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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 12/11/2005 - 12/18/2005
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Esteemed son's comment on Bush's spying

Clinton has a quickie in the oval office and gets impeached. Bush admits he went to war on false inteligence and now admits to this. Does he get in impeached, NO! What is wrong with this country and what does he have to do to finally wake this country up?

that's m'boy...!

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Bush administration abuses likely far worse than the spying

as much as i don't like to think about it, i know in my heart of hearts that arthur's right... we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg...
I find it close to impossible to believe that any adult in America didn't think things like this have been going on for some time. Second, given all the other assaults on individual rights and the rule of law engaged in by the Bush administration -- does anyone think for one second that this is even close to the worst of the abuses now taking place? If you do, I suggest you get back in touch with reality as quickly as possible.

i think the most shocking of the revelations are yet to come...

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Bush 'fesses up about spying and basically says, "So...?!?"

yeah... i signed spying authorizations... yeah, i did lotsa times... so...? i'm gonna do it again too... ya wanna make sumpin' outta it...? ya think yer so hot, ya wanna piece o'me...? go ahead, take yer best shot...
Appearing angry at times during his eight-minute address, Bush left no doubt that he will continue authorizing the program.

"I intend to do so for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from al-Qaida and related groups," he said.

since it was his radio address, i wouldn't be at all surprised if he also gave us the finger from behind the microphone... susanG at kos sees it like this...
This appears to me to be a true "line in the sand" moment for America, with a president openly and defiantly declaring himself ready to continue a program that legal scholars, members of Congress and - according to the Friday New York Times article that started this all - several NSA analysts themselves believe to be unconstitutional.

There appears to be no acknowledgement whatsoever of concerns voiced by critics of the program. There is the feeling in the air about all this - and perhaps it's just me - that we are being forced to a constitutional crisis by a president who no longer believes he needs to wear a mask to court public opinion. This reeks of raw will and power.

i think we ought to call the bastard's bluff... he's shit on the american people and the united states constitution once too often... it's time he paid some consequences...

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Juan Cole: Why the Sunnis voted

i'm delighted that they voted, i'm delighted with the turnout, and i'm delighted that the violence abated long enough for people to get to the polls, but i'm with prof. cole... given what's been happening since our illegal invasion, i'm not ready to point to anything and call it a success...
According to wire services, Sunnis in Fallujah came out to vote:
'...not only to get rid of the Americans but to also get rid of the Shiite-dominated government.

"It's an extremist government [and] we would like an end to the occupation," said Ahmed Majid, 31. "Really the only true solution is through politics. But there is the occupation and the only way that will end is with weapons."

Even in insurgent bastions such as Ramadi and Haqlaniyah, Sunnis were turning out in large numbers.

"I came here and voted in order to prove that Sunnis are not a minority in this country," said lawyer Yahya Abdul-Jalil in Ramadi. "We lost a lot during the last elections, but this time we will take our normal and key role in leading this country." '

It is not actually a positive sign for the Americans that Sunni Arabs came out to vote in order to get rid of them, to see if they couldn't get rid of the current pro-American government, to underline that the armed struggle will continue, and to prove that Sunni Arabs (20% of so of the population) are a majority of the country! The American faith that if people go to the polls it means they won't also be blowing things up is badly misplaced.

prof. cole goes on to cite examples from northern ireland and sinn fein where sinn fein's gaining seats in the ulster assembly in 1982 didn't mean diddly insofar as reducing violence was concerned...

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No WTO agreement in Hong Kong...? No problem...

it's always nice to get another perspective...
"We do not at all believe that it would be a failure to conclude the meeting without an agreement," activist Jorge Carpio, of the Argentine organisation Foco (Focus), told IPS. Foco organised debates on poverty and free trade, in which activists from all around the world took part, parallel to the Fourth Summit of the Americas held in Mar del Plata, Argentina in November.


"It doesn't matter how long the WTO negotiations take. On the contrary: we need time to recover from the devastation caused by the neoliberal reforms of the 1990s. If no agreement is reached, we will have some breathing room in which to recover, re-establish alliances between countries of the South, and prepare to bargain from a better position," explained Carpio.


Carpio said that although the issue of trade might appear to be unconnected with the problems of people who are poor and unemployed, it is not. The participating activists "recognised that the explosion in unemployment in Argentina took place in the 1990s, when trade was liberalised to a record-breaking extent," he noted.

In Argentina, the free-market reforms of the 1990s last decade resulted in a catastrophic political, social and economic collapse which brought the government down in 2001 and left a deep-rooted social crisis in its wake. Poverty reached 54 percent of the population and unemployment soared above 20 percent.

"If there are no trade barriers in our countries, our factories cannot compete with products imported from developed countries, and people link that immediately to their own experience and living conditions," Carpio said. But the process of understanding these connections takes time, he added.

in so many ways, argentina is a fascinating case study of the developing world in microcosm... in addition to argentina, i've watched in several countries as the precise dynamic described above plays out... i make it a point to read the fine print on every product i pick up in the store... a large percentage of them, regardless of how unfamiliar the brand name of the product itself might be to me, when i get to the fine print on the back of the package, i see very familiar names - proctor and gamble, unilever, general electric, colgate, gillette, etc...

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Congress had the same access to intelligence as the president of the United States...? Not true...? Of course...

this story has been out there for several days now but leave it to media matters to put all the pieces together for the record...
Of course, it isn't true that, say, for example, some obscure junior member of Congress had the same access to intelligence as the president of the United States. The claim that they did is so obviously, laughably false, it's hard to believe anyone could take it seriously. Yet, the false claim appeared in every major news organization in the country, over and over again. Some reports merely quoted it without rebutting it; interviewers failed to challenge guests who made the false claim; media figures adopted the obviously false spin as fact; and news reports watered down Bush's claim, thus avoiding having to correct it.

Media repetition of the claim without debunking it has been nearly constant. A few of the many examples:

* The Los Angeles Times reported on November 17 that "[i]n two recent speeches, President Bush disputed Democratic charges that the White House had manipulated the available intelligence to build support for invading Iraq. The president said Democrats now leveling accusations had access to the same intelligence he did before they voted to authorize military force in Iraq." Nowhere did the Times even indicate that Democrats disputed the "same intelligence" line -- much less note that it was simply false.
* On Fox News, Charles Krauthammer declared "Everybody looked at the same intelligence and had the same conclusion. I think it is a very strong counterattack and the Democrats are going to have a lot of explaining to do."
* A Washington Times editorial headlined, "A belated response to the Big Lie," approvingly quoted Bush: "Speaking to a gathering of veterans in Tobyhanna, Pa., the president noted that when he decided to oust Saddam, 'more than 100 Democrats in the House and Senate, who had access to the same intelligence, voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power.' "
* A November 11 New York Times article reported, "The White House's effort to stop the erosion is centered on defining the president's critics as Democrats who voted for the war based on the same intelligence Mr. Bush saw but have switched positions, often under pressure from their party's left wing." Readers were given no clue that this claim was false.

to paraphrase a line i often used in corporate life, when we start believing what the bush administration says, that's when we should REALLY start to be worried...

