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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 06/11/2006 - 06/18/2006
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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 17, 2006

"Our invasion and occupation of Iraq were and are naked acts of aggression"

i haven't visited arthur for a while, something i am determined to remedy... here he, once again, in his level-headed and articulate way, spells it out for us...
The worst criticism to be offered about the catastrophe in Iraq by most members of the political establishment is that it was handled "incompetently." They are unable to say that our invasion of Iraq was immoral at the core, because they refuse to surrender the belief that we act for the "right reasons" and on behalf of history's "ultimate solution," which only we have. We may execute the plan remarkably poorly, but it can never be doubted that we had "good intentions."

This is the foundational point, one that is almost never acknowledged in our public debates. Iraq constituted no threat to us, and our leaders knew it. Therefore, our invasion and occupation of Iraq were and are naked acts of aggression. To fall back on the defense of "good intentions" is to confess that your actions have caused nothing but disaster and death -- but that you "meant well." None of the Iraqis who have suffered so grievously or who are now dead, and none of the Americans and others who have been horribly wounded or killed, gives a damn about anyone's intentions, good or otherwise. Neither should any decent and compassionate human being. When we contemplate the endless number of broken and bleeding bodies, it is morally repugnant to be asked to weigh, oh so carefully, the various elements in the war proponents' souls, simply to spare the extraordinary delicacy of the feelings of those who make certain they themselves never come anywhere near a battlefield.

maybe it was arthur and maybe it was someone else who said that it is like debating how the basketball team could have pulled out a win when what we should really be talking about is why the hell we played the game in the first place...

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Jetting off to Baghdad to try and save your sorry ass

"I traveled to Baghdad to personally show our nation's commitment to a free Iraq, because it is vital for the Iraqi people to know with certainty that America will not abandon them after we have come this far," Bush said in [Saturday's] radio address.

then tell me how come it is that they would like us to set a deadline to leave...?

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Evo Morales moving quickly in Bolivia



the bbc has two excellent pieces on developments in bolivia (here and here) and the progress being made by evo morales in his first few months in office...



Aymara woman in El Alto,
a city of one million, in
Bolivia, the poorest
country in Latin America

also of note, the bbc ran a series in april entitled, How the US 'lost' Latin America
There is trouble ahead for Uncle Sam in his own backyard. Big trouble.

It is one of the most important and yet largely untold stories of our world in 2006. George W Bush has lost Latin America.

While the Bush administration has been fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, relations between the United States and the countries of Latin America have become a festering sore - the worst for years.

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Insurgency sticks a finger in the eye of al-Maliki's "crackdown"

it gives me waves of deja vu from vietnam... the only places you could consider remotely "safe" were the u.s. military compounds and often, not even there...
About 30 Iraqis die and scores are wounded as attackers defy a strict security clampdown in Baghdad.

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Where's Waldo...?

waiting for a saturday bgo (blinding glimpse of the obvious)...? find the eye-popping contradiction in this snippet...
"I do also think that the Internet has proven to be a more powerful tool on our side than it has been for the other side," Rove told VictoryNH.com, a non-partisan Website founded by a former Ambassador who has raised and contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to strictly Republican candidates.

no prizes... just the dubious satisfaction of ironic laughter...

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Wealth vs. hard work - what's REALLY important in America

redstar at daily kos articulates very well what i have long known but have not expressed nearly as well...
Don't think we in the US value accumulated wealth over labor? Look at the tax code. Labor is taxed at marginal rates of over 40% for most middle class citizens (both sides of FICA/Medicare + typical marginal income tax rate middle income folks end up at). But the incomes of wealthy people with competent tax advisors are taxed at far lower rates: Long term capital gains are taxed at 18-20%, while dividend income at taxed at 15%. This is how it pays to be rich, relatively speaking, and how we value Capital over labor. The problem is not money, the problem is wealth which generates unreasonable and tax-advantaged rents, while labor is held hostage to the whims of shareholder value, under constant assault, on worker's rights to organize and stay organized, on a decent and living wage, on workplace safety. And what we do make is taxed at a higher rate than our shareholder bosses.

and the problem with all that is...?
What people have a problem with is a society which values the whims of accumulated Capital over an honest day's hard work. A society which incents us to seek rent rather than bear down and get something done. And above all, in a country where equality and justice for all is a value we all claim to hold dear, we rue what we really see: a society which promotes the use of the wealth one has amassed to buy access to our Democracy, to be slightly or significantly "more equal" than our fellow citizens based on how much dough we've rolled up into our firms or our investments. The notion of "fair share" has been lost, as has the notion of "fair access": that's what we have a problem with.

unfortunately, wealth never has bought "access to our Democracy..." what it has bought and continues to buy is privilege, power, and exemption from the rules... up until not too long ago, there was an implied social contract that provided at least a floor to the toiling masses but that has been eroding since reagan and is being quickly destroyed under the social darwinism that has prevailed since bush's ascent to power...

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Obrador pounds it home in Mexico as the clock ticks



i've been trying to keep up with the coming july 2 presidential election in mexico (here, here, here, here, and here)...
"For too long, [Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mexican presidential candidate] booms, politicians, business owners and their families have gotten rich and evaded taxes while "the working class has remained mired in poverty.

"The poor pay taxes on everything they buy," he says, cutting to the heart of his theme. "Those of the pure upper class, the influential, don't pay the taxes."

obrador's hitting pay dirt... the distance between the have's and the have-not's in mexico is huge... i don't have any accurate figures but my guess is that well over 80% of mexico's wealth is concentrated in less than 5% of the population and that may be understated... as is true in so many places around the world, globalization and free trade (which in mexico goes under the name of nafta), has only served to make the super-rich richer and put more of a burden on the poor...

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Rove front-paged by the shilling WaPo

an extended article, most notable, in typical wapo suck-up fashion, for what it leaves out...
Fall Elections Are Rove's Next Test
Reputation as Architect of Victory at Stake

By Jim VandeHei and Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, June 17, 2006; Page A01

White House political strategist Karl Rove emerges from the CIA leak case with his reputation scuffed, his power slightly diminished, and Republicans counting on him, once again, to help rescue their House and Senate majorities.

Described by friends as relieved and recharged after getting the news this week that he will not be indicted in the leak probe, Rove now faces another verdict this fall over his abilities as a political strategist and his ambition to build an enduring GOP majority.

yeah, vandehei and balz hovered somewhere in the general vicinity of rove's downside, kind of like saying "sunny d" is a "citrus product" because it was driven past an orange grove in a truck...
Bush endured the worst stretch of his presidency when Rove's powers inside the White House were at their peak.

their definition of "worst stretch" only comprises rove's perceived tactical mistakes, like harriet miers and the social security debacle... nowhere do we see the "real" rove, the vicious, twisted misanthrope who has very nearly single-handedly dragged politics in the u.s. to the bottom of the septic tank and set the bar for the likes of ann coulter, glenn beck, michael savage, and oh-so-many other hate-mongers... dignifying this man as a brilliant political operative without giving us a three-dimensional profile is the worst sort of journalism... they should be ashamed...

