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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 06/04/2006 - 06/11/2006
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"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."
- Noam Chomsky
Send tips and other comments to: profmarcus2010@yahoo.com

And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, June 10, 2006

For once, can't we just BUTT OUT and leave a little country like Nicaragua alone...?



oh, but n-o-o-o-o-o-ooo... we have to stick our noses into EVERYTHING...!
Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega told regional observers on Friday the U.S. and Nicaraguan governments were working together to try to disqualify him from November's presidential election.



Ortega, a former president and leader of Nicaragua's leftist Sandinista revolution, is seeking to return to power and has clashed in recent months with the U.S. envoy and the country's main right-wing parties.

"We see a coordinated action between the United States government and the government of President (Enrique) Bolanos, both of whom want to disqualify the Sandinistas," Ortega said after a meeting with Organization of American States observers.

A spokeswoman at the U.S. Embassy in Managua declined to comment on Ortega's remarks. Nicaraguan government officials were not immediately available for comment.

U.S. Ambassador Paul Trivelli has repeatedly criticized Ortega, who many think could return to power and end the 16 years of pro-Washington government that followed his 1990 defeat. In April, Trivelli met with right-wing parties to discuss forming an alliance to oppose Ortega in the November 5 election.

The United States has a controversial history of involvement in Nicaragua, although Trivelli said he was merely concerned with promoting democracy in the Central American nation.

democracy is swirling down the toilet back up norte in the u.s., ambassador trivelli, but, like your big boss, condi, your bigger boss, dick, and your even bigger boss, george, you use "democracy" as a code word to mean "u.s. interests..."
Many voters say they are tired of U.S.-backed administrations that have failed to raise living standards.

of course they're tired... it's the same reason over half the damn southern hemisphere has been tilting left... the people are fed up with seeing their money and their resources crated up and shipped north...

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World Cup Fever

I’m like Prof. Marcus in that normally, I do not care so much for pro sport, but something about the Cup has me jumping and shouting in my little apartment, possibly alarming the neighbors, at players with names like Schweinsteiger and Crespo and Drogba. It is a jumbled, ecstatic feeling of pride and participation (yes, the U.S. has a good team), a schizophrenic love of nationhood and world community raging within, each side struggling for victory. I got the fever all right. There is a saying that the way Americans get to know world geography is through the wars we start; it is entirely true. The World Cup is a war between nations, but one whose consequences, at least for the average viewing fan, are at worst a poorly considered outfit, a crippling hangover or a hoarse voice. Yes, we get to learn a little about places on the map we had no idea existed, and maybe even come to familiarize ourselves a bit with the players – demi–gods - who grace the perfectly manicured lawns in the gargantuan coliseums that dot our planet and the billions of crazed fans who worship them. We see dark, mysterious faces battling alongside the milkiest of skin, the blondest of blond. We see arch-typical physiques of each nation, read the exotic names of their ancestors on the jerseys that not even the announcers can pronounce correctly. We see flags hoisted and hear the songs in strange languages, so many that any one dissolves and all somehow blend together. And after its all over, and the battle strategies and tactics have been exhausted, win or lose, the players shake hands, hug, exchange jerseys, laugh, cry and celebrate: they made it to the World Cup!

PS: The U.S. plays Czech Republic on Monday afternoon………………………

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Rosen on Zarqawi: "So, time to dispel some myths."

(thanks to a tiny revolution...)
Zarqawi did not really belong to al Qaeda. He would have been more shocked than anybody when Colin Powel spoke before the United Nations in the propaganda build up to the war and mentioned Zarqawi publicly for the first time, accusing him of being the link between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein...He had nothing to do with al Qaeda until December 2004, when he renamed his organization Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, or Al Qaeda in Iraq as it has become known.

Why did he do this? It was a great deal for him and Bin Ladin. Zarqawi needed the prestige associated with the Al Qaeda brand name in global jihadi circles....For Bin Ladin and his deputy Zawahiri it was also a great deal. Al Qaeda was defunct. Its leadership hiding in the Pakistani wilderness, completely cut off from the main front in today's jihad, Iraq. When Zarqawi assumed the al Qaeda brand name he gave a needed fillip to Bin Ladin who could now associate himself with the Iraqi jihad, where the enemy was being successfully killed every day, and where the eyes of the Arab and Muslim world were turned to, far more than Afghanistan.

Zarqawi was not very important in the first place, and hardly represented the majority of the resistance or insurgency...It took the United States to make Zarqawi who he became. Intent on denying that there was a popular Iraqi resistance to the American project in Iraq, the Americans blamed every attack on Zarqawi and his foreign fighters, and for a while it seemed every car accident in Baghdad was Zarqawi's fault. The truth was that much of Iraq's Sunni population, alienated by the Americans who removed them from power and targeted them en masse during raids, supported and participated in the anti American resistance. Even many Shias claimed resistance. Muqtada Sadr, the most powerful and popular single individual leader in Iraq, led two "intifadas" against the Americans in the spring and summer of 2004, and his men still rest on their laurels, claiming they too took part in the Mukawama, or resistance. But by blaming Zarqawi for everything the Americans created the myth of Zarqawi and aspiring Jihadis throughout the Arab world ate it up and flocked to join his ranks or at least send money. Zarqawi was the one defying the Americans, something their own weak leaders in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and elsewhere, could not do, having sold out long ago. It was then comical when the Americans released the Zarqawi video out-takes and mocked him for fumbling with a machine gun. Having inflated his reputation they were now trying to deflate it. But it was too late.

a sidenote here... do you fully appreciate just how important the internet is...? how will we possibly have the kind of access to journalists of the caliber of nir rosen when the government/corporatocracy begins their inevitable task of closing down free access and/or pricing it out of the reach of the peasantocracy...?

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Getting out of Gitmo the hard way, but maybe the ONLY way...

there will be some serious ripple effects from this...
Three detainees at the US base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have died in what appears to have been a joint suicide pact, officials said.

[...]

It is not first time detainees have attempted to commit suicide since the camp was set up four years ago.

Forty-one attempts have been made by 25 prisoners since then.

try to imagine, if you will, being held without charges or trial for four years... no contact with family, friends, or the outside world and no hope of release... under the circumstances, suicide would be the most logical alternative...

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Argentina 2, Ivory Coast 1

YES...!

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Argentina and Ivory Coast up next

vs.

england beat paraguay earlier today, 1-0, and trinidad and tobago just finished battling to a scoreless finish, but the match that matters most to me begins in less than an hour... while i am not nor have i ever been much of a sports fan, i know that an abnormal quiet is going to take over from the usual busy hum of a saturday afternoon in argentina... from the bolivian border to cape horn, there will be few people who won't be glued to a tv set... check it all out here...



[UPDATE]

for one of the best descriptions of the FEEL of the game, go read this...

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At last, some honesty about the R's tactics

and all roads lead back to karl rove...
"A lot of people look at politics and see it as the guy who wins is the guy who unifies the most people," [Allen Raymond, 39, who has just finished serving a three-month sentence for jamming Democratic phone lines in New Hampshire during the 2002 US Senate race] said. "I would disagree. I would say the candidate who wins is the candidate who polarizes the right bloc of voters. You always want to polarize somebody."

[...]

"Republicans have treated campaigns and politics as a business, and now are treating public policy as a business, looking for the types of returns that you get in business, passing legislation that has huge ramifications for business," he said. "It is very much being monetized, and the federal government is being monetized under Republican majorities."

you would have to have been living in a cave not to see the results of this polarization... it's ugly... it's vicious... it's torn this country apart... and, with his latest divisive assault on gays, rove continues to eat away at the very soul of decency - still unimpeded...

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Ohio election fraud in the making

hard on the heels of the previous post...
Forty-nine of the 85 people who this year have given Ohio secretary of state Kenneth Blackwell the maximum $10,000 allowed an individual donor have done so since May 2. Members of Cincinnati financier Carl Lindner's family led the way by combining for $90,000. The maximum-donor list also includes Mitch Given, who is a registered lobbyist for Diebold Election Systems, one of the vendors of voting machines for election boards in Ohio.

