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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 04/09/2006 - 04/16/2006
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- Noam Chomsky
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, April 15, 2006

It keeps piling up on Rummy

and he keeps slip-sliding away...
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was personally involved in the late 2002 interrogation of a high-value al-Qaida detainee known in intelligence circles as "the 20th hijacker." He also communicated weekly with the man in charge of the interrogation, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the controversial commander of the Guantánamo Bay detention center.

all we can do is keep this kind of information up front and visible - at least until the internet is taken away from us...

(thanks to think progress...)

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Never mind...! Instead of using the tactical nukes on the WH, we should use them on George...

after scotty's complete dismissal of the calls for THE DONALD to resign, i thought i was being cute by suggesting the use of tac nukes to burst the white house bubble and let the light of reality shine in... silly me... the white house is a national treasure, unlike its current occupant...
President Bush strongly endorsed Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Friday, in an effort to quell widening criticism from retired generals who have urged Mr. Rumsfeld to resign.

"Secretary Rumsfeld's energetic and steady leadership is exactly what is needed at this critical period," the president's statement read. "He has my full support and deepest appreciation."

[...]

Mr. Bush's statement was followed hours later by supportive comments from Gen. Richard B. Myers, the retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the retired commander of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Both appeared on cable news programs, and General Myers pointedly criticized former colleagues for publicly questioning civilian leadership.

Mr. Rumsfeld appeared Friday on an Al Arabiya television broadcast and said, "Out of thousands and thousands of admirals and generals, if every time two or three people disagreed we changed the secretary of defense of the United States, it would be like a merry-go-round."

rumsfeld is like the last guest at the party who shows no signs of leaving, no matter how unsubtle the clues are getting...

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Free Means Fair

How do most citizens of the Earth feel about "Free" markets? Not surprisingly, they support them. From PIPA...
A new poll of 20 countries from around the world finds a striking global consensus that the free market economic system is best...on average, 61% agreed while 28% disagreed. The country that showed the highest level of support for the free enterprise system was China, with 74% agreeing that it is the best system. Others that were nearly as enthusiastic were the Philippines (73%), the US (71%), and India (70%).

Well, that looks like good news for advocates of the Washington Consensus, the neo-Liberals and, in a sense, if they weren’t so tied up in their religious desire to conquer the world by military force, the neo-soon-to-be-convicts. Right?
At the same time, there is even greater consensus in favor of more government regulation of large companies. Solid majorities in every country favored more regulation of large companies to protect the rights of workers (mean 74%), the rights of consumers (mean 73%), and the environment (mean 75%). A majority in 15 of the 20 countries also favored greater government regulation to protect the rights of investors (mean 54%). Broadly, most agreed that “The free enterprise system and free market economy work best in society's interests when accompanied by strong government regulations.” This view was endorsed by two out of three overall (65%). In 18 countries this was endorsed by a clear majority, with Indonesia (86%), the Philippines (77%), and China (76%) being the most definitive.

Steven Kull, director of PIPA, comments:
While there is overwhelming support for free markets, there is also near-unanimous rejection of unbridled capitalism, with people around the world overwhelmingly favoring greater government regulation of large companies and more protection of workers and consumers. Large companies have too much influence over our national government. On average, 73% agreed with this statement. In several countries people were especially emphatic, with large percentages saying that they strongly agreed with this statement—Mexico (88% agree, 74% strongly), the United States (85% agree, 59% strongly), and Spain (84% agree, 58% strongly).

So, I guess it’s all a matter of who defines "Free."

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It's SPRINGTIME in Skopje...!

i'm tired of dwelling on the news... it's nearly 5 p.m. on the friday before easter... the sun has been shining all day here in skopje and it's a GLORIOUS spring afternoon... the flowering trees are breathtaking and, after i snapped a photo of the apple blossoms right off the little terrace outside the project office and was downloading it to the computer, i found another one that i took wednesday afternoon at the frankfurt airport... i'm kind of a nut about plane-spotting and when there's a foreign carrier i haven't seen before, well, i simply MUST take a picture...



Apple blossoms,
Good Friday, April 14
Skopje, Macedonia



Air Moldova, A-319
Wednesday, April 12
Frankfurt Airport, Germany

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Why not use bunker-busting tactical nukes on the White House bubble...?

as the use of "bunker-busting" tactical nukes against iran is being contemplated...
Current and former officers said they were unaware of any organized campaign to seek Rumsfeld's ouster, but they described a blizzard of telephone calls and e-mail messages as retired generals critical of Rumsfeld weighed the pros and cons of joining in the condemnation.

perhaps "bunker-busting" nukes are the only option left for opening the white house bubble to a little reality...
"The president believes Secretary Rumsfeld is doing a very fine job during a challenging period in our nation's history," the White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters on Thursday.

