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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 04/23/2006 - 04/30/2006
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"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Big f-ing deal... What the hell is wrong with the Star Spangled Banner in Spanish...?

Asked at a news briefing in the Rose Garden on Friday whether he believed the anthem would have the same value in Spanish as it did in English, Mr. Bush said flatly, "No, I don't."

"And I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English," Mr. Bush said. "And they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English."

i take great delight in the variety of peoples, ethnicities, cultures, nationalities and languages represented in the united states... it's precisely this variety that has given the u.s. its strength... people from all over the world want to come to the u.s. BECAUSE it respects and honors that diversity and has a tradition of providing the opportunity to do well to everyone, regardless of where they're from... but, more than that, i think it's terrific that these folks still honor where they come from and part of keeping faith with their traditions and heritage is speaking their own language... and the problem with that would be...? does singing the national anthem in spanish dishonor the united states...? no... it doesn't... get off your high horse, george and stop pandering to your base...

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Rove is at the top of the staircase

once again, jason leopold is there first...

there are only three steps to this particular escalator but there's a yawning chasm between each of them...


it looks like rove has reached the top step... while i try hard to avoid wishing ill for anyone, it is essential to whatever the future health of the united states may be that this man is removed from public service - permanently... he is the embodiment of the darkest of forces and his poison has seeped into every cell of the body politic...

Despite vehement denials by his attorney who said this week that Karl Rove is neither a "target" nor in danger of being indicted in the CIA leak case, the special counsel leading the investigation has already written up charges against Rove, and a grand jury is expected to vote on whether to indict the Deputy White House Chief of Staff sometime next week, sources knowledgeable about the probe said Friday afternoon.


Luskin was informed via a target letter that Fitzgerald is prepared to charge Rove for perjury and lying to investigators during Rove’s appearances before the grand jury in 2004 and in interviews with investigators in 2003 when he was asked how and when he discovered that Valerie Plame Wilson worked for the CIA, and whether he shared that information with the media.

If the grand jury returns an indictment Rove would become the second White House official - and one of the most powerful political operatives in the country - charged in the case since the leak investigation began in the fall of 2003.

In the event that an indictment is handed up by the grand jury it would be filed under seal. A press release would then be issued by Fitzgerald’s press office indicating that the special prosecutor will hold a news conference, likely on a Friday afternoon, sources close to the case said. The media would be given more than 24 hours notice of a press conference, sources added.

(thanks to lukery at Wot Is It Good 4...)

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Friday, April 28, 2006

Why didn't this "informal" NATO Foreign Ministers meeting make any news...?

Foreign Ministers of NATO will hold an informal meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria, on 27 and 28 April 2006, under the chairmanship of the NATO Secretary General, Mr. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, His Excellency Mr. Ivaylo Kalfin, will host the meeting.

my god, there was security all over the place, helicopters buzzing around, black mercedes with police cars in front and behind speeding up and down the streets, the entire national cultural center and the huge surrounding plaza was barricaded, surrounding businesses were shut down for two days prior and for the two days during, apartment dwellers had to park up to ten blocks away and walk in and out lugging groceries and dragging kids, and i had to go through x-ray screening every time i came back to my hotel... condi rice was here, so obviously, there was something important to discuss... my guess...? why, iran, of course... keep your eye on the news... maybe something will turn up...

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Crickets chirping...

Rice and Rumsfeld stumped by a reporter’s excellent question: “A full 10 seconds of silence passed after a reporter asked Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld what the intense secrecy and security surrounding their visit to Iraq signified about the stability of the country three years after the U.S.-led invasion. Rice turned to Rumsfeld to provide the answer. Rumsfeld glared at the reporter.”

and there ya have it...

(thanks to think progress...)

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The latest blogosphere feeding frenzy: R sex-ring

talk about shooting yourself in the foot, getting your tit caught in a wringer, and catching your tail in a crack, the r's are, finally, thank god, hallelujah, amen, imploding... think progress has the scoop and the kinks links...
Dean Calbreath of the San Diego Union Tribune – which recently won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the Cunningham case – said that “as many as a half a dozen” members of Congress could ultimately be implicated in the prostitution scandal. [video link here]

power corrupts and absolute power, etc., etc...

