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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 07/30/2006 - 08/06/2006
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Does the master tactician and Satan's right-hand man have a plan to win in November?

gary hart seems to think so...
Since, with precious few exceptions, political careers trump principle, and since the cabal of neoconservatives and the religious right intend to govern forever, the genius Karl Rove will concoct a patently phony Iraq exit strategy.

But even as President Bush rolls out the bogus plan in the Rose Garden, surrounded by trembling Congressmen, and claims "victory" in Iraq, work will continue around the clock on the American fortress in central Baghdad and on the permanent military garrisons in the countryside.

It was all forecast years ago in the final scene of the movie Three Days of the Condor when the CIA official Higgins explains to the naive CIA research character portrayed by Robert Redford: "Of course it's about the oil. Do you think the American people care how we get it? They just want us to get it."

jeralyn at talkleft finds it hard to disagree... i think rove is capable of anything, as long as it's dark and fundamentally evil...

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An instant classic from Dood Abides, with much thanks to Douglas Adams

if you don't go surfing anywhere else today, you must go see the hitchhiker's guide to the apocalypse, an imaginative masterpiece from dood abides at daily kos... a quick teaser is in order...

Ipod Feebleproxy

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We don't trust our OWN election results any more, why should we trust Mexico's...?

with the increasing likelihood that u.s. elections have been rigged and/or stolen, why would there be any reason to believe the same couldn't have happened in mexico in order to insure the election of a u.s.-friendly president on our southern border...?
Mexico's top electoral court on Saturday rejected a ballot-by-ballot recount in the disputed presidential election, angering supporters of leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador who have kept the nation in turmoil for weeks.

In Mexico's central plaza, thousands of protesters watched the court session on a huge screen, chanting "Vote by vote!" and drowning out the judges' statements. Representatives of Lopez Obrador walked out of the session in protest.

Tens of thousands of Lopez Obrador's supporters have camped out in the capital's center for a week, disrupting business and traffic to press their case that their candidate was cheated of victory in the July 2 election and to demand that all the votes be recounted.

In their first public session on the dispute, the seven judges of the Federal Electoral Court left open the possibility that they could order a partial recount. The tribunal has until Sept. 6 to declare a president-elect or annul the elections.

i hate to be sounding like some sort of conspiracy nut, but... i guess i just don't think that, after all that's come out over the past six years, we can any longer sit by and pretend that these kinds of things don't happen... i'm not inclined to offer my trust to anyone in power, ever again... not any more... maybe not ever...

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Terrorist cucumbers

(from the beirut daily star via juan cole...)
Intrepid Israeli fighter jet pilots tracked down sinister terrorist cucumbers and other vicious vegetables being loaded onto a refrigerated truck by Syrian seasonal laboerers. Unfortunatedly the wicked terrorist cucumbers were hiding themselves amidst civilian workers, and it was necessary to kill 26 of the latter to end the threat of pickling. Israeli ambassador to the United States Dan Gillerman castigated the cucumbers as "animals." Alan Dershowitz pointed out that vegetables cannot be considered civilians.

trying to decipher the logic of what's happening, everything and everybody is a terrorist... the israelis should just shave the ground with a razor... or maybe that's what they're trying to do...

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Saturday photoblogging: Buenos Aires

returning to buenos aires from serbia last sunday, my bags each took a different route... they evidently enjoyed stopovers in cities that would have been interesting for me had i been along... when they finally decided to make their way back on tuesday, one of them shamefacedly admitted that my camera had been stolen right out of its hands while sightseeing in madrid... i'm skeptical... i think it was probably forgotten on the table of some outdoor cafe... ah, well...

so, sadly sans camera, i'm reviving a few golden oldies of my buenos aires collection... the rest of them are included as part of a walking guide to buenos aires i put together on my other (non-political) blog...

(click on photos to enlarge...)


paseaperros (professional dog walkers) are to be found all over buenos aires, sometimes with as many as 20 on the leash at a time, all happy and wagging their tails... but be warned... ALWAYS watch your step - parks, sidewalks, everywhere...!

La Chochona Restaurant in Palermo Soho

half the fun of getting out and about here is the ever-fascinating local architecture, storefronts, and other eye-catching oddities...

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We've been lied to so often that, even when it MIGHT be the truth, I don't believe it

here's what i said on wednesday when this story broke...
do we really think for one minute that an inspectors general report affirming deliberate deception would ever even get written much less see the light of day...?

well, gol'durn it, whaddaya know...
The Defense Department’s watchdog agency said Friday that it had no evidence that senior Pentagon commanders intentionally provided false testimony to the Sept. 11 commission about the military’s actions on the morning of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The agency, the Pentagon’s office of inspector general, said the Defense Department’s initial inaccurate accounts could be attributed largely to poor record-keeping.

isn't it a shame that things have gotten to the point where, even if they ARE telling the truth, i don't believe 'em...?

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Ya better get to campaignin' there, Tommy-boy

the poor baby... such a shame...
[I]t seems likely that Mr. DeLay will once again be the GOP standard-bearer in November. This would be a delicious irony and -- if Mr. DeLay were to lose -- a fitting coda to a career built on trying to manipulate rules to his political advantage.

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Self-organizing systems... Do we really NEED to have a boss...?

barbara ehrenreich, not surprisingly, uses first-hand experience to describe one of the fundamental elements of living systems...
[H]ow would anything get done without bosses and Bossism? Well, a surprising amount gets done that way all the time ... . If the restaurant gets swamped or the nursing home residents start tossing their food around, don't count on a manager to tell you what to do -- if, indeed, there is a manager within hailing distance. In crisis situations, I again and again saw low-paid workers organize themselves, more or less spontaneously, everyone pitching in and helping each other, with no one playing the role of "boss." As for any real boss on the scene, the best he or she could do in a crisis was to pitch in -- or get out of the way.

interestingly, there's an entire field of study on what's called "self-organizing systems" pioneered by the santa fe institute... they have determined that the tendency to self-organize is an inherent element of complex, living systems... i have used this principle extensively in my organization design work and have found it to be every bit as fundamental to human behavior as the research says it is... in one of my earlier lives as a "boss," i trained the 32 employees in my charge to perform in a "manager-less" environment in which they took care of literally all aspects of the unit's operation while i stood aside and concentrated on running interference or, as i used to say, holding an umbrella over their heads to keep out the rain of shit...

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Friday, August 04, 2006

Presidential actions: both illegal and unconstitutional

a brief summary taken from the 350 page Final Investigative Report of the House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff...
In brief, we have found that there is substantial evidence the President, the Vice-President and other high ranking members of the Bush Administration misled Congress and the American people regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq; misstated and manipulated intelligence information regarding the justification for
such war; countenanced torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in Iraq; permitted inappropriate retaliation against critics of their Administration; and approved domestic surveillance that is both illegal and unconstitutional.

how many laws has the administration broken...? let me count the ways...

(thanks to jeralyn at talkleft...)

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Wow...! If they raise the age any higher, I could re-enlist...!

it's been 36 years since my vietnam service... i might have a little trouble passing the pt test but, hey, i had trouble passing it the FIRST time...
The Defense Department quietly asked Congress on Monday to raise the maximum age for military recruits to 42 for all branches of the service.

Under current law, the maximum age to enlist in the active components is 35, while people up to age 39 may enlist in the reserves. By practice, the accepted age for recruits is 27 for the Air Force, 28 for the Marine Corps and 34 for the Navy and Army, although the Army Reserve and Navy Reserve sometimes take people up to age 39 in some specialties.