(thanks to raw story and the nyt...)

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Bush is a Republican Frankenstein.

thank you, cenk uygur at huffpo... you made my day...
Bush is the amalgamation of all the hideous and sad parts of the Republican Party. [...] He has the temperament of Barry Goldwater, the integrity of Richard Nixon, and the brains of Dan Quayle.

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No active duty officers have joined the call for Mr. Rumsfeld's resignation.

why, of COURSE, they haven't...! they're no fools... after watching their former colleague, shinseki, get thoroughly stomped by donald and his white house bully buddies, why in the world would they take the risk...? i know what it's like in that kind of environment, believe me... it's very easy to sit here on the outside and sanctimoniously talk about speaking out, but what's important to realize is that the system they are a part of is an extremely powerful force, and going against it frequently means that you embark on a path of self-destruction, a choice no one should make lightly... and, even though i have previously expressed my dis-ease with those retired officers now coming forward, long after the fact, i also have to take my hat off to them because, in the current environment, even retirement is no guarantee of safety...

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Poor George...! Why is Mahmoud being S-O-O-O difficult...!

i just LOVE the way the wapo makes bush look like the victim here...
As Iran takes a step closer to developing nuclear capacity, President Bush finds his options ever more constricted.

[...]

Bush is especially frustrated with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has abandoned negotiations with the Europeans and defied international pressure while talking of wiping Israel "off the map." Bush's chief political adviser, Karl Rove, complained during an appearance yesterday in Houston that it is hard to find a diplomatic resolution because Ahmadinejad "is not a rational human being."

after reading sy hersh's comments (see previous post) and knowing what we know about bush (to say nothing of what we know of satan's doppleganger, karl), neither one of them have any right to say ANY-THING about ANY-ONE... and, since when, i would like to know, has that soft, round bag of dog droppings, karl rove, "Bush's chief political adviser," been given license to speak out on foreign policy...?

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Bush "doesn't talk to people he disagrees with."

[T]he bellicosity of the United States is now being matched by the bellicosity of the Iranian president.

oh, swell... a pissing contest, only one side is ready to pee nuclear weapons and the other side, well, the other side is ready to, well, ummmm... god knows what THEY'RE ready to do...
[W]e have a president that doesn't talk to people he disagrees with. And anybody who's been around little boys, big boys, knows that when they get out of control, you grab them. If you're a nursery school teacher, you grab the little four-year-olds by the scruff of the neck, and you pull them together, and you say, 'You two guys, shake hands and make up, and go play in the sandbox.'

Bush doesn't talk to people he's mad at. He doesn't talk to the North Koreans. He didn't talk to the insurgency. When the history is done, there were incredible efforts by the insurgency leaders in the summer of 2003. I'm talking about the Iraqi insurgency, the former Sunni generals and Sunni and Baathist leaders who were happy to see Saddam go, but did not want America there. They wanted to talk to us. Bush wouldn't. Whether it got to Bush, I don't know, it got in to four stars. Nobody wanted to talk to them. He doesn't talk to the president of Syria; in fact, specifically rejects overtures from al-Asad to us. And he doesn't talk to the Iranians. There's been no bilateral communication at all.

Iran has come hat-in-hand to us. A former National Security Council adviser who worked in the White House, Flynt Leverett, an ex-C.I.A. analyst who's now working at Brookings, wrote a piece a month or so ago, maybe six weeks ago, in the New York Times, describing specific offers by the Iranians to come and 'let's deal.' Let's deal on all issues. I'm even told they were willing to talk about recognizing Israel. And the White House doesn't talk. And it's not that he doesn't talk, it's that nobody pressures him to talk. There's no pressure from the media, no pressure from Congress. Here's a president who won't talk to people he's walking us into a confrontation with.

little boys, big boys... sy hersh has it absolutely right... the so-called leader of the so-called free world is a petulant, spoiled brat... and saying that "nobody 'pressures' him to talk" is a load of buffalo chips... if bush had two brain cells to rub together in that playground bully head of his, he could goddam well figure THAT one out for himself...