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Indict 'im and get him away from George and anything that even smells of the public trust

go get 'em, fitz... he's a bad, BAD man and is WAY, WAY overdue for a fall...
Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in the C.I.A. leak case, is expected to decide in the next two to three weeks whether to bring perjury charges against Karl Rove, the powerful adviser to President Bush, lawyers involved in the case said Thursday.

Documents and articles related to the case looking into the disclosure of the identity of a covert C.I.A. officer.With the completion of Mr. Rove's fifth appearance before the grand jury on Wednesday, Mr. Fitzgerald is now believed to have assembled all of the facts necessary to determine whether to seek an indictment of Mr. Rove or drop the case.

IF rove's indicted and IF he pleads guilty, one of the conditions of his sentence should be no contact with george or any members of government, ANY government, EVER...

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

The close-up on the latest EU report

steve's got the details on the European Parliament's Temporary Committee on the Alleged Use of European Countries by the CIA for the Secret Transport and Illegal Detention of Prisoners latest report which states that "European governments condoned the abduction, transport and detention of terrorist suspects by the United States on European territory."

since i'm currently visiting one of the countries (bulgaria) suspected of being the location of one of the cia's "black site" prisons and just came from another (macedonia), this is of particular interest to me... i am glad to see that the topic hasn't fallen off the eu's table like it has in the u.s...

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Steve's betting on 28%

that's predicated on an indictment for his satanic rotundness, karl...
My bet is that if a Rove indictment comes down, we'll see Bush lose 4 points, down to 28%, all other things remaining equal.

i'm not going to venture a guess... what i will offer is my deeply-felt desire for the repercussions of an indictment to be major enough to force a bush resignation...

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Me and Condi in the same town...? Sheesh...

i arrived here in sofia, bulgaria, a few hours ago after driving from skopje, macedonia, only to find that condi will be arriving here tomorrow, fresh from baghdad and her soirée with rummy and the new iraqi prime minister, evidently with a bunch of other nations' foreign ministers in tow... needless to say, the city is crawling with police and security people, a number of streets are blocked off, and i had to pass through an x-ray screening device just to check in to my hotel... < snark > i simply can't tell you how thrilled i am... < /snark > i suppose the positive side is that i might actually have the opportunity to witness some news first hand...

The Bulgarian-Macedonian border,
26 April 2006, 4:30 p.m., Bulgarian time

(note: the above sight will NOT be what condi sees upon her arrival in bulgaria... there are armies of public servants out scrubbing sofia city streets, planting fresh flowering plants in the medians, and fixing potholes like mad... working stiffs like me come in to town the way most working stiffs come into town - the less scenic, bumpy, pot-holed way...)

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The extent of Bushco hypocrisy isn't only galling, it's positively chilling

robert parry reminds us of a noxious truth about bushco that seems to continually float under the radar...
While the anti-harboring principle is cited when invading Afghanistan and Iraq, the Bush administration continues to turn a blind eye to the presence of right-wing Cuban terrorists living in the United States.

This double standard was underscored again in early April when a Spanish-language Miami television station interviewed notorious Cuban terrorist Orlando Bosch, who offered a detailed justification for the 1976 mid-air bombing of a Cubana Airlines flight that killed 73 people, including the young members of the Cuban national fencing team.

As usual, Bosch refused to admit guilt, but his chilling defense of the bombing – and the strong evidence that has swirled around his role – leave little doubt of his complicity, even as he lives in Miami as a free man.

what this guy had to say is pretty horrific, even by the standards of today's take-no-prisoners commentary... it's a little lengthy, but really must be read if for nothing else than to absorb a feeling for the kind of character the u.s. considers worth sheltering...
The stunning TV interview with Bosch on Miami’s Channel 41 was cited in articles on the Internet by José Pertierra, a lawyer for the Venezuelan government. But Bosch’s comments have received almost no attention from the mainstream U.S. press. [For Pertierra’s story, see Counterpunch, April 11, 2006]

Reporter Juan Manuel Cao interviewed Bosch, who had been jailed for illegally entering the United States but was paroled in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush at the behest of his eldest son Jeb, then an aspiring Florida politician.

“Did you down that plane in 1976?” Cao asked Bosch.

“If I tell you that I was involved, I will be inculpating myself,” Bosch answered, “and if I tell you that I did not participate in that action, you would say that I am lying. I am therefore not going to answer one thing or the other.”