The Pentagon’s request to raise the maximum recruit age to 42 is part of what defense officials are calling a package of “urgent wartime support initiatives” sent to Congress Monday night prior to a Tuesday hearing of the House Armed Services military personnel subcommittee.

yeah, they have some urgent wartime initiatives, all right... rummy has totally ruined the military to the point that they're taking anyone with a pulse...

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Sunnis...? Shiites...? Ain't never heard of them religions... I thought they were all Muslims...

Dear Leader

i'm curious about how this level of ignorance came to be... personally, i would think that the president of the u.s. would receive such thorough briefings that he couldn't possibly remain ignorant of such critical distinctions... but, then, what do i know...?
In his new book, The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created A War Without End, [Former Ambassador to Croatia Peter] Galbraith, the son of the late economist John Kenneth Galbraith, claims that American leadership knew very little about the nature of Iraqi society and the problems it would face after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

A year after his “Axis of Evil” speech before the U.S. Congress, President Bush met with three Iraqi Americans, one of whom became postwar Iraq’s first representative to the United States. The three described what they thought would be the political situation after the fall of Saddam Hussein. During their conversation with the President, Galbraith claims, it became apparent to them that Bush was unfamiliar with the distinction between Sunnis and Shiites.

Galbraith reports that the three of them spent some time explaining to Bush that there are two different sects in Islam--to which the President allegedly responded, “I thought the Iraqis were Muslims!”

we've always suspected that bush is just a figurehead... looks like it might be true...

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The neocon gods of war

bloodlust, pure and simple...
The neoconservatives are described as enthusiastic about the possibility of using NSA intelligence as a lever to widen the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah and Israel and Hamas into a four-front war.

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Baalbek: "There are only civilians here."

taking in the devastation from ground level in baalbek, lebanon...

Baalbek, Lebanon
It's the morning of August 1, 19 days into Israel's assault on Lebanon, the second day of the Israelis' self-styled cessation of air attacks.

In a few hours time, 200 Israeli commandos will helicopter in, make a sweep through a Hizbullah-associated hospital and make off with five men, leaving between 10 and 20 people dead.

Israel will say the dead and detained are militants, that the raid demonstrated how they can strike anywhere they want in Lebanon. Hizbullah will say the Israelis were lured to Baalbek by leaked information that a member of the leadership was in town and that the dead and detained are civilians.

"A Hizbullah stronghold," Baalbek is a mixture of Christians and Shiite and Sunni Muslims, thus reflecting the population of the Bekaa generally.

It isn't exactly bustling the day of the raid. It's not abandoned either. A pair of young Internal Security Forces officers in gray camouflage chat beneath a pink parasol. Soon after entering town, an older gentleman asks if you need a room for the night.

"You should get permission from Hizbullah if you want to look at the bomb sites," he cautions. Indeed, within a few minutes a polite, bearded man in sandals asks how he can help you.

A walkie-talkie appears and you're led to another fellow who quickly takes down your group's details - more or less as if you were buying a visa at the border. The second man apologizes, but there's a war on and the party has to take precautions.

An ancient Mercedes appears - the sort Beirut taxi drivers use to ply their trade - and you're told to follow in your car. A guide sardines himself into the back seat, alongside two rangy hacks.


Your guide directs you through Baalbek's winding roads to what looks like a ruined apartment block. There's very little to see, in fact, but shattered breezeblock and concrete, the odd Nido (powdered milk) tin, machinery wrecked to anonymity.

"This was a school," he points to one gap. "This was the Taawaniyye (Co-Op grocery store)," he points to a second pile of rubble. He says planes destroyed them on successive days in the first week. "There were no casualties. We evacuated in time."

Walking atop the rubble, the scale of the damage defeats your camera, so you fall to peering into the blasted sitting room of an adjacent flat.


You count at least five ruined gas stations in town. Further on is a water-filled hole in the road - a former garage apparently. Across the street is another collapsed apartment block.

A blown-out wall reveals a wardrobe overstuffed with clothes - the way wardrobes can get when you can't bear to throw things away. Facing it is shelf, stuffed with plush toys.

From behind his camera someone - acutely aware of the low voyeurism of this - makes a grim joke about how a set designer couldn't construct such an effective shot.

You drive on, pausing at an intersection long enough for your guide to point out where an Islamic benevolent society used to be.

You are directed to another, rather larger, gap in the urban fabric and a more gregarious man materializes. This was a residential area before it was struck by a series of bombs and missiles, he says.

At the back of one building, the walls and floor of an upper-floor flat have collapsed, leaving a child's coat hanging on a coat peg. More voyeurism.

A sign atop one partially gutted building reads "Centre Mustafa Balouq." Balouq, Gregarious Man says, is "a businessman who set up a benevolent society. There was a business center. A place to take out small loans. A charity."

"Over there," he points across the street. "That's a Husseiniyyeh [Shiite cultural center-mosque complex]. The people around it are terrified it's the next target."

Your guides tell you some 135 people have been killed in the Bekaa since this conflict began. Unlike the devastated South, there's no shortage of food and water yet but there hasn't been any electricity in the villages in two days. At every site the refrain is the same. "There are only civilians here."

please, i beg, let it stop...

(thanks to juan cole...)

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Neal Boortz: pathetic, incompetent, ignorant, worthless liar

i could easily take off on an extended tirade about this wheelbarrow full of shit but i'll just give an executive summary below... LOL...
On the August 3 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, host Neal Boortz asked his audience, "[H]ow incompetent, how ignorant, how worthless is an adult that can't earn more than the minimum wage?" Boortz continued: "You have to really, really, really be a pretty pathetic human being to not be able to earn more than ... the minimum wage."

i am not incompetent, i am not ignorant, i am not worthless, and i am most certainly NOT a teenager (pay no attention to the mental state you see peeking out from behind the curtain)... i have qualifications up the wazoo... in late 2002/early 2003, after sending out well over 70 job apps and receiving two telephone interviews, one in-person interview, and being offered only one job (working at an airline reservation call center for $7.56 an hour), i was almost prepared to take it...

in the process of interviewing for the call center job, i witnessed a scene very familiar to me - a huge room full of people working for what, in today's world, is basically peanuts... they are like the majority of people everywhere - decent, hard-working, many of them working two (or more) jobs, struggling to keep body and soul together... they're far from "pathetic human beings," far from "incompetent," "ignorant," and "worthless..." in fact, those descriptors that mr. boortz uses for minimum wage workers are so ignorant and pathetic that i humbly suggest mr. boortz shove them directly up his ass...

get out from behind the microphone, mr. boortz, and take a walk with me... let me show you the REAL AMERICA, not the america of your fevered, delusionary, hate-filled mind...

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Dear WaPo: Social Security is NOT an entitlement program

have i mentioned lately that i'm thoroughly disgusted with the washington post...?

social security is a retirement program and a social safety net, not an entitlement program... calling it an entitlement program is loaded with connotations which, of course, is precisely the reason they use the term... the basic concept of social security is sound and does not need lobotomizing... and it CERTAINLY does not need to be slowly bled to death by grafting personal retirement accounts on to it... keep social security and make it work... there's a lot of folks out there (including me) who need it...

the wapo's shilling for bushco ideology as per usual is getting incredibly old... stick a sock in it, would ya...?

Yesterday an e-mail sent out on behalf of Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, dismissed Henry M. Paulson Jr.'s comments on "privatizing" Social Security, adding that this policy has been "soundly rejected by the American people."