Blackwell's office approved Diebold's selection as a vendor and negotiated the price.

blackwell, the ohio republican gubernatorial candidate, is one of the prime suspects in the election fraud so copiously researched by rfk jr... besides running his campaign, blackwell's got his hands full manipulating voter registrations prior to november...
Critics of Ohio’s new election law say Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell has implemented rules that make it more difficult to register voters than the law itself does.

At a hearing yesterday, some said Blackwell’s rules would shut down voter-registration efforts in Ohio that use paid workers. Afterward, state Democrats said the rules were reminiscent of Blackwell’s 2004 edict that the paper for registration forms had to be a certain weight.

"The proposed rules from Secretary Blackwell are obstructing voter-registration efforts intended to help all Ohioans," said Raj Nayak, associate counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research group at New York University School of Law.

"These rules will make it harder for Ohio citizens to register to vote and to exercise their fundamental right to the franchise."

when you set the rules, basically own the voting machines, and one of your largest campaign contributors is the manufacturer of those machines, how can you lose...? and ain't that the whole idea...?

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With the November elections not far away, we best not forget how elections get stolen

i am late posting to this and probably wouldn't have were it not for a daily kos diary from quaoar which pointed out the rather astounding admission of a seattle p.i. associate publisher that it deserved much, much more traditional media coverage than it got, that he was accepting part of the blame for that, and that, lord almighty, the look-the-other-way non-coverage was akin to the look-the-other-way non-coverage of the downing street memo last year... so, i'm doing my part to give it more visibility... (the numbers in parens in the article are footnoted references...
[I]ndications continued to emerge that something deeply troubling had taken place in 2004. Nearly half of the 6 million American voters living abroad(3) never received their ballots -- or received them too late to vote(4) -- after the Pentagon unaccountably shut down a state-of-the-art Web site used to file overseas registrations.(5) A consulting firm called Sproul & Associates, which was hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters in six battleground states,(6) was discovered shredding Democratic registrations.(7) In New Mexico, which was decided by 5,988 votes,(8) malfunctioning machines mysteriously failed to properly register a presidential vote on more than 20,000 ballots.(9) Nationwide, according to the federal commission charged with implementing election reforms, as many as 1 million ballots were spoiled by faulty voting equipment -- roughly one for every 100 cast.(10)

The reports were especially disturbing in Ohio, the critical battleground state that clinched Bush's victory in the electoral college. Officials there purged tens of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls, neglected to process registration cards generated by Democratic voter drives, shortchanged Democratic precincts when they allocated voting machines and illegally derailed a recount that could have given Kerry the presidency. A precinct in an evangelical church in Miami County recorded an impossibly high turnout of ninety-eight percent, while a polling place in inner-city Cleveland recorded an equally impossible turnout of only seven percent. In Warren County, GOP election officials even invented a nonexistent terrorist threat to bar the media from monitoring the official vote count.(11)

i realize that most americans (and i count myself among them) find it hard to believe that, in this great and good country, our election system could be unscrupulously manipulated to assure a predetermined outcome... however, i have to ask myself, given the magnitude of the deception, lies, and constitutional trampling we already know about, what would make this any different...? when someone with as much to lose by appearing as a moonbat conspiracy theorist as rfk jr. takes the time to write a lengthy, well-researched article describing voting fraud, maybe, houston, we have a big problem... it's worth reading in its entirety in rolling stone...

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Friday, June 09, 2006

I don't usually wear a tin foil hat...

But I was in Borders today and saw this magazine on the newstand. One day after the story broke. Is that weird or am I reading too much into it? Is it possible that they were able to write, print, paginate, new cover, etc, AND ship to Reno in 24 hours?

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How the media help Bush stay in office and amass power

it's about time we faced the fact that we do not have a free press, we have propaganda organs...

(thanks to jamison foser at media matters...)
Six months into the Iraq war, a study by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland found that most people who get their news from Fox News, CNN, or the three broadcast networks had serious mistaken beliefs about Iraq -- that U.S.-led forces had already found weapons of mass destruction (WMD) there, that links between Iraq and Al Qaeda had been found, that world public opinion approved of the war in Iraq, or some combination of the three. Eighty percent of Fox viewers held at least one of these mistaken beliefs, as did 71 percent of CBS viewers, 61 percent of ABC viewers, and 55 percent of NBC and CNN viewers -- clear majorities in all cases. Nearly half of those who got their news from the print media held one of these mistaken beliefs; among consumers of public broadcasting, only 23 percent did.

These mistaken beliefs had serious consequences: People who believed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction were more likely to support the war; people who supported the war were more likely to vote for President Bush, and so on. The world's greatest democracy made a series of decisions about war and peace; life and death; and about the world we will pass on to our children, all based on faulty information.

[...]

And how did they come to believe these false things? Bush administration lies and misstatements surely played a role. But so did news organizations that repeated those lies and misstatements, either in their own voice or by quoting administration officials and war proponents, without correcting the misstatements. News organizations that, long after it had been established that Iraq did not have WMD, treated it as an open question with two equally valid viewpoints. News organizations whose coverage was "strikingly one-sided" and that refused to give "the same play to people who said it wouldn't be a good idea to go to war and were questioning the administration's rationale," as Howard Kurtz and Leonard Downie of The Washington Post described their newspaper's coverage of the run-up to the Iraq war. News organizations that falsely told viewers that WMD had actually been found. Reporters who have so thoroughly absorbed the prevailing spin that they robotically repeat it even in 2006.

That's why conservative misinformation in the media is the most significant issue of our time: Because the media shape our understanding of every other issue.

Because the world's greatest democracy made a decision to go to war, and to re-elect a president, based on false information -- false information spread by the media.


[...]

Whatever issue you care most about, the media are likely skewing the public debate badly.

the battle for control of the last remaining bastion of free speech and un-spun information, the internet, is playing out before our eyes... for many of us, were it not for the internet, we would be completely at sea regarding the daily destruction of everything that means anything in this country... and when it's gone, what then...?

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Shut up, John Bolton... Just shut the f*** up...

you're a loud-mouth, intimidating bully and everybody knows it... if you weren't dealing with people who were so much better and more civilized than you, they would have taken you out in a back alley and kicked the ever-loving crap out of you a long, long time ago... the only reason you're where you are is because your big boss thinks bullies are cool... he couldn't get you past the senate, so he had to cheat by giving you a recess appointment... but we all know you now, john... you aren't worth the paper you're printed on...
America's bitter dispute with the United Nations escalated last night when John Bolton, the US envoy to the UN, threatened to withhold funding to the organisation unless it apologised for the remarks of a senior British official.

let's get something straight here... it isn't AMERICA'S bitter dispute... it's JOHN BOLTON'S bitter dispute, john bolton and his fellow unilateralist, hate-the-u.n. buddies... i know steve clemons was hoping condi would get a leash on him but obviously she hasn't...

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No doubt about it, Bushco has some serious dirt on Congress

Congressional Conservatives Quietly Strip Provision That Prohibited Permanent Bases In Iraq

how else to explain it...?

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DailyYearlyKos hits the NYT

and, with it (maybe, hopefully), progressive bloggers' credibility, influence, and passion...

good story here...

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Is Bush capable of embarrassment...?

i rather doubt it...
An "embarrasing email" leaked by former FEMA head Michael Brown to CNN quotes President Bush as saying at a Cabinet meeting held shortly after Katrina that he was pleased that Brown was taking most of the heat for the federal government's roundly criticized response to the hurricane.

"I'd rather they beat up on him than me or Chertoff," President Bush allegedly said at the meeting, referring to the head of the Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff. The sender also thanked Brown for "diverting hostile fire away from the leader."

CNN wasn't able to conclusively confirm that the email sent on September 7, 2005 came from the White House, but Brown said that it was sent to him by a high-level White House official, and the sender's email address ends with "eop.gov," as in "Executive Office of the President." The sender's name was blocked out by the network, as per Brown's request.

heckuva job, brownie...!

(thanks to raw story... see email here...)

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Specter's amnesty: "...so reprehensible that it is difficult to describe"

bushco must be holding some really juicy stuff on specter... to watch him pee his pants every time the white house looks in his direction is truly pathetic...
A law which makes it "an option" -- rather than a requirement -- for the Government to obtain a warrant before eavesdropping is about as meaningless of a law as can be imagined.