But when Cao asked Bosch to comment on the civilians who died when the plane crashed off the coast of Barbados, Bosch responded, “In a war such as us Cubans who love liberty wage against the tyrant [Fidel Castro], you have to down planes, you have to sink ships, you have to be prepared to attack anything that is within your reach.”

“But don’t you feel a little bit for those who were killed there, for their families?” Cao asked.

“Who was on board that plane?” Bosch responded. “Four members of the Communist Party, five North Koreans, five Guyanese.” [Officials tallies actually put the Guyanese dead at 11.]

Bosch added, “Four members of the Communist Party, chico! Who was there? Our enemies…”

“And the fencers?” Cao asked about Cuba’s amateur fencing team that had just won gold, silver and bronze medals at a youth fencing competition in Caracas. “The young people on board?”

Bosch replied, “I was in Caracas. I saw the young girls on television. There were six of them. After the end of the competition, the leader of the six dedicated their triumph to the tyrant. … She gave a speech filled with praise for the tyrant.

“We had already agreed in Santo Domingo, that everyone who comes from Cuba to glorify the tyrant had to run the same risks as those men and women that fight alongside the tyranny.” [The comment about Santo Domingo was an apparent reference to a strategy meeting by a right-wing terrorist organization, CORU, which took place in the Dominican Republic in 1976.]

“If you ran into the family members who were killed in that plane, wouldn’t you think it difficult?” Cao asked.

“No, because in the end those who were there had to know that they were cooperating with the tyranny in Cuba,” Bosch answered.

but bosch isn't the only one...
Another Cuban exile, Luis Posada Carriles, also has been tied to the bombing, but the Bush administration has so far rebuffed Venezuela’s extradition request for him, since he sneaked into the United States in 2005.

But there’s really nothing new about these two terrorists – and other violent right-wing extremists – getting protection from the Bush family.

For three decades, both Bosch and Posada have been under the Bush family’s wing, starting with former President George H.W. Bush (who was CIA director when the airline bombing occurred in 1976) and including Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and President George W. Bush.

The evidence points to one conclusion: the Bushes regard terrorism – defined as killing civilians for a political reason – as justified in cases when their interests match those of the terrorists. Moral clarity against terrorism only applies when the Bush side disagrees with the terrorists.

when, when, when, when, dear god, are we going to bid adieu to george and his criminal compadres...?

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The WaPo is grateful for Dana's Pulitzer

as well they should be...
If CIA officials leaked information about the agency's secret prisons to The Post's Dana Priest, then the American public owes them a debt of gratitude. We don't know who the sources were for Ms. Priest's Pulitzer Prize-winning work, though we assume there were many.

yes, we do owe a debt of gratitude - to the dogged investigative journalism of dana priest...
[T]he history of the past several decades shows that leaks of classified information to the U.S. media have generally benefited the country -- whether it was the disclosure of the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam era or the more recent revelations of secret prisons and domestic spying during the war on terrorism. Those who leak to the press often do so for patriotic reasons, not because they wish to damage national security.

in bushworld, saving your sorry ass by intimidating those who would speak truth to power takes precedence over any need for an informed citizenry...

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Four compelling reasons NOT to attack Iran, not the least of which is impeachment

if there is another terrorist attack in the united states, especially prior to the 2006 mid-term elections, it will be because the current administration has deftly set the stage for it to happen...
If there is another terrorist attack in the United States, you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be also immediate charges that Iran was responsible in order to generate public hysteria in favor of military action.

But there are four compelling reasons against a preventive air attack on Iranian nuclear facilities:

1. In the absence of an imminent threat (with the Iranians at least several years away from having a nuclear arsenal), the attack would be a unilateral act of war.

If undertaken without formal Congressional declaration, it would be unconstitutional and merit the impeachment of the president. Similarly, if undertaken without the sanction of the UN Security Council either alone by the United States or in complicity with Israel, it would stamp the perpetrator(s) as an international outlaw(s).

2. Likely Iranian reactions would significantly compound ongoing U.S. difficulties in Iraq and in Afghanistan, perhaps precipitate new violence by Hezbollah in Lebanon, and in all probability cause the United States to become bogged down in regional violence for a decade or more to come. Iran is a country of some 70 million people and a conflict with it would make the misadventure in Iraq look trivial.