The Social Security reform that President Bush pushed last year involved personal retirement accounts. But it did not involve "privatization": The accounts, which were to be optional, were to be designed and administered by the government, with no opportunities for Wall Street salesmen to foist enormous hidden fees on unsuspecting workers. Besides, the idea that the American people rejected Mr. Bush's plan is only half true. The president failed to get traction not least because Democrats were doing their best to scare voters into thinking that their retirement checks would be confiscated.

In his speech Tuesday, Mr. Paulson did not say that he wanted to reintroduce last year's administration proposal. Instead, he said that his approach would be bipartisan and that he aimed to address entitlements because "when there is a big problem that needs fixing, you should run toward it, rather than away from it."

"the president failed to get traction not least because democrats were doing their best to scare voters into thinking that their retirement checks would be confiscated," is the basest of lies... you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that one of the items on the very top of the bush agenda since he and his criminal posse illegally usurped power in this country has been to destroy any implied or explicit social contract... the trophy that they want on their mantel is the social security program, mounted and stuffed... you can be sure that the bushies are going to pull out all the stops so they can make the trip to the taxidermist BEFORE bush leaves office on 20 january 2009...

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Criminalizing whistleblowers - another step down the slippery slope to fascism

we seem to have arrived at the point where we are taking more than ONE step every day...
Senators Rick Santorum, R-PA, and Conrad Burns, R-MT, support implementation of Official Secret’s Act, S.3774, introduced yesterday by Senator Christopher Bond, R-MO, to criminalize the unauthorized disclosure of classified information. Bond's bill seeks to enable the Executive Branch in prosecuting individuals engaged in disclosure of government secrets. According to the release issued by Senator Bond’s office, the legislation seeks to unify current law and ease the government's burden in prosecuting and punishing leakers by eliminating the need to prove that damage to the national security has or will result from a disclosure. According to the new release by Secrecy News reports, the new Bond bill is identical to the controversial anti-leak legislation sponsored by Senator Richard Shelby in the FY 2001 Intelligence Authorization Act that was vetoed by President Clinton in November 2000. The bill was called the “Official Secrets Act,” after the U.K.’s repressive criminal secrecy statutes.

The United States has never had a statute generally criminalizing leaks or the publication of sensitive information. Despite consideration at a number of moments in our history, concern for the First Amendment and the principle that the press acts as an important check on government abuse has thwarted all previous efforts to pass such legislation. According to Professor William Weaver, NSWBC Senior Advisor, “Such legislation is subject to a double standard in its application. For example, much information is leaked to the press with the approval of administrators. These sorts of leaks are an unofficial channel for shoring up administration positions and to influence public opinion. On the other hand, unauthorized leaks would be prosecuted when they undermine administration positions or embarrass the executive branch or reveal illegal agency activity. So whether or not a person is prosecuted depends on whether or not the leak is popular or unpopular with the administration in power at the time of the leak. If the statute were to be applied evenhandedly, the jails would be full of administrators and presidential advisors.”

this has GOT to stop... it simply HAS to stop... we have GOT to figure out a way to make it stop... it CAN'T continue... we are losing everything that matters in our country...

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"The US government had never taken its human rights treaty obligations seriously"

never... that's a strong word...

do as we say, not as we do... it's the rule in dysfunctional families and arrogant, unilateralist nation states...

The US ratified only three human rights treaties out of seven major human rights treaties. In fact, the US and Somalia are the only two countries in the world that have not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child--and Somalia does not have a functional government!

Judging from the lack of domestic application of human rights law, and from the gap between human rights law and US law in many areas, we can certainly say that the US government had never taken its human rights treaty obligations seriously

- Jamil Dakwar, staff attorney with the Human Rights Program – National Legal Department of the American Civil Liberties Union

if the jerks in our government could only fully grasp the fact that that there are literally billions of people around the globe who would like nothing better than to believe that the u.s. walks its talk... they desperately want to know that SOMEBODY, SOMEWHERE is doing the right things...

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Tom DeLay has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A...

or is that bullshit...? oh, well... same difference...
Texas Republicans plan to appeal a federal court's decision that Tom DeLay is eligible in Texas Congressional District 22, RAW STORY has learned.

The fight will now take the case all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

"The Republican Party of Texas intends to expeditiously appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court," said party Chair Tina Baker in a release, "the 5th Circuit's decision to force Tom DeLay, an ineligible candidate for Congress, to stay on the ballot in Texas Congressional District 22 as the Republican nominee."

tom's gonna appeal his little shenanigans right on up to the top, wasting countless hours and dollars of taxpayer resources... if he hadn't gotten his tail caught in a crack, does anyone honestly think he would be claiming virginia residency...? anyone...? ANYONE...??

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The poisonous premise of the neoconservative

the fall of communism was the seed-bed for many of the horrors we are witnessing today...
When the battle of the two great powers was won by the side that stood for freedom, the world was not yearning for a one-power dominated geopolitics, the core vision of the neoconservative catastrophe.

The world was yearning for freedom and democracy where America would be the leader and role model that respected and empowered, but did not dominate, others who shared our values.

The poisonous premise of the neoconservative was the arrogant, overbearing and historically catastrophic notion that the end of the Cold War meant that instead of two powers that compete to run the world, the victorious power would stand alone at the throne of world power.

With a premise so historically wrong, the result was inevitable disaster that not only discredited its advocates, but violated principles of our democracy, alienated the worldwide opinion of democratic peoples, destabilized our military, divided our nation and endangered our security.

yep... all of that and more... it's not impossible to get us back on track but it's going to take one hell of a lot of work... meanwhile, between now and 20 january 2009, god help us all...

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"The gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise..."

a sobering and thoughtful post from john at americablog... read it and then go view the link he provides to the original...

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What if Sistani called for massive anti-US and anti-Israel demonstrations in Iraq...

...over the U.S. not demanding a cease-fire in Lebanon? juan cole outlines a possible scenario...
The U.S. punditocracy and ruling elite is fixated on Hizbullah as a "terrorist group" even though the organization hasn't engaged in international terror against American civilians in many years. What they forget about Hizbullah is that it is also a Shiite religious party, and that that is how it is perceived for the most part by Iraqi Shiites. Some 45 percent of Lebanese are probably Shiites.

The other thing to remember is that the United States is now a Shiite Power in part, insofar as it semi-rules a Shiite-majority country, Iraq.

The Associated Press is carrying the story that Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani has demanded an immediate ceasefire in Israel's war on Lebanon, in the wake of the Qana massacre:
"Islamic nations will not forgive the entities that hinder a cease-fire," al-Sistani said in a clear reference to the United States.

"It is not possible to stand helpless in front of this Israeli aggression on Lebanon," he added. "If an immediate cease-fire in this Israeli aggression is not imposed, dire consequences will befall the region."


What could he do if he were ignored? Sistani could call massive anti-US and anti-Israel demonstrations. Given Iraq's profound political instability, this development could be extremely dangerous. U.S. troops in Baghdad and elsewhere are planning offensives against Shiite paramilitary groups, so tensions are likely to rise in the Shiite areas anyway. But big demonstrations could easily boil over into actual attacks on U.S. and British troops. Both depend heavily on fuel that is transported through the Shiite south. Were the Shiites actively to turn on the U.S. for its wholehearted support of continued Israeli air raids, the U.S. military could be cut off from fuel and supplies. The British only have around 8,000 troops in Iraq, and they would be in profound danger if Iraq's Shiites became militantly anti-occupation.

Since the Israeli treatment of Arabs is an issue on which Sunnis and Shiites agree, there is also a possibility that Sistani could finally get some respect from the Sunni community if he led such a compaign. That development would be more dangerous to the continued U.S. military presence in Iraq than any other I can think of.

bush - circling, swirling, twirling around the drain, and taking us all along with him...