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Friday, June 16, 2006

"In this great clash the 'other side' detests American democracy itself"

i am totally sick and tired of talking about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin when the goddam country is falling down around our ears... i'm all for organizing and yearlykos and grassroots and winning the mid-term elections but, folks, even WITH all that, things are seriously out of control... no matter HOW BADLY we want to believe that a political/governmental course correction is going to set everything right, it just ain't gonna happen... MAJOR SHIT HAS TO CHANGE... thank goodness, every once in a while, i stumble across someone who is willing to lay it out in all its ugliness...

mark crispin miller, writing in the huffpo, doesn't beat around the bush (pardon the unforgiveable pun)... i strongly recommend you read it all...

The Democrats refuse to talk about election fraud because they cannot, will not, wrap their minds around the implications of what happened in 2004, and what is happening right now, and what will keep on happening until we, as a people, face the issue. In short, whatever clever-sounding rationales they may invoke (no doubt in all sincerity), the Democrats won't talk about election fraud because they're in denial, which is itself based on a lethal combination of inertia, self-interest and, above all -- or below all -- fear.

Such fear is understandable. For the problem here is not simply mechanical or technological, legal or bureaucratic, requiring that we merely tweak the rules and/or build a better mousetrap. Any such expedient will naturally depend on a consensus of "both sides" -- and there's the rub, because in this great clash the "other side" detests American democracy itself. The movement now in power is not conservative but radical, intent on an apocalyptic program that is fundamentally opposed to the ideals of the Enlightenment, on which, lest we forget, this revolutionary secular republic was first founded. The movement frankly disbelieves in reason, and in all the other worldly goods that every rational American still takes for granted: pluralism, checks and balances, "the general welfare," freedom, progress, the pursuit of happiness. For this movement, condom use is worse than death by AIDS, however many millions the disease may kill; the ruination of the planet should be hastened, not prevented, as it means that He will be returning soon; the "war on terror" is a matter not of geopolitics but metaphysics, as our national enemy is "a guy named Satan"; homosexuals should not be citizens, the US having been conceived as a "Christian republic"; and -- most relevant to this debate -- the movement's adversaries, which means all the rest of us, are not human beings with divergent interests but literal "agents of Hell," demonic entities against which any tactic, however criminal or sinful, is permissible, because they are likely to use any tactic, regardless of its sinfulness or criminality, to force their evil program on the Righteous Ones.

it's my view that the apocalyptic element of this radical administration is only being manipulated in order to continue to amass unlimited money and unfettered power... they do dovetail nicely, however, because both are sweeping in their totalitarian approach to society... either bushco or the dominionists can take the role of the "bride of satan" and it really won't make much difference...

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"Reasoned discussion is not on the table" and we need to hold the media accountable

i am long overdue putting up at least part of peter daou's excellent analysis of the role of the media in spreading hate and why we should be attacking THEM and not the hate-mongers themselves...
"This race to the bottom by the establishment media leaves the progressive netroots in a quandary: if the only thing these so-called 'journalists' want is to create an uproar, how do we respond? Some bloggers advocate ignoring slime-traffickers like Coulter and Glenn Beck, others attack them for the scum they peddle. My preferred tactic is to excoriate the media outlet that gives them a forum - it may play into their need for attention, but I think it's imperative for us to create a public record of these media transgressions...

One thing is for sure: responding to Coulter's assertions is pointless. When she speaks the unspeakable about the 9/11 widows ("I have never seen people enjoying their husbands’ death so much") and when Glenn Beck does the same (calling hurricane survivors in New Orleans "scumbags" and saying he "hates" 9-11 families), reasoned discussion is not on the table."

i have to add, however, that implicit permission for this outpouring of hate is directly linked to karl rove and the talking points he manufactures at a breakneck pace... yes, the media are accountable but they are taking their cues from their handlers...

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Quintessential Rove B.S.

attack your enemy for precisely what you're doing yourself...
"The Internet for the Left of the Democratic Party has served as a way to mobilize hate and anger -- hate and anger, first and foremost, at this President and Conservatives, but then also at people within their own party whom they consider to be less than completely loyal to this very narrow, very out-of-the-mainstream, very far Left-wing ideology that they tend to represent."

i have to admit, he's damn good at it... there is no one on the political scene who can even hold a candle to karl rove for fomenting divisiveness, hate, and character assassination... and we're going to see a LOT more of this vile specimen as the mid-term elections get closer... as larry king said on the cnn promo for his talk show, "10,000 interviews and I'M JUST WARMIN' UP...!" god help us all...

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Bolton is out to do just what he said he would do - destroy the UN

it's time to post this pic again...

Example


center for american progress newsletter has the rundown...

[UPDATE]

the unknown candidate reports on the poor reception bolton got while delivering a speech at oxford...

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The national police state is thwarting States' power and consolidating its own

the relentless march of fascism...
The New Jersey attorney general has issued subpoenas to five telephone companies to determine whether any of them violated the state's consumer protection laws by providing records to the National Security Agency. Experts say it is the first legal move by a state to question the agency's program to compile calling records to track terrorist activities.

On Wednesday, the United States filed a lawsuit to block the subpoenas, setting up a legal showdown pitting the state's authority to protect consumers' rights against the federal government's national security powers.

thus opening up a much larger can of worms...
But as a matter of government practice and legal precedent, the dispute is significant because it transforms what had primarily been a fight between the federal government and civil liberties groups into a far knottier one pitting federal authorities against state ones.

Clifford Fishman, a professor at Catholic University Law School who is an expert on electronic-surveillance law, also said the actions by both state and federal government were laden with political overtones.

Professor Fishman said New Jersey's subpoenas — issued by a Democratic administration — appeared to be "a political move to try to embarrass the Bush administration as well as the phone companies." But he added that "the Bush administration is responding with a howitzer instead of a sniper."

totally in keeping with the modus operandi of this administration... don't just thwart your enemies, beat them to death with heavy blunt instruments, dismember the bodies, and then burn them on a sacrificial pyre...

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Woo-Hoo...! Argentina kicks butt...!

Argentina 6, Serbia (and soon-to-be no longer) Montenegro 0



even though i may be working in serbia soon and was somewhat torn between the two, i'm still delighted with argentina's victory...

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Karl Rove as victim...? You have GOT to be s******g me...!

sometimes, the stuff that appears on the google ad banner at the top of the blog is almost too much to be believed...
Rove: Victim or Villain?

Is he responsible for the leak? Are the media against him? Vote now!

victim...? VICTIM...?? oh, n-o-o-o-oo... i don't think so... and neither does larry johnson...
Leave it to the Porcine Draft Dodger--Karl Rove--to impugn the character of combat veterans. Can't blame him for trotting out the same playbook that worked so well in 2004 against the candidacy of John Kerry. If it worked once it should work again.

[...]

Karl is a shameless bastard. This could explain why his mother killed herself. Once she discovered what a despicable soul she had spawned she apparently saw no other way out. It would be one thing if his vile tactics were simply mere smears of politicians like Kerry and Murtha. They are big boys and should be able to defend themselves quite ably against this turd. But Rove, like Josef Goebbels, has used fear and smear as his primary tools to keep George Bush in power.

[...]

Karl and the Bush Administration have consistently used the threat of terror, the threat of Saddam, and the war in Iraq as a political club to destroy their opponents and to consolidate their power.

[...]