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Thanks, John, for an excellent summary of Bush's Iran B.S.

as i sit here in skopje early thursday morning (6 hrs. ahead of edt), watching cnni relentlessly flog the iran "crisis," i am reading john at americablog who has the 4-1-1 on this latest wh criminal diversion... according to john, the two main drivers are...
1.) Iran is a convenient way to change the subject

from all the horrors bushco has perpetrated that we're having serious trouble gagging down...
  • the Iraq debacle
  • rising gas prices
  • Valerie Plame
  • New Orleans lost
  • Republican corruption
  • the massive budget deficit
  • how Bush lied to the American people in trying to sell them on the Iraq war.
so, why are we seeing iraq iran being hyped NOW...?
2.) Bringing up Iran now is a convenient way to help Republicans in the fall congressional elections

although there are several things i don't agree with, john has some good suggestions on what we should be stressing to put a halt to this latest insanity...
  • George Bush is the wrong man to be launching yet another war. America simply cannot afford another rash Bush misadventure.
(my own comment here is that there is no "RIGHT" man to be launching yet another war... we cannot have another war, period...)
  • Slow down, we've got ten years. America's intelligence community estimates that Iran is still ten years away from building a nuclear weapon.
  • Since we have ten years, we can at the very least wait seven months until the congressional elections this fall. America needs a Congress that is going to look into Bush's claims about Iran's nuclear program and determine if those claims are even credible.
  • It is ridiculous to consider any congressional resolution on Iran until after the fall elections. George Bush proved with Iraq that he has no intention of using diplomacy to avoid war.
  • There is no reason we need to even go to war until Bush has left office. George Bush has proven that he is unable to wage war effectively.
(again, there is no reason we need to go to war, period...)
  • Bush is the not the president we want exercising the nuclear option. There are credible news reports that President Bush isn't just considering using nuclear weapons against Iran, but that he is strongly leaning towards that option.
(we don't want ANYONE exercising the nuclear option, period...)
  • Bush either lied to us, or was unable to determine the truth, about Iraq's WMD program (which we now know didn't exist). Why should we believe claims from the same president and same intelligence agencies about Iran's WMD program?
  • What military and what money are we going to use to launch a war against Iran? Our troops are stuck in Iraq, and Bush says he refuses to withdraw them. So what troops are we going to use to invade Iran?
  • Why is it always us? If Iran is such a threat, then why not let the Europeans and the Russians and the Chinese take care of it? Clearly none of those countries wants a nuclear Iran on their back porch.

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The comedy spot

ok... i just checked in to my hotel in skopje and i'm jet-lagged after 21 hours of travel... i haven't showered yet... i'm watching cnni showing condi scolding iran for its announcement yesterday and the sight of her alone is enough to crank up my blood pressure... fortunately, media matters stepped in with some levity to lighten me up and cool me off...
During the April 10 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, conservative talk show host Michael Savage warned political leaders not to sympathize with illegal immigrants, whom he described as "vermin." Savage stated: "If you take to the streets with the vermin who are trying to dictate to us how we should run America, even though they're not even entitled to vote or be here, you're going to be thrown out of office." Savage added that Americans are "craving leadership" because "[f]eminism is destroying America. Homosexuality is destroying America. Weepy liberalism is destroying America." Later, referring to a recent episode of the cable program The Sopranos (HBO Original Programming, 1999) in which a character on the show is caught by acquaintances in a gay bar, Savage condemned the media for providing a skewed perspective of Americans. He alleged that "according to the media ," only "three or four thousand people ... are white and go to church," while "[t]he other 300 million people are either gay or illegal aliens or gangsters."

now, doesn't reading THAT lift your spirits...? < /snark >

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No, no, no, no and no...

let me be clear... no...
The Disappearing President

CAN THIS PRESIDENCY be saved?

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Somthing you can bank on - NOTHING this administration says is true...!

On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. and Kurdish troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile "biological laboratories." He declared, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction."

The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true.

i haven't unloaded with this one for a while but i can see it's time once again...

BUSH, CHENEY AND THE ENTIRE CABINET MUST RESIGN!

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In Frankfurt, on the way...



grabbing a few wireless internet minutes before my computer battery runs out... as luck would have it, i had all three center seats to myself on the flight from chicago... and, btw, the coffee on american is still the worst i've ever tasted... ~bleah~

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Still kicking the Native Americans after all these years

so much for native american respect for the earth...
Native Americans want U.S. authorities to cancel plans to detonate 700 tons of explosives on what they say is tribal land in Nevada.

The planned explosion, scheduled for June 2 some 90 miles from Las Vegas, is aimed at aiding U.S. efforts to develop ''bunker buster'' weapons capable of penetrating solid rock. Officials have suggested the test would constitute the largest non-nuclear, open-air blast in the test site's history.

[...]

''We are opposed to any further military testing on our lands,'' said Raymond Yowell, chief of the Western Shoshone National Council.