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Some folks are cheerleaders for creeping totalitarianism

what follows is nothing most of us haven't either thought of before and either endlessly discussed or blogged about... however, it can't be repeated too often just how at risk what we thought were our fundamental, guaranteed, constitutionally-protected freedoms really are...
You may ask how NSA eavesdropping affects you when you have nothing to hide. Let us try to explain why you should worry. Even if, as the government claims, this program is only looking for “terrorist activity,” still all your conversations have to be processed; have to be linked to other calls and sources of “possible” terrorist activity. All it takes is an innocent phone call to a friend, who has placed a call to a friend or relative, who has legitimate business or personal contacts in a foreign country where there may be “suspected terrorists.” You have just become a potential target of government investigation – you may be a terrorist supporter, or even a terrorist. Remember “Six Degrees of Separation” (the theory that anyone on earth can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances with no more than five intermediaries)? The NSA program can easily mistakenly connect you to a terrorist. Furthermore, since the program is being conducted without judicial oversight and under no recognized process there is nothing to restrict how the information obtained under the program is being used.

But let us take things from the widely shared point of view of the individual quoted above; the view that there is nothing for honest people to fear from warrantless, presidentially-ordered surveillance. What other invasions of rights would such acquiescence to government authority inevitably lead to?

Our government will argue its right to break into your house and search it without warrant based on some tip, intelligence, or information that is considered classified, which you have no right or clearance to know about. It will argue that the search and the secrecy are necessary for reasons of “national security” and within the “inherent powers” of the executive branch, therefore not requiring congressional authorization or judicial oversight.

What is next in the name of national security? Will our government call out to all citizens in particular communities to turn in their weapons to law enforcement agencies? Perhaps it will cite the following reason for such call: “We already know that several Al Qaeda cells reside in the affected communities. Our intelligence agencies have received credible information concerning these cells’ intention to break into Americans’ homes to obtain firearms, since they do not want to risk detection by purchasing firearms from the market.” Would our compliant citizen quoted above be more than happy to give up his right under the Second Amendment for possible security promised to him by his government? When the agents show up at his door asking for his legally registered Colt, what will he do?

There are those well-meaning “conservative” Americans who have been lead to believe that our nation’s security is somehow damaged when an employee of one of our “security” agencies comes forward to shed light on activities by our government that may be illegal, may be un-constitutional, and may be a danger to the nation’s security. These Americans have accepted too easily the government’s propaganda sold to them shrewdly packaged in a wrapping of fear of terror – that if you expose any government action, however misguided or un-constitutional, then you are jeopardizing our security; you are aiding the terrorists. This quote from Benjamin Franklin sums it up well: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Sibel Edmonds is the founder and director of National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC). Ms. Edmonds worked as a language specialist for the FBI. During her work with the bureau, she discovered and reported serious acts of security breaches, cover-ups, and intentional blocking of intelligence that had national security implications. After she reported these acts to FBI management, she was retaliated against by the FBI and ultimately fired in March 2002. Since that time, court proceedings on her case have been blocked by the assertion of “State Secret Privilege”; the Congress of the United States has been gagged and prevented from any discussion of her case through retroactive re-classification by the Department of Justice.

Professor William Weaver is the senior advisor and a board member of National Security Whistleblowers Coalition. Mr. Weaver served in U.S. Army signals intelligence for eight years in Berlin and Augsburg, Germany, in the late 1970s and 1980s. He subsequently received his law degree and Ph.D. in politics from the University of Virginia, where he was on the editorial board of the Virginia Law Review. He is presently an Associate Professor of political science and an Associate in the Center for Law and Border Studies at the University of Texas at El Paso. He specializes in executive branch secrecy policy, governmental abuse, and law and bureaucracy.

speaking of endless repetition, i keep thinking about how what's leaked out so far about bushco's criminal power grabs is bad enough, but what about all the stuff we DON'T KNOW ABOUT...? you can be sure it's both plenty and probably much worse...

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Sticking the U.S. nose into everybody's business: Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay - the tri-border area



The Tri-Border area
Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay

the argentine province of misiones occupies the thumb of the northeastern part of the country that pushes up against brazil on the north and east and against paraguay on the west... it's called the "tri-border" area and has been rife with smuggling for years and years... last year, the u.s. military cut a deal with paraguay to station u.s. troops on its soil...

(from september 2005... my post on the same subject is from december 2005...)
Controversy is raging in Paraguay, where the US military is conducting secretive operations. 500 US troops arrived in the country on July 1st [2005] with planes, weapons and ammunition. Eyewitness reports prove that an airbase exists in Mariscal Estigarribia, Paraguay, which is 200 kilometers from the border with Bolivia and may be utilized by the US military. Officials in Paraguay claim the military operations are routine humanitarian efforts and deny that any plans are underway for a US base. Yet human rights groups in the area are deeply worried.

Estigarribia Airbase,

now the tri-border area is back on the radar and we can anticipate increasing u.s. involvement in the region, most likely, as this article states, via paraguay, a desperately poor country that, unlike argentina and brazil who keep the u.s. at arm's length, isn't likely to turn down aid of any sort, even if it's from the u.s...
For years, this [tri-border] region -- where the boundaries of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina converge -- has been considered a teeming stew of globalization's more unseemly byproducts. Much of the trade that crosses the borders, officials say, is illegitimate. The region is full of smuggled goods and laundered money.

Now U.S. officials are launching a broad series of new measures aimed at uncovering money-laundering rings that they believe are funding Hezbollah and other radical groups.

Ciudad del Este's Friendship Bridge is a favored route for moving contraband goods into Brazil. U.S. investigators say that Arab immigrants are involved in laundering proceeds from black market sales to support such radical groups as Hezbollah in Lebanon.

"I am highly confident that's the case," said Daniel Glaser, deputy assistant treasury secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes. "We believe there is evidence."


The U.S. Embassy's legal adviser in Asuncion, Paraguay has held training courses during the past year for investigators and prosecutors in charge of combating possible terrorism links, according to the Justice Department.

the gwot gives the u.s. an excuse to stick its nose into EVERYONE'S business... and it's too bad it has to be in this area which contains one of the world's most spectacular natural attractions - foz de iguazu (iguazu falls)...

Four times the width of Niagara Falls on the
US/Canadian border, Iguazu Falls are divided
by various islands into separate waterfalls
on various levels.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

It is not in the U.S. interest to promote peace

the arms-sales business has its share of sex and glamor too...!
Like American entertainment, American arms are a multibillion-dollar industry that leans heavily on foreign sales. In fact, the United States exported $18.55 billion in fighter planes, attack helicopters, tanks, battleships, and other weaponry in 2005. All signs point to 2006 being another banner export year. Just as in the movie, TV, and music businesses, we dwarf the competition. Russia is the next largest arms exporter with a measly $4 billion in yearly sales. In fact, U.S. arms exports accounted for more than half of total global arms deliveries -- $34.8 billion -- in 2004, and we export more of them ourselves than the next six largest exporters combined.


Like Hollywood, the arms industry has sex to spare. After all, the weapons themselves are all gleaming golden curves and massive thrusting spikes; they move at breath-robbing speed, make ear-splitting noise, and are capable of performing with awesome lethality. Just ask the Bush administration if you can't fall in love with weapons this sexy and the military that wields them. And then there are the glittery galas and trade shows like the Paris Air Show -- at Le Bourget airport north of the French capital -- where generals and corporate bigwigs with power, prestige, and incomparable sums of money rub against each other amid the scandalous whispers of corporate breakups and new mergers.