But that complete change of heart by Specter is not even nearly the most corrupt part of his proposed bill. For pure corruption and constitutional abdication, nothing could match this:
Another part of the Specter bill would grant blanket amnesty to anyone who authorized warrantless surveillance under presidential authority, a provision that seems to ensure that no one would be held criminally liable if the current program is found illegal under present law.

The idea that the President's allies in Congress would enact legislation which expressly shields government officials, including the President, from criminal liability for past lawbreaking is so reprehensible that it is difficult to describe.

yes, glenn greenwald, you've got it exactly right... (i wonder if greenwald's on the no-fly list...)
Specter receives substantial criticism because of the flamboyant way in which he engages in what can only be described as sado-masochistic rituals with the administration. He pretends to exercise independence only to get beaten into extreme submission, and then returns eagerly for more. It is as unpleasant to watch as it is damaging to our country. But Specter's unique psychological dramas should not obscure the fact that it is the entire Congress which has failed in its responsibilities to take a stand against this President's lawbreaking and abuses, and there is plenty of blame to go around in both parties. The reason the President has been allowed to exert precisely the type of unrestrained power which the Founders sought, first and foremost, to avoid, is because the Congress has allowed him to.

the white house must have some really juicy stuff on a lot of folks in congress, come to think of it...

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It's UNDERWAY...!



costa rica is playing germany... argentina's first game is tomorrow... the world is listening... you can follow the game here and keep up with all the details here...

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This oughta send chills down your spine

like i said just a couple of posts ago, all the pieces are coming together...
New Scientist has discovered that Pentagon's National Security Agency, which specialises in eavesdropping and code-breaking, is funding research into the mass harvesting of the information that people post about themselves on social networks. And it could harness advances in internet technology - specifically the forthcoming "semantic web" championed by the web standards organisation W3C - to combine data from social networking websites with details such as banking, retail and property records, allowing the NSA to build extensive, all-embracing personal profiles of individuals.

the only safe assumption is that anyone with the proper access can assemble a picture of your entire life that would not only astound you but would also reveal bits and pieces even YOU didn't know... anti-bush bloggers, beware...

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Another nest of vipers uncovered, this one chaired by McCain

swiftboating kerry while "nurturing 'free' institutions in emerging democracies..."
The International Republican Institute, though billing itself as an independent nonprofit unaffiliated with the Republican Party, acts essentially as a wing of the GOP. Its is chaired by party presidential frontrunner Senator John McCain (R-AZ), and Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Representatives David Dreier (R-CA) and Jim Kolbe (R-AR) serve on its board of directors. Many of IRI’s high-ranking staff members have at some point worked directly for the Bush administration.

What makes these connections troubling is that the organization, nominally dedicated to nurturing free institutions in emerging democracies, has also been associated with unscrupulous and undemocratic campaign practices both at home and overseas.

go visit raw story for the rest, and pay close attention to how these organizations morph depending on what day it is and whose character is up for assassination... you can be sure if this is what's breaking the surface, there's plenty more down below...

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The line-item veto is outlawed, what about signing statements...?

yeah, what ABOUT signing statements...?
Bush's signing statements are an even more egregious constitutional insult than the line-item veto. At least the line-item veto was granted to the president by Congress. This time Congress wasn't even asked. Bush simply claimed this power for himself. And so far, he's gotten away with it.

So, I ask again, why has no member of Congress filed suit? You would think that they would at least be offended. Besides being unconstitutional, Bush's signing statements are also condescending. They might as well be worded like this:
To: Congress
From: The President of the United States

To Whom it May Concern:
I have read your bill noted above and I signed it in front of the TV cameras surrounded by all you smiling jackals. Because I understand you need to show your constituents back home that you really are doing something up here after all.

But I didn't like some of the parts of the bill you gave me. Rather than embarrass you with a veto or -- God forbid! -- provide you with an opportunity to embarrass me with veto override, I will simply ignore the parts of this bill that I don't like.

So, for your records, here is my marked-up copy of your bill. For your convenience I drew a happy face :-) next to the sections I will enforce, and a frowny face :-( next to the sections I intend to ignore.

Now, y'all all have a nice day.
George W. Bush :-)

and it isn't just congress that oughta be picking up the rakes and hoes...
Hello, members of Congress! Is anyone home? Did you all forget that the Supreme Court is just across the street? Hell, you could pitch a briefcase full of Bush's signing statements and hit the goddamn place. Shouldn't you be storming the steps of the Supreme Court, frothing at the mouth, lawyers in tow, demanding the court's immediate and urgent attention to this attack on the legislative branches' constitutional power?

and why aren't we...? well, here's a thought from paul craig roberts...
Gentle reader, do you believe that the Bush Regime will not shoot you down in the streets if you have a rebellion?

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Sewing up control of electronic media

(from daily kos...)
COPE passes without Net Neutrality Hotlist
by j sundman [Subscribe]
Fri Jun 09, 2006 at 04:37:21 AM PDT

The horrible COPE bill, which serves up our Internet as a nice little garnish on a fat juicey meal of money and power to the Telephone & Cable companies (who have become, not incidentally, another arm of the authoritarian regime now in power), passed the House last night. The Markey amendment, which would have protected Net Neutrality, failed by 117 votes, of which 58 came from Democrats. Eleven Republicans and one independent voted with the good guys on this one.

Call me a pessimist, but I think this is a bigger story than YearlyKos or Coulter or Al Zaquari (?spelling?).

he may be right about it being a bigger story... slowly but surely, the pieces are coming together... the telecoms, in return for their campaign contributions and for supplying the nsa with customer phone record data, get to rake in massively bigger profits through scaled internet service... the internet becomes restricted to what those telecoms (and the government) WANT us to be able to access... the nsa will be keeping records of every web site visited by every customer over a two-year period... access to television programming is ALREADY restricted to what the providers choose to carry... they're floating a proposal to change fcc rules to allow the bigs to own ALL types of media outlets in a given locality... why is nobody out there (except bloggers, of course) putting these pieces together...?

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And we needed to know this because?

Oh jeez...they are going to milk this one. This just appeared on the NYT front page:

Zarqawi Briefly Survived After Airstrike

I am still trying to figure out how his body was in one piece after two five hundred pound bombs were dropped on the house. It was a pile of rubble.

Buried in this story...same ol' same ol':
The country's new Interior Minister, Jawad al-Bolani, oversaw the imposition of a ban on vehicle traffic in the cities of Baghdad and Baquba during midday, in an effort to prevent reprisal attacks by Mr. Zarqawi's supporters against the crowds gathering for Friday services.

The streets were quiet, but the authorities did report a scattering of violence in the morning, of the sort that is often overshadowed by bigger attacks: two bombs wounded two police officers and four civilians, the bodies of four men and five women were found in different neighborhoods and the Interior Ministry reported that the director general of the ministry of oil had been kidnapped on Thursday afternoon on his way home from work.

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Murtha and al-Zawahri on Zarqawi

you gotta believe bush thinks he's going to get a bounce in the polls no matter what the reality of the situation is...
Representative John P. Murtha (D-Penn.), a former Marine and fierce critic of the Iraq war, emphasized, "We cannot win this. It is a civil war they are involved in. Al Qaeda is a small part of this."

there was an abortive swiftboat attack on murtha when he first started speaking out... fortunately, his cred was so massive that it quickly faded away... i'm sure, however, bushco is still working on some way to get him to shut up...

meanwhile, BEFORE the announcement of zarqawi's death...

The Al-Jazeera network broadcast a video by al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri on Friday in which he spoke about Palestinian and Egyptian politics and the situation in Darfur.

[...]

Al-Zawahri praised the al-Qaida in Iraq leader's efforts to confront U.S.-led forces in Iraq.

"God bless the prophet of Islam in Iraq, the persistent hero of Islam, the Holy Warrior Abu Musab al-Zarqawi," al-Zawahri said.

so, now they have themselves a martyr... terrific...

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Zarqawi betrayed?

