope. When your dreams have fallen on barren ground, it becomes difficult to keep pushing yourself forward like a train, administering pain like a doctor with a needle, their sequels continue more lethal than injections.

They keep telling us all is equal. I'd tell them that instead of giving tax breaks to the rich, financing corporate mergers and leading us into unnecessary wars and under-table dealings with Enron and Halliburton, maybe they can work on making society more peaceful.

Instead, they take more and more money out of inner city schools, give up on the idea of rehabilitation and build more prisons for poor people. With unemployment continuing to rise like a deficit, it's no wonder why so many think that crime pays.

Maybe this trip will make them see the error of their ways. Or maybe next time, we'll just all get out and vote. And as far as their stay in the White House, tell them that numbered are their days.

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Using the veto to continue torture...?

bush is friggin' unbelievable...
The White House threatened Friday to veto the Senate's $440 billion military spending bill if it restricts the Pentagon's treatment of terror-war detainees.

It's the second time this year the Bush administration has threatened to veto a Senate defense measure over Republican-sponsored amendments that would impose limits on how the U.S. military can detain, treat or prosecute terrorism suspects.

(thanks to raw story...)

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Can American voters impose any meaningful accountability on George W. Bush, including possibly removing him and his team from office?

robert parry's asking the question - yet again... i still believe it's precisely the right question... but here's parry's response...
What if the voters acted independently to defeat as many Republicans as possible, not just to put more Democrats in office, but to send a message to both parties that the extremism, the trickery and the corruption personified by the neoconservatives now in charge of the Republican Party will no longer be tolerated?

What if the result of this popular uprising against Bush is not just some marginal Democratic gains, but a landslide repudiation of recent government policies?

Would a solid Democratic majority in both houses represent a mandate for accountability, an imperative so strong that even the timid Democratic leadership couldn’t ignore it?

Might the top Democrats calculate that shirking their duty again represented more of a political risk than holding Bush accountable through investigations and possible impeachment? Is it possible that out of such a changed climate a worthy political leader – and a reformed Republican Party – might arise?

nobody wants a "worthy political leader" more than i do... maybe there's one out there... i'd like to hope so... but, sorry, i just don't see the rest of it happening...

for what robert parry suggests to happen, there'd have to be a wholesale awakening of the american people and the raising of the level of consciousness well past where it is today... it's not that people aren't capable of grasping the gravity of what bushco has been doing to this country... people are a lot smarter than they're given credit for... the problem is that we've (and, yes, i put myself in this category too) have been TRAINED VERY WELL to focus on other things... like noam chomsky points out, you can go into any bar after work where the guys are drinking beer and meet someone who can spout baseball stats going back to the 1900's but doesn't know who karl rove is...

the other thing that would have to change, and i don't see this happening either, is for people in the u.s. to begin repudiating the current zeitgeist, the self-righteous, chest-thumping, testosterone-fueled, kick-'em-in-the-ass mentality that bushco has been deliberately feeding, particularly since 9/11... the instant gratification of proclaiming cultural superiority, military might, economic dominance, and all the other things we've been rubbing in the face of the rest of the world has to give way to some humility, some empathy, some willingness to accept differences...

finally, for what parry suggests to manifest, people have to feel PERSONALLY UNCOMFORTABLE and not just with high gas and home heating prices... we're COMFORTABLE and as long as the bush disaster isn't intruding into our personal lives, there isn't going to be a mass response to anything...

so, what do we do...? imho, another year of bush could see a further ruin of this country that might be impossible to reverse... but, what do we do...? honestly, i am clueless...

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DeLay: "sufficient evidence" to convict

nico at think progress shines a light on the facts... (think progress is good about that...)
Ronnie Earle didn’t issue the indictment against Tom DeLay. A grand jury did. And as it turns out, the jury foreman William Gibson is a former sheriff’s deputy who praises DeLay specifically for his “aggressiveness.” Via Billmon, we see that Gibson spoke out yesterday:

"I like his aggressiveness and everything, and I had nothing against the House majority man, but I felt that we had enough evidence, not only me, but the other grand jury members," Gibson said.


"We would not have handed down an indictment. We would have no-billed the man, if we didn’t feel there was sufficient evidence," said Gibson.

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The fringe that is now the norm

Eugene Robinson in today's Washington Post.

What's the difference between the Republican Party then and the Republican Party now? Here's an illustration: Richard Nixon was the president who established the Environmental Protection Agency. Tom "The Hammer" DeLay is the congressman who called the EPA a latter-day "Gestapo."

So pardon me for going way beyond schadenfreude to outright giddiness at the prospect that the Hammer will finally get nailed.


DeLay, because he's such a ruthlessly effective bully, has been as responsible as anyone for pushing his party to the end of the political spectrum previously reserved for the anti-everything, loony-bin far right. His comeuppance is an occasion to remind ourselves just what a long, strange trip it's been.


The crowd now in control of Washington, thanks in part to DeLay's undeniable skills, could best be described as Reagan's illegitimate heirs.

Theirs is a greedy, small-minded conservatism. In their policies, they seek not to improve government, and certainly not to shrink it, but to ruin it -- to starve the regulatory agencies with tax cuts, then spend so wildly on pork that there's nothing left to pay for actual government work such as, say, preparing for a hurricane.

The Republican Party's "small government" rhetoric is hilarious, but while you're laughing, keep a grip on your wallet. Since 2000, the number of registered lobbyists in Washington has more than doubled, to an astonishing 34,750. That's a lot of mouths at the trough.

DeLay and Co. don't just want to bankrupt the government, they want to force the whole country to conform to their "moral" prescriptions. On private matters such as abortion, homosexuality, religion, even end-of-life decisions, they demand that all of us do as they say. When it comes to the millions who lack health insurance, though, or to persistent poverty in the inner cities -- well, those problems are for individuals and "faith-based" institutions to grapple with as best they can.

That's today's Republican party in a nutshell. And I do mean "nut."

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I'm worn out...

this morning, as i look at the accumulation of news over the past few days, i'm feeling dispirited...

fortunately, not all is bleak...

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

So that's how it's done

Lance Mannion explains how to be morally superior to a Liberal.
First, you have to treat the easiset and most ordinary forms of good behavior, actions and practices that meet the most minimum standards of the definition of common decency, as if they were the most difficult and superhuman examples of virtuousness.


Now comes the most important part. This is the sign that you are a true saint on earth. You go about loudly approving of it all. It doesn't truly count unless you talk about how good it is to be good in the ways you happen to be good.

From there, the next step is easy.

You simply have to believe that Liberals don't approve of any of it.

