And, yes, I DO take it personally: 05/28/2006 - 06/04/2006
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"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."
- Noam Chomsky
Agence France Presse photos of Iraqi civilians killed in March in a home in Ishaqi, Iraq...
According to Reuters report on the incident, the 11 bodies of men, women and children, including a 75-year old grandmother and a child under the age one one, were found bound in their blown-up home. All were shot in the head; the house was riddled with bullets. At the time, "The U.S. military said two women and a child died during the bid to seize an al Qaeda militant from a house."
Nothing, including the atrocities of Abu Ghraib and Haditha, has shaken American affection for the troops. Nothing should. These men and women go to war so we can party on...We've even been rewarded with a prize that past generations would have found as jaw-dropping as space travel: a wartime dividend in the form of tax cuts.
of all the adjectives applicable to the bush administration, nothing rolls off the tongue with quite the appropriateness of "obscene..."
Bang them war drums, John Bolton... It's why you were given a recess appointment...
the mustachioed serial abuser speaks...
BOLTON: And I think when the President says it’s unacceptable, I think what he means by that is that it’s unacceptable. So it’s important…
CAVUTO: But unacceptable means that if it keeps going on you’re going to do something about it…
BOLTON: That no option is taken off the table. And Secretary…
CAVUTO: Military as well?
BOLTON: Exactly. Secretary Rice…
CAVUTO: Unilateral military action?
BOLTON: Secretary Rice made that point again today. But that’s why I think…
CAVUTO: That we would, I’m sorry Ambassador, that we would act alone if we had to?
BOLTON: That’s why he says no option is taken off the table. But it’s also why he has, the President, has reached out President Putin and other leaders in the past couple of days to say, “We’re making a significant step here,” that will be criticized by many of the president’s staunchest supporters here at home. But he’s taking this step to show strength and American leadership and to say he’s willing to do something that may be unpopular even with some of his supporters, to remove all excuses from Iran and its supporters to say, “We went the extra mile. We gave Iran really, this last chance to show that they are serious when they say they don’t want nuclear weapons.” This is put or shut up time for Iran.
bush "reaching out...?" you have GOT to be kidding... bush wouldn't know how to reach out if his life depended on it... like everything else, he's just going through the motions... he and his criminal posse WANT a WAR...! anything less simply will not do...!
"How much such moves reflect a genuine opening up for an insular White House remains uncertain."
even the most cursory review of the bush administration will reveal that every single move has been calculated solely for show and, once the surface is scratched, that's ALL there is - show...
a look at an earlier post tells the real story... bush may give the APPEARANCE of listening and inviting in critics, but it isn't changing a goddam thing... as with everything else in this nightmarish presidency, there are no substantive actions to back up the words, it's all smoke and mirrors...
When retired Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey criticized the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq war three years ago, he was lambasted as an armchair general and deemed an adversary by the Pentagon. So even McCaffrey was surprised to find himself in the Oval Office this week giving President Bush his thoughts on Iraq.
A White House long accused of squelching internal dissent and ignoring outside viewpoints has been reaching out in its moment of weakness to prominent figures who have disagreed with the president. Bush just hired a Treasury secretary who opposed his policy on global warming and a press secretary who dismissed his domestic agenda as
bush's credibility, at least for the cognoscenti, was slim to nonexistent beginning with the supreme court decision of december 12, 2000, and has been in sub, sub, SUB-basement territory ever since...
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Go to hell, George, and take your constitutional amendment with you
this guy takes the meaning of pandering to an entirely new level... obviously, dobson and his ilk have made their point... they've called in their marker...
Next week, the United States Senate will begin debate on a constitutional amendment that defines marriage in the United States as the union of a man and woman. On Monday, I will meet with a coalition of community leaders, constitutional scholars, family and civic organizations, and religious leaders. They're Republicans, Democrats, and independents who've come together to support this amendment. Today, I want to explain why I support the Marriage Protection Amendment, and why I'm urging Congress to pass it and send it to the states for ratification.