The time has come to say enough. This is not about Democrat, or Independent, or Republican. This is a fight for the soul of this nation.

karl rove is a predator, pure and simple... i've harped on this same point until i'm blue in the face... rove is an evil, dangerous man... he needs to go...

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Poverty, AMLO, Mexico, and the July 2 election



(amlo - andres manuel lopez obrador...)

it's turning into a real horserace...

Less than three weeks from a presidential election, they are facing a stark and potentially portentous choice: to support the candidate of the ruling centre-right PAN party of outgoing president Vicente Fox, or tack abruptly to the left with the socialist PRD party, [and its] charismatic, populist candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, 52...

[...]

Mexicans are entirely unaccustomed to political suspense of this kind. For several months, polls have shown Lopez Obrador in a dead heat with his PAN rival, Felipe Calderon. Yesterday, a new survey published in La Reforma newspaper gave the leftist a tiny lead of three points. Not too far behind in third place is the other main candidate, Roberto Madrazo, of the old PRI.

Whatever happens on 2 July, it is not just Mexico that will feel the effects. Latin America has seen a dramatic shift to the political left in recent years, notably with the coming to power eight years ago of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, followed by Nestor Kirchner in Argentina and, most recently, Evo Morales in Bolivia. Mexico, which is not only the immediate southern neighbour of the United States but also its largest trading partner, will emerge either as a bulkhead against the powerful populist tide or as the latest - and surely the most important - country in the region to embrace it.

there is a huge gap between the well-to-do and the poor in mexico... mexico lays claim to some of the richest people on the planet, not least among them carlos slim helu, a billionaire of the first rank... there is good reason lopez obrador has a following...
Joblessness among the poor, particularly away from the relatively prosperous north, remains endemic. It is this scarcity of employment and economic opportunity that has triggered the new wave of migration across the border into the United States that has reached near exodus proportions. Free trade was meant to bring higher living standards to all, but many poorer Mexicans do not feel those changes.

as i read obrador's own words, i can't help but hope he's the one...
"I invite you to transform Mexico out of poverty and marginalization," he exclaims. "I come here to reaffirm my commitment to you and I bring three vows with me: Not to lie, not to steal, not to betray you." He goes on: "We're not going to change only the jockey but also the horse." And he pours scorn on those who say his proposed platform of welfare spending would be unsustainable. "I won't accept the tiresome song of technocrats telling me it's not possible," he says with unrepentant defiance. "That's why we're going to change the economic politics of this country."

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Hey, let's all dump on Jimmy Carter, 2002 Nobel Peace Prize winner

[A]pparently it’s now acceptable for a sitting White House Press Secretary to publicly level ad hominem attacks against a former President of the United States.



no, it's ABSOLUTELY NOT FRIGGIN' ACCEPTABLE...

(thanks to think progress...)

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"I honestly believe the competitive procurement will never happen"

< sigh > as if we needed fresh evidence of war profiteering by our vice president and his corporate buddies...
New documents obtained by a conservative watchdog group suggest that the US Army Corp of Engineers may have publicly lied regarding the involvement of the Vice President's office in awarding a 2003 multi-billion dollar, no-bid contract to Kellogg Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton...

[...]

The newly released emails show the Army Corps attempting to deflect attention from Cheney's office by distributing talking points that would mask Cheney's purported role.

[...]

"The US district judicial court judge had to get personally involved and look at these documents in private before they could be released," a Judicial Watch employee told RAW STORY.

"And what the judge said when he saw them was, 'turn them over,'" the staffer added. "They were abusing the FOIA process -- embarrassment is not sufficient cause for exemption."

The Cheney contradiction is not the only cause for embarrassment in the documents.

One email, for example, includes a frank admission by an Army Corps of Engineer official: "I am copying you on this crap since I honestly believe the competitive procurement will never happen."

is this a great country or what...?

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No knock, knock... No who's there... Thank you, Samuel Alito...

oh, THIS is just swell...
A sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that evidence could be used even when the police entered a suspect's home illegally by failing to knock on the door or announce their presence.

By a 5-4 vote, splitting along conservative-liberal lines, the high court ruled that a police violation of the so-called knock-and-announce rule does not require that the evidence seized during the search be thrown out.

The court's newest member, conservative Justice Samuel Alito, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of the police in the latest decision by the conservative majority upholding police powers.

Liberal justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer dissented.

"Today's opinion is thus doubly troubling. It represents a significant departure from the court's precedents. And it weakens, perhaps destroys, much of the practical value of the Constitution's knock-and-announce protection," Breyer wrote.

He said the ruling will destroy the strongest legal incentive for the police to comply with that constitutional requirement.

The libertarian Cato Institute also denounced the ruling. "Because of today's decision, we can expect to see an even more pronounced increase in the use of illegal, military-style no-knock raids," Cato policy analyst Radley Balko said.

alito's working out quite nicely, wouldn't you say, george...?

i could have sworn i was a citizen of the united states of america... i could have sworn we had a constitution and a bill of rights that protected citizens from this kind of police-state tactics...

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More Rovian analysis

interesting thoughts... go read them here...

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The President couldn't possibly have any unpatriotic motives

as always, great value added over at glenn greenwald's place, unclaimed territory, this time from hume's ghost, entitled democratic totalitarianism...
"... there is now a widespread tendency to argue that one can only defend democracy by totalitarian methods ... These people don’t see that if you encourage totalitarian methods, the time may come when they will be used against you instead of for you. Make a habit of imprisoning Fascists without trial, and perhaps the process won’t stop at Fascists."

- George Orwell, The Freedom of the Press

[T]he Bush administration, acting on radical legal theory developed by John Yoo, has claimed for itself unlimited executive power to prosecute an indefinite "war on terror."

[...]

Yet, despite this being, frankly, clear as day, there are still many who just don't see a problem with it. These are the people who believe in democracy in principle, but in practice, not so much. They are able to rationalize the administration's totalitarian methods of prosecuting the "war on terror" for two reasons: 1) they lack sympathy for anyone designated a terrorist target and 2) they fail to see the use of totalitarian tactics as a threat to themselves, they see it as a kind of benign, virtuous act necessary to defend democracy.

[...]

[T]he President couldn't possibly have any unpatriotic motives in authorizing the NSA surveillance.

aye, and therein lies the rub...

americans have been propagandized to the extent that we simply cannot accept that our government would act from other than the purest of motives... we have been told from the womb that the united states is at the apex of civilized nationhood with a unique place in history, blessed by god, founded on the highest ethical, moral, and, yes, religious principles, with a special responsibility to serve as a shining example to the world... while all of that has truth to it, it does not preclude our leaders from being prey to the same flaws and foibles as other governments and maybe more so BECAUSE of the unique place the united states occupies in today's world...

when you visit other countries, one of the first things you notice is the degree of resigned cynicism people have about their governments... they EXPECT chicanery and corruption and aren't surprised when they see it... as i wrote in a post a few weeks ago, i find that a taxi driver in skopje, macedonia, is more aware of cheney's war profiteering via halliburton than the average american citizen... as a nation, we desperately need to wake up and smell the coffee...

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Don't avoid the photos of reality on the ground in Iraq

david swanson on alternet via tomdispatch...