It would be a lot more rewarding if you could believe that Liberals don't practice any of those virtues. Some of those guys at work, the loudmouth on the radio in the morning as you drive to the office, your brother-in-law, they seem to believe it. But you know the evidence is against you on that one.

There's that damn Jimmy Carter, to begin with.

And you'd also like to believe that even if some Liberals have some virtues, all good Right Wingers like you, or most of them anyway, have all those virtues and practice them more diligently and more consistently.

But then there's Newt Gingrich. And Rush Limbaugh is a junkie, no matter what he says.


So you can't really believe Right Wingers are better behaved than Liberals.

But you know that Liberals are uncomfortable talking about all that stuff as if it matters. You know they reflexively make excuses for people who don't manage the same high level of morally superior behavior as you do, even if you don't go to church, and anyway, your wife goes, and she takes the kids, and maybe you'll go with them next week, so, dammit, you are a religious guy, after all. You know Liberals like to see people burning flags and they love abortion and they don't care if the world is awash in pornography.


You know that even if some of them aren't bad themselves they don't approve of good behavior. In fact, they disapprove of it. They must. Otherwise, they'd talk about it all the time, wouldn't they, about all the smut, and drugs, and sex? They may not be evil and depraved themselves but they are allowing the country to go to the dogs with their attitudes and ideas and their policies and their failure to constantly scold and complain about other people's immoral behavior the way you do.

And that's why you're better than them.

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Judith Miller will testify tomorrow morning

New York Times reporter Judith Miller was released Thursday after agreeing to testify in the investigation into the disclosure of the identity of a covert CIA officer.

Miller left the federal detention center in Alexandria, Va., after reaching an agreement with Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. She will appear before a grand jury investigating the case Friday morning.

the floodgates seem to be opening...

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Do the Dems want a civil war...? Hunter at Kos fires back

i'm impressed... hunter is exercised over mark noonan, yet another far-right blowhard, and, in response, out-articulates virtually anyone i've read recently... wolcott, move over...! (nice job too...!!)

(here's what lit hunter's fuse...)
As our Sister Toldjah noted earlier, the "indictment" of Tom Delay is entirely bogus - from what I've read, Tom Delay didn't know about the perfectly legal transaction he is accused of conspiring to make. We have now left entirely the field of normal political conflict and entered a twilight world where fantasy is presented as fact and the only standard of conduct is "will it work?". This is not the actions of a political Party engaged in seeking a majority - it is the action of a Party determined to destroy its opponents entirely and sieze all power for is, in short, the stuff from which civil wars are made.

In a normal democratic society, the political parties argue it out, resort to the voters and abide by the results - in our very abnormal society, there is no argument. There is accusation and innuendo, and the count of the voters is considered null and void unless it comes to the "correct" conclusion as determined by one Party. The Democrats do not like Tom Delay - and that is natural and normal given that Delay is a senior leader of the other side, and a damned effective one at that. But this quest to destroy Delay goes beyond the pale - it is an outrage; a negation of all that America is about...a betrayal of American political institutions.

I really do urge our Democrats to step back from the edge - you are sitting in a lake of gasoline and you are playing with fire. We on our side will only put up with so much before we start to pay back with usury what we have received. If you can't defeat Tom Delay in the electoral field, then you will simply have to accept him as Majority Leader of the United States House of Representatives - and you'd better start accepting political reality before things get really bad.

amazing shit, huh...? just reading it, i'm literally dumbfounded but nothing compared to the exquisiteness of hunter's rage... so passionate is he, i am compelled to post the entire thing...
Mark... may I call you Mark? I feel when someone has shown me the insides of their own rectum, we're pretty much on a first name basis... I have some words for you.


Whitewater. Rush Limbaugh. "Drug Dealer" Bill Clinton. Swift Boats.

Vince Fucking Foster.

Playing with fire, you say? Because the indictments ringing Tom DeLay finally reached up that one, final step from his ring of closest advisers to DeLay himself? Because the SEC has launched a formal investigation into the same behaviors by Bill Frist that put Martha Stewart recently in prison? Because one of the single most visible, highest profile Republican money men has been indicted for fraud, is being investigated for client shakedowns, and has his close business associates being investigated for a mob-connected murder?

What utter cowardice. What pathetic anti-American pedantry. What laughable protestation. The crimes of campaign money laundering, of fraud, of conspiracy, the violation of the laws of the nation, to be answered with stern visions of potential gunfire if Democrats have the audacity to pursue it.

This is the world of the Republican Party, split open like a rotting pumpkin. Crime after crime after crime being investigated, all revolving around the Republican money machine. Every seed connected by the strands of money they share between them. Barely-laundered campaign money passed in the palm of every flabby handshake. Every player in boldface, underlined print in the Rolodex of every other.

And still, this same bottom-tier world of flag-waving supporters still obsessed over an extramarital sex act, but offended to the point of sad, blustering threats at the notion that crimes by gilded and worshipped Republicans are really still crimes.

Your party has set aflame the entire political landscape, and now, once burned, you warn sternly from the branches of a burnt-out tree about "playing with fire". You used the ashes of one of the great liberal cities of America, New York City, as war paint for your own sick, racist dreams. You shudder at a burning flag, yet are willing to snip-and-cut basic tenets of the Constitution as needed or convenient.

And now, you're outraged, not by any of the rest of it, not by anything that has come before, but because a few prominent Republican faces have -- shock of shocks -- been indicted in probes that have spanned years of investigation, and interrogation, and deposition. That, you say, represents the underpinnings of a civil war.

You poor, hollow, blood-painted clowns. Cheering the trials and failures of your country with the same pennants and giant foam hands that you wave at your favorite sports teams. Willing to accept the most outrageous of lies, if they are spoken from your favorite talking heads, and soothe your own notions of America for you, and only for you.

And as for the audacity of Democrats speaking up during this process... the redfaced, flatulent fury with which you declare Republicans off-limits to that which you so gleefully hurl yourself...

Welcome to the world of the politics of personal destruction, you tubthumping, chin-jutting, Bush humping gits. Welcome to the nasty and partisan world that Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewitt, Grover Norquist, Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay, and a legion of insignificant lowest-rung toadies like yourselves nurtured into fruition daily with eager, grubby hands, and now look upon with dull-faced faux horror.

I know you hate me, and anyone else to dares disturb the thin strands of alternate reality in which George W. Bush is an intellectual giant, Saddam really was responsible for 9/11, the economy is getting better by the minute, and we capture the most very important members of al Qaeda on a weekly basis.

But here's some advice. You'd better start hating me more. This is the world you forged and, unfortunately for you, I'm beginning to take a fancy for it. Welcome to the politics of your own party, finally sprouting from the ground on which you planted the seeds and shat upon them.