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Friday, December 16, 2005

Steve Clemons to Bush: "Post the list."

absolutely dead on, steve... goddam you, george bush... goddam you and everyone who's propping you up...
I don't care how long the list is of those people and phone numbers that have been surreptitiously monitored by the National Security Agency without court approval.

This list should be made public -- published in full on the Internet.

If there are specific individuals or numbers that a judge wishes to give ex post facto protection, I can accept that.

But this invasion of privacy in the case of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of American citizens must be challenged in the courts. What Bush did is engage in an extra-legal act against the citizens he is paid to represent -- and this is criminal.

Post the list. It should be made public because at this point there is NO NATIONAL SECURITY rationale to justify the monitoring of citizens in cases that have not been approved by a court. That means that all of those citizens monitored are innocent -- and unwitting victims of this domestic spy campaign launched by George W. Bush.

Publish the list of phone numbers, Mr. President. Do it now or lawyers may start working today to compel you through the courts to do it.

when are the outrageous actions of this administration going to sink it...? huh...? when...? i wanna know just exactly what it's gonna hafta take to run this group of bastards out of office... exactly... just exactly... what and when...

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TDS' Jon Stewart weighs in on "The War on Christmas"

"Every time you say 'Happy Holidays," an angel gets AIDS."

merry christmas, jon, and blessings be upon you... we're very grateful to have you around...

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The shit Bush is in over domestic spying is getting deeper by the minute

and george isn't helping himself by adopting this kind of posture...
President Bush refused to say whether the National Security Agency eavesdropped without warrants on people inside the United States but leaders of Congress condemned the practice on Friday and promised to look into what the administration has done.


Bush said in an interview that "we do not discuss ongoing intelligence operations to protect the country. And the reason why is that there's an enemy that lurks, that would like to know exactly what we're trying to do to stop them.

"I will make this point," Bush said. "That whatever I do to protect the American people — and I have an obligation to do so — that we will uphold the law, and decisions made are made understanding we have an obligation to protect the civil liberties of the American people."

when the abusive father takes off his belt and is preparing to whale the tar out of one of the kids, he always says, "i'm only doing this for your own good..." pardon me while i go throw up...

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Patriot Act renewal blocked in Senate!!!

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators, demanding increased protection of civil liberties, defied President George W. Bush on Friday and blocked legislation to renew the USA Patriot Act, a centerpiece of his war on terrorism.

On a Senate vote of 52-47, mostly Republican backers of the measure fell eight short of the needed 60 to end debate and move to passage of it.

I am running out the door, but I had to post this bit of good news. That's two for two in the past two days.

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Bringing back the Berlin Wall...?

or is it the israel-palestine security fence re-visited...?

(thanks to jeralyn at talkleft...)
I wonder what former President Ronald Reagan, so famous for his "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall" statement at the Berlin wall, would think of his fellow Republicans in Congress last night passing a border bill that will result in five fences being built along 698 miles of the Mexico -United States border in an effort to block illegal immigration and drugs from entering the U.S.
The vote on the amendment was a victory for conservatives who had long sought to build such a fences along the Mexican border. But the vote was sharply assailed by Democrats, who compared the fences to the Berlin Wall in Germany. Twelve Republicans also voted against the amendment.

This is a bill with the potential to split the Republicans into warring factions.
The unusual revolt highlighted the schism within the Republican Party over the volatile issue of immigration. Business leaders, traditional allies of the party, have lobbied fiercely against the bill, which contains strict employment verification requirements that many executives view as a burden.

Let's look at the other "welcoming, peaceful provisions" of the bill. [quotes added for emphasis]
The bill would require mandatory detention of many immigrants, stiffen the penalties for employers who hire them and broaden the immigrant-smuggling statute to include employees of social service agencies and church groups who offer services to undocumented workers.

It would not create the temporary guest worker program that President Bush has urged to legalize the status of the 11 million illegal immigrants believed to be living in this country.

Here's our pal Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI):
Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Republican of Wisconsin, sharply criticized those expressing support for what many conservatives describe as an amnesty for illegal immigrants.

"This bill doesn't give amnesty to illegal aliens and it shouldn't because that would reward someone for breaking our laws," said Mr. Sensenbrenner, who had introduced the border security bill.

thanks again, jeralyn...

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We don't need no steeeenking civil liberties... [UPDATE] [UPDATE II]

this friggin' bunch is totally out of control... 'course, that's hardly news, now is it...?
Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.

Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years in an effort to track possible "dirty numbers" linked to Al Qaeda, the officials said. The agency, they said, still seeks warrants to monitor entirely domestic communications.

The previously undisclosed decision to permit some eavesdropping inside the country without court approval represents a major shift in American intelligence-gathering practices, particularly for the National Security Agency, whose mission is to spy on communications abroad. As a result, some officials familiar with the continuing operation have questioned whether the surveillance has stretched, if not crossed, constitutional limits on legal searches.

the bill of rights and the u.s. constitution are merely annoying inconveniences to the bushco crowd of criminals...


good lord... it just gets worse and worse...
On the second page of a report which reveals the White House engaged in warantless domestic spying, the New York Times reveals that it held the story for a full year at the request of the Bush Administration, RAW STORY can reveal.

The Times also reveals that senior members of Congress from both parties knew about Bush's decision to spy on Americans who were making international calls or emails, without warrants.

Further, the Times notes that they have omitted information in the article they did write, agreeing with the Bush Administration that the information could be useful for terrorists.


the story now has legs... long ones...

(from wapo...)
Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies at George Washington University, said the secret order may amount to the president authorizing criminal activity.

The law governing clandestine surveillance in the United States, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, prohibits conducting electronic surveillance not authorized by statute. A government agent can try to avoid prosecution if he can show he was "engaged in the course of his official duties and the electronic surveillance was authorized by and conducted pursuant to a search warrant or court order of a court of competent jurisdiction," according to the law.

"This is as shocking a revelation as we have ever seen from the Bush administration," said Martin, who has been sharply critical of the administration's surveillance and detention policies. "It is, I believe, the first time a president has authorized government agencies to violate a specific criminal prohibition and eavesdrop on Americans."

oooo... the shit is hitting the fan...

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The impact of Media Matters: Blitzer recants on CNN

these folks perform an invaluable service and it's gratifying to see an honest and immediate response from someone like wolf blitzer rather than the bluster and stonewalling of an o'reilly...
CNN Situation Room anchor Wolf Blitzer responded to a December 15 Media Matters for America item during that day's program, acknowledging that he incorrectly stated the previous day that Vice President Dick Cheney "never said hard and fast ... that there was a meeting" between 9-11 ringleader Mohammed Atta and Iraqi intelligence operatives in Prague in 2001. As Media Matters noted, Cheney asserted the now-discredited claim without hedging or qualifying on numerous occasions.