The site of the latest proposed test sits on the land recognized under the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley as part of the tribe's national territory, Shoshone leaders said, and the U.S. military therefore has no right to use it.

The U.S. government disagreed and has asserted its ownership of the land.

"Without going through a lot of detail, the issue of ownership of the land area occupied by the Nevada Test Site, and for that matter very large sections of Nevada and Utah, is very complex (going back to the Ruby Valley Treaty) and in our eyes has been resolved," said Kevin Rohrer, a spokesman for the National Nuclear Security Administration, which operates the test site.

yes, it's VERY complex, so complex, in fact, that shoshone tribal members, who, everyone knows, are of limited intelligence anyway, couldn't POSSIBLY understand it... so, in words of one syllable, the u.s. government would appreciate it if you would just f*** off...

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George, forget all the rest... Here's the REAL question...

don't pay any attention to all those other annoying little questions...
Is a President, on the eve of his reelection campaign, legally entitled to ward off political embarrassment and conceal past failures in the exercise of his office by unilaterally and informally declassifying selected -- as well as false and misleading -- portions of a classified National Intelligence Estimate that he has previously refused to declassify, in order to cause such information to be secretly disclosed under false pretenses in the name of a "former Hill staffer" to a single reporter, intending that reporter to publish such false and misleading information in a prominent national newspaper?

yep, that's the REAL QUESTION, all right...

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Bolivians emigrate in large numbers to Argentina for a "better" life

the u.s. isn't the only country trying to deal with the problems of immigration...

haiti may be the poorest country in the western hemisphere, but bolivia is the poorest country in south america and many of its citizens view it as a place to escape from... unfortunately, escape, as is so often the case with immigrants trying to make a better life for themselves in a new country, brings a new set of problems, sometimes worse than what was left behind...



The Buenos Aires city government's new offensive against slave labour has resulted in the closure of 30 clandestine textile sweatshops in the Argentine capital. But it has also caused divisions in the Bolivian immigrant community: some denounce the exploitative labour conditions, while others desperately want to keep their jobs, however precarious.

The crackdown on sweatshops operating in private houses began in earnest after the Mar. 30 tragedy in which one of the factories caught fire and six Bolivians died, including four children. It emerged after the disaster that 25 families were living and working in the overcrowded house.

Buenos Aires Minister of Production Enrique Rodríguez said that 30 out of 54 workshops inspected this week were closed, due to the appalling conditions in which about 300 Bolivians were working. Forty percent of the workers lived on the premises with their families.

the situation has produced friction between argentina and bolivia plus the terrible irony of sweatshop workers fighting to preserve their exploitation...
The crackdown by the authorities triggered a clash within the Bolivian community in Argentina. On one hand are sweatshop owners and Bolivian workers calling for a six-month grace period to implement safety measures in the workplace without the loss of jobs.

This group has been holding street demonstrations over the past few days to demand more time to meet the regulations. It has the support of the Bolivian consulate in Buenos Aires. These employers and workers do not deny the bad working conditions, but blame them on the low prices paid by the corporations that own the clothing labels.

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Peruvian Presidential run-off candidate has a shadowy cabinet

continuing the thread of my earlier posts, here's an update on sunday's peruvian elections... the leader, ollanta humala, with 29.5% of the vote, is headed for a runoff...



Ollanta Humala, a former military officer and a fierce nationalist, appeared to be beating a pro-globalization candidate, a former president and 17 other candidates vying to win Peru's presidential election, early results showed Monday.

Since no single candidate won a majority Sunday, the top two vote-getters will meet in late May or early June in a runoff.

With a bit more than 72 percent of the votes counted Monday, Humala had 29.5 percent.

but it seems humala has a few folks standing with him that he'd rather not be all that visible...
Unlike the other 20 candidates running for president in the Sunday elections in Peru, front-runner Ollanta Humala has not presented the members of his campaign team to the public.

It turns out that several of them are military officers who had ties to Vladimiro Montesinos, ousted ex-president Alberto Fujimori's notorious former intelligence chief.

Most of the officers who are now close associates of the nationalist Humala - who is himself a retired lieutenant colonel - signed the "Acta de Sujeción", a document drafted by Montesinos, in March 1999.