3. Oil prices would climb steeply, especially if the Iranians cut their production and seek to disrupt the flow of oil from the nearby Saudi oil fields. The world economy would be severely impacted, with America blamed for it. Note that oil prices have already shot above $70 per barrel, in part because of fears of a U.S./Iran clash.

4. America would become an even more likely target of terrorism, with much of the world concluding that America's support for Israel is itself a major cause of the rise in terrorism. America would become more isolated and thus more vulnerable while prospects for an eventual regional accommodation between Israel and its neighbors would be ever more remote.

'scuse me, zbigniew, but since when do "compelling reasons" cut any ice with bushco...? the accepted norms of rationality simply do not apply with these people... however, if you put the right frame around them, they are eminently rational human beings... unfortunately, an agenda of absolute power, control through fear and religious fundamentalism, and the accumulation of mind-boggling reservoirs of money and resources is still too gagging a concept for americans to swallow...

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"Good" leaks and "bad" leaks (cont'd)

ofercryinoutloud... somebody toss me a life preserver before i drown in hypocrisy...
On March 20, 2003, at the onset of military hostilities between U.S. and Iraqi forces, Roberts said in a speech to the National Newspaper Association that he had "been in touch with our intelligence community" and that the CIA had informed President Bush and the National Security Council "of intelligence information from what we call human intelligence that indicated the location of Saddam Hussein and his leadership in a bunker in the suburbs of Baghdad."

The former intelligence officials said in interviews that Roberts was never held accountable for his comments, which bore directly on the issue of intelligence-gathering sources and methods, and revealed that Iraqis close to Hussein were probably talking to the United States. These former officials contrasted the Roberts case with last week's firing of CIA officer Mary O. McCarthy, as examples of how rank and file intelligence professionals now have much to fear from legitimate and even inadvertent contacts with journalists, while senior executive branch officials and members of Congress are almost never held accountable when they seriously breach national security through leaks of information.

i suppose i shouldn't say that too loud... i hear karl specializes in concrete life preservers...

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Fox News=Rupert Murdoch=News Corp=White House=Tony Snow=Fox News

snow doesn't really have to leave his job with fox... he could easily handle the press secretary's job from his present position and save the taxpayers some money...
Tony Snow, the Fox News radio and television commentator, has agreed to become the White House press secretary and could be officially named to the post as early as Wednesday, administration officials said on Tuesday.

it would fit in nicely with privatization and shrinking down government, don't you think...?

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

When will the number drop so low we can shed this guy?

my biggest concern is that we're going to see a major, staged event, coldly calculated to raise the fear quotient of the citizenry so we can all rally behind dear leader, our lord and savior...
In the telephone poll of 1,012 adult Americans carried out Friday through Sunday by Opinion Research Corporation for CNN, 32 percent of respondents said they approve of Bush's performance, 60 percent said they disapprove and 8 percent said they do not know.

That's a significant drop from the way Americans perceived the president a year ago. In a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll carried out April 29-May 1, 2005, Americans were split on their assessments of Bush's performance, with 48 percent saying they approved and 49 percent saying they disapproved.

isn't it theoretically possible for his approval rating to drop so low he will simply disappear...?

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Tyler Drumheller

another float in the daily parade of jaw-dropping revelations... josh marshall has it all, no small part of it first-hand... here, here, and here...

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The Bush administration, in the name of fighting terrorism, has put America on the radical path to ruin.

larry wilkerson, after he broke the ice in his own mind, is letting it all hang out... the retired generals obviously took their cues from an inspiring role model...
In January 2001, with the inauguration of George W. Bush as president, America set on a path to cease being good; America became a revolutionary nation, a radical republic.


Unprecedented interpretations of the Constitution that holds the president as commander in chief to be all-powerful and without checks and balances marks the hubris and unparalleled radicalism of this administration.

colin, are you listening...? is ANYBODY listening...?

(thanks to steve clemons at the washington note...)

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Is it possible to accept the truth about ourselves and our government?

i've been saying for some time now that, given what we've been led to believe, americans find it almost impossible to accept the fact that we're being led by a gang of lying criminals who care little to nothing about the needs and desires of the u.s. howard zinn points out, such denial has a long, rich history...
Now that most Americans no longer believe in the war, now that they no longer trust Bush and his Administration, now that the evidence of deception has become overwhelming (so overwhelming that even the major media, always late, have begun to register indignation), we might ask: How come so many people were so easily fooled?