We think of ourselves as trendsetters and style arbiters because of our best-known export -- mass culture. But weapons are our most deadly and potent export; they help determine who controls key regions of the world and shape how those regions are governed; they create jobs, extinguish lives, and sometimes obliterate whole neighborhoods.

and, guess what...? as long as conflicts rage around the globe, the u.s. can continue to rake in money hand over fist... it is absolutely NOT in the u.s. interest to promote peace... why is that so hard to understand...?

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Whither Mexico...?

a good chunk of my heart lies in mexico's red soil... alternet offers some insight...
In a hyperbolic editorial on July 30 -- one that bordered on the ridiculous -- the Washington Post accused López Obrador, known as AMLO to his supporters, of taking "a lesson from Joseph Stalin" and launching an "anti-democracy campaign" by demanding a manual recount and urging his supporters to take to the streets in peaceful protests. Calling the vote "a success story and a model for other nations," the editors concluded that it's "difficult to overstate the irresponsibility of Mr. López Obrador's actions." [i posted on this eye-popping outrage several days ago...]

Days after the election, the New York Times irresponsibly declared candidate Calderón the winner, even though no victor had been declared under Mexican law, and just this week, in an article about López Obrador's protests, the Times reported that López Obrador had "escalated his campaign to undo official results."

But there are no "official" results and probably won't be until after Sept. 1. Under Mexican law, the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) is charged with running the elections and counting the vote. But only the country's Election Tribunal, known by its Mexican nickname as the "TRIFE," has the power to declare a victor. ... They have until Sept. 6 to rule on the election.

meanwhile, massive protests continue with hardly a nod from u.s. media...
Street protests led by the leftist candidate in Mexico's presidential election plunged the capital into chaos for a second day on Tuesday, raising fears of a long and increasingly nasty fight over vote fraud claims.

The mass demonstrations called by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to protest alleged vote-rigging in his close defeat by conservative rival Felipe Calderon have turned Mexico City's swanky business district into a sprawling campsite.

On Tuesday evening the leftist asked supporters to remain peaceful but keep the protest camps going.

"We are not here because we want to be, it's because we need to be, because we want there to be democracy," he said in the Zocalo square, where hundreds were camped out.

"I ask you to keep going. We've barely been going two days, I ask you to make the effort, the sacrifice to be in the camps day and night."

mexico's poor are not going to go quietly into that good night...

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Some mornings, reading the headlines is almost overwhelming

these, for instance...
Much Undone In Rebuilding Iraq, Audit Says

A flailing Iraq reconstruction effort that has been dominated for more than three years by U.S. dollars and companies is being transferred to Iraqis, leaving them the challenge of completing a long list of projects left unfinished by the Americans.

goodbye and good luck... write and let us know how it's going...
9/11 Panel Suspected Deception by Pentagon

Allegations Brought to Inspectors General

Some staff members and commissioners of the Sept. 11 panel concluded that the Pentagon's initial story of how it reacted to the 2001 terrorist attacks may have been part of a deliberate effort to mislead the commission and the public rather than a reflection of the fog of events on that day, according to sources involved in the debate.


A Pentagon spokesman said yesterday that the inspector general's office will soon release a report addressing whether testimony delivered to the commission was "knowingly false."

i'm inclined to believe there was a lot more to mislead about than a "bungled response to the hijackings..." and do we really think for one minute that an inspectors general report affirming deliberate deception would ever even get written much less see the light of day...?
N.Y. Times Must Surrender Reporters' Phone Data

Appellate Panel Rejects First Amendment Claim in Federal Grand Jury Probe

The New York Times may not withhold reporters' phone records from a federal grand jury investigating an alleged leak of a pending government raid on two Islamic charities suspected of supporting terrorism, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday.

repression of the fourth estate rolls merrily along...
Israel Moves Thousands Of Soldiers Into Lebanon

Clashes With Hezbollah Reported in South, East

Thousands of Israeli soldiers streamed into southern Lebanon on Tuesday, as clashes with Hezbollah fighters in at least half a dozen towns marked an intensified ground campaign to dislodge Hezbollah strongholds that have withstood three weeks of aerial bombardment.

after it reneged on its promise to halt bombing for 48 hours after killing more than 50 civilians, most of them children, in qana, lebanon, israel now seems to be pulling out all the stops...

i could go on, but you get the drift...

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

It didn't take 'em long to crank up the "poor Cuba, what a shame" propaganda machine

actually, it's never been uncranked...

i'm no fan of despots... fidel may have done a lot of good for cuba in ways most people in the u.s. are unwilling to accept, but there's still no question he's a despot... george bush, on the other hand, has made his country considerably worse off in ways that a lot of people in the u.s. aren't willing to accept, but, guess what...? george is a despot too... i don't know why that's so hard to see... and, of course, george, the big dog despot, would like to see fidel, the little dog despot, just go away...

Tony Snow said that while the United States was "ready and eager to provide humanitarian, economic and other aid to the people of Cuba," the administration has no plans to reach out to Raul Castro, who was put in charge temporarily as his brother undergoes surgery for a reported intestinal problem.


"Look, the one thing that this president has talked about from the very beginning is his hope for the Cuban people finally to enjoy the fruits of freedom and democracy," said Snow. "And for the dictator, Fidel Castro, to hand off power to his brother, who's been the prison-keeper, is not a change in that status."

"So Raul Castro's attempt to impose himself on the Cuban people is much the same as what his brother did," Snow continued. "So no, there are no plans to reach out."

ah, the sweet fruits of freedom and democracy where the despot spies on his subjects...

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"Our Army currently has no ready, strategic reserve"

the quote in the first paragraph has been widely blogged... the quote in the second paragraph hasn't and, even though it springs logically from the first quote, it's the REAL shocker...
A group of national security experts formed by Democratic leadership has reported to Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) that, "there is not a single non-deployed Army Brigade Combat Team in the United States that is ready to deploy," RAW STORY has learned.

"The bottom line," the group concludes in a letter to Democratic leadership, "is that our Army currently has no ready, strategic reserve."

when i think of bush remaining in office until 20 january 2009, i get cold chills... there will be nothing left of the u.s. by then...

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For god's sake, make the killing stop

bush doesn't want peace... he's NEVER wanted peace... continuous conflict, particularly conflict that requires the supply of arms and munitions by the u.s. defense industry and that maintains high levels of fear globally, is the environment that bush and his criminal posse have worked like trojans to create and maintain since they acceded to power following the scotus decision of 12 december 2000...
"We want there to be a long-lasting peace, one that is sustainable," Bush said in a speech in Miami.

And, in an interview with Fox News Channel, Bush acknowledged that the Qana deaths had added pressure on Israel to stop bombing. But, he said, "Stopping for the sake of stopping can be OK, except it won't address the root cause of the problem."

bush wouldn't either recognize or acknowledge peace if it bit him in the ass - which, if there is any justice in this world, it just might...

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How long do you have to swirl the drain before you actually flush down...?

everything this administration touches turns to shit...
The Bush administration may have badly miscalculated in insisting that any Mideast cease-fire be tied to long-term objectives. As the toll on Lebanese civilians has soared, even moderate Arab governments have turned into U.S. critics, and Hezbollah's support has climbed across the region.

Bush's most steadfast ally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, joined the ranks of those expressing frustration after Israel's Sunday bombing in the village of Qana that killed many civilians, most of them women and children. "We have to speed this whole process up," Blair said. "This has got to stop and stop on both sides."