Step back from the edge? You poor boy, asleep in the back of the car the whole trip, finally waking up and wondering where you're at.

Swift boats. Aluminum tubes. Niger uranium. "Mushroom clouds". Whitewater.

Vince Fucking Foster.

You can't even see the edge from here. You left it behind a hundred miles back.

So don't give me chest-thumping crap about civil wars, if your politicians are indicted. Don't give me visions of a lake of fire, if all those who find you loathsome refuse to suck at your teats of scientific ignorance in the name of religion, racism in the name of freedom, and corruption in the name of the New World Order.

Get used to the world you have created, and the stench your worshipped heroes have unleashed.

in all seriousness, civil war has been at the back of my mind for well over a year... the intensity of the polarization is such that it would be hard not have it at least cross my mind... god forbid it should come to that but, reading a post such as mark noonan's just makes me cringe...

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Robertson...? Robertson who...? DeLay...? Well, lemme tell ya...

nico at think progress sees through the hypocrisy of the fundamentalist christian right...

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The accountability wind's a'blowin' - Abu Ghraib photos ordered released

only a few weeks ago, it was dead calm... not a leaf twitching... with safavian, we felt a breeze pick up... with delay, the breeze stiffened a fair bit... now that the pentagon has ditched its investigation into the "bodies-and-body-parts-for-porn" photo trade ugliness, they're gonna get hit hard again right quick...
Saying the United States "does not surrender to blackmail," a judge ruled Thursday that pictures of detainee abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison must be released over government claims that they could damage America's image.

U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein ordered the release of certain pictures in a 50-page decision that said terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan have proven they "do not need pretexts for their barbarism."

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Another insight into how Bushco is consolidating power

in addition to recess appointments and the looming threat of domestic militarization, raw story adds some perspective on how bushco has been consolidating power...
The Bush administration has been using an extreme version of an obscure doctrine called the Unitary Executive Theory to justify executive actions that far exceed past presidents' power. [...] The doctrine assumes, in its extreme form, nearly absolute deference to the Executive branch from Congress and the Judiciary.

According to Dr. Christopher Kelley, a professor in the Department of Political Sciences at Miami University, as of April 2005, President Bush had used the doctrine 95 times when signing legislation into law, issuing an executive order, or responding to a congressional resolution.


The doctrine is being used by the Bush Administration, however, to claim the authority to decide what is and what is not the law in areas that some legal experts view as suspect [says] Michael A. Froomkin, professor at University of Miami Law School...


According to Froomkin, a problem arises when the president views himself as completely above the law or is so secretive that no checks and balances can work. The greatest danger is when Congress doesn’t adequately assert itself, he asserts.

i have this mental picture of hordes of interns (college young republicans no doubt) poring over dusty volumes in the sub-basement of the national archives like demented gnomes, unearthing little-known twists and turns in american political and governmental history and then running to rove, the political power-broker from hell, brandishing their new discoveries... they'll know they've struck gold if king karl screams, "we'll fuck 'em, we'll fuck 'em like nobody's ever fucked 'em..."

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Other than sticking it to the grunts, no accountability for torture

accountability is in the wind... right now, with delay and safavian, it's all about politics, power and money... maybe - hopefully - the pendulum will swing toward accountability for the even uglier, nastier stuff like prisoner torture or, heaven forbid, ILLEGAL WAR...
Federal authorities “frog-marched” Private Lynndie England in handcuffs and shackles off to prison to serve three years for her role in abusing and humiliating Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison.


[A] larger question is whether low-ranking soldiers are becoming scapegoats for the bloody fiasco that Bush created when he ordered the invasion in defiance of international law. Pumped-up by Bush’s false claims linking Iraq to the Sept. 11 terror attacks, U.S. soldiers charged into that Arab country with revenge on their minds.

In a healthy democracy, the debate might be less about imprisoning England and other “grunts” than whether Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other war architects should be “frog-marched” to the Hague for prosecution as war criminals.

The international community also has largely shied away from the issue of Bush’s criminality, apparently because of the unprecedented military might of the United States.

If the leaders of a less powerful nation had invaded a country under false pretenses – touching off a war that left tens of thousands of civilians dead – there surely would be demands for war crimes prosecutions before the International Criminal Court at the Hague. But not for Bush and his War Cabinet.

i don't think there's any "question" about low-ranking soldiers becoming the scapegoats for this administration... scapegoating is bushco's hallmark, whether it be for wmd's and the aluminum tube mess (joseph wilson), the katrina response disaster (blanco and nagin), the delay indictment (ronnie earle), or everything else that hasn't gone swimmingly for bushco (clinton)... perhaps, accountability's day is coming and its winds will finally blow bush's ship of fools aground...

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Nora Ephron ain't havin' any of Clinton's moral principles

watching a news clip of the clinton global initiative that was held september 15-17, 2005, in new york city. nora ephron almost gets sucked back into admiring bill but quickly snaps back to reality when bill drops this line...
"I've reached an age now where it doesn't matter whatever happens to me," he said. "I just don't want anyone to die before their time any more." It almost really got to me. But then I came to my senses. And instead I just wanted to pick up the phone and call him and say, if you genuinely believe that, you hypocrite, why don't you stand up and take a position against this war?

goddam right...! and your hypocrite wife too...!

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Ronnie Earle responds, bless 'im

Being vilified as a "rogue district attorney," a "fanatic" and "an unabashed partisan zealot," among other epithets, was not the worst part of his day, said Ronnie Earle, hours after announcing the indictment of Representative Tom DeLay and two associates.

"Mostly, I haven't had any lunch," said Mr. Earle, the Travis County prosecutor, speaking from his office in Austin.


But Mr. Earle would not let it pass, it turned out. "I find they often accuse others of doing what they themselves do," he said. "And what else are they going to say?"

"This is about protecting the integrity of our electoral system and I couldn't just ignore it," he said.


But he denied that politics had played any role, as Mr. DeLay and his lawyers claimed.

"I would expect that that would be their response," Mr. Earle said. "This is what they believe of themselves."

ya gotta love him...

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Bush's apologist gets a face full of reality

karen hughes was supposedly bringing a dose of reality, u.s.-style, to the islamic world in an attempt to show how the u.s. is really a force for good... she's quickly finding out that, once you leave the u.s. borders behind (or step outside your airplane, packed with sycophantic u.s. media), things don't shake out quite like boy george told you they would...
Under Secretary of State Karen P. Hughes, seeking common ground with leading women's rights advocates in Turkey, was confronted instead on Wednesday with anguished denunciations of the war in Iraq and what the women said were American efforts to export democracy by force.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Two stories from Latin America about how Bush is trashing the U.S. image

here's a little summary of what's cooking with our good neighbors down south...