To properly address claims that some wars are good wars and that the worst deeds of war are performed by "bad apples," we have to have a clear picture of what war is, including the worst of it. If we leave out an understanding of the worst of war, all of our thinking must be distorted.

i find looking at war images profoundly disturbing and swanson unflinchingly explains why...
As hard as we find it to look at the images, we find it a hundred times harder to try to think our way inside the minds that could do such a thing. We're afraid that, once there, we couldn't freely leave.

but he also explains why those images of war must be available and why we must look...
The United States government launched this war, making us responsible for everything that happens in it.

[...]

I don't think Dick Cheney and George Bush flip through these photos in the evening, but I think they [and we] have a duty to do so until they can't stand it anymore and bring our troops home.

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NOLA: Wasn't it the plan from the beginning to get rid of the poor?

i've posted on this before...
Federal housing officials announced on Wednesday that more than 5,000 public housing apartments for the poor were to be demolished here and replaced by developments for residents with a wider range of incomes.

The announcement, made by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso R. Jackson, provoked strong criticism from low-income tenants and their advocates, several of whom noted that thousands of public housing apartments had been closed since Hurricane Katrina. But local officials have for months said they do not want a return to the intense concentrations of poverty in the old projects, where crime and squalor were pervasive.

astonishingly, going on a year later, the most shameful chapter of disaster response in u.s. history gets no better...

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Bush reaffirms that he couldn't do simple tasks without Rove's help

Bush Reaffirms His Confidence in Rove

"Along with others in the White House, I took a sigh of relief" when the news broke this week that Rove would not be charged in the CIA leak investigation, Bush told reporters in a Rose Garden news conference. "I trust Karl Rove."

it's a sad day for america and the world when a man of such monumental loathsomeness undeservedly skates through fields of landmines he has planted himself and still remains as the most trusted aide of the president of the united states...

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Bushco keeps lying, soldiers keep dying

Military deaths in Iraq hit 2,500

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

"The administration does not act like there's a war going on"

i posted earlier on the resolution up before the house tomorrow... i would bet my last nickel that it's straight out of the karl rove playbook... some things just have a certain smell about them, knowhutimean...?
Nearly four years after it authorized the use of force in Iraq, the House today will embark on its first extended debate on the war, with Republican leaders daring Democrats to vote against a nonbinding resolution to hold firm on Iraq and the war on terrorism.

and, even within the r's, the small, quiet voice of good sense is drowned out by the cacophony of the ideologues...
"I can't help but feel through eyes of a combat-wounded Marine in Vietnam, if someone was shot, you tried to save his life. . . . While you were in combat, you had a sense of urgency to end the slaughter, and around here we don't have that sense of urgency," said Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest (Md.), a usually soft-spoken Republican who has urged his leaders to challenge the White House on Iraq. "To me, the administration does not act like there's a war going on. The Congress certainly doesn't act like there's a war going on. If you're raising money to keep the majority, if you're thinking about gay marriage, if you're doing all this other peripheral stuff, what does that say to the guy who's about ready to drive over a land mine?"

we send our children to die for the aims of global empire and bush takes issue with people wanting to formally pledge their love to one another and be recognized for it by society... how sick is that...?

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Feingold

my man, russ...
There has never been any doubt that Sen. Russ Feingold would run a take-no-prisoners campaign if he formally jumps into the 2008 presidential race, so I was not surprised by his unapologetic stance against the Iraq war, the Bush administration and some of his Democratic colleagues at the Take Back America conference this morning. Still, it was good to be reassured that Feingold remains unafraid to stand out amid Democrats who would prefer to play it safe in their bid to take back control of Congress and the White House.

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Markos' view

there are things i agree with markos on and things i disagree with markos on... this, however, i agree with 1000% and the fact that he has enough insight to even be able to say it it truly awesome... he's talking about the media's insistence on focusing on him rather than on what daily kos and the progressive blogger movement represents...
In a way, the fact that I have become the lightning rod is good. It keeps our enemies focused on me as a personality rather than the movement, which will continue to grow with or without me. In a lot of ways I'm providing cover. And even if they could bring me down, it wouldn't matter. That's the beauty of what we're building here. I'm ultimately irrelevant.

You are the real power, the real force. And by me taking the incoming, our enemies miss the real story and power. And for that, I'll happily take one for the team.

and that, markos, IS what it's all about...

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The bounce

the only bounce i want to see is the one that bounces george and his criminal posse out of office...
In the wake of terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death, President Bush is seeing improvement in public confidence that the Iraq war is winnable, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows.

The new poll found that 48% believe the United States probably or definitely will win the war, up from 39% in April. It also found that 47% believe things are going well in Iraq, up from 38% in March.

The survey, taken Friday to Sunday and released Monday, also showed Bush's approval rating going up to 38% from 36% earlier this month and an all-time low of 31% in May. The poll news came as Bush and members of his Cabinet met at Camp David to discuss ways to help the recently formed government in Iraq.

rove is no doubt cackling and wringing his hands in glee...

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109th Congress 2d Session House Resolution 861

THIS is what's gonna masquerade as the "debate" on iraq tomorrow in the house of representatives... these people are despicable (despicable is pronounced with a daffy duck lisp - deth-PIC-able)...
H. Res. 861

RESOLUTION


Declaring that the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror, the struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary.

[...]

(3) declares that it is not in the national security interest of the United States to set an arbitrary date for the withdrawal or redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Iraq;

(4) declares that the United States is committed to the completion of the mission to create a sovereign, free, secure, and united Iraq;

[...]

(7) declares that the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror, the noble struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary.

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

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Iran: a blast from the past



(thanks to not the country club...)

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Juan Cole on Bush and Iraq: "A cheap trick of rhetoric, a prestidigitation of the lips"

and here ya have it...
The president of the United States, who supposedly conquered the country three years ago, had to keep his visit secret even from the prime minister he was going to visit, until five minutes before their meeting. That tells me Bush's people don't trust Nuri al-Maliki very far. In fact, apparently Bush's people don't trust Bush's people very far-- only Cheney and Condi are said to have known about the trip in the US. And, Air Force One had to land after a sharp bank, to throw off any potential shoulder-held missile launchers in the airport area. The president couldn't go to the Green Zone in a motorcade, for fear of car bombs, but had to be helicoptered in. This ending says it all: "Bush left after night fell to return to Washington. The plane left at a steep angle with its lights out and the shades drawn."

In almost surreal rhetoric, Bush said Iranian interference in Iraqi affairs must be curtailed. He said this after the Iraqi vice president and the head of the biggest bloc in parliament both went off to Tehran and praised Iran's stabilizing role. If Bush thinks that Shiite Iranians are the problem in fanatically Sunni Ramadi and Adhamiyah, we're in even bigger trouble than I thought.

Bush tried to define down victory to a general ability of people to go about their lives. He said it was unreasonable to expect to end "all violence." But Mr. Bush, no one suggested that you end "all violence." The goal here is to win the guerrilla war.

During a guerrilla war, people always go about their daily lives, except when a bomb is going off in their specific neighborhood. So if the goal is that Iraqis should be able to buy bread and go to school and drive to work, most of them have that already most of the time. It is just that little problem of some 12,000 people a year being blown up, assassinated, or beheaded and their heads wrapped in cellophane and stored in banana crates along the side of the road that remains.