Anger was brewing all across the Arab world as the U.N. Security Council prepared to take up the issue. Calls for an immediate cease-fire were coming from traditional U.S. allies in the region, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan.

Even the democratically elected prime minister of Lebanon, Fuad Saniora — whose leadership Bush often salutes — insisted that talk of a larger peace package must wait until the firing stops. "We will not negotiate until the Israeli war stops shedding the blood of innocent people," said Saniora.

make it stop... just make it stop... it's not acceptable to play politics with people's lives, regardless of race, creed, color, ethnicity, or national origin...

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Boo-hoo, John... Tuck your (horned) tail between your legs and drag your ass back to Turtle Bay...

you can keep having tantrums and throwing plates for a while longer...
At the urging of Democrats, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has put off a vote until September on whether to keep John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, committee aides said on Monday.

Democrats want to use that time to press the White House for documents they had sought last year during the dispute over Bolton's nomination to be U.N. envoy. They contend he bullied intelligence analysts to conform to his hawkish views in his last job as top U.S. arms control negotiator.

Republicans, citing the need for a strong hand at the United Nations during the Middle East crisis, had pushed for quick confirmation.

rove must be losing his touch... either that or he totally miscalculated the blowback of the current middle east crisis... obviously, voinovich's mind-change was a flash in the pan...

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"The law will not get in his way."

the aba doesn't issue a unanimously "unqualified" rating lightly... their credibility is simply too precious to squander, which makes this all the more damning...
The lawyer President Bush picked to replace a racially divisive nominee on a Southern appeals court would "turn back the clock" on civil rights, the American Bar Association charged yesterday.

Michael Wallace got a unanimous "not qualified" rating by the bar association after Bush tapped him in February to replace Charles Pickering on the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

If Wallace - a Clinton impeachment adviser to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and clerk to the late Chief Justice of the United States William Rehnquist - is confirmed, "it will be like 1965, not 2006," one lawyer told the bar association.

Wallace declined to comment yesterday, but a colleague called the charges "totally ridiculous."

His firm is full of black lawyers, and "if he was such a racist, he obviously wouldn't work here," partner Luther Munford, a Democrat, told the Daily News.

The killer rating was given after confidential interviews with 26 judges and 43 other lawyers and people who have known Wallace since childhood. The grim assessment was in testimony the bar association prepared for a postponed Senate hearing, officials said.

"The law will not get in his way," said a judge quoted in the report by lawyer Kim Askew.

that last statement is a stunner, but i'm sure the aba report won't get in the way of wallace's confirmation by the gang of poodles in the senate... hang on... that's a terrible injustice to poodles... poodles are really a very intelligent breed, assuming the brains haven't been bred out of 'em... let's say sheep, ok...? yeah, sheep...

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Democratic leadership - not in touch, scared shitless of losing their big bucks backers, and being enabled by, who else...?

why, the wall street journal, of cuss, of cuss...
A front-page story in the Journal illustrates how MoveOn -- with a budget of millions of dollars and a large membership base -- has advanced itself as a player in Democratic party politics. The article makes the case that the organization's support has been critical to the success so far of the Lamont campaign in launching an insurgency against a major Democratic senator, remarking that MoveOn's endorsement of Lamont "injected cash and volunteers into the antiwar candidate's crusade to unseat one of the staunchest Democratic supporters of the Iraq war."

But other Democrats fear that MoveOn's activities could harm the party as a whole. Party leaders fear that a leftward movement, concentrated heavily on Iraq, "would imperil moderate and conservative Democrats whose appeal in Western and Southern states is critical to winning back Congress. It could also alienate swing voters, who polls suggest are shifting back to the Democrats this year. Says moderate Louisiana Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu, who supports Mr. Lieberman, 'I don't think it's a winning strategy or a smart strategy.'"

the bigger the people-powered movement gets, the more we can expect that everything - and i mean EVERYTHING, including the kitchen sink - is going to be thrown at us... when access to the feeding trough is imperiled, whether they're dem or r porkers doesn't matter, they're all gonna get really nasty... (actually "gonna get" is a misstatement... they've BEEN really nasty for quite a while now...) and labeling these weasels as "moderates" is just part of how ugly a game is being played... they're no such thing... they're part and parcel of an extremely corrupt power structure that is WAY overdue for the winds of change...

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Cue the Cuban exiles' dance routine; cue Bushco's regime change rhetoric

the moment they've been waiting for ever since 1959 may be near at hand...
Little was known of Fidel Castro's condition Tuesday after he underwent an operation and temporarily turned over the Cuban presidency to his brother Raul, ushering in a period of uncertainty at home and celebrations by his enemies abroad.

The surprise announcement that Castro had been operated on to repair a "sharp intestinal crisis with sustained bleeding" stunned Cubans on the island and in exile, and marked the first time that Castro, two weeks away from 80th birthday, had relinquished power in 47 years of absolute rule.

The news came Monday night in a statement read on state television by his secretary Carlos Valenciaga. The message said Castro's condition was apparently due to stress from a heavy work schedule during recent trips to Argentina and eastern Cuba. He did not appear on the broadcast.

when i heard that castro had come here to argentina for the mercosur meeting, i was wondering if the travel would take its toll... it's hard to be a globe-trotter in your 80s...

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The WaPo's "despite" - shilling for the great satan

i think it was just the other day, we were talking about "enablers..." the addiction therapy verbiage and analogies become more fitting every day... the wapo even puts it in caps so we can't miss it... (the boldface is mine...)
DESPITE THE terrible bloodshed in Lebanon and Israel over the weekend, including the tragic death of scores of women and children in the village of Qana, the United States, Israel and the Lebanese government continue to seek the same outcome to the war. That is the removal of Hezbollah's militia from the Lebanese-Israeli border as well as steps toward its disarmament; the deployment of the Lebanese army in the south; and the extension of the Lebanese government's sovereignty to all of the country's territory. Despite all the rhetoric about an immediate cease-fire and the predictable focus by media outlets around the world on Israel's mistakes and excesses, every party in the Middle East other than Hezbollah and its Syrian and Iranian sponsors believes that a resolution to the crisis that fails to achieve those conditions would be a catastrophe.

so, the message is, "DESPITE" all that horrible stuff, what's happening is right and just... i hope whatever anonymous wapo editor penned that horrifying opening paragraph, at some point has to come face-to-face with the full context of his/her words...

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Nevada Senate candidate Jack Carter reports

carter just completed a trip around nevada to some of the small local places that don't often rate a visit from a major candidate... keep in mind that, outside of metro areas like reno/carson city/tahoe and las vegas, a lot of towns in nevada are little more than wide spots in the road... i'm sure that a carter coming to town - ANY carter - was big news... here's his observations, some of them fairly interesting...
We are just back from another swing around the state and things keep picking up. I thought you'd like my impression of the last few days.

We had a great time in an old Americana pastime – two musicians on a flat-bed truck followed by a stump speech to various locals in small country towns. I’m glad we did it. We had maybe 250 people show up for the entire tour, from a low of 6 in West Wendover to about 60 in Ely. We probably met another 3 or 400 in scouring the towns before the show. There were journalists at nearly every stop.

Aside from the press, the people we met, and the stories we collected, there were some interesting general observations.

1) No one in the entire tour asked me a question about abortion, gay marriage or flag burning.

2) Veteran’s issues were widespread and concerned a lack of interest by the federal government and the VA

3) I was surprised by the vehemence against the government. The general attitude was to throw out everyone.

4) A number of republicans showed up at the events. We talked to more in the main street stores. Many were sympathetic.

5) There were some local issues discussed which will be helpful to me later.