In a follow-up to profmarcus' post below, this morning's NYT asserts that Zarqawi was indeed betrayed by one of his own. But the article really raised more questions for me than it answered. It seems comforting to think that al-Qaeda is in a power struggle (and by inference, ineffective and in disarray), but it neglects the fact that there really is no al-Qaeda. Even Bush got it sort of right yesterday when he said that it is a network of networks. No. It's a bunch of wannabes and copy cats.
Indeed, what the Americans had always lacked was someone from inside Mr. Zarqawi's network, Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, who would betray him — someone close enough and trusted enough to show the Americans where he was.

According to a Pentagon official, the Americans finally got one. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the raid are classified, said that an Iraqi informant inside Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia provided the critical piece of intelligence about Mr. Rahman's meeting with Mr. Zarqawi. The source's identity was not clear — nor was it clear how that source was able to pinpoint Mr. Zarqawi's location without getting killed himself.

"We have a guy on the inside who led us directly to Zarqawi," the official said.

In a news release on Thursday morning, American military commanders hinted strongly that a member of Mr. Zarqawi's inner circle had pointed the way. "Tips and intelligence from Iraqi senior leaders from his network led forces to al-Zarqawi," the release said.

Iraqi officials confirmed that Mr. Zarqawi had indeed been sold out by one of his own.

"We have managed to infiltrate this organization," said Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Iraq's national security adviser. He declined to elaborate.

Just how the Americans were able to get the information from the source was also unclear. In an interview, a Jordanian official close to the investigation said the mission that killed Mr. Zarqawi was a joint operation conducted by the Americans and Jordanian intelligence. The source inside Mr. Zarqawi's group, the Jordanian official said, had been cultivated at least in part by Jordanian intelligence agents.

"There was a man from Zarqawi's group who handed over the information," the Jordanian official said.

Looks like they all have their story straight.

Pretty interesting too, this taxi driver, Mr. Ismael, who seems to have seen everything related to the raid. I would have been running for cover.
In Hibhib, Mr. Ismael, the taxi driver, said American soldiers began swarming the town, seemingly coming from nowhere, with some soldiers sliding down ropes dropped from Black Hawk helicopters. His account largely tracked with the one offered by the American military.

"The entire village was seized," Mr. Ismael said.

[...]

The decision to bomb Mr. Zarqawi was made in large part because military officials feared he might escape again if American and Iraqi forces moved in on the ground, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said during an appearance at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

"They came to the conclusion that they could not really go in on the ground without running the risk of letting him escape," he said. "So they used airpower and attacked a dwelling he was in."

The entire village was seized, according to Mr. Ismael...yet, they were afraid he would escape? Uh huh.

And I don't know about you but, no matter what one thinks of Zarqawi, the constant, ad nauseum displaying of Zarqawi's corpse really grossed me out. It was disgusting. I was watching Olbermann last night and during his interviews they kept cutting away to the two shots of Zarqawi's head shot. Over and over again. I found myself hiding my eyes. And I am not squeamish. It was just so unseemly.

And finally, now that Zarqawi is gone, who will be our next Goldstein?

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Chile being pressured to grant U.S. citizens immunity from the ICC

and, omg, it's hurting our ability to train latin american military...



we have no shame...
Chile’s newly elected president Michelle Bachelet is on Friday expected to face pressure from US president George W. Bush to grant US citizens immunity from prosecution for alleged human rights abuses at the International Criminal Court.

Chile has yet to decide whether to fully ratify the 2002 Rome Statute, which created the ICC in The Hague, or to sign a bilateral agreement with Washington that would exempt US citizens from prosecution.

Twelve Latin American countries, including Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico, have seen Congress block millions of dollars in US military aid since 2004 for not signing exemption clauses.

That has damaged the Pentagon’s efforts to build relations in Latin America and offset the rising influence of radical populism in the region.

US Army Brigadier General Frederick Rudesheim, the joint staff’s deputy director for western hemisphere politico-military affairs, said sanctions on assistance have complicated military to military relations.

Our ability to bring in military leaders for training is made more difficult by not having the funds available because of the sanctions imposed,” said Gen Rudesheim. “It’s not a show-stopper but it certainly makes things more difficult in that regard.”

WHAT...?!?! you mean the enrollment at the school of the americas western hemisphere institute for security cooperation is dropping...?
Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), located at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia, is the Defense Department's principal Spanish-language training facility for Latin American military and law-enforcement personnel (though some civilians attend as well). It is the successor to the School of the Americas (SOA), a facility established in 1946 and legally closed in 2001. The WHINSEC is located in the same building, and offers many of the same courses, as the school it replaces. Along with the U.S. Air Force's Inter-American Air Forces Academy (IAAFA), WHINSEC attracts the largest number of Latin American military students.

they could call it the fluffy-bunny institute for hemispheric harmony and it wouldn't change the basic purpose - training foreign national military forces to serve as u.s. agents on their own soil...

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Ashcroft sure took his sweet time before recusal

why should we expect ANYTHING resembling ethical behavior from ANYONE either now or previously associated with the bush administration...? there is absolutely no basis for such an expectation...
Then-Attorney General John Ashcroft continued to oversee the Valerie Plame-CIA leak probe for more than two months in late 2003 after he learned in extensive briefings that FBI agents suspected White House aides Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby of trying to mislead the FBI to conceal their roles in the leak, according to government records and interviews. Despite these briefings, which took place between October and December 2003, and despite the fact that senior White House aides might become central to the leak case, Ashcroft did not recuse himself from the matter until December 30, when he allowed the appointment of a special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, to take over the investigation.

[...]

Current and former Justice officials not directly involved in the case said in interviews for this article, almost without exception, that once senior aides to both the president and vice president came under suspicion, Ashcroft should have recused himself entirely from the case.

i hope murray waas gets a major journalism award for his yeoman's work on the fitzgerald/libby/plame/rove case, because, god knows, he deserves it...

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Did somebody rat out Zarqawi...?

not outside the realm of possibility... besides, the timing, just when bush's stock is hitting rock bottom, is just too convenient...
Last year, Osama bin Laden’s chief deputy Ayman Zawahiri sent a letter to Zarqawi that contained a “striking critique” of Zarqawi’s insurgency strategy. “He comes down like a ton of bricks on what has happened tactically,” one U.S. analyst said describing the letter.

[...]

Zarqawi’s star had fallen over the last six months, and there is reason to believe that his falling from favor was a key ingredient in this operation. Someone gave up details on him because they wanted him out.

i'm almost sheepish in making a post like this... why...? because it just shows me that i basically don't believe ANYTHING that comes my way from the media or the bush administration any more...

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"Assuring health care is a shared social responsibility"

omg...! a report that WASN'T SCRUBBED before it was released...?!?! somebody's slipping up...
The federal government should guarantee that all Americans have basic health insurance coverage, says a committee set up by Congress to find out what people want when it comes to health care.

"Assuring health care is a shared social responsibility," says the interim report of the Citizens' Health Care Working Group, a 14-member committee that went to 50 communities and heard from 23,000 people.

"assuring health care is a SHARED SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY...?" god almighty, what a concept...! maybe in some other galaxy but certainly not in bushworld...

(thanks to chris in paris at americablog...)

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R's take solace in CA-50 results

(see previous post from robert parry...)

and, naturally, the wapo sticks it right on the front page, signaling to one and all their true affections...
A special election for a House district in California left Republicans with control of the seat, while offering scant evidence of the highly energized Democratic electorate that analysts say would be needed to dislodge the GOP from power on Capitol Hill in November.

when you let the dnc centrist "consultariat" call the shots, you water down the issues, you don't energize the electorate, and you lose elections... the dramatic contrast is jon tester and soon will be, hopefully, russ feingold...

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"A Democrat puppet of national liberal special interest groups"

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha...! < wipes tears of laughter from eyes > hahahahahahahahahahahaha...
National Republicans gave voters a preview of the Montana Senate election Wednesday, attacking Democrat Jon Tester hours after he became his party's nominee to challenge Republican Sen. Conrad Burns.

North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, fired the first shot.

"The general election now comes down to a choice between Conrad Burns, who has such an outstanding record of accomplishment for his state, and a Democrat puppet of national liberal special interest groups who does not share the mainstream values of Montanans," Dole said of Tester in a statement.

ROFLMAO... oh, liddy, you're precious... go slip a viagra in bob's morning coffee and chill out...

and, on that note, i'm headed for some coffee myself - minus the additive...