Bush in free-fall in the southern hemisphere too
The image of the United States under President George W. Bush has suffered in Latin America, as well as the Islamic world and Europe, according to a survey released by the Zogby International polling firm in cooperation with the Miami Herald and the University of Miami School of Business Administration.

The survey, which was based on interviews with 523 "opinion leaders" in the public and private sectors, as well as mass media and academia in Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina, found Bush to be particularly unpopular, as well as eroding support for close economic ties with the U.S.

More than four out of five respondents (81 percent) gave Bush a negative job approval rating -- about 20 percent higher than his current ratings in the U.S. -- while a whopping 86 percent said they disagreed with how Bush has handled conflicts in various parts of the world.

The survey also found that slightly more respondents (26 percent) said they favour integrating their national economies more with Europe than with the U.S. (23 percent).

those are some pretty astonishing percentages, especially when you stop to consider that many of the people in those countries, including ones who were polled, still think the u.s. has streets paved with gold... just goes to show how bush is dragging us down the toilet with the entire world... (too bad zogby doesn't see fit to do a u.s. domestic poll about impeachment... go figure...)

U.S. snubs Venezuela and denies extradition of terrorist
The decision Tuesday by a U.S. immigration judge in Texas to deny Venezuela's request to extradite Luis Posada Carriles, whom Caracas has dubbed "the Osama bin Laden of Latin America", was greeted with surprise and disappointment by Latin America activists and even some former U.S. officials.

Venezuela wants Carriles to stand trial for the October 1976 bombing of a civilian Cubana Airlines flight that killed all 73 people aboard shortly after it took off from Barbados.

Venezuela's ambassador here, Bernardo Alvarez, accused the George W. Bush administration of using a "double standard" on terrorism. He said the White House and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which represented the administration before the court, "virtually" collaborated with Posada by failing to contest statements by one defence witness that Posada would be tortured if he were returned to Caracas.

"There isn't a shred of evidence that Posada would be tortured in Venezuela," said Alvarez, adding that "if we examine our respective records on torture, a prisoner is more likely to be tortured in the custody of the U.S. government than in the custody of Venezuelan officials".

Some U.S. officials, who declined to speak on the record, also deplored the decision by immigration judge William Abbott not to extradite Posada on the grounds that he could face torture in Venezuela.

"It's bad enough when the world knows that we're rendering suspected Islamic terrorists to countries that routinely use terror," said one State Department official. "But here we have someone who we know is a terrorist, and it's clear that we're actively protecting him from facing justice. We have zero credibility."

"The long and short of it is that we are harbouring a terrorist," agreed Wayne Smith, who headed the U.S. Interest Section in Havana in the late 1970s and early 1980s. "This is really a total farce."

well, gee, that doesn't sound too good, does it...? it sounds even worse when you dig into the full story...


According to the independent National Security Archive (NSA) here, the Cuban-born Posada joined the U.S. military in 1963 and was recruited by the CIA, which trained him in demolitions. CIA documents posted on the NSA's website show that he was terminated as an asset in July 1967 only to be reinstated four months later.

A series of 1965 FBI memos obtained by NSA describe Posada's participation in a number of plots involving sabotage and explosives, as well as his financial ties to Jorge Mas Canosa, another anti-Castro activist who would later go on to found and lead the Cuban American National Foundation.

Plots included efforts to blow up Cuban or Soviet ships in Veracruz, Mexico, and the bombing of the Soviet library in Mexico City. One memo links him to a major plot to overthrow the Guatemalan government, an effort halted by the discovery by U.S. Customs agents of a cache of weapons that included napalm and explosives. During this period, Posada was working with the CIA.

His relationship with the CIA lasted until 1974, although he retained contact with the agency at least until June 1976, three months before the plane bombing, according to CIA documents. During that period, he worked in Caracas as a senior official in the Venezuelan intelligence agency, DISIP.

A 1972 CIA document described Posada as a high-level official in charge of demolitions at DISIP. The report noted that Posada had apparently taken CIA explosives supplies to Venezuela and was associated with a Miami mafia figure named Lefty Rosenthal.

In one of the very first reports on the Oct. 6, 1976 bombing of the Cubana Air flight, a cable from the FBI Venezuelan bureau cites an informant who identified Posada and Orlando Bosch as responsible and notes that the two Venezuelan suspects -- who both worked for a Caracas private security firm set up by Posada in 1974 -- had been arrested by police in Barbados.

Bosch, another anti-Castro radical, was pardoned by former President George H. W. Bush in 1990 despite a recommendation by the U.S. Justice Department that he be deported. He currently lives in Miami and has repeatedly called for Posada to be granted asylum

Another CIA document released last June cited a report several days after the plane was blown up by a former Venezuelan government official characterised as "usually a reliable reporter" that Posada had bragged a few days before the bombing that he and Orlando Bosch were planning to "hit" a Cuban airplane.

ah, ok... protecting a CIA ASSET...! got it...!

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Northwest killing off its unions

yep, if they get rid of their unions, just think how much more profitable they will be... never mind the workers, of course...
Northwest Airlines, struggling to restructure in bankruptcy, has raised its target for concessions from some of its ground workers to USD$190 million annually, which the carrier hopes will bring costs in line with its revenue.

If the workers fail to ratify a new concessions package, Northwest will ask the bankruptcy court to void its existing collective bargain agreement, Northwest said in a September 26 letter to the International Association of Machinists.

"if they wanna work, they're gonna hafta work under OUR terms..." this is precisely the kind of thing bushco has encouraged since united went under... let's get rid of them damn unions...

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A note on Ronnie Earle - no "fanatic" here

A defiant DeLay insisted he was innocent and called the prosecutor a "partisan fanatic."

oh, tom... go ahead, squeal like a stuck pig... holler all you want... in this time of vanishing justice for politicians, party operatives, lobbyists, and assorted other bagmen, maybe, just maybe, you'll come to the conclusion you've at last got your tit caught in a wringer...

so, besides keeping the record straight on ronnie earle, the travis country district attorney behind delay's indictment (see atrios here), let's also keep in mind that mr. earle may be among the country's best examples of non-partisan virtue... but let mr. earle speak for himself...

"There is no limit to what you can do if you have the power to change the rules. Congress may make its own rules, but the public makes the rule of law, and depends for its peace on the enforcement of the law. Hypocrisy at the highest levels of government is toxic to the moral fiber that holds our communities together.

The open contempt for moral values by our elected officials has a corrosive effect. It is a sad day for law enforcement when Congress offers such poor leadership on moral values and ethical behavior. We are a moral people, and the first lesson of democracy is not to hold the public in contempt."

if you want to read an excellent profile of mr. earle, visit this article in the christian science monitor...
Because the Texas Attorney General's office does not have the authority to prosecute those suspected of committing crimes in their dealings with the state, the responsibility falls on Earle and his band of prosecutors in Travis County, home of the state capital.