Marriage is the most enduring and important human institution, honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith. Ages of experience have taught us that the commitment of a husband and a wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society. Marriage cannot be cut off from its cultural, religious, and natural roots without weakening this good influence on society. Government, by recognizing and protecting marriage, serves the interests of all.
it's absolutely impossible to overstate how much the administration has polarized and trivialized dialogue in this country... as a nation, we spend no time at all talking about what's really important and now bush directs the united states senate to waste time sticking its nose in what is truly none of its business... i never thought i would see my country stoop to such an absurd low... but then, i've said that on the average of once a month since bush was inaugurated...
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[T]he decision blocked the defense team's bid to expand the trial into a wider forum about the reasons for going to war in Iraq and what Mr. Libby has portrayed as the Bush administration's legitimate efforts to respond to critics of the war on the merits.
None of the promised investigations into Bush’s alleged abuses has made much progress, as the traditional checks and balances of the Republic – the press, Congress and the Judiciary – have either backed away or looked helpless in the face of Bush’s grab for more and more power.
In frustrating a few hesitant challenges to his so-called “plenary” – or unlimited – powers as Commander in Chief, Bush has insisted that only he can decide how to enforce laws, what reality is and when release of information endangers the national security.
i had an experience with how this is trickling down to the average joe in the u.s. last night at customs in san francisco... not a pretty sight...
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are we surprised, and, if so, for god's sake, why...?
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) received notice from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) indicating that in response to a complaint filed by CREW, the FEC found that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's 2000 Senate campaign committee, Frist 2000, Inc. violated federal campaign finance laws...
the prime tenet of the hippocratic oath: "do no harm..."
Frist 2000, Inc. failed to disclose a $1.44 million loan taken out jointly by Frist 2000, Inc. and by Frist's 1994 campaign committee, Bill Frist for Senate, Inc. The result of the discrepancy was to make it appear that Frist 2000, Inc. had significantly more money that it actually had.
In June 2000, Senator Frist took $1 million of the money that had been contributed to his 2000 Senate campaign and invested it in the stock market, where it promptly began losing money. In November 2000, Senator Frist sought to collect $1.2 million he had lent his 1994 Senate campaign committee. As a result of the stock market losses, however, Frist 2000, Inc. did not have enough money to repay the loan. Senator Frist solved this problem by having the 1994 and the 2000 campaign committees jointly take out a $1.44 million bank loan at a cost of $10,000 a month interest. Frist 2000, Inc. did not report this debt on its FEC disclosure forms.
The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) requires full disclosure of any loans taken out by campaign committees. Yet only the 1994 campaign committee, which had been largely dormant, disclosed the loan.
In a conciliation agreement reached with Frist 2000, Inc. and the committee's treasurer, the FEC stated that the campaign committee violated the law by failing to report the loan on the 2000 Year End Report and by failing to report the repayment of the loan on the 2001 Mid-Year Report. The FEC fined Frist 2000, Inc. $11,000, as required by statute.
PROPOSE legislation...? you mean they're actually considering doing it legally...? please... you can't tell me that they haven't either been doing it ALREADY or that they have every intention of doing it regardless of whether or not there's enabling legislation...
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apologies for the headline snark... i couldn't resist...
yes, i'm in FRA... i rolled out of bed in SKP this morning at 4 CET, will again hit ground in SFO at 4:20 p.m. PDT, and again in RNO at 7:10 p.m. PDT, a mere 27 hours later...
i'm fascinated by airlines, even though working for united almost kicked it out of me... the more exotic the better... yes, i know, i'm not supposed to be snapping photos out on the ramp, but...
i confess to doing a bad thing... i stopped by the frankfurt airport mcdonalds for breakfast... i'm an infrequent mcdonalds customer but sometimes their breakfast just hits the spot...
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the essence of the "constitutional crises" we are facing as a nation is the simple fact that the president has taken the position that the u.s. constitution does not apply in any meaningful way that would limit a president's actions in a "time of war..." since we are in a "war" that has no foreseeable conclusion, as a general principle, the constitution can be said to no longer apply as the guiding document of the united states government...
In the short run, Bush's defence of his war paradigm may precipitate three constitutional crises.
In the first, freedom of the press is at issue. On May 21 Alberto Gonzales, the attorney general, announced the possibility that the New York Times would be prosecuted for publishing its Pulitzer prize-winning article on the administration's domestic surveillance. "It can't be the case," he said, that the first amendment trumps the right of the government "to go after criminal activity".