By signing, they committed themselves to opposing any investigation of members of the military who took part in Fujimori's April 1992 "self-coup" or are accused of committing human rights violations during the 1980-2000 "dirty war" against the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) Maoist guerrillas.

to be sure, any tie to montesinos isn't a good resumé entry for anybody working for peru's likely new president...
Vladimiro Lenin Montesinos Torres was the long-time, powerful head of Peru's intelligence service, Servicio de Inteligencia Nacional (SIN), under President Alberto Fujimori. In 2000, a secret video was released revealing him bribing a politician and the ensuing scandal caused Montesinos to flee the country, later bringing down the administration of Fujimori. Subsequent investigations revealed Montesinos was at the centre of a vast web of illegal activities, including embezzlement, graft, and drug trafficking, for which he is currently being tried.

[...]

Montesinos is widely suspected of organizing the repression of Fujimori's political opponents. Evidence shows he supervised a death squad known as the Grupo Colina, part of the National Intelligence Service, which was thought to have been responsible for the La Cantuta massacre, in which nine students and a professor disappeared from La Cantuta university on July 18, 1992. Four officers who were tortured after plotting a coup d'état against Fujimori in November 1992 stated that Montesinos took an active part in torturing them.

[...]

As of 2006, Montesinos is imprisoned at the Callao maximum-security prison naval base (which was built under his orders during the 1990s) and is facing sixty-three charges that range from drug trafficking to murder. The lengthy series of court cases in Lima to which he is being tried is revealing the scale of the corruption during the Fujimori administration.

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Monday, April 10, 2006

On the road again...

tomorrow, i'm off to macedonia...



and then bulgaria...



and then back to macedonia...



i'll see what kind of interesting posts and photos i can turn up before i head back this way on memorial day weekend...

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The Latinos show us what being an American is all about

john at americablog has the scoop on d.c...

atrios at eschaton has the photos from philly...

i can't look at any of those pics without tearing up... i'm SO proud of all those people - REAL people, shoe-leather people, hard-working people, PEOPLE people... god bless us all...

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Jason Leopold at Truthout drops another Plamegate bombshell about - guess who? - George...

the hits just keep on comin'...
In early June 2003, Vice President Dick Cheney met with President Bush and told him that CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson was the wife of Iraq war critic Joseph Wilson and that she was responsible for sending him on a fact-finding mission to Niger to check out reports about Iraq's attempt to purchase uranium from the African country, according to current and former White House officials and attorneys close to the investigation to determine who revealed Plame-Wilson's undercover status to the media.

Other White House officials who also attended the meeting with Cheney and President Bush included former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, her former deputy Stephen Hadley, and Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove.

This information was provided to this reporter by attorneys and US officials who have remained close to the case. Investigators working with Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald compiled the information after interviewing 36 Bush administration officials over the past two and a half years.

The revelation puts a new wrinkle into Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's two-year-old criminal probe into the leak and suggests for the first time that President Bush knew from early on that the vice president and senior officials on his staff were involved in a coordinated effort to attack Wilson's credibility by leaking his wife's classified CIA status.

Now that President Bush's knowledge of the Plame Wilson affair has been exposed, there are thorny questions about whether the president has broken the law - specifically, whether he obstructed justice when he was interviewed about his knowledge of the Plame Wilson leak and the campaign to discredit her husband.

Details of President Bush's involvement in the Plame Wilson affair came in a 39-page court document filed by Fitzgerald late Wednesday evening in US District Court in Washington.

if you're at all of a spiritual frame of mind, keep sending good thoughts to fitz... he may really have the goods and, if so, dear leader just may be toast...

(thanks to seesdifferent at daily kos...)

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Karl Rove at his best, commending R lawyers on their work for "clean" elections

you've gotta hand it to karl for jaw-dropping, in-your-face insolence and effrontery...
In a speech to the Republican National Lawyers Association in Washington last Friday, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove thanked its members for their "work on clean elections," RAW STORY has found.

"I want to thank you for your work on clean elections," Rove said. "I know a lot of you spent time in the 2004 election, the 2002, election, the 2000 election in your communities or in strange counties in Florida, helping make it certain that we had the fair and legitimate outcome of the election."

this ranks right up there with his all-time greatest hits like the "clean air act..." karl didn't invent the game but he sure as hell plays it better than anyone i've ever seen...
"We have, as you know, an enormous and growing problem with elections in certain parts of America today," Rove said. "We are, in some parts of the country, I'm afraid to say, beginning to look like we have elections like those run in countries where they guys in charge are, you know, colonels in mirrored sunglasses. I mean, it's a real problem, and I appreciate that all that you're doing in those hot spots around the country to ensure that the ballot -- the integrity of the ballot is protected, because it's important to our democracy."

absolutely friggin' AMAZING... if the god of the old testament was still with us, upon the completion of that statement, a lightning bolt would have exploded from the heavens and reduced his satanic rotundness to a pile of fine ash...