It is a responsibility he has embraced, prosecuting 15 high-profile cases against Republican and Democratic politicians during his 27 years in office. Many have drawn sharp criticism from both parties.

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OOOOOOOOO... good...!!! being gone a few hours was worth it...!

WOO-HOO...! even tho' i claim not to take any joy at someone else's difficulties, it's hard not to do a little happy dance over delay's indictment... how nice to head out to do some errands and come back to news like this...
The Republican majority leader in the US House of Representatives Tom DeLay has been indicted with criminal conspiracy by a grand jury in Texas.

The charge relates to a campaign finance scheme in which two of Mr DeLay's associates also stand accused.

Mr DeLay, the second-highest ranking member of the house, said he would step down temporarily to answer the charges.

He is a key fundraiser for President George W Bush and is seen as wielding immense political influence.

White House Spokesman Scott McClellan said that Mr Bush still considered Tom DeLay "a good ally, a leader who we have worked closely with to get things done for the American people".

ever since katrina, bush's house of cards has been tumbling... now, it's not only falling down but the wind's pickin' up...

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The federal government as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the capitalist class

joan vennochi at the boston globe is pissed and bush gets a haymaker full in the face...
[Bush's] entire presidency is based on the premise that Americans can have it all, without sacrifice. We can wage a bloody, costly war and not feel any pinch in resources at home. We can cut taxes and still have No Child Left Behind. We can drive gas-guzzling SUVS without regard for dependence on foreign oil. We can eliminate the estate tax and still rebuild New Orleans.

This administration believes in new oil production, not conservation. It chose not to impose higher mileage standard on automakers. Bush's indifference to repeated warnings of global warming is now coming back to haunt him, too, in the form of rising seas. The next time, those waters may wash right up the Potomac to engulf Washington, D.C. The political waters already have.

Where in the president's call for sacrifice is any sense that he now understands the disconnect between his policies and better government, responsive to all, not just the wealthy few? Where in his call for sacrifice is any sense that he is in this post-Katrina-Rita mess with the rest of us?

Bush and his father may get gussied up like cowpokes every so often so the press corps will think they are self-made men. But more Americans understand a Bush administration operates the federal government as a wholly owned subsidiary of America's capitalist class. Bush has nothing but disdain for those clinging desperately to society's bottom rungs. And Bush's weak call for our sacrifice shows disdain for those clinging to the middle rungs, too.

The simple truth: Making an actual sacrifice is less painful than listening to Bush talk about it.

ouch... but he deserves it - and a lot more...

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On poverty, the failed drug war, prisons, being black, and "Third World" America

just like katrina exposed the seamy underbelly of the u.s., so does the prison and so-called justice system and the failed "war on drugs" expose that same "third world," sadly, a world still largely invisible...
Thirty years ago Gore Vidal noted that "roughly 80 percent of police work in the United States has to do with the regulation of our private morals…controlling what we drink, eat, smoke, put into our veins ... with whom and how we have sex or gamble."

Then there were roughly 250,000 prisoners in the nation. Today there are more than 2 million, with another million in county jails awaiting trial or sentencing, and another roughly 3 million under "correctional supervision" on probation or parole.

The total national cost of incarceration then was $4 billion annually; today it's $64 billion, with another $20 billion in federal money and $22-24 billion in money from state governments earmarked for waging the so-called "War on Drugs."

Nationally, around 60 percent or more of these prisoners are drug criminals. Yet, throughout all this time and expense there has not been the slightest decrease in either drug use or supply.

And amidst all the talk of race as a factor in the Katrina disaster let us not forget a bigger disaster: one in every 20 black men over the age of 18 is in prison compared to 1 in 180 white men. Despite African Americans comprising only 12% of the total population, in five states, including Illinois, the ratio of black to white prisoners is 13 to 1.

The U.S. Department of Justice reports that blacks comprise 56.7% of all drug offenders admitted to state prisons while whites comprise only 23.3% (in my Illinois prison -- one of 28 in the State -- of the 1,076 inmates, 689 were black, 251 were white, and 123 were latino). Based upon these numbers, a full 30% of African-Americans will see time in prison during their life, compared with only 5% of white Americans, even though white drug users outnumber blacks by a five-to-one margin.

Anyone familiar with these facts was not surprised by the response to the largely poor and black victims of Katrina. It was simply a further affirmation of their invisible status within our society, further proof of the Third World existing within the First in America.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The possibility of a Delay indictment -

- isn't a bad way to end the posting day...
A Texas grand jury's recent interest in conspiracy charges could lead to last-minute criminal indictments - possibly against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay - as it wraps up its investigation Wednesday into DeLay's state political organization, according to lawyers with knowledge of the case.

i don't wish anyone ill and i never take pleasure in seeing someone's career demolished... what would be a good thing, however, is for some of the supreme arrogance and unbridled corruption to be at least slowed down a tad...


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More groundwork for martial law and attendant absolute power being laid

read this carefully... the language is deceptive... you have to read between the lines before it becomes clear that "federalize" means to "militarize..."
President Bush yesterday sought to federalize hurricane-relief efforts, removing governors from the decision-making process.


"It may require change of law," Mr. Bush said yesterday. "It's very important for us as we look at the lessons of Katrina to think about other scenarios that might require a well-planned, significant federal response -- right off the bat -- to provide stability."


"I was speculating about was a scenario which would require federal assets to stabilize the situation -- primarily DoD assets -- and then hand back over to Department of Homeland Security," the president said.

But stabilizing a crisis might require federal troops to arrest looters and perform other law-enforcement duties, which would violate the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. The law was passed in the wake of the Civil War and Reconstruction to prevent the use of federal troops from policing elections in former Confederate states.

The White House wants Congress to consider amending Posse Comitatus in order to grant the Pentagon greater powers.

i'm tellin' ya... bushco wants ALL the power and, step-by- careful-step, he's laying the groundwork for it to happen... now that he's wasted fema and convinced everyone it's worthless, now that he's blamed the disastrous katrina recovery response on the states, what's left but to hand it over to the military...? so goes the set-up... i'm concerned... we are on very, very thin ice in this country right now... this is from my post yesterday...
i don't view bushco's moves to militarize domestically as either impatience with complex issues or ineptness... i don't consider myself a big conspiracy theorist but i'm more and more convinced that bushco is implementing a deliberate strategy to neuter FEMA (and the federal government in general) and to lay the groundwork for declaring martial law... everything the bush administration does is focused on consolidating more power and every step they take must be viewed through that filter... they are neither impatient nor incompetent... in fact, quite the contrary... they are moving step by well-planned step to get what they want and by insuring that fema appears in disarray, they are merely laying the groundwork for their ultimate intentions... there are lots of folks out there who put this kind of thinking squarely in tin-foil hatville and, by advancing such notions, we (you, i, whoever) run the risk of being derided, chided and dismissed... so be it... i put nothing past this crowd... imho, they are flat-out dangerous...