In other words, Bush defines the main weapon in the guerrilla war, carbombings, as ineradicable, and declares that he can win that war without actually ending its main weapon. It is a cheap trick of rhetoric, a prestidigitation of the lips.

meanwhile, the poor saps that we've sent there under false pretenses are still getting nailed - daily...
US troops are under enormous strain in Iraq. They cannot most often tell friend from foe. When they first arrived, they were encouraged to make friends with local Iraqis, but now often are told to keep to themselves, just because it isn't clear who the guerrillas are. They are apparently constantly taking mortar or sniping fire, most of it ineffectual and so never announced to the press. If they go out on the road, they are in substantial danger of being blown up. Few units haven't lost a dear friend and colleague. They are fighting for a local government that often seems not much to want them and clearly wishes them gone sooner rather than later (Maliki says at most 18 months). Some high ranking members of the government have been scathing about them. The Europeans see US troops in Iraq as a bigger threat to stability in the Middle East than is Iran. Some 60 percent of Americans think their being there was a mistake in the first place, which cannot be good for morale, which is slipping inside the military according to polls.

"they are fighting for a local government that often seems not much to want them and clearly wishes them gone..." tell that to the wapo, juan...

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Iraq, GWOT, and 9/11: tune in tomorrow at the House of Representatives

i thought it was supposed to be a debate on iraq... guess not... think progress chronicles the spin...

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Shilling as usual, the WaPo trumpets "good news"

a carefully crafted photo-op in baghdad, a treasury secretary nominee who might actually believe that global warming is real, an election won due to consultant advice to the dem candidate not to address ugly reality, the killing of a bushco and media-spun enemy who had been used to establish a non-existent al qaeda connection in iraq, and the seeming nine lives of karl rove, the sleazebag, doesn't strike me as either "good news" or "refreshing..."
In a White House that had virtually forgotten what good news looks like, the past few weeks have been refreshing. A Republican won a much-watched special congressional election. President Bush recruited a Wall Street heavy hitter as Treasury secretary. U.S. forces killed the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. And now the architect of the Bush presidency has avoided criminal charges.

and, i wonder if maliki had had more than five minutes notice of bush's visit, just how eager he would have been to have fresh evidence of the determination of the occupiers of his country to stick around...
Mr. Bush's appearance, and his assurance that America "will keep its word," should reassure Iraqis who have feared that the United States would precipitously withdraw rather than defend the country's first truly democratic government.

"feared that the united states would precipitously withdraw...?" a lot of what i've been reading says that's precisely what they would LIKE to happen...

at least the nyt has sufficient huevos to call the baghdad visit for what it clearly was...

By now, Americans surely know the difference between a presidential publicity stunt and a true turning point in this ever-lengthening war. If they had any question about which one this was, Karl Rove provided some guidance in New Hampshire, where he delivered the campaign talking points to the Republican faithful: the Democrats could never have summoned the will to kill Mr. Zarqawi. For an administration that is supposed to be rallying a nation at war, it was a revealingly nasty, partisan and divisive moment.

and, with rove now feeling free to resume business as usual, prepare yourselves for fresh jaw-dropping ugliness...

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Show me the Money

The other day, for fun, I looked at the total expenditures (of the Democrats and Republicons) for the 2004 Presidential elections. According to opensecrets.org, and a few other sites, total spending for the 2004 election was near a billion dollars. Now I know what you’re thinking, I was thinking the same thing: that’s it! Bush received about $367,228,801 while Kerry got around $326,236,288. I’d say they were just about neck and neck. Both of those numbers include public funding and donations by individuals, which, since 2002, thanks to the McCain-Feingold regs, increased personal donation limits from 1 grand to 2 grand. Now this sounds a bit paltry. But wait. According to an article from GMU that quotes the Center for Public Integrity, nearly half a billion dollars were spent by 527s in the 2003-2004 election cycles. OK, now we.re getting somewhere, but still, these figures sound low, almost absurdly so.

Who is donating and to whom? I don’t want to get too grisly here, but for ex., the 3 top corporate contributors of all time to presidential elections are, starting from number 3) The National Association of Realtors, who gave 47 percent to Dems and 53 to Repubs. 2) AT and T gave 45 percent to Dems, 55 to Repubs, (Hey, that’s not fair!). And the greatest corporate donor, 1) The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees gave 98 percent to Dems and 2 percent to Repubs. ( Now that’s really not fair.)

So, what’s the point? If you continue on down the list, corporate donors, especially the insurance, financial and realty industries, while favoring Republicons, give generously to both parties. Why is that important? Oh, I have no idea.

Getting back to my original theme here, why are contributions to the presidential election, in the worlds leading economy so stingy? If the bi-partisan Congress passes the budget for the war effort in 2 nations soon, the cost of the war thus far will be 439 billion. So, if the total cost of the 2004 presidential election is say 880.5 million, that would make it only 1.8 percent of a singular budget allocation that a president could then make, assuming the rest of the Congress went along. Now that’s a bargain!

Obviously, something is out of whack here. Financially, the reward is too great to be held back by some laughable anti-free-market ideas about limiting free speech, that is, financial contributions, which are of course synonymous. I say, open the flood gates and let the swiftest rats swim for shore! The panegyric of communistic social ideals can be saved for the victory speech. Let the real cost of the presidency be known and properly spent for. No more shamefaced pandering to the fickle ideal of public image! Come on Republicons, Democrats, show everyone what it’s all about for once!

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Peeing your pants on approach to Baghdad

some of the "good news" that doesn't get covered... the facial expressions tell it all...



Tony Snow, left, and Dan Bartlett

my kingdom for a shot of george on the same ride...

(thanks to john at americablog...)

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Three Senate terms entitles you to what exactly, Joe Lieberman...?

cry me a river, build me a bridge, and GET OVER IT...
"I think to be terrorized through the summer by an extremely small group of the Democratic Party, much less the voting population, is total insanity for a person who is a three-term senator."

"terrorizing" joe lieberman...? what a gigantic load of shit... just because people are actually starting to pay attention to your dismal RECORD, you call it TERRORIZING...? you don't deserve a fourth term, Senator...

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Pew Global Attitudes Survey

it ain't pretty...



look at germany, spain, and the uk... good lord...

(click on chart for link...)

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See what I mean...? Rove is a sub-species of human being...

the guy just oozes slime...
Shot:

"They may be with you for the first few bullets but they won't be there for the last tough battles."

-- Karl Rove, on John Kerry and John Murtha, Reuters, 6/13

Chaser:

"Except for a lapse of several months, Selective Service records show presidential adviser Karl Rove escaped the draft for nearly three years at the height of the Vietnam War using student deferments. " [Walsh, Salt Lake Tribune, 9/18/2004]

Rove's (non-)draft history includes a period where he claimed a student deferment even though he had dropped out of school.

(thanks to atrios...)

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Leopold, Rove and Markos

yes, i admit it... he did write what i wanted to hear... i wanted (and still want) more than anything else in the world to see rove's head on the chopping block... and, unlike esteemed colleague, markos, i don't have a reliable means of determining who is a "crap internet source..." some crap sources are obvious and some are not... markos to the contrary, i still think jason leopold is not... leopold vowed to reveal his sources if rove ended up not being indicted... let's see what he has to say...