It seems to me there are two reasons, which go deep into our national culture, and which help explain the vulnerability of the press and of the citizenry to outrageous lies whose consequences bring death to tens of thousands of people. If we can understand those reasons, we can guard ourselves better against being deceived.

One is in the dimension of time, that is, an absence of historical perspective. The other is in the dimension of space, that is, an inability to think outside the boundaries of nationalism. We are penned in by the arrogant idea that this country is the center of the universe, exceptionally virtuous, admirable, superior.


[T]here has always been, and is today, a profound conflict of interest between the government and the people of the United States. This thought startles most people, because it goes against everything we have been taught.

We have been led to believe that, from the beginning, as our Founding Fathers put it in the Preamble to the Constitution, it was "we the people" who established the new government after the Revolution. When the eminent historian Charles Beard suggested, a hundred years ago, that the Constitution represented not the working people, not the slaves, but the slaveholders, the merchants, the bondholders, he became the object of an indignant editorial in The New York Times.


If we as citizens start out with an understanding that these people up there -- the President, the Congress, the Supreme Court, all those institutions pretending to be "checks and balances" -- do not have our interests at heart, we are on a course towards the truth. Not to know that is to make us helpless before determined liars.


If your starting point for evaluating the world around you is the firm belief that this nation is somehow endowed by Providence with unique qualities that make it morally superior to every other nation on Earth, then you are not likely to question the President when he says we are sending our troops here or there, or bombing this or that, in order to spread our values -- democracy, liberty, and let's not forget free enterprise -- to some God-forsaken (literally) place in the world.

i was beating this drum just the other day... when the curtain is finally drawn back, americans are going to have a huge adjustment to the truth behind the lies... sadly, there are a great many more people in the world outside of the u.s. who have a much clearer perspective on our country than most of its own citizens...

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How will Bush and his inner circle behave when cornered?

both robert parry and juan cole share their perspectives... first, juan cole plays the little game, "all right, not all right," "all right," of course, referring to those on bushco's "side..."
  • All right: Karl Rove
  • Not all right: Mary McCarthy
  • Not all right: Larry Franklin
  • All right: Condi Rice
  • Maybe all right: Steven Rosen,, Keith Weissman and AIPAC
but, it's no game we're playing here, as robert parry so succinctly points out...
Bush and his team – faced with plunging poll numbers and cascading disclosures of wrongdoing – appear determined to punish and criminalize resistance to their regime.

That is the significance of recent threats from the administration and its supporters who bandy about terms like sedition, espionage and treason when referring to investigative journalists, government whistle-blowers and even retired military generals – critics who have exposed Executive Branch illegalities, incompetence and deceptions.

under cover of the bogus "unitary executive" concept, bush and his criminal cronies are reaching for nothing more and nothing less than absolute power...
Bush is trying to mark the boundaries of permissible political debate. He also wants total control of classified information so he can leak the information that helps him – as he did in summer 2003 to shore up his claims about Iraq’s WMD – while keeping a lid on secrets that might make him look bad.

and, unless some glorious deus ex machina intervenes, it looks like we're in for a pitched battle...
The other signal to Bush’s critics, however, is this: If they ever thought he and his administration would accept accountability for their alleged abuses of power without a nasty fight, those critics are very mistaken.

as difficult as it may be to swallow, americans had better start facing the fact that representative democracy in the united states effectively ended with the december 12, 2000, supreme court decision that handed the presidency to george w. bush... then, once that is gagged down, we better start figuring out what the hell to do about it... i, for one, don't believe that the 2006 elections are going to fix it, even if a miracle happens and the dems take back both the house and the senate...

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Oh, yeah... Osama... That guy we can't quite seem to find no matter how hard we look...

it seems as though he's still kicking around out there...
The West's moves to isolate the new Hamas-led Palestinian government prove it is at war with Islam, a tape said to be from Osama Bin Laden declares. The recording, purported to be by the al-Qaeda leader, was broadcast by Arab satellite TV al-Jazeera.

It was the first message from Bin Laden since January 2006, when he threatened more attacks on the US. However, there is still no fresh information on the whereabouts of the fugitive leader. The authenticity of the tape has yet to be independently verified.