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Aw, geeez... Colorado Springs spurns hurricane evacuees and bites the big one...

my (ex) hometown says about the evacuees, "drive them to Denver...!"

remember colorado springs...? the home of dobson's focus on the family...? the headquarters of northcom...? the home of the air force academy...? the capital of more fundamentalist evangelical christian organizations than anywhere else in the country...? the place where bush hung out watching rita strike...? and now the pinnacle of compassionate conservatism...?

City officials declared they've done enough for hurricane evacuees and have drafted a plan to let a faith-based charity and the NAACP take over relief efforts.

While no one will be denied social services, officials have asked a man who has bused in loads of evacuees to start taking them elsewhere, as officials fear social services will soon be stretched too thin.

"I think we have every reason in the world as a community to be proud of how compassionate we've been," City Manager Lorna Karma said Monday. "But I think we need to say, 'No more.' Or we need to drive them to Denver."

i'm so proud... disgusting...

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The coming decline of oil and a few things to do about it

foreign policy conducts an interview with matthew simmons...

(Matthew Simmons, chairman of Simmons & Company International, is author of Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy...)

MS: I think there’s a strong possibility that 10 years from now, we’ll be producing 75 million bpd, down from about 85 million bpd today. That doesn’t mean that we’ve run out. But it is a cataclysmic event unless we gear up and understand what it’s all about.


FP: Which countries are best positioned to deal with a decline in oil production?

MS: Papua New Guinea. Unfortunately, that’s an honest answer. The countries that haven’t yet built a society that needs an exponential amount of oil are in the best shape. Around 30 years ago, around half the world didn’t really use oil. And now look, cities like Hanoi have millions of motorcycles they didn’t have five years ago. We’ve built the global economy based on the false assumptions that oil is just another commodity, that the Middle East has basically unlimited amounts of oil, technology will improve, and that the price of oil would get progressively cheaper.


FP: If you were the secretary of energy right now, what policies would you recommend to President Bush?

MS: If we restructure the way we use fuels, we might be able to get along very well with oil in decline. The single-most energy inefficient way we use oil is large trucks delivering goods over large distances. If you take all the goods that are trucked more than, say, 50 miles, onto railroad tracks, depending on the length of travel, you’d use between 3 to 10 times less energy. If you put them on a marine vessel, it’s even more efficient. So forget about just-in-time inventory. Once you get the large trucks off the road, you make a tremendous dent in traffic congestion, which is public enemy one through five on passenger car fuel efficiency.

We also need to embrace the concept of distributed work. In most of our non-manufacturing commercial jobs, we assume that it’s better to have a lot of people working at the same site, even though it’s not necessary. By allowing people to work at home and keep their jobs, all they have to do is invest in communications such as video conferencing, the Internet, and cell phones. We also have to change the way we distribute food. An amazing amount of the global food supply is transcontinental and produced by energy-intensive large-scale agriculture. Whole Foods, a successful grocery retailer, has basically created organic farming near each store it builds. The produce is less energy-intensive to grow and ship.

it's always interesting to read things that make sense on their face... reducing otr (over-the-road) trucking... yeah, you bet... changing work patterns... certainly... i always appreciate reading things from those who not only have credentials but are also intuitively sensible...

(from the publisher of simmons' book...)
"Twilight in the Desert looks behind the curtain to reveal a Saudi oil and production industry that could soon approach a serious, irreversible decline. In this exhaustively researched book, veteran oil industry analyst Matthew Simmons draws on his own three-plus decades of insider experience and more than 200 independently produced reports about Saudi petroleum resources and production operations. What he uncovers is a story about Saudi Arabia's troubled oil industry, not to mention its political and societal instability, which differs sharply from the globally accepted Saudi version."

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Lessons from Katrina about poverty

david ellwood in the boston globe clearly says what we should all now clearly know...
[T]he overriding lesson about poverty is much deeper. Many of the poor in New Orleans were left on rooftops for the same reason they were isolated in ghetto neighborhoods on the days before the storm: There was no realistic way out. The painful truth is that through policy choices, racism, class antagonisms, and neglect, we have concentrated the poor into dangerous areas with limited jobs, poor schools, no real employment networks, too few role models, and too few routes to the mainstream.

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Ofercryinoutloud, Brownie... Everybody KNOWS what your biggest mistake was...

your BIGGEST mistake was allowing yourself to be used as a bush hack... now that the media and the american people found out about it and turned you into a clay pigeon, all you've done is whine... GET OVER IT and ACCEPT SOME RESPONSIBILITY, you asshole...!!
"My biggest mistake was not recognizing by Saturday that Louisiana was dysfunctional," two days before the storm hit, Brown told the panel.

and, while you're in the process of GETTING OVER IT, why dontcha tear up that playbook rove gave you, the one entitled, "HOW TO NEVER TAKE RESPONSIBILITY - FOR ANYTHING..."

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Presidents and Hurricanes

US Presidents and Hurricanes

(thanks to good friend, reid...)

President: Nixon
Danger: Category-5 Hurricane Camille (August 1969)
Area: About the same area as that affected by Katrina
Response: Nixon prepared the National Guard in advance,
ordering rescue ships from Tampa, FL and Houston, TX to
stand waiting along with over a thousand regular
military, 24+ helicopters to assist the Coast Guard and
National Guard about as soon as the hurricane passed.

President: Bush the Elder
Danger: Hurricane Andrew (August 92)
Area: Florida
Response: In the middle of a re-election campaign, Bush
ceased campaigning the day before the hurricane, went to
Washington, and assembled one of the largest military
forces ever mustered on U.S. soil. Seven thousand
with the necessary equipment shortly after the hurricane
passed through.

President: Clinton
Danger: Category-3 Hurricane Floyd (September 1999)
Area: Virginia and Carolinas
Response: Meeting with China's president Jiang in New
Zealand, Clinton immediately declared the
hurricane-affected areas as federal disasters, allowing
the military and National Guard to move in and help.
Clinton flew home immediately, one day before the hurricane
hit, to help coordinate the rescue.