(from markos at daily kos...)
I hope this serves a lesson to all of you who link to crap internet sources like Jason Leopold merely because they write what you want to hear.

condescension doesn't become you, markos...

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Beware the "think tankers"

the last line says it all...
If the think-tankers' shoddy methods and ideological biases were subject to the scrutiny they deserve, 90% of the garbage that is self-published by their house organs and pushed by their publicity machinery would never see the light of day.

It is so sad now that governmental bodies are no longer calling on academic experts for public testimony in even the most crucial matters where they have unique knowledge. On no subject is this more true than in the Middle East area. If you are not in a think tank in Washington, apparently your expertise matters not at all. Never mind that that the think tank denizens were never in the region, don't know the languages, and never did any research in their lives. If their ideology is in line with the White House, that is good enough.

personally, i'm thoroughly disgusted with pundits of all stripes, right and left, democratic and republican... there's also a lot of bloggers in that category that i'd just as soon stay away from... yes, i can sit here and type my views onto this blog and share what i believe is a perspective of some value, but god forbid that i should be dragged in front of the tv cameras of a nationwide talk show and presented as an "expert..." sure, i've got opinions... we all do... but i'm content to label mine as such, nothing more...

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A little perspective on Iraq while Bush trolls for a bounce

leave it to juan cole to help us keep from sinking in the quicksand of bushco rhetoric...
The Sunni Arabs of Iraq are opposed to the US presence almost to a person. They are 5 or 6 million strong, and probably have 60,000 or so fighters if we count weekend warriors (I know this is higher than US military estimates, but if US military estimates were correct there would not still be an insurgency. The US military tends to grossly underestimate the enemy; one general in spring of 2004 said he thought the Mahdi Army only had 1,000 fighters.) The Sunnis have the best educated managers in their ranks, the best trained strategicians and tacticians, and they probably know where tens or hundreds of thousands of tons of munitions are still hidden. They make enormous sums of money through petroleum and other smuggling, and can easily get big money from hard line Sunni Gulf millionaires. Moreover, the US cannot militarily concentrate all its forces on the Sunni Arab areas, since there is a (Shiite) Mahdi Army low-intensity guerrilla effort in Maysan Province in the South, and Sadr City can't be all that stable either.

The US simply does not and never will have enough fighting troops in Iraq to impose a purely military solution on the guerrilla movements. It must find a political solution. but that in turn would require the kind of willingness to compromise and approach national reconciliation coolly that the Shiites and the Kurds have so far vehemently rejected. The US is as hobbled by its allies as by its foes, in making a settlement.

there is only one "political solution" in bush's rove's mind and that is a domestic one - how to best play to the base...

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Bush's puppet theater, the Baghdad discount matinee

does he honestly believe his presence makes a goddam bit of difference...? by now, everybody knows he doesn't make a move unless he thinks it can make HIM look good but, with that knowledge, that technique is WAY PAST being effective...
President Bush met newly named Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in a surprise visit to Baghdad on Tuesday to discuss next steps in the troubled three-year-old war. The dramatic move came as Bush sought to bolster support for Iraq's fledgling government and U.S. war policy at home.

[...]

"Good to see you," exclaimed al-Maliki, who didn't know Bush was in Baghdad until five minutes before they met.

"Thanks for having me," Bush responded.

bush's total time in baghdad - five hours...

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Satan Jr. (Karl Rove) is B-A-A-A-ACK...! Look out...!

(see previous post...)

now i know why the prince of darkness was comfortable enough to be out on the stump last night... this is one of the sadder days of my life...
Top White House aide Karl Rove has been told by prosecutors he won't be charged with any crimes in the investigation into the leak of a CIA officer's identity, his lawyer said Tuesday, lifting a heavy burden from one of President Bush's most trusted advisers.

rove is a man who richly deserves to be forever barred from public service, no matter how menial... he is dangerous, vicious, and has presided over the descent of the national dialogue to unimagined depths... i shudder to think of what he has up his sleeve for the november and the 2008 presidential elections... the mere thought of it makes me want to go take a shower...

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Satan's double, Karl, is back in the news

i was commenting to myself just yesterday that karl had been conspicuously absent from the news for the past few weeks, so, this evening, lo and behold...
White House adviser Karl Rove said Monday that Republicans facing midterm elections should campaign on the economy's strength and discuss the war in Iraq with no qualms.

"We have no excuses to make for it," Rove said during a fundraising dinner for New Hampshire Republicans. War supporters need not apologize for removing the threat of Saddam Hussein, and with so much work left to do, now is not the time to talk about leaving Iraq, he said.

Rove said Democrats pushing for the withdrawal of American troops should be the ones facing tough questions for wanting to "cut and run." He targeted Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha, both Democrats and vocal supporters of getting out of Iraq.

"They are profoundly wrong," he said.

never make excuses... never let 'em see you sweat... never admit anything... never show the slighest sign of weakness... stun 'em into silence with mind-boggling chutzpah... showcase your arrogance and superior intellect and make sure people know what a truly superior human specimen you really are... it doesn't matter how much of a digusting sleazebag you might be deep down inside, you'll always leave 'em doubting themselves...

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Impatience is growing with the Iraq war and its $8 BILLION monthly tab

now, THAT is a figure to truly boggle the mind... but, get this...
Bush said the United States expects countries that have promised $13 billion in financial assistance to make good on their pledges.

well, DAMN, sam...! $13B in PLEDGES...! and how were those raised, the coalition-of-the-willing telethon...? besides, even if all those pledges paid up, why we'd be a WHOPPING MONTH AND A HALF to the good...
"I keep reminding the American people that the stakes are worth it," Bush said.

you can remind me all you want, you asshole... i still see a mess in new orleans, i see an embarrassing number of my fellow americans (myself included) without health insurance, i see thousands of iraqis dying each month, i see americans continuing to die in iraq, and i see you, you jerk, continuing to lie through your teeth...

here's the article's opening paragraph...

President Bush began a two-day strategy session on Iraq at Camp David on Monday, saying Iraq's neighbors should be doing more to help and suggesting the nation's vast supply of oil could be a way of reuniting the country.

this is the article's headline...
Bush reviews Iraq plan, says oil is key

nowhere in the article does oil get mentioned again... any guesses as to just what the hell he's talking about...?

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Peru: This won't make George or Condi happy



regardless of what washington wants, the countries of latin america need to learn how to live together and, better yet, pool their expertise and considerable resources to improve the lives of everyone on the continent...
The government of Peruvian president-elect Alan García will not lead a current of opposition in Latin America to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, even though his victory was celebrated in Washington as creating a new counterweight in the region to the leftist leader of oil-rich Venezuela.

García will not follow a policy of confrontation with Venezuela when he takes office on Jul. 28, because that would play into the hands of the supporters of his nationalist rival Ollanta Humala, who could accuse the new president of toeing the U.S. line.

The president-elect himself made it clear that he would focus on "good relations marked by respect," although he clarified that this policy towards Caracas would only be followed "as long as there is no meddling in Peru's internal affairs."

it'll be interesting to see what shakes out between garcia in peru and evo morales in bolivia...