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On the ground in Iraq

larry johnson's view on the ground in iraq via tpm cafe...
Closing the strategic gap in Iraq requires that our military and civilian leaders come to grip with the harsh realities on the ground. The hope for a secular, democratic society is at present a pipe dream. Sectarian power is the rule of law in Iraq and it is a law enforced through violence, torture, and intimidation. At this juncture, our military is dutifully, bravely, and tirelessly stacking sand bags to try to hold back the surging flood waters of sectarian violence. Unfortunately, there is no sign that the rain of intolerance is easing or that the waters of hatred are receding.

thanks for the view from the ground... i can't help but say, however, that talking about how to either improve the iraq situation or disengage, misses the entire point... the system that put us in iraq in the first place is seriously diseased and, while the bush administration is certainly the most egregious example of a disease out of control, the cancer has been spreading since ww2... the overused metaphor, re-arranging the deck chairs on the titanic, nevertheless captures the current dynamics fairly well...

yes, our continuing presence in iraq is fueling the sunni-shiite obsession for blowing each other up and probably is producing new zarqawis by the day... but so is our continuing support of israel and our refusal to help structure an honest settlement with the palestinians who are now being punished for exercising their democratic rights... we fuel global outrage when a corrupt mafia don like dick cheney denounces russia in vilnius and then flies on to court a barbaric despot in kazakhstan because the despot controls oil and gas reserves... we earn enmity when we torture detainees in black-site prisons and funnel them via extraordinary rendition to other countries whose interrogation methods are worse than ours... ridicule and scorn are our just due when we persist in claiming that iran is mere months away from having a nuclear weapons capability when all available intelligence says that isn't the case...

so, yes, iraq is an immediate problem to be solved but, relatively speaking, it is only a pimple on the ass of our much bigger problem... our country is a mess, our constitution and bill of rights are being fed daily into the shredder, and what are we going to do about it...

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Bush's American "values"

In yet another in a series of gestures to build support for his immigration proposals, President Bush visited Nebraska Wednesday and said he believes immigrants must adopt American "values."

um, lessee... using george himself as a model, those would be...? let's start with lying... or arrogance... maybe a fixation on control and power... wait, don't forget condescension, or is that just another word for arrogance...? oh, well, never mind... how about denial...? delusion...? grandiosity...? (or did i say that already with arrogance and condescension...?)

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Ann Coulter on Judgment Day

olbermann rocks...
[M]y allusion about having to defend Ann Coulter in a sanity hearing, that was inappropriate -- because it was insufficient. Imagine, in fact, defending her on Judgment Day -- and trying to find her soul.

my hunch is that, when she looks in a mirror, there's no reflection...

(thanks to crooks and liars via media needle...)

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Argentina and Uruguay take their argument to the ICJ



as original mercosur members, they could have worked through that organization which has a dispute resolution mechanism...

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague begins two days of hearings [today] June 8 in a dispute between Argentina and Uruguay over the construction of two giant pulp mills. Argentina sued Uruguay in the world court over the mills on the Uruguay side of a shared river, which Argentina fears will cause pollution.

argentinians blockaded roads leading to uruguay this past summer during the height of the tourist season in december and january when argentinians traditionally flock to uruguay's beaches in punta del este creating serious economic ripple effects... many have accused argentina's president nestor kirchner of playing politics in a failure to intervene to halt the blockades...

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Yes, but is it the REAL Zarqawi...?

Al-Qaeda's Zarqawi killed

let the bloviating begin...


Blair: Zarqawi death "blow against Qaeda everywhere"

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

43 flips off 41 over Rummy

ooooo... THIS is a story that may well grow legs...
Former President George H.W. Bush waged a secret campaign over several months early this year to remove Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The elder Bush went so far as to recruit Rumsfeld's potential replacement, personally asking a retired four-star general if he would accept the position, a reliable source close to the general told me. But the former president's effort failed, apparently rebuffed by the current president. When seven retired generals who had been commanders in Iraq demanded Rumsfeld's resignation in April, the younger Bush leapt to his defense. "I'm the decider and I decide what's best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain," he said. His endorsement of Rumsfeld was a rebuke not only to the generals but also to his father.

apparently, poppy wasn't content with sonny merely rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic so he thought he'd jump in with a bucket and start bailing...

(thanks to bolgia7 at daily kos...)

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Waaaaah...! He didn't even say HELLO...!

boo-hoo, arlen... did you really think your sucking up earned you any brownie points...?
In a terse and highly unusual letter to Vice President Cheney, Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) today rejected the Bush administration’s insistence that a secret wire tapping program being conducted on U.S. civilians by the National Security Agency is legal, complaining that efforts by the White House to stonewall Congressional inquiries into the program “denigrates the constitutional authority and responsibility of the Congress and specifically the Judiciary Committee...

and how it all came down is quintessential dick cheney...
Specter’s anger peaked Tuesday after he learned that Cheney had been lobbying Republican members of the committee to “oppose any Judiciary Committee hearing, even a closed one” that involved telephone companies that have cooperated with the NSA. “I was surprised, to the say the least, that you sought to influence, really determine, the action of the Committee without calling me first, or at least calling me at some point,” Specter wrote in the letter, adding that “this was especially perplexing since we both attended the Republicans Senators caucus lunch yesterday and I walked directly in front of you on at least two occasions en route from the buffet to my table.”

and i bet he didn't even say hello...

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The mustache of serial abuse spouts off again

if bolton didn't have an official position (however, i would question the level of credibility of someone serving on a recess appointment), he would be pushing a supermarket cart down the street, assailing passersby who would be doing their best to avoid him...

(think progress and tpm cafe have the skinny...)

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The "Palestinian strategy" is working

speaking of obscene...
Children rummage through garbage cans for discarded food for their one meal during the day. Families wait to buy discount-priced vegetables left unsold in the evening. These are not locally exaggerated accounts of the situation in Palestinian areas, but an official account by the World Food Programme.

they voted... they made their choice... they played by the democratic rules we say we want everybody to play by... and now they're gonna pay...
Palestinians are evidently paying for exercising their democratic choice and voting a Hamas government into power. And it is the poorest among them who will pay the price.

naturally, the poor will pay the price... remember, according to the u.s. doctrine of social darwinism, if you're poor, it's because you're lazy, no damn good, and deserve whatever unpleasantness life sends your way...

meanwhile, next door in israel...

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"Penciling in" a war

this is such an obscene statement, it makes my skin literally crawl...
"The start date for the military campaign was now penciled in for 10 March," Manning's memo said. "This was when the bombing would begin."

note to self - launch war this coming week...

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Washington pooh-poohs secret prisons and rendition flights



Alleged pick-up points and destinations
of secret prisoner transfer flights

it seems to me that bulgaria was in the original list of countries possibly harboring a "black site" prison... having just returned from both bulgaria and macedonia, this is of no passing interest to me...
The report by Swiss Senator Dick Marty follows a seven-month inquiry by Europe's human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe.

It began in November amid a political outcry over media allegations of the existence of CIA detention centres in eastern Europe.

Mr Marty examined air traffic logs, satellite images and the accounts of those who said they had been abducted.

He identified a "spider's web" of US rendition flights and landing points around the world.

And although he said the US must bear responsibility for the flights, he concluded that the programme could operate only with "the intentional or grossly negligent collusion of the European partners".

He said that Spain, Turkey, Germany and Cyprus provided "staging posts" for rendition operations, while the UK, Portugal, Ireland and Greece were "stop-off points".

The report also says Italy, Sweden, Macedonia and Bosnia allowed the abduction of residents from their soil.

needless to say, washington denies and pooh-poohs the whole thing...
Washington has criticised a Council of Europe report on alleged US secret prisons inside Europe, saying it was full of allegations, but thin on facts.

alright, washington, you puff-chested, arrogant s.o.b., give us the FACTS then...

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Robert Parry on the Dem strategy for losing

i hope skadi will have a chance to post something encouraging about what's happening in the dem grassroots... i need a lift...
At dinner a few weeks ago, a well-placed Republican political operative was oozing confidence about GOP prospects in the November elections, not because the voters were enamored of George W. Bush but because the Democrats and liberals had done so little to improve their ability to reach the public with their message.