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Bush tries to redeem himself over Katrina - AGAIN...!

do we believe a single thing this guy says...? and, if so, why...?
The Bush administration agreed on Thursday to double what it would spend on flood protection for New Orleans, promising a system that it said would make the city safe from catastrophic flooding from a storm as powerful as Hurricane Katrina.

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Abu Musab al-Zarqawi - the one who got away

cnn's anderson cooper just reported that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was in custody in iraq some months previous and was released "because he wasn't 'recognized'..."

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Kurt Vonnegut on guessing vs. being correct in Washington

hard on the heels of the previous post on bill moyers, kurt vonnegut has a few things to say about information, who's right and and who's wrong...
Some of the loudest, most proudly ignorant guessing in the world is going on in Washington today. Our leaders are sick of all the solid information that has been dumped on humanity by research and scholarship and investigative reporting.

They think that the whole country is sick of it, and they want standards, and it isn't the gold standard. They want to put us back on the snake-oil standard.

Loaded pistols are good for people unless they're in prisons or lunatic asylums.

That's correct.

Millions spent on public health are inflationary.

That's correct.

Billions spent on weapons will bring inflation down.

That's correct.

Industrial wastes, and especially those that are radioactive, hardly ever hurt anybody, so everybody should shut up about them.

That's correct.

Industries should be allowed to do whatever they want to do: Bribe, wreck the environment just a little, fix prices, screw dumb customers, put a stop to competition and raid the Treasury in case they go broke.

That's correct. That's free enterprise. And that's correct.

The poor have done something very wrong or they wouldn't be poor, so their children should pay the consequences.

That's correct.

The United States of America cannot be expected to look after its people.

That's correct.

The free market will do that.

That's correct.

The free market is an automatic system of justice.

That's correct.

and the bush administration should continue to remain in office and accumulate more power over our daily lives...

that's correct...

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Moyers: the "Bush Omerta"

in this speech, moyers also provided the background and detail of how kenneth tomlinson and the bush cabal waged war on his show and national public broadcasting in general...
Obsessed with secrecy, Bush and Cheney have made the Freedom of Information Act their number one target, more fervently pursued for elimination than Osama Bin Laden. No sooner had he come to office than George W. Bush set out to eviscerate both FOIA and the Presidential Records Act. He has been determined to protect his father's secrets when the first Bush was Vice President and then President -- as well as his own. Call it Bush Omerta.

moyers offers this excellent perspective on why the media has been so timid...
If [the Bush administration was] so determined to go with all guns blazing at a single broadcast of public television that is simply doing the job journalism is supposed to do -- setting the record straight -- you can imagine the pressure that has been applied to mainstream media. And you can understand what's at stake when journalism gets the message and pulls its punches.

...from the prepared text of the address delivered on December 9, 2005, by Bill Moyers for the 20th anniversary of the National Security Archive at George Washington University, in Washington D.C.

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More on Argentina and the IMF

part of President Néstor Kirchner's statement regarding Argentina's pending repayment of its IMF loan (see previous post)...
"The government has taken the institutional decision to make use of the Central Bank’s liquid reserves to pay off the debt to the IMF. Before the end of the year Argentina will make a single payment of US$9.81 billion, bringing forward payments due in the next three years and saving close to US$1 billion in interest payments," said Kirchner. That figure was corrected to US$842 million by Economy Minister Felisa Miceli at a subsequent press conference. In a speech that repeatedly attacked the multilateral lender, Kirchner said the IMF "backed failed political regimes and monetary systems," and called for extensive reforms of the way the IMF operates.

Kirchner has consistently claimed that it was partly due to Argentina's rigid adherence to IMF guidelines that led to the 2001 financial and economic collapse...

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Argentina to repay IMF in full

On December 15, 2005 Argentina announced its intention to make an early repayment of its entire outstanding obligations to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) amounting to SDR 6.876 billion (about US$ 9.9 billion).

there's a lot of things that could be better in argentina, no question about it... but, in many ways, argentina is the little country that could... (calling the 7th largest country in the world "little" is really not correct...) after the devastating monetary and economic collapse of 2001, things have rebounded remarkably... now, if they can just get their hands around the inflation problem so it doesn't happen again...
Mr. Rodrigo de Rato, the Managing Director of the IMF, said, "I welcome Argentina's repayment of its outstanding obligations to the Fund. The decision has been taken by the government in accordance with its rights as any normal member of the Fund and reflects their confidence that their external position is sufficiently strong to warrant early repayment.

"Important challenges and opportunities lie ahead for Argentina and the Fund looks forward to maintaining a productive relationship with the authorities. We remain ready to assist the Argentine authorities in any way that would help them address these challenges," he said.

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Cheney ain't goin' down without a fight...

steve clemons shares his insight into the mccain/cheney "torture deal..."
The White House and various Congressional watchers are suggesting that a deal has been forged that accepts John McCain's language that Americans and their agents will not engage in torture or inhuman treatment of prisoners. But no one really knows the legislative details, and even Congressman Duncan Hunter has said that lots still needs to be worked out.

I don't trust Vice President Cheney on this front -- and nervous rumors are leaking out of the White House and State Department that Vice President Cheney's supposed "containment" by Bush was a ruse, or at least was just temporary.

Some are suggesting that Cheney and his people are back -- and that he has even sent word out on one front that "diplomacy with North Korea will be suspended." Rice may not yield to Cheney, but what is important to note is that some of those who thought that the Libby indictment and combination of bad news items crippling the White House had harmed Cheney's status are now reversing themselves. At a minimum, they are talking less definitively about Cheney's downfall.

somehow, i never thought the trickier dick would roll over for anybody... evidently, he has no immediate plans to "go gently into that good night..."

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Where war, violence and torture start...

arthur has a great deal of respect for alice miller and i have a great deal of respect for arthur...
I have read extensively in my life, and Alice Miller is the most profoundly courageous writer in the world today to my knowledge. She writes unflinchingly and with a gaze that never turns away from what it perceives, no matter how horrifying it may be. Miller describes the untold cruelties that are inflicted on the most innocent and defenseless of victims -- infants and very young children.


[C]hildren must be taught to obey. If the principle of obedience is instilled in children from earliest infancy, and if parents further teach their children that physical violence is the means of commanding obedience, why do we wonder that some adults will torture those who have been rendered helpless and delivered into their control? They are merely reenacting what their parents taught them.


It may be a cliche, but it goes to the identical personal issue: "What if they gave a war and nobody came?"