In the second case, a wartime executive above the law may be asserted. Last week the special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who charged the vice-president's former chief of staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby with perjury and obstruction of justice, made plain his intention to summon Cheney to the witness stand to impeach Libby's credibility or else commit perjury himself. But will the administration fight the subpoena as an infringement on a unitary executive that should be immune from such distractions in wartime?
In the third case, if either house of Congress should fall to the Democrats in the November midterm elections, the oversight suppressed during one-party rule would be restored. Would the administration refuse congressional requests for documents as it did when the Democratic Senate in Bush's first year asked for those pertaining to Cheney's energy taskforce, which reportedly included Enron's CEO Ken Lay, last week convicted on numerous counts of fraud?
blumenthal accurately frames the issue...
[T]he constitution is an intricate mechanism of checks and balances that creates constant accountability. The question at the heart of Bush's politics is whether that can be indefinitely suspended and the constitution radically revised.
i think the choice of the word "revised" is a misstatement... "scrapped," imho, would be more accurate...
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U.S. to Iran: We'll be glad to talk to you if you agree in advance to the demand that we want to talk with you about.
< rolls eyes > so, let me see if i understand... iran wants to talk... the u.s. has been avoiding it like the plague but pressure has mounted to the point that we would look like even bigger fools than we do already if we don't at least make the effort... however, as a pre-condition to talking, we're insisting that iran bow to the demand we've been making all along before we even sit down at the table... is it just me or is this response as empty as george bush's suit...?
Recently, on the pages of this blog, there was an entry by Prof. Marcus, an "Ay" vote or judgment on another blog written by Pachacutec at Firedoglake, in which the author basically reaffirms, in part, a long held position by some in the left that the law must be listened to, or why doesn’t el Ranchero or the Republicons or the Democrats just listen more to the law of the land or international law or the like. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am for the law as much as the next guy, at least when it is clear and sensible. But I think that a wider point is being missed by those who simply rely on adherence to the law as a solution, a panegyric to the evident rot eating at our country. In fact, it is precisely the law which has gotten us into the morass in Iraq, Afghanistan, Columbia and the broader world at large and it has been the law which has bureaucratized our national government to the point where there can be no significant difference between the foreign policies decisions it makes, the financial decisions it makes, regardless of who heads it. I am saying that the system is fucked, it does not matter as much anymore who we elect for president or Congress. The Democrats and Republicons are intimately entwined in that system, no matter which face they show us at election time. The population knows this, it is perhaps the reason why a majority do not vote anymore and why Democrats don’t take oppositional stances to the ruling classes of our country, excepting the occasional outburst; they do not have oppositional stances. Or rather, their (Democrats and Republicons of course) opposition is the public at large, the poor to middling classes, what they call the American public on the radio shows and T.V. I am not saying they (the leaders or those who support them) are bad people, I am saying the system controls them, not the other way around.
The law can harm us as much as it can save us. We have enough laws, we need vision. We need to choose and support leaders who are not chosen for us and who do not seek our support. We need to communicate as a population by way of our government, to let them dictate from the popular will. This is not happening at the most basic levels and it won’t happen until we face up to certain unpleasant realities of our past, who we really are and what we really want as a nation. It is a question of values, not laws.
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Unfortunately over the past four years, speaking the truth has become even more revolutionary. Since the truth threatens those in power, the whistleblowers who have followed us have risked and suffered a great deal more. The administration has sought to silence potential whistleblowers, purged those they consider disloyal and aggressively retaliated against a host of government employees, even when those employees were required by law to expose corruption.
i am sitting here, writing this post, in a country that was part of the former yugoslavia, where consent was manufactured and dissent did not see the light of day, and i am asking, what is happening to my country...?
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A Skopje cab driver on Dick Cheney and Halliburton
i never miss an opportunity to talk with taxi drivers no matter where i happen to be... if you want to know what's on the mind of the locals, you can bet they will be the ones to tell you...
yesterday evening, in the cab between the office and my house, i was chatting with the driver... it's coming up to election time here in macedonia and the driver was sarcastically pointing out how skopje city officials have decided that now is a good time to repair some streets in hopes of buying a few votes... i commented that it's the same everywhere in the world... in buenos aires last year, the city officials decided that fixing up the city parks just prior to the elections was a terrific idea... this led to a discussion of the seeming universality of public officials on the take... he turned to me and said, "i can't remember, what's the name of your vice president, the one who works for that company that has all the contracts in iraq...?" "dick cheney," i replied... "and what's the company?" he asked... "halliburton," i said...
my point to folks back in the u.s.: if a cab driver in skopje, macedonia, can see it so clearly, why can't we...?