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Fighting The Democratic No Ideas Myth

This made it to my email box this morning. To add to what the writer says, it isn't only a Republican talking point that Democrats have no ideas, it comes out of supposed Liberal/Dem/Progressive mouths as well. And it's a lie. What is it they say, "If a tree falls in the woods..."
The key to huge Democratic gains in the 2006 and 2008 elections is debunking the prevalent political myth that Democrats have not advanced a program of new ideas to solve our pressing problems and only criticize Republican policies. This myth is a recurring talking point for Republican politicians. It has been echoed unjustly by the Corporate Mainstream Media until many voters believe the myth.

The tight institutional control over debates and the introduction of alternative Democratic legislative proposals to Republican measures in the Senate and Congress have made it difficult to publicize Democratic ideas. The Republican policy of freezing out Democratic legislators from policy debate is intentional and undermines both democracy and effective government. It is useful to Republicans in terms of electoral politics. It is the core element used to create and advance the “Democratic no ideas myth.”

The Corporate Mainstream Media has not been reporting on events and proposals advanced by Democrats because the Republican dominance of all branches of the government makes these Democratic ideas unlikely to become law until Democrats gain control of Congress. This media failure is unjustified. Actions and policies by opposition Parties out of power should be covered fully by print and broadcast journalists. The ideas exist but are not being reported by journalists.

Many of these journalists are spreading the “Democratic no ideas myth” because they failed to do their jobs as reporters by reporting the real truth. One of the best examples of this media failure was the Alternative State of the Union Address event and program put forward by the Democratic Progressive Caucus in January. The event was held at the Democratic National Committee. This organization of over 60 Democratic members of Congress presented a complete platform of progressive Democratic ideas and proposals on dozens of important policy issues. Many of these ideas were published in a special edition of the liberal magazine, The Nation which was one of the sponsors. It was ignored by all the major TV networks, cable news, newspaper chains and largest news magazines. The event and the ideas presented did not exist for most American voters because they were ignored by these journalists.

Democrats cannot schedule official public hearing by Congressional committees. Republicans control those Congressional committees and will not permit Democrats to examine Republican scandals, abuses or policy failures. Democrats like Congressman Conyers sometimes schedule more or less unofficial hearings. These hearings get very little coverage by the Corporate Mainstream Media.

Democrats running for public office should condemn the “Democratic no ideas myth.” They should criticize the role of the media in creating and spreading this myth. All campaigns should issue press releases presenting their new ideas and discuss the media coverage of those ideas when the media fails to cover them. Democratic writers should tackle the myth directly issue by issue and submit their writings widely. We need to use the Internet, flyers and call-in shows to present the real facts.

Written by Stephen Crockett (co-host, Democratic Talk Radio http://www.DemocraticTalkRadio.com ).
Mail: P.O. Box 283, Earleville, Maryland 21919.
Phone: 443-907-2367.
Email: midsouthcm@aol.com

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At last, something from Jason Leopold regarding Fitz

hmmmmmm... interesting-er and interesting-er...
Four weeks ago, during the time when we reported that White House political adviser Karl Rove was indicted for crimes related to his role in the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson, the grand jury empanelled in the case returned an indictment that was filed under seal in US District Court for the District of Columbia under the curious heading of Sealed vs. Sealed.

As of Friday afternoon that indictment, returned by the grand jury the week of May 10th, remains under seal - more than a month after it was handed up by the grand jury.

The case number is "06 cr 128." On the federal court's electronic database, "06 cr 128" is listed along with a succinct summary: "No further information is available."

We have not seen the contents of the indictment "06 cr 128". But the fact that this indictment was returned by the grand jury hearing evidence in the CIA leak case on a day that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald met with the grand jury raised a number of questions about the identity of the defendant named in the indictment, whether it relates to the leak case, and why it has been under seal for a month under the heading Sealed vs. Sealed.

[...]

[L]egal experts watching the Plame-Wilson investigation have been paying particularly close attention to Sealed vs. Sealed since the Karl Rove indictment story was published.

The legal scholars have said that a federal prosecutor can keep an indictment under seal for weeks or months - something that is commonplace in high-profile criminal cases - especially if an investigation, such as the CIA leak probe, is ongoing.

When told about the Sealed vs. Sealed indictment filed in US District Court, the legal experts became intrigued about the case because they say that most federal criminal indictments are filed under US vs. Sealed and that they rarely come across federal criminal indictments titled Sealed vs. Sealed, which to them suggests the prosecutor felt it necessary to add an extra layer of secrecy to an indictment to keep it out of public view.

"The question here is that nobody who I have spoken to - top criminal attorneys, law professors, etc. - is aware of the left part of the case title having been sealed," said one former federal criminal attorney. "That the right-hand side is sealed is almost pro-forma. But, what is not known is whether the US Attorney can seal the left hand part of the case title on his own."

The fact that the indictment has been under seal for more than a month also suggests that it involves a high-profile investigation, he said.

(thanks to the unknown candidate...)

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Using Gitmo to improve our image abroad

can't you just picture the cover of the brochure...?
[A] US diplomat, Colleen Graffy, described the hangings as a "good PR move to draw attention." As US deputy assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy, Graffy coordinates efforts with Karen Hughes, a former top aide to President Bush now charged with improving the United States' image abroad, particularly in Islamic countries.

heckuva job, colleen... heckuva job, karen...

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Loyalty to company, town, job...? Forget it...!

not in the you're-on-your-ownership society...
Maytag was bought by its rival Whirlpool in March, and 4,500 Maytag jobs will be lost as operations are merged, both at the headquarters and in factories in Newton [Iowa] and other towns. The cuts will be offset by 1,500 new positions for those willing to move to Whirlpool locations, especially in Michigan where the company is based. But Maytag the company is now gutted and replaced by the hollow marketing concept of Maytag the brand.

Shoppers probably won't notice, but Newton and the laid-off Maytag workers everywhere will feel a void. The economy is growing fast, but American workers are downbeat, and Maytag helps explain why. Jobs can be replaced, but the sense of safety and security cannot. The brand lives on, but the identity is gone.

i wish the nyt would stop parroting the "economy is growing fast" talking point... yes, for the super-rich, the owners, and the holders of capital, it's growing fast... for the vast majority of us tenant farmers, indentured servants, toiling (and disappearing) middle class, day laborers, marginally employed, and unemployed, it's going rapidly in the other direction...

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Extending the global empire by training foreign military

yes, it's distressing...
The Senate plans to begin consideration today of the defense authorization bill for the coming year. One particularly distressing section of the package would reauthorize the Pentagon to arm and train foreign militaries, something it was first authorized to do for 2006.

you mean something like this...?
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.

i'm not sure where the nyt is coming from, implying that training foreign military is a recent development... the school of the americas was notorious for providing the training underpinnings of some of the most despicable episodes in latin american history, from pinochet in chile, to the "disappeareds" in argentina, to the death squads in el salvador and guatemala...
Although the money involved represents only a $200 million piece of the half-trillion-dollar Pentagon budget, it marks the continuation of a dangerous shift in responsibilities from the Department of State to the Defense Department and the militarization of American foreign policy.

our foreign policy has been "militarized" for a very long time and, as i said earlier, the sole purpose of this training is to establish u.s. agents on their home soil...