Think about that for a moment. What if no one did come? Put it another way: why are so many people willing, even eager, to engage in violence? Almost all of us reject violence on the narrower scale: we all condemn the thief, or the individual murderer. But when violence is engaged in on a wide scale by governments, many of us enthusiastically embrace it. We allow ourselves to forget the personal impact, and the horror becomes manifest.

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Bush being more open? Not so fast!

The MSM have been swooning over Bush in the past few days because of his (koff) interview with Brian Williams and (gasp) actually fielding some unscripted questions. (Whether or not he actually answered them is another story.) The pundits are waxing poetic about a more "available and open" Bush. Give it up guys. There is no way that Bush will ever speak to anyone who challenges him. Period. Photo-ops are still the rule. And the MSM, as usual, is aiding and abetting this lie. Froomkin lays it out.
Here's a problem with following the president around all day long: Sometimes the story is where he's not.

Reporting that President Bush steered clear of the White House's own Conference on Aging yesterday -- making him the first president ever to do so -- fell to the regional newspapers and NPR, not the big guys.

It turns out that had Bush attended, he would have been facing a very hostile audience.

So instead, Bush held a photo-op with a hand-picked group of seniors at a swanky retirement home -- and it was well covered by the usual suspects.

[. . .]

"The White House team handpicked the seniors who met with President Bush at the closed meeting."

Stephen Nohlgren writes in the St. Petersburg Times: "While President Bush was in Virginia touting his new Medicare drug plan Tuesday, delegates to the fifth White House Conference on Aging demanded it be overhauled.

"Their paths never crossed. . . .

It gets worse...
"Bush, Republican governors and Republican members of Congress appointed most of this year's 1,200 delegates, which makes the resistance to [the drug plan] particularly striking."

Larry Lipman and Ken Herman write in the Palm Beach Post: "Rather than embracing the Medicare drug law and Bush's call for private Social Security investment accounts, delegates at work sessions on those issues overwhelmingly rejected those positions.

[. . .]

"Also this year, the rules have changed for delegates, so they cannot debate resolutions.

" 'They've convened the best and the brightest people on aging in the field but they don't want input from us,' said Helene Stone, a retired social worker who works for the Lorain County Council on Aging."

Sean Mussenden writes for the Media General News Service about the conference: "Social Security and Medicare were on everyone's mind.

"And so was the president who wasn't there."

And Bush's bubble? Still there and built by the MSM.
Williams asked Bush several questions about the protective bubble in which he operates. So why did the NBC anchor then build one for the president himself?

Williams said that while tagging along with the president he could hear protesters outside the Philadelphia hotel where Bush was speaking yelling "Shame! Shame!"

The third part of the interview took place in that very hotel. And Williams revealed to Matthews: "Something I haven't said before is, to dampen the noise outside the hotel because of the floor we were on, we had mattresses that our production crew had put up against the windows and curtains on the other side, because we had to conduct this interview."

And finally...
Bush and senior aides yesterday briefed a group of Republican senators on the war in Iraq. ...

This morning, Bush was scheduled to meet with some House Democrats as well -- just not members of the increasingly adversarial leadership. Among those I've been told were invited: Reps. Ike Skelton of Missouri, Tom Lantos and Howard Berman of California, and Stephanie Herseth of South Dakota. It appears that all of them have a few things in common: They voted for the war and oppose Rep. Jack Murtha's proposal to begin pulling troops out of Iraq right away.

Smoke and mirrors. It's all this corrupt group has.

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A completely inappropriate comment on Tom DeLay from the President of the U.S.

the president of the united states has no goddam business spouting off about what he believes will be the eventual judgement of someone's guilt or innocence... i can damn well understand why bush would HOPE delay would be found innocent but, until a determination is made in a court of law, he should keep his goddam opinions to himself... but when have i ever expected bush to act presidential...?
President Bush said yesterday he is confident that former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) is innocent of money-laundering charges, as he offered strong support for several top Republicans who have been battered by investigations or by rumors of fading clout inside the White House.

In an interview with Fox News, Bush said he hopes DeLay will be cleared of charges that he illegally steered corporate money into campaigns for the Texas legislature and will reclaim his powerful leadership position in Congress.

oh, yeah... he HOPES... sure as shit, he HOPES...

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The BG on Romney's announcement: "he should resign..."

the hometown paper ain't happy...
Our New Year's wish: a governor who wouldn't rather be elsewhere.

By thumbing his nose at Massachusetts after less than three-quarters of one term as its chief executive, Mitt Romney, yesterday surrendered his clout and squandered his legitimacy. If, as it appears, his heart and mind are no longer in Massachusetts, he should resign.

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Ford takes a cue and comes around on gays

Ford Motor Co. yesterday said it will resume advertising Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles in gay-themed publications, following an outpouring of fury from gay groups that said Ford's recent decision to pull the ads fed anti-gay sentiment and emboldened enemies of gay rights.

i have no doubt whatsoever that the lion's share of credit for this turn-around goes directly to john aravosis at americablog... go tell him how much you appreciate his rapid and thorough response to intolerance and bigotry...

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Person-to-person foreign aid

here's one of the best ideas i've read in quite some time...
Kiva (, a recently launched web-based non-profit that allows peer-to-peer (p2p) microloans. Kiva's p2p network enables ordinary people to loan small sums of money through PayPal to needy individuals without interference from a bank or microfinance institution (MFI). For the first time, anyone can make a loan of as little at $25 to an indigent entrepreneur in East Africa. In only a few weeks, the rapidly expanding website has facilitated enough microloans to fund over 30 businesses in Uganda, revolutionizing the concept of microcredit.

so simple, so sensible, so elegant in concept... an excellent use of internet technology...
On Kiva's easily navigable site, interested lenders can click the Businesses tab and read about the ambitions of these microentrepreneurs. Through pictures and mini-biographies of each small business owner, lenders can learn how their microloans will be used and select their loan recipient.

For example, scrolling the active businesses, you can read about Simon Okiror, who has borrowed $500 to fund a medicine shop in Uganda.

Okiror lives with his wife and seven children in Soroti, where health centers simply don't have enough medical supplies for their ailing patients. After selling three goats he'd raised at home, Okiror was barely able to get his shop afloat. With his $500 loan through Kiva, Okiror has stocked his store with ample amounts of medicine for the community. In fact, his business has been so profitable that Okiror has already repaid $50 of his loan. All loans can be monitored on Kiva's site through a private account that a donor creates, and more than one donor can contribute to the same recipient.

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Juan Cole on today's Iraqi elections

as usual, professor cole offers an unvarnished perspective that cuts through the spin...
The LA Times probably reflects the thinking of a lot of Americans in hoping that these elections are a milestone on the way to withdrawing US troops from Iraq. I cannot imagine why anyone thinks that. The Iraqi "government" is a failed state. Virtually no order it gives has any likelihood of being implemented. It has no army to speak of and cannot control the country. Its parliamentarians are attacked and sometimes killed with impunity. Its oil pipelines are routinely bombed, depriving it of desperately needed income. It faces a powerful guerrilla movement that is wholly uninterested in the results of elections and just wants to overthrow the new order. Elections are unlikely to change any of this.