The speaker on the tape said that along with their governments, the people of the West bear responsibility for what he called a "Zionist-crusader war against Islam".

"The war is a responsibility shared between the people and the governments. The war goes on and the people are renewing their allegiance to its rulers and masters," he said.

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Respecting the sovereignty of other nations...? Why in the world would we want to do THAT...?

the wapo front-page article is headlined
New Plans Foresee Fighting Terrorism Beyond War Zones

it talks about three secret pentagon plans, approved by rummy, that outlines
. . . a significantly expanded role for the military -- and, in particular, a growing force of elite Special Operations troops -- in continuous operations to combat terrorism outside of war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

but, this is what caught my eye...
[I]n a subtle but important shift contained in a classified order last year, the Pentagon gained the leeway to inform -- rather than gain the approval of -- the U.S. ambassador before conducting military operations in a foreign country, according to several administration officials. "We do not need ambassador-level approval," said one defense official familiar with the order.

as someone who cannot enter a country where i am doing work on behalf of the united states government without the approval of the u.s. embassy in that country, i am fully aware that the quality of diplomatic relations can often depend on the local ambassador being in the know... you can be sure that "not needing ambassador-level approval" will just as often mean "not needing to inform the ambassador..."

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Latin America may be a thorn in Bush's side but, overall, it's not doing too bad

(see 4/19 post...)

on 21 april, the imf issued its Spring 2006 Update of the Regional Outlook for latin america... some interesting highlights...
[T]his region has performed even better than we anticipated last fall—expanding at a robust rate of 4 1/4 percent during 2005...

for comparison purposes, growth in the u.s. should remain close to 3 1/2 percent in 2006...
  • [S]trong commodity and raw material export prices and terms-of-trade gains, which have helped secure a third consecutive year of current account surpluses.
  • On average, headline inflation fell to an average of 6 1/4 percent last year, despite (in many cases) the pass-through of high world oil prices...
  • At the turn of the year, Brazil and Argentina repaid all outstanding obligations to the IMF (US$15.5 billion and US$9.6 billion, respectively) and, in March, Uruguay advanced US$625 million of its 2006 payments.
  • [U]nemployment [is] now down at or close to the single-digit range in many countries...
this isn't to say that there aren't a few potholes in the road...
[T]wo countries in the region have inflation in the double digit range: Argentina and Venezuela. And both countries have what seems to be a policy of some kind of price controls.

i've followed the price control discussion in argentina with no small degree of bemusement... even with my seriously limited ability to grasp macroeconomics, i am still smart enough to recognize a discredited measure when i see one... but, the imf has another, brighter perspective that's gone unmentioned in the local news that i follow...
[I]n Argentina the government's efforts to retain significant high primary fiscal surpluses, much higher than we had discussed a couple of years ago. I think they remain convinced and committed to retaining significant fiscal surpluses, as part of their anti-inflation policies.

the year is only 3 1/2 months gone... it'll be interesting to watch future developments as they unfold...

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Besides being orthodox Easter, today's Earth Day

alternet has a round-up of earth day stories and related material...

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The Argentina-Uruguay dispute attracts EU notice

aw, g-e-e-eeeez, you guys... you couldn't figure out how to solve it your damn selves and now look... thanks to you, the grown-ups are sticking their noses into it... fercryinoutloud... get a clue, will ya...?

Argentina - - - - EU - - - - Finland

Spain - - - - Uruguay
European Union Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson yesterday warned that an Argentine-Uruguayan dispute over a paper pulp mills project involving European companies could harm European trade relations with Latin America.

Argentina is protesting at the construction of two mills by a Finnish company and a Spanish company in Uruguay near the river that forms the border with Argentina. Argentines say the plants will contaminate the Uruguay River and hurt agriculture, and on Wednesday, President Néstor Kirchner once again demanded an environmental impact study and urged Finland to help find a solution.

Mandelson, speaking to reporters during a visit to the Finnish capital, said he hoped the dispute could be "amicably resolved."

"I don’t think anyone’s economic interests could possibly be served by pursuing this dispute to the point of raising questions about whether European investment in Latin America... will be safe in the future," said Mandelson. "Nobody will benefit from that."

when you've got the eu trade commissioner tut-tutting over possible consequences to future foreign investment in the entire damn continent, you really need to take the hint and get this squared away...

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