  • Ranchers’ fights with the BLM
  • Miners wanted to make sure I was for them vs the environment
  • West Wendover and Wendover (astride the NV-UT line) wanted to merge and move the state line east by 4 miles
  • Water issues around Fernley between the ranchers and the Paiute Indians around the Newlands Project.
I was pleased.

A couple of anecdotes involving the Repubs: one told me he had worked hard for[U.S. Senator John] Ensign vs Harry Reid and then later when he won. He said Ensign hadn’t been back since. I promised all these small towns that when I got elected, I’d come back. They all liked that.

A crusty rancher in his 70s talked to me a couple of times during the event. The first time he told me the worst terrorist group in America at this time was the Fed. Gov’t. Later, he was getting another Carter sign for his “mile of fence”. “I’ll tell you the last time I voted for a Democrat was Harry Reid. Worst damn mistake I ever made in my life. I haven’t voted for a Democrat in 25 years. I’m a registered Republican. I’m going to vote for you. But I want you to know – you get elected and I’m going to be on your ass every day.”

That’s the man I want for me in that town.

i hope he kicks ensign's butt good and proper in november...

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Monday, July 31, 2006

My name is Mel and I am an alcoholic

he's going to rehab... maybe they'll dry out some of the bigotry in the process...

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Here's something to make you puke

these people are slime...
[A]fter months of disillusionment, America's neo-conservatives have fallen in love again with the Bush administration because of its support for Israel's bombardment of Lebanon.

Neo-conservative criticism reached a peak after Ms Rice, secretary of state, offered conditional talks to Iran in late May on its nuclear programme. But their attacks on Mr Bush ceased after 12 July, when Israel launched its military campaign against Hizbollah.

"This is exactly the right strategy, which you could call 'Don't just do something, stand there [while Israel continues its military campaign]'," said David Frum, a former speechwriter to George W. Bush, who helped draft the president's 2002 'Axis of Evil' address.

these people are not human... they couldn't be human... they must be of an alien species who can pass for human...

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Count me among 'em

i'm a little above the top end of the age range, but the dynamic definitely applies...
[M]en in the prime of their lives, between 30 and 55 -- have dropped out of regular work. They are turning down jobs they think are beneath them or are unable to find work for which they are qualified.

About 13 percent of American men in this age group are not working, up from 5 percent in the late 1960s. The difference represents 4 million men who would be working today if the employment rate had remained where it was in the 1950s and '60s.

for a two and a half year period between 2001 and early 2004, i was beginning to think i was either going to be driving long-haul trucks or working as a wal-mart greeter... but things took a turn after that, and i've managed to land several short-term contracts each year since then, working in emerging economies in the balkans, a type of work i find exceptionally satisfying... if it continues, i will do well enough to keep from having to push a shopping cart with all my belongings down the street... oh, and, yes, i am extremely grateful... moreover, not working full-time and being out of a corporate environment has contributed immeasurably to my quality of life to say nothing of my mental and emotional serenity...

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More mind-boggling chutzpah from the Prince of Darkness

every time rove opens his yap, i am totally floored at how he can, without blinking, hurl accusations at others that are a perfect mirror of his own behavior...
In a commencement speech at George Washington University's graduate school of political management, Rove rejected what he called a cynical view of politics pushed by many strategists and journalists.

"There are practitioners of politics who hold that voters are dumb, ill-informed and easily misled, that voters can be manipulated by a clever ad or smart line," Rove said.

But Rove, seen as the mastermind behind President George W. Bush's White House victories in 2000 and 2004, said, "It's wrong to underestimate the intelligence of the American voter."

Rove said work, family, friends and other interests consume much of voters' time and crowd out campaigns and policy.

"The American people are not policy wonks," he said. "But they have great instincts and they try to do the right thing."

this is the very man who has almost single-handedly reshaped american politics by adopting the most cynical, mean-spirited, and manipulative strategies imaginable... he treats the american voters as total morons and, sadly, may be on to something, because we keep buying his line of shit... ya gotta admit, there's no chutzpah like ROVE chutzpah... in a less gentle vein, the man is EVIL PERSONIFIED...

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48-hour bombing halt almost immediately goes by the boards

when israel makes a statement like this, you can pretty well figure that they aren't going to stick by their word...
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed to a 48-hour halt in the airstrikes beginning at 2 a.m. Monday while the military concludes its inquiry into the attack on the south Lebanese village of Qana.

But Israel left open the option it might hit targets to stop imminent attacks or if the military completed its inquiry within 48 hours.

and, sure enough, they didn't... like i've said repeatedly, israel is totally and completely out of control...
Israeli warplanes carried out airstrikes in southern Lebanon on Monday, hours after agreeing to temporarily halt raids while investigating a bombing that killed nearly 60 Lebanese civilians, mostly women and children seeking shelter.

if the only perceived solution to world problems is bombing each other into dust, we are in terribly deep shit...

(thanks to juan cole...)

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Take a look at the ORIGINAL police report when Mel Gibson was stopped for DUI

i'm SO not into celebrity scandal but, i gotta say, when someone as sanctimonious as gibson shows what he's really made out of when all inhibitions have been removed by alcohol, it deserves wider play... first, read this... then go take a look at the pdf of the original report from the la county sheriff's department...
According to the report, Gibson became agitated after he was stopped on Pacific Coast Highway and told he was to be detained for drunk driving Friday morning in Malibu. The actor began swearing uncontrollably. Gibson repeatedly said, "My life is f****d." Law enforcement sources say the deputy, worried that Gibson might become violent, told the actor that he was supposed to cuff him but would not, as long as Gibson cooperated. As the two stood next to the hood of the patrol car, the deputy asked Gibson to get inside. Deputy Mee then walked over to the passenger door and opened it. The report says Gibson then said, "I'm not going to get in your car," and bolted to his car. The deputy quickly subdued Gibson, cuffed him and put him inside the patrol car.

TMZ has learned that Deputy Mee audiotaped the entire exchange between himself and Gibson, from the time of the traffic stop to the time Gibson was put in the patrol car, and that the tape fully corroborates the written report.

Once inside the car, a source directly connected with the case says Gibson began banging himself against the seat. The report says Gibson told the deputy, "You mother f****r. I'm going to f*** you." The report also says "Gibson almost continually [sic] threatened me saying he 'owns Malibu' and will spend all of his money to 'get even' with me."

The report says Gibson then launched into a barrage of anti-Semitic statements: "F*****g Jews... The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." Gibson then asked the deputy, "Are you a Jew?"

The deputy became alarmed as Gibson's tirade escalated, and called ahead for a sergeant to meet them when they arrived at the station. When they arrived, a sergeant began videotaping Gibson, who noticed the camera and then said, "What the f*** do you think you're doing?"

A law enforcement source says Gibson then noticed another female sergeant and yelled, "What do you think you're looking at, sugar tits?"

We're told Gibson took two blood alcohol tests, which were videotaped, and continued saying how "f****d" he was and how he was going to "f***" Deputy Mee.

Gibson was put in a cell with handcuffs on. He said he needed to urinate, and after a few minutes tried manipulating his hands to unzip his pants. Sources say Deputy Mee thought Gibson was going to urinate on the floor of the booking cell and asked someone to take Gibson to the bathroom.

After leaving the bathroom, Gibson then demanded to make a phone call. He was taken to a pay phone and, when he didn't get a dial tone, we're told Gibson threw the receiver against the phone. Deputy Mee then warned Gibson that if he damaged the phone he could be charged with felony vandalism. We're told Gibson was then asked, and refused, to sign the necessary paperwork and was thrown in a detox cell.