The only way in which these elections may lead to a US withdrawal is that they will ensconce parliamentarians who want the US out on a short timetable. Virtually all the Sunnis who come in will push for that result (which is why the US Right is silly to be all agog about Fallujans voting), and so with the members of the Sadr Movement, now a key component of the Shiite religious United Iraqi Alliance. That is, these elections lead to a US withdrawal on terms unfavorable to the Bush administration. Nor is there much hope that a parliament that kicked the US out could turn around and restore order in the country.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The U.S. and Israel pulling apart...?

good grief... along with everyone else in the world, the u.s. is losing israeli support TOO...???
Despite their mutual enthusiasm for ousting Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Israel and the United States appear increasingly at odds over what to do about the larger Middle East region.

While the administration of President George W. Bush favours, or is at least indifferent to, the collapse of the Baathist regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, the Israelis reportedly made it very clear in high-level talks here late last month that they do not see the alternatives to the young leader as particularly attractive.

so, what's happening...? really...?
The notion that Sharon is unhappy with the direction of U.S. policy in the region naturally challenges the view that Israel exercises a dominant -- if not decisive -- influence over Washington's Middle East policy, particularly since the rise within the Bush administration after the September 2001 attacks of neo-conservatives for whom Israel's security is considered a core principle.

But neo-conservatives have generally held their own views about how that security can be best ensured -- usually in ways that are much closer to the right-wing Likud Party, whose ranks Sharon has just deserted, than to an Israeli government whose policies they consider too dovish. Thus, while they cheered Sharon for his harsh crackdown against the second Palestinian intifada, many neo-conservatives broke with him over his disengagement from Gaza.

omg... u.s. policy has actually moved to the right of israeli policy...? you have GOT TO BE KIDDING...!

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Fundie Christians battle the "war on Christmas" but to hell with the poor

sorry, but these folks ain't my idea of christians... which is a shame because there's a lot of really committed, really decent, christian folks out there and the fundies are giving them a bad name... if jesus is watching, i wouldn't imagine he'd be too happy about it either...
When hundreds of religious activists try to get arrested today to protest cutting programs for the poor, prominent conservatives such as James Dobson, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell will not be among them.

That is a great relief to Republican leaders, who have dismissed the burgeoning protests as the work of liberals. But it raises the question: Why in recent years have conservative Christians asserted their influence on efforts to relieve Third World debt, AIDS in Africa, strife in Sudan and international sex trafficking -- but remained on the sidelines while liberal Christians protest domestic spending cuts?

why...? because they aren't interested in the have-not's... they're much more interested in establishing a theocratic state and getting the rest of us to toe their line...

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All your worst fears about John Bolton are coming true

steve clemons in the washington note lays out a very troubling picture of a john bolton who, after making an uncharacteristically gracious and polite start, is now feeling his oats and causing the very kind of trouble that kept him from a senate confirmation... the most serious aspect of the nastiness that seems to be part of his dna is his apparent sabotaging of the efforts of his boss, condi rice...
Now, it seems that the real John Bolton has boldly stepped beyond the veneer. And true to form, just as he woke up each morning for the first four years of the Bush administration asking what he could do to make Colin Powell's life miserable and, at the same time, doing Vice President Cheney's bidding, John Bolton has now target Condoleezza Rice's efforts to get America back on a more balanced foreign policy track with the rest of the world.


John Bolton is not perceived at home or abroad to be the legitimate Ambassador of this country to the United Nations without confirmation from the United States Senate. The President may want Bolton to hold his position without the legitimating seal of approval of the Senate, but the damage he is now doing needs to be contained.

just another bush/rove/cheney pile of steaming horseshit left lying about, waiting for the shoes of innocent bystanders...

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Democratic weenies...

sadly, i think stephen pizzo's perspective is right on...
Maybe we need a new party, since the party that claims to support us has given up any pretense at actual opposition to Bush's war or anything else.

For once the Republican attack machine has described the Democratic Party perfectly: retreat and defeat. It's what Democrats are all about now. I'm not talking about the Democrats' position (if they had one) on Bush's fool's errand of a war in Iraq. I'm talking about how Democrats have flatly refused to stand and fight the war here at home, the war for America's own democracy.

Asked about recent comments where Dean trashed Republicans as "evil" and said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay belongs in jail, Biden told ABC's This Week: "He doesn't speak for me with that kind of rhetoric and I don't think he speaks for the majority of Democrats."

Responding to Dean's initial remark, Edwards said Dean "is not the spokesman for the party."Dean is 'a voice. I don't agree with it,"

That's today's Democrats. John Murtha, one of the few truly tough guys in the party, stood up and said right out loud -- "get out of Iraq, now." I'm sure Murtha didn't wake up that morning and decide to hold a news conference. He almost certainly ran his idea by fellow party members. And, from what I hear, they replied, "Sure John, go ahead. We're right behind you."

When Murtha stepped forward, alone, and fired off that rock, Republicans did what Republicans do best, they attacked. Poor John turned to rally his troops, but they were long gone. Many were clustered for cover around CNN microphones, declaring as loudly as they could, "Murtha? He's not with me," and "Hardly know the guy," and "Sure, John's a brave American. No one questions that. But he doesn't speak for me or most other Democrats on this one."

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"Discuss It" - this week's featured blog

here's what scott says about his blog...
So what is this site all about? Hmmm… that’s a tough one. I am not even sure myself, and I created the site. Here’s what I do know: I want Discuss It to be a place where ideas, news, and issues can be discussed in an open and mature way. I have created a small group of panelists who will write about a particular topic. What they say may be thought-provoking, infuriating, inspirational, and/or controversial. That’s where you come in.

I want the visitors of this site to become active participants in it. Don’t like something you’ve read? Leave a comment letting us know your take. Find something you agree with? Let us and others know. Come back often to see how others have replied to what you’ve said. Explain your opinions, defend your views, and take part in the discussion.

and isn't THIS precisely what blogging IS all about...? go visit and see for yourself...

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Stacking the election in Iraq

not a good sign...
Less than two days before nationwide elections, the Iraqi border police seized a tanker on Tuesday that had just crossed from Iran filled with thousands of forged ballots, an official at the Interior Ministry said.

this certainly won't help those who already held suspicions become more comfortable with the legitimacy of the iraqi democratic process... at least in ohio, they're better at covering their tracks...