By contrast, he described to me a highly sophisticated Republican system for pouncing on Democratic “bad votes” and verbal gaffes and distributing the information instantaneously to a network of pro-Republican media outlets that now operates down to the state, district and local levels.

This huge conservative media advantage has now contributed to dooming Democratic hopes for snaring the vulnerable suburban San Diego seat of imprisoned Republican congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham.

In the June 6 special election, Republicans reported a last-minute surge of support after conservative media outlets trumpeted a verbal blunder by Democrat Francine Busby, propelling Republican lobbyist Brian Bilbray to victory by about four percentage points.

[...]

“This is a classic case of how the Democratic consultariat class loses an election,” said Brent Budowsky, a political analyst and a former aide to Democratic Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Rep. Bill Alexander.

lord knows, we can't afford a single one of these "classic cases" and we desperately need to lose the democratic "consultariat..." yes, i know tester kicked butt in the montana primary, which bodes ill for the odious conrad (monty) burns, but we need a HELL of a lot more butt-kicking than that...

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Ann Coulter should be branded obscene and banned from the public airwaves

worth posting in full...

Statement of September 11th Advocates
Response to "Godless"

We did not choose to become widowed on September 11, 2001. The attack, which tore our families apart and destroyed our former lives, caused us to ask some serious questions regarding the systems that our country has in place to protect its citizens. Through our constant research, we came to learn how the protocols were supposed to have worked. Thus, we asked for an independent commission to investigate the loopholes which obviously existed and allowed us to be so utterly vulnerable to terrorists. Our only motivation ever was to make our Nation safer. Could we learn from this tragedy so that it would not be repeated?

We are forced to respond to Ms. Coulter’s accusations to set the record straight because we have been slandered.

Contrary to Ms. Coulter’s statements, there was no joy in watching men that we loved burn alive. There was no happiness in telling our children that their fathers were never coming home again. We adored these men and miss them every day.

It is in their honor and memory, that we will once again refocus the Nation’s attention to the real issues at hand: our lack of security, leadership and progress in the five years since 9/11.

We are continuously reminded that we are still a nation at risk. Therefore, the following is a partial list of areas still desperately in need of attention and public outcry. We should continuously be holding the feet of our elected officials to the fire to fix these shortcomings.

1. Homeland Security Funding based on risk. Inattention to this area causes police officers, firefighters and other emergency/first responder personnel to be ill equipped in emergencies. Fixing this will save lives on the day of the next attack.

2. Intelligence Community Oversight. Without proper oversight, there exists no one joint, bicameral intelligence panel with power to both authorize and appropriate funding for intelligence activities. Without such funding we are unable to capitalize on all intelligence community resources and abilities to thwart potential terrorist attacks. Fixing this will save lives on the day of the next attack.

3. Transportation Security. There has been no concerted effort to harden mass transportation security. Our planes, buses, subways, and railways remain under-protected and highly vulnerable. These are all identifiable soft targets of potential terrorist attack. The terror attacks in Spain and London attest to this fact. Fixing our transportation systems may save lives on the day of the next attack.

4. Information Sharing among Intelligence Agencies. Information sharing among intelligence agencies has not improved since 9/11. The attacks on 9/11 could have been prevented had information been shared among intelligence agencies. On the day of the next attack, more lives may be saved if our intelligence agencies work together.

5. Loose Nukes. A concerted effort has not been made to secure the thousands of loose nukes scattered around the world – particularly in the former Soviet Union. Securing these loose nukes could make it less likely for a terrorist group to use this method in an attack, thereby saving lives.

6. Security at Chemical Plants, Nuclear Plants, Ports. We must, as a nation, secure these known and identifiable soft targets of Terrorism. Doing so will save many lives.

7. Border Security. We continue to have porous borders and INS and Customs systems in shambles. We need a concerted effort to integrate our border security into the larger national security apparatus.

8. Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Given the President’s NSA Surveillance Program and the re-instatement of the Patriot Act, this Nation is in dire need of a Civil Liberties Oversight Board to insure that a proper balance is found between national security versus the protection of our constitutional rights.

###

September 11th Advocates
Kristen Breitweiser
Patty Casazza
Monica Gabrielle
Mindy Kleinberg
Lorie Van Auken

(thanks to crooks and liars...)

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George: the "wrong" Bush; Jeb: the "right" Bush

not being an r or a beltway insider (far friggin' from either, in fact), this old story from ed kilgore at tpm cafe is a new story for me...
It's hardly a new story. It dates back to 1994, when the Heir Apparent of the Bush dynasty, Jebbie, was running for governor of Florida while the ultimate late bloomer, George W., was running in Texas. The "right Bush" (in the ideological as well as every other sense) narrowly lost to Lawton Chiles, while the "wrong Bush" narrowly beat Ann Richards. Thus, reluctantly, the dynastic mantle shifted westward to Austin, and while Jeb won a comeback in 1998, he was soon reduced to the ignominy of getting blamed for his brother's, and his party's near-death experience in 2000. There's been a lot of muttering in Bush-Family and conservative circles over the years about this turn of events, which not only thrust the ill-equipped W. into the White House, but also spoiled any chance for Jebbie in the near future.

there is no end to the excuses and rationalizations the r's will latch on to to explain why their crowned king is such a loser... and calling george an "ultimate late bloomer" is hilarious... picturing george as a blossom of any sort makes my brain hurt... well, ok... maybe a thistle...

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Who thinks there are more important issues than the marriage amendment?

jerry falwell must be disappointed that mccain's visit to liberty university didn't get mccain's priorities straight...
Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) thinks the Senate should devote more time to substantial issues instead of empty votes: "it is the leader's decision as to what the agenda should be, I just hope we get to the defense authorization bill as soon as possible."

no doubt about it... bush is the leader... bush is the decider... bush is tossing out red meat to his crazed base just as fast as he can...

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Tampering with votes and voters goes ahead in Ohio

unbelievable that this kind of crap still takes place in ohio even after the mess in 2004 and several ohio officials either under indictment or investigation...
If there was ever a sign of a ruling party in trouble, it is a game plan that calls for trying to win by discouraging voting.

The latest sign that Republicans have an election-year strategy to shut down voter registration drives comes from Ohio. As the state gears up for a very competitive election season this fall, its secretary of state, J. Kenneth Blackwell, has put in place "emergency" regulations that could hit voter registration workers with criminal penalties for perfectly legitimate registration practices. The rules are so draconian they could shut down registration drives in Ohio.

Mr. Blackwell, who also happens to be the Republican candidate for governor this year, has a history of this sort of behavior. In 2004, he instructed county boards of elections to reject any registrations on paper of less than 80-pound stock — about the thickness of a postcard. His order was almost certainly illegal, and he retracted it after he came under intense criticism. It was, however, in place long enough to get some registrations tossed out.

never again should we take for granted the honesty of our electoral processes... citizens should have a sharp eye out for these kind of shenanigans in every state cuz, you can be sure, ohio isn't an isolated case...

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Supporters of discrimination and intolerance are pleased

they've gotta be just tingling all over at seeing social engineering through extremist biblical fundamentalism take center stage...
Supporters say the amendment will win as many as seven new votes from freshmen elected after the amendment received its last vote in 2004. Their support is expected to produce a majority for the amendment in the 100-member chamber.

But 60 votes would be required for the measure to survive a test vote Wednesday and a two-thirds majority is required in both houses of Congress to send an amendment to the states. It then would have to be ratified by at least 38 state legislatures.

Still, supporters were pleased.

"We're building votes," said Sen. David Vitter, R-La., another new supporter. "That's often what's required over several years to get there, particularly to a two-thirds vote."

it may be producing tingles in the extremist base but it still ain't goin' anywhere...
"Whether it passes or not this time, I do not believe the sponsors are going to fall back and cry about it," said Sen. Orrin Hatch (news, bio, voting record), R-Utah. "I think they are going to keep bringing it up."

The House plans a vote on the amendment next month, said Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

"This is an issue that is of significant importance to many Americans," Boehner told reporters. "We have significant numbers of our members who want a vote on this, so we are going to have a vote."

Like the Senate, the House in 2004 fell short of the two-thirds vote needed.

Bush, his popularity sagging and his conservative base dissatisfied with Republicans' efforts on social issues, issued a fresh appeal for passage Tuesday, the third time in as many days.