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Murtha: "This [Haditha] is how you lose the Iraqi people"
imho, the iraqi people were lost quite some time ago...
They knew about this a few days afterwards and there’s no question the chain of command tried to stifle the story. I can understand why, but that doesn’t excuse it. Something like this has to be brought out to the public, and the people have to be punished.
when the role models for deceit, lies, spin, and cover-up are the current tenants of the white house, the pentagon, the state department, the department of justice, and every other major and minor executive branch operation, and the reprisals for truth-telling are swift and devastating, what the hell do we expect...? the instinct for survival is primal and not easily squelched...
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The letter was signed by the National Legal and Policy Center, the Free Enterprise Action Fund, Capital Research Center, National Center for Public Policy Research, and Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday made it harder for government employees to file lawsuits claiming they were retaliated against for going public with allegations of official misconduct.
By a 5-4 vote, justices said the nation's 20 million public employees do not have carte blanche free speech rights to disclose government's inner-workings. New Justice Samuel Alito cast the tie-breaking vote.
Dissenting justices said Tuesday that the ruling could silence would-be whistleblowers who have information about governmental misconduct.
"Public employees are still citizens while they are in the office," wrote Justice John Paul Stevens. "The notion that there is a categorical difference between speaking as a citizen and speaking in the course of one's employment is quite wrong."
Why, in god's name, is ANY newspaper offering advice to Bush?
save the column inches... save the printer's ink... save the bandwidth... save your friggin' breath...
This is a relatively straightforward bill [Enhanced Energy Security Act of 2006] with big ambitions — to reduce the demand for oil, thus reducing America's contribution to global warming while enhancing its national security. President Bush, who has made so much of the dependency issue without offering legislation of his own, would do the country a great favor by getting behind it.
h-e-L-L-L-LO-O-O-O...! read my lips... george bush d.o.e.s.n.'t. g.i.v.e. a. s.h.i.t. about global warming, national security, or oil dependency... not ONE... not even a TINY ONE...!
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I've gradually come to the realization that the single biggest obstacle facing the left is the pervasiveness of anti-left and pro-right narratives in the media. What's the point of your message if it's filtered through a media lens that's unfavorable to your position? You know, 'weak' Dems and 'strong' Republicans, 'un-American' left and 'patriotic' right, and so on.
Until the left gets its act together to address this imbalance, we'll have more Gore-ing of Gore and Swift-Boating of Kerry. And more anti-Hillary tabloid journalism like the kind we've seen recently from the New York Times, David Broder, Tim Russert and others. The astonishing thing is that the "liberal media" absurdity is so entrenched that arguments about pro-right narratives are still met with suspicion, if not outright derision. The standard reply from rightwing bloggers is not a factual rebuttal, but simply "you must be crazy."
Oh, and by the way, Afghanistan is going to hell too
ugly, ugly, ugly...
Monday's riots in Kabul, in which altogether 14 died and over 100 were wounded and during which thousands thronged the streets chanting "Death to America", also produced violent attacks and gunfire throughout the city, with hotel windows being sprayed with machine gun fire. The protests were sparked by a traffic accident. But they have other roots.
The US military presence in Afghanistan has quietly been pumped up from 19,000 to 23,000 troops.
A fresh US airstrike in Helmand killed some 50 Afghans on Monday Over 400 Afghans have been killed by US bombing and military actions in only the past two weeks. While most of these are Pushtun nativist guerrillas (coded by the US as "Taliban"), some have demonstrably been innocent civilians. (Taliban are, properly speaking, mostly Afghan orphans and displaced youths who got their education in neo-Deobandi seminaries in Pakistan and were backed by the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence. It is not clear that those now fighting the US in southern Afghanistan are actually in the main Taliban in this technical sense.)