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Rove indictment looming...?

oh, man... this would be the best possible holiday - ok, christmas - gift i could ever imagine...
Short of a last minute intervention by Rove’s attorney, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is expected to ask a grand jury investigating the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson to indict Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove for making false statements to the FBI and Justice Department investigators in October 2003, lawyers close to the case say.

rove is a nasty, evil, mean, hateful, megalomaniac son of a bitch... but i'll stop beating around the bush (an intentional pun, btw) and tell you how i REALLY feel...! did i mention that rove was a son of a bitch...?

many thanks to raw story and i hope to hell it happens - the sooner the better...

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Tumbling the nums - more bad news for George in the polls

sorry, george... ain't nobody buyin...

President Bush’s job approval rating languishes under 40%, despite an upturn in the economy and a public relations onslaught defending the role of the U.S. military in rebuilding Iraq, a new telephone poll by Zogby International shows.

Just 38% of Americans said they approve of the job the President is doing, down from 41% in a national Zogby America survey conducted last month.

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"...abducted and transferred to other countries without respect for any legal standards."

ok... it keeps trickling in... day after day... week after week... month after month... year after year...
Allegations that the CIA abducted and illegally transported terror suspects across European borders are credible, an investigator has said.

Swiss senator Dick Marty has submitted a report on the claims, made in the media, to a meeting of the human rights committee of the Council of Europe.

Mr Marty criticised the US for refusing to confirm or deny the allegations.

so, instead of confirming or denying, we get this...
The US government and its intelligence agencies say that all their operations are conducted within the law.

whose law...? and what kind of "operations" are we talking about...? hmmmmmmm...??
"The elements we have gathered so far tend to reinforce the credibility of the allegations concerning the transport and temporary detention of detainees - outside all judicial procedure - in European countries," he said.

He went on: "Legal proceedings in progress in certain countries seemed to indicate that individuals had been abducted and transferred to other countries without respect for any legal standards."

oh, THOSE laws... the ones written on the magic slate...

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I wish the Minutemen would just go away and that Lou Dobbs would go with 'em...

i've had plenty to say about the minutemen in the past so i won't repeat myself here...
During a discussion of a December 9 Wall Street Journal editorial on immigration on the December 9 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, host Lou Dobbs announced, "I support the Minuteman Project and the fine Americans who make it up in all they've accomplished, fully, relentlessly, and proudly."

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Poll numbers AFTER the victory speech...

cnni just reported that the latest cnn/gallup poll shows a 3% increase, from 55% to 58%, in the number of americans who believe that bush has no clear plan for iraq... the two numbers reflect a poll completed right before bush's "victory" speech and a poll taken last week...

sorry, george... they ain't buyin' it...

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The NYT on the U.S. at the Montreal climate conference: disingenuous or naive?

The battle against global warming will never be won unless America joins it, urgently and enthusiastically.

giving advice to the bush administration is, at best, a fruitless exercise, but the nyt persists... personally, i'd rather they mounted a full-bore campaign to get that criminal gang the hell out of there...

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A German reflection on Condi's visit

just like everybody else, they ain't buyin'...
European reaction to visiting Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's statements on torture can be summed up in lead commentary Wednesday in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, among the most widely respected German newspapers. Under the headline "Justice la Rice," the editor "translated" her message into these words: "The end justifies the means and terrorism can be fought with borderline methods on the outer edges of legality." He added:
"Rice came to Germany to begin a new era. She has resoundingly failed to do so. Injustice remains injustice, and a wrong policy remains a wrong policy. On this basis you cannot re-launch the trans-Atlantic relationship."


Never in the 60 years since World War II has an American secretary of state been received with such hostility by our erstwhile friends in Europe. In one sense, it can be seen as poetic justice that Rice, who as national security adviser to the president never heard a Cheney suggestion she didn't like, is taking the heat, while the vice president hides behind her skirts.

the article goes on to speculate that cheney might be on the list of rumored end of the year bush staff departures... that may be, but his terrible legacy will live long after he's cocooned himself in his new eastern shore retreat...

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FEMA's post-Katrina policies "eccentric and bizarre"

oh, and btw, with "'inaction' 15 weeks after the storm," where's george...?
A federal judge in New Orleans yesterday ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to continue paying the hotel bills of thousands of Hurricane Katrina evacuees until as late as Feb. 7, criticizing the government for inaction 15 weeks after the storm.


Duval's order applies to thousands of the estimated 85,000 evacuee households whose housing aid applications FEMA has not yet processed. He also called on FEMA to publicize its reversal of strict rules that denied aid to thousands of other evacuees, describing FEMA housing policy shifts as "eccentric and bizarre."

so, when the shit was hitting the fan in new orleans and the gulf coast, george was strumming a guitar in california and brownie was considering restaurant dinner options and accessorizing his wardrobe... then george flies in for numerous photo ops, praises brownie to the sky, promises the moon in the reconstruction effort, and now he's nowhere to be found - and neither is the money OR the reconstruction... calling bush a fool is too kind given that one of america's must unique and special cities is still a wasteland...

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Fear precedes pulp mills in Argentina and Uruguay

Argentina Uruguay

the plants are two years away from opening and claims of contaminated fish are already starting to circulate...
Residents of the eastern Argentine province of Entre Ríos, a short distance away from the future site of two new pulp mills in Uruguay, maintain that the plants have already had an impact on local economic activity, despite the fact that they will not actually open for another two years.

"Families who depend on fishing for a living say that no one wants to buy the fish they catch out of fear that they're contaminated," María Elena Marchioli of the Gualeguaychú Citizens Environmental Assembly told IPS. Gualeguaychú is an Argentine tourist town near the Uruguay River, which forms part of the border between the two South American countries.

In reality, however, the fish cannot possibly be contaminated, at least not by pollution from the pulp mills in Uruguay, because work has barely begun on their construction. If anything is affecting the fishing industry today, it is fear and misinformation.

but is it any wonder...?
Pulp production is one of the most highly polluting industrial activities because it releases dioxins and furans, carcinogenic chemical substances that have also been shown to weaken the immune system and cause hormonal and neurological damage to humans. The northeastern region of Argentina, bordering on Uruguay and Brazil, is ideal for the installation of pulp mills given the accessibility of river transportation and large plantations of eucalyptus trees, a favoured raw material for pulp production.

ah... progress... ain't it great...?

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Venezuela's bid to join Mercosur


it's not as straightforward as it may seem...
Venezuela's admission to South America's Mercosur trade bloc - which is not as imminent as was previously announced - is backed by economic sectors keen on gaining access to oil under preferential terms.

But certain doubts are raised by questions like the harmonisation of tariffs and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's fiery anti-U.S. rhetoric.

Mercosur (Southern Common Market), made up of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, will formally invite Venezuela to become the fifth full member of the bloc at Friday's summit meeting in Montevideo, the Uruguayan capital, although lengthy negotiations lie ahead before the agreement is finalised.

Not even Chile, the bloc's oldest associate member - a status it was granted in 1996, a year before Bolivia became the second associate member - has attempted to become a full partner, because to do so it would have to bring its foreign tariffs into line with those of the bloc. (Chile has a foreign tariff of six percent, compared to the Mercosur common external tariff of 35 percent).