"The administration believes that the future of marriage in America should be decided through the democratic constitutional amendment process, rather than by the court orders of a few," a White House statement said.

let's get a few things straight...

1) it AIN'T an issue of significant importance to many americans

2) the "sponsors" and "significant numbers of our members" who want a vote on this are not only NOT representative of the majority of americans but can, should, and WILL NOT be around long enough to see their dream of an extremist biblical stranglehold on america realized

3) bush can issue as many appeals for passage as he wants, they're only succeeding in making him look like the pathetic, pandering, panicked, political opportunist he really is

4) the purpose of the constitution is to define the structure of governance, to provide the proper checks and balances against abuses of power, and to guarantee that the freedoms and liberties the country was founded on are preserved, NOT to dictate the private lives of american citizens

a blogger (i believe it was john aravosis at americablog) compared this sorry debacle to the terry schiavo pandering outbreak, a very apt comparison... the mere fact that decent, tolerant, compassionate, inclusive americans, committed to loving their neighbors as themselves and doing unto others as they would be done unto, are having to shift their focus from truly important issues to spend energy and time fending off this disgusting political ploy is outrageous... but, as we all know, outrage has been the frequent and appropriate response to literally every action of this administration since december 12, 2000, when the supreme court ordered george's reign as dictator...


[UPDATE]

yes, it was john aravosis... i just checked...

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A three-day Senate debate on how we're being bamboozled

john at americablog...
The Republicans tried to sucker punch the Dems into a three-day debate on gay marriage. So, Harry Reid is giving them a three day debate on why they're afraid to talk about Iraq, gas prices, and the war on terror. Brilliant.

earlier, john quoted harry...
So for me it is clear the reason for this debate is to divide our society, to pit one against another. This is another one of the President's efforts to frighten, to distort, to distract, and to confuse America. It is this Administration's way of avoiding the tough, real problems that American citizens are confronted with each and every day:

High Gas Prices.

The War in Iraq.

The National Debt.

Health Care.

Senior Citizens.

Education.

Crime.

Trade Policy.

Stem Cell Research.

Each issue begging the President's attention, each issue being ignored -- valuable time in the Senate spent on an issue that today is without hope of passing.

sitting here in reno, it's good to know that my senator isn't tolerating being taken in by george running a play from the karl rove playbook... although, god knows, it's not as if it isn't a totally transparent ploy...

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Russ is my man

amen...
All Americans should stand up and say no to the federal marriage amendment, no to discrimination targeted at some of our finest citizens, and no to this narrow-minded attempt to score political points in an election year.

Senator Russ Feingold

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Oh, my goodness...! U.S. to give nuclear technology to Iran...??

< rubs eyes > ain't THIS interestin'...?!?! the nuclear technology iran already has came from the u.s. during the time of the shah...
A package of incentives presented Tuesday to Iran includes a provision for the United States to supply Tehran with some nuclear technology if it stops enriching uranium � a major concession by Washington, diplomats said.

what...? no WAR...?!?!

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IED isn't what you think

ah, geeez... i just heard on cnn radio news that road rage has been diagnosed as a disease - I-ntermittent E-xplosive D-isorder... puhl-e-e-e-eze... that must be a clue that big pharma will be coming out with a new, expensive medication pretty soon...

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Argentina's inflation drops



good news... inflation is a killer for the lower income folks, the poor, and the unemployed...
Inflation came in at an unexpectedly low 0.5 percent in May, but was still on course to beat government targets for the year, according to official figures released yesterday. The May figure was below a median forecast of 0.9 percent in a recent press survey of seven analysts, and less than April’s 1.0 percent. President Néstor Kirchner’s government has budgeted for inflation of 8.6 percent in 2006, while the Central Bank expects prices will rise by eight to 11 percent and the press poll had a median forecast of 12.1 percent.

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RAT-zinger's Vatican in league with George...?

whaddaya think...?
The Vatican said on Tuesday that gay marriage, abortion, lesbians wanting to bear children and a host of other practices it sees as threats to the traditional family were signs of "the eclipse of God".

A 60-page document, called "Family and Human Procreation," was issued just days after U.S. President George W. Bush urged the Senate to pass a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

The document strongly restated many of the Roman Catholic Church's positions on sexuality, marriage and life but went further, saying the family today was more endangered than at any time before in history.

"The causes are diverse but the 'eclipse' of God, creator of man, is at the root of the profound current crisis concerning the truth about man, about human procreation and the family," said the document, prepared by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family.

It said the family was under attack around the world, even in traditionally Christian cultures, by what it called "radical currents" proposing new family models.

It listed these threats as homosexual marriages, giving gay couples equal legal recognition as married heterosexuals, lesbians demanding the right to bear children through artificial insemination and gays who want to adopt children.

my god... people declaring their love for each other and wanting to raise, care for, and love children...! THAT KIND OF THING MUST BE STAMPED OUT...!

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And, so, what's wrong with wanting to come home...?

the developer wolf-packs are beginning to circle...
Hundreds of displaced residents of public housing have for several days been returning here for the first time since Hurricane Katrina.



They are armed with little more than cleaning supplies and frustration, in an effort to force the city to reopen their storm-damaged apartments.

The city, saying the projects are not ready, has refused.

and guess what's bringing 'em back...
"They're not giving us any help, and we're tired of waiting," a resident, Nickole Banks, said of the Housing Authority. "People want to come home."

Damage to the projects ranged from very little to severe. The Housing Authority says that as many as 90 percent of the apartments are unsafe and uninhabitable and that time-consuming environmental evaluations remain unfinished. To the residents, these are excuses. They fear that city officials are really trying to redevelop the projects to bring in other residents with more money.

That is a move that some city and federal officials say would be desirable. Private developers have openly discussed the possibility of rebuilding some projects to house a much wider range of tenants.

that's right... FEAR... goddam it, these people want to COME HOME...! can you blame them...? a more cynical person would claim that redevelopment has been the plan from the get-go...

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U.S. to Iran: If you do what we say, we'll let you BUY STUFF from us

you gotta love it...
The European Union's foreign policy director, Javier Solana, arrived in Tehran on Monday night with incentives intended to resolve the nuclear crisis with Iran, including a proposal to allow Iran to upgrade its aging civilian air fleet through the purchase of aircraft parts from an American company, Boeing.

we might even be willing to throw in a mcdonalds and a pizza hut...

[UPDATE]

maybe iran DOES want to buy our stuff...

Incentives aimed at persuading Iran to halt sensitive atomic research contain "positive steps" and "ambiguities", its chief nuclear negotiator has said.

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Colleges are "training people to sit quietly for long periods of time"

i greatly admire barbara ehrenreich... i don't know her, i've never even seen a picture of her, but i think she's someone i would enjoy talking to very much...
[A] lot of graduates are simply not going to find jobs appropriate to their credentials. They're going to be wait staff. They're going to be call-center operators. Their twenties could be spent like that. I recently got Jared Bernstein of the Economic Policy Institute to do some research on this. It's still tentative, but he found that 17% of people in jobs that do not require college degrees have them. Those are very often people in their twenties who can't get professional-type employment, or people in their fifties who have been through one too many lay-off and are no longer employable because they're quote too old.

my daughter graduated from college a year ago last month with a double major in spanish and communications... i figured that, with the bi-lingual society we're living in these days and the need to communicate across cultures and language barriers, she would be snapped up... after a year of part-time babysitting and nannying, she finally took a clerk's job in a bookstore... thank goodness she's a book-lover...

yes, i'm speaking with a father's bias, but i also know good people when i see them and any employer who hired this young woman would be scoring a coup... she's intelligent, competent, reliable, responsible, pleasant, easy to get along with, has great people skills, and is willing to learn and do what it takes to get the job done... and she's working as a clerk in a bookstore...

on the other end of the spectrum, i was unemployed and looking for work 2 1/2 years ago... i have an impressive resume and a ton of experience and skills... i sent out over 70 job apps... they generated two phone interviews, one in-person interview, and one job offer - a $7.28 an hour spot manning a phone in an airline call center...

barbara ehrenreich is absolutely correct...