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The "twisted history" of Gitmo

no surprise at all...
The news that three inmates at Guantánamo Bay hanged themselves should not have surprised anyone who has paid the slightest attention to the twisted history of the camp that President Bush built for selected prisoners from Afghanistan and antiterrorist operations. It was the inevitable result of creating a netherworld of despair beyond the laws of civilized nations, where men were to be held without any hope of decent treatment, impartial justice or, in so many cases, even eventual release.

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Another figure emerges from the shadows

i'm glad somebody has his ear besides rove...
At the end of each day, President Bush gets a three-to-four-page memo from the National Security Council staff about developments over the previous 24 hours in Iraq.

[...]

The person responsible for the memo is someone who is largely unknown outside the administration, but who colleagues say is instrumental in shaping Mr. Bush's views: Meghan L. O'Sullivan, the 36-year-old deputy national security adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan, and the most senior official working on those nations full time at the White House.

With Stephen J. Hadley, the national security adviser, Ms. O'Sullivan briefs the president in person on Iraq up to several times a week.

it's probably a good thing there's a third person present...

< /snark >

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Suicide: desperation or an act of war (cont'd)

skadi had a comment on my previous post which deserves more visibility... i had made the following statement...
what drives human beings to take their own lives, whether it be through suicide bombing or just plain suicide, is desperation...

skadi's comment...
On this point, I will vehemently disagree. The suicide bomber operating from some mistaken belief that he is doing a righteous thing, will be considered a martyr by those left behind and is going on to his/her heavenly reward cannot be at all compared or equated with the gray, no change in sight, no hope view of the lone person driven to take their own life.

Though one need not have experienced these feelings to know the difference, I do speak from personal knowledge. Please reconsider your statement.

consider it reconsidered... and, in support of skadi's point, i offer the following from nir rosen...
But in death Zarqawi struck one final blow for his cause. He had come to Iraq to fight the infidels and become a martyr, gaining entry to paradise. And so he did, the infidels finally killed him and his supporters now believe he is in paradise. This only proves that Iraq is the place to go to if you want to gain entry to paradise, kill infidels, and become a martyr. More will flock to replace him and avenge him.

i suppose this could well be true of the suicides at guantanamo... however, while i certainly can't put myself in their shoes, i can only imagine the desperation that must have been a constant plague after four years in gitmo with no end in sight...

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Suicide: desperation or an act of war...?

so, for admiral harris, when the bank robber stands in front of the teller cage with a gun pointed to his own head, demanding all the money under the threat of killing himself, that would be an act of war...
They are smart. They are creative. They are committed. They have no regard for human life, neither ours nor their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but rather an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.

-- Rear Admiral Harry Harris, Commander, Joint Task Force Guantanamo

what drives human beings to take their own lives, whether it be through suicide bombing or just plain suicide, is desperation, fueled by a belief that nothing less could possibly make a difference...

(thanks to califlander at daily kos...)

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Spying goes corporate

[B]y being precisely right in your appearance, you signal that you'll conform in any other way they might want. You're sending a signal about your degree of compliance.

- Barbara Ehrenreich as interviewed in Alternet

evidently, "appearance" now extends to every aspect of an individual's life...
Tien Nguyen, a college senior, signed up for job interviews but said he was seldom contacted until he withdrew a satirical online essay.

[...]

Many companies that recruit on college campuses have been using search engines like Google and Yahoo to conduct background checks on seniors looking for their first job. But now, college career counselors and other experts say, some recruiters are looking up applicants on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Xanga and Friendster, where college students often post risqué or teasing photographs and provocative comments about drinking, recreational drug use and sexual exploits in what some mistakenly believe is relative privacy.

[...]

"The term they've used over and over is red flags," [Trudy G. Steinfeld, executive director of the center for career development at New York University] said. "Is there something about their lifestyle that we might find questionable or that we might find goes against the core values of our corporation?"

after spending many years in the corporatocracy, i can say with a fair degree of certainty that the "core values" are conformity and compliance...

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Bush turns to schmoozing - choreographed, of course

gag me with a spoon...
Now, with Mr. Bush's poll numbers sinking and his agenda faltering, the White House needs Republicans in Congress more than ever. Without necessarily taking the advice he is seeking from Capitol Hill, Mr. Bush is adding a more personal touch to his presidency in an effort to put himself in the good graces of lawmakers.

The effort, choreographed by senior advisers to Mr. Bush, began late last year and intensified in April after Joshua B. Bolten became chief of staff, said two officials involved. So the president, a man not given to Washington schmoozing, now holds intimate cocktail parties on the Truman Balcony, overlooking the South Lawn, for lawmakers and their spouses, complete with tours of the Lincoln Bedroom led by him and the first lady.

choreographed...? why, certainly... this is the man who couldn't find his butt with both hands if karl rove wasn't around to help him out...

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Good Dem news

which reminds me, i have an automatic menthly deduction set up and i need to give them my new card expiration date...
A surge in small, individual contributions is lifting Democratic campaigns this year and is helping close a Republican fundraising advantage that has existed for years in national politics, according to Federal Election Commission data.

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Argentina's president inadvertently helping his rival...?



it's always interesting to follow the political scene in argentina... as a friend of mine jokingly says, argentina could become an extremely wealthy country if it just charged a $10 per day "entertainment tax" on every tourist and resident ex-pat... just watching the political shenanigans is the best show around...
[Nestor] Kirchner can boast of some outstanding achievements in the three years he has been in office now. He rebuilt the presidential authority that was severely damaged amid Argentinas worst-ever economic crisis. And the economy grew 30 percent. He forced creditors to swallow a 67 billion-dollar debt haircut and purged every state agency in what the government says was a crusade against entrenched corruption. Kirchner is also implacably fostering the persecution of hundreds of armed forces members accused of violating human rights during the 1976-1983 dictatorship that killed or caused the disappearance of at least 14,000 people.

Many middle-class voters consider that if elected president, former economy minister Roberto Lavagna would ensure the continuity of Argentina’s economic recovery while smoothly introducing necessary changes, including doing away with incumbent President Néstor Kirchner’s ruthless style, observers have told the Herald.
Another change many would welcome would be steering clear from the close links that centre-left Peronist Kirchner has forged with populist Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.

.....

Nestor Kirchner ......................... Roberto Lavagna

But his steamroller approach popularly known as "the K style" has left many potential voters with the feeling that he has little concern for institutional life, and paved the way for the moderate Lavagna to appear as a strong possible candidate for the 2007 presidential election.

Lavagna is widely credited with being the architect of economic recovery under the government of president Eduardo Duhalde (2002-2003) after a five-year recession that caused poverty to skyrocket in erstwhile rich Argentina. He is also credited with the handling of the debt negotiations.

Kirchner fired him in November after Lavagna refused to cooperate with the October mid-term vote campaign.

consciously or unconsciously, kirchner has adopted some of the same tactics as george bush, chief among them the exercise of unfettered executive power, politically exiling critics, and stonewalling journalists... just another role model for democracy the u.s. provides to the rest of the world's leaders who, believe it or not, really do pay attention to what the u.s. does...

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