The differences with respect to trade questions remain in place despite the ideological affinity between the centre-left Chilean government and the left-leaning administrations currently ruling Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.

But firebrand Chávez came knocking on the Mercosur's door with a suitcase full of petrodollars that looked tempting to highly indebted economies, and a generous offer to finance purchases of increasingly scarce oil and natural gas, in exchange for abundant agricultural products needed to reach his dream of food sovereignty (the primacy of people's and community's rights to food and food production, over trade concerns) for Venezuela.

But the road to full membership in Mercosur is long and complicated. Before Venezuela becomes the fifth partner, it will have to accept the bloc's statutes, rules and regulations, fulfill a series of tariff requirements, and ratify Mercosur agreements - a process that is supposed to take six months to a year.

Presidents Néstor Kirchner of Argentina, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Nicanor Duarte of Paraguay and Tabaré Vázquez of Uruguay will merely be extending a "political welcome" to Chávez to join the Mercosur bloc, which was founded by the Asunción Treaty in 1991.

they say it may take as long as two or three years to complete the negotiations... meanwhile, that oil sure looks attractive...

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The right to an up or down vote is NOT in the Constitution

west virginia senator robert byrd has lost none of his mental acuity to age...

(and neither, i believe, has mike wallace)...

BYRD: And the Constitution says that the Senate has the power of advice and consent. It doesn’t say how that consent would be measured. It doesn’t say it has to be an up or down. Nothing in the history, nothing in the Constitution says that. Yes, you can point that out in the Constitution to me, where it says a nominee shall have the right to an up or down vote. Can the Senator point that out in the Constitution to me? Can the Senator point that out in the Constitution to me?

FRIST: If the distinguished Senator from West Virginia would let me answer, I would be happy to.

BYRD: Yes.

FRIST: It’s not in the Constitution that a United States Senator specifically has the up or down – the right for an up or down vote.

set, game and match to the codger...

oh, and btw, bite me, bill frist...

(thanks to think progress...)

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The wheels of justice grind slowly forTommy-boy DeLay

"Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all."

Prosecutors asked a judge Monday not to let Rep. Tom DeLay's trial begin while they appeal the dismissal of one of the three campaign-finance charges against the former House majority leader.

If Judge Pat Priest agrees to a delay, it could be another blow to DeLay's hopes of regaining his leadership post.

patience, bugman, patience...

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Another executive branch agency to be annexed to the Republican Party

this time it's USAID...
President George W. Bush's administration is drawing up plans to carry out the biggest overhaul of the US foreign aid apparatus in more than 40 years in an attempt to assert more political control over international assistance, according to officials and aid experts.

The proposed reorganisation could lead to a takeover by the State Department of the independent US Agency for International Development.


A State Department official, who asked not to be named, said the goal of the reforms was to make US aid better linked to the administration's democracy and development agenda.

um... why don't i believe that...? why do i think that "better linked to the administration's democracy and development agenda" is code for "loyal to the bush camp...?" why do i think that a litmus-tested, bush-loyal, ideologically-pure crony will be the nominee to replace natsios...? why does my stomach churn every time i read an article like this...? color me paranoid...

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Obama, the truth-teller... Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as social darwinism...

i've been using that sordid descriptor for several years... to me, the label of "social darwinism" handily sums up the philosophy, nay ideology, that has always characterized the r's... it picked up steam under ronnie and is now under full sail with bushco...
Republicans controlling the federal government practice Social Darwinism, a discredited philosophy that in economics and politics calls for survival of the fittest, according to a Democratic U.S. senator.

Sen. Barak Obama of Illinois, a fast-rising Democratic star, told Florida party members that only a philosophy among Republicans of sink or swim explains why some Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans still live in cars while Republicans in Washington prepare next week to enact $70 billion in tax breaks.

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The center-left FEMALE candidate still in the lead in Chile

the chilean center-left candidate made a strong showing in yesterday's balloting... the next 18 months should continue to be interesting as more and more latin american countries go to the polls...

Michelle Bachelet has taken a firm lead in the race to become president of Chile, but looks set to face a strong right-wing challenge in a run-off.

The centre-left candidate - hoping to become Chile's first woman president - won nearly 46%, with more than 95% of ballots counted, the government said.

She will face Sebastian Pinera in a 15 January run-off, after third-placed Joaquin Lavin admitted defeat.

Mr Lavin has thrown his support behind Mr Pinera, a millionaire businessman.

He announced on television he was going "to congratulate Sebastian, to express my total support".

The two men's combined vote was running at about 49%, suggesting the run-off could be tight.

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Katrina was not quite four months ago... Katrina who...?

there is no end to the amount of disgust that can be provoked by the bush administration...
Washington Post reporter Mike Allen today on Meet the Press:
I’m going to tell you something to amaze you; it amazed me yesterday. The last time the president was in the hurricane region was October 11, two months ago. The president stood in New Orleans and said it was going to be one of the largest reconstruction efforts in the history of the world. You go to the White house home page, there’s Barney camp, there’s Social Security, there’s Renewing Iraq. Where’s renewing New Orleans? A presidential advisor told me that issue has fallen so far off the radar screen, you can’t find it.

i sat right here in buenos aires, glued to cnn international for days at a stretch, gaping open-mouthed at the devastation and the unconscionable incompetence and negligence that made it all the worse... i was enraged without surcease... i watched bush trying to polish a turd, promising the moon... i thought that perhaps the glaring embarrassment of being caught out by the entire world would force him to make good... what was i smoking...?

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More evidence that Bush doesn't have a clue about leadership and he's a menace to us all

bush and his cronies are a never-ending source of amazement to me... how can the man holding the single most powerful position on this planet be such a goddam mess...?
[Bush's] inattention to Murtha, a coal-country Pennsylvanian and rock-solid patriot, suggests a level of indifference, if not denial, that is dangerous for a president who seeks to transform the world.

he's small... he's petty... he's mean... he's grandiose... he's completely self-involved... yes, let's say it straight out... he's pathological...
Bush may be the most isolated president in modern history, at least since the late-stage Richard Nixon. It's not that he is a socially awkward loner or a paranoid. He can charm and joke like the frat president he was. Still, beneath a hail-fellow manner, Bush has a defensive edge, a don't-tread-on-me prickliness. It shows in Bush's humor. When Reagan told a joke, it almost never was about someone in the room. Reagan's jokes may have been scatological or politically incorrect, but they were inclusive, intended to make everyone join in the laughter. Often, Bush's joking is personal—it is aimed at you.

for people who are used to dealing with those in power, you must be carefully attuned to nuances... the LAST thing you want to do is to place yourself in the line of fire when the boss gets pissed off...
Bush does not encourage truth-telling or at least a full exploration of all that could go wrong. A former senior member of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad occasionally observed Bush on videoconferences with his top advisers. "The president would ask the generals, 'Do you have what you need to complete the mission?' as opposed to saying, 'Tell me, General, what do you need to win?' which would have opened up a whole new set of conversations," says this official, who did not want to be identified discussing high-level meetings. The official says that the way Bush phrased his questions, as well as his obvious lack of interest in long, detailed discussions, had a chilling effect. "It just prevented the discussion from heading in a direction that would open up a possibility that we need more troops," says the official.

all the speculation about bush's pathology that's swirled about since he first took office is finally being validated... the man is a menace and his buddies are worse...