Deputy Mee then wrote an eight-page report detailing Gibson's rampage and comments. Sources say the sergeant on duty felt it was too "inflammatory." A lieutenant and captain then got involved and calls were made to Sheriff's headquarters. Sources say Mee was told Gibson's comments would incite a lot of "Jewish hatred," that the situation in Israel was "way too inflammatory." It was mentioned several times that Gibson, who wrote, directed, and produced 2004's "The Passion of the Christ," had incited "anti-Jewish sentiment" and "For a drunk driving arrest, is this really worth all that?"

We're told Deputy Mee was then ordered to write another report, leaving out the incendiary comments and conduct. Sources say Deputy Mee was told the sanitized report would eventually end up in the media and that he could write a supplemental report that contained the redacted information -- a report that would be locked in the watch commander's safe.

when a closet fascist is exposed for the hatred-filled bigot he really is, it needs to be trumpted far and wide as a warning to the increasing number of not-so-closet fascists that we seem to have lurking out there...

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Not the Country Club: Thanks to Israel's savagery, the scales begin to fall from everyone's eyes

i couldn't have put it better...
Israeli warplanes hunting Hezbollah rocket launchers in southern Lebanon on Sunday killed at least 57 civilians, most of them children, huddled inside a three-story building in a small village. In response, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appeared set to abandon diplomacy in the region and said she would return to Washington on Monday. But after an intense day of negotiations in Jerusalem, Israel agreed to suspend air attacks on southern Lebanon for 48 hours.

there's no possible justification... hezbollah's actions are criminal but israel's retaliation is out of control... and the rest of the world, particularly the u.s., who has the power to make it stop, isn't doing so...

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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Never confuse Bush with the truth or anything even close

say anything... claim anything... you know that, as president of the united states, every word you say is being carefully scrutinized and quoted in media and news outlets around the world... so, it really doesn't matter whether or not you're telling the truth... whatever you say will go right on the permanent record so, de facto, it must be true...
The controversy over the US-run detention centre at Guantanamo Bay is to erupt anew with confirmation by the Pentagon that a new, permanent prison will open in the Cuban enclave in the next few weeks.


[Bush claimed] earlier this summer that he would "like to close" Guantanamo. Just weeks after he made his comments in June, the Supreme Court ruled that the administration's system for trying prisoners using military tribunals breached United States and international law.

At the time, some campaigners predicted the decision marked the beginning of the end of Guantanamo Bay. Since then, however, the Bush administration has signalled its intention to introduce new legislation that would circumvent the court's ruling. The revelation that Camp 6 is poised to open is proof that it intends to keep using the prison.

yes, ok, a new facility is opening at guantanamo, but don't worry... george "SAID" he'd like to close the place, and we all know he wouldn't deliberately tell a lie... the presidents of SOME countries might display such perfidy, but not OUR president, not the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES...!

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What we KNOW about this administration is bad enough, lord only knows

it's the stuff we DON'T know and what we're left to SIMPLY SPECULATE about that gives me the creeps...
On the grounds of a military base an hour's drive from the capital, the Bush administration is building a massive biodefense laboratory unlike any seen since biological weapons were banned 34 years ago.


[M]uch of what transpires at the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) may never be publicly known, because the Bush administration intends to operate the facility largely in secret.

In an unusual arrangement, the building itself will be classified as highly restricted space, from the reception desk to the lab benches to the cages where animals are kept. Few federal facilities, including nuclear labs, operate with such stealth. It is this opacity that some arms-control experts say has become a defining characteristic of U.S. biodefense policy as carried out by the Department of Homeland Security, NBACC's creator.


Some of the research falls within what many arms-control experts say is a legal gray zone, skirting the edges of an international treaty outlawing the production of even small amounts of biological weapons.

The administration dismisses these concerns, however, insisting that the work of NBACC is purely defensive and thus fully legal. It has rejected calls for oversight by independent observers outside the department's network of government scientists and contractors. And it defends the secrecy as necessary to protect Americans.

let me toss out a few questions... with what we know about bushco so far, what do you think...? is the work "purely defensive and purely legal...?" is such intense secrecy "necessary to protect americans...?" can you say "department of homeland security" with a straight face...? imho, anyone who takes more than a milli-second to answer "BULLSHIT," "NO," "NO," and "NO," accompanied by hooting and derisive laughter, either hasn't been paying attention or doesn't WANT to pay attention...

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Missing white women and small town murder mysteries

juan cole ponders an age-old problem... can our media walk and chew gum at the same time...?
Frank Rich, one of our most perceptive intellectuals, points to the odd downplaying of Iraq news what with the advent of the Israel-Lebanon crisis. But Rich is being a little unfair. If they tried to cover two important issues like Iraq and Israel-Lebanon, the television news producers would ask, how could they fit in the missing white women and the small town murder mysteries?

or are the media just playing into the administration's hands by allowing themselves to fall prey to yet another distraction - albeit a very serious one - that keeps our focus away from the world-class disaster that is iraq...?

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Joe Lieberman is not a victim... Joe Lieberman is a co-dependent to a cast of victimizers...

the wapo really steps in it with this editorial on lieberman/lamont...
Mr. Lieberman is also being pummeled for his ability to work with Republicans and get things done in Washington -- also rare traits -- and that's a criticism that strikes us as shortsighted even from a partisan Democratic point of view.

i'll go back to what i said in the previous post... praising lieberman for being able "to work with republicans and get things done" takes the fine art of burying one's head in the sand and raises it to new heights... what lieberman is helping the r's to get "done" is nothing more and nothing less than the dismantling of the core elements that have defined the strengths of the united states since the founding fathers wrote the constitution... as the nyt puts it, joe's an enabler... i'm not going to be anywhere near that kind... joe is seriously, dangerously deluded, and the wapo is right in there with him...

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I'm glad to see the NYT is thinking clearly

browsing along at jfk last evening before i dragged myself onto the plane, i saw the daily kos post on the nyt's endorsement of ned lamont over joe lieberman... i was a little surprised but definitely pleased... now that i'm back online, i see that, in the same edition, they've taken a clue from the wapo and turned thumbs down on bolton... those are the right positions, you editorial page folks... glad to see both of 'em...

  • American interests at the U.N. have suffered from Mr. Bolton’s time there, and will suffer more if the Senate confirms him in the job.
  • [T]his is no time for a man with Mr. Lieberman’s ability to command Republicans’ attention to become their enabler, and embrace a role as the president’s defender. ... [T]his primary is not about Mr. Lieberman’s legislative record. Instead it has become a referendum on his warped version of bipartisanship, in which the never-ending war on terror becomes an excuse for silence and inaction. We endorse Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary for Senate in Connecticut.
bolton is unfit for public service and joe lieberman desperately needs to get a clue, the clue being that the united states, with bushco at the helm, is in the midst of perhaps the worst crisis in its history... as the nyt astutely points out, bushco doesn't need enablers...

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Back to winter

going from the dead of summer to winter in the space of 10 hours can be somewhat disorienting... as we were starting our descent into buenos aires ezeiza international airport this morning, the pilot was giving local weather conditions... at 8 a.m., just two hours before landing, the temperature was -2C/29F, unusually cold for buenos aires even at this time of year, and definitely a BIG CHANGE from the low 90sF when we landed in new york's jfk yesterday evening... ah, but the sky is a brilliant blue and there's still plenty of greenery... a lot of the trees keep their leaves year-round... the ones along the street just outside my window are all bare, however, which means more of that bright sunshine... i'm glad to be back...!

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