Now, so many jobs insist on a college education. I have no idea why. I think they're just training people to sit quietly for long periods of time.

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Lieberman is sinking fast and it's about time

the huffpo profiles lieberman's descent from the political heights and speculates on ned lamont's likely primary win...
Lieberman is "wrong on the big issues of the day and he is not challenging the Bush administration."

let's be clear... lieberman has NEVER challenged the r's, has ALWAYS taken the conservative stand, and has manipulated connecticut's voters and the endorsements of special interest groups to camouflage that fact... he needs to be replaced - badly...

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Monday, June 05, 2006

The Geneva Convention is "quaint"

back then...
January 25, 2002

MEMORANDUM FOR THE PRESIDENT

FROM: ALBERTO R. GONZALES

SUBJECT: DECISION RE APPLICATION OF THE GENEVA CONVENTION ON PRISONERS OF WAR TO THE CONFLICT WITH AL QAEDA AND THE TALIBAN

[...]

In my opinion, this new paradigm [the war on terrorism] renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions requiring that captured enemy be afforded such things as commissary privileges, scrip (i.e. advances of monthly pay), athletic uniforms, and scientific instruments.

today...
The Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Convention that explicitly bans "humiliating and degrading treatment," according to knowledgeable military officials, a step that would mark a further, potentially permanent, shift away from strict adherence to international human rights standards.

The decision could culminate a lengthy debate within the Defense Department but will not become final until the Pentagon makes new guidelines public, a step that has been delayed. However, the State Department fiercely opposes the military's decision to exclude Geneva Convention protections and has been pushing for the Pentagon and White House to reconsider, the Defense Department officials acknowledged.

i am sick and tired of feeling ashamed for my country...

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AMERICAblog ACTION ALERT

john's got another campaign going... this time we're fighting the legalisation of discrimination... it never ends, does it...?
ACTION ALERT: Call Congress, ask if THEY'RE defending THEIR marriages

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O.M.G...! Karen Hughes LIVES...!

and it seems like she's still getting bgo's (blinding glimpses of the obvious)...
Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes, who is engaged in an effort to dispel hostile opinions of the U.S. held by the Muslim world, said, "The incident [Haditha] makes (the mission) difficult."

good, karen... astute... to the point... another master diplomatic stroke...

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Once upon a time, government and political parties belonged to the people

but i'll be dipped if i can pinpoint just exactly when in our history that occurred... party bosses have been around as long as the parties themselves and, in spite of all the wonderful mythology to the contrary, i doubt seriously if our government has ever been totally free from the tendency to pander to special interests...
Anti-war and anti-Bush fervor is growing among rank and file Democrats, threatening to pull the party to the left and creating a rift between increasingly belligerent activists and the party's leaders in Washington.

Many outside-the-Beltway Democrats want the party to turn forcefully against the war in Iraq and to investigate, censure or even impeach President Bush should the party win control of Congress this fall.

Yet party leaders such as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York have maintained support for the war while criticizing the way Bush handled it, and have shied away from talk of using power to go to after him.

The fault line is evident as Democrats gather for spring and summer sessions filled with demands for bolder action by the congressional wing of their party, especially if they win control of the House or Senate in November.

In New Hampshire, the state that will kick off the party's 2008 presidential primary voting, activists gave thunderous ovations this weekend to Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., when he pressed his anti-war agenda, boasted that he alone among potential 2008 presidential candidates opposed the war from the start, and pushed for a censure of Bush.

In Maine Saturday, state Democrats passed a resolution urging impeachment.

In Ohio, the state that decided the last presidential election and is a pivotal battleground for this year's congressional elections, the state party chairman notes that the two top statewide candidates voted against the war and says 2008 candidates who did support it have some explaining to do.

And nationally, one poll shows that more than eight out of 10 Democrats now believe the United States should have stayed out of Iraq. The same poll for CBS News this spring showed that more than three out of five Democrats want U.S. troops out of Iraq as soon as possible, even if the country is not stable.

i know a number of grassroots dems, all of them of the same mind described above... how desperately i want to hear that mindset reflected by those "inside-the-beltway" dems that pass for dem leadership these days...

oh, and btw, hooray for feingold...

(note to al gore: i know you have said repeatedly you will not be running in 2008... you may be a new man and i certainly am liking what i see but, please, don't run...)

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A quote I hope Dobson reads at least twice

and we would be surprised by this because...?
An old friend of the president is quoted as saying that his recent enthusiasm for a gay marriage ban is "purely political. I don't think he gives a s--t about it."

other than coddling his own ego, stoking his power needs, and pandering to his base, is there ANYTHING that this president gives a s--t about...?

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Supporting free markets and free trade, Garcia gets the nod in Peru



well, george and condi must be breathing a sigh of relief... i wonder how much covert u.s. influence was behind THIS election... ah, but the u.s. wouldn't do something like THAT, now would it...? nah...
Former president Alan García defeated nationalist candidate Ollanta Humala in Sunday's runoff election, earning a second chance to lead the country he steered to economic devastation in the 1980s.

García campaigned to protect Peru's free-trade economy from what he portrayed as the false promise of Latin American populism, arguing that Humala's plan to exert more state control over Peru's mining and energy sectors would isolate the country economically and discourage private investment.

Humala conceded defeat late Sunday after García led 55 percent to 45 percent with 77 percent of the votes counted.

if you follow the consequences of "free" trade, "free" markets, imf and world bank conditionalities, and the so-called wisdom of the neo-liberal economists on "emerging economies," you will find a sad trail of increasing poverty, great riches amassed by local national oligarchs and global corporations, resource exploitation, and suffocating debt burden... ah, but, thank goodness, peru will NOW remain an indentured economic servant of the global empire...

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Catholic religious disobedience

the catholic ayatollahs lay down the law...
More than 50 gay rights activists wearing rainbow-colored sashes were denied Holy Communion at a Pentecost service yesterday at the Roman Catholic Cathedral in St. Paul, Minn., parishioners and church officials said.

and a member of the congregation throws it right back at 'em...
In an act that some witnesses called a "sacrilege" and others called a sign of "solidarity," a man who was not wearing a sash received a Communion wafer from a priest, broke it into pieces and handed it to some of the sash wearers, who consumed it on the spot.

i would suppose the archbishop was on the phone to RAT-zinger post haste...

what a shame... as a catholic in one of my much earlier lives, beyond the rigid dogmatism, i always thought of the catholic church as a haven of charity and tolerance and that was even AFTER i got bonked over the head with my little neighborhood friend's toy steam shovel when i told him that, as a non-catholic, he was going to hell when he died...

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Juan Cole Reports on Khamenei: No Nuclear Weapon Program, No First Strike

professor cole finds it odd that the u.s. media omitted these two items from any report of khamenei's speech...
The US media presented only a snippet from the speech of Supreme Jurisprudent Ali Khamenei of Iran on Sunday, in which he threatened to damage oil supplies to the West if the US militarily attacked Iran. He did say that, but he also announced that Iran had no intention of striking first, had not attacked and would not attack another country, and that it has no nuclear weapons program and does not want a nuclear bomb. I didn't hear any of those statements reported on television.

For some strange reason, a relatively full text of important speeches given by world leaders is almost never provided to the public by any US media in English. I doubt there are even a handful of speeches easily accessible in English by Spanish President Zapatero, e.g. I cannot entirely explain this strange phenomenon, of the coccooned and almost deliberately ignorant approach to the world of the US corporate media and their audience.

given the state of media control in this country, we shouldn't be surprised... not odd at all...!

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Why Bush loves Joe (and Joe hates Ned) - a Connecticut perspective

hit the road, jack joe...
The Bush administration values Joe Lieberman because he has been a crucial ally in efforts to free Enron-style corporate crooks from regulation, transfer wealth to the wealthy, hound gays, trample on the rights of government critics and sacrifice the lives of thousands of Americans and Iraqis to dishonest, dangerous military adventurism.

Lieberman understands how, in campaigns, you can make people forget all that. You can change the subject by making fun of your opponent [Ned Lamont] for being rich. Then, with millions of dollars from wealthy donors, you can reinvent your record.

paul bass at the hartford courant evidently doesn't take prisoners... go read it yourself for a complete historical synopsis of lieberman's republican record...

(thanks to atrios...)

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