Today is Memorial Day in the U.S., a holiday that was initiated by General John Logan on May 30, 1868 and was initially set up to remember the fallen Northerners of the Civil War. After WW1 it was modified to include any veteran in national acts of tribute and remembrance. Traditionally, U.S. citizens gather outside with friends or family, if weather permits, throw various offerings of animal flesh onto their grills, drink cheap, mass produced beer and enjoy the beginning of summer. It is a day to show pride in the nearly perpetual and vigorous military campaigns that have given the US its freedom and taken that freedom away from countless others. Give and take. The sacrifice, it is said, though difficult, has been worthwhile. It is no accident that the U.S. is the most powerful nation in the world today, and we have our prodigious, astronomically funded military to thank for such an exalted position. For even as we sit back in our plastic lawn chairs manufactured in China, enjoying our mega corn fed hamburgers and the view of our healthy, well-educated, children playing baseball, we know, instinctively, that both the carrot and the stick have been necessary to achieve this unrivaled state of freedom and power. Indeed, from time to time, it has been downright necessary to take a good look at what s on the end of our forks, before we shovel it down our eager throats. But that time is not now, not when the Empire is going strong and there are so many good jobs still out there to be had. We are in the middle of an undeclared war which could last for generations to come and which will hopefully keep them from crashing the gate. You know who I mean. Thankfully, our government, though it changes hands from time to time, from the “left” to the “right”, has nevertheless unflinchingly provided the means to wage our wars. Though they bicker and bitch with the best of us, Democrat and Republicon alike can be counted on to never falter in their faithful mega-funding of war operations throughout the world in perpetuity. And we can go on enjoying the sizzling, juicy meat, the Frisbee toss and the potato salad knowing that tomorrow, however long it may last, our brave soldiers will still be out there, guarding from view our Naked Lunch and our televised media will be there with them, searching desperately for good news.
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Amending the Constitution to prohibit flag burning may be considered political posturing in the nation's capital, says Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, but it's not pandering to the GOP's conservative base to pursue such protection.
"It's important to the heart and soul of the American people," said Frist, R-Tenn., who is considering a White House bid in 2008.
Asked on "Fox News Sunday" if flag burning and gay marriage were the most important issues the Senate can address in June, Frist said the agenda will focus on securing the country and its values.
frist is the celebrity spokesperson for pandering... our country is going directly to hell and the majority leader of the united states senate focuses on flag-burning and gay marriage... utterly pathetic...
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"The most powerful person no one has never heard of"
evidently, scooter didn't leave much of a vacuum...
The signing statements are just one tool that Addington [Vice-president Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff, David Addington] and a small cadre of ultraconservative lawyers at the heart of the Bush administration are employing to prosecute the war on terrorism. Little known outside the West Wing and the inner sanctums of the CIA, the Pentagon, and the State Department, Addington is a genial colleague who also possesses an explosive temper that he does not hesitate to direct at those who oppose him. Addington, says an admiring former White House official, is "the most powerful person no one has never heard of."
Name one significant action taken by the Bush White House after 9/11, and chances are better than even that Addington had a role in it. So ubiquitous is he that one Justice Department lawyer calls Addington "Adam Smith's invisible hand" in national security matters.
a dam was constructed across the matka (translation: womb) gorge in the early 20th century, creating a narrow but very deep reservoir that extends nearly 5km up the gorge... there are several medieval eastern orthodox monasteries perched high up on the crags, strategically located to escape the ravages of the ottoman occupation...
today, the crags are a magnet for macedonia's numerous mountain clubs, and the hiking paths and an outdoor cafe at the head of the dam draw hundreds of skopje city dwellers looking for a little bit of nature on a beautiful sunday in late may...
corporatocracy... not an organization you or i belong to...
The baker's son from Bangor, Maine, was never wealthy, and his government salary went only so far. When the motorcades and military escorts ended in January 2001, his final financial disclosure form listed tens of thousands of dollars of charge-account debts at interest rates as high as about 25 percent.
Cohen's career had entered a classic final phase: the monetizing of the public man.
Instead of returning to Maine, which he had represented in the House and Senate for more than two decades, Cohen followed legions of government officials into the business of consulting and lobbying. Trading on an insider's knowledge, contacts and personal cachet, the former defense secretary created his own Washington firm, the Cohen Group , which works for some of the biggest companies in the defense industry.