President: Bush the Lesser
Danger: Category-5 Hurricane Katrina (August 2005)
Area: Gulf Coast
Response: National Guard troops are down about 8,000
members because they are in Iraq with much of the
necessary rescue equipment needed. Bush was on vacation,
riding his bike for two hours the day before the
hurricane lands. On the day Katrina landed, Bush attended
a birthday party for John McCain. The levees began to
crack. While emergency 1.5-ton sandbags were ready to be
placed to steady the levee and absorb water, there were
insufficient numbers of helicopters and pilots to set
them before the levees break. Nagin, the mayor of New
Orleans, pleaded for federal-level assistance and got none.
Bush went to San Diego to play guitar with a country singer
and end his vacation early -- but not until the next day,
because he had tickets to a San Diego Padres game.

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Monday, September 26, 2005

Argentina and the IMF, telenovela episode # god only knows

Argentina and the IMF appeared to inch toward a thaw over the weekend, as Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna met twice with IMF managing director Rodrigo de Rato and Argentine government sources said the talks were "good and extensive." Argentina, however, said there is still no formal start of negotiations with the lender. Lavagna was in Washington for the three-day annual meeting of the IMF and the World Bank which concluded yesterday.

talk about a relationship that runs hot and cold...!

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Brownie rehired...??? You have GOT to be kidding me...!!

CBS News' Bob Schieffer just announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has rehired ex-FEMA chief Michael Brown-- as a consultant.

pardon me while i pick my jaw up off the floor... bush has to go... he simply HAS TO GO...!

(thanks to raw story...)

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Spare us from our CEO administration

The Toronto Star regales us with what we already know. The corporate cronyism of the Bush administration is ruining America.

He's No Warren Buffet

The money quote:
If only the U.S. were run more like a business, was the Bush/Cheney mantra in 2000; then America would be a more contented kingdom.

But a sustainably prosperous business doesn't hand vital tasks to cronies, fail to vet its suppliers, starve essential employees of job fulfillment, or blame its shortcomings on bogeymen.

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Elderly, homeless, institutionalized and DEAD

Mark Roper spent two weeks in St. Gabriel, La., this month, moving the bodies of Hurricane Katrina’s New Orleans victims into refrigerated trailers.

After watching the steady stream of corpses, Roper’s biggest surprise about the dead: almost all were elderly or homeless.

“The victims who were killed were mostly poor and homeless and institutionalized,” said Roper, vice president of Lincoln’s Roper & Sons.

“You really feel for these people. They just could not get out of the way.”

Roper was in Louisiana Sept. 1 through Sept. 14 as part of a Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team, a federalized volunteer group of medical and forensics experts trained to identify bodies.

compassionate fucking conservatism...

(thanks to raw story...)

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DoD may not have given permission for their photos but others are coming out anyway

john and the folks at americablog are doing their usual outstanding job of unearthing what needs to be unearthed and making sure it gets exposed to the light of day... these photos are unsettling to say the least... it sure makes clear how debasing war is for everyone involved... the links are here , here, here, here, and here... the last link contains the detailed story... the preceding links are follow-on posts... "thanks" is a bizarre thing to say in response to something as ghastly as this but i do appreciate the work in getting them up and out...

[NOTE: DO NOT, i repeat, DO NOT visit the links included in the posts without preparing yourself for a terrifying visit to the horrors of war... PLEASE...]

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Energy aid for low-income households - winter's a'comin'

joseph p. kennedy ll, chairman of citizens energy corp. (and, presumably, since he's writing in the boston globe, a member of THE kennedy family), has this to say about windfall energy profits... (please note, he's NOT volunteering any of HIS company's windfall profits...)
THE HUGE run-ups in energy prices have created record profits for oil and gas companies, refiners, shippers, and other players in the energy industry.

What may surprise many people is that one of the principal beneficiaries of the price spikes is the US government. When energy costs soar, the federal treasury sees massive infusions of royalties from energy companies for oil and gas extracted from federal lands and waters.

While the government collects a windfall, the poor just reap the cold. The federal treasury should not be making money off of elderly Americans and working families shivering in their homes during the winter.

It's time that every cent of unearned windfall goes toward fuel assistance for the poor. Using $25 a barrel as a baseline -- the mid-range of OPEC's preferred price band for crude oil -- the federal government ought to channel royalties collected on higher prices into energy aid for low-income households.

i remember a bumper sticker proudly displayed by texans during the energy crisis of the 70's referring to the northern states - "let the bastards freeze in the dark..." all it will take is one or two elderly folks freezing to death in their apartments where the utilities have been cut off for non-payment because they were too poor and government energy aid was insufficient to pay the bills to add yet another scandal to the scandalous bush administration...

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Martial law, Posse Comitatus, Bush and the Bulldog Manifesto

i received this in my email from a blogger that i respect... he raises some very good points that i expand on in my reply... (yes, it's long...)

----- Original Message -----
From: "The Bulldog Manifesto"
Subject: Operation Garden Plot -- From FEMA to the Military, a Prelude to Martial Law?
Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2005 05:59:22 -0400 (EDT)

> I was inspired to write this article last week after speaking
> with a FEMA employee who is presently involved in the Hurricane
> Katrina response. I was told by the employee (who shall remain
> anonymous) that FEMA has, to the dismay of many FEMA employees,
> become increasingly put under the command of the military. I
> refrained from writing anything on this subject until I looked
> further into the matter. Then, I noticed an article in yesterday's
> edition of Newsday
. According to the article, George W. Bush is
> urging the military to take a larger role in disaster relief.
> Why is this an issue? Well, because it potentially violates the
> Posse Comitatus Act of 1887.