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Who the media really works for and how it screws with our heads

speaking of buying into myths, we continually berate the media for being a mouthpiece for the bush administration... what we DON'T talk about is that being a mouthpiece is their JOB and they do it for EVERY administration...
NOAM CHOMSKY: When you talk about the government propaganda system we have to recognize that that includes the media. It includes the media, the journalists and so on. That's all part of the propaganda system, very closely linked.

all you have to do is turn on your tv and there it is, in all its glory...
NOAM CHOMSKY: [A]dvertising is designed to undermine free markets . . . According to what you're taught in economics courses, our system is based on free markets with entrepreneurial initiative and rational choices by informed consumers. Well, the reality is radically different.

As far as consumers are concerned, I mean, when you look at a television ad, it is not trying to create an informed consumer who's going to make a rational choice. We all know that. If they were going to do that, General Motors would just list the characteristics of its models and, you know, you're over, you're done. The purpose is to delude and deceive by imagery -- it's transparent -- meaning to ensure that uninformed consumers will make irrational choices.

And that goes straight to the democratic deficit. The U.S. does not have elections in a serious sense. It has advertising campaigns, run by the same industries that sell toothpaste: public relations industry. When they're selling candidates, they don't tell you -- provide you with information about them, any more than they do about lifestyle drugs or cars. What they do is create imagery to delude and deceive. That's what's called an electoral campaign. The result is that people are just unaware of the stands of candidates on issues.

so how come such subterfuge isn't visible...? simple... we are very cleverly misled... case in point - iraq...
NOAM CHOMSKY: There is virtually no criticism of the war in Iraq. Now, that will surprise journalists, I suppose. They think they're being very critical, but they're not. I mean, the kinds of criticism of the war in Iraq that are allowed in the doctrinal system, media and so on, are the kind of criticisms you heard about, say, in the German general staff after Stalingrad: it's not working; it's costing too much; we made a mistake, we should get a different general; something like that. In fact, it's about at the level of a high school newspaper cheering the local football team. You don't ask, "Should they win?" You ask, "How are we doing?" You know, "Did the coaches make a mistake? Should we try something else?" That's called criticism.

But there's a critical question: What right does the U.S. have to invade another country, in gross violation of international law, understanding that it's probably going to increase the threat of terror and nuclear proliferation? [...] The issue isn't how they are going to win, it's "What are they doing there in the first place?"

it's very difficult to change your frame of reference when the very air you breathe is telling you something else... that's why chomsky is such an important global asset... every time i read him, more scales fall from my eyes...

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Exporting democracy - like we ever REALLY wanted to do that in the first place

the nyt continues to perpetuate the myth that the u.s. is serious about exporting democracy and that what's keeping it from happening is entrenched, intransigent, anti-democratic regimes...
"It feels like everything is going back to the bad old days, as if we never went through any changes at all," said Sulaiman al-Hattlan, editor in chief of Forbes Arabia and a prominent Saudi columnist and advocate. "Everyone is convinced now that there was no serious or genuine belief in change from the governments. It was just a reaction to pressure by the international media and the U.S."

but, nobody asks the question, is THAT what we really wanted to do in the first place...?
NOAM CHOMSKY: What matters is what Iraqis think, and I think we know that pretty well. The reason the U.S. and Britain aren't withdrawing are those I mentioned. You know, the consequences of independence for Iraq would be an ultimate nightmare for them. And they're going to try to do anything they can to prevent Iraqi democracy, as they've been trying in the past.

maybe the reason there's no "serious or genuine belief in change" is that these governments can clearly see that the u.s. is only interested in extending their dominance over the region and has no intention or desire to create REAL democracy...

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

A fundamentally flawed plan was executed for an invented war

the "true confessions" are coming thick and fast...
Why Iraq Was a Mistake

A military insider sounds off against the war and the "zealots" who pushed it

By Lt. General GREGORY NEWBOLD, Retired director of operations at the Pentagon's military joint staff