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Mike Wallace's son attacks his father

and blames old age and diminished mental capacity for his father's view of bush...
"Fox News Sunday" anchorman Chris Wallace says father Mike Wallace has "lost it" - after the legendary CBS newsman told the Boston Globe last week that the fact George Bush had been elected president shows America is "[expletive]-up."

"He's lost it. The man has lost it. What can I say," the younger Wallace lamented to WRKO Boston radio host Howie Carr on Friday.

"He's 87-years old and things have set in," the Fox anchor continued. "I mean, we're going to have a competence hearing pretty soon."

ya know what...? if somebody tries to lay that line on me in my advanced age, i'll summon the strength from somewhere and deck 'im even if he's my son... i'd have to be pretty far gone to change my view of george bush or to claim that the fact he was elected doesn't show just how f****d up the u.s. is... and shame, shame, shame on chris wallace...

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No wonder Europe was so quick to accept Condi's reassurances

(from the u.k. telegraph|news via raw story...)

it's a bizarre and very cold comfort to know that the european governments are just as quick to bullshit and lie as the u.s...
The European Union secretly allowed the United States to use transit facilities on European soil to transport "criminals" in 2003, according to a previously unpublished document. The revelation contradicts repeated EU denials that it knew of "rendition" flights by the CIA.

The EU agreed to give America access to facilities - presumably airports - in confidential talks in Athens during which the war on terror was discussed, the original minutes show. But all references to the agreement were deleted from the record before it was published.

well, well, well... whaddaya know...
The minutes of the Athens meeting on January 22, 2003, were written by the then Greek presidency of the EU after the talks with a US delegation headed by a justice department official. EU officials confirmed that a full account was circulated to all member governments, and would have been sent to the Home Office.

eventually, all the lies will come out...

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Means vs. ends in U.S. foreign policy

arthur comes close to making a point i have long held...
The lesson is one I had thought people understood by now, but many obviously do not: the ends determine the means. Invalid, and sometimes loathsome ends, require and necessitate cruel, barbaric and sometimes loathsome means. You cannot have these particular ends [the goals and aims of current U.S. foreign policy] without certain means..."

my belief is that means and ends are inseparable... in the western world, we have been thoroughly indoctrinated in a dualistic world view going back to the time of aristotle... our speech is a constant reflection of aristotelian dualism... we cannot go for a minute without referring to some aspect of duality - mind/body, black/white, good/bad, heaven/hell, thoughts/feelings, body/soul - on and on, ad infinitum... this mindset leads naturally and wrongly, in my opinion, to the equally false concept of either/or... we either win or we lose... we either stand or we fall... and it is the either/or that leads directly to false presumptions and equally false choices... somebody "HAS" to win and somebody "HAS" to lose...
Tens of thousands of people are now dead or have suffered untold agonies because of policies they continue to support to this day -- but they still refuse to take responsibility for any of it. They cling to their so-called "noble ideals" -- while every day provides further evidence that those "ideals" are drenched in blood. There is nothing in the least "idealistic" about their program: it stinks of death and of untold human suffering.

it's impossible to overstate the difference in worldview that adopting a "both/and" perspective creates... in the simplest form, both/and means that win/lose (no such thing in my opinion because win/lose ALWAYS translates to lose/lose in the long run) ceases to exist because win/win is now the imperative... the MEANS are equally as important as the ENDS... the journey becomes as important as the destination...

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Support torture and "legitimate" interrogation techniques - defeat McCain amendment

when you're on newsmax' email list, you never know what kind of offal you're going to find in your inbox... this just in from the "center for individual freedom," another innocuously named, far-right front group...
Dear Friend:
"Sen. John McCain... said Sunday he will refuse to yield on his demands that the White House agree with his proposed ban on the use of torture to extract information from suspected terrorists."

"'I won't,' he said on NBC's 'Meet the Press' when asked whether he would compromise with the Bush administration. He is insisting on his language... "

- Associated Press -

McCain's comments were a slap in the face and they were directed at YOU!

As you know, several weeks ago, McCain snookered his Senate colleagues into approving an amendment to the defense appropriations bill, claiming that the amendment would prohibit torture against terrorists.

But McCain's FLAWED amendment does more than 'prohibit torture.' It prohibits legitimate interrogation techniques -- interrogation techniques that have foiled at least ten terrorist plots and have saved countless American lives.

When we alerted you to this dangerous McCain amendment -- YOU flooded Members of the Senate with your Blast Faxes -- demanding that they strip it from the bill.

And McCain heard you loud and clear -- his statement above is HIS direct response to YOUR hard work and efforts!

YOU called McCain on the negative consequences of his amendment. And, instead of admitting that it is flawed and could put American lives in grave danger, Senator McCain drew a line in the sand and dared you to respond.

American lives are at stake and we've come too far to lose this battle now.

That's why I'm asking you one last time to make your voice heard and demand that our legislators NOT cave in to the grandstanding of John McCain!

The Conference Committee vote on this amendment is expected any day now... so please make your voice heard RIGHT AWAY!

if you would like to add your voice to the clamor, please feel free... as for me, i think i will just head to the bathroom and barf up my breakfast...

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Chile votes today with a center-left FEMALE candidate in the lead

according to polls, however, she may not get enough votes to avoid a run-off election...
Chileans go to the polls on Sunday to elect a new president, and for the first time in their country's turbulent political history, the front-running candidate is a woman.

She is Michelle Bachelet, 54, a former defense minister and health minister who has become the standard-bearer of the center-left coalition of Socialists and Christian Democrats that has been in power here since Gen. Augusto Pinochet's brutal military dictatorship ended in 1990. She is also a doctor, a former political prisoner and exile and the daughter of a prominent general who was convicted of treason, tortured and died in prison shortly after General Pinochet seized power in 1973.

if she wins the office, chile will join an increasing number of latin american countries who have elected center-left leaders in recent years, among them argentina, brazil, uruguay and venezuela and there may be many more on the way...

in the next 18 months, 19 countries in the region, including the largest latin american countries, are slated to have elections, the results of which will affect more than 520 million people... argentina recently held its mid-term congressional elections in which the center-left administration of president néstor kirchner was reaffirmed...

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