> Pursuant to the Posse Comitatus Act, Federal military personnel and
> units are forbidden to act in a law enforcement capacity within the
> United States, except where expressly authorized by the
> Constitution or the Congress. Coupled with the Insurrection Act,
> the powers of the Federal government to use the US military for law
> enforcement are limited. Although there are a few exceptions to
> the Posse Comitatus Act, it seems that the President is urging
> militarization that goes well beyond those exceptions. In essence,
> the President is attempting a universal circumvention of Posse
> Comitatus under the guise of disaster relief.
> Is this a surprise? Not really.
> Under the heading of "civil disturbance planning", the U.S.
> military has been training troops to deal with American citizens
> for quite some time. The master plan, Department of Defense Civil
> Disturbance Plan 55-2, is code-named, "Operation Garden Plot".
> Originating in 1968, Operation Garden Plot has spawned military
> training courses which teach federal troops, inter alia, how to
> institute and enact martial law.
> According the the military curriculum under Operation Garden Spot:
> PART F - MARTIAL LAW (Also see Appendix A)
> 1. General. Martial law depends on public necessity. The extent of
> the military force and the measures taken will depend upon the
> actual threat to order and public safety. The decision to impose
> federal martial law is normally made by the President. (See
> Appendix A for details of martial law.)
> 2. Legal Effects of Martial Law. In an area where martial law is
> maintained by federal military forces, the local civil and criminal
> laws will continue. Their actual enforcement may be suspended
> because of the inability of the civil authorities to function. Laws
> may also be suspended by order of the President or by order of the
> military commander acting under authority of the President. Under
> martial law, the President may cause military agencies to arrest
> civilians charged with offenses against special rules and
> regulations issued by the military commander. They may stay in
> military custody until they can be released safely or delivered for
> trial.
> 3. General Restrictions on Civilian Population in the United
> States. In martial law, the military commander manages the local
> government. He may have to protect civil officials. He may also
> provide for emergency public service to prevent or relieve human
> suffering. Proclamations and restrictions on the rights of citizens
> or on the civilian economy are normally issued by the commander
> through the media." In other words, the President is taking
> disaster relief out of the hands of an organization that was
> created "to lead America to prepare for, prevent, respond to and
> recover from disasters" and putting it into the hands of an
> organization that was trained in instituting martial law! Disaster
> relief has gone from being a civilian matter to a military
> operation.
> Along with militarization comes everything that typically comes
> with the military. Military law. Military courts. Reduction in
> transparency. You name it.
> Was this necessary? No.
> FEMA was not always as inept as it is today. Even FEMA's website
> gives credit to the Clinton administration for initiating "sweeping
> reforms that streamlined disaster relief and recovery operations."
> FEMA even gives Clinton kudos for insisting "on a new emphasis
> regarding preparedness and mitigation, and focus[ing] agency
> employees on customer service." It wasn't until the Bush
> administration put FEMA under the umbrella of the Department of
> Homeland Security, cut it's funding, and put an unqualified former
> Arabian Horse Show Judge in control of the organization that FEMA
> became so dysfunctional.
> Who is to blame?
> Well, it's not unfair to blame George W. Bush for the current shape
> of FEMA. After all, he did create the Department of Homeland
> Security and he (and the Republican congress) did pass legislation
> that put FEMA under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland
> Security. He is also responsible for putting an unqualified former
> Arabian horse show judge in charge of FEMA. And certainly, if our
> national guard are spread too thin because of the war in Iraq,
> President Bush is responsible for that too. And certainly,
> hurricanes are not unforseeable events. In fact, as far back as
> July, scientists predicted:
> "Based on current and projected climate signals, the Tropical Storm
> Risk (TSR) consortium, which is led by the BHRC, predicts:
> * A 97% probability of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season
> * 15 tropical storms for the Atlantic basin as a whole, with
> nine of these being hurricanes and four intense hurricanes
> * Five tropical storm strikes on the US, of which two will be hurricanes
> * Two tropical storm hits, including one hurricane on the
> Caribbean Lesser Antilles." So, it's certainly fair to say that
> circumvention of Posse Comitatus was avoidable at one point, and
> could certainly still be avoidable if the Bush Administration was
> willing to change it's course and take FEMA seriously.
> Final Thoughts
> As usual, the Bush administration has no patience for complex
> issues. Like Iraq, the same goes for disaster relief. In each
> instance, it seems the best Bush can suggest is militarization.
> Essentially, when the going gets tough, George W. Bush sends in the
> troops.
> Without concern for the risks, this administration would rather go
> ahead and circumvent well-established law. Rather than fix FEMA,
> the Bush administration would rather militarize the American
> citizenry.
> At what point will these so-called conservatives realize that the
> military budget is still a part of the overall budget? At what
> point will they realize that spending, for example, $10 billion
> dollars on the military is still spending $10 billion dollars, and
> that perhaps, the military isn't always the best option for America?
> At what point will they learn that a big military is a big government?

(my reply...)
i don't view bushco's moves to militarize domestically as either impatience with complex issues or ineptness... i don't consider myself a big conspiracy theorist but i'm more and more convinced that bushco is implementing a deliberate strategy to neuter FEMA (and the federal government in general) and to lay the groundwork for declaring martial law... everything the bush administration does is focused on consolidating more power and every step they take must be viewed through that filter... they are neither impatient nor incompetent... in fact, quite the contrary... they are moving step by well-planned step to get what they want and by insuring that fema appears in disarray, they are merely laying the groundwork for their ultimate intentions... there are lots of folks out there who put this kind of thinking squarely in tin-foil hatville and, by advancing such notions, we (you, i, whoever) run the risk of being derided, chided and dismissed... so be it... i put nothing past this crowd... imho, they are flat-out dangerous... here's some more fodder for your thinking...

i have noticed articles (as you have) commenting on bush's increasing push to use the military in reponse to domestic disasters and i posted on it last week...

there was a military exercise conducted in d.c. the other day - granite shadow - conducted by a unit of northcom, designed to demo how the military would respond in a martial law situation which i posted on as well... not coincidentally, the exercise took place as rita approached and just prior to the anti-war protestors gathering for the weekend's march...

bushco has established the precedent of using paid mercenaries to wage war... this has been most visible in iraq and recently made its appearance inside the borders of the u.s. post-katrina... when you think about the decimation of military strength over the past few years and the difficulties in obtaining new recruits, a privatized army begins to make a lot of sense... i recently posted on this disturbing development...

bush extended the national state of emergency for the 4th straight year in a row on september 21... (fortunately, we're not the only ones picking up on these threads and i included a kos diary in my post...)

there has also been official comment made by the defense department (i don't have a link or the exact quote) that the posse comitatus act is "antiquated" and possibly doesn't apply to the current state of affairs... if i run across that link, i will send it to you...

in short, i think the u.s. is and has been under continuous assault since the stolen election/coup d'etat of 2000... when you put the frame of achieving absolute power around all of the actions of the administration since that time, what we have chosen to characterize as a "failed presidency" suddenly looks quite successful...

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Sunday, September 25, 2005

The ship of another Bush hack is running aground

unfortunately, the "ship" is the cia...
Personal and political feuding at CIA headquarters is turning into a soap opera. Morale has declined for months as CIA chief Porter Goss has purged senior managers and critics have assailed the agency for fumbling intelligence on Al Qaeda and unconventional weapons in Iraq. [...] Only sketchy accounts are available of what may have been the most telling critique of Goss's leadership, presented to a closed-door meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee by veteran operative Rob Richer. Richer served nine months as deputy chief of the CIA's spy branch before resigning earlier this month. He told senators he was unhappy about how Goss ran the agency, including the director's absentee style of management, say three sources familiar with his testimony who declined to be identified because it's classified. Richer "struggled mightily to be respectful but did not pull punches," says one of the sources.

looks to me like bush's entire house of cards is falling down... (apologies for the mixed metaphors... so sue me...)

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