  • I now regret that I did not more openly challenge those who were determined to invade a country whose actions were peripheral to the real threat--al-Qaeda. [...] Until now, I have resisted speaking out in public. I've been silent long enough.
  • I am driven to action now by the missteps and misjudgments of the White House and the Pentagon, and by my many painful visits to our military hospitals.
  • Enlisted members of the armed forces swear their oath to those appointed over them; an officer swears an oath not to a person but to the Constitution. The distinction is important.
  • Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's recent statement that "we" made the "right strategic decisions" but made thousands of "tactical errors" is an outrage. It reflects an effort to obscure gross errors in strategy by shifting the blame for failure to those who have been resolute in fighting.
  • My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions--or bury the results.
  • The consequence of the military's quiescence was that a fundamentally flawed plan was executed for an invented war, while pursuing the real enemy, al-Qaeda, became a secondary effort.
  • So what is to be done? We need fresh ideas and fresh faces. That means, as a first step, replacing Rumsfeld and many others unwilling to fundamentally change their approach.
i have mixed feelings, the same mixed feelings i've expressed here before... just like larry wilkerson and all the rest, why the hell didn't newbold speak up when the shit was hitting the fan...? it's all well and good to bare your soul NOW when bush and his criminal compadres are circling the drain but, goddam it, where was your voice during the iraq war run-up...? sigh... better late than never, i suppose...

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Well, it worked

The manipulation of the news cycle has been successful. According to this AP article, Americans Say Immigration a Rising Concern:
When people were asked this past week to name the top national problem that came to mind, 13 percent said immigration four times the number who said that in January. Roughly the same number, 14 percent of those polled, named the economy, according to the poll of 500 adults conducted April 3-5. The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Now, let's see. What changed, exactly? Did we suddenly have millions of immigrants pour over the border in the last two months? Or could this be just an election year tactic designed to distract and divide Americans, just like other imminent faux threats to the American-Way-Of-Life like, oh say, Gay Marriage or Flag Burning or some other such non-issue?

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In a system with any accountability, Bushco would already be history

one of the highest priorities of the bush administration, topping the list even over power and money, has been to insure that any mechanisms of accountability are permanently crippled...
The US has made tens of thousands of tactical errors in Iraq. Rice was underestimating the problem. And, the US has made large numbers of strategic ones, too. Both Rice and Rumsfeld are responsible for the strategic ones. In a system with any accountability, their government would lose a vote of no confidence at this point and they would be history. Rice's attempt to maintain that there were lots of little errors (Rumsfeld's and the troops) but that the over-all strategy was sound (i.e. her's and Bush's) is absurd. A sound strategy will usually survive some tactical errors. A bad strategy is doomed even if the tactics are gotten right.

(thanks to juan cole...)

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As a criminal attorney, Jeralyn offers a legal perspective on Fitz's revelation

thanks, jeralyn... informed, sane voices are becoming increasingly hard to come by...
It seems to me that Fitz' filing was directly responsive to the discovery requests made by Libby. Since Fitz is opposing most of Libby's requests, particularly documents from agencies other than the Office of the Vice President, it is incumbent on him to tell the court the basis for his opposition.

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Look out, Fitz: target acquired - here come the big guns (and the smear campaign)

just like you can be sure that the sun will come up in the east, when the going gets tough for these criminals, you can count on the fact that they will respond by assassinating the character of whoever is getting in their way at the moment, and, sure enough...

william kristol on fox news sunday (video link)...

You know, the leak story is absurd, but I now think the whole prosecution is absurd. And I have hesitated to say this, because I have friends who respect Fitzgerald, but I now think it’s a politically motivated attempt to wound the Bush administration. … He is now out to discredit the Bush administration. He has bought the argument that there is something improper about the Bush administration responding to Joe Wilson’s charges.

oh, you "have hesitated to say this..." i'm SO sure...

bill kristol, if you had the pair of testicles you were born with, teeny-weeny as they were at the time, you would ask your revered president to step out of his bubble and level with the american people... of course he wouldn't do that but at least you could take satisfaction from the fact that, if you were to look in a mirror, you would see a reflection...


(thanks to think progress...)

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Republican Jesus or Democratic Jesus...?


Illustration by Rodrigo Corral Design;
photograph of “The Savior” by
Juan de Juanes, Archivo Iconográfico/Corbis


garry wills, the uncommonly thoughtful, intelligent and articulate professor emeritus of history at northwestern university, shares his thoughts on religion and politics... by all means go read it...

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Call it what it is - savagery, blackmail, strangulation, starvation - U.S. foreign policy at its finest

The Palestinian prime minister, Ismail Haniya, called a cutoff in foreign aid "blackmail" on Saturday . . .

it's just u.s. foreign policy as usual... the goal is to make the palestinian people so miserable that they'll kick hamas out...
NOAM CHOMSKY: We have records going from way back, and a rich source of them go back to the Kennedy-Johnson administrations. They had to carry out a terrorist war against Cuba, as they did, and try to strangle Cuba economically because of Cuba's -- what they called Cuba's successful defiance of U.S. policies, going back to the Monroe Doctrine. No Russians, but the Monroe Doctrine, 150 years back at that time. And the goal was, as was put very plainly by the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations, to make the people of Cuba suffer. They are responsible for the fact that the government is in place. We therefore have to make them suffer and starve, so that they'll throw out the government. It's a policy which is pretty consistent. It's being applied right now in Palestine. It was applied under the Iraqi sanctions, plot in Chile, and so on. It's savage.

as it ever was, the poor schmoes are the ones who take the brunt...

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WaPo: "A good leak...?" Oh, c'mon... Gimme a break...

i had no sooner posted about being mollified somewhat by today's wapo front page story on the cheney/libby/fitzgerald flap (see below) after yesterday's outrage, then i read this pandering editorial...
President Bush was right to approve the declassification of parts of a National Intelligence Estimate about Iraq three years ago in order to make clear why he had believed that Saddam Hussein was seeking nuclear weapons. Presidents are authorized to declassify sensitive material, and the public benefits when they do. But the administration handled the release clumsily, exposing Mr. Bush to the hyperbolic charges of misconduct and hypocrisy that Democrats are leveling.

honest-to-god... do fred hiatt and the wapo editorial staff really believe that bush was trying to make clear why he "believed that Saddam Hussein was seeking nuclear weapons...?" bush and his war-slavering cronies knew GODDAM WELL that the niger story was bogus, they were already dead-set on invading iraq, and they were both enraged and terrified that their deceit was going to be exposed...

C'MON, WAPO, ENOUGH OF THE B.S. ALREADY...!


[UPDATE]

take a clue from the nyt...
President Bush's apparent order authorizing a senior White House official to reveal to a reporter previously classified intelligence about Saddam Hussein's efforts to obtain uranium came as the information was already being discredited by several other officials in the administration, interviews and documents from the time show.

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Peruvians go to the polls today



like i posted last sunday, let's see if they decide to veer left like a big chunk of latin america has already done... ollanta humala is still the front-runner...
Ollanta Humala, a nationalistic ex-military commander, says wealth must be distributed more broadly -- even if that means defying some of the multinational corporations and foreign governments that have tried to draw Peru further into the international economy. Humala's supporters are unruffled by critics who compare him to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, another self-described revolutionary and his friend.

Polls show Humala, 43, with a slight lead over Lourdes Flores Nano, a former congresswoman who supports free markets, and former president Alan Garcia, who left office in 1990 at a time of runaway inflation and regular terrorist attacks by Maoist guerrilla groups. If none of the candidates gets a majority of the vote, the top two finishers will face off in a second round in May.

but the wapo, ever the capitalist organ, finds the silver lining...
Even if Peru, like Venezuela and Bolivia, elects a socialist firebrand promising deep social and economic restructuring, it won't necessarily reflect a clear shift to the ideological left in the neighborhoods and villages.

[...]

Discourse on right-vs.-left, free trade and the importance of democratic institutions mean little to most Humala supporters . . .

well, duh... of course they don't give a rip about democratic institutions and free trade... those are the codewords of the global power and money brokers who want unfettered access to every economy that can serve to increase their hold on both... the average schmoes in peru just want what every other average schmoe in this world wants - a roof over his or her head, food to eat, enough coming in to take care of the family, a few of the goodies it seems that everybody should have these days (tv, phone, decent clothes, some toys for the kids), and a little bit of day-to-day safety and security... they're not asking a lot, honest...

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Cheney and Libby - the Revenge Seekers: WaPo's Gellman and Linzer Outshine VandeHei and Smith

THIS is the front page story the wapo should have run in place of yesterday's disgraceful affront to journalism...
A 'Concerted Effort' to Discredit Bush Critic

Prosecutor Describes Cheney, Libby as Key Voices Pitching Iraq-Niger Story

By Barton Gellman and Dafna Linzer
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, April 9, 2006; Page A01

As he drew back the curtain this week on the evidence against Vice President Cheney's former top aide, Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald for the first time described a "concerted action" by "multiple people in the White House" -- using classified information -- to "discredit, punish or seek revenge against" a critic of President Bush's war in Iraq.

Bluntly and repeatedly, Fitzgerald placed Cheney at the center of that campaign. Citing grand jury testimony from the vice president's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Fitzgerald fingered Cheney as the first to voice a line of attack that at least three White House officials would soon deploy against former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV.

for god's sake, let's stop pretending that bush and his criminal white house gang have anything but their own interests at heart and that they will do anything, no matter how vile, to see them achieved...

what i would like to know, however, is where rove stands in this latest revelation... karl has a very distinctive odor about him, not unlike the family dog after an encounter with a skunk, and the air around both libby and cheney is positively